Regional nature park Gruyère Pays d’Enhaut

Get away from it all in the Gruyère country-d'Enhaut Park, which offers nature hikes, e-bike tours, cultural visits and cheese tastings.

Near Montreux and the shores of Lake Geneva, the Gruyère Pays-d’Enhaut Regional Nature Park is ideal to recharge your batteries. This lively region between the cantons of Vaud, Fribourg and Bern offers a peaceful and mountainous atmosphere that is typical of the Prealps. The park is mostly a site of human activities although it plays home to three nature reserves - Vanil Noir, Pierreuse and Larzey, all managed by Pro Natura. The peaks of Col des Mosses, Rubli and Rochers-de-Naye provide a host of leisure activities for all tastes. Relaxation, fun and gourmet delights all in one!

Hiking in the heart of nature

Featuring unique lakeside and mountain panoramas, verdant hilly landscapes and wooden chalets with tavillon (shingles) roofs, the Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut Regional Nature Park delights fans of the great outdoors. In spring, an emblematic flower appears and attracts curious minds to the hills above Montreux: Narcissi that cover the meadows like a white carpet.

In all seasons and throughout the canton, there are numerous walks and hikes adapted to all levels. They are marked and easily accessible by public transport. The Park offers four Swiss Mobile national routes for hiking, cycling and mountain biking. There are also several via ferrata such as La Videmanette and Rochers-de-Naye.

The Grand Tour des Vanils is for fit walkers who are equipped for middle-mountain hiking. Its eleven stages can be done in one go or by section. They are accessible in both directions, ideally from June to September. A special for gourmet visitors: The Cheese Vias with a smartphone app let you walk in the footsteps of the Gruyère AOP/PDO and L’Etivaz AOP/PDO civilisations. The two 21-stage sections follow the old communication routes that were used to transport cheese via the Jaman pass in the 17th and 18th centuries. For those who are more into e-biking, the Gruyère County Tour follows several national routes. Its starting point is in three locations: Bulle, Charmey, which famous for its spa, Saanen and Château-d'Oex.

Pays-d’Enhaut also offers water fun such as kayaking, rafting, hydrospeeding and canyoning in the river Sarine.

Winter wonderland

Winter offers a postcard setting with snow-sprinkled trees. The Videmanette ski area in Rougemont offers a great network of slopes because it is also connected to the ski region of Gstaad. You can access Videmanette by train (MOB) from Montreux. The Col des Mosses also offers beautiful downhill ski slopes as well as a beautiful Nordic centre, cross-country ski runs and snowshoeing trails. And finally, the easily accessible resorts of Rochers-de-Naye and Pléiades offer superb slopes, diversified activities, typical restaurants and, above all, sumptuous panoramas.

At the end of January, colourful hot-air balloons dot the sky of Château-d'Oex during the International Hot-Air Balloon Festival. This annual must-attend event brings together aéorstiers from around the world to present spectacular sports competitions and demonstrations. All year round, the history of the balloon can be discovered at Espace Ballon.

Enjoy local specialties

A stay in the Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut Park wouldn’t be complete without tasting two Vaudois cheese specialties: L’Etivaz and Gruyère. Both of them bear a protected designation of origin (AOP/PDO). More than 150 mountain chalets produce these cheeses. Some of them offer visitors the opportunity to attend cheese-making demonstrations and cellar visits such as Maison de L’Etivaz, which bids a cordial welcome to visitors. Making cheese from the Alpine meadows is traditional know-how here and has been registered in the Cantonal Inventory of Intangible Vaudois Heritage since 2020. The region being shaped by agriculture, the Park abounds with an offer of local products such as Sapalet sheep cheese in Rossinière or Tomme Fleurette in Rougemont. The label “Swiss Park Product” is issued by the Federal Office for the Environment. It distinguishes some 100 regional and sustainable specialties by producers committed to the Park. Meats, honey, herbal teas, and cheeses are for sale in the convenience stores. All these delights are also on the menu offered in mountain cafés in the Park’s partner restaurants and hotels.

Discover a unique heritage

The landscape and the built heritage are two main features of the Gruyère Pays-d’Enhaut Park. One example of the latter is the Grand Chalet in Rossinière. The Alpine and pastoral economy plays an important role in the regional identity. In addition to recognised agricultural and artisan products, the Park is home to many living traditions. These include the désalpe (coming down from the mountain pastures after the warm season), paper cut-outs in the Pays-d’Enhaut, lace and roofs made of tavillons (shingles).
The bourgeois heritage is reminiscent of the prosperity linked to the cheese trade. Architecture and the means of transport bear witness to the region's dynamic history of tourism. Just as noteworthy are the religious buildings, exemplified by the magnificent Church of St-Nicolas-de-Myre in Rougemont. Incidentally, this iconic hamlet is one of Switzerland’s most beautiful villages. Finally, there are two beautiful, must-visit castles, the castles of Gruyère and Chillon castle, both located in the Park.
The rich annual programme of activities of the Gruyère Pays-d’Enhaut Park gives insight into their exciting history.

The regional nature park Gruyère Pays d’Enhaut

A Park to experience, a Park to share

The Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut Park is one of Switzerland’s regional nature parks. It has been recognised as being of national importance since 2012 and pursues missions focused on sustainable development. Located between the cantons of Vaud, Fribourg and Berne, the grounds covering 630 square kilometres include 17 districts with 16,000 inhabitants. Unlike other Swiss park categories, the Gruyère Pays-d’Enhaut Regional Nature Park does not have a protected central area. Under the slogan “one Park to experience, one Park to share”, the Gruyère Pays d’Enhaut Park places human beings at the centre of its projects in a preserved setting. It values sustainable and inventive tourism based on experience, in the heart of a respected territory.

Three nature parks in the canton of Vaud

There are two regional nature parks in the canton of Vaud, the Vaudois Jura Park and the Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut Park. Regional nature parks preserve and enhance their traditional cultural landscapes. They stimulate the creation of value according to the principles of sustainable development such as unspoilt nature and beautiful landscapes as added value for tourism. They also encourage agriculture and local production.

Jorat Park is a periurban nature park in the canton of Vaud. Located close to towns, periurban nature parks offer native flora and fauna a preserved natural environment. Visitors have the unique opportunity to experience them - including through discovery activities in the transition zone.

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