Best Cheese Factories In Switzerland (Visit & Be Amazed)

cheese factories switzerland
Last updated: May 20th, 2023

Are you a cheese lover visiting Switzerland and want to tour some of the country’s best cheese factories? Then you’re definitely in the right place because this detailed guide offers all the information you need about the various cheese factories in Switzerland!

This Alpine country is world-famous for its many kinds of cheese, and cheese production is an important part of its economy and heritage. It’s also entertaining to observe people making cheese, plus you usually get to taste it at the end of the factory tour. So, keep reading to learn about the different cheese factories in Switzerland and start planning your visit!

La Maison du Gruyère

Maison du Gruyère
Maison du Gruyère

The medieval town of Gruyères is situated in southwestern Switzerland, close to the northern shore of Lake Geneva. It’s a great destination to visit on a day trip, but also a place where you could stay for more than just a few days and really enjoy your time there.

La Maison du Gruyere is a famous cheese factory in Gruyères where the most popular Swiss cheese is produced. It’s no secret that the Swiss like Gruyere cheese the best out of all their local cheeses, and if you visit and tour this factory, you will see exactly why this is a top cheese manufacturer.

Cheese making at this factory happens in the mornings, with 2-4 sessions visitors can observe. It’s best to call ahead to see when you should arrive if you want to witness the entire process.

After learning all the secrets of this popular Swiss cheese, head to the on-site restaurant for the perfect afternoon snack.

If you are coming from Geneva, there is a great tour you can book on Viator that combines a visit to Gruyeres, the cheese factory and the Callier Chocolate Factory nearby. It’s a great day out!

  • Address: Pringy, Pl. de la Gare 3, 1663 Gruyères, Switzerland (Google Maps)
  • Opening Times: Times vary depending on the season (See here)
  • Ticket Prices: Adults 7 CHF, Pensioners/Students 5 CHF, Children (up to 12 years) 3 CHF

Appenzeller Cheese Factory

Appenzeller Cheese
Appenzeller Cheese

Appenzeller cheese is produced in many parts of northern Switzerland and it’s the most popular cheese variety in the region. It is specific for its strong smell with either a fruit or nutty flavor, depending on the age of the cheese. The main three types of Appenzeller cheese are Classic, Surchoix, and Extra.

The Appenzeller Cheese Factory is situated in the Stein municipality, southwest of St. Gallen. It’s the most popular tourist attraction in the village, and it manages to attract visitors from all over the world who want to see the process of cheese-making with their own eyes.

The factory is open 364 days a year, so you can visit it whenever you like. It stays open longer in the summer, but it’s worth noting that the cheese-making process can be observed until 3 PM, regardless of the season. This is also one of the closest cheese factories to Zurich, so makes a great day trip from the city too.

You can enjoy a self-guided cheese factory tour that offers insight into the process of making cheese and includes tasty samples of all their best products. Tickets for the factory are 12 CHF for adults, which is a good deal since samples and gifts are included.

  • Address: Appenzeller Schaukäserei AG, Dorf 711, Stein (Google Maps)
  • Opening Hours: Daily 9.00 am – 5.30 pm
  • Ticket Prices: Adults 12 CHF, Pensioners/Students 11 CHF, Children (6 – 16) 7 CHF

Emmental Cheese Factory

Emmental Cheese Factory
Emmental Cheese Factory

Switzerland is world-famous for Emmentaler cheese, and you can see how it’s made in this factory. Situated in a charming village in the Emmental Valley, the Emmental Cheese Factory produces the world’s most popular type of Swiss cheese. It’s actually a show cheese dairy, where you can attend a cheese-making workshop, in addition to the regular tours and sample tastings.

You’ll have to register for the workshop in advance if you want to attend, but you can do so by phone call or email. Tickets can be bought at the venue – just call ahead to reserve your spot on the tour and you can pay for the tickets on-site. It’s worth noting that the workshop is pretty expensive, but it includes an 8-kilo block of cheese being shipped to your home address.

Visit this factory to see firsthand how Emmental cheese is made. It’s a fabulous experience, especially because you get some samples to taste at the end of the tour. The factory even has its own restaurant, which is an absolute must if you want to taste some exquisite fondue.

  • Address: Emmentaler Schaukäserei, Schaukäsereistrasse 6, Affoltern im Emmental (Google Maps)
  • Opening Hours: Daily 9 am – 5 pm
  • Ticket Prices: Varies depending on what activity you undertake (see details here)

Gottard Cheese Factory (Airolo)

Visit the Gottard cheese factory in Airolo between 8 AM and 12 PM to see firsthand how cheese is made at this local show dairy. The dairy uses raw milk from cows in the Gottardo region to produce cheese pastes, ice cream, butter, yogurt, and other dairy products.

The cheese factory is close to both the bus station in Airolo and the bottom station of the Pesciüm gondola. You will need a reservation to tour the factory, so don’t forget to contact the cheese dairy in advance and book your tour spot.

Visitors can also attempt to make their own cheese with milk from Gottard cows if they want. The cheese must be aged for three months, and the factory will then send it to all visitors with a permanent address in Europe.

If you fail to make a reservation for a guided tour of the factory, you won’t be able to observe the process of cheese making in this local dairy. But you can still visit the restaurant and taste the many different products that are made there.

  • Address: Caseificio dimostrativo del Gottardo SA, Via Fontana 3, 6780 Airolo, Switzerland (Google Maps)
  • Opening Times: Daily from 11:30am–10pm
  • Ticket Prices: Free (to see the cheese-making demonstration via the windows))

Engelberg Cheese Factory

Engelberg Cheese Factory & Shop
Engelberg Cheese Factory & Shop

Käserei Engelberg is a cheese shop with occasional demonstrations of the cheese-making process. The show dairy is situated in the courtyard of the Engelberg Abbey and it is easily accessible by local buses.

This dairy sells many different kinds of cheese that are manufactured in the region, as well as products that are made on the spot. They make cheese here up to 9 times a day, so you have a pretty good shot of seeing the process of making cheese live if you show up at the Engleberg cheese dairy between 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM.

Engelberg Cheese Shop
Engelberg Cheese Shop

You can also try different varieties of cheese as well as dishes without cheese at their bistro. Also, don’t miss out on the Abbey while you’re there – you can usually get a guided tour of the monastery from one of the monks, and it’s a truly special experience.

Important: The Engelberg Cheese Factory is closing by 2023 but the cheese shop is staying open for some months longer in 2023. Recommended to call ahead.

  • Address: Klosterhof 1, 6390 Engelberg, Switzerland (Google Maps)
  • Opening Times: Daily: 9.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m (Until the store closes in 2023)

National Dairy Museum

The National Dairy Museum in Kiesen is one of the best hidden gems related to cheese production in Switzerland. The museum exhibits explore how the production of cheese has changed over the centuries, as well as rotating exhibits on the production of specific cheese varieties.

The museum is open only on Wednesdays and Sundays between April and October, so you will need to plan your visit according to the operating hours. Arranging guided tours for groups outside these hours is possible, but you need to call the museum in advance.

Kiesen is a village in the canton of Bern and it is easily accessible by train from Bern (15-20 minutes) and Thun (10 minutes).

  • Address: Bernstrasse 15, 3629 Kiesen, Switzerland (Google Maps)
  • Opening Times: April – October, Wednesday 2 – 5 pm, Sunday 1 – 5 pm
  • Ticket Prices: Free

Maison de la Tête de Moine

Tête de Moine is a famous type of hard Swiss cheese that is supposed to be served in a very specific way. You can’t just buy a block of Tête de Moine and call it a day – if you don’t serve it on a Girolle or a similar device, little cheese fairies will come and steal it from you.

Jokes aside, this type of cheese is traditionally served on an original Girolle, and that’s the best way to try it for the first time. A tour of Maison de la Tête de Moine will explain the history and tradition behind the cheese and the way it’s served, so it’s definitely worth it.

The factory is an annex of the Bellelay Abbey and it is open from February to December. A self-guided tour with an iPad is the most popular and affordable way of touring the factory, but you can also opt for a guided tour and even partake in the cheese-making process.

  • Address: Le Domaine 1 Bellelay, L’Auberge 154, 2713 Saicourt, Switzerland (Google Maps)
  • Opening Times: Wednesday – Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm
  • Ticket Prices: Adults 6 CHF, Pensioners/Students 4 CHF, Children (up to 12 years) Free

Marbach Alpine Cheese Factory

Buffalo Mozzarella
Buffalo Mozzarella

Situated in the midst of the only UNESCO biosphere in the country, the Marbach Alpine Cheese Factory is known for using buffalo milk in its cheese production. The factory is owned by the Juan family, and it was the first cheese dairy to start production of buffalo mozzarella in the country.

The Marbach factory is open year-round and you can visit whenever you want. A tour of the factory lets you see the workers in action, making many different varieties of cheese. You can also attend a cheese-making workshop here, and even learn how to make buffalo mozzarella, which is very rare in Switzerland.

  • Address: Dorfstrasse 16, 6196 Marbach, Switzerland (Google Maps)
  • Opening Times: Monday – Friday 8 am – 6 pm, Saturday 8 am – 5 pm, Sunday 8.30 am – 5 pm
  • Ticket Prices: Adults 8 CHF

Morteratsch Alpine Cheese Factory

The Morteratsch Alpine Cheese Factory is just minutes away from the Morteratsch train station near the glacier, so it’s easily accessible by public transport. It’s undoubtedly the best Swiss cheese factory in this region, with tastings and tours of the cheese production process.

This cheese factory is special because they still make cheese the traditional way (on an open fire), which has become quite rare in Switzerland. It’s definitely a unique experience, and worth your time if you’re ever in the region.

It’s possible to observe the production process twice a day – at 9 AM and at 1 PM. Visitors can also taste locally made goods at the on-site restaurant and purchase as much cheese as they want to take home. It’s worth noting that this factory is open only in the summer season, usually from mid-June to October.

  • Address: Morteratsch 4, 7504 Pontresina, Switzerland (Google Maps)
  • Opening Times: Mid-June – End September, Production times: 9:30 – 11 am & 1:30 – 3 pm
Swiss Cheese
Swiss Cheese in Zurich

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Switzerland called the cheese capital of the world?

The main reason why Switzerland is known as the world’s cheese capital is that the ingredient is inseparable from Swiss cuisine. Name a (savory) Swiss dish that doesn’t include a form of cheese. Raclette, fondue and many variants of rosti – cheese is an essential ingredient in all the most famous Swiss dishes, and the Swiss wouldn’t have it any other way.

On top of that, there are just so many types of cheese available in Switzerland – over 450 in fact! Many of them are world famous like Emmental and Gruyére, but there are also countless alpine cheeses from small farms around the country. You will never get bored trying out Swiss cheeses!

What is the most popular cheese in Switzerland?

The most popular cheese among the locals in Switzerland is Gruyère cheese. That’s because Gruyere cheese has a rather mild taste that doesn’t overpower other ingredients in a dish. It’s a very versatile cheese that goes well with anything, and it’s particularly great for fondue.

Emmental cheese is the world’s most popular variety of Swiss cheese. It’s exported the most so it’s available all over the world, but the locals don’t enjoy it as much as Gruyere cheese.

Do Swiss eat a lot of cheese?

Of course, they do, it’s an essential ingredient in most of the local dishes! It’s estimated that the average Swiss national consumes some 22 kg of cheese every year. It’s a lot, but not enough to make Switzerland the top country in the world by per capita cheese consumption. Can you guess who takes that crown? Here’s a little hint – they border with Switzerland and they’re world famous for their Fromage.

What is the closest cheese factory to Zurich?

The closest cheese factory to Zurich is the Appenzeller Schaukäserei in Stein, Appenzell. It is approximately 1 hours drive from Zurich to the cheese factory.

How many cheese factories are there in Switzerland?

There are over 600 cheese dairies in Switzerland ranging from the larger ones like Le Gruyère AOP, Emmentaler AOP or Appenzeller, to the small mountain diaries that produce regional Bergkäse which you might come across during a hike.

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