Take a Walk Through the Stunning 900-year Old Village: Fribourg, Switzerland
The places that are usually visited when traveling to another country are its capital city, the famous sightseeing spots, and maybe some natural treasures if you’re into hiking or camping. But, we always make sure to take a little detour and visit villages to meet the locals and try to feel the vibe of their everyday life.
If you really want to get to know a certain culture, the small towns are the places to go to. They are the heart of every country.
So, we left Bern to visit a 17-km-distant medieval village of Fribourg. It was a perfect day trip away from the capital city.
A 900-year Old Village Sitting on a Rocky Hill
The moment we arrived, we felt like going back in time to the middle age. Fribourg is a 900-year old place, full of old buildings and churches, tiny streets and stone bridges. Wherever you turn to, the buildings, the fountains, the monuments; it just gives you a clear sign of a place with a rich history.
It is located on a small rocky hill, so prepare yourself for some long walks up and down the stone stairs. I am positive that the locals don't need any gym membership to stay in shape. There is a beautiful river of Sarine, and the village is surrounded by hills and forests. The whole atmosphere of the city is calming.
Bridges Connecting the French and German Switzerland
Even though it is placed in the French-speaking part of the country, it is very close to the German-part, so the locals usually speak both languages. It is kind of a cultural border.
Originally it was built alongside the river, but over time it grew. Today it stretches on the both sides of the river with a new town above. There are multiple bridges connecting one side to another, the old and the new, the French and the German.
From the Train Station to the Tower of Cats
We arrived at the heart of the downtown at the train station but went across the river to park and started our tour from there. There’s a beautiful view of the old city and the river from the uphill. The first spot we visited was La Tour des Chats or the Cats Tower. It is a medieval tower with a lot of big, wooden gates decorated with metal lions.
Going down the stairs from the tower, we entered the City Gate and arrived at the tiny streets with numerous compact houses that lead towards the bridge above the Sarine river.
This part of the town is so peaceful, and we encountered on so many cute details, like a colorful ladybird garden or the enormous man-made spider web that hangs from a huge rock. Then we crossed the bridge that looks like a wooden tunnel, with the flowerpots arranged on the sides.
There is so much effort put in the tiny things that make the place look vivid. It seems like the locals are really devoted to taking care of the village.
The Spiral of the Endless Stairs and the Churches in the Old Town
We climbed up the Steep Hill and saw many black wooden doors, from the tiniest to the huge ones. There are many sculptures, especially on churches which were so carefully built, with many details and decoration inside and out.
We went inside the tall, gothic Cathedral of St. Nicholas built in the 13th century. It has stained-glass windows and beautiful white walls with many icons and sculptures. The interior is breath-taking and it kind of shows you where the calmness of the town is coming from.
We climbed up the 365 stairs to get to the top of the Cathedral, but it became a little bit dizzy for me and especially for the kids, so I suggest you take breaks from time to time while climbing. After the claustrophobic climb, we stepped on to the platform on the top of the Cathedral where we could see the beautiful view of the entire city.
The Center of the Town and Delicious Food
I thought the view was worth the trouble, but my daughters may not agree with me on this one. They recommend skipping the spiraling stairs and going straight to the center to enjoy the restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques and the delicious cuisine. There are even small trampolines for the kids.
Here you can meet and talk to the people and genuinely feel the hospitality of the locals before you get back to the train station. To save the money, you could even buy some groceries at the store and make a picnic. I am sure the kids would love it.
A Perfect Day Trip
Fribourg is a beautiful small village, a mixture of two languages, filled with tiny streets that lead to medieval churches, bridges, and sculptures. It gives you a lovely sense of peacefulness and calmness and a commitment to the community. And of course, the delicious food to rest from the long hilly walks and numerous stairs.
If you want to go back in time and get the glimpse of how the people lived 1000-years ago, this is the place for you. It is definitely a great trip that gives you a different perspective on this beautiful country, by being so convenient with its location near the capital city itself.
You can take a walk with us in the video we made about Fribourg