Gstaad is a Swiss ski resort that oozes understated luxury. Famous for its hiking and skiing, Gstaad is a popular destination with the international jet-set. Here are the best things to do in Gstaad, Switzerland that you shouldn’t miss on your trip.
Fun Things to Do In Gstaad, Switzerland
Gstaad’s motto is Come Up – Slow Down. While some of these Gstaad activities are very relaxing, there are also many active pursuits here.
Although Gstaad is known for its winter sports like ice skating, skiing and tobogganing, this charming Swiss town is also a good Summer destination. Hiking is the most popular activity in Gstaad during the Summer months.
You can walk around picturesque mountain lakes such as Hornberg Reservoir, Lake Lauenen, Lake Seeberg and Lake Arnen.
There are also two public outdoor swimming pools: Saanen outdoor pool and Zweisimmen outdoor pool. Guests staying at Gstaad Palace also have access to a 50 meter outdoor swimming pool.
The centre of Gstaad is car-free, and traditional architecture has been carefully preserved. Contemporary artworks make for a great mix of old and new.
Celebrities including Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton flocked to this luxurious ski resort over the years. Julie Andrews, one of the most famous Gstaad residents, called it the last paradise in a crazy world.
1. Mount Eggli
Head up to Mount Eggli via the brand new cable car to admire the scenery and enjoy tasty cooking from one of the food trucks. A permanent restaurant is being constructed at the moment.
In the meantime, the best restaurants in Gstaad take it in turns to serve up their signature dishes for hungry skiers and hikers at Gstaad Gourmet Mobil. On our visit, we enjoyed flammekueche, similar to pizza but with a cream rather than tomato base.
Enjoy Swiss wines from Domaines Chevalier and Champagner. There are deckchairs to relax in, four stationary cable car gondolas and giant wooden letters spelling out Gstaad.
The food trucks are open every day from mid December to mid March. You can also do a toboggan ride from Eggli to Gstaad, the four kilometer long Eggli Run. It’s suitable for all ages and abilities.
Skiers have access to the Saanen – Gstaad – Rougemont ski area, with 50 kilometers of ski runs. Mount Eggli is 1,557 meters above sea level.
2. Mirage Gstaad
You won’t believe your eyes when you see the Mirage House. This artwork by Doug Aitken is also known as the Mirror House.
Clad from top to bottom with mirrors, it’s designed to reflect our relationship with nature and our surroundings. The installation is inspired by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and Californian ranch houses.
You can walk around inside and admire the mirrors on every surface. On our visit, a cleaner was polishing the mirrors, he certainly had his work cut out!
The Mirage Gstaad is fairly easy to reach if you take a car or train to Schönried station. From here it’s a short hike through thick snow so make sure to wear waterproof boots and warm clothes.
We went with a knowledgeable guide who also showed us around Gstaad village. The GPS coordinates if you need them are: 46°29’53.4″N 7°17’11.1″E.
This is a temporary installation that should be in place for another year, so visit it while you can.
Address: Mirage Gstaad, Saaliweg 9, 3778 Schönried
3. Fondue Caquelon Cheese Grotto
If you like cheese, this unique grotto is a must visit. With over 3,000 Swiss cheese wheels, it’s housed 25 meters underground in a former water reservoir.
Also known as the Swiss Cheese Cathedral, the grotto is reached via the scenic Gstaad – Bissen – Turbach hiking trail. It takes around 45 minutes from Gstaad train station or the Gstaad promenade.
People have been making cheese in Gstaad for around 1,000 years. These days, the local dairy makes the Berner hobelkase cheese that you’ll see in the grotto.
This Appellation d’origine protegee cheese is matured for at least 18 months. The grotto provides the ideal maturing conditions.
Outside, there’s a giant fondue pot which provides an excellent photo opportunity. In fact there are 2 other gigantic fondue pots in the Gstaad area, at Schlittmoos and Vorderi Wispile. It’s possible to book a fondue backpack from several local dairies containing truffle fondue, spices, crusty fondue bread, a fondue pot, plates and utensils.
Address: Fondue Caquelon Cheese Grotto, 3780 Saanen
4. Dinner at Michelin starred The Alpina Gstaad
Luxury hotel The Alpina Gstaad has several great places to eat overseen by Executive Chef Martin Göschel. He previously worked at Bareiss, a two Michelin stars establishment.
Sommet is a Michelin starred restaurant, while Swiss Stübli is a cosy eatery serving local specialties. Megu is an Asian restaurant that wows with its elegant decor and gourmet food. This popular Gstaad restaurant boasts the largest collection of sake in Switzerland.
The design is by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance and features wooden slats inspired by Japanese temples together with antique kimonos. Head Chef Tetsujiro Ogata and Head Sushi Chef Tsutomu Kugota have concocted a menu that delights all the senses.
Awarded the top Asian restaurant in Switzerland by Gault Millau, Megu also has a Michelin star since 2016.
Address: Megu, The Alpina Gstaad, Alpinastrasse 23, 3780 Gstaad, Switzerland
5. Spa Treatment at Le Grand Bellevue
If your muscles are aching after all the hiking and skiing, then a session at Le Grand Spa is definitely called for! Spread over 3,000 square meters, this stunning Alpine retreat is a must visit when in Gstaad.
Located within the 5 star Bellevue Gstaad hotel in the center of town, it’s nevertheless an oasis of calm. There are 17 different wellness zones in the Thermal Oasis, including a salt inhalation grotto, hay sauna, Turkish steam bath and laconium. The latter is perfect for those who find saunas too hot, featuring a bench that warms up gradually to 65°C.
There’s also a 15 m indoor pool, with regular paddle board yoga sessions. The highlights for us were the Outdoor Relaxation Pool overlooking the Finnish sauna and a deep tissue massage treatment. This focused on relieving muscular tensions through expertly applied pressure and rejuvenating organic oils.
Address: Le Grand Spa, Le Grand Bellevue, Untergstaadstrasse 17, 3780 Gstaad
6. Luxury Shopping
The luxury shopping in Gstaad is second to none. From Dolce & Gabbana to Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren and Moncler, you’ll find most of the major luxury fashion brands on the Pedestrianized Promenade.
Also known as Shopping Mile, it has a great range of luxury skiwear boutiques. There are also several art galleries in town and many interesting sculptures like The Thinker bronze statue by Joseph Klibansky.
Just off the Promenade, you’ll find R Chocolate Boutique on Viktoriastrasse. They have some great local specialties such as Louibachsteine with honey and cream made from local milk.
7. The Yurt Gstaad
You wouldn’t expect to find a Mongolian yurt in Gstaad but this town is full of surprises. The brainchild of Johannes Eisenburger, this yurt is an intimate bar that has a real party atmosphere.
Nestled in the grounds of Bellevue Gstaad, it’s a lot of fun. DJ Ewald Klassen spins tunes while the bar tender who is generally wearing a huge cloak carves ice from a slab.
Address: The Yurt Gstaad, Untergstaadstrasse 17, Gstaad 3780
8. Kunsteisbahn Gstaad Ice Rink
Right in the centre of the town on Sportzentrumstrasse, you’ll find Kunsteisbahn Gstaad. Open from mid October to beginning of March, it becomes a beach volleyball court in Summertime.
The ice rink is open from 10 am to 5 pm (10.30 am on Saturdays) with a late night session on Thursdays from 8.15-9.30 pm.
The Park Gstaad hotel has a complimentary ice rink, open to guests and non-residents each day from 10 am to 8 pm during the Winter season. Next to it, you’ll find the Ice Dome bar, which serves up Laurent-Perrier champagne, hot chocolate and glühwein.
Address: Kunsteisbahn Gstaad, Sportzentrumstrasse 5 3780 Gstaad
9. Le Petit Chalet
This cosy log cabin seats just 18 and serves up delicious Swiss specialties. Nestled within the grounds of Le Grand Bellevue hotel, it’s a wonderful place to enjoy cheese and chocolate fondues or a raclette.
The charming hostess will make you feel right at home. In Summertime, there’s an open air terrace and chicken rotisserie.
Le Petit Chalet is open from 6 to 10 pm from Thursday to Monday.
Address: Le Petit Chalet, Untergstaadstrasse 17, 3780 Gstaad
Gstaad is blessed with an extended Winter ski season, thanks to its proximity with Glacier3000. A 20 minute drive away from the center of Gstaad in Les Diablerets, Glacier3000 can be easily reached by the Ice Express Chairlift at Col du Pillon.
It is possible to do cross country skiing from October to May on the glacier, and there are lots of other fun activities like sleigh rides. The Glacier Walk takes around an hour and finishes at the Restaurant Refuge l’Espace. For a less energetic option, take a Snow Bus Tour or dogsled ride.
The Alpine Coaster is a one kilometer toboggan run with speeds up to 40 kilometers an hour and 10 curves. Thankfully you can control the speed with your brake lever!
Peak Walk by Tissot is the first, only suspension bridge connecting two mountain peaks. It is free to Glacier3000 visitors, just be prepared to wait while people get their photos as it’s very popular.
When to Visit Gstaad
Whether you choose to visit in Summer for hiking or in Winter for skiing, the town is always lively. There are many top events held here each year such as the Beach Volleyball Major Series, the Menuhin Festival and the Swiss Open in July.
In August, the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad takes place, while the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad are a range of concerts taking place in Gstaad chapel, Saanen and Rougemont.
Getting to Gstaad
The area of Gstaad Saanenland is easy to reach by plane and train. Bern Airport is the closest, while air taxis operate from Saanen Airport to the Bernese Oberland.
Where to Stay in Gstaad
Le Grand Bellevue Gstaad is family owned and centrally located in the heart of the town. This 5 star hotel has one of the best spas in the Swiss Alps.
There are also several great dining options including The Sushi Bar, The Lounge for afternoon tea, The Bar and Le Petit Chalet. Internationally acclaimed 3 Michelin starred chef Massimo Bottura and his team will be returning to LEONARD’s for a Summer residency.
The rooms are spacious, and many have fantastic views of the Alps. We stayed in a Tower Room which overlooks the mountains and has a double set of windows.
A special mention to Franziska, the charming lady who served me breakfast in my room on the last day. This is definitely one of the best places to stay in Gstaad.
In Conclusion: Best Things to Do in Gstaad Switzerland
Gstaad is a quaint little town surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Switzerland. If you find yourself in this neck of the woods, be sure to check out at least one (or all) of these great activities!
And if you’re looking for more things to do in this stunning country, be sure to check out our other articles on what to do in Switzerland.
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