Gruyeres, SwitzerlandGruyeres, Switzerland

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    Famous place, but great adventure day!
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Great day trip: Train ride, Gruyeres medieval town and castle, chocolate and Gruyere cheese factories.

My experience, Explo description: 

The tour of Gruyeres castle offers a walk through eight centuries of architecture, history and culture.

The building was constructed between 1270 and 1282 in the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. The end of the 15th century stands out as the golden age in the history of the counts. In 1476, count Louis takes part in the Burgundy war by the Confederates’ side. Following this deed of valour, modernization works were undertaken. The adjustment of the esplanade with its chapel, the spiral staircase in the courtyard and the transformation of the main building go back to that time. Thus, the castle loses its fortress appearance to become a stately residence. The baroque interiors remind one of the time when the bailiffs sent by Fribourg lived there. The romantic landscapes were painted in mid 19th century by J.-B. Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and other well known artists.

Temporary exhibitions, various activities and a multimedia presentation about the castle and his history (starting from summer 2007) mark the passage to the 21st century.

Option 1:
Starting with a train ride from Chatel-St. Denis to Chocolaterie Cailler (about 1 hour). From there you can take the train, or do a one hour hike, to the medieval town of Gruyeres where you can visit the castle, the medieval village, and then a Gruyere cheese factory. Then take the train back to Chatel-St. Denis from Gruyeres.

Option 2:
You can drive directly to Chocolaterie Cailler and to Gruyeres and skip the train ride.

My personal recommendations: 

The best time to explore this area seems to be before and after summer season. There is very few people and good weather. I did this trip on March 2012. Start early, and make sure to catch the train at Chatel-St. Denis by 10 or 11am, the earlier the better. This is important as it will give you more time to enjoy the sites and visit the Chocolaterie and the cheese factory, and still get back to Chatel-St. Denis before night time.

How getting there: 


1- Drive to Chatel-St. Denis, making sure to arive there by 10 or 11am. Do a small tour of town before taking the train.
2- Visit of Chocolaterie Cailler:
Leave the car in Chatel-St. Denis and take the train to Bulle, then switch trains and go to Broc Fabrique (about 1 hour).
3- Visit Chocolaterie Cailler which includes trying out the different chocolates they make (it's worth visiting). (about 1 to 1.5 hrs)
4- Take train from Broc Fabrique to Bulle, then switch trains, and go to Gruyeres
* Another option is to do an easy 1 to 2 hour hike from chocolaterie Cailler to the medieval town of Gruyeres.
The medieval town is located on top of a hill, but even if you take the train you would need to walk up to it
5- Visit the medieval town of Gruyeres and castle (if you wish - extra charge).
6- Walk back towards Gruyeres train station, then visit La Maison du Gruyere (Gruyere cheese factory)
7- Catch train back to Chatel-St. Denis from Gruyere, and drive back home.

A tip to eat: 

You can either bring your own piknik, or eat at one of the many restaurants in the area. (an expensive option, but you try the local food).

Useful information: 
Visit duration: 

This should be a day trip if you plan on doing the Chocolaterie, the visit to the medieval town and castle, and the visit to the cheese factory. It is recommended that you catch the train at Chatel-St. Denis by 10am or 11am the latest.

You can also drive directly to the sites without using the train. However the train offers a different experience and beautiful views for those who are interested.

Entry fees: 

Cost of train: Its better to take a 1 day ticket for 30 CHF/person if you wish to do the route:
Chatel-St. Denis / Bulle / Broc Fabrique / Bulle / Gruyeres / Chatel-St. Denis

OR you could hike from the chocolaterie to the medieval town, so you would only need tickets for the route:
Chatel-St. Denis / Bulle / Broc Fabrique
Gruyeres / Chatel-St. Denis

Cost of Chocolaterie Cailler: 10 CHF/adult

Cost of La Maison du Gruyere (cheese factory): 7 CHF/person or 14.50 CHF/person including visit to the Gruyeres castle.

Cost to see the medieval town of Gruyeres: Free


La Maison du Gruyere
Place de la Gare 3 CH 1663 Pringy-Gruyeres

La Maison Cailler
rue Jules Bellet 7, 1636 Broc