Even a visitor who knew nothing about Gstaad would be able to assume that it must be an upscale location, thanks to the presence of several luxury shops.
Jewelers' shops are very conspicuous, but I must confess that I was paying more attention to the buildings that hosted them that to the goods on display in the shop-windows. I don't want to sound snobbish, but I have the opportunity to visit big European cities rather often, so I don't really need to go to a Swiss mountain village to look at Cartier or Chopard jewels, or to buy Ralph Lauren clothes. However, it can be a pleasant change for those who are spending a holiday doing mountain sports.
At the very centre of the village there is an area for pedestrians only, where it is very pleasant to walk. It is not big, because the village itself is not big, but it is clearly the heart of the social life, with several cafes and restaurants. The pedestrianized area comprises the Promenade, part of the Hauptstrasse, part of the Altelaunerstrasse and of the Rialtostrasse.
The picture I have posted here was taken in the Promenade: the calf is actually a bronze statue, but it looks very natural. People must have the habit of stroking its tail, because it has a golden shine.
In the webpage I am quoting here below you will find a PDF map of the centre of Gstaad, with a list of businesses and places of interest.
Take a trip to the ''Swiss famous'' Lauenensee (Popular song of a swiss band called Span). It offers a very nice and quite setting in the mountains. It is a very easy walk around the lake (good for kids waggons and even wheelchairs) for 45 minutes. You will see waterfalls, flowers, dragon flies and so on. You can even rent a boat for CHF 12.- an hour and row on the lake a bit. There are BBQ pits all over so it is anyway a nice place to chill out. Wood can be bought at the Restaurant which is nice as well. You can try different Swiss cheese dishes.
Eggli is the smallest hill served by cable cars in Gstaad, at 1660m. You can hike up it or take the cable car (in winter there is skiing, provided it is cold enough to keep the snow on the hill!).
On the top, past the summit a bit there is a lovely dairy farm (in summer season only). At the right time of year/day (such as when the farmers are in and the cows are out!!) you can visit here and see how cheese is made or maybe have a cup of hot chocolate made from fresh cow's milk for a small price. They are very friendly people and you will get to see a real working dairy farm in the area.
There are mountain bike trails you can take down/up Eggli also.
This is the main hill you can see in Gstaad. It is a ski hill in the winter and a way to get to good hiking and mountain biking in the summer. It is just under 2000m in height.
My husband used this hike (from Gstaad to the top of Wispile) as a guage of his fitness while he was living here and did the hike at least once per week. He could make it to the top in under an hour. . . most people will take twice that at 'human' hiking speeds. :-)
Of course, if you take the cable car you will have no problems beating him, but you will miss the scenery and mountain flowers. But if you are in a hurry (or like to downhill mountain bike) the lifts run in summer as well as winter. From the top you get great views, and also access to even more paths.
On the top there is the Wispile Berghaus which serves food and drink during the tourist season.
(PS - the term Höhi means 'high' in Swiss German)
This was another amazing train ride from Montreux to Gstaad. Because of the limitations of a digital camera, I was unable to take any quality photos of the train ride. But once I had the whole train car to myself, I was moving from one side of the train to the other, with ever twist and turn, to catch a glimpse of some of the most breathtaking scenery that I cam across on my Europe travels. I was like a kid looking though the windows of a candy store. Drooling…