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TRAVEL NEWS

Is Switzerland likely to place new restrictions on travel from the US?

On August 30th, The European Union recommended tighter restrictions on American tourists. Will Switzerland follow suit?

Is Switzerland likely to place new restrictions on travel from the US?
Whether or not US tourists can continue coming to Switzerland remains up in the air. Photo by Zurich Airport.

The EU removed the US, along with five other countries and one territory from its ‘safe travel’ list on August 30th. This means visitors from those nations, particularly people who are not fully vaccinated against Covid, could face tighter restrictions on travel to Europe.

The date when the new rules would be implemented, and the exact nature of new restrictions, have not yet been given.

The EU based its decision on “the epidemiological situation and overall response to COVID-19”. It also took into account reciprocity, in other words, how countries treat travellers from EU countries. The US still bars non-essential travel from Europe.

READ MORE: EU recommends tighter restrictions on American tourists as US removed from Covid safe travel list

Will Switzerland introduce restrictions for US tourists as well?

Residents of the United States are able to come to Switzerland since June 26th, provided they are fully inoculated against coronavirus and have documents to prove it.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Switzerland confirms vaccinated Americans and Brits can enter from June 26th

So far, authorities have not said whether Switzerland will follow the European Union’s lead, especially as it is non-binding and each country is free to set its own entry rules.

However, it seems unlikely that Switzerland would be able to circumvent EU’s regulations.

While not in the Union, the country is nevertheless part of the Schengen zone, which would make it difficult, if not impossible, to implement any international travel rules that differ from those in place in the 25 other Schengen area states.

Currently, Switzerland has only two rules in place for US travellers: full vaccination, as well as a QR code obtained by filling out the passenger locator form prior to boarding the plane.

This measure is applied not only to US tourists, but also to Swiss citizens and permanent residents returning from the United States.

Whether or not American tourists will want to come to Switzerland in the first place, regardless of regulations, remains to be seen in view of a new travel alert the US State Department issued on August 30th for travel to Switzerland.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for the Switzerland due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country”, the State Department said.

This alert was issued regardless of the fact that Switzerland’s infection rate currently stands at 397.3 per 100,000 residents, while in the US that number is 672.98.

READ MORE: Travel: What documents do tourists need to visit Switzerland?

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TRAIN TRAVEL

Five European cities you can reach from Zurich in less than five hours by train

Switzerland is a beautiful country, but it also has a great location right in the centre of Europe, making it an ideal starting point for train travel. Here are five destinations you can reach in less than five hours from Zurich.

Five European cities you can reach from Zurich in less than five hours by train

As summer is still in full swing and there are many vacation days (or free weekends) to enjoy the sunny weather, it’s not the wrong time to do some travelling. Switzerland is a beautiful country, but it’s also centrally located in Europe. This means that many major European cities are reachable in just a few hours.

If you are located in Zurich, for example, then you are very near Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein and Austria. In less than five hours, visiting beautiful cities in these five countries is possible by taking a comfortable train ride.

So, select your final destination, get your ticket, and enjoy the ride.

READ ALSO: Switzerland’s ten most beautiful villages you have to visit

From Zurich to Strasbourg

It will take you just about 2 hours and 30 minutes (including time to stop and change trains in Basel) to get from Zurich’s mains station to the beautiful and historical city of Strasbourg, in northeast France.

Prices vary depending on several factors, but we found one-way tickets for just around CHF 23 on a Friday.

From Zurich to Munich

The capital of Bavaria can be reached from Zurich’s central station on a direct train in just 3 hours 30 minutes, allowing for short stays.

Munich may seem quite far away on a map, but the fast trains without stopovers actually make the journey quick and pleasant. We found one-way tickets for around CHF 70 on a Friday trip.

From Zurich to Vaduz

The capital of Liechtenstein is easy to reach in less than 2 hours from the Zurich central station. In fact, some journeys will take just about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The lovely town bordering Switzerland has many tourist attractions, from its pedestrian historical centre to castles and parks. Train ticket prices always vary, but we found tickets for a one-way journey on a Friday costing CHF 20.

READ ALSO: Travel: What are the best night train routes to and from Switzerland?

From Zurich to Milan

Depending on the train you take, you can get from Zurich to Italy’s fashion capital in three to four hours with a direct train.

Before 2016, when the Gotthard Base Tunnel was opened to rail traffic, a trip from Zurich to Milan took an hour longer. It’s possible to find tickets for about CHF 70 for a one-way trip on a Friday.

From Zurich to Innsbruck

From Zurich, it is possible to hop on a direct train and, in just over 3 hours and 30 minutes, arrive in the beautiful town of Innsbruck, in the mountains of Tyrol.

Ticket costs vary, but we found tickets for a relatively short-notice one-way trip on a Friday (without discounts) for CHF 84.

READ ALSO: Five beautiful Swiss villages located near Alpine lakes

Cost:

Fares depend on several factors, such as time of the day and day of the week when you travel.

While a rock-bottom cheap fare may be available one day in the morning, it won’t necessarily be offered the next day (or week) in the afternoon, or vice-versa.

Prices also depend on whether you are entitled to any discounts and which wagon you choose.

If you are interested in travelling farther afield, including with night trains, or if you are in other Swiss cities, these articles provide more information:

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