The weather today was so beautiful in our little corner of Switzerland, we set out on a leisurely drive through vibrant green fields and pockets of fragrant forests to visit the Abbaye d’Hauterive.  The 12th-century Cistercian Abbey is a Swiss heritage site in the canton of Fribourg. Visitors can tour the interior of the abbey, but it also offers miles of scenic hiking trails surrounding the sprawling complex.  Since we couldn’t bear to be inside on such a beautiful day and we had our dog with us, we opted for hiking.  If you have enough time, we would recommend you visit the interior of Hauterive Abbey as well.

L'Abbaye d'Hauterive in Switzerland

L’Abbaye d’Hauterive has been continuously inhabited since it was founded in 1137.

The abbey is most easily reached by car.  Parking is available on site, but if it’s full, you can likely find free parking nearby.

See our map at the end of this post.

We wanted to walk along the Sarine River as much as possible, so rather than parking right at the abbey, we continued up the road a bit and scored a free spot along the river.  The leaves glowed with golden light from the sun, and I basked in the warmth and peace of the afternoon with only the rippling of the river and the muffled footsteps of an occasional hiker filtering through the silence.

Fall leaves on the Sarine River at the Abbaye d'Hauterive

Travis enjoys a moment of solitude along a bend in the Sarine River near the abbey.

With Touille, our rat terrier, happily snuffling here and there, we meandered past the abbey and its outbuildings, across the river, and circled back to climb the adjacent ridge overlooking the ancient monastery.

Make sure to look out for the row of comically wooden fence posts along the lower part of the trail.

After some very slimy “cow kisses,” Travis was glad we were near the river where he could rinse off his hand.

Cow kisses at the Abbaye d'Hauterive, Switzerland

He makes friends wherever he goes.

We joked as we passed that the incessant clanging of their bells is probably the real cause of mad cow disease.Click To Tweet

How could that not drive them mad?

Cows graze contentedly near the Abbaye d'Hauterive in Switzerland.

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To cap off our hike, we cut off the main trail and instead followed a narrow and steep horse path straight down the ridge.

If you hike the trail we did, you’ll be happy to find that it crisscrosses back and forth across the road several times before finally popping out within sight of the parking area.

We would definitely recommend a visit to the Abbaye d’Hauterive.  Even if you aren’t able to tour the interior, it’s a beautiful, peaceful place for hiking with lovely views of the river and monastery.

Know Before You Go
  • Visiting the interior of the monastery grounds is only possible by appointment.  Contact the abbey to schedule a tour.
  • A shop on site sells bread made at the abbey, as well as jewelry, soap, and gift items. The shop is generally open Tuesday – Saturday, 1400-1700 and Sunday, 1100-1140 and 1445-1500.
  • Official website for the Abbaye d’Hauterive (EN, FR, DE, IT)

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