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TRAVEL NEWS

Switzerland to drop vaccine requirement for entry from Monday

More than two years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, travel to Switzerland is set to return to normal from May 2nd.

Zurich Airport, Switzerland. Photo by Fabian Joy on Unsplash
Zurich Airport, Switzerland. Photo by Fabian Joy on Unsplash

Despite winding back all Covid measures domestically on April 1st, Switzerland still required visitors from non-European countries to be vaccinated against Covid. 

Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Migration said on Twitter late in late April that all remaining entry rules would be scrapped from Monday, May 2nd. 

What were the rules? 

Up until May 2nd, visitors from the EU/EFTA zone can enter Switzerland without needing to show a vaccination or a test. Those from outside the bloc however need to show either proof of vaccination or recovery, or fit into other exception categories, including being under 18. 

This created a somewhat contradictory situation where Switzerland has some of the most relaxed rules in Europe domestically, but a stricter entry framework than many of its neighbours. 

‘Travelcheck’: This tool shows you what you need to enter Switzerland

As a consequence, Swiss tourism authorities warned that travellers from outside Europe, particularly those from the United States, China, India and the United Kingdom, are taking their tourist dollars elsewhere. 

The Swiss Tourism Association STV submitted a formal request in March that the laws be changed, saying they had put Switzerland at a disadvantage. 

How do I know which rules apply?

One of the most important elements to consider with regard to Covid entry rules is that the country where you reside rather than your nationality is the most important aspect. 

Therefore, if you are an American living in France under the current rules, you can enter without showing proof of vaccination, as you are considered to be entering from France. 

With rules constantly changing and official sources sometimes slow to keep up, the best way to determine the rules which apply in your specific case is the Swiss government’s ‘Travelcheck’ website. 

This is available here. 

The site will ask you certain questions about your situation, although no personal details are required. 

You will then receive a tailored response with advice on your entry situation. 

An extensive set of FAQs is available on the Swiss government website here

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TRAVEL NEWS

Basel to Berlin for 10 francs: Flixtrain expands to Switzerland

German transport provider Flixtrain has announced it will launch in Switzerland from June 23rd. The low-cost provider is offering 10 franc (10 euro) tickets from Basel to Berlin, among other cheap fares.

Basel to Berlin for 10 francs: Flixtrain expands to Switzerland

The low-cost company, which has been establishing itself Deutsche Bahn’s major competitor Germany over the past few years, runs long distance bus and train services. 

The lines to and from Basel run from Thursday to Monday. The new line is part of an expansion of services which is set to include around 70 destinations in Germany. 

As yet, Basel will be the only Swiss destination. The other two new routes are Stuttgart to Hamburg and Berlin to Weisbaden. 

REVEALED: How to find cheap train tickets in Switzerland

In addition to the 10 franc (10 euro) ticket from Basel to Berlin, other journeys within Germany will start at 5 francs (5 euros). 

As the fares are likely to be promotional, it is unclear how much they will cost once the service is up and running. 

Currently, tickets between Basel and Berlin can cost as high as CHF150 or 160 euros from Switzerland’s SBB or Germany’s Deutsche Bahn respectively. 

Flixtrain boss André Schwämmlein hit out at the German government’s 9 euro ticket for local public transport as “immature”, telling the Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper it would lead to a risk of “completely overcrowded trains all over Germany”. 

READ MORE: What tourists visiting Germany need to know about the €9 ticket

Image: Flixmobility

Who is Flix and what do they do?

Flixtrain is a part of Flixmobility, which is headquartered in Munich, Germany. 

The company was founded in 2011 and has since rolled out bus routes across Germany and much of Europe. 

Flixtrain was launched in 2017. Compared with Deutsche Bahn, however, its offering is still small: With nine token bright green trains, the private company competes against more than 300 high-speed (ICE) trains.

As Flixtrain is a private service, it will not be a part of the 9 euro fare network. 

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