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Cheese, castles, and aliens – it’s all Gruyères, Switzerland

Cheese, castles, and aliens – it’s all Gruyères, Switzerland

by Olivia Bell 7 months ago
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Table of contents

  • 1. La Croix Blanche
  • 2. Remparts
  • 3. HR Giger Bar Museum
  • 4. Plan-Francey
  • 5. Chalet de Gruyères
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Not many medieval towns in Switzerland can offer such a diverse array of attractions as Gruyères. There's every reason to be proud of this place – it's where the eponymous world-famous cheese has been made according to recipes dating back to 1115. You can also join The Fondue Academy, explore The Cheese Dairy Trail with panoramic views of the Fribourg Pre-Alps, and take in the sights of picturesque pastures and flocks.

But as if that weren't enough, Gruyères also hides some truly unexpected places – like a mind-blowing bar owned by the designer of the Alien film, featuring completely otherworldly interiors; The Tibet Museum with ritual objects from the Himalayas; and restaurants nestled within medieval castles. Let's take a closer look at the town’s iconic spots that serve, without exaggeration, the very best Swiss delicacies.

1. La Croix Blanche
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La Croix Blanche Epagny Sàrl
#1 of 37 restaurants in Gruyères, Switzerland
Rte de l'Intyamon 336, Gruyères, Canton of Fribourg, Switzerland
Open until 12AM
Steaks
Steaks

A steak is a a slice of high-quality beef that is grilled or pan-fried. It is distinguished by strong flavor and an awesome smell of smoke. Steak is great with just a dash of salt and pepper, however, you can also add dried herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, or garlic.

Nestled at the footstep of Gruyères, the picturesque village of Épagny has more than just stunning landscapes to offer. Hidden away in a cozy corner, there’s a real treasure – the 37-year-old La Croix Blanche restaurant, a manifestation of its founder Georges Ruffieux's childhood dream.

The standout feature of this establishment is its succulent steaks cooked on a solid granite slab, such as Croix Blanche – a combination of tender lean venison and a flavorful slice of bacon, or côte de veau – melt-in-your-mouth meat infused with delicate aromas. However, to start your dinner, we recommend indulging in snails marinated in absinthe, and for dessert, be sure to try cheese fondue – a dish the region is renowned for.

2. Remparts
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Restaurant des Remparts
#2 of 37 restaurants in Gruyères, Switzerland
Rue du Bourg 19, Gruyères, Canton of Fribourg, Switzerland
Open until 10PM
Quiche
Quiche

It's an open pie with a base of shortcake (often, but not always) and fillings from eggs, cream and cheese. Depending on the desire, the fillings can vary from light vegetables, fruit, fish or a mixture of greens to hearty meat or mushrooms.

The streets of Gruyères are brimming with medieval legends and heritage, so don't be surprised when your search for a good restaurant leads you to a 16th-century mansion. This is where you'll discover Remparts, offering you the opportunity to truly relish the finest delicacies from this Swiss canton and immerse yourself in the local culinary scene.

Certainly, cheese dishes are a highlight that draws people here. Their signature quiche with a side of green salad, half-and-half fondue, made with equal amounts of Gruyère and Vacherin Fribourgeois, and country ham on a bed of cabbage have all become legendary among both locals and tourists. Moreover, you'll have a unique chance to savor delightful desserts made from Gruyère cream, a gastronomic treasure listed in the Culinary Heritage of Switzerland. Served alongside meringues, berries, or caramel flan, it's a pure delight, and you shouldn't leave this place without giving it a try.

3. HR Giger Bar Museum
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HR Giger Bar Museum
#2 of 9 pubs & bars in Gruyères, Switzerland
Rue du Château 3, Gruyères, Canton of Fribourg, Switzerland
Open until 8:30PM
Sausages
Sausages

Sausages are a type of processed meat product that usually consists of ground or minced meat like pork, beef, or poultry, that's combined with various spices and flavorings. The mixture is then encased in a natural or synthetic skin. They can be smoked, grilled, or cooked in numerous other ways and come in an enormous variety of flavors and styles worldwide.

Swiss designer H.R. Giger, who won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects for the film "Alien" in 1980, brought his sketches to life in an extraordinary bar-museum that stretches the boundaries of imagination. Situated within the medieval Château St. Germain, this distinctive location resembles a cave, featuring arched vaults shaped like enormous vertebrae, while tables and chairs take the form of fantastical alien heads.

Adjacent to the museum is the HR Giger Bar, where you can enjoy coffee and eat a delicious lunch with toasts, local sausages, and cheese appetizers. Don't miss out on trying their signature absinthe Zeitgeist, meticulously prepared from native plants of the Val-de-Travers using age-old recipes from the Belle Époque era.

4. Plan-Francey
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Plan-Francey
#3 of 37 restaurants in Gruyères, Switzerland
Place du funiculaire 5, Gruyères, Canton of Fribourg, Switzerland
Open until 4:30PM
Rösti
Rösti

It's a pancake made of grated potatoes, most often of large diameter. It is prepared very simply and quickly enough, as a result of which the dish is very convenient as a hot breakfast. The taste is great, especially with greens.

On a delightful circular route that begins at Moléson-sur-Gruyères, you'll reach the midway point at the charming Plan-Francey resort, located at 1500 meters. Within its complex equipped with a funicular, you'll come across the restaurant bearing the same name, boasting a terrace with breathtaking views of the Fribourg Pre-Alps and the Gruyères region.

This is a fantastic opportunity to refuel and rejuvenate with a juicy schnitzel or pork belly à la bière. At the Plan-Francey restaurant, you can also try local creamy Vacherin cheese with rösti and treat yourself to traditional fondue moitié-moitié. For those seeking even more impressive vistas, a ride on the funicular to the summit offers a chance to enjoy one of the most captivating panoramas in French-speaking Switzerland while relishing a refreshing pint of Feldschlösschen beer.

5. Chalet de Gruyères
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Chalet de Gruyères
#5 of 37 restaurants in Gruyères, Switzerland
Temporairement Chez La Table des Chevaliers, Rle des Chevaliers 7, Gruyères, Canton of Fribourg, Switzerland
Open until 9PM
Fondue
Fondue

It's a dish made of melted cheese and white wine. Two kinds of cheese are melted in the hot wine. Then spices are added. Fondue is eaten hot right from the pot by dipping pieces of white bread or vegetables with special forks.

Located right in the heart of the town, Chalet de Gruyères acts like a magnet for cheese and fondue lovers. Tightly linked with all the local artisans, this stunning restaurant, constructed entirely from wood, proudly displays a vast collection of utensils and tools used in dairy production right in the dining area.

At the forefront of the menu are, of course, fondue and raclette, served with dried meats and boiled potatoes. The desserts are equally enchanting – from homemade tarts to meringues and delightful coupe belle-mère – all featuring the creamy goodness of Gruyères. To complement this experience, you'll find an exceptional selection of bottled wines, like the white Henri Badoux Aigle Les Murailles.

One weekend won't be sufficient to fully relish all that Gruyères has to offer. This year-round haven, with its iconic Swiss landscapes and delightful cuisine, is bound to stay in your dreams for nights to come after your visit. Let us know in the comments which other Swiss cities you'd be interested in reading about on our website.

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2 comments

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Rosie Palmer (Guest) 7 months ago Request content removal

Oh, I'm definitely putting HR Giger on my must-visit list. It looks unbelievably cool!

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