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Gstaad in 2011
Gstaad in 2011
Location of Gstaad
Gstaad is located in Switzerland
Gstaad is located in Canton of Bern
Coordinates: 46°28′N 7°17′E / 46.467°N 7.283°E / 46.467; 7.283Coordinates: 46°28′N 7°17′E / 46.467°N 7.283°E / 46.467; 7.283
1,050 m (3,440 ft)
 (Dec 2009)
 • Total7,063
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (Central European Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (Central European Summer Time)
Postal code(s)
SFOS number0843
SFSO statistics

Gstaad (/ɡəˈʃtɑːd, -ˈstɑːd-/ gə-SHTAHD, -⁠STAHD; German pronunciation: [kʃtaːt])[1] is a town in the German-speaking section of the Canton of Bern in southwestern Switzerland. It is part of the municipality of Saanen and is known as a major ski resort and a popular destination amongst high society and the international jet set. The winter campus of the Institute Le Rosey is located in Gstaad. Gstaad has a population of about 9,200 and is located 1,050 metres (3,445 feet) above sea level.


Aerial view (1949)

During the Middle Ages it was part of the district of Saanen (Gessenay) belonging to the Savoyard county of Gruyère. The town core developed at the fork in the trails into the Valais and Vaud. It had an inn, a warehouse for storing trade goods and oxen to help pull wagons over the alpine passes by the 13th-14th centuries. The St. Nicholas chapel was built in the town in 1402, while the murals are from the second half of the 15th century. The town was dominated by cattle farming and agriculture until the great fire of 1898. It was then rebuilt to support the growing tourism industry. The construction of the Montreux-Oberland Bernois railroad in 1905 and the construction of ski runs (the Ski Club of Saanen open in 1905 followed in 1907 by the Ski Club of Gstaad). The first ski school in Gstaad opened in 1923. In a short time, there were more than 1,000 hotel beds in the region.[2]

The residents, hoteliers, shopkeepers and tourist offices helped to promote Gstaad to international attention. They supported the construction of ice rinks, tennis courts, swimming pools, ski jumps, and ski and hiking areas. The first ski lifts at Funi opened in 1934-44 and was followed by a number of gondolas, ski, and chair lifts. The Gstaad Palace opened in 1913 as Gstaad's first luxury hotel. In 1942 the Saanen-Gstaad airfield was opened for military and civil aviation. Helicopter rides were added later and in 1980 balloon flights became available as well. During the World Wars and the Great Depression, the tourism industry suffered and many hotels closed. After World War II, many of the large hotels remained closed, but they were replaced with a number of smaller non-hotel accommodation (chalets, apartment houses, residences). Most of the modern resorts and small hotels are built out of wood and retain traditional design elements.[2]

The Gstaad Polo Club was founded in 1992.[3]


According to the Köppen climate classification system, Gstaad has a humid continental climate, abbreviated Dfb on climate maps.[4]

Climate data for Gstaad (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 2.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.3
Average low °C (°F) −7.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 108
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 10.8 9.9 11.9 11.2 14.4 13.9 12.8 13.0 10.5 10.5 10.4 11.3 140.6
Source: MeteoSwiss [5]


Mountain Railway Chalberhöni

Situated in the Berner Oberland, Gstaad is home to a large ski area in the Alps (220 km (137 mi) of slopes). The middle of the village features a picturesque promenade bounded by numerous shops, restaurants, art galleries, and hotels. Designer labels including Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chopard, Brunello Cucinelli, Prada, Moncler, Ralph Lauren, and Cartier all have stores in Gstaad, while many smaller boutiques stock labels such as Chloe, Dolce & Gabbana, Tod's, Burberry, Dior, Oscar de la Renta, and Marc Jacobs.

Promenade Gstaad

Long known for its walking and hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty, the mountain air and ambiance attracts guests year round from around the world. Gstaad is also known for its ski and cross-country slopes and winter hiking trails.[6]

Gstaad, named "The Place" by Time magazine in the 1960s,[7] is widely known for its famous part-time residents and vacationers.[7] Famous regular visitors to Gstaad have included Madonna, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, haute couture designer Valentino Garavani, writer William F. Buckley, Jr.,[8] and various members of the Cavendish family. Many British bands and musicians would play at L'Atelier, a club in Gstaad, in the 1960s and 1970s; one such band was Merlin 'Q' (later Edison Lighthouse), who stayed a whole winter.[citation needed]


Gstaad is known for its luxury hotels, among them the Grand Hotel Park, the Alpina Gstaad, the Gstaad Palace, the Grand Hotel Bellevue, the Hotel Olden, and the Arc En Ciel. In July 2019, the Arc En Ciel came under fire for discrimination and later apologized after issuing a notice of rules directly addressed to its Indian guests.[9][10]

Regular events[edit]

Beachvolleyball Tournament Gstaad—court: Roy Emerson Arena

In Gstaad, the following regular events are held:

  • the New Year Music Festival of Gstaad, held by the Princess Caroline Murat
  • the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad classical music winter series
  • the Snow Bike Festival,[11] a winter snow biking event[12]
  • the FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour - 1to1 energy Grand Slam, beach volleyball tournament
  • the Swiss Open, tennis tournament
  • the Ladies Championship Gstaad, tennis tournament
  • the Menuhin Festival Gstaad, classical music
  • the Hublot Polo Gold Cup, polo tournament
  • the Country Night Gstaad
  • the Gstaad Promenade Party in September
  • the Christmas Market Circus in December
  • the International Week - Hot Air Ballooning in January
  • the Gstaad Mountain Rides Open in January


Several boarding schools are located in or have a campus in Gstaad:[13]

Notable residents[edit]

Balthus, 1966
Taki Theodoracopolous, 1991
Jane Randolph, 1942

Current and former residents of Gstaad include:

The Arts
  • Ernesto Bertarelli (born 1965) Italian-born Swiss billionaire businessman and philanthropist
  • Philipp Braunwalder Swiss philanthropist
  • Bernie Ecclestone (born 1930) British Formula One business magnate [26]
  • Curt Engelhorn (1926–2016) German billionaire, heir of the chemical company BASF
  • George Soros (born 1930) Hungarian-American investor and philanthropist

Popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Wells, John (2008). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.). Pearson Longman. ISBN 978-1-4058-8118-0.
  2. ^ a b Gstaad in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  3. ^ Laffaye, Horace A. (2015). The Polo Encyclopedia. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 150. ISBN 9780786495771. OCLC 931799202.
  4. ^ Climate Summary for Gstaad
  5. ^ "Climate Norm Value Tables". Climate diagrams and normals from Swiss measuring stations. Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss). Archived from the original on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2013. The weather station elevation is 1,045 meters above sea level.
  6. ^ Duthel, Heinz (2019-03-04). Switzerland - Schweizer - Suisse - Svizzera. BoD – Books on Demand. ISBN 978-3-7494-2812-0.
  7. ^ a b "Coming Up Chic". Time. March 1, 1963. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
  8. ^ "He Knew He Was Right". March 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-01.
  9. ^ DelhiJuly 27, India Today Web Desk New; July 27, 2019UPDATED; Ist, 2019 17:20. "Harsh Goenka slams Swiss hotel for notice to Indians at buffet, adds note for tourists. Internet agrees". India Today. Retrieved 2020-02-18.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "Swiss hotel apologises for 'racist' notice aimed at Indian tourists". HotelierME. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
  11. ^ "Long-term partnership". Gstaad.
  12. ^ "Snow Bike Festival | About Us". Retrieved 2016-08-25.
  13. ^ "International schools" (Archive). Gstaad. Retrieved on April 17, 2016.
  14. ^ "Switzerland gets only all-boys boarding school" (Archive). The Local. June 13, 2014. Retrieved on April 17, 2016.
  15. ^ "James Blunt planning Swiss move". January 17, 2007. Archived from the original on October 30, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
  16. ^ "Taki on Gstaad summers in the line of fire". 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
  17. ^ "Switzerland: The Gstaad Mystique". The Washington Post. November 4, 1984. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  18. ^ "Gstaad: Just a simple Swiss village - for Liz Taylor and Julie Andrews". April 16, 1989. Archived from the original on May 16, 2011. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
  19. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 28 July 2019
  20. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 28 July 2019
  21. ^ "Switzerland Is Yours". 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
  22. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 28 July 2019
  23. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 28 July 2019
  24. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 28 July 2019
  25. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 28 July 2019
  26. ^ "Celebrities in Switzerland: Bernie Ecclestone". 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
  27. ^ "Bollywood-Bollywood in Swiss Alps-Providing a tourism boost". 2015-05-30. Archived from the original on 2015-05-30. Retrieved 2019-09-15.

External links[edit]

  • Gstaad – official site (in English, French, & German)
  • GstaadLife magazine (in English, with links to German sister publication, the "Anzeiger von Saanen")