A Day of Wandering in the Swiss Town of Fribourg

A Day of Wandering in the Swiss Town of Fribourg

A spontaneous trip brought an Indonesian student in Switzerland to the little town of Fribourg.

Contributed by Michelle Franc-Lee

Fribourg, which has been sitting too long on my travel bucket list, has finally been ticked off. I don’t know why it took me such a long time to get to this lively town in western Switzerland – it’s literally 30 minutes by train from where I live.

My solo trip to this beautiful destination was rather spontaneous. And I had no regrets; Fribourg exceeded my expectations and was way more charming than what it seemed based on what I read on the internet. During my trip, I took on a hike and saw Fribourg from various viewpoints.

To get to Fribourg, I simply looked at the time schedule in the train station and bought a ticket. Once I got off the train, I wandered in the vicinity of the train station to get the vibe of this medieval town. I chanced upon a flea market filled with vintage items such as old cameras, antiquities and clothes. I gather that the market pops up every Sunday. The location of the flea market is in Place Georges-Phyton, adjacent to Rue de Lausanne (look it up on Google Maps). Rue de Lausanne is a very cool, car-free, pedestrian-only street that is brimming with cafes.

For your reference, this is the general route of the hiking trail that I took on. However, there are certain points where I branched off the path.

Ville de Fribourg was the starting point of my hike. Walking downhill to the Rue de Grand-Fontaine, on the left, you will find a small parking lot with an incredible view. You can see the hill at the opposite side – that’s where I hiked around after walking past the houses and crossing the river.

After reaching Rue de Grand-Fontaine, you should go downhill (again) to Escalier du Court-Chemin. There are some bars, cafes and restaurants here; I didn’t try any of them, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. You will pass by a river with a little stone bridge called Pont de Saint-Jean. Everything in this small area neighbourhood is pedestrian-friendly because the streets are too narrow for vehicles.

A little hiking tip for beginners like myself: use a tall tower or building as a landmark, in case you cannot find your way back. You can use Fribourg Cathedral or Cathedral Saint-Nicolas for this purpose.

After flights of stairs and lots of sweat to get to Chemin de Lorette, you will be rewarded with an eye-pleasing view of Fribourg. There’s something about the old town filled with quaint red-roofed buildings that made me love Fribourg. I took almost a hundred pictures of the view because I just couldn’t get enough. At the end of Chemin de Lorette, there’s this little chapel called Loretto Chapel which has a beautiful view of the bridges, both the white, modern one and the stone bridge. The Loretto Chapel itself, though, looks quite creepy and I’m not sure if we can enter it.

Going downhill from the Chemin de Lorette and Beau Chemin, I wandered off the path on the map and into the forest. It’s safe but rather steep. There are many bridges in the area, as Sarine River flows through Fribourg. One of them is Pont de Berne, a wooden bridge that reminds me of Kapellbrücke in Lucerne. There’s also another wooden bridge which is walled and decorated with vintage portraits and photos, but it’s not on Google Maps.

hiking in fribourg

hiking in fribourg

An icon of Fribourg which I did not visit was Cathédrale Saint-Nicolas or Fribourg Cathedral. It was founded in the 13th century and is a Roman Catholic church. Like any other European church, it’s still open for mass but probably only in the French language.

hiking in fribourg

At the end of my spontaneous little hike, I discovered Cafe Belvedere, which is marked on the itinerary map. It has this cool theme and definitely the coolest view. I adored their ceiling-to-floor shelves with books (vintage mostly). Everything inside Cafe Belvedere seemed so cosy and warm because of the brown hues and undertones. I really wanted to take pictures of the inside (and I did ask permission actually) but there were so many people and I felt rather shy to do so. I highly recommend this place, either after your hike or straight from the train station.

So far, what I’ve shared is only a fraction of what Fribourg has to offer.

When you stroll around the Grand Rue – somewhere between Rue de Lausanne and Cathedral Saint-Nicolas – you can see so many cool stores, restaurants, cafes, and museums. I really wanted to explore more, but as it was a Sunday, many places are closed. I even found an Indonesian restaurant which I hope to visit in future.

hiking in fribourg

By the way, notice something missing in some of my pictures? The clouds! Above Fribourg, there was nothing but a great blue sky.

About Author

Michelle Francisca Lee
Michelle Francisca Lee

Currently studying for her Bachelor’s degree in Switzerland, Michelle travels in between her studies. A traveller at heart, she is trying to see and capture the world one city at a time. Other than her constant photo-hunting and travelling activities, she also believes that through cultures, one can experience and learn about new perspectives. Follow more of her adventures on her travel blog.