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Need help for short trip to Geneva, Gruyere

Need help for short trip to Geneva, Gruyere

Old Nov 26th, 2012, 12:50 PM
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Need help for short trip to Geneva, Gruyere

Hello Fodorites!

I have a last minute business trip to Geneva in a couple of weeks and need some advice. It's a relatively short trip, but neither my husband nor I have been to Switzerland, so he's coming along with me and we're tacking on a couple of extra days.

We'll have a couple of days in Geneva, but would also like to have an overnight trip outside of the city. My current sights are set on renting a car and staying in Gruyere, and I was hoping for some advice.

First, would you support Gruyere as an excursion - we'll have 1-2 nights there - or are there other locales I should be strongly considering.

Second, any recommendations for hotels in or around Gruyere? Restaurant recommendations there or in Geneva would also be welcomed. Thanks so much, and I look forward to your responses!
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Old Nov 26th, 2012, 01:47 PM
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Gruyere is a very tiny town. It's adorable and has a charming Castle (as well as a cheesery? you can tour - but IMHO that's not much). We didn't stay there but did have a wonderful lunch. I cannot remember the name of the hotel - but they served on a large terrace overlooking the valley, on the right side of the town as you look up towards the castle.

While this would be a nice stop I would focus more on getting up into the mountains - as long as you have decent weather (no point if it's all cloudy and you can;t see anything). I think by the time you arrive the various cable cars etc should be ready for service (November is when they are usually repaired/reconditioned and many hotels and restaurants are closed.)

You should definitely not miss the Chateau de Chillon near Montreaux, and Thun is also a very charming small town - with a very vertical castle.
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Old Nov 26th, 2012, 01:48 PM
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With a couple of days I would get out of Geneva entirely and stay elsewhere perhaps along Lac Leman. Are you absolutely convinced that a rental car is the best mode of transport? It would give max flexibility but be aware that the Swiss rail system is excellent also (and runs directly to and from the airport (for your return); you can check schedules at www.sbb.ch/en
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Old Nov 26th, 2012, 03:59 PM
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Thanks! I will look into Montreaux and Thun.

The Geneva days are dictated by my work schedule, so those are not really negotiable. While we might have two nights somewhere else, we'll really only have one full day with maybe another half day thrown in, so I'd prefer we not try to do much (especially since I'm currently five months pregnant!)
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Old Nov 26th, 2012, 04:07 PM
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Gruyere is a charming little place to visit but I can't imagine spending much time there. A castle tour, stroll of the cobblestone street and a cheese factory tour take up maybe half a day but there's not much else to see beyond that.

Depending on your interests, consider driving to Vallorbe caves or Lac Souterrain caves around 100k distance. If cave tours aren't your thing then consider a train to Zermatt for an overnight visit of the Matterhorn. This would be my choice as a first time visitor!

Or if you want more creature comforts try a visit to Gstaad which has world class skiing, hiking or viewing and is just another hour or so beyond Gruyere. Again, it depends on what you like to do/see.

With a couple days to spend out of Geneva you would do well to set your sights a little higher.
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Old Nov 27th, 2012, 09:27 AM
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Another suggestion... rent a car when leaving Geneva, stop for a couple of hours in Yvoire, then onto Chateau de Chillon before staying overnight in Montreux.

Next day, drive to Gruyere for a tour of the castle and a fondue lunch and then onto Broc for a tour of the chocolate factory.
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Old Nov 27th, 2012, 11:49 AM
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Vevey, Chillon, montreux, Lausanne will make for a great getaway from Geneva. I had a similar trip the summer of 2011, it worked out very well. I also happened to like Geneva because I was there for a conference and had access to really bright intelligent people who work there. I wasn't just a tourist.
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Old Nov 27th, 2012, 06:00 PM
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This was a great restaurant in Geneva for fondue! I think it was the best fondue I had in Switzerland.


It's a few minutes walk from the Intercontinental hotel although I don't know where you are staying.
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Old Nov 27th, 2012, 08:45 PM
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Hi DoctorCarrie,

As others have said above, Gruyeres is a wonderful little town with a castle and nice medieval buildings, but it's not a good place for a stay of a day or two (unless you think you'll spend your days hiking -- there are many wonderful hikes in the area).

I'd like to suggest you stay in Gstaad, which is in the neighborhood of Gruyeres. Gstaad has some (low-ish) mountains nearby that you can ascend for hiking or just for viewing, and loads of hikes in the valleys. Gstaad is also near many other villages and towns -- Chateau d'Oex, Rougemont, Saanen, and you can easily do a day-trip to Thun or Spiez from Gstaad.

More information at


I'd also like to suggest that you don't take a car. The train trip from Geneva to either Gstaad or Gruyeres goes on the very scenic Golden Pass route, and there is no road that parallels the route. It's quite stunning. Travelling by train is the best way to go imo because it's relaxing, easy, and convenient. You can even ship your bags separately if you want.

And of course using the trains is more green (yaaay), and you may be happy that you helped to preserve the beauty you came to see.

You can search train routes and schedules at


Have fun as you plan!

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