Gstaad is a mountain resort in the Bernese Highlands (Berner Oberland) in Switzerland. The village is at 1050 m altitude, with local skiing only up to 2200 m, but it's linked by ski-lift to the higher areas of Les Diablerets.
Gstaad is in the MOB (Montreux Oberland Bernois) railway line which runs from Montreux to Zweisimmen. Some of the trains are Golden Pass Panoramic or Classic trains, which cost no more but are worth getting. The Panoramic carriages have plenty of glass, which enables you to see more of the spectacular views as you climb up from Lake Geneva. You can also book and pay extra to sit in right at the front of the train - the driver's cabin is perched above your head and it feels like you are in charge. The Classic carriages are all wood-lined and have waitress service for drinks - it's like being on the Orient Express! The trip from Montreux to Gstaad cost Fr. 48 return in 2008 and is worth it just for the scenery. If you go during the Montreux Jazz festival you can catch a special jazz train, which has live music in dedicated carriages for a few francs extra.
In the winter there are ski buses, some of which (the grey minibuses) are free for everyone, while the fare on others in included in your lift pass.
In summer, if you're staying three days, buy the Easy Access Pass (Fr. 12 a day for adults) which gives you virtually unlimited local travel, including most of the cable cars. It also gives access to some of the fantastic outdoor swimming pools, including the enormous one at the Palace Hotel.
Take your time to enjoy the spectacular scenery and breathe in the mountain air!
In the winter, ski, snowboard, sledge or hike. There are 220 km of trails served by 53 lifts. It's ideal for beginner or intermediate skiers, and what it lacks in serious black runs it more than makes up for in its off-piste and ski-touring opportunities.
- Gstaad – Zweisimmen (220 km in winter, 153 lifts). Unlike other ski areas, this resort is spread out over several villages and not all lifts are linked. Day pass Fr. 62/31 in winter.
- 1 Glacier 3000 (25 km in winter, 10 lifts) (Take the postal car to Col du Pillon), ☏ , email@example.com. This ski area has its base station outside of the village, towards Les Diablerets. Highlights of this ski resorts are the alpine coaster and a suspended bridge between two peaks. Day pass Fr. 62/37.
In the summer, many of the lifts run. You can hire mountain scooters to career back down, or have a go on one of the summer luges. Hiking is magnificent in the summer: there are dozens if miles of marked trails. You can find a via ferrata on the Horneggli and the Videmanette, with routes ranging from the trivial to the downright frightening.
- Le Grill. Upscale rôtisserie.
- Gildo’s Ristorante. Italian and typical Mediterranean food in a "Casual fine dining" atmosphere. Only open during winter season.
- La Fromagerie. Swiss specialties. Open winter season only.
- Le Restaurant. International cuisine. Saturday formal buffet. Jacket required in evening. Reservations recommended.
- La Grande Terrasse. Open summer only. International cuisine.
- Early Beck. Stop in to sample some of the local pastries
- GreenGo Nightclub (in the Gstaad Palace). Open every day in winter. Thursday, Friday & Saturday in summer from 22:00.
- Richi's Pub (in the high street near the church). A much cheaper option: good beer, great food, and frequented by locals, ski instructors and backpackers.
- 1 Gstaad Palace, Palacestrasse, Gstaad, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Landmark hotel featuring a spa and healthclub with indoor and heated outdoor pool, one squash court and 4 outdoor tennis courts.
- 2 Sport-Motel, Saanenstrasse 15, Zweisimmen, ☏ , email@example.com. Distance to Gstaad is approx. 15 km.
- 3 Gstaaderhof Swiss Quality Hotel, Gstaad, CH-3780, fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Four star hotel in typical Swiss chalet style located only 0.5 km from the railway station in the center of the charming village. There is a free shuttle service from the station to the hotel. Two different restaurants and a great wellness area. The ski lifts are reachable by foot in a few minutes. Single room Fr. 154 Double room from Fr. 392 (low season 2009).
- 4 Gstaad Saanenland Youth Hostel, Spitzhornweg 25, Saanen, ☏ , email@example.com. Dorm from Fr. 38.