Weekend in Saas-Fee (VS)
When I first moved to Switzerland, I remember seeing pictures of Saas-Fee and thinking to myself that it embodied everything I had imagined Switzerland to be. Rolling hills, lush greenery and plenty of outdoor activity.
I’m rather ashamed to say that it has taken me 12 years to visit in person but the wait was definitely worth it.
We collected the children from school on Friday and set off immediately for our weekend in Saas-Fee. As you leave the motorway, you are immersed in beautiful scenery and mountain views so we were really excited as we approached our destination. Saas-Fee is car free so we left the car in a large car park just on the edge of the town. You could easily walk into town from here but we had quite a lot of luggage so the hotel kindly sent one of their electric taxis to collect us. This was a fun ride as we wound our way up to the hotel.
We were spending the weekend at the Swiss Family Hotel Alphubel which has a lovely elevated position in the town. We had such a warm welcome when we arrived and everyone we met was so kind and helpful, we immediately felt at home. We had been given two connecting rooms with three beds for the children in one and a double in the other for Jean and I. The accommodation is simple but comfortable and spotlessly clean.
We unpacked out suitcases and went downstairs for dinner. We were staying on half board basis so breakfast and an evening meal were included. I love this arrangement as it means that the menu each evening is a surprise and you get to try lots of lovely things. We had 4 courses each evening and the food was really good. The children were even encouraged to eat soup and salad!!
Since we had a busy day ahead, we went to bed quite early and were up and ready for breakfast in plenty of time. There is plenty to choose from for breakfast including fruit, cereals, yoghurts, meats, pastries and cheeses.
To get ourselves organised for the day, we met Yves from the tourism office who came to the hotel to give us our tickets for various activities and run through the agenda with us. Guests staying in hotels in Saas-Fee are entitled to a Saastal/Card which gives you access to numerous attractions and during the summer and autumn, the use of 9 cable cars are also included as well as mountain railways (excluding the Metro Alpin). It’s a really good idea and makes getting about really easy. In the winter the terms are slightly different but you still benefit from reduced priced cable car passes and use of the local buses.
It was lovely to meet Yves and learn more about the area as he accompanied us to the cable lift where we were starting our day.
We were starting with a visit to the Mittelallalin which is 3,500m above sea level. To reach the summit we took two cable cars and then the Metro Alpin which is the highest underground railway in the world. It was an impressive journey as we saw the lights of the tunnel stretching up in front of us. I should mention here that we took Elio in his large pushchair for the entire day. We had also taken his carrier with us for the morning but in fact we didn’t need it. There is a lift for those who need it when you arrive at Mittelallalin and the staff are all really helpful. We went out to the viewing platform to admire the view, and put our feet in the first snow of the year before heading upstairs to the revolving restaurant (the highest in the world!!). We decided to have a bite to eat here as the children were happy and Elio was having a snooze. It's impressive to watch so many impressive mountain peaks passing by the window as you enjoy your meal. There is also an ice cave to visit while you are up there but it was closed for maintenance during our visit. You can take a look at the website to check for updates https://www.saas-fee.ch/en/familie/summer/family-activities-in-summer/ice-cave-allalin.
We took lots of photographs before reversing the journey and heading back down to Saas-Fee. Our next mountain of the day was Hannig. This is a very family friendly mountain and easily reached from the centre of town in about 8 minutes. There is a nice restaurant up there and a very cool playground where the children spent some time running around while Jean and I had a hot chocolate. There are various paths to hike down from here but it was raining quite a lot at this point and we didn’t think the children would tolerate it :-). It is also a safe place for sledging in the winter as there are no ski pistes. Having had a good look around, we headed back down to the hotel where we split into two teams.
Alba, Elio and I stayed at the hotel to rest a bit while Jean and Jude went to try the Feeblitz toboggan run. This wouldn’t have been suitable for Elio and Alba wanted to read her cat magazine so it seemed sensible to divide ourselves like that. To reach the departure point, you take the steepest toboggan lift in the alps before beginning the descent reaching speeds of up to 40km/h! Jude and Jean loved it!
We were hoping to have time to visit Aqua Allalin which houses a range of saunas and baths, as well "feature showers" and relaxation rooms as well as a pool and slides for the children, but it was getting a bit late by that time so we decided to get ourselves tidied up for dinner.
We had another really nice meal and the kitchen made a special puree for Elio which was a huge help and he ate three bowls!! The hotel even gave us the rest to take home with us the next day so I didn’t have to worry about his lunch when we got home. On the first night, the children had been given a little game each with kept them busy on both evenings and they really enjoyed themselves. We had another early night and were up at 7.00 the next morning to start our last day in Saas-Fee.
After breakfast, it was time to check-out and we took our bags to the car. From Saas-Fee we drove a short way to Saas-Grund where we took the cable car up to Kreuzboden. This place is stunning and a must-visit if you are in the area. There is so much for the children to do with a large playground and a beautiful lake with a raft where we could pull ourselves across the water. The view from the lake is spectacular with mountains all around. My favourite part was the little farm area where we could get in the enclosure with the goats. Alba and I could have spent a couple of hours there but we had one last stop to make before heading home.
Back in the car and we headed to the Mattmark Dam which is the largest earth dam in Europe. The road up to the dam winds through the mountains and there is space to park just next to the dam. From there you can walk up to admire the view. It was really impressive to see such an enormous quantity of water before us and we had a walk around before getting back in the car. It was very windy and cold up there so wrap up warm.
We were really sad to leave Saas-Fee. Everyone in the hotel was so kind and the owner Franziska in particular paid such kind attention to Elio and genuinely cared about our comfort. The whole place felt very comfortable and relaxed and it was very child friendly so we didn’t feel conspicuous if Elio was a bit noisy. There is plenty to do inside for children with a playroom and kids club at certain times of the year, plus playgrounds outside. Jude told me before we left that he would really like to come back and it was one of his favourite places and Alba announced that Franziska was one of best people. We can only agree.
We had a really wonderful weekend and would love to go back. There is simply so much to do, we realised that a weekend isn’t long enough. We just missed the Marmottes which you can feed during the warmer months so we will have to go back when they venture out of hibernation.
Thank you for having us.
Saastal Tourismus AG Obere Dorfstrasse 2 CH-3906 Saas-Fee, Switzerland
Hügelweg 3, 3906 Saas-Fee