Switzerland is famous for many things including its alpine scenery and diverse climate. But if you’re looking for that idyllic Swiss village you don’t need to look any further than Gruyeres.
This picture perfect medieval village is set at the top of a small mountain and is enclosed by a 12th century fortification. Retaining its medieval feel, Gruyeres is considered a National Monument and its architectural purity is actually protected by the Swiss government.
Gruyeres is easy to reach either by train or car and can be done as a day trip from the Lake Geneva area although you may want to spend some time in this serene area. Car parking and the train station are at the bottom of the hill so before you make off for the village you may want to enjoy the Cheese Museum and Factory where you will see demonstrations of cheese making and also taste some of the fresh delights!
As you meander your way up to Gruyeres you will be awed by the beauty unfolding before your eyes. Gazing over the meadows you will see green grass, happy cows with bells, and wildflowers all with the mountains framing the picture.
Once at the top, the cobbled streets will lead you past shops and restaurants on the way to the castle. Castle Gruyeres was built between 1270 and 1282. Today the beautiful fortress is home to 800 years of local history, culture and architecture. Visit rooms that are furnished in the traditional Baroque style and others that house many works of art. From the courtyard you will be afforded more of those views Switzerland is so famous for and we never tire of.
Before you leave make sure to stop for some of Gruyeres famous quiche or the equally famous fondue! Since you are in the center of one of Switzerland’s dairy areas, make sure to leave room for berries with thick cream. A good option is Le Chalet restaurant. The quaint and cute restaurant is in a building built in the 1700’s and is decorated in the style of a Swiss chalet!
If you’re looking for a bit of the unusual, then a trip through the H. R. Giger museum may fit the bill. Giger is an Oscar winner for his visual effects work on the movie Alien. The museum houses some of his paintings, sculptures and movie sets. If you don’t mind bizarre, mechanical and sexual art, the Giger may be for you. Next to the museum is the Giger Bar all dressed up in a décor inspired by the movie “Alien”!