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Château de Gruyère - Wikimedia






The medieval town of Gruyères is one of the most photographed locations in Switzerland. With its hilltop setting, delightful squares, cobbled traffic-free streets, a magnificent château, and it's mountainous backdrop, Gruyères is genuinely picture-perfect in almost every way.

So if you'd like to see one of Switzerland's best-preserved medieval towns then a visit to Gruyères is certainly worth a day out. There's a railway station between Gruyères and the village of Pringy, and it's just a short walk from here up the hillside and into the village. Gruyères is traffic free so it's ideal for walking around and exploring without worrying about vehicles. With the fountains, the window-boxes full of flowers, the cafés, and the immaculately kept buildings and streets, it's an extremely charming place, made even more stunning with the mountains popping up in the background.

Walking up through the village eventually brings you to Gruyères' pièce de résistance - the Château de Gruyère. As you'd expect, you do have to pay to enter the castle, but it's certainly one of the undoubted highlights of a trip to the town, an historic building to walk around with some interesting items on show in it.

If you like your art and craft work then there's plenty more on offer in a variety of other museums around the town. The most bizarre of these is the HR Giger Museum, showcasing the Swiss artist's 'Fantastic Art'. Giger is best known for his visual effects in the classic science-fiction film "Alien". In such a tranquil, beautiful place it certainly seems odd to have a museum dedicated to his sculptures and paintings, but it certainly seems popular enough.

Rather more gentle are the offerings in the 16th century Le Cavaire building, which showcases work from local craftsmen, and the Tibet Museum which displays Himalayan artwork.

Outside of Switzerland, Gruyères is best known as a hard yellow cheese, named after the town. With this in mind, there's a fantastic centre called la Maison du Gruyère at the foot of the hill below the medieval town, down near the railway station. Even if you're not a huge cheese fan it's still a really interesting place, showing the whole process of how the cheese is made in a working dairy. And the really good news for those of us who do like cheese - at the end of the visit they give you some free Gruyère.

Useful Links for Excursions: Gruyeres

The official website for Excursions: Gruyeres is: www.la-gruyere.ch/en/