Gruyeres Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Gruyeres Castle

Gruyeres, Fribourg, Switzerland

Gruyeres Castle is a picturesque medieval castle which was the seat of nobility for centuries.

Peta Stamper

09 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Gruyeres Castle

Gruyeres Castle (Chateau de Gruyeres) in Switzerland is a picturesque medieval castle which was the seat of nobility for centuries. Today, the hilltop structure is a heritage site of national significance and is one of the country’s most famous medieval sites.

Gruyeres Castle history

Built in the 13th century as a typical square fort found in the Savoy region of France, Gruyeres Castle was called home by some 19 of the counts of Gruyeres, a tradition only ended in 1554 upon the bankruptcy of the last of these counts – Michel. At this point, Gruyeres Castle along with the rest of the Count’s lands were distributed between his creditors, these being the towns of Berne and Fribourg.

As a result, from 1555 Gruyeres Castle was used as the seat of the Fribourg bailiffs and later the prefects, until 1848. For around a century after that, Gruyeres Castle was the summer home of the Balland and Bovy families, finally becoming a museum in the 20th century.

Gruyeres Castle today

You are welcome to explore the castle on your own with the free handout guide (available in 12 languages) or watch the 20 minute multimedia show (included in admission price). Visitors to Gruyeres Castle can also tour Gruyeres’ museum, learning about its history and enjoying its astonishing architecture, including seeing the three capes of the Catholic Order of the Golden Fleece, founded in 1420 by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy.

There are also temporary exhibitions on site. For those keen to be fully immersed in Gruyeres’ history, storytellers in medieval costume will recount the legends of the castle and the region on guided walks and for younger visitors there is a thrilling treasure hunt on offer. Wandering around the richly furnished halls or beautiful ordered gardens, you will not regret visiting to take in the views.

Getting to Gruyeres Castle

The easiest way of reaching Gruyeres Castle is by getting a train into the village of Gruyeres. Gruyères can be reached by train from the directions of Bulle/Vevey or Montbovon. Montbovon is located along the GoldenPass route, and can be reached from the directions of Montreux and Zweisimmen/Interlaken.

The train station of Gruyères is located near, but not in the old town centre and the village itself sits on a hill. You can walk there in about 15 minutes or buses between the town centre and rail station are available too.

Featured In

Switzerland Historic Sites

Discover the 10 best historic sites in Switzerland, from lakeside castles to Roman ruins, in this ultimate guide to Swiss landmarks and monuments.