Whether you’re searching for outdoor adventure or solitude, glamorous nightlife or charming villages, you’ll find it here in one of the world’s most dramatic mountain ranges.
The idyllic Alpine village of Gstaad has beckoned the rich and famous for decades. Thanks to strict building ordinances that forbid anything but traditional Swiss architecture, Gstaad is known for its chic chalets that house cozy wood-paneled wine bars, sophisticated restaurants, designer boutiques and art galleries. Overflowing with Champagne swigging merrymakers during the Christmas season, the rest of the year Gstaad is a close-knit village with less than 10,000 permanent residents and a single movie theater, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind.
Set in the picturesque Saane river valley, the scenery is a big draw and getting out into nature is easy with the profusion of scenic trails that can accommodate any activity level. Gstaad also happens to be home to Glacier 3000, a ski resort and year-round adventure destination. Take a cable car to the 10,000-foot-high peak, where on clear days you can see the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc, and take a heart-pounding walk across the world’s only suspension bridge that links two summits. For a taste of the good life, visit during the Swiss Open in late July or the Hublot Polo Gold Cup in late August when the town comes alive with late-night parties and glittering galas.
One of the first ski resorts in Switzerland and two-time host of the Winter Olympics, St. Moritz has an undeniable cache that has long attracted the jet-set crowd. Nestled snuggly in the picturesque Engadin Valley, St. Moritz has been blessed with a fairy-tale setting of rugged peaks and high-altitude lakes that, come summer, provide the perfect backdrop for scenic hikes and afternoon swims. Larger and more developed than Gstaad, St. Moritz also has a wealth of shopping and dining options, including multiple Michelin-starred restaurants and Via Serlas, the town’s Rodeo Drive equivalent.
Built around picturesque Lake St. Moritz, in the summer the town attracts a bevy of watersport aficionados. Rowers, paddleboarders and especially sailors flock to the pristine waters where abundant sun and steady winds make for ideal sailing conditions. In heady contrast, the breathtakingly beautiful Bernina Glaciers are easily accessible either by train or scenic helicopter flight. Popular outings also include village-hopping between hamlets such as Sils and Silvaplana, both appreciated for their charming architecture, fantastic lakes and expansive mountain panoramas.
Located at the base of the Matterhorn, and surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the Alps, Zermatt is an exceptionally picturesque mountain paradise. A year-round ski destination, Zermatt is also particularly family-friendly with a laidback ski resort vibe and pedestrian-friendly streets (cars were banned here in 1966). Summer in Zermatt is a particularly active affair—hiking, mountain biking and skiing are popular pursuits—but with gondolas and aerial tramways galore, getting to the top of the coveted peaks is fast and comfortable.