Gstaad Attractions and Activities
In Gstaad, the mountains won't let you wait... We are presenting you just a few of the many activities that are possible in Gstaad and its surroundings. You will be fascinated by flowering meadows under clear blue skies.
Excursions: >>Mountain ExcursionsCity Excursionsother Excursions
Gstaad is surrounded by several mountains that are easily accessible by gondolas or other mountain rides. At an altitude of approx. 2,000 m / 6,560 ft you get great views of the Simmental- and the Saanen Valleys, including the villages, and you can see several higher peaks of the Bernese and Vaudoise Alps. These mountains offer great runs for winter sports, as well as numerous hiking paths during the summer months. Visit Gstaad Mountain Rides for more detailed information.
Les Diablerets / Glacier 3000 (3,000 m / 9,840 ft):
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 1 1/2 hours by bus and gondola from Gstaad to the top). Glacier 3000 - the nearest 3,000 meters-peak to Gstaad - has become a world-famous destination for tourists, both in summer and in winter. You will be amazed by the breathtaking, 360-degree panorama of the Vaudois, the Bernese and the Valaisan Alps and great views of twenty-four 4,000 meters-peaks including the Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.
Schilthorn - Piz Gloria (2,970 m / 9,742 ft):
Full-day excursion (approx. 3 1/2 hours by train from Gstaad to the top). The most spectacular 360° panorama in the Alps! Dine-and-wine in the world's first revolving restaurant at an altitude of nearly 3,000 meters. Impressive views embrace some 200 snow-capped peaks, ranging from the Bernese Alps to Mont Blanc in France and Germany's Black Forest.
Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe (3,454 m / 11,330 ft):
Full-day excursion (approx. 4 1/4 hours by train from Gstaad to the top). Snow and ice 100% guaranteed! The UNESCO World Heritage offers the Sphinx observation hall, an impressive Ice Palace and a hiking plateau in the glacier - these are year-round attractions up on the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. Summer attractions include a skilift, husky-drawn sledging and adventure activities.
Montreux - City of the Swiss Riviera:
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 80 minutes by train from Gstaad). This attractive excursion crosses the "border" between German and French-speaking Switzerland and takes you to the shores of Lake Geneva. Enjoy the mild climate and the beautiful terraced vineyards of Lavaux that are part of the UNESCO world heritage. While in Montreux, you want to consider visiting one of the most beautiful historic buildings in Switzerland, the Chateau de Chillon: in the 13th century this castle was built in a unique setting on the shores of Lake Geneva, and today also serves as a typical postcard souvenir from Switzerland.
Thun - Gateway to the Bernese Alps:
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 90 minutes by train from Gstaad). Thun (pronounced "Toon") is one of the most original towns in Switzerland. It occupies an admirable site with magnificent views of the Bernese Alps and is much overlooked by visitors pressing on to Interlaken. With its picturesque castle, the quaint medieval Old Town, and Lake Thun, one of the loveliest and largest lakes in Switzerland, Thun is well worth a visit.
Interlaken - in the Heart of the Swiss Alps:
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 100 minutes by train from Gstaad). Interlaken, the small town between the cristal-clear lakes of Thun and Brienz is surrounded by Alpine pearls such as sparkling streams, fantastic falls and extraordinary mountain scenery including the famous peaks of the Eiger, the Moench and the Jungfrau. Don't miss strolling along Interlaken's famous "Höheweg" promenade - it is one of the best locations in Switzerland for souvenir and watch shopping, and offers superbe views of the Jungfrau mountain range. Consider combining the excursion to Interlaken with visiting other sights of the Jungfrau region, such as the Jungfraujoch or the Schilthorn, the Ballenberg Open-Air Museum or the St. Beatus Caves.
Bern - Switzerland's captivating Capital:
Full-day excursion (approx. 2 hours by train from Gstaad). Founded in 1191, this is a city of medieval magic, listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. Attractions of Bern include several historic sites such as the famous Clock Tower, the bearpits (home to the city's heraldic animals), the House of Parliament, the Paul Klee Center, the Swiss Alpine Museum, and excellent shopping arcades.
Lucerne - City of Lights:
Full-day excursion (approx. 3 hours by train from Gstaad via Bern). Lucerne is ideally situated in the historic and scenic heart of what many believe to be the "true" Switzerland - picture mountains, lakes, cowbells, alpine villages and meadows full of Edelweiss. Lucerne is renowned for its attractive townscape, historic Chapel Bridge and shopping facilities. There are various routes to get from Gstaad to Lucerne: either going or on your return, take the scenic ride on the Golden Pass train via Interlaken and over the Brünig Pass (travel time 4 hours).
other Excursions / Sights:
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 70 minutes by train from Gstaad). The small village of Gruyeres is very charming and is easily reachable from Gstaad. You can walk the cobblestone road to the old castle and visit the Cheese Factory - "la maison de Gruyere" - to observe making of the Gruyere Cheese. You might consider combining this excursion with a visit of the Cailler Chocolate Factory in Broc (April through October).
Cruises on Lake Thun or Lake Brienz:
Half-day or evening excursions during April - October. Enjoy a leisurely cruise on a modern motorship or one of the renovated stately steamers. Excellent catering and banquet facilities, theme events and club, company and family festivities, paddle steamer with children's club, evening cruises with entertainment. Cruises on Lake Thun depart at Thun's railway station, cruises on Lake Brienz from Interlaken's Ost station.
Golden Pass Scenic Train:
Full-day excursions. In Gstaad you can board the scenic Golden Pass train with its panoramic wagons. Your destination either is Lucerne (or Interlaken) traveling through the Simmental Valley to Interlaken (travel time approx. 2 hours), then along Lake Brienz and the Bruenig Pass to Lucerne (total travel time 4 hours), or you are heading to Montreux along the Saane River (travel time 80 minutes).
Rides are available from Chateau-d'Oex (approx. 20 minutes from Gstaad) to wherever the wind takes you... The view of the Alps or the Gruyere from a balloon basket is incredible.
Alpine Cheese Dairy Visit:
There are several mountain farms that can be visited to observe cheese making and/or for other activities. Ask at the local tourist offices for locations and hours.
Sports: >> Summer SportsWinter Sports
Gstaad is an excellent location for leisure and adventurous hiking. The region offers more than 300 km (approx. 200 miles) of summer hiking paths. Free brochures with suggestions for walks and various detailed hiking maps are available at the local tourist offices.
Switzerland in general and Gstaad in specific are great places for biking and mountain biking. 50 biker routes with every degree of difficulty offer a total of more than 150 km (93 miles) signalled paths. You can rent a seven-gear country bike or a quality 21-gear mountain bike from Rent-A-Bike, located at 200 train stations nationwide.
The countryside and the physical well-being found in it personify luxury in Gstaad. A round of golf at the foot of the snow-capped mountains remains unforgettable. Guests are welcome on the 18-hole golf course throughout the season. A handicap of 36 and club membership are necessary, however. Equipment can be rented.
The Gstaad Saanenland region offers outdoor swimming pools in Saanen, Zweisimmen and at the Gstaad Palace Hotel, and an indoor swimming pool at the Gstaad Sports Center where proficient swimmers can train their endurance and technique and children can splash about at the family-friendly swimming pools with water chutes. The brave ones can take the plunge into ice-cold mountain lakes....
Salt Water Spa / Swimming is offered at the Hotel Ermitage in Schoenried. Wellness from its best side with salt water, indoor and open air swimming pools at 35°C. Further wellness amenities include a solarium, a whirlpool, a hay bath, and the sauna park with Finnish open air sauna, Biosauna, "Tropicana" steam bath and "Amethyst" precious stone grotto.
other Summer Sports:
The options in Gstaad are many. Following a list with all kinds of summer sports activities: Nordic Walking (5.5 km blue, 7 km red and 10 km black trails), Horseback Riding (guided hacks through the unspoilt landscape or horse-riding lessons at the Gstaad Equestrian Center), Trekking with lamas or goats, Climbing and Mountaineering, Fitness, Squash, Badminton, Beach Volleyball, Tobogganing, Paragliding, River Rafting and Fishing; for more detailed information contact the local tourist office in Gstaad.
Alpine Skiing / Snowboarding:
In Gstaad you can choose from various ski areas with 57 cable cars and lifts and more than 220 km (140 miles) downhill ski slopes. There also are several Half-Pipes and Boarder Parks including Boarder Cross and a permanent race track. The valley stations are easily accessible by train, bus or car, and there are numerous ski and snowboard instructors assisting you improving your skills or guide you on the Gstaad-Saanenland mountains.>> more details on Gstaad Snowsports School.
Cross Country Skiing:
On more than 60 km (37 miles), both traditional cross-country skiers and skating enthusiasts will find exactly what they are looking for. There also are special trails for skiers with dogs. The trails are located in the Schoenried - Saanenmoeser region (6), in Saanen (1), Gstaad-Feutersoey-Gsteig (3), Lauenen (1), Turbach (1), Zweisimmen (4), Reusch (1) and one trail on the Diablerets Glacier (also open during summer months).
others Winter Sports:
Hiking (50 km / 30 miles on more than 30 cleared footpaths), Snowshoe Walking / Trekking (easy to demanding routes), Ice Skating (artificial ice rink in Gstaad, and 3 natural ice rinks in the region), Curling (is very popular in the region and is played on the covered ice rink at the Gstaad Sports Center), Ice-Stick Shooting, Ice-Climbing, Horseback Riding, Sledding, Tobboganing and Airboarding, and indoor sports such as Tennis, Badminton and Swimming at the Gstaad Sports Center.
Go Out: (Dining / Entertainment Nightlife)
During the day, you might want to experience one of the numerous activities mentioned above - there are even more options such as a visit of the "Parc Aventure" in Aigle (one hour from Gstaad) for climbing and adventure fun for all the family, or a Husky Tour (dog-drawn sleigh ride) on Glacier 3000. Contact the local tourist office to discuss your interests and options.
There are more than 100 restaurants in the "Saanenland", and 15 of them are totaling 218 Gault-Millau Points - thus, plenty of options for fine dining ! More than 30 bars and dancings provide for an active nightlife and entertainment in the region, and the local cinema screens all the latest films, including Hollywood blockbusters, films for all the family, and arthouse films.
Gstaad's promenade, the historic village center of Saanen, and Zweisimmen's picturesque "Bahnhofstrasse" provide ample opportunity for strolling, shopping and relaxing. In Gstaad itself the spectrum ranges from elegant boutiques with luxury labels, top-quality jewellery and lifestyle products to retailers selling a wide selection of regional produce. Gstaad's car-free promenade set new standards in 1996. A road bypass and a tunnel were built so that guests and visitors could enjoy an attractive shopping and strolling avenue in the center of the village. For this successful project Gstaad was subsequently awarded the "Milestone" Tourism Prize of Switzerland, the industry's most prestigious award.
Business opening hours vary depending on the season and the kind of business. The summer high season lasts from mid-July to mid-September. The winter high season runs from mid-December through the first week of January, and the whole of February.
In general, during high seaason the shops in Gstaad-Saanenland are open from 9 AM through Noon, and from 1:30 or 2 PM - 6:30 or 7 PM on weekdays (groceries and bakeries open as early as 6 AM, while other shops only open at 10 AM). On Saturday, most shops close at 5 or 6 PM, and on Sundays, numerous shops are open a couple of hours in the morning and in the afternoon.
During low season, most shops are closed on Sunday, and also close earlier in the evenings on weekdays.
There's a weekly market in Saanen (on Fridays; May through October) for local products and fresh produce, and several special markets at the various villages of the Saanenland: e.g. Spring and Autumn Market in Zweisimmen (May and October), Gstaad Market (in April), Lauenen Market (in October), or the Saanen Flea Market (in August) and the Saanen Christmas Market. Get detailed information at the local tourist offices.
Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad: (in February)
Festival of classical music, with around 20 concerts during the first week of February. From an artistic point of view the Sommets Musicaux is one of the few first-rate music festivals to be staged in the winter. It comprises classical music enjoyment with soloists and chamber music in local churches and in a separate concert cycle with young up-and-coming artists.
Swatch FIVB Beach Volleyball Open Gstaad: (in July)
Grand Slam Tournament on the Beach Volleyball World Tour. The world's best beach-volleyball teams battle it out on Centre Court in Gstaad as they compete for the Golden Crown.
Tennis Suisse Open Gstaad: (in July)
Gstaad and world-class tennis have been an unbeatable doubles pairing for decades. It's a message the organisers of the Suisse Open broadcast to the world whenever the world's men's tennis elite transform Gstaad into the "Wimbledon of the Alps". Every year, spectators and athletes experience peak performances against the unique backdrop of genuine mountain peaks.
Hublot Polo Cup Gstaad: (in August)
The international Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad has established itself as a major attraction and social highlight. Every year, the sport of kings makes a huge impact with its top-ranked players and hard-fought battles for the coveted world ranking points.
Menuhin Festival Gstaad: (July - September)
This festival of classical music is regarded as one of the best concert series in Switzerland. When selecting the artists the organisers have only one criterion in mind: quality. Every year musicians of world standing do the honours here. The Festival's stated aim is to achieve a soothing symbiosis of art, human contact and nature. The exquisite programme features around 40 concerts from July to September.
Country Night Gstaad: (in September)
In September, Gstaad goes all out in its celebrations of the West. It's no wonder the Gstaad Country Night is regarded by those in the know as Europe's leading Country Music event. On the strength of that reputation the organisers see each year as an even greater incentive to sign up the scene's biggest stars to perform at the event.
Calendar of current Events in Gstaad
Museum der Landschaft Saanen:
(Regional History and Culture). The people of Saanen look back on an astonishing cultural and economic development. Once freedom-loving subjects of the Count of Greyerz, mostly hunters, peasants and foresters, they have now become ski instructors, hoteliers and business people. The Museum der Landschaft in Saanen bears testimony to a rich and varied cultural heritage going back more than three centuries.
This museum in Zweisimmen is a farmhouse dating back to 1647 which has been preserved virtually in its original state. Richly ornamented with antique furnishings and objects of cultural value is bears witness to how our ancestors in the area once lived. The small medieval garden features a selection of useful plants and herbs, all of which were already being cultivated in years gone by.
A successful quartet of papercutters exhibits a selection of their works in the basement of the Gstaad arts & crafts museum, giving an insight into this particular art and its rich tradition.
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