L’Abbaye d’Hauterive

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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 Hauterive, Fribourg canton.

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 at Hauterive Abbey. Those looking for a bit of outdoor inspiration in the area are free to use our custom map below.

The Abbey of Hauterive, Fribourg canton, Switzerland
L’Abbaye d’Hauterive, or Hauterive Abbey, has been continuously inhabited since it was founded in 1137.

Location & Hiking Map of Abbaye d’Hauterive, Fribourg

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.

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.

Hiking Along the Beautiful Sarine River

Any time of year would be a beautiful time to hike this trail.

We visited in the fall when the leaves positively glowed with golden light from the sun. I basked in the warmth and peace of the afternoon. Only the rippling of the river and the muffled footsteps of an occasional hiker filtered through the silence.

Hiking along the Sarine River near the abbey in Hauterive, Fribourg
Travis enjoys a moment of solitude along a bend in the Sarine River near Hauterive Abbey.

With Touille, our rat terrier, happily snuffling here and there, we meandered past the abbey and its outbuildings, finally crossing the river.

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

Toward the end of the hike, the trail circles back to climb the adjacent ridge overlooking the ancient monastery. It quickly drops back down and puts you right back in the pretty green fields around Hauterive Abbey.

Don’t be surprised if the very friendly cows come welcome you.

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

Travis befriending cows while hiking in Hauterive Fribourg canton
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?

Canvas Art

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 Abbaye d’Hauterive – Hauterive Abbey.

If you have enough time, tour the interior of Hauterive Abbey for the Beer. If you’re short on time or end up visiting while they priory is closed, just hiking around the abbey in Hauterive, Fribourg is a unique experience with lovely views of the landscape. It’s about as Swiss as you can get.

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 from 1400-1700 and Sunday from 1100-1140 and 1445-1500.
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