GRUYÈRES: IT’S GOING TO BE CHEESY!
This tiny medieval village on top of a hill is not only worth visiting because of its famous cheese, it also represents picturesque Switzerland in a nutshell.
Here is my itinerary recommendation in order to make the best of your visit in Gruyères:
La Maison du Gruyère
Start your day about 1.5 km from Gruyères, in Pringy, and dip right into what this region is famous for: the cheesemaking.
“La Maison du Gruyère” is a demonstration cheese factory that teaches you everything about the manufacturing process of the original Gruyère AOP cheese.
The visit involves live cheesemaking where you can watch various steps of the production process – depending on what time you arrive in the day (have a look at their cheesemaking timetable on their website). Visiting the Maison du Gruyère takes about 1 hour.
As a vegan, I surely felt like a traitor visiting this cheese dairy. But I decided to go anyway – one main motivation was to leave my vegan bubble for once and learn more about the dairy industry first-hand. It was a very interesting experience! What astonished me the most was the huge amount of water, even more than I expected, that is needed to produce the Gruyère cheese (or any other kind of cheese…).
Strolling this little village is truly magical, no matter what season. Imagine 15th- to 17th-century dreamy houses lined up on a hillside, magnificent views of the surrounding Alps, and the cobblestone roads leading up to its medieval castle…
The center of Gruyères is car-free. You can either leave your car at the free parking site at the Maison du Gruyères and walk the 1.5 km up to the heart of the village, or use one of the not really much closer but fee required parking areas (currently 5 CHF for the day).
HR Giger Bar & Museum
Gruyères houses the Musée HR Giger, dedicated to the man behind the Alien creature from the same-named movies.
If you are not really into his dark work, the bar opposite the museum is nevertheless worth a visit: it is completely designed Alien and Dune style. Try one of the regions famous meringues with double cream!
Château de Gruyères
Gruyères 15th century castle offers the most breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. There is a little footpath around the castle that is not to be missed for the best photo opportunities with the Alps in the background.
Le Chalet de Gruyères
THE address to finally eat the original Gruyère AOP cheese! This wooden chalet is located in the heart of the village and really cannot be missed. Dining is possible all day – try to catch a seat on their patio if you can. No worries, the inside of the restaurant offers plenty of Alpine charm as well. Gruyère fondue and Gruyère raclette are of course the bestsellers.
Maison Cailler – The Chocolate Museum
In Gruyères you really get the best of Switzerland: the Alps, mountain villages, nature, Swiss chalets, cows, cheese, and: chocolate!
Learn everything about chocolate making and the history of chocolate at “Maison Cailler”. The interactive designed museum is very much worth a visit – interactive here also includes tasting every single chocolate type they offer. 🙂 Try not to eat too many chocolates in the beginning of your visit, as you can enjoy as much as you want of every flavor they make at the end of the tour. I’ve never thought there is such a thing as eating too much chocolate, but it is definitely possible here!
Get all the information on the Maison Cailler website.
Enjoy your day in Gruyères! 🙂
My guidebook recommendation for Switzerland: