The Ultimate Guide to Gstaad
Discover one of Switzerland's most glamorous resorts.
Take a look at our definitive guide to Gstaad and discover everything you need to know to enjoy a luxury ski holiday in Gstaad, one of Switzerland's most glamorous resorts.
Where is Gstaad?
Julie Andrews once described the luxurious resort of Gstaad as the “last paradise in a crazy world” and it would be hard to disagree with her. The luxury ski resort Gstaad has Alpine charm in abundance, yet there is so much more to this distinctive destination than your standard ski resort.
Located in the Bernese Alps, Gstaad ski resort is easily reached by car from Geneva or by train via the famous ‘Golden Pass’ railway line. The distance from Geneva to Gstaad is approximately two hours making Gstaad holidays perfect for a long weekend in the Alps. For those taking the train from Geneva we would recommend boarding either the state-of-the-art Panoramic or lovingly-restored Belle Epoch trains for glorious views of Lake Geneva and the surrounding vineyards and countryside.
Despite its long history of tourism, the region is still genuinely Alpine with 200 agricultural businesses and 7,000 cows - that’s nearly a cow per resident! With inhabitants still adopting an alpine way of life, the ski resort of Gstaad feels more authentic than many ski resorts and far less ‘touristy’. Professionalism, hospitality and discretion are the values Gstaad prides itself on and there is no doubt that it is these which have attracted many famous faces to enjoy Gstaad ski holidays over the years.
The village itself is extremely charming with chalet-style architecture and ancient houses, some of which date back to the 14th century. The main promenade is car-free and has a dazzling array of designer shops from Prada and Ralph Lauren to Louis Vuitton and Hermes, yet the mood remains relaxed and friendly. You will also find fantastic homeware, jewellery, gadgets and of course, chocolate.
Winter in GstaadGuide to Skiing in Gstaad
Compared to other resorts, Gstaad ski resort has an extraordinarily diverse winter offering. Skiing for beginners in Gstaad is ample as this luxury resort is home to 200 km of ski slopes and the only glacier ski area in the Bernese Oberland. Skiing in Gstaad certainly has plenty to keep you amused during your stay. Ski holidays in Gstaad provide skiers with three main areas to explore and 80% of the slopes range from easy to moderate, making this a fantastic resort for beginners and families. More advanced skiers can tackle the Tiger Run, Saanenland’s steepest slope, located on the Wasserngrat. Night skiing is also possible on the floodlit Wilspile and Rinderberg slopes, making for an adventurous outing before dinner.
For those that enjoy downhill skiing in Gstaad Switzerland, Cross-country skiing is also popular here with 140 km of trails in four different valleys as well as high-altitude trails on the nearby Glacier 3,000. Children and adults alike will love the six toboggan runs spanning almost 30 km in Gstaad Switzerland, whilst non-skiers have 185 km of scenic winter hiking trails and 80 km of snowshoeing trails to choose from.
Another growing trend in the region is winter biking with the highlight being the Snow Bike Festival which takes place in January. As well as biking and Gstaad skiing, there are several ice rinks available - get your skates on or just enjoy watching the speed of ice hockey players gliding across the ice. You can also enjoy a sleigh ride around the village passing the luxury chalets in Gstaad or soak up the tranquil surroundings around Lake Lauenen.
Where to Stay in GstaadLuxury Ski Chalets in Gstaad
Recommended Gstaad hotels include the luxury boutique Ultima Gstaad and Gstaad Palace - both offer central locations, exceptional service and state-of-the-art facilities with seriously impressive spas.
We also have several chalet and apartment rentals in the surrounding villages of Gstaad including Rougemont and Grund. Rougemont is just a 10-minute drive from the centre of Gstaad, whilst Grund is just 5 minutes from the centre of Gstaad. If you’re looking to stay at a Gstaad luxury chalet a little further from the main village then both Chalet de Rougemont and Apartment Le Cerf Rouge are great options.
Where to Eat & Drink in GstaadRestaurant Guide to Gstaad
The region has over 100 restaurants ranging from cosy raclette eateries to gourmet fine dining. In fact, 12 restaurants in Gstaad have been included in the Gault & Millau food guide and the Sommet restaurant also has a Michelin star to its name. Highly recommended is Avenue Montagne, an elegant restaurant at Park Gstaad serving seasonal Mediterranean cuisine with Swiss influences, as well as Posthotel Rössli which serves traditional Swiss and local dishes. A family-run restaurant, meals include truffle fondue and creamy mushroom veal with rössti.
Summer in GstaadTop 5 Reasons to Visit Gstaad in Summer
With ample recreation and relaxation opportunities, coupled with cultural and sporting offerings, it comes as no surprise that Gstaad in summer is just as popular as it is in winter. The hiking trails in Gstaad are second to none, taking you through diverse scenery such as moorland, forests, deep gorges, Alpine valleys and past mountain peaks. The 300 km network is well-served by mountain railways and public transport so everyone can map out a perfect route. There are a number of cultural and themed trails - enjoy spectacular flora on the Blumenweg trail, traditional delicacies on the Wispile cheese trail and impressive architecture and history on the Zweisimmen castle trail.
Biking in Gstaad is big and with 500 km of GPS tours for mountain bikers, road bikers and e-bikers, all levels can have a go. There are numerous climbing routes in the area as well as a rope park and climbing wall for those less experienced.
Summer in Gstaad really is an outdoor paradise where you can be as energetic as you wish - paragliding, river rafting, beach volleyball, fishing and golfing are all options for getting out and about in fresh mountain air. However, relaxation is also taken very seriously here and there are a superb range of wellness offerings, including six specialised Wellness Hotels.
A variety of cultural and sporting events take place throughout summertime in Gstaad, the most famous being the Gstaad Menuhin classical music festival which runs from July to September. Other exciting events include the Hublot Polo Gold Cup (August), Beach Volleyball Major Series (July) and the Swiss Open (July).