Lauenen is a located at the end of its own valley, in the Bernese Oberland, well known for its outstanding natural beauty. The attractions of the area are multiple, needless to say during the winter months all the various winter sports are on offer, including a snow guaranteed skiing area on the 3000 meter high glacier, but the summer months are equally as attractive.
The Lauenen valley stretches away from the fashionable international resort of Gstaad, with all its upmarket offerings, top international hotels, restaurants and boutiques. Only 10 minutes drive away from this, the small village of Lauenen could be a million miles away. The mountains open up wide around the village (all chalets are of the traditional wooden built) creating a large open space, which give exceptional vistas all around. At the lowest point the Lauenen valley is 1150 meters high, however from the village one can see as far as the majestic Wildhorn mountain, which is 3248 meters high. Don’t miss the folklore music night at the Wildhorn Hotel/Restaurant, every Friday night. The employee at the tourist office in the village is very helpful with tips and hints on all subjects. The village shop sells delicious local honey and you must also try the Lauenensee bread, freshly baked on premise.
There are around 800 inhabitants, most of them local farmers who cultivate the rich soil, almost exclusively with dairy farming. Hence, when the hills either side of the central river are not covered in snow, they are of the lushest shades of green. Together with the blue sky and the white clouds the image is postcard picture perfect almost every day. Many farms sell their home made cheese, the Lauener Alpkäse, to the passer-by. Look out for little signs on the farmhouses and knock on the door - the farmer’s wife will be happy to cut you a slice to take home.
During the winter months Lauenen offers a small ski lift together with a children’s learning lift and one of the region’s most beautiful Langlauf piste. The other 62 lifts, offering 250 km of alpine slopes are 10 minutes drive away. There is also an ice-skating ring in Gstaad itself. Winter-hiking trails are plenty and so are trails for snow-shoeing. The restaurants on and around the slopes are mostly of very high quality, in the season it pays to make reservations. Do try the Wasserngrat Restaurant on the same named hill, for the view, delicious food and meringues with ‘Gruyere Cream’ for desert.
The summer months in Lauenen are endless sunny days with warm temperatures during the day and cooler nights, ideal to explore the many walks, mountain hikes and bike trails. The idyllic lake, the Lauenensee, located at the end of the valley, on the bottom of a 300 meter high waterfall, is only one of the many destinations. During the winter months the Mattistübli, a small chalet by the lake, offers a most delicious Cheese fondue and local dried meats (reservation necessary). During the summer months, the Restaurant am Lauenensee, another restaurant with terrace overlooking the lake offers a full menu at lunch. Various alpine ‘Hütten’ (little barns high up the mountains), offer either refreshments, lunch or overnight accommodation for the adventurous (look for the Geltenhütte).
If you need some pampering after a long day of skiing or hiking, check out the new sensational spa at the Palace Hotel in Gstaad, which offers many kinds of massage treatments, beauty treatments, sauna, hamman, whirlpool, gym, Pilates classes etc etc.
The Palace is also the place for night life. The bar is humming all evening long and their night club Greengo will let you dance until the early morning hours.
Two major music festivals in Gstaad, the Yehudi Menuhin Festival (in July/August/September) and Sommets Musicaux (in February) as well as the Lauenen Chamber Concerts (in February in the Lauenen church, on invitation only) complete the package with classical music played by world renowned artists.