Getting to Gruyères is easy by car or public transportation (train) from the Lake Geneva region and Bern making this historic wall-enclosed town with castle very popular with day-trippers.
Driving is usually the fastest option when traveling to Gruyères in Switzerland but public transportation is also a sensible choice. Gruyères is a romantic small, hill-top town with a medieval look including original town walls, defense towers, a medieval castle, and a central market place. The town is a very popular day-trip destination from the Lac Léman region, Alpine ski resorts, and Bern. Book guided tours from various Lake Geneva and Swiss cities to this picture-perfect historic town.
Driving to Gruyères near Bulle in Switzerland
Gruyères is a very small town in the Swiss canton Fribourg on the unofficial border between French and German-speaking Switzerland. However, the German name Greyerz is far less common. The historic old town is located on a hilltop with its original medieval town walls, castle, defensive towers, and gates still intact. It is a very romantic setting and hugely popular with day-trippers and tour bus parties.
Driving to Gruyères is very easy as the town is very close to the Bulle turnoff (exit 4) of the Autobahn A12 that connects Lake Geneva (near Vevey and Montreux) with Bern. A recently opened bypass allows easy and fast driving around rather than through Bulle. Gruyères lies at the foot of the Alps and thus is reached from the highway without having to navigate any mountainous roads.
Driving distances and times to Gruyères from other Swiss cities are around:
- Geneva Airport – 120 km – 1h15
- Lausanne – 60 km – 45 min
- Vevey – 40 km – 30 min
- Montreux – 40 km – 35 min
- Gstaad – 40 km – 45 min
- Fribourg – 35 km – 30 min
- Bern – 65 km – 50 min
- Basel – 160 km – 1h45
- Zürich – 190 km – 2h00
Cars are not allowed inside the old town but ample free parking is available at the bottom of the hill – drive as far as the police allow on the particular day. From here it is a short walk to the historic town center.
Travel by Train to Gruyères in Fribourg, Switzerland
Gruyères is a stop on the hourly RER S51 train that connects Bulle and Montboven. Travelers from further afield in Switzerland thus always have to change at either of these end stations from the faster trains to the local S51 train for Gruyères.
Traveling time by train from Bulle to Gruyères is less than 10 minutes while Gruyères to Montboven is around 20 minutes.
Travelers from Genève main station (or Geneva Airport) and Lausanne usually take the InterRegion train IR15 in the direction of Luzern and change in Palézieux (just past Lausanne) to the S50 train heading for Bulle.
Passengers from Montreux and Vevey could use the routing via Bulle but the Golden Pass railway to Montboven is often faster and a more spectacular ride.
From other parts of Switzerland, it is usually best to take a fast train to Fribourg and then the Regional Express (RE) train from there to Bulle.
Public Transportation Travel Times to Gruyères
Traveling times to Gruyères by train are around:
- Fribourg – just less than an hour (direct RE train to Bulle)
- Geneva Airport – 2h00 (change in Palézieux & Bulle)
- Lausanne – 1h15 (change in Palézieux & Bulle)
- Vevey – 1h20 (change in Montreux & Montboven)
- Montreux – 1h10 (change in Montboven)
- Bern – 1h30 (change in Fribourg & Bulle / 1h50 direct RE train from Bern to Bulle)
- Basel – 2h30 (via Bern)
- Zürich – 2h30 (via Fribourg)
A bus connects Gruyères Gare with Gruyères Ville (the historic old town) in three minutes – alternatively, it is a very pleasant ten-minute walk. La Maison du Gruyère is right in front of Gruyères station and provides some facilities for passengers having to wait for the mostly hourly train.
From May to October, the Golden Pass Chocolate Train offers a pleasant day-trip excursion from Montreux to Gruyères and Broc including visits and transfers to the Gruyères cheese dairy, old town, and castle, as well as the Cailler chocolate factory in Broc. Reservations are essential.
Guided tours from various Lake Geneva cities are often available too and a comfortable option.
Other Interesting Sites in Gruyères the Region:
- Visit Romantic Gruyères Old Town & Chateau
- HR Giger Museum (Surrealist art of the creator of Alien)
- Tibet Museum in Gruyères
- La Maison du Callier Chocolate Factory in Broc
- La Maison du Gruyères Cheese Making Dairy
- Bains de la Gruyère hot water baths and day spa in Charmey
- On the back roads en route to Lausanne the Swiss Stained Glass and Art Museum in Romont and Lucens with a lovely castle and a Sherlock Holmes Museum.