Julie Switzerland 10 Comments

Located in the idyllic, rolling hills of French-speaking Switzerland sits Gruyères, a picture-perfect medieval town. Cheese, chocolate, and beautiful cobblestoned streets attract visitors all year round. With one day in Gruyères, you have enough time to visit the town and add on another nearby destination, whether it is a chocolate factory, a scenic funicular ride, or a stunning hike. Here are ten wonderful things to do in Gruyères, plus lots of useful information to help you plan your day trip. 

Best Things to Do in Gruyères

1. Wander the Cobblestoned Streets and Walking Trails

The medieval town of Gruyères is tiny. The main street that runs through the center of town is a whopping 300 meters long, so you can walk from one end to the other in just a matter of minutes.

Hotels, cafes, museums, and restaurants line this cobblestoned street. It’s a short but beautiful walk, especially with the views of green rolling hills and mountains that surround the town of Gruyères.

Gruyeres Switzerland

Rue de Bourg | Best Things to do in Gruyères


Walking through Gruyeres

Gruyeres Street

Gruyeres Sightseeing


There is also a very nice walking path that circles around the outside of the town. Called Les Grands Chemins, this is a beautiful walk when the weather is nice.

Gruyeres Day Trip

The view of Église Saint-Théodule from Les Grands Chemins

2. Visit Gruyères Castle

Located at the highest point in town is the medieval Gruyères Castle, also called Château de Gruyères. Dating back to the 13th century, this is one of the most famous castles in Switzerland. The stained-glass windows are lovely and the views from the castle are amazing.

Gruyeres Castle

Gruyères Castle | Best Things to do in Gruyères

Website: Get updated hours and pricing on the official website.

3. Walk along the Ramparts

There is a small section of medieval walls that you can visit. These sit just outside of the main entrance of the town. Like the town of Gruyères, the walls are small, but they are free to visit, fun to explore, and just take a few minutes of your time.

Gruyeres Ramparts

The Ramparts


Ramparts Gruyeres

Kara, Tyler and Tim on the ramparts


Best Things to do in Gruyeres

View from the ramparts | Best Things to do in Gruyères

4. Learn How Gruyère Cheese is Made

If you have had French onion soup, a croque monsier (a French toasted ham and cheese sandwich), or chicken cordon bleu, there’s a good chance that you have eaten Gruyère cheese.

This cheese, which is made in western Switzerland, is named after the town of Gruyères.

La Maison du Gruyère is a small factory in Gruyères that offers tours about the cheese making process. It is conveniently located next to the train station and visits here typically last 30 to 45 minutes.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Cheese is made every day between 9 am to 12:30 am, two to four times per day, depending on the season.

Website: For updated hours and pricing, plus to see the timetable for the cheesemaking process, visit the official website. 

5. Dine on Cheese Fondue

You can’t go to Gruyères without trying the cheese, right? There are numerous restaurants in town where you can dine on gooey, melted cheese that is served with bread, boiled potatoes, and pickles. Later in this post, we list three highly-rated restaurants where you can have cheese fondue.

Switzerland Travel Guide

6. Visit the HR Giger Museum

If you have seen any of the Alien movies, then you will be familiar with the artwork of H. R. Giger.

H. R. Giger is a Swiss painter and artist who received an Academy Award for his work on the movie Alien. His work is permanently on display at this museum.

Museum HR Giger

This small museum contains paintings and sculptures of the aliens that you will recognize from the movies, as well as other artwork that blends humans and machines into one body.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: This artwork is disturbing and highly sexual, so this is not a place to bring your kids. You need to visit this museum with an open mind and the artwork can be shocking for some people.

Unfortunately, I do not have any photos, since photography is not permitted inside of the museum.

If you want to get an idea of what to expect inside of the museum, or, if you just want to visit a very unique bar, visit the Giger Bar. It is located across the street from the museum and features very similar artwork.

Website: Get updated hours and pricing information on the official website. 

7. Tibet Museum

Not nearly as bizarre or shocking as the HR Giger Museum, the Tibet Museum contains more than 350 works of Himalayan art from the 6th to 18th centuries. These paintings, sculptures, and religious artifacts come from Tibet, Nepal, northern India, Burma and Kashmir.

You can tour the museum with an audio guide or on your phone using their interactive app.

Website: Get updated hours and pricing on the official website

Gruyeres View

View of Gruyères | Best Things to do in Gruyères

Just Outside of Gruyères

There are two more great places to visit, plus one fantastic hike, just a few minutes outside of Gruyères.

8. Ride the Funicular to Moléson-sur-Gruyeres

Moléson-sur-Gruyeres is a small town that sits southwest of Gruyères. From this town, you can ride a funicular up to Plan-Francey. The funicular ride is quick, lasting just 5 minutes, very steep, and offers beautiful views over the area.

From Plan-Francey, you can continue the journey to the summit of Le Moléson. Ride the cable car to the summit or hike the trails to get here. There is also a via ferrata you can climb on Le Moléson.

Links to Learn More:

9. Maison Cailler

Maison Cailler makes chocolates using milk from the Gruyères region of Switzerland. At this chocolate factory, visit the museum, participate in a chocolate workshop, and shop for souvenirs to bring home.

Maison Cailler is located just a few minutes away from Gruyères in the town of Broc.

Website: Learn about the tours and pricing on the official website. 

10. Hike the Gastlosen Tour

The Gastlosen is a chain of limestone mountains that look very similar to the Dolomites of Italy. For 11 km, the trail loops around these magnificent, jagged mountains and you are treated to sweeping views of Switzerland.

This is a gorgeous hike. A chair lift lops off the first big climb (and the final descent), so it is manageable for many people. Since this hike is done as a loop, your views are always changing, and oh, what a view!

Gastlosen Hike

This hike starts and ends in Jaun, Switzerland. The easiest way to get here is by car. It takes 30 minutes to drive to Jaun from Gruyères.

Best Things to Do in Gruyères: On a Map

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

What We Did

We visited Gruyères and hiked the Gastlosen Tour on a day trip from Lausanne. In the morning, we hiked around the Gastlosen and in the afternoon we visited Gruyères. Later in this post, I include a sample itinerary for how to visit both places in one day. 

Where to Eat

Le Chalet de Gruyères. This is one of the best places to get cheese fondue in Gruyères. There is indoor and outdoor seating.

Restaurant des Remparts. From this restaurant, enjoy views over the ramparts and the countryside. This is another great place to go for fondue and raclette.

Auberge de la Halle. Located right on the main street in Gruyères, this is yet another restaurant that gets very good reviews for their fondue and raclette.

Chocolaterie de Gruyères. This chocolate shop is the best place in town for your chocolate fix. They also offer tours about the history of chocolate making.

How to Get to Gruyères

Gruyères makes a great day trip from Lausanne, Geneva, or Bern. There is also a scenic train ride, called the Chocolate Train, that links Montreux with Gruyères and Maison Cailler in Broc.

From Lausanne

By Train

By train, it takes 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes to travel from Lausanne to Gruyères, with one to two transfers. Check timetables on sbb.ch.

By Bus

You can travel to Gruyères by bus, but it takes 3 hours one way, so it’s not a great option if you are doing this as a day trip.

By Car

If you have a car, it takes 45 minutes to drive to Gruyères from Lausanne. There are two large parking lots just outside of the medieval town (see the map above for their locations).

From Geneva

By Train

It takes 2 to 2.25 hours to travel from Geneva to Gruyères by train. Check timetables on sbb.ch.

By Car

By car, it takes just under an hour and a half to drive to Gruyères from Geneva.

From Bern

By Train

It takes an hour and a half to almost two hours to travel from Bern to Gruyères by train.

By Car

From Bern, it takes just over one hour to drive to Gruyères.

The Chocolate Train

The Chocolate Train is a tour that starts in Montreux and goes to Gruyères and Maison Cailler. The train starts in Montreux and travels to Montbovon. In Montbovon, transfer to a bus to visit Gruyères and Maison Cailler. Return to Montreux via bus. The ticket price includes all transportation as well as your entrance fees to La Maison du Gruyère and Maison Cailler. Learn more here.

Gruyeres Fountain

Rue du Bourg

One Day in Gruyères: Sample Itineraries

One Day in Gruyères

9:00 am: Arrive in Gruyères. Visit La Maison du Gruyere and watch the cheesemaking demonstration.
10:00 am: Stroll through Gruyères and walk on the ramparts. Visit Gruyères Castle.
11:30 am: Tibet Museum
12:30 pm: Lunch
2:00 pm: HR Giger Museum
3:30 pm: Maison Cailler (to get here, take the train or drive from Gruyères)

Gastlosen + Gruyères

8:00 am: Hike the Gastlosen Tour
12:30 pm: Drive to Gruyères
1:15 pm: Lunch in Gruyères
3:00 pm: Gruyères Castle, Tibet Museum, or HR Giger Museum
4:00 pm: Stroll through Gruyères

If you have any questions about the best things to do in Gruyères or how to plan your visit, let us know in the comment section below.

More Places to Go in Switzerland

SWITZERLAND ITINERARY: If your visit to Gruyères is part of a bigger trip to Switzerland, check out our Switzerland Itinerary, which has suggestions on what to do if you have 7 days, 14 days, or even longer.

LAUSANNE: For more information about Lausanne, read our article about the Best Things to Do in Lausanne. We also have a guide to the best day trips from Lausanne.

LUGANO: Lugano is located in southern Switzerland. From here, you can visit the fairytale bridge Ponte dei Salti and you can easily day trip to Lake Como and Bellagio.

JUNGFRAU REGION: What exactly is the Jungfrau region of the Bernese Oberland? Find out in our Guide to the Jungfrau Region, which includes maps and important travel planning information. We also have articles about the best things to do in the Jungfrau region as well as the top hikes in the Jungfrau region. A visit to Jungfraujoch is one of the most popular experiences in the Jungfrau region, but is it worth it? Riding to cable car to Schilthorn and the Mürren Via Ferrata were two of our favorite experiences in this part of Switzerland.

ZÜRICH: For things to do on a quick visit, check out our article One Day in Zürich. 

LUCERNE: Learn how to spend one perfect day in Lucerne with a trip to Mt. Pilatus.

ZERMATT: For ideas on what to do, read our article Best Things to Do in Zermatt and the best hikes in Zermatt. Don’t miss the hike from Gornergrat to Riffelberg, the hike to Hörnlihütte, and the Matterhorn Glacier Trail. For more alpine views, learn how to visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (and find out if it is worth it).

We have TONS more information about Switzerland in our Switzerland Travel Guide, including Zürich, Lucerne, the Bernese Oberland, Zermatt, Lugano, and Lausanne.


Gruyeres Switzerland Travel Guide


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Comments 10

  1. Avatar for Tina Davis
    Tina Davis

    We went on a day trip to Gruyere from Lausanne. Reese factory first and thought it was interesting, but a bit expensive for what it is. We actually thought the town was super touristy, and didn’t spend much time there (we went after Moleson) and I’m glad we spent most of our time on the mountain. If I went back, I would concentrate on the hiking and skip the town.

  2. Avatar for Steph

    My husband and I moved to Lucerne from California and can confirm your tips are spot on! We’re on our way to Gruyère right now and will heed your advice there. Also saving your website for future day trips within Switzerland, and for when we’re in Italy and France. Many thanks!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  3. Avatar for Liz

    Hi – I am planning to visit Switzerland in at the end of May 2022 with a 2-night stop at Montreux. We want to visit Gruyeres Village and Maison Caillier (chocolate factory). Unfortunately, we’re there on a Friday and the Chocolate Train is only operating on Tues and Thurs at that time. How hard is it to do this as a day trip on our own? We won’t have a rental car.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      That’s a very good question. There are public transportation options for getting to Gruyeres (the train and the bus). Since we had a rental car, I am not familiar with the details, but here is the link to the Gruyeres tourism website where you can learn more. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Tina Davis
        Tina Davis

        Depends on where you are coming from. The SBB app is good if you are coming from another Swiss city. Once you get to Gruyeres, you may or may not need local transport, depending on where you go. Also, from the train station, you have to either walk up about a 1/2 mile to the old town of Gruyeres or take a bus. The article above did not mention this because the author had a car. If you want to go to Moleson, the chocolate factory or other hiking areas, you will need local transport, but the SBB app provides those schedules as well.

  4. Avatar for Jack Colby
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  5. Avatar for Kelly Green
    Kelly Green

    My family (parents, sister and I) traveled here over 20 years ago and we still talk about the berries and cream we ate in Gruyeres! Other memories include riding the funiculaire + a cable car with my dad up to the top of Mount Moléson where we drank a Heineken and met a man in his 60’s who had RUN up the mountain in preparation for an annual race held there each year. Thanks for sharing – brought back great memories!!!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

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