Would you like to do some beautiful hikes around Gryon, in Vaud canton, in Switzerland? This is the french side of Switzerland and it is simply beautiful. Huge mountains, enormous valleys, majestic rocks – all combined sits close to little Swiss village called Gryon (do not forget to say this name in French, not telling the last “n”). Gryon has population just over 1000 people, but it is resting in a really beautiful location.
Where is Gryon?
Gryon is in Vaud canton in Switzerland, in a french speaking part of the Swiss Alps country. Actually, it is very very close to the famous Montreux. If you will ever go to Gryon, you must visit Montreux as you will be stunned by the location of this city: next to Geneva lake, huge mountains all around, vineyards as close as the next Starbucks in USA, it’s simply a heaven on earth. The whole riviera of lake Geneva is stunning. As well, in Montreux for a long time until his death lived Freddie Mercury and his house is still there and possible to visit: Freddie Mercury’s house in Montreux.
Ok, let’s go back to cosy Gryon. As Gryon is very close to Montreux, it’s a bit further from other bigger cities/airports.
From Zürich it is: 244 kilometers.
From Basel it is: 222 kilometers.
From Geneva it is: 105 kilometers.
Gryon is very close to Villars ski resort, so if you come here in winter and would like to spend more time in this beautiful location, you can hit the ski slopes in Villars-sur-Ollon (full name of the city) – it is just 4 kilometers from Gryon. Gryon is at 1,114 m, so that is already pretty high.
How to get to Gryon
Gryon is very easily reachable by train, so it should not be any problem to get there at any time of the year – it is very well connect to the biggest cities, so no worries here. The train ride from Zürich should take you all in all around 4 hours and you will have to change train couple of times: Visp, Bex and maybe other train stations, depending where you start your trip. Check all the train connections, time schedules and prices here: Swiss train connections.
With a car it’s even easier – you just have to reach Bex and then go up to Gryon. The car ride from Zürich would take you around 3 hours.
I highly recommend to park in Gryon (there’s some public parking in the village center), but if it is fool, you should drive a bit further and park in Barboleuse.
If you would like to spend a night in Gryon, there’s very decent amount of hotels/lodging/hostels up there like: Chalet Favre, Chalet Martin Backpackers Hostel, Chalet Chen 22 and others.
Hiking in Gryon
Gryon is a very nice village to walk through as it has a lot of very old big houses, coming from the 18th century and even older. By most of those old buildings, there’s an information poster with info about the house, it’s history, purpose and similar information. I must warn you – it is in French. But if you make a picture of it with Google Translate, it can give you a decent translation.
Switzerland is extremely lucky to be having all those old houses in one piece. They have an extraordinary amount of old beautiful wooden architecture in their villages and cities. I actually do not know any other country which has so much untouched wooden architecture in their surroundings.
Once you cross Gryon, you should keep the Barboleuse direction, but don’t worry, it’s very close. It is just around 1 kilometer to Barboleuse.
We were lucky to get to Barboleuse as some kind of Fall celebration was going on there. Full of people, eating outside, some traditional stuff sales happening, band playing old rock. Pretty sweet. Especially seeing all the big mountains all around. You almost even don’t expect such celebration to happen up there 🙂 Which makes it even better.
In Barboleuse you will find couple of grocery stores, so it’s a good last chance to fill up your backpacks with food and water if you don’t have enough, before the mountains. I usually try to have at least 2 liters of water as mountains take a lot of power very fast.
If you are missing any hiking stuff or anything: there is Gryon Intersport as well, so you are safe to get some stuff for your hike (or skiing in winter).
Now, you have just to continue on the main road till 31 Route de Solalex (which is maybe 500 meters from the Barboleuse main square). There you are going to find the cable cars which will take you up to Les Chaux (mountain cable station), which is already over 1700 m in altitude. The cable car ride from Barboleuse to Les Chaux and back will cost 20 CHF each.
If you don’t want to spend money for a cable ride, you can get up there by car (if road conditions are good) from Gryon in approximately 15 minutes. You will have to park next to the restaurant close to Les Chaux cable station.
Just look at the herb of Gryon: two axes. I am pretty sure some bloody history facts are included there:) But I really like that every canton, city, village love their herbs and flags. They try to use it as much as possible. And it really makes the cable cars more attractive.
The whole ride to Les Chaux takes about 10 minutes. The cabins are pretty rusty and small (comfortable for 4 people), but no worries, they do their job just fine.
Once you are up there, the hiking route is pretty obvious – just go up till you reach the peak 🙂
The hike is not that long, you have to gain almost 300 meters in elevation as the peak, which is called Chaux Ronde is at 2028 meters, although the route is pretty steep, so don’t rush too much as you will lose your breath.
Once you go up and get closer and closer to Chaux Ronde, remember to always look back as more peaks and mountains open up. Gryon from there looks like a small patch of civilization put in the mountains.
The hike to Chaux Ronde will take you 20-30 minutes. The cross on the peak awaits you and my oh my the views up there. Incredibly beautiful. Be aware that the peak is on the huge cliff, so don’t mess around, there’s 90 degrees fall up there.
I would highly recommend you to continue your hike further, as you would walk a bit on a ridge (it’s not dangerous, but can be slippery, so don’t run up there) and will get to further location where you can see the next valleys, even more white peaks and just rest on a meadow. There’s a huge chance that you will see some paragliders there.
Once you had your meal, drink and enjoyed the mountains, you can head back to the cable car station. Be aware that it closes at 16.30. If you don’t get there by that time, you will have to walk back all the way to Gryon.
As this hike is not that long (from Gryon, to cable station, to Chaux Ronde, bit further and back was about 7 kilometers) and elevation gain in total was a bit lower than 500 meters, you shouldn’t be very tired, but at the same time the views are breathtaking. If you decide to hike all the way (not using cable cars), I assume the whole hike would take you around 4-5 hours (Gryon – Chaux Ronde – Gryon), elevation gain almost 1 kilometer. Be ready to sweat a bit if doing it that way.
But wait, there is more!
As after the hike it was just the time to have our dinner, we headed to this direction: Relais fermier, La Soldanelle, 1880 Les Plans-sur-Bex. You must remember this address if you are ever around Bex, Montreux or you will go to ski in Villars. It was 20 minutes ride from Gryon via very nice Alpine roads.
There is a very nice farm which serves you amazing swiss food – it is located in village Les Plans-sur-Bex. This farm has donkeys, horses, sheep, cows, bunnies, pigs, ducks, chickens – all you can imagine. And you can easily go and visit all those animals. We even saw two cats with their prey in the mouth. This is a pretty wild place, but very nice and cosy.
The people there as well have a great small rustic restaurant. The staff is very friendly (although at the time of our visit it was one old lady) and speaks only french. We don’t speak it, but we got around with no problems. Menu includes mostly Swiss food like Rösti, Fondue and similar, so you must ready to consume a lot of calories 🙂 Comparing to all the Swiss restaurant prices, they have very decent ones. Big portion of Rösti with cheese and bacon was 19 CHF (the portion is more than enough for one person). Fondue prices are 20-25 CHF.
But overall feeling of this farm/restaurant is great as you almost feel like visiting your grandmother. I really recommend visiting this place as it is very close to the mountains and has this very nice overall package: restaurant + farm. I personally didn’t see that many such places, so I enjoyed it a lot.
I think Gryon is a great hiking location as it has very high, easily reachable high peaks just in its neighborhood. You just need 15 minutes from Gryon to get to the altitude of 1700 meters and just hike a bit more to enjoy the views 360 degrees around you.
Not just that, Gryon village itself is very interesting with all the old houses and its history. Very fine restaurants, hotels or whatever you wish are reachable in minutes as well.
Gryon overall is a great hiking location.
If you have any questions about hiking in Gryon, please let me know, I will do my best to help you.
Please do not forget to follow me: