The vacation area of Gstaad - Saanenland - Pays d'Enhaut is located
at the German-French language border between Lake of Geneva and Lake
of Thun, 900 to 3200 meters above sea level.
The villages of the area are all located on an ideal elevation of 900
to 1200 meters, ideal location for your Real Estate.
Superb landscape, a mild climate, major
events, prominent guests from all four corners of the earth and an unbelievable
variety of leisure opportunities - no wonder that Gstaad and its neighbouring
areas are so well known far beyond Switzerland's borders. Thanks to excellent
means of transportation, the area can be reached in less than 2 hours
from all major cities and airports in the country both by road or by
In Saanen there is even an airport with customs services and where medium
sized aircraft may land.
Originally a winter resort, Gstaad now attracts about half of its visitors
in the summer. At 1,000 meters above sea level, the climate
in the town, situated at the junction of five valleys, remains relatively
mild all year round.
The villages in the Gstaad valley (Saanenland, Pays d'Enhaut):
Saanen is the capital of the district, seat of the administration and marketplace
of the whole Saanenland. Wise laws and the typical Bernese slowness have always
put qualitative increase before mass tourism and construction excesses. The church
of St.Mauritius from the 16th century became world famous as an ideal set-up
for the classical concerts of the musical summer (Yehudi-Menuhin-Festival). In
the last few years many small and attractive art studios, galleries and other
handicraft artists have opened a business in the well preserved village centre
with its beautiful houses.
The economic and cultural center of the whole area is world known and has a magic
attraction. The lovely village offers an open-air shopping experience with a
good offer for all budgets. Since autumn 1997, a tunnel allowed to establish
a large pedestrian zone and take out traffic from the village centre and thus
make it even more attractive.
These two villages are located along the road to the Col du
Pillon and have an impressive and terrific scenery in the background.
They are departure point for many long hikes in the area of the Sanetsch
and the romantic Lake "Arnensee". The nearby Diablerets-Glacier
attracts skiers and hikers both in winter and in summer. The centre of the village
of Gsteig with its church was put under protection. Gsteig and Feutersoey are
ideal places for people that are looking mainly for peace, rest and cosiness.
These two villages are considered the "sun deck" and "panoramic
terrace" of the region. They are located on about 1200 meters above sea
level and are an ideal departure point for the beautiful hiking network in summer
and winter. Ski runs and cross-country slopes are located in front of the
Since summer 1995 there is a summer tobogganing run on Mount Rellerli.
This romantic mountain village is located in a wide valley about 7 km
from Gstaad. It has a village centre with old wooden buildings and with
a church of the 16th century. The natural reserve around the Lake of
Lauenen (Lauenensee) with its ponds, waterfalls and glaciers offers excellent
rest in an intact landscape. Rougemont
This village is already located in the French speaking canton of Vaud. It is
very sunny. Monks of the abbey of Cluny have founded a monastery and influenced
during more than 500 years the daily life of the inhabitants. Today the castle
and the beautiful church are a part of the picturesque village as well as the
wonderful old chalets. Rougemont has no through-traffic due to the bypass road
and is connected to the skiing area of Gstaad with the Videmanette gondola cabins.
This village is the capital of the French speaking district of Pays-d'Enhaut.
It is a mountain village where cosiness and old costumes are carefully preserved.
The local museum offers a wide range of art and daily utensils. The Hot Air Ballooning
Week in January has made the place known beyond the Swiss borders and attract
every year about 80 teams from all over the world for a peaceful competition.
The bypass road takes out of the village most traffic.
Besides the described major villages there are several other intact and idyllic
hamlets and settlements in the Saanenland and Pays d'Enhaut region: Bissen, Gruben,
Turbach, Kalberhöni, Flendruz, Rossinière and Grund. These places
often are departure points for hiking.
Despite the fact that the inhabitants of the Saanenland are German-speaking
Swiss, their mentality is much closer to Switzerland's French-speaking
population. There are historical reasons for this phenomenon. The Saanen
area was once part of the county of Gruyères, and was only passed
on to the canton of Berne when the count of Gruyères went bankrupt
in 1555. With its wide valley and gentle slopes the Saanenland enjoys above-average
sunshine - so that its region is often described as the "Sunny Country".
This may well explain why it was already a favoured area for convalescence,
rest and relaxation in the 17th century. Tourism really set in when the
Montreux-Oberland railroad was opened in 1905, providing a direct link
between Montreux on the Lake Geneva Gstaad on the west side and Zweisimmen/Interlaken
on the east. A further step, this time at international level, was taken
in about 1920 when the institute "Le Rosey" was opened, and also
the Gstaad Palace Hotel. Having spent their teens in Gstaad, many of the
former Rosey students - children of royal families, of major industrialists,
politicians and businessmen, of top people in show business - retained
a lifelong attachment for this region. The area was steadily but carefully
developed in line with the needs of active tourism. Between 1945 and 1970
the main focus was on opening up the region with chair lifts, ski lifts,
gondolas and cable cars. Today the visitors can use with one ticket 69
means of transportation with 250 km ski runs of all difficulties in 7 larger
and 6 smaller skiing areas. Thanks to several partnerships with other ski
areas, the owners of a seasonal skiing ticket of Gstaad can use it without
extra charge in the skiing resorts Kitzbühel, St.Moritz, Adelboden-Lenk,
Alpes Vaudoises as well as in Ordino-Arcalis/Pal-Arinsal (Andorra).
hotels and houses in the Saanen style are in harmony with the surrounding
And the old trades have been retained, such as scissors cutting, pottery,
wood carving and alphorn making. Agriculture is - beside tourism - an
important pillar of the local economy, in fact, there are more than 8000
the area. The farmers still earn their living with cattle breeding and
dairy farming. They are proud of their meet and dairy products that are
exported in many countries of the world. The Saanen Hobelkäse (local
cheese) was already widely in demand 300 years ago. During the summer
the cattle grazes in the high alpine pastures, which means that in spring
in autumn visitors to the region can watch the traditional festive ascent
to or descent from the high pastures - the farmers dressed in traditional
costume and the cattle adorned with flowers. Today the cattle and produce
markets in Saanen, Lauenen and Gsteig are more popular than ever.
Events in the Gstaad Region
Several events have made
the area of Gstaad and Saanenland famous across the country's
borders. Who doesn't know the ATP Swiss Open Tennis Tournament, the International
Hot Air Ballooning Week of Château-d'Oex or the Yehudi Menuhin
Festival with excellent performances in classical music? Some of these
been established in the area for several decades and nobody wants to
miss them today as important social events. Besides there are many other
of later origins, e.g. the Country Night or the Cartier Polo Silver Cup
in summer. In winter, sporting events on the ski slopes and ice-rinks
The Saanenland Gstaad aera is also strongholds of gastronomy
and entertainment. Many internationally renowned restaurants and places
with traditional local cuisine offer an extremely varied delights. The
nightlife of Gstaad offers a wider choice than that of many larger cities.
In about a dozen places, live bands perform until the early morning hours.
The offer satisfies all kind of preferences.
Sports in the Gstaad Region
The sports available in the Saanenland throughout the year leave little
to be desired. In summer there are excellent walks, as well as climbing,
mountain biking, horseback riding, golf and tennis, but also paragliding,
ballooning or whitewater rafting and canoeing on the Saane river. In
winter there is downhill and cross-country skiing, ski mountaineering,
curling, ice-skating tobogganing and much more. Tennis, paragliding and
ballooning are available year-round. Other offers include squash, heliskiing,
summer tobogganing and horse-drawn carriages.
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More History Gstaad Saanenland