Located in the Canton of Bern is Gstaad, one of the largest skiing areas in the alps. It gained world recognition in the 1960’s when Time magazine deemed it “The Place,” and it has maintained its reputation of hosting famous residents and elite vacationers for years. With just one visit to this incredibly picturesque place you’ll be coming back time and time again.
A Typical Charming Village
Gstaad may be most famous for its ski slopes, but there is so much more to the village. In the middle of the village is a promenade, home to countless boutique shops and luxury retailers, restaurants, art galleries and hotels. Gstaad is known for its charming ambiance spread throughout the village.
A Setting of Exception
Additionally, Gstaad holds a reputation for some of the best walking and hiking trails, which vary in difficulty. Those looking for a light scenic walk or a challenging hike can both be satisfied. There is no beating the fresh mountain air and breathtaking scenery everywhere you go.
The Jet-Sets Favorite Resort
Celebrities have flocked to Gstaad for an exclusive getaway for decades. Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor both called Gstaad home, while celebrities such as Anne Hathaway, Margaret Thatcher and Elton John are known to make regular visits. You’re sure to encounter a famous face during your stay in Gstaad.
A Traditional Farming Village
During the Middle Ages, Gstaad was nothing more than an inn, a warehouse for storing trade goods and oxen pulling wagons to transport goods. It originated as a district of Saanen. The fork of two trails, Valais and Vaud, were the starting point of the village promenade. During the 14th century Gstaad began to expand in size and the St. Nicholas chapel was built. It remained a village dominated by cattle farming and agriculture up until the late 1800’s.
From Destroyed to Prosperous
In 1898, a great fire spread throughout Gstaad, which tragically burnt the entire village to the ground. Luckily it was rebuilt in order to fuel the growing Swiss tourism industry. The construction of the Montreux-Oberland Bernois railroad in 1905 and first ski runs (the Ski Club of Saanen and Ski Club of Gstaad) propelled it to become a well-known destination.
Luxurious and Modern Equipment
The Palace Hotel was the first luxury hotel in Gstaad and opened in 1913. This created a new reputation of luxury for Gstaad, and it continued to gain popularity after incorporating gondolas, ski lifts, ice rinks, tennis courts, swimming pools, etc. Today the city is a combination of modern architecture and traditional designs, with much of the village built out of wood for a comfortable and cozy vibe.
The New Year Music Festival of Gstaad
Since 2006, this festival has been a key part of the Gstaad cultural landscape. Each night there is a reception after the featured concert that is open to everyone, with an opportunity to meet and greet the artists. The festival partners with music organizations, charities and arts groups to present collaborative projects and is held for a week in late December each year.
Crédit Agricole Swiss Open Gstaad
In mid July each year, the world’s best tennis playres come to Gstaad for two weeks of matches. A crowd of over 40,000 comes to view the spectacular competition.
Gstaad Promenade Party
A dynamic and festive event that brings the whole region together. The party is open to everybody and combines local traditions and luxury. Enjoy wine and champagne tastings, sampling traditional dishes from local restaurants, flag tossing, alphorn players, musical entertainment, local crafts and so much more.
Egglie is the smallest hill served by cable cars in Gstaad, at 1660m. You can hike up it in the summer or take the cable car. On the top you will find a preserved dairy farm, worth having a visit, because you can see how cheese is made and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate made from fresh cow’s milk. It gives you a feel of daily life for those native to Gstaad.
One of the most serene mountain settings. You can take a walk around the lake and see waterfalls and blooming flowers, or rent a boat to row around the lake. There are also BBQ pits and picnic spots along the way for a relaxing afternoon.
The view from the top is impeccable, and Glacier 3000 is a perfect spot for skiers and non-skiers alike. Take a gondola ride from the base to the peak, and enjoy a snow dog ride or rollercoaster ride at the top. There are also two restaurants to choose from, both featuring the best cuisine and panoramic views.