|Gstaad : the village and around|
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Gstaad’s main pedestrian-only street, running north–south through the village, is dubbed Promenade – no more than five minutes’ walk end to end. Focus of the village centre is an open area just at the point cars are barred, which in July is the location for the highly prestigious Swiss Open tennis tournament, and which becomes an ice rink all winter.
There’s plenty of hiking in the four main valleys surrounding Gstaad. A cable-car, and trails, run up to the nearby Eggli (1557m), favoured excursion from the village, with plenty of paths from there across the plateau, and a long high-level route winding past the tranquil Arnensee and down to Feutersoey, some 9km further up the Saane. On the opposite, eastern side of Gstaad looms the Wispile (1911m), also served by a cable-car, with trails of about two and a half hours leading back to Gstaad. It’s equally easy to head due east from the village along the Turbach valley, through a hamlet or two on the banks of the stream, and then keep heading straight over the low pass at Reulissen to the busy resorts of Lenk or St Stephan, both on the Simme some 12km east (4hr 30min total) and linked to Zweisimmen by train.
The skiing, however, might be a disappointment. None of the lifts around the village rises above 2200m, which means that even snow cover is unreliable, although some lifts just about within feasible reach beyond Gsteig do serve the Diablerets glacier, at 2979m. Gstaad’s ski pass is valid for the Gstaad Super Ski region – six different areas incorporating 69 lifts rising from Château d’Oex, Rougemont, Saanen, Schönried, Saanenmöser, Zweisimmen, St Stephan, Lauenen and Gsteig. Roughly half the pistes in the whole area are rated blue or easy red.
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