The region in the Fribourg Pre-Alps is known to visitors to Switzerland as the home of the famous Gruyère cheese and Cailler chocolate. But few people continue on to the picturesque Val-de-Charmey less than ten kilometres away after visiting the Maison Cailler chocolate factory. This is a great pity because several wooden marble courses are built here to entertain your kids for an afternoon.
Exit the A12 at the Bulle exit, then go via Broc and continue in the direction of Charmey. At the end of the village at the bottom of the cable car station is the Parking Val-de-Charmey (paid). Alternatively, take the train to the Broc, Gare stop and then take the line 260 bus to the Charmey, village stop. From here it is about a 200 m walk to the cable car.
May 18 to October 29 (open weekends only from October 2 to October 15): Monday to Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. From 29 July to 15 August open daily until 22:30.
Return ticket: adults (25-63 years): CHF 24, youth (16-24 years) and seniors (over 64 years): 21CHF, children (6-15 years): 16CHF
When you buy your cable car ticket, you can already buy a wooden ball for CHF 3 at the ticket office, which you can choose in three colors (blue, yellow, red).
Dogs and bicycles are allowed in the cable car at no extra charge. In addition, other tickets are available for paragliding, via ferrata and a combined ticket to the nearby Bains de la Gruyère à Charmey.
Immediately upon exiting the cable car, you will see wooden marble runs. There are several of them here and they were built around the whole peak – just go around them. While the kids have fun dropping the wooden balls, you can enjoy the breathtaking views.
If you forgot to buy a wooden ball at the cable car station, you can also buy one at the top at Restaurant Les Dents-Vertes. If your children don’t like the monochrome design of the ball, you can go to the Saison d’Alpage workshop where they can paint it with their favourite colours and patterns! If you’d like to see how everything looks in motion, check out my Instagram Reel I have created them for you.
The whole place is designed so that the children can enjoy themselves as much as possible (and the parents can relax). In addition to the marble runs, there is also the so-called Playa del Charmey. Which is several themed sandpits aka beaches. You can find here, for example, the architects’ beach, the engineers’ beach with various excavators or even the dancers’ beach, where children can put on headphones, choose music, and dance with their feet in the sand.
Meanwhile, the parents can relax on the sun chairs.
You can then enjoy a meal together at Restaurant Les Dents-Vertes.
Hiking at Charmey
Of course, Charmey is also a great place for hiking. There are several trails leading into the valley (which of course you can also follow from the valley to the summit). My daughter and I took the fairly easy Le Ganet trail, which is designed for families.