This Town Lent Its Name To Europe's Most Loved Cheese

Exploring the treasure trail of culture and cuisine of the Swiss town of Gruyères, with its many medieval art museums and cheese and chocolate factories
Main street in Gruyere village, Switzerland
Main street in Gruyere village, SwitzerlandShutterstock

When you think of Switzerland, what comes to mind first? Maybe the chalets of Gstaad, or Christmas at Bern, or the rich history of Geneva. But there are some relatively lesser known wonders, like the district of Gruyères in the Fribourg canton of Switzerland, that people often overlook. Home to Lake of Gruyère, one of the finest artificial lakes in Switzerland, the town is also the abode of the famous Gruyère cheese. In the heart of Switzerland, surrounded by the Alps, this medieval town, one of the seven districts of the canton of Fribourg, offers a treasure trail of cuisine and culture for travellers.

Exploring The Area

With cobbled streets lined up at your feet, this scenic little village is the picture of perfection. When you are in Gruyères you are nestled amidst the sloping alpine hills and the lilting French tongues that fill the air around you. Take a walk to any of the art galleries, chocolate factories, or curio shops lined on the market square of the village. Spend a day exploring the local cheese, and indulging in eccentric art while you admire the medieval architecture of the town.

Art and Culture Hotspots

Art and history buffs will have a great time at this idyllic destination. Perfect for a no-rush, laid back stay, the town offers numerous attractions for the creative travellers. Art and culture buffs will rejoice while exploring three main museums in the town. 

Gruyères Castle

The most famous one of the art museums in the town is the Gruyères Castle which has been there since the 13th century. You can explore the ancient artworks through their free paper guide, available in 12 languages, with an enhanced audio guide or a proper guided tour which will be the best option. 

Aerial view of Gruyères Castle
Aerial view of Gruyères CastleShutterstock

Hours: All days, from 10 am to 5 pm

Address: Rue du Château 8, 1663 Gruyères, Switzerland

Tibet Museum

Started by the Alain Bordier Foundation, this museum showcases a selection of Buddhist and Himalayan art pieces that include paintings, sculptures, and ancient objects used in rituals.

Hours: All days, from 11 am to 6 pm

Address: Rue du Château 4, 1663 Gruyères, Switzerland

H.R. Giger Museum
H.R. Giger MuseumShutterstock

The H.R. Giger Museum

Dedicated to the works of Oscar-winning artist and set designer H.R. Giger, this museum houses the most extensive collection of Giger in the world. Located at the heart of Gruyères town, the fantastic art collection warps reality and fiction with an array of sculptures, paintings, and even film sets Giger won an Oscar in 1980 in the Best Visual Effects category for the film Alien. His works have been inspired by Salvador Dali and Austrian artist Alfred Kubin.

Hours: All days, from 10 AM to 6 PM

Address: Rue du Château 2, Château St-Germain, 1663 Gruyères, Switzerland

The Food Trail

Gruyère cheese sandwich
Gruyère cheese sandwichShuttersock

With the Gruyère cheese being the most popular Swiss cheese in most of Europe, it is imperative that you try it when you are in the eponymous town where it originated from. The cheese is a hard alpine cheese, and its taste varies quite a bit as it ages. It is mostly sweet with a slightly salty taste and has a nutty flavour to it, which brings us to the fourth main attraction for tourists: A cheese dairy in the village for all the foodies and cheese lovers out there. 

La Maison du Gruyère

Visitors can observe the cheese-making process at this dairy with the hand-made procedure used in making the famous Gruyère cheese. The cheese-making process can only be observed in the morning, after which you can pick among the many different types of cheese spread out in the dining room of the dairy. There is also a cheese museum that you can visit for a token amount as an entry fee. 

Hours: All days, from 9 am to 12:30 am

Address: Pringy, Pl. de la Gare 3, 1663 Gruyères, Switzerland

Gruyère cheese
Gruyère cheese Shutterstock

Mason Caillor Chocolate Factory

At this chocolate factory, indulge in workshops, escape games, and an interactive experience to learn about their chocolate.  

Hours: All days, from 10 am to 5 pm

Address: Rue Jules Bellet 7, 1636 Broc, Switzerland

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