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Ten stunning Swiss lakes to visit this summer

It’s known as the country of lakes and mountains with good reason.

Ten stunning Swiss lakes to visit this summer
The Riffelsee near Zermatt. Photo: Christof Sonderegger/Swiss Tourism

Switzerland has several thousand lakes, from the biggest and best known, such as Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) and Lake Zurich, to tiny mountain lakes you may never have heard of.

Offering stunning scenery and an escape from the city heat, here are some of our favourite Swiss lakes you should put on your to-visit list this summer. 
 
While some are suitable for swimming, always check the weather and water conditions beforehand and heed all warning signs.
 
 
Photo: Caroline Bishop
 
This magnificent lake near Kandersteg in the Bernese Oberland makes the perfect picture postcard image of Switzerland with its turquoise waters and backdrop of snow-capped mountains. In summer it attracts tons of visitors who come to take a dip, rent a rowing boat or hike the stunning trails around the lake. 
 
Deborence, Valais
 
Photo: Caroline Bishop
 
This beautiful lake was formed in the 18th century by two huge landslides. Now it’s a nature reserve and the start of some fantastic hikes. Taking the postbus to get there is an experience in itself – the road winds up from the Rhone valley and cuts through the rock in a series of nailbiting cliff-edge tunnels that you wouldn’t think a postbus could negotiate… but somehow it does. 
 
Taney, Valais
 
Photo: Caroline Bishop
 
The water in this small lake is wonderfully clear – but also pretty chilly. However you’ll be gasping for a dip after a steep hike up the nearby Grammont mountain, the summit of which offers a mindblowing view over Lake Geneva. 
 
Schwarzsee, Fribourg
 
Photo: Caroline Bishop
 
In the Fribourg prealps, the ‘black lake’ is so named because in certain light its waters can appear very dark. In summer it’s a popular spot for swimming, fishing and stand-up paddleboarding, and the starting point for many beautiful hikes and mountain-biking trails.
 
Champex-Lac, Valais
 
Photo: Valais Tourism
 
A natural ice-rink in winter, in summer this picturesque lake is a popular spot with everyone from families to serious high alpine hikers, since it’s on the route of the Tour du Mont Blanc. The lake itself has crystal clear waters that have helped give the area the nickname ‘Little Canada’. 
 
Leisee, Valais
 
Photo: shaochu7588/Flickr
 
This lake near Sunnegga in the mountains above Zermatt is a great place for cooling off during a hike along the so-called Five Lakes trail. Starting at Blauherd, this stunning hike also takes in the lakes of Stelli, Grindji, Grun and Moos, with views of the Matterhorn along the way. 
 
Saoseo, Graubünden
 
Photo: Graubuenden Tourism
 
In the Poschiavo valley in the Engadine, this peaceful spot with its deep blue glacial waters is part of a nature reserve and is a photographer’s dream in all seasons. From here you can hike to a second lake, Viola. 

 
Trübsee, Nidwalden
 
Photo: Caroline Bishop
 
Located below the Titlis mountain in the Engelberg region of central Switzerland, this is an idyllic place to relax. Take a rowing boat out on the water, light a barbecue in one of the fire pits or spot marmots on a walk around the lake. From here you can take series of cable cars (including the revolving Rotair) up to Mount Titlis for a spectacular view at the top. 

 
Chavonnes, Vaud
 
Photo: Gabriel Garcia Marengo/Flickr
 
This little lake above the town of Villars-sur-Ollon is a tranquil spot, reachable via a 30 minute walk from the mountain train station of Bretaye. In summer you can swim, have lunch at the lakeside mountain restaurant or hike trails around the lake. 
 
Sils, Graubünden
 
Photo: Jan Geerk/Swiss Tourism
 
The largest lake in the Graubünden, this 1,800m altitude lake boasts Europe’s highest ferry service, taking passengers from Sils Maria to Maloja. There are also many biking and hiking trails including the beautiful Four Lakes hike. 
 

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TRAVEL

What is the fine for not filling out Switzerland’s Covid arrival form?

There is one essential form all travellers to Switzerland must fill out, but many don’t. If caught, border guards will hand out fines.

A 100-franc fine could be imposed on those who don’t fill out the Personal Locator Form
Important paperwork: Switzerland-bound travellers must fill out the PLF form or risk getting fined. Photo by Zurich Airport

With constantly changing travel rules, it is difficult to keep up with all the regulations that need to be followed to enter Switzerland (and all the other countries, for that matter).

Since September 20th, everyone arriving in Switzerland, regardless of their country of origin, mode of transport, or vaccination status, must fill out the electronic Personal Location Form (PLF).

Once filled out and registered online, you will receive a QR code which you will have to show when entering Switzerland.

However, some people may be unaware of the requirement and enter the country without this form.

READ MORE: Here is the form you need to enter Switzerland

Checks are done randomly, so many travellers slip in without having filled this form. But if caught, you will have to pay a 100-franc fine.

So far, 200 people had to pay this fine, according to Tamedia media group.

The only people exempted from this rule are transit passengers, long-haul lorry drivers transporting goods across borders,  children under 16, cross-border workers, and residents of border areas.

The PLF requirement is an addition to other travel regulations the Federal Council implemented in September:

Two tests to enter Switzerland are now required for the unvaccinated and unrecovered.

Unvaccinated arrivals and those who have not contracted and recovered from the virus in the past six months must show two negative tests. 

The first proof should be presented when arriving in Switzerland.  Then, four to seven days later, travellers will have to undergo another test, which they must pay for themselves.

Both PCR and antigen results are accepted.

These rules only apply to arrivals from nations not on the Switzerland’s high-risk list. As the United States and United Kingdom are considered high risk, only vaccinated people from those countries can arrive in Switzerland.

This article contains more information on the rules which apply. 

EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s new travel and Covid certificate rules?

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