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A cheesy trip to Gruyeres, Switzerland! Traveling by Swiss trains to see Medieval castles & culture.

fashion blogger poses legs

Ready for part 2 of my Gruyères, Switzerland journey? I’ll warn you, it gets a little cheesy…

Last fall, I went to La Gruyere to see the H R Giger bar and museum (the dark artist behind the Alien movies). As you can gleam from my emoji sweater, I’m a die-hard fan.

gruyere Fribourg suisse

However, there are many more reasons to check out Gruyeres. Located in Switzerland’s canton of Fribourg, it’s one of the most scenic destinations that photographer Joey Wong and I have ever seen.

(And it’s the birthplace of Gruyeres cheese, which happens to be my favorite!)

medieval architecture gruyeres switzerland

We were surprised at how much we enjoyed this little Swiss village, with pastoral landscapes and a Medieval castle.

swiss travel passes train journey

First, how do you get to Gruyere? Most travellers start in Geneva, the capital of Switzerland. From there, it’s about a two-hour journey by train.

Joey and I used First Class Swiss Travel Pass from Switzerland Tourism, for unlimited rides on any of the country’s trains. The system works like clockwork, with efficient timetables and connections. (No wonder the Swiss are known as master watch-makers.)

swiss cows pasture farmland

We stayed in a hotel in Geneva, and did a day-trip to Gruyeres (you can also stay in the village overnight, if you wish to spend more time here).

There are two railway routes you can take from Geneva central station: go to Romont and change at Bulle, or take the scenic ride to Montreux, and change at Montbovon.

lake geneva beach water

I’d opt for the Montreux itinerary. As you can see, the view out the window is spectacular! For most of the journey, you can see the crystal waters of Lac Léman (aka Lake Geneva), one of the largest in Western Europe.

swiss sheep grazing

Our jaws dropped at the scenes that passed by our train window: quaint churches with steeples, furry sheep grazing, green hilly landscapes.

gruyeres chapel church

When you arrive at Gruyeres Station, you must walk up a path to reach the village itself. Take your time to enjoy the sights along the way, including this cute chapel with a bell tower.

sheep farm switzerland

We said hello to these hungry sheep, with bells ringing from their collars.

la Gruyère tourism

“The hills are alive, with the Sound of Music!” This view of the Alps made me want to dance around like Maria Von Trapp.

gruyeres village square tourists

And then, we arrived at the village of Gruyeres: home to only about 2000 people. However, behind the charm lurks aliens… (as you can see in my article about the H. R. Giger museum and bar.)

gruyere cheese fondue restaurants

Gruyeres is in the French region of Switzerland, so most of the signs are in this language. Cheese is the main industry here, along with culture tourism — people come here from around the world, to soak up the old-time charm of this little town.

The town is named after the founder, Gruerius. He captured a crane and made it his symbolic animal (in French, the bird is called a “grue”).

St. Theodul catholic church gruyeres

No matter where you point the camera, La Gruyere is a stunner. We strolled by St. Theodul’s church (Église Saint-Théodule), which dates back to 1254. The Counts of Gruyeres are buried under the altar of St. Michael, in this Catholic church

alien emoji sweater aliens

However, this Goth was more interested in the Satanic underbelly of this town! (My alien emoji sweater hints at the occult world of HR Giger. See more styles below:)

gruyeres quaint village switzerland

La Gruyere is especially vibrant in the fall, when the leaves are fiery red.

gruyeres museums attractions

For those who love culture, there are several artistic attractions in the village, including a Tibetan art museum. 

goth sweaters alien shirt top

Fans of the Alien movie series make pilgrimages here, to behold the H. R. Giger museum. Gruyeres is home to the largest collection of his works.

château de Gruyères

We started at one of the main sights, the Castle of Gruyères. This fortress from the Middle Ages now holds a museum, art exhibitions, and theatrical showings.

labyrinth maze gruyeres castle

Gruyères Castle was built in the late 13th century, with a distinctive Savoy square layout. With a labyrinth and garden beneath the Alps… this is a picture straight out of a fairy tale.

gruyeres mountains, moleson, dent de broc

Many travel to this region to hike in the nearby mountains. Moléson-sur-Gruyères and Dent de Broc are ranges in the Frebourg pre-Alps, overlooking the lake of Gruyère.

gruyeres swiss castle chateau

History and culture-lovers flock to Switzerland to see the famous Medieval castles. (We also visited Chillon castle at Montreux, which you can see here.)

lucifer baphomet devil art europe

This sculpture, located at the entrance of Chateau de Gruyères, caught my eye. It’s called “Le Bouclier de Mars”, and appears to be an ancient carving. However, in fact, it was created by Patrick Woodruffe in 1993.

gruyere patrick woodruffe Le Bouclier de Mars

Leave it to me to find the devil, wherever I go! (There was also a “heaven” circular panel next to this one.)

alien outfitters clothing fashion

Woodruffe’s work is based on his 1979 illustration, The Vicious Circle (1979). It depicts war as a closed circle of destruction and futility.

medieval weird sculptures art horror

If you look at the imagery up close, you’ll notice alien sci-fi motifs — not unlike Giger’s visions.

patrick woodroffe fantasy science-fiction art jabberwocky

The castle was hosting an exhibition of Patrick Woodruffe’s fantasy art. His works are surreal and unsettling; this one is a riff on Jabberwocky from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

gruyeres city walls fortress

Gruyeres was once completely surrounded by protective stone walls. Parts of this Medieval battlement still stand.

gruyeres mountain ranges

No matter where you walk, you’ll come across spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

gruyeres castle walls gates

It’s about to “get cheesy”… Around lunch-time, the entire village smells of delicious fromage! Diners come from afar to feast on Gruyere’s iconic product, especially in the form of fondue.

most scenic beautiful place switzerland

This Swiss cheese is as fresh as it gets. You can even spot the cows that provide the milk, in the nearby fields.

chalet gruyere cheese fondue restaurant

After a long afternoon, we sat down for an immensely satisfying meal at Chalet Restaurant. (Above is an image from their website, since the space was packed with people and it was difficult to get clear shots.)

Joey and I devoured the fondue (melted cheese in a communal pot, eaten by dipping bread, pickles and other crudites into the hot liquid). We also tried raclette for the first time (semi-hard cheese heated on a special device at the table, and scraped off), and the local herbal liqueur “Grande Gruyère”. We ended with a decadent dessert: double cream and raspberries.

switzerland sunset pink skies

My Swiss cheese feast at Chalet was one of the most memorable meals I’ve had in Europe. We literally were in a food coma after, and dozed off on the train ride back! Fortunately, we woke up in time to make our connections back to Geneve, and capture this psychedelic sunset.

swiss travel fashion blogger

Merci La Gruyère Tourisme and Switzerland Tourism for welcoming us to this adorable Alpine town! If only I had room in my suitcase, to bring back a big hunk of Swiss cheese.

PS: For a look at the sci-fi side of Gruyeres, check out my article about the H R Giger alien museum and bar here.

PPS: If you’re coveting an extraterrestrial sweater like mine, click the image below!

SHARE & COMMENT

19 Comments

  1. Leslie
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    That alien shirt!!!

  2. Dirk
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Seeems to be a fun trip.
    Dirk

  3. Nermal
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Oh what a beautiful place.
    there is much to see in this world.

  4. Francine GG
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Love this.

  5. Verosa
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    very nice. the best blogger ever.!

  6. jaime
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    excelente felicitaciones

  7. Eannes
    Posted April 28, 2018 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Great outfit.

  8. Carlotta
    Posted April 28, 2018 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    CUTE!!!

  9. Eenne
    Posted April 30, 2018 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Great tips!

  10. Nog
    Posted April 30, 2018 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Nice trip, dear

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