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Switzerland travel planning during the coronacrisis

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How to use these tips

If you visit Switzerland, follow the rules provided by the authorities and by transportation, catering and/or accommodation companies. Always check the most recent rules and tips, and adapt your plans if necessary. We’re not doctors: check official medical organizations for reliable health information.

Check your cancellation options

It’s good to know what happens in case you want to (or must) cancel your bookings. This applies even more so during the coronavirus period.

  • Check hotel booking policies: many hotels can be cancelled free of charge on short notice. Please find suggested hotels here.
  • Check train/plane ticket cancellation options. Swiss Travel Passes are normally 85% refundable if cancelled before the start date. The rest might be covered by your travel insurance. If you're not sure you will travel, do not buy your Swiss Travel Pass until 3 business days before your trip. Most retailers deliver the pass via e-mail within 30 minutes, or 2 working days in some cases. Please find a retailer list here and more on how/where to buy here. Please find other train ticket and pass details here.
  • If you have to cancel: don't do so too early. If you cancel closer to your trip, you'll have a better chance of special cancellation policies being in place. To cancel, please contact the company you purchased from.

Check your health and travel insurances

  • Make sure you're covered for unexpected medical expenses, and check if maximum coverage is sufficient for Switzerland.
  • Consider a cancellation insurance, which can help if refunds are not possible through the companies you booked with. But do read the fine print. Cancellation can be done for many reasons, and not all reasons are necessarily covered. Epidemic outbreaks often are not.
  • Some companies offer ‘cancel for any reason’ or CFAR insurances, either as an included feature of their insurance or as an add-on option. CFAR insurances allow you to cancel no matter what reason you have, and your reason doesn’t have to be explicitly mentioned in the conditions. Mind that CFAR options are usually more expensive, and that not all travelers qualify. For example: you mostly have to request for a CFAR insurance within a limited amount of days (typically ranging from 10 to 21) after your trip booking, and cancel no less than 48 hours before the scheduled departure.

Plan your journey to Switzerland

  • Plan how to reach your destination after your flight to Switzerland, preventing unnecessary research after you’ve landed. You can consult timetables and airport maps before leaving.
  • When making train trips into Switzerland, arrange for tickets and passes before you leave.
  • If you travel to Switzerland by car, arrange for your motorway vignette before leaving, preventing unnecessary purchases and waiting times at the border. You can rent cars in bordering countries or in Switzerland.
  • Make sure you're aware of the requirements for incoming travelers. Information is available here.
  • If possible, arrange for a EU or Swiss COVID-certificate in advance. Please find details here.

How to arrange for a Swiss COVID-certificate

You need a EU or Swiss COVID-certificate to enter public spaces such as restaurants, bars and museums. An application process for vaccinated tourists is being set up and it should be available by late September 2021. Until then, you can try applying for a certificate using several cantonal websites. If that doesn't work yet, you can get a negative test once in Switzerland and obtain your certificate that way. Please find details here.

Where to get a Covid-19 test in Switzerland

You may need a negative Covid-19 test result in Switzerland. There are several testing locations available for tourists: https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-id/planning/about-switzerland/covid-pcr-test/. Please check with your travel and medical insurance if the costs are covered.

Rapid antigen detection tests, to be used as self-tests, are available in Swiss pharmacies, drugstores and shops.

Learn about traveling in Switzerland in corona times

  • You're required to wear face masks in all types of public transportation. You can get face masks online or in Swiss pharmacies, supermarkets, kiosks and many other shops. Many 'Selecta' snack vending machines at rail stations offer face masks too.
  • If you like quiet train and bus trips, try to avoid rush hours. Quieter times of the day are the early morning, the late morning to early afternoon, and the late evening. Plan your trips in advance. Get rail passes and tickets online in advance as well. Many of them are available as e-tickets to be displayed on your mobile device. This means you don't have to purchase tickets at vending machines or manned desks. Try to keep your distance to other travelers.
  • If you travel by cable car and other mountain transportation, try to avoid the most popular ones and the most popular time of the day. This is usually late morning to late afternoon.
  • A EU or Swiss COVID-certificate is not required for public transportation, but exceptions may apply. For example: special train journeys with on-board catering, such as the Glacier Express, do ask for a certificate. Catering zones on boats may ask for a certificate too.
  • You may prefer traveling by car: either by your own car or by rental car. Check which locations can and cannot be reached by car. Some mountain villages such as Wengen, Mürren or Zermatt are car free for example, and many mountain areas can only be accessed by public transportation. Consider eco-friendly traveling by compensating your CO2 emission. Further tips about driving in Switzerland are available here.

Check retailers and tour operator policies

Be sure to check the recommendations provided by tour operators and retailers of travel products. They'll also explain about their cancellation policies.

Watch for the 'Clean & Safe' label for Swiss tourism companies

A 'Clean & Safe' label has been developed for tourism-related companies. The ones carrying this label officially commit to stick to all Swiss safety measures that apply in their industry. The label can help you choose hotels, restaurants and day trips you feel comfortable with. Find out more at www.myswitzerland.com.

Choose accommodation

  • Hotels may have rules in place and ask for a COVID-certificate. If you prefer, you can look for rooms with a kitchenette, allowing you to cook your own meals. Hotel tips can be found here.
  • Holiday homes on quieter spots and with a private entrance are available too. They can often be rented for longer stays of at least one week. Find options here.
  • Camping tips are available here.
  • B&b’s as well as Airbnb’s can be considered too. Please read our precautions here.

Choose regions and base towns

Choose activities and book tours under favorable conditions

  • Do you want to avoid potentially crowded places? Choose quiet times (early morning or late afternoon) for popular places like mountain tops. And consider to enjoy the scenery while hiking instead. Please find suggestions for corona-friendly activities here.
  • If you want to book tours, it’s good to know that some tour operators offer more favorable cancellation conditions. For example, they allow you to pay later or cancel on short notice. Check conditions for the trip and the tour operator you're interested in.

Dine and shop on quiet locations

Note that restaurants and bars ask for a COVID-certificate. So you'll only be surrounded by people who are vaccinated, recovered from COVID or have a recent negative test result.

If you still want to avoid crowds, choose quieter times of the day. Have a late breakfast for example. Or pick a late warm lunch instead of dinner. Many restaurants serve excellent, extensive warm lunch dishes.

You may also shop for your own food. Swiss supermarkets have a wide selection of products, suitable for nearly any taste or diet.

Save money

Are you traveling on a budget? Find our tips to save money here.

Stay informed before and during your trip

Make sure you plan or adjust trips based on recent information.

  • Check this forum thread for up-to-date information.
  • Consult local/national news while there, for example through the SwissInfo website or app.
  • You can install the Alertswiss app to get notified in case of emergencies.
  • You can install the official SwissCovid tracing app issued by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
  • Find more apps, websites and phone numbers here.
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