Saas-Fee: Travel Guide and Pictures


Saas-Fee (Switzerland) internet snow report, as I write this piece in March, is showing 250cm (8 feet) of hard-packed snow on the upper slopes, and 26cm (10 inches) of snow on the lower. No snowfall is expected in the next few days, and Saas-Fee’s live webcams confirm that there is plenty of snow and sunshine to be had on the pistes. And why not? For Saas-Fee, known as “The Pearl of the Alps”, and itself at 1,800m (5,900ft), is close to the highest mountains in the Swiss Alps, 18 of them over 4,000m (13,123ft). There are over 100km (62miles) of pistes for skiing and snowboarding here, and Dom and Allainhorn Glaciers are not far away. The resort is considered one of the most reliable for snow in the whole of the Alps. The skiing scene in the Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was shot nearby, and it is easy to imagine yourself to be a fearless undercover agent, as you ski down the easy runs! Then again, if you find you are humming Wham’s hit song Last Christmas, it may be that you have heard that the video that went with it was filmed here in 1984. (James Bond is considerably older than was the late George Michael, the film having been made in 1969.)

Getting there
Unlike Zermatt, there is no rail connection to Saas-Fee, and travel to this Swiss resort can be a bit more difficult than to some, but it’s worth it when you get there. The nearest route by rail is to Visp, where you transfer to a bus for the final stage of the journey. You can go by car, of course, but as Saas-Fee village is car free, and parking costs CH12.50 a day, there’s not much point.
By train: from Geneva airport (3hrs 40m to Visp, then an hour on the bus); from Basel (3hrs, change at Bern and Visp); from Bern Hauptbahnhof (2hrs 35m); one train an hour from Zurich (3hrs 20m).
By bus: from Visp buses run every 30 mins and the trip takes just under an hour. There are four buses a day direct from Milan Central Station to Saas-Fee (160km/100 miles, 2hrs 45m)
By air: the nearest airport is Sion – 80km/50 miles or 1hr 20m by car, 2hrs 30m by train to Visp and then bus. If flying to Milan, make sure you land at Malpensa Airport.
By car or private transfer: 234km/145 miles (2hrs 30m) from Geneva; 225 km/140 miles (3hrs 10m) from Basel; 120km/75 miles (2hrs 25m) from Bern; 250km/155 miles (3hrs 20m) from Zurich; 160km/100 miles (2hrs 45m) from Milan.

In Saas-Fee village itself, electric taxis are the only permitted vehicles. Visitors’ cars have to be left in car parks outside the town.

What to see and do in Saas-Fee
Let’s start with the outdoors, for that is the main point of this area, both in winter and summer. One feature of the skiing and snowboarding in this resort is that the runs extend right down to the four Saas Valley villages: you need the cableways to take you up to start skiing, but you don’t need them to bring you down again. Apart from skiing, for which there are numerous lifts and a funicular, you can try toboganning, snowshoe trekking and canyon or ice climbing. In summer there are mountains to climb such as the Weissmies, the Nadelhorn or the Lenzspitze, and plenty of walks: even in winter one gondola lift is reserved for walkers only. In summer it is still possible to ski at Saas-Fee, on the glacier pistes. Other activities include mountain biking, paragliding and hang gliding.

The Metro Alpin funicular needs a special mention, since it is the highest in the world, and operates entirely underground in the 1,749m long (1,900 yards) Felskinn-Mittelallalin Tunnel. You reach this mountain railway by either the Alpin Express or the Felskinn cablecars. Then it’s another 476 metres (1,500 feet) of height gain in a 3 minute ride to the Mittelallalin Plateau at 3,500m (11,500 ft), where you will find the highest revolving restaurant in the world, officially the ‘Revolving Restaurant Allalin’, but better known as the ‘threesixty’. As you enjoy your meal or drink, some of the highest mountains in Switzerland come into view and pass on in the one hour it takes to get back to where you started.

There are a few non-sporting activities and things to see in Saas-Fee. Houses in the village have to be at least 40% wooden, and walking the car-free streets you will come across ‘raccards’, traditional wooden granaries of the Alpine region. The Saaser Museum (closed Mondays, and closed for two and a half hours at lunchtime) is itself located in an old wooden house, and exhibits household items of village life in the 19th Century. Back on the mountain, the Fee Glacier is the site of the Mittelallalin Ice Pavilion, an ice cave or grotto which was revamped in 2016 to show the story of the 2,000 year old ice in the glacier, makes an interesting family visit (there is an entrance fee). Finally there is an indoor public swimming pool in Saas-Fee, if you need a change from traditional alpine sports.

Where to stay
As you might expect in a year-round premier Swiss Alps resort, there is a great choice of accommodation in Saas-Fee. If you want a 5-star hotel in a traditional style building, there are several to choose from in the resort itself, and many more not too far away. The Capra Saas-Fee, for example, right in the centre of the village, offers guests an indoor pool and spa in an Alpine Chalet-style building. Being just a five minute walk from several ski lifts is a bonus that you will appreciate if you intend to ski most days. This hotel’s boast of ‘celebrity treatment’ means that most of the rooms are suites, all of which come with a balcony for the mountain views. This hotel welcomes children and pets. Also in Saas-Fee itself is the 5-star Hotel Ferienart Resort and Spa, with an indoor pool and elegantly furnished rooms and suites, all with balconies. This hotel makes a big thing of its spa, which features 6 thermal baths, saunas, hot tubs and various pools. In summer it gives visitors a free pass to public transport and cableways in the Saas Valley.

If you don’t feel the need for an indoor pool, the 4-star Dom Hotel, just 500m from the ski lifts may be just as good. Each room has a private balcony and free WiFi, and the hotel is furnished in an interesting mix of Swiss rustic and futuristic style. Some rooms have their own sauna, hot tub or open fire. For those who want a hotel, but on a budget, there are plenty of 2-star hotels in Saas-Fee and the other villages in the valley. The Hotel Bärgsunnu in Saas-Grund offers a shuttle bus to the cable car station and you can ski right back to the hotel. An affordable 2-star hotel in Saas-Fee itself is the Hotel Europa Annex, with a hot tub, two saunas and two steam baths.
Those who prefer a chalet or apartment have even more choice than the hotel guests. The 4-star Haus Helvetia in Saas-Fee village has modern apartments, all with south-facing balconies. This is a family-run business and is popular with guests, so book early. Each unit has a kitchenette with coffee maker and dishwasher. Also in Saas-Fee itself is the self-catering 4-star Amor Lodge, located in a good area for eating out. Each apartment is for six people, and there is a ski room and a ski boots heater!
Finally, there are two hostels in Saas-Fee, the 3-star Hostel Walser in Obere Dorfstrasse, and the 3-star wellness Hostel4000 in Panoramastrasse. Both are close to cableways and the après ski facilities of the town. The Walser has 38 beds in 19 rooms with balconies, and there is a day room with microwave and drinks dispenser. The Hostel4000 has a restaurant and terrace with mountain views, and a fitness centre with gym and indoor pool. There is a mix of rooms for 2, 4 and family rooms: this hostel can accommodate 168 people in all.

Visitor Information
Information about all the options in Saas-Fee can be found at the Tourist Office at 2 Obere Dorfstrasse.
In winter it opens every day from 08.30 (09.00 on Sundays), but closes 12.00 till 14.00 (Sundays closed 12.00 – 15.30).
In summer the hours are the same Monday to Friday and on Sundays, but on Saturdays it opens ‘sans interruption’ 08.30 till 18.00.

Pictures Saas-Fee
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Mittelallalin, Allalin
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Allalin Restaurant Allalin, Saas Fee Restaurant Allalin Restaurant Allalin
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