This is day 3 of our 3 day mini tour of Switzerland. If you landed on this post first I recommend you to go back and start with Day 1. The tour was designed for my friend Cara who visited me from the United States but is good for anyone who has only a few days to explore this fantastic country.
Day 3 - Wednesday
The heat continued to burden us on day 3, waking up already sweating is ugh! We got ready, packed our bags and went down for breakfast. It's great travelling with only a backpack, it makes manoeuvring in the city easy and you don't bring too much stuff so packing is also a breeze!
After a quick breakfast we headed back to the bus station, Territet, L'Eaudine, and took the bus back to the main train station in Montreaux.
We boarded again the MOB Goldenpass but this time we were lucky to get the old timey train! We also didn't make reservations considering the day before we really didn't need them.
They did a great job restoring the train, cushy seats, wooden ceiling and brass everywhere!
Gruyères, a medieval town, is an important tourist location in the upper valley of the Saane river, and gives its name to Gruyère cheese.
We arrived to Gruyères at 9:58 and proceeded to hike directly up to the Château de Gruyères. It's a bit of a steep climb if you are a flat-lander but it is not far. You can also drive up but there is limited parking.
The castle is open eveyday of the year, 9am to 6pm from april to october and 10am to 5pm from november to march. The castle’s visit takes about 1 hour.
Adults : CHF 12.00
Retired or students : CHF 8.00
Groups (starting from 15 « adult » entries) : CHF 8.00
Kids (from 6 to 15) CHF 4.00
Under 6 years : free
Families (2 adults, 3 children under 16) : CHF 25.00
Always check the website before you travel!
There are no audio guides but they have a very well written paper guide in multiple languages. The one thing that did stand out is the multimedia presentation which is free to attend and takes about 15 minutes. The technology is great, you pick a headset according to your language so they can accommodate several languages in one screening. The presentation basically tells the history of the castle and the surrounding area in a story-telling like fashion.
After the presentation we followed our paper guide throughout the castle and out onto the gardens. It's really well kept up with tons of flowers! The castle is not too big so it can easily be toured in about an hour.
On our way back down to the village we had to stop at the HR Giger Museum Bar. The famous Swiss artist, H.R. Giger, who created the creature from Alien, designed this bar in the same style as the movie Alien. We each had a drink and then we were allowed to take photos (as stated clearly on the door). We didn't make it to the museum itself, we'll be back on another day for that!
One last stop for this three day tour of Switzerland, the Gruyere cheese factory! Before watching the cheese being made, we ate some at the restaurant attached to the factory. It was so good! They have a variety of dishes featuring items made with Gruyere so you really can't go wrong except if you don't like Gruyere (but then you should head over to the Callier chocolate factory instead).
If you plan to go to both the castle and the cheese factory you get a small discount on admission so be sure to ask!
What's cooler than watching cheese being made? Getting cheese as the admission ticket! We were each handed a package containing three slices of cheese each with a different length of maturation (6, 8, and 10 months). Along a little exhibition there are several grasses and other things to smell to try and tune your nose. Some people can actually taste the cheese and know from exactly which field the cows were eating, similar to a good wine palate.
We waited a bit to see some action in the factory but it was worth it. While we waited there were videos and quizzes to keep us occupied. They also give you a free audio tour so you can really get a lot out of the experience. Once the action started it was mesmerising to watch all the curd being processed into the huge wheels of cheese and how quickly only two people performed the whole operation.
Did I forget to mention that is was another hot day? At around 3:30 we decided we had enough of our adventure and started on the way home.
What part of this day did you like the most? Leave me a comment below, I love reading them!