Updated: Jan 17
Don't miss the chance to visit the real Father Christmas in his grotto perched atop the Rochers-de-Naye mountain. After ascending the mountain on the cogwheel railway, we found ourselves walking through a mysterious hall: the children's eyes lit up at the sight of Father Christmas in his office.
On Saturday we took the Golden Pass train up to see Father Christmas in Rochers de Naye. We were extremely excited as we haven’t really done a proper meeting Father Christmas experience with the children - actually up until this year Jude had been calling him "Fo Kimps" so it was slightly sad to hear him getting the name right.
The tickets are a bit expensive for the family at CHF 39.- each plus postage (CHF 10.-) so we were really keen to see if it was worth it.
We took the train from Montreux and it’s about a 50 minute train ride up the mountain in full carriages. The journey was beautiful and we saw some lovely scenery and impressive views of the lake as we climbed. As we neared the top we were really delighted to see snow on the ground as it really added a special touch to the experience.
Once inside we followed the path through a beautiful tunnel of lights which led on to the area where Father Christmas was waiting. I think he might be one of the best FC’s I have encountered as he really looked the part and was great with the children.
Jude did struggle to answer his question about whether he has behaved this year and Alba was a bit scared, but the big man soon put them at ease. We managed to get everyone to cooperate for the photo and the children each got a certificate which we presented at Father Christmas’s office for a little gift bag. The photo at the end was chf16.00 which we thought was a bit on the expensive side.
We walked back down the tunnel and had a look at the little rabbit enclosure before stepping outside to admire the views which were really amazing out over the mountainous countryside.
We were pleasantly surprised by the train part of the visit which was well organised and not as ear-splittingly noisy as we imagined (apart from our own sweet Elio screaming - sorry once more to our fellow passengers) but I must admit we felt a tiny bit disappointed by the decorations and atmosphere inside the building and we came away thinking that they hadn’t really maximised the opportunity. We joked that they should copy the Schilliger Christmas display as some of the decorations looked a bit tired in places, particularly Father Christmas’s bedroom. We had perhaps expected a bit more “wow” but the children thought it was great and that’s the main thing.
We took Elio in a front carrier as there is no space for pushchairs on the train but we did see it was possible to load them (pushchairs, not children) into a special open carriage at the front of the train. Inside would have generally been manageable with a pushchair but there were some stairs here and there.
Our advice would be to take a carrier if possible as it’s much easier to negotiate. It’s also marked everywhere that children under 6 have to sit on their parents knees so for us with three children under 6 we had to spill onto an extra seat as we didn’t have enough knees!
It’s a really beautiful journey and the location and Father Christmas are great so it’s worth a visit but I don’t think we would necessarily feel the need to do it again.
Parking : Yes (train station)
Toilets : Yes
Baby Change Facilities : Yes
Accessibility : Not ideal with a pushchair. We would recommend a baby-carrier.