Gstaad, Switzerland is a very famous ski town in the heart of the Swiss Alps. The rich and famous have been vacationing in Gstaad for centuries, and I can see why. This was my second time visiting Gstaad but my first time staying in this lively town. In size, Gstaad is quite small and since the town is located in the German section of Switzerland, they speak Schweizerdeutsch (or Swiss German). There is one main street filled with restaurants and shopping (lots of expensive stores) that offer a diverse mix of local products, bakeries that offer mouthwatering bread and other small delights, watches (which come with a sizable price tag), and really anything you could possibly want. During the summer, Gstaad hosts the Swatch Beach Major Volleyball Series (usually in July). We visited while the tournament was going on so the town was always filled with athletes, families, and lots of people looking to hike in the nearby mountains. One of Gstaad's perks is its close proximity to Lauterbrunnen. If you're into travel, I'm sure you've heard of this valley, as it is world-famous and quite impressive. The valley attracts tourists from all around the world because of the large peaks that soar over 10,000 feet and the stunning waterfalls that come crashing down into the valley floor. By car, you can get to Lauterbrunnen in an hour and a half from Gstaad. The town of Lauterbrunnen is also accessible by train. Both ways of transportation are incredibly scenic (as most of Switzerland is). Gstaad is surrounded by mountains that have a diverse network of hiking trails, of all different levels of activity. If you want knife-edge hiking, they've got it. If you're more into paths that won't make your stomach turn, they've got those too. The town of Gstaad is very family friendly as there are no cars allowed down the main road. It's easy to sit back and enjoy the luxury of Gstaad, while also feeling like you're in a quintessential Swiss village. I am already looking forward to my next visit to Gstaad, truly a piece of gold in the Swiss Alps.
where to stay
We stayed at the Hotel Bernerhof. This hotel is much more casual than some of the other chateaus or palaces in Gstaad, so if you really want to feel like Anne Hathaway (a frequent visitor of Gstaad), then I'd recommend looking into the Alpina (the most beautiful hotel I've ever been to. We had cocktails there one night...that was memorable to say the least), Le Grand Bellevue, or the Gstaad Palace. Basically, you really can't go wrong..lol. The hotel staff at the Bernerhof were welcoming, the rooms were very clean (had lots of outlets for charging devices, something rather important to my family..), and the breakfast at the hotel was delicious (a lot of the food was local..including fresh milk from Sally the cow down the road). I would definitely stay here again.