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Gstaad, the main village of the Saanenland - the western corner of the Bernese Oberland - is unique in so many ways. All year round, the region offers something for everyone: visitors will find leisure activities and room for enjoyment combined with a virtually unprecedented range of cultural and sporting activities – nestled in a magnificent Alpine landscape. Despite a history of tourism dating back more than 100 years, a genuine Alpine lifestyle still prevails in the Saanenland region. For instance, it is home to approx. 150 agricultural businesses, 80 alps still in operation and about 7,000 cows. Local products, such as cheese and meat as well as craft traditions, are very popular. Houses with a chalet architectural style dominate the villages in the region - some of the buildings date from the 15th century.
The combination of the special experiences for which Gstaad is so famous is unrivalled. It cannot be found anywhere else and makes Gstaad the "last paradise in a crazy world" (quote by Julie Andrews, a regular visitor to Gstaad). Gstaad's internationally renowned reputation is associated with luxury and high society, but this car-free, friendly and charming village full of restored weathered-wood chalets between five gently sloping valleys is pleasing a larger crowd. Gstaad's slogan "come up, slow down" emphasises its wide range of offers, which can be consumed in peace and quiet.
Many summertime tourists visit Gstaad for the endless walking paths along flowering meadows in a mountain world where the scenery is still unspoilt. In July, Gstaad becomes the "Alpine Capital of Major Events" as it plays host to several world-class events such as the Beach Volleyball World Tournament, the ATP Suisse Tennis Open, or the Menuhin Classic Music Festival to mention just a few of the 1,000 cultural and sporting events each year. During the winter season, the Saanenland provides for an extensive ski region with more than 220 km (140 miles) of wide runs that can easily be reached by nearly 60 mountain rides. But also non-skiers need not feel left out - as mentioned above, Gstaad offers something for everyone ! more attractions and activities in Gstaad and the Saanenland
German-speaking Gstaad is located in the valley of the River Saane in the western Bernese Oberland, in southwestern Switzerland on the border to the French-speaking region. At 1,050 m (3,444 ft) above sea level, the village is surrounded by gently rising mountains - as are the other 8 villages: Saanenmoeser, Schoenried, Saanen, Feutersoey, Gsteig, Turbach, Lauenen and Ablaendschen that belong to the Saanenland region.
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Getting to Gstaad:
The nearest international airport is Geneva-Cointrin (approx. 2 1/2 hours by train, 2 hours by car), but also the other airports are within less than 3 hours travel time. The Bern-Belp Airport, which also has some international flights, is reached within approx. one hour by car. There's a regional airport in Saanen for small, private airplanes.
Trains to Gstaad either connect through Montreux when coming from the west (e.g. Geneva), or through Spiez when coming from all other directions. Several international trains (south-north) connect through Spiez where you need to change trains for Zweisimmen, where to change trains for Gstaad. Trains get to / leave from Gstaad once an hour. The most memorable way to travel to/from Gstaad is with the scenic train Golden Pass from/to Lucerne via Interlaken and the Simmental Valley, or from/to Montreux.
- from the north (Bern, Basel, Zurich) to Thun on the A6 Higway, then Exit Wimmis / Zweisimmen and you get to Gstaad via the Simmental Valley main road.
- from Central Switzerland (Lucerne) via the Bruenigpass and the A8 Highway to Interlaken, then to Spiez and on the A6 Hghway Exit Wimmis / Zweisimmen and you get to Gstaad via the Simmental Valley main road.
- from the west (Geneva, Lausanne, Vevey, Neuchatel) get to Bulle on the A9 from where you take the main road via Chateau d'Oex to Saanen/Gstaad.
- from the Valais (Rhone Valley) take Exit "Aigle" on the A9 and via the "Col' du Pillon'" Pass you get to Gsteig/Gstaad.
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