The beautiful village of Gstaad is situated in the western Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. Gstaad was formed in the Middle Ages for its position at the fork of the trails into the Valais and Vaud regions. It contained an inn and a warehouse for storing goods and had oxen to help pull the wagons over the Alpine passes. The St Nicholas chapel was built in 1402 and its murals date to from the second half of the 15th century and the beautiful font with its rich decorations is of 17th-century origin. The village was mainly a farming community rearing cows and growing crops until the great fire which swept through the village in 1898. After the fire Gstaad was rebuilt in the traditional style with wooden chalets and, as tourism was now a growing industry, many hotels soon followed. The construction of the Montreux- Oberland Bernois railway in 1905 and ski-runs opening in 1905 and 1907 began to bring tourists to Gstaad and the first ski-school opened here in 1923. It is part of the municipality of Saanen and is known as a major ski resort and a popular destination amongst high-class society and the international Jet set.
Gstaad is situated at an ideal altitude of 1,100 m/3609 feet which is a healthy climate all year round. The Swiss Tourism Federation has named Gstaad as a “Wellness Destination”, here you can breath freely and recharge your batteries. The lovely traditional wooden chalets blend perfectly with the wonderful mountain scenery. In the villages of the Saanenland tradition is featured strongly. The trademark spicy Saanen cheese has been produced for some three hundred years and handcraft such as pottery, woodcarving and alphorn-making are still alive in the region. Gstaad, even after more than 100 years of tourism, still retains its traditional appearance of its cows and goats farming heritage. The Alpine authenticity continues to live on here – genuinely and fully aware of its traditions.
Gstaad is the ideal location for holidays, whether in the winter or the summer with rushing streams, glittering lakes, its flower-filled meadows under blue skies and snow capped mountain peaks plus unspoilt scenery makes it a place of peace and tranquility where you can escape the pressures of everyday life. In summer there is an excellent network of hiking trails, climbing tours for every level, cycle routes, riding, golf and tennis. For the more adventurous there are also opportunities to go paragliding, ballooning or white-water rafting or canoeing on the Saanen, and the highest tobogganing run in the world. Gstaad caters for everyone and it has not left out those who love to shop!! The centre of the village is a shoppers paradise featuring designer shops which include Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chopard, Brunello Cucinelli, Prada, Moncler, Ralph Lauren, and Cartier, while many smaller boutiques stock labels such as Chloe, Dolce & Gabbana, Tod’s, Burberry, Dior, Oscar de la Renta, and Marc Jacobs. Gstaad also has numerous restaurants and cafés, Gstaad has more than 100 restaurants which range from the traditional “Raclette-Stübli” to the Gourmet Restaurants, it would be difficult to find anywhere else with so many points awarded by the renowned Gault Millau guide, and if that is not enough then there is also a summer gourmet festival!!!
In winter Gstaad comes alive as the skiing season gets under way, from the end of October to the start of May, and the village is lit up with thousands of lights twinkling in the white, crisp snow which is guaranteed in Gstaad due to the fact that 60% of the main slopes are covered in artificial snow. The crystal-clear air refreshes your senses. There is not only the skiing to enjoy there is also cross-country skiing, winter hiking, snowshoe tours, husky tours or free-ride thrills and with this range of activities and 220 km of pistes there is nowhere better to be than Gstaad. Gstaad is considered to be one of the safest resorts in German-speaking Switzerland, children under the age of 9 can travel for free on all the mountain lifts. …for more information on Gstaad in the winter “see here”
The event area in the centre of the village, with its breathtakingly beautiful Alpine panorama, offers many internationally acclaimed sporting and cultural events throughout the year. Some of these events include – “New Year Music Festival of Gstaad”, “Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad” classical music winter series, “Crédit Agricole Swiss Open Gstaad” tennis tournament, “Menuhin Festival Gstaad”, “Hublot Polo Gold Cup” polo tournament, “Country Night Gstaad” and “Gstaad Promenade Party”, twice a year in winter and summer. In fact the choice of events is so large that visitors can choose from more than 1000 different events each year.
Local cuisine – For local cuisine the following restaurants are recommended: Gstaaderhof, Posthotel Rössli, Mountain hut Wispile, 16 Art Bar Restaurant, Saanerhof, Landhaus, Steigenberger Alpenhotel & Spa, Hotel Kernen, Mountain hut Rellerli, Bären Gsteig and Saanewald-Lodge
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