Alpine panorama route: Fribourg-Montbovon
Delightful landscape and a man-made lake: Lac de la Gruyère, land of «Crème de la Gruyère» and black and white cows. On a hill, the tiny castle town of Gruyère with its busy mass of tourists.
The Sarine River loop, shortly after Fribourg and right after the name changes from Saane (German) to Sarine (French), is an impressive sight. The Cistercian abbey of Hauterive is also located on the Sarine. The furnishings of the Romanesque church from the 12th century are marvellous. Also remarkable is the way the buildings of the abbey harmonise with the rocks down by the river. Take a leisurely ride through the residential neighbourhoods and the agricultural villages such as Favargny, where straw plaiting played an important role up into the 19th century.
Shortly thereafter, on Lac de la Gruyère, Mt. Moléson appears straight ahead of you. The popular mountain with great views is the northernmost cornerstone of Fribourg’s Alpine foothills. If you’re up for a boat trip to the small island of Ogoz, May to October is the time to go. In addition to many leaf trees, you will see the ruins of a medieval castle and a chapel. One thing that’s almost impossible to avoid when travelling through the Gruyère region is an encounter with Gruyère, probably the most well-known cheese in Switzerland. The cheesemakers in the show dairy in Pringy near Gruyères produce up to 48 wheels of Gruyère AOP cheese every day while the visitors watch. The attractive little town of Gruyères with the castle and the medieval ramparts is another feast for the eyes. Everything is enveloped by the green hills and mountains, such as Mt. Moléson and Dent du Chamois – pretty as a picture.
If you continue through the land of tasty cheese, delicate scissor-cut silhouettes and dandelion flowers, you will get to Grandvillard with its small historic houses. This is where the black and white Holstein horses steal the show from the black and white Fribourg cows. Stop in Lessoc to take a look at the legendary village fountain with its onion roof. Finally you arrive in Montbovon in Haut-Gruyère, next to the Montreux-Oberland Railways, satisfied and content with the sights and sounds and tastes of this day. Don’t let the sign telling you that bike riders will climb 600 m over the next 18 km worry you today.
Ascents: 700 m
Descents: 560 m
Grade: medium/Conditions: medium
Beware: busy main roads Fribourg–Marly, Le Bry–Avry and Lessoc–Montbovon.