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Gstaad, Switzerland

Romantic mountain village with overlooking castle and extensive, scenic slopes.

Gstaad is the Swiss resort of fairy tales. Surrounded by Alps, the town’s most prominent feature is a picturesque castle that sits on a hill overlooking the village. At night, the Palace Hotel is lit by spotlights and the eves of every chalet in the village are illuminated by strings of small white lights. Adding to the charm of this winter marvel is that the town is car free and all destinations are a close walk away.

Gstaad is known for its luxury hotels and shopping, excellent service, and international stars, as well as being one of the largest ski areas in Europe. The town is located at the intersection of two valleys in the Bernese Oberland in the Alps. Switzerland is a multicultural nation with the two largest ethnicities being French and German speakers. The dividing line between these two distinct parts of the country is located close to Gstaad, enabling anyone spending time at the resort the opportunity to experience two cultures. A few miles to the west are Vaudois, French-speaking Alps region, and Gruyère, world famous for its cheese; to the northeast are the international resorts of Adelboden and Interlaken.

There is a vast array of activities year-round to be found in Gstaad. Skiing and snowboarding are the most popular activities, and are abundant for both the novice and the advanced skier. Visitors can ski the entire Gstaad “Super Ski Region,” which is comprised of some six sectors, over 70 lifts, and 150 miles (250 kilometers) of trails. In summer this ticket enables skiers access to summer skiing on the gentle Diablerets glacier.

What’s Great

  • Traditional village, traffic-free in center, without the towny feel of other fashionable Swiss resorts
  • Lift ticket covers large area of slopes
  • Good long run for intermediates
  • Lively après-ski scene
  • Wide range of off-slope diversions including swanky shops

What’s Not-So-Great

  • Fragmented slopes, none convenient for central hotels – so you are always using buses and trains
  • Unreliable snow cover, except on the limited (and distant) Diablerets glacier slope
  • No budget accommodations
  • Few challenges for experts
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