Fribourg / Freiburg is a city for which I always feel the need to specify “in Switzerland” when I talk about it, to avoid confusion with Freiburg in Germany. Two different cities, however both founded by the Zähringer family during the 12th century! I really like the two cities, but it’s the Swiss Fribourg I will give you a sneak peak of today! 🙂
- Wander the cobbled streets of the “Basse Ville”
- Take a walk on the medieval fortifications
- Where to cool down (ice cream recommendations)
Wander the cobbled streets of the “Basse Ville”
Fribourg is a lovely city blessed with a well-preserved medieval centre, beautiful mountain views and nearby lakes. Upon my first visit of Fribourg in Summer 2017, I really enjoyed walking up and down the cobbled streets of the Old Town, from one side of town to the other, from one bridge to the next, enjoying all the pretty viewpoints of St Nicholas cathedral, of the river cliffs and mountains.
The Old Town, located in the lower part of town directly on the banks of the Sarine river still includes 200+ Gothic facades from the 15th century!
An intriguing 120-year old funicular rides up and down between the upper part of the city and the lower part: it’s worth the detour, as it’s one of the last funiculars in Europe that is powered by waste water! You can take a ride, or walk up/down the steps on the side of the funicular!
Take a walk on Fribourg’s medieval fortifications
When I returned to Fribourg in Spring this year, I was happy to find out I could explore it from yet another perspective: since Summer 2018, 7 sections of the city’s medieval fortification walls, 6 towers and 5 gates are open to the public during daytime, from April to beginning of November. The fortifications and their original 14 towers were built on the upper side of town between the 13th and 15th centuries.
The recommended circuit leads through nice green parts of town, from one remnant of wall to another, across scenic bridges, up narrow steps, through city gates and even past green fields with the relaxing sound of cow bells! It was such a lovely walk! And a very nice way of visiting Fribourg.
You can find the map of the recommended route on Fribourg tourism website, and you can pick up a flyer with additional details about the main spots at the tourist office, as well as at some of the fortification towers (for e.g. at #1 “Henry Tower”).
Where to cool down
I didn’t really know what to expect before setting off along Fribourg’s fortifications, but I had possibly expected a more leisurely walk, involving less steps! 🙂 The good news is that there are several spots where you can get some delicious ice cream to cool down after your approximately 3-hour long walk along the city walls! Here are my ice cream recommendations:
1. Glaces Equey
The pink and white ice cream trailer of Glaces Equey, stationed on Place Georges-Python is a real institution in Fribourg. It just so happens they are celebrating their 92nd anniversary in July this year! They offer their artisanal ice cream and sorbet in classic flavours, as well as more special flavours such as: moka, mandarine, hazelnut, apple, grapefruit or passion fruit. The flavour that jumped out to me as one I had to try was made with “vin cuit”, a local product which is not what you’d expect from its literal translation! In French it literally means “cooked wine”, when in fact it’s a syrup made exclusively from the juice of pear or apples.
Glaces Equey address: square des Places (place Georges-Python), CH-1700 Fribourg
It wasn’t til my third trip to Fribourg that I got to try ice cream from Solemio, as they were closed upon my two first visits. I was happy to try their lemon-basil sorbet, fleur de sel caramello ice cream and I also sampled the kiwi-banana sorbet. The latter was my favourite: the sour kiwi was a perfect match to the sweet banana!
Solemio address: rue de Lausanne 76, CH-1700 Fribourg
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