The Swiss village of Chateau d'Oex is best known as one of Europe's leading locations for hot-air ballooning. Situated in the delightful Pays-d'Enhaut area in the canton of Vaud, it lies approximately halfway between the famous cheese-village of Gruyeres (as in cheese-making, rather than a village made of cheese!) and the upmarket resort of Gstaad. It has a certain micro-climate, with warm thermal air currents rising up through the valley, that, along with the splendid scenery, have made it a Mecca for ballooning enthusiasts and tourists. The main event occurs every January with the annual International Balloon Festival, but there are also a wide range of companies offering trips throughout the rest of the year.
No live-streams are currently available for Chateau d'Oex.
A list of webcams for Chateau d'Oex and the surrounding area.
There are plenty of family-orientated activities around Chateau d'Oex. Obviously there is a lot of emphasis in this particular resort on the ballooning trips, but there is also plenty of hiking, climbing and biking. There's also a heated outdoor pool, mini-golf and a kids play area. So plenty to keep everyone happy !
Chateau d'Oex was an agricultural village up until the turn of the 20th century, when the opening of the Montreux - Bernese Oberland Railway started to bring tourists to the area in the summer months. With trips to the Swiss Alps being particularly popular amongst the British, some grand hotels started to be built and Chateau d'Oex started morphing into a holiday resort, rather than just a centre for farming and cheese-making. Tennis clubs, swimming pools, camp-sites and cable cars all started appearing, and with the advent of skiing amongst the masses, Chateau d'Oex also became a winter time destination as well as a summer one. Hot-air ballooning and white-water rafting, two of the pastimes for which the resort originally became known, are still extremely popular to this day. As well as the skiing up on La Braye, of course.
Information on the Swiss ski area Alpes Vaudoises, including links to the surrounding resorts, webcams, slope information and lift details.
A list of piste-maps for Chateau d'Oex and the surrounding ski areas.
Interactive piste-map of the slopes in the Gstaad Mountain Rides ski area.
When it comes to ballooning, the Swiss resort of Chateau-d'Oex is the Alpine capital, and this is the festival to celebrate it. The 2016 festival will be the 38th in the history of this renowned international event, and will feature about 100 balloons, including 10 special shaped ones, from over 20 different countries. The highlight for us though has to be the fantastically named event - "the David Niven Long Distance Hare and Hounds Competition" !
As the festival normally runs in the last week of January it's possible to combine a visit with a skiing holiday in the area - Chateau-d'Oex is situated in the Pays-d'Enhaut region (between Lausanne and Interlaken) and there are a number of other ski resorts close by, including Gstaad for the millionaires amongst you.
The 2016 Les Diablerets Film Festival will be the 47th running of one of Europe's largest events dedicated to films centred around the mountains. Centre piece of the festival is a giant screen showcasing the latest action from some of the world's top outdoor film directors, including some free-riding features. There also climbing walls and exhibition stands to visit.
If you want some further information on Chateau d'Oex, then you might find these links to other sites useful...
Chateau d'Oex hotels and chalets.