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Saas-Fee is a mountain village in the Swiss canton of Wallis (Valais) with around 1,700 inhabitants. Although you can visit it year round, the place, located at around 1,800 metres above sea level, is especially popular during the ski season from December to March.
Coming by train, your access point to the Saas valley is most probably Visp, unless you are travelling on an EC train which only stops in Brig. From either of these a Post Bus service runs half-hourly to Saas-Fee. The trip from Visp takes about 50 minutes to Saas-Fee. The bus terminal in Saas-Fee is located quite central and you should be able to walk to wherever you want to go. Your hotel might also be able to provide transfer on an electrical car for you and your luggage.
You can buy your ticket directly from the driver, or have it included in your train ticket. Buses can get crowded during morning and evening peak hours and especially on Friday nights up to three buses can run at the same time from Visp. Note that often express buses are used at those times (which you won't necessarily find on the timetable), so if you are planning on alighting either at Saas-Fee or the main stop at Saas-Grund you can save some time by taking that one instead.
When leaving Saas-Fee, it is possible to reserve a seat on the bus. This is usually not necessary, as if there is not enough space on the first bus, they will usually put in an additional bus. You might however have to stand for the 45 minute trip to Visp. The bus can get delayed easily if it is snowing or if there is any problem with the traffic on the way, so if you have a tight connection in Visp, it is better if you take an earlier bus.
If you are staying at any of the other villages, be sure to check with your accommodation which bus stop is the closest to your hotel/apartment, as it can make quite a difference. For Saas-Almagell, you will have to change bus at the stop: "Saas-Grund, Post".
If you arrive by car, note that Saas-Fee itself is car-free. You will have to leave your car at a big underground and surface car park at the entrance of the village. Daily parking charges are Fr. 19 in winter and Fr. 14 in summer, however if you have the citizens' pass, there are reduced rates from the second day onwards. The rest of the valley is accessible by car. As the Saas valley is at a higher altitude the roads can be snow covered in winter quite frequently. The roads will usually get cleared quite fast and rarely ever snow chains are required, but if you are not experienced driving on snowy mountain roads you might want to consider taking the bus instead.
Saas-Fee is quite small and it is easiest to get around by walking. The village itself is car free. This does not mean that there is no traffic, and there are scores milk-float-type electric cars roaming the village. Be careful, they are very quiet and hard to notice.
There are a couple of taxi companies that run within Saas-Fee, but at a recommended price of Fr. 23 to 30 this is rather pricey for such short distances.
During the main season free shuttle buses run to and from the ski lifts on 5 lines. The buses are however really small and it might be easier and faster to just walk.
It is also quite easy to get to the other three villages (Saas-Balen, Saas-Grund and Saas-Almagell) by bus. In winter ski buses run from each village to Saas-Fee and back. In summer you have to take the regular half-hourly buses to and from Saas-Balen or Saas-Grund. To get to Saas-Almagell or the Mattmark lake, change bus in Saas-Grund.
Nightlife choices in the Saas valley are plenty but mostly limited to pubs and après-ski bars.
|Hotel Berghof||Im Zentrum||hotel||-|
|Hotel Bristol Saas Fee||Wallis Saas-Fee||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Jägerhof||Im Dorf||hotel||-|
|POPCORN! Hotel||Obere Dorfstrasse 6||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Garni Berghof||Dorfstr. 30||HOTEL||-|
Switzerland has a high rate of people with their own internet connection and computers, so internet cafes are not as common compared to other countries and compared to the past. But still you will be able to find a computer in the main cities and tourist areas, also at libraries, video rental shops, train stations or tourist information places. Wifi is widely available, though sometimes at a cost. A growing number of hotels, restaurants, coffee bars and fastfood joints now offer free wifi.
See also: International Telephone Calls
Switzerland's country code is 41 and the emergency phone numbers are 117 (police), 118 (fire department) and 144 (emergency rescue service/ambulance). Swiss phone numbers consist of the area code and a local phone number. The area code has three digits and starts with a zero, such as 022 for Geneva. The local phone number has usually 7 digits, but there are numbers with only 5 or 6 digits.
If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands - they usually cost around 10-40 CHF and are obtainable in the shops of the mobile service providers Swisscom, Orange or Sunrise in most cities. Mobile network coverage is close to 100% by area, even in the mountainous, non-populated areas. There are also a lot of cheap prepaid cards for local calls from other providers. The prepaid cards of the big supermarket chains Migros and Coop for example cost around 20 CHF and include already 15 CHF airtime. The cheapest prepaid card for calls within Switzerland is Aldi Mobile. The cheapest prepaid card for international communication is Yallo. The prepaid cards can be bought online (30 CHF with 30 CHF airtime inclusive), in most post offices (29 CHF with 20 CHF airtime inclusive) or Sunrise shops (20 CHF with 20 CHF airtime inclusive).
Swiss Post is the national postal service of Switzerland and has fast and reliable services. For more information about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally, they have a very useful Price Calculator. Domestically, there is priority mail (arriving the following day) and economy mail which takes 2-3 days to be send within Switzerland. Stamps can be bought at the post offices or from shops and kiosks that also sell postcards. In general, post offices are open from 8:00am to noon and 2:00pm to 5:00 or 6:00pm, with a lunchbreak in between. Opening times on Saturdays are usually only during mornings. Larger cities and central post offices might keep longer hours and skp the lunchbreak. If you want to send packages internationally, you might also consider international courier companies like TNT, DHL or UPS.
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