For a truly luxurious summer mountain holiday, the Swiss resort of Gstaad is an unmissable destination in the Alps. Gstaad in summer is a symphony of tradition and exclusivity. Luxe hotels and summer chalets in Gstaad tempt visitors back yearly thanks to stunning facilities, gourmet cuisine, and high-end service. One of the finest summer resorts in Switzerland, visitors can look forward to discovering the traditional culture of Gstaad. In addition, there’s the stunning scenery, alpine activities, and high-end boutique shops. From Hermes and Prada, to Montcler, and of course, the Gstaad Chocolate Shop, it’s a shopper’s paradise! After visiting Gstaad for a summer holiday myself, here are my reflections on this iconic mountain resort in Switzerland.
When to Visit Gstaad for a Summer Holiday
Gstaad in summer is at its prime in July and August. As the most vibrant months, a summer holiday in Gstaad promises sunshine, clear air, and endless mountain views. Chalets are bedecked with bright flowers during the summer months. Hiking through wildflower meadows can add further colour to a summer mountain holiday in Gstaad.
The shoulder months of May and September should not be overlooked for a Gstaad summer holiday however. Once the snow melts in May, the mountains seem to come back to life before your eyes. The cows return to pasture, ringing their iconic Swiss cowbells, the river fills with meltwater, and visitors grab hiking shoes. September is a similarly special month for a summer holiday in Gstaad. Quieter than the lively peak months, it’s a time of changing seasons. The colours evolve from verdant greens to burnished golds, and the farmers shepherd their cattle down from mountain pastures. It also happens to be our favourite month for a wellness holiday in Gstaad!
The beautiful village of Gstaad has drawn visitors to the Saanenland region for generations. From Princess Diana to Bernie Ecclestone, esteemed travellers have never been able to resist the area. Stunning landscapes, trademark luxury hotels… meandering through Gstaad in summer, it’s easy to see why.
Gstaad summer holidays are typified by a laidback, bon vivant lifestyle. The carless cobbled promenade is flanked by traditional, chalet-style buildings housing exclusive brands, from Cartier to Louis Vuitton. The alfresco cafes and restaurants spill onto sunny terraces and serve gourmet cuisine. The fare ranges from regional specialities (fondue, of course!), to international menus, such as Japanese, and French fine dining. It’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular destinations for a Swiss Alps summer holiday.
Things to Do on a Summer Holiday in Gstaad
There’s a myriad of things to do during a summer vacation in Gstaad; the shape of a summer holiday in this Swiss summer resort depends entirely on your wishes! For the ultimate trip to the Alps, full of bucket list activities, Gstaad offers some incredible experiences. Enjoy the mountains from a new perspective, soaring over the peaks in a hot air balloon or by parachute. Helicopter tours can be arranged to see Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, or a bird’s eye view of these iconic mountains. Back on the ground try a private tour of a local vineyard with wine-tasting. For the foodies, discover the region’s famous local produce at the Gstaad Cheese Grotto.
For a life-affirming activity, white-water rafting in Gstaad is an unforgettable activity for adventurous spirits. Alternatively, feel at one with nature with a hike around the nearby Lauenensee Lake, followed by wild-swimming in its crystalline waters. Glacier 3000 is an unmissable Gstaad summer holiday experience. With a fun park and alpine coaster, it’s great for families, while via ferrata routes, glacier walking trails, and the suspension bridge that connects two mountain peaks, offer unforgettable mountain adventures.
For an active summer holiday in Gstaad, visitors can choose from horse-riding, mountain-biking, e-biking and hiking. There’s also paddleboarding, golfing, and rock-climbing. While this array is available, a slower pace of life is also encouraged! The 5* hotels and luxury summer chalets in Gstaad that we offer all boast stunning spas for a wellness holiday in the Alps that will leave even the busiest travellers feeling refreshed and revived. On a recent visit to Gstaad, we stayed at the gorgeous Ultima Gstaad, where the spa and wellness treatments on offer are second-to-none; sometimes doing nothing in an indulgent setting is the best activity!
Summer Events in Gstaad
As befits a summer resort with the reputation of Gstaad, there are a number of unmissable events in Gstaad between June and September. The headline features are the Hublot Polo Gold Cup in August, the Swiss Open Tennis, and the Beach Pro Volleyball tournament (both in July). On top of this, cultural highlights include Gstaad’s Country Night, where the biggest stars of the country music scene descend on the Swiss Alps, and the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, a classical music experience ongoing throughout the summer months.
For authentic experiences, there a regular events that highlight local traditions and culture. For family summer holidays in Gstaad, ‘Saani’s Family Program’ is run by the tourist office and includes amazing experiences for children, from local ranger tours and wildlife hunts, to farm visits and music sessions.
Eating and Drinking in Gstaad in Summer
There’s certainly not a shortage of fantastic bars and restaurants in Gstaad! In summer the atmosphere is more low key than the hedonistic winter months, but that doesn’t limit the variety. For excellent fondue and raclette, Le Petit Chalet is a cute little log cabin (it seats just 18 diners inside), which specialises in traditional Swiss dishes. Don’t miss the truffle fondue! For fine dining, 6 restaurants in Gstaad are recognised by the Michelin Guide, while Sommet restaurant at the Alpina Hotel in Gstaad boasts a Michelin star.
During my luxury summer holiday to Gstaad, I was genuinely impressed with our evening meal at Ultima Gstaad. Led by Chef Andrea Franceschi, the imaginative menu fuses local Swiss produce and flavours with international inspirations. The service was similarly impressive; friendly and attentive without being overbearing. It was undoubtedly the best meal of our trip. The other stand out was a more casual affair at Restaurant Müli, which nevertheless impressed with delicious dishes that have ensured the recognition of Gault & Millau who have awarded the restaurant 14 points.
How to Get to Gstaad
Getting to your destination is simply a means to an end for many travellers. However, Gstaad benefits from epic travel connections. Whether it’s one of the world’s most beautiful train routes, or flying directly into the resort by private jet or helicopter, the journey to Gstaad for a luxury summer holiday is not a standard travel day. From Geneva Airport to Gstaad, there’s a beautiful train connection with a change at Montreux. The route skirts Lac Leman where travellers can enjoy panoramic views across to the rugged mountains on the opposite shore, and pleasure boats cruising the lake’s waters.
After changing at Montreux, the Montreux Oberland Bernois Railway (MOB) snakes up and through the mountains to Gstaad, through a landscape preserved in time. Forests, mountain peaks, and traditional alpine farms pass by, and can all be appreciated from either a panoramic carriage, or the very special Belle Epoque carriages, designed in the style of the Orient Express. Both styles traverse the route daily.
For utmost luxury and complete convenience, Gstaad boasts its own airport, perfect for arriving by private jet. Situated just 5km from the village, it’s the perfect option to bookend a summer holiday to Gstaad in style. It’s also possible to transfer to Gstaad’s airport by helicopter, from nearby cities including Geneva, Zurich and Bern.
Where to Stay on a Gstaad Summer Holiday
After our stay at Ultima in Gstaad, we have to say that it is a stunning property for a Gstaad summer holiday. With a small collection of just 11 suites and six residences, this beautiful hotel is both luxurious and intimate.
The lobby bar is a lovely spot for a relaxed drink, or there’s a terrace to make the most of the mountain sunshine. The holistic spa and clinic boasts an array of facilities, from saunas and an ice shower, to a decent sized swimming pool and two hot tubs (one is outdoors). The suite we stayed in was beautiful, with views across the village and peaks surrounding Gstaad. While the Ultima Gstaad restaurant was fantastic, and I’d definitely suggest dining there during your stay, the driver service is always on hand to whisk you to the other restaurants across the resort. However, with a location just a 10 minute walk from Gstaad’s promenade, the location is perfect for a pre or post-dinner stroll.
If you’ve been charmed by the beautiful Gstaad as much as we have, get in touch! Our Summer Alps Specialists have all the knowledge and experience you need to start planning the ultimate summer holiday in the Swiss Alps. Give us a call on +44 1202 203659, or drop us an email.