I stayed in Saas-Fee for a week in mid-September 2016. Saas-Fee is set on a small plateau at an altitude of 1,800 metres, in a magnificent mountain landscape above the far end of the Saastal (Saas Valley). Saas-Balen, Saas-Grund and Saas-Almagell are neighbouring villages in the valley below. The winding road up to Saas-Fee from Saas-Grund was only constructed in 1951! Before that, tourists and goods were apparently transported by mules or manpower.
As well as modern chalets built in traditional style, there are many historical wooden stone-roofed buildings, which all contribute to the charm of Saas-Fee, as does the fact that it is car-free. All cars have to park at the entrance to the village, in the large parking garage or open-air car park. Small electric vehicles transport goods and luggage throughout the village.
I had a bit of bad luck with the weather, with only 3 days being suitable for mountain-top excursions. On those days I visited the Hannigalp, Mittelallalin, Hohsaas and the Mattmark Dam. The Spielboden-Längfluh cableway was closed for reconstruction when I was there unfortunately, but that looks like a wonderful trip. When the mountains were in the clouds, I did village walks in Saas-Fee and Zermatt, and one day even went all the way to the medieval village of Murten.
My first full day in Saas-Fee was cool, and it rained steadily. The mountains were in the clouds, mist drifted through the valley, and all the mountain lifts were closed for the day due to the inclement weather. So I donned my raincoat and set out to explore the village on foot, somehow managing to juggle a hiking pole, an umbrella and a camera without dropping anything - although the umbrella managed to intrude itself at a jaunty angle into several of my photos!
The village was very atmospheric in the rain, and the colours of the flowers in garden beds, containers and balconies throughout the village looked especially vivid in the muted light. Late in the afternoon, as I was strolling back to my accommodation, the rain cleared and the sun broke through, lighting up wet stone roofs and mountain rock faces in rather a dramatic fashion.
Attached are some photos of Saas-Fee taken in the wet (including a couple showing how low the cloud was at times), and some taken in clear weather. Every direction in which you turn presents you with a different view!
I will write separate trip reports about the Hannigalp, Mittelallalin, Hohsaas and the Mattmark Dam, as well as a review of Saas-Fee Jugendherberge (youth hostel), where I stayed.
Saastal Bürgerpass (Citizen’s Pass)
This guest pass, providing free mountain transport and other discounts, is given to guests by most accommodation providers in the Saastal villages of Saas-Fee, Saas-Grund, Saas-Balen and Saas-Almagell. Apparently there are a few accommodation providers that do not participate in this arrangement, so it is essential to check before booking. The Bürgerpass saves you a lot of money, even if you have a Swiss Travel Pass, by providing free transport on cable cars that are only discounted 50% with the Swiss Travel Pass. The only mountain transport not included is the underground funicular for the final sector up to Mittelallalin from Felskinn.
The benefits of this free guest pass are described in full here:
Saas-Fee is reached by PostBus, which departs from outside Brig railway station, also stopping at Visp railway station along the way. The service starts early in the morning, and runs at half-hourly intervals throughout the day until almost 8pm. After 8pm the service is less frequent.
An account of my trip from Brig to Saas-Fee can be found on the following page under the heading “Meiringen to Saas-Fee” for anyone interested:
There is an indoor waiting room at the PostBus terminal in Saas-Fee, as well as luggage lockers that cost CHF 5. The Post Office and an ATM machine are also inside the terminal, and a small shop selling refreshments and small necessities such as tissues is next door. The Tourist Information Centre is opposite, and the shopping centre is just a few minutes’ walk away along Obere Dorfstrasse.
Panorama and village street maps can be downloaded from the following page:
Webcams for the area can be accessed from here: