There are many famous ski resorts in Europe, but Gstaad, Switzerland must be one on your bucket list to experience a unique winter holiday or a new skiing experience.
Gstaad is in Switzerland’s South West, about 148 km (92 miles) from Geneva, the nearest airport. It takes about 1.45 minutes to 2 hours by car on the boundary between the Bernese Oberland and the Vaud Alpes, and 3 hours by train from Geneva or Zurich.
The resort is 178 km from Zurich and is 60 km (37 miles) from Berne.
If you travel from Geneva, take the train to Montreux and transfer to another train heading for Saanen/Gstaad.
When traveling from Zurich, you need to take an international train connection to Spiez and then change trains for Zweisimmen. In Zweisimmen, change trains for Gstaad.
HOW GSTAAD LOOKS LIKE
Gstaad’s size is just as an average Swiss village, but it has a global reputation as a fashion mecca for the jet-set as it is clothed by some of Switzerland’s finest alpine scenery.
Gstaad is unique as a car-free village. It is a fascinating community, attractively located place full of restored weathered-wood chalets between four gently sloping valleys.
Anyone can enjoy a wide variety of sporting activities all year round, but most visitors come in summer for an endless walking path.
During winter, the magnificent ski area is open, including the 60 ski lifts, which enable runs to be varied by individual tastes. There are cable cars that ferry visitors into the mountains.
Note:Secure a local tourist travel pass, the Gstaad Easyaccess Card, so that you can save money, and it can give you a range of other benefits too.
Gstaad’s winter sports region has 47 railway facilities that can be reached from several villages by link transport facilities. The Montreux-Oberland-Railways and buses connect Gstaad with base stations in Saanenmöser, Schönried, Zweisimmen, Gsteig, Reusch, Lauenen, Rougemont, Col-du-Pillon, and Château-d’Oex in the French-speaking neighboring region of Pays d’Enhaut.
About 200km of pistes at altitudes of up to 3000 meters above sea level await skiers and snowboard riders in winter. Visitors can enjoy numerous toboggans runs and the 42km of trails for classic- and skating-style cross-country skiing.
There are about 185km of winter walking trails for those who simply want to relax and unwind by walking and enjoying the resort’s view.
The Bavarian curling and the glacier- and heli-skiing in Gstaad’s center are among the more unusual winter activities.
In the smaller resorts like Lauenen, winter means peace and pleasure on long winter walks, while cross-country skiing or taking a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh.
SUMMER IN GSTAAD
Saanenland’s wide-open countryside offers a versatile and diverse sports program: hiking (trail network of over 300 km), mountain biking, paragliding, and golf. On the River Saane, there are opportunities for mountain torrent and canoe adventures. Summer cross-country skiing is possible in the Glacier 3000 ski region. The summer toboggan runs in Schönried, via Ferrata and the Lake Lauenen nature paradise, is ideal for families.
In summer, Gstaad hosts several world-class festivals and tournaments, such as the Menuhin Classic Music Festival, the ATP Tennis Championships, and the Polo Silver Cup. Witness and the hot-air balloon festival in Chateau-d’Oex in January.
SPORTING ACTIVITIES IN GSTAAD
Gstaad offers numerous of them for various levels of sporty visitors from winter sports to summer sporting activities. You can do fitness, mountain climbing, golfing, horseback riding, paragliding, rock-climbing, indoor swimming, Indoor Beach Volleyball and Trekking, and Tennis.
Gstaad has 250 km of downhill slopes ready for enjoyment, and you can choose from various ski areas with more than 62 cable cars and lifts. Visitors can access the valley stations via train, bus or car.
Rinderberg offers ski and snowboard enthusiasts winter sports fun late into the evening on floodlit slopes for anyone who wishes to do night skiing in the area.
Gstaad’s greater region features more than 323 km (200 miles) of hiking paths ideal for summer. The local tourist center gives free brochures with suggestions for walks and various detailed hiking maps.
Biking enthusiasts would really love a Switzerland visit, specifically to Gstaad, as it has excellent mountain biking areas. There are seven-gear country bikes or 21-gear mountain bikes from Rent-A-Bike, at 200 SBB-CFF-FFS train stations.
Enjoy the view of the Alps or the Gruyere from a balloon basket. Rides are available from Chateau-d’Oex to wherever the wind takes you.
Others Winter Sports
Besides skiing and snowboarding, other winter activities include ice skating, curling, hiking, snowshoe walking, tobogganing, cross Country Skiing, swimming, and snow tubing.