A guide to Saas-Fee
The traditional village of Saas-Fee is beautifully situated in a high valley close to the Italian border at the base of the Fee Glacier, surrounded by numerous 4000m+ peaks and known as the Pearl of the Alps. Saas-Fee's narrow streets, lined with attractive old buildings and newer low-rise chalets, are a charming setting. Sometimes compared to nearby Zermatt, and traffic‑free, Saas-Fee retains a lot of character with old farming sheds amongst the more modern hotels and chalets. Most of the slopes are north-facing and above 2,500m, which makes for very reliable and light powdery snow. Warmer weather skiers should be warned, early in the season it can be extremely cold in the village and the upper mountain, but spring is glorious. Saas-Fee has a friendly atmosphere and is good for families as there is plenty of après-ski entertainment to keep everyone happy. The village is quite spread out, the bus system runs with typical Swiss efficiency. Uniquely, the whole Hannig Mountain and its gondola is not for skiers and instead set aside for tobogganers, winter walkers, cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
Like Zermatt, reaching Saas-Fee is a longer journey, the nearest international airport is Geneva (GVA) from which it is a 3.5hr journey by combination train via Brig or Visp and then a bus journey up the Saastal. If you drive, parking is required at the town entrance and then continue via local electric taxi, hotel shuttle or on foot to your accommodation.
Property for sale in Saas-Fee
Unlike Zermatt, non-Swiss residents can buy property here and Saas-Fee is considered good value in the context of the other top ski resorts in Switzerland, being up to 50% cheaper than the likes of Verbier or Zermatt. Skiing is available for 10 months of the year and due to its popularity in the summer rental yields are good. The Lex Weber laws have ensured that there is minimal new construction in Saas-Fee and as a result many of the chalets and apartments for sale here are older properties fully refurbished with up to date facilities and design. Ski-in/ski-out options are highly desirable, and properties closer to the centre carry a premium. But if you don’t mind a ten minute walk or a short electric taxi ride, there are better value options in quieter areas around the village.
Saas-Fee ski area
Saas-Fee’s ski area is ideal for confident-beginners and leisurely intermediates who want runs with great snow and are happy to cover the same ground several times in a week. Whilst the slopes may not be as extensive as elsewhere, you’ll spend most of your time skiing here at between 2500m and 3500m so snow-sure conditions are highly reliable and the season is long, especially as the resort possesses one of the largest glacier ski areas in the Alps. Well worth a day trip and included in the ski pass are the other local areas of Saas-Grund, which has a huge nearly 1700m skiable vertical from the Hohsaas (3,200 m), and Saas-Almagell.
Advanced skiers have great choices: the top of the Felskinn, accessed by the underground funicular, offers some excellent powder skiing and steep and heavily mogulled runs. Some challenging steep sections are around Eggenerjoch. A feature of Saas Fee are the wonderful ski touring opportunities to some of the peaks like the 4190m Strahlhorn.
Allalin, Morenia and a small beginner park near the village ski lifts in Stafelwald make up the snow park offering in Saas-Fee. The big Morenia snow park is a draw for freestylers and is adapted continuously throughout the season depending on the weather and snow conditions.
If you are the competitive type, enter the Adrenalin Cup and try your hand at up to ten mountain disciplines - from speed skiing, jumping distance and slalom to mountain hikes. Anyone with a lift pass can enter.
Après ski in Saas-Fee
Popcorn has long been the top après hangout in Saas-Fee, it now includes a hotel as well as bar, underground nightclub downstairs to party the night away, and a sports shop. The Black Bull is a popular venue for a post-skiing beer with lively music and a dance floor (in your ski boots). Clubs such as Poison keep the party going into the small hours. Snow Point at the bottom of the slopes is a popular tent bar. Saas Fee has numerous open-air bars, blasting out good music, at the end of the ski runs and along the main street until around 7pm, by 10pm a no noise policy in the village is in force.
Eating out in Saas-Fee
In Saas-Fee, you have a wide range of places to eat on the mountain and in the village. Most restaurants offer traditional Swiss Alpine cuisine, to pizza, pasta or steak, in cosy mountain huts or exclusive gourmet restaurants including the Michelin-starred Fletschhorn. Some of the best restaurants are tucked away in side streets or towards the forest. The Dü Saas Fee and the Vieux Chalet both excel if you are looking for a classic cheese fondue. The Steakhouse Central is the perfect place for steak fans. The pizza at Don Ciccio is wood oven cooked and rather delicious. Among the variety of 12 mountain restaurants Saas-Fee proudly hosts the highest revolving restaurant in Europe, the Threesixty at Allalin. Elsewhere on the mountain, Morenia is a good bet for self-service, and unusually there is even a room there where you can go and eat your own packed lunch.
Summer in Saas-Fee
Lifts on the glacier restart every year from mid-July for summer skiing through to the winter season. The terrain in the summer provides around 20km of mainly lower intermediate piste trails. A top-quality snow park is also functional in Summer.
If you’re not here to ski (in the summer) you can hike for hundreds of kilometres, or try some of the adventure trails. The 9km Gemsweg-Plattjen route exhibits some of the area’s best features – lakes, waterfalls, forest – and it’s nicely varied.
The highlight of the mountain biking season here is the Saas-Fee Glacier Bike Downhill Race, a fast descent of 1700m that’s run completely on snow and ice every spring for roughly 9km. Saas Fee has 70km of cross-country routes. Road bikers can cycle a gruelling stretch of the Tour de Suisse.
The new Aqua Allalin centre has an indoor and huge outdoor pool, numerous exotic sounding wellness options, and excellent sports and gym facilities.
At the end of the summer, if you can, stay on for the Nostalgic Culinary Mile Food Festival.