We have visited Gruyères a few times now and it’s always a lovely experience and a great place to go with visiting family members.
The parking gets full quickly but our disabled badge (grace a Elio) allows us to pass the main queues and go to the parking closer to the village where there are three disabled spaces. Our advice would be to arrive before 10.30 AM to be able to park close to the village.
It's a the short walk from the car park to the main pedestrian area and there is an enclosure with chickens in it along the way which we always stop to look at. Last weekend we were there for quite a while as Alba asked the chickens questions in a language none of us understood.
The village really looks like something out of a film set with quaint shops and restaurants nestled in the shadows of the impressive castle behind. We usually take a stroll down the main street and stop for a hot chocolate in the HR Giger cafe. This place is a treat and worth a visit for its weird and wonderful decor which gives the impression of being in the fossilised skeleton of an enormous beast. It’s part of the HR Giger museum opposite which showcases a large collection of the artist's work.
From there we continue up to the castle and walk around the grounds there. We wanted to visit inside last weekend but it is not accessible for push chairs and they don’t allow back carriers (which was all we had) so we explored the surrounding area instead which is ideal for taking pictures and capturing Swiss landscape at its majestic best.
By this time we were hungry and went to our favourite restaurant called Le Chalet where we were delighted to have the chance to sit on the terrace to enjoy the first fondue of the year in the sunshine - they also have a delicious pasta dish for children which Jude and Alba devoured between them.
Of course there are lots of places to buy souvenirs including abundant cow bells as well as cheese, cream, chocolate, meringues and local charcuteries so we usually collect a few bits and pieces on the way back to the car.
We have been in every season and it’s hard to choose a favourite but I think our winter visit when the village was dusted in snow must be a winner for me, not least because we took Alba when she was just a few weeks old and she slept during the whole of our lunch which marked the first time I had eaten a meal uninterrupted in weeks :-).
The beautiful medieval village of Gruyères is definitely a great outing!
Parking : Yes (make sure to arrive early - otherwise you have to park outside the village and it still costs you CHF 5.- )
Toilets : Yes (public toilets near the entrance of the village)
Baby Change Facilities : Yes (within restaurants)
Accessibility : The streets are cobbled but accessible for pushchairs with a bit of effort