Fancy spending some time amid a picture-postcard landscape in the heart of Switzerland? The Fribourg Region, especially the village of Charmey, is a charming place to visit: romantic little towns, fragrant Alpine meadows, steaming thermal baths, enchanting lakes, snowy slopes and ancient customs that survive to this very day. Whatever the time of year, you’re guaranteed to have an experience that will delight all your senses.
It’s hardly surprising that this idyllic area has produced a real superstar: Le Gruyère, the world-famous cheese with PDO status. The flavoursome milk used to produce it comes from cows that graze on the fragrant flora and lush grass of Alpine meadows. Alpine cheese dairies in the region are open to the public and happy to show visitors how the delicious cheese is made. And in summer, you can even enjoy Fribourg speciality fondue moitié-moitié (made with Vacherin and Gruyère) while marvelling at the fantastic views of the Moléson and the Fribourg Pre-Alps from the comfort of the Charmey cable car.
The whole area is steeped in agricultural tradition and customs, including wood-shingle roofs, colourful Alpine cattle processions, herb festivals, Poya (paintings depicting the migration of the herds to and from their Alpine pastures) and a romantic farmer’s trail. Speaking of trails, the area is also great for a whole range of outdoor activities thanks to a network of hiking, cross-country skiing and bike trails, not to mention ski slopes. For thrill seekers, there is also paragliding and a zipwire. If you visit the small photogenic town of Gruyères, make sure you have your camera with you. An absolute must for those with a sweet tooth: the Maison Cailler chocolate factory in the little village of Broc.
If you’re looking for relaxation and a bit of a pampering, there’s no place better than Les Bains de la Gruyère, where pools are heated to 34 degrees. The pools are particularly beautiful in winter when steam rises from the water and the surrounding mountains glisten with snow.