Must-knows about Gstaad

  • Gstaad is a mountain village in the Simmen Valley.
  • It’s located in the western Bernese Oberland, and close to eastern Lake Geneva.
  • The village is directly on the famous GoldenPass train route.
  • Gstaad is a luxurious resort, with excellent hotels and restaurants. Mid-range hotels are available too.
  • Gstaad is mainly known as a wellness and winter sports resort.
  • We think the beautiful surroundings are perfect for hiking, biking, and mountain visits in summer too.
Recommended season: early January to late February and mid April to late October
Altitude: 1050 m (3445 ft)
This is a winter sports resort
Town size: Medium
Local language: French, German
There is a train station

What to see and do in Gstaad Copy link to clipboard

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What to do in Gstaad in summer

Hiking, biking, and mountain visits are perfect summer activities in Gstaad.

Gstaad hikes

Hiking can be done directly from the town, for example in the Simmen Valley. A few hiking highlights:

  • The Obersimmentaler Hausweg ("house trail") from Boltigen to Lenk, east of Gstaad. This easy valley trail gets you past lots of traditional Swiss chalets and farmhouses.
  • The easy walk to and along the Lauenensee ("Lake Lauenen") south of Gstaad. We walked this route in early May and loved the peace and quiet of the valley and lake.

Lakes and waterfalls

While hiking, you can admire several lakes. The Lauenensee is just one of them. Further examples are the Arnensee near Feutersoey, the Seebergsee above Zweisimmen, and the Hornerbergsee (a reservoir lake) to be reached from Horneggli.

If you're interested in waterfalls, visit the Geltenschuss and Tungelschuss behind the Lauenensee, or the Burgfälle near Gsteig.

The impressive "Siebe Brunne" ("seven wells") and the Simmen Falls near Lenk can be reached too. Lenk is at a 55-minute train ride from Gstaad.

Summer mountains near Gstaad

You can hike from several mountains that surround Gstaad. Simply traveling up and enjoying the views is great as a day trip too.

The mountain Wispile can be reached directly from Gstaad. Other mountains in the area are, from north-east to south-west:

  • Rinderberg (from Zweisimmen)
  • Horneggli (from Schönried)
  • Wasserngrat (from Bissen)
  • Sanetsch (from Gsteig)
  • Glacier 3000 (from Col-du-Pillon)
  • La Videmanette (from Rougemont)

Winter activities in Gstaad

Gstaad is a famous winter destination. Many snow-covered ski areas can quickly be reached. Some ski lifts depart directly from town: to Eggli, Bodme and Wispile for example. They’re usually open from mid-December to mid-March.

Other ski regions are within easy reach too: the Simmen Valley, the Lauenen Valley and the Pays-d'Enhaut. The ski area Glacier 3000 near Les Diablerets is around the corner as well.

The entire region offers lots of winter activities besides skiing. Tobogganing, snowshoe hiking, winter biking and carriage rides are all available. Adventurous activities include paragliding, heli-skiing and ice-climbing.

If you visit Gstaad from November to mid-December, there won’t be many snow options yet. But you can enjoy the holiday atmosphere and visit Christmas markets in Montreux and Saanen.

Sports and entertainment options

Gstaad offers lots of indoor sports and entertainment facilities. There are fitness centers, a climbing center, a pool, tennis and badminton courts, and a golf simulator. Horse-riding is possible too.

You can also have fun in the cinema or at the bowling alley.

Wellness and spas

Gstaad has traditionally been a wellness resort. And it still is: many hotels have indoor pools, spas and all sorts of excellent wellness treatments. In addition, the indoor sports center of Gstaad has a sauna, steam bath and whirlpool.

Gstaad travel info and map Copy link to clipboard

How to reach Gstaad by train

It's easy to reach Gstaad by train. The most obvious routes are:

  • From the north, via Bern, Thun, Spiez and Zweisimmen. The section Zweisimmen-Gstaad is part of the GoldenPass route. The train ride to Gstaad takes from takes 3h00 to 3h30 from Basel, and 4 hours from Zurich.
  • From the north, via Lucerne and Interlaken. This way you'll cover a larger stretch of the GoldenPass route. This option takes 4h45 to 5h25 from Zurich, and 5h30 to 6h15 via Basel.
  • From the south-west, via Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux and Chateau d'Oex. This train journey takes 2h45 from Geneva.

You can plan your own journey to or from Gstaad with the Swiss timetable.

How to travel to Gstaad by car

Gstaad can be reached by car, using the roads parallel to the rail routes described above. Note that the town center is car-free: see below.

How to get by in Gstaad

Gstaad is relatively small. In most cases, you can get by on foot. A walk between both ends of the main street "Promenade" in the town center takes just 7 minutes.

There are local buses to transport you to less central parts of the village and to neighboring villages.

The town center is for pedestrians. Cars are prohibited there. It concerns the area of the main street "Promenade" and its surrounding alleys, close to the rail station.

Most hotels have a parking lot or parking garage for your car. There are public parking lots and a garage near the rail station as well.

Free local transport with the Gstaad Card

You will get a free Gstaad Card if you book a hotel, chalet or apartment in Gstaad. The Gstaad Card gets you discounts on various local attractions and free local train and bus travel.

Rail passes for your stay in Gstaad

Many of the rail passes for Switzerland also include free traveling and discounts, usually in a much larger area than offered by the Gstaad Card.

You can consider the Berner Oberland Pass if you plan to focus on the area east of Gstaad. If you expect to travel in several directions from Gstaad, a nation-wide pass such as the Swiss Travel Pass makes more sense.

Our rail pass comparison guide helps you find the right option.

Gstaad on a Switzerland map

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When to visit Gstaad Copy link to clipboard

The best seasons to visit Gstaad are early January to late February and mid April to late October.

Gstaad in spring, summer and fall

Gstaad is a lovely village with beautiful green hills from April to October. March, November and December are slightly less attractive. Nature can look a bit dull during these months.

The best period for mountain visits and hikes around Gstaad is June to mid-September. Most cable cars are operational then, and high-altitude trails are most likely snow-free.

Gstaad in winter

Gstaad is in the mountains at about 1000 meters altitude. That's not very high to Swiss standards.

Snow in town is likely, but not guaranteed. You'll have the best shot in January or February. These are also the months in which most winter activities in the surrounding mountains are available.

Gstaad weather information and forecast Copy link to clipboard

What weather in Gstaad is like

As Gstaad is in the mountains, weather can change quickly. You'll always have to check the short-term weather forecast when planning your activities.

Winter temperatures are mostly around or above freezing point. In summer, expect temperatures between 18°C to 23°C on average.

Rain can occur year-long. The wettest months are June, July and August. Rain showers are most common. Days of continuous rain occur, but less often.

Gstaad 5-day weather forecast

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Accommodation in Gstaad Copy link to clipboard

Gstaad has lots of upper-class hotels with excellent facilities and a high level of personal service. Mid-range hotels are available too, as well as holiday rentals.

Palace Hotel in Gstaad

Hotels in Gstaad

Gstaad offers amazingly luxurious hotels, but there are perfect mid-range options too. Free local transport is included.

What Gstaad is like

Luxury and nature combined

Gstaad is one of the few towns in the Alps that offer the absolute best combination of alpine scenery, luxurious hotels, exclusive shopping and very fine restaurants. It attracts the rich and famous. In that respect, it has similarities to St. Moritz.

Location and scenery

The town is part of the Simmen Valley, at the western edge of the Bernese Oberland. The Lake Geneva region and the Fribourg area with Gruyères aren’t far away either.

Gstaad is situated in a wide valley with mountains up to 2400 m in the north and 3200 m in the south. There are plenty of winter sports and hiking facilities to enjoy yourself for weeks in both winter and summer.

The pros and cons of Gstaad

If you are willing to spend some money, you will have an excellent time in Gstaad. Staying in Gstaad is not cheap, but you do get quality in return.

The area is beautiful and lends itself to all kinds of outdoor activities.

The town isn’t located on the motorway or fast train routes, but it still is easy to do day trips in a large region from here. You can go hiking in the Simmen Valley, the Lauenen Valley or the Pays-d’Enhaut. A visit to Montreux and Lake Geneva is doable too.

Gstaad FAQ

  1. Where is Gstaad located?

    Gstaad is in the Simmen Valley in Switzerland. It’s in the western area of the Bernese Oberland, and north-east of Lake Geneva. It’s at a 3-hour train ride from Zurich and 2h45 from Geneva.

  2. What is Gstaad famous for?

    Gstaad is known as an exclusive Swiss wellness resort that attracts wealthy visitors. There are outstanding hotels with high-level facilities and spa treatments.

    Gstaad is surrounded by mountains and is also popular as a ski resort. It’s very attractive in summer too: you can hike and visit several mountain tops.

    In addition, Gstaad is directly on the famous GoldenPass train route.

  3. Is Gstaad worth visiting?

    Yes, Gstaad is worth a visit. The car-free town center looks very attractive with its traditional Swiss chalets. The surrounding green mountains add to the charm of the village.

    Gstaad is a good base town if you want to explore the western part of Switzerland. You can travel to Lake Thun and Lake Geneva. Gruyères can be visited for a day trip as well.

    Hopping off the train (for example if you’re traveling by GoldenPass) for a short walk in Gstaad is recommended too. Just wander around the attractive town center for a while and then resume your journey.

  4. Is Gstaad car-free?

    The town center of Gstaad is car-free: the district near the train station consists of the main shopping street “Promenade” and its surrounding alleys.

    The rest of the village can be reached by car. You can park at your hotel or at public parking spaces.

  5. Is German or French the language of Gstaad?

    The official language in Gstaad is German. It’s close to the French-speaking part of Switzerland, so French is quite common too.

    Personnel in hotels and other travel-related services in Gstaad usually speak English as well.

Other websites of interest

More about the Gstaad area Copy link to clipboard

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Page author: AnnikaSince early childhood I've been visiting Switzerland during my holidays and I just fell in love with the country. I spent many summers in the Bernese Oberland, which still feels like my second home, and then started to explore other areas. Traveling, hiking and photographing in the Swiss Alps are my absolute favorite activities.