Switzerland is known for its stunning scenery, world-class skiing, and luxurious resorts. Two of the most popular destinations in Switzerland are Gstaad and St. Moritz.
Both of these luxury ski resorts are renowned for their winter sports, as well as great food, nightlife, and summer activities too. But, which one should you visit?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Gstaad Vs. St. Moritz, comparing everything from their location to skiing, non-skiing activities, cuisines, hotels, and more so you can choose the best resort for your vacation.
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Gstaad Vs. St. Moritz: Location & Accessibility
Gstaad is located in the Bernese Oberland, in the southwestern part of Switzerland, and is approximately two hours drive from Geneva and three hours from Zurich.
Gstaad’s nearest airport is Saanen Airport, which is only 10 minutes away, while the larger Bern Airport is an hour’s drive.
St. Moritz, on the other hand, is in the Engadin Valley, in the southeastern part of Switzerland on the border with Italy, and is approximately three and a half hour drive from Zurich and four and a half hours from Geneva.
St. Moritz’s nearest airport is Samedan Airport, which is only five minutes away. You can also fly into Milan and get the train there too.
In terms of accessibility, both Gstaad and St. Moritz are easily accessible by car or public transport as they both have train stations accessible from Zurich, Geneva, and Bern.
However, Gstaad is more convenient for those traveling from Geneva, while St. Moritz is more convenient for those traveling from the Zurich train station.
Gstaad Vs St. Moritz: Skiing
When it comes to skiing, both Gstaad and St. Moritz are world-class.
The ski area is suitable for all levels of skiers, with plenty of easy and intermediate slopes. Gstaad is also known for its off-piste ski runs for advanced skiers.
On the other hand, St. Moritz in winter has a total of 350 km of pistes and 57 lifts spread across four ski areas, including Corviglia, Corvatsch, Diavolezza, and Zuoz.
St. Moritz is also suitable for all levels of skiers, with plenty of easy and intermediate slopes. However, St. Moritz is better known for its advanced and off-piste pistes than Gstaad.
Overall, both Gstaad and St. Moritz are excellent skiing destinations, with top-notch ski instructors on hand that suit all levels of skiers, including beginners.
But advanced skiers will have more fun at St. Moritz as it is home to a lot more and better off-piste runs.
Gstaad Vs St. Moritz: Activities for Non-Skiers
Not everyone wants to spend every waking moment rushing down the slopes and luckily both Gstaad and St. Moritz have plenty of activities to offer.
In Gstaad, non-skiers can enjoy ice skating, snowshoeing, tobogganing, and winter hiking. The luxury hotels are also home to lots of spas and wellness centers in the area where one can relax to the max.
St. Moritz also has a wide range of non-skiing activities, a lot of which are similar to Gstaad. In St Moritz, you can ice skate on Lake St Moritz, try out some curling, go on horse-drawn carriage rides, and more.
But, it’s worth noting that St. Moritz is more focused on skiing while Gstaad has a lot more non-skiing activities to offer.
Gstaad Vs St. Moritz: Summer Activities
Both Gstaad and St. Moritz are known mainly for their skiing and winter activities but there is actually a lot to do in both of these resorts in the summer months too.
The area around Gstaad is home to over 300 kilometers of hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging mountain hikes. You can explore the beautiful countryside of the Swiss Alps and mountain biking is also on offer too.
Lauenensee, a nature area with lakes is only 20 mins out of town and is a stunning place for a picnic and a summer swim. It is a great thing to do in Gstaad.
Ever wanted to play a round of golf in the Alps? Gstaad has got you covered with numerous golf courses including the famously stunning 18-hole course at Gstaad-Saanenland Golf Club.
Mountain adventures are also on offer. You can go canyoning, paragliding, white water rating, horse riding, and more.
St. Moritz is also a bit of a mecca for hiking and mountain biking in the summer. The region has over 400 kilometers of trails for all abilities that will have you exploring the Alps in no time.
Life around Lake St Moritz booms in the summer. You can swim, stand-up paddle, try out sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, and a lot more too.
Like Gstaad, you can also play golf in St Moritz with the Samedan Golf Club being the best of them. Adventures such as canyoning, whitewater rafting, and paragliding are available too.
Overall, both Gstaad and St. Moritz have some great summer activities to offer although I think St Moritz wins thanks to the addition of water sports.
Gstaad Vs St. Moritz: Food
Switzerland is famous for its mouth-watering dishes, and you can find a variety of cuisines available at the restaurants in both Gstaad and St. Moritz.
Gstaad is a hub for traditional Swiss cuisine, and there are plenty of restaurants serving up classic dishes like raclette and fondue. If you’re looking for a fancier meal, you can also find high-end dining options with Michelin-starred restaurants.
St. Moritz also offers a diverse range of dining options, including traditional Swiss cuisine and international flavors. You can indulge in fine dining experiences at several high-end restaurants, some of which have Michelin stars.
Both of these ski resorts offer a surprisingly similar restaurant scene but Gstaad is more known for its traditional Swiss cuisine while St Moritz has more of an international food scene.
Gstaad Vs St. Moritz: Nightlife
When it comes to nightlife, both Gstaad and St. Moritz offer a range of options.
Gstaad has a more laid-back apres-ski and nightlife scene, with several bars and clubs offering live music and DJs into the early hours. The Palace Hotel nightclub is one of the hot spots in Gstaad.
St. Moritz has a more vibrant nightlife scene than Gstaad, with a lot of fun bars and epic nightclubs that pump out a range of musical genres until the early hours. The King’s Club at the Badrutt’s Palace Hotel is one of THE places to party in St. Moritz.
Overall, St. Moritz has a more buzzing nightlife scene than Gstaad, but you can still find a place to dance into the night in Gstaad if you need to.
Gstaad Vs St. Moritz: Accommodation
Gstaad and St. Moritz are known for their luxury and this does not stop at the accommodation side of things.
Gstaad has a wide range of options including luxury hotels, chalets, and apartments. The Gstaad Palace Hotel is one of the most famous and luxurious hotels in the area.
Overall, both Gstaad and St. Moritz offer excellent accommodation with very similar options.
Gstaad Vs St. Moritz: Cost
Gstaad and St. Moritz are renowned as some of the most expensive places to stay in Switzerland, if not Europe.
You can expect to pay around $300 to $500 per day depending on the level of luxury you want during your vacation and on the extra activities you might want to do.
There isn’t much difference in cost between Gstaad and St. Moritz so do not let costs make your decision between them.
Gstaad Vs St. Moritz: Final Verdict
Gstaad and St. Moritz are both wonderful destinations if you are looking for a luxurious winter ski vacation or a summer holiday in the Swiss Alps.
Choosing between these two alpine resorts is a little tricky as they both offer world-class skiing, fun summer activities, and incredible hospitality.
The main differences are that Gstaad is perhaps better for its non-skiing activities and known for its traditional Swiss cuisine plus it has more laid-back nightlife.
On the other hand, St. Moritz is better known for its advanced skiing and party scene and it has the added benefit of Lake St. Moritz which offers ice skating and water sports in the summer.
I would personally choose St Moritz as the location and fun atmosphere suit me better, but Gstaad will suit anyone looking for a more relaxed atmosphere.