Switzerland has reopened to travellers, with no quarantine rules in place for vaccinated travellers.
The European destination started welcoming tourists again on Saturday. Travellers from countries outside the EU, including the UAE, who have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccination can now include Switzerland in any summer travel planning.
For travel within the EU, there are no more restrictions for arriving in Switzerland. International visitors need to be fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months to avoid self-isolation rules.
Famed for its alpine scenery, horology expertise and love of all things chocolate, Switzerland's alluring cities and quaint mountain villages are now open for exploring.
Here's a guide to everything you need to know if you're planning to go.
Who Can Travel to Switzerland?
UAE citizens and residents who have been fully vaccinated, or have recovered from Covid-19, will be allowed to enter Switzerland without quarantine. This means that the country is now easily accessible, and is likely to be a popular destination this summer, especially given its inclusion on the Abu Dhabi Green List.
To qualify to fly to Switzerland, travellers must have received the second dose of any jab at least 14 days before arrival.
Swiss authorities have also developed a very easy-to-use Travelcheck service on which tourists can enter information about where they're flying from and their vaccination status, to find out if they're eligible to fly to Switzerland and what restrictions apply. You can find it here.
Travelcheck will also be helpful in case there are any more changes to entry rules in the future.
What Do I Need to Do Before I Travel?
As well as making sure you're vaccinated, travellers need to fill in an entry form before flying to Switzerland. You can find a copy of this form here. You also need to register your details with the Federal Office of Public Health.
Fully vaccinated tourists no longer need to take a PCR test before travelling to Switzerland, unless the airline they are flying with requires it, so check this before you head to the airport.
Children under 16 do not need to show proof of a negative coronavirus test nor vaccination record when entering Switzerland.
What Vaccines Does Switzerland Recognise?
Switzerland is accepting travellers who have vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, namely Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
The country is also recognising vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation for emergency use, including Sinopharm and Sinovac.
Travellers must have proof of full vaccination completed at least 14 days before travel. Unvaccinated travellers from the UAE are not yet able to fly to Switzerland for tourism purposes, but business travel is allowed.
What Restrictions Are in Place?
Over the last year, Switzerland's safety measures have proven efficient and there's been a limited number of outbreaks at tourist destinations in Switzerland, despite most hotels, restaurants and mountain resorts remaining open.
Swiss authorities brought forward the relaxation of coronavirus measures from tomorrow to Saturday, and face masks no longer need to be worn in busy outdoor areas, including restaurant terraces, train stations and leisure facilities.
You’ll still have to wear a mask in indoor areas such as shopping malls and trains, or where the recommended social distancing of 1.5 metres can’t be kept. People can move around again in bars and restaurants, but masks must be worn when not seated. Nightclubs and discos are also reopening with no face masks needed, however entry will be restricted only to those with Covid-19 certificates, whether recovered or vaccinated.
Which Airlines Are Flying From the UAE to Switzerland?
From Abu Dhabi, Etihad operates direct to Zurich. The national airline of the UAE also flies to Geneva, with return fares to both cities starting from Dh1,995 ($543).
From Dubai, Emirates will take you to Geneva from Dh2,364, and to Zurich from Dh2,180. Swiss also operates to the UAE, and is a good option if you want to travel to other parts of the country, thanks to its Airtrain service, which takes passengers onwards to Basel and Lugano for no extra fees.
What Can I See and Do in Switzerland?
Known for its alpine mountains, pristine national parks, pretty lakeside villages and love of all things chocolate, Switzerland in summertime is a delight. From July to August, the daytime temperature range is from 18 to 28°C, with no extreme heat or humidity.
In the capital Bern, you can explore a medieval old town and see world-class art. In German-speaking Basel, expect countless museums and buzzy food halls. Lucerne offers the chance to delve into Swiss history, and is home to one of the world's oldest bridges, while Lausanne is the place to go for nightlife, parties and rooftop bars. Europe's largest lake takes pride of place in pretty Geneva, while Zurich offers a well-heeled escape with trendy bars, luxury hotels and upmarket restaurants – with prices to match.
The beauty of Switzerland is also that you can go from city to mountains with absolute ease. In the very heart of the Alps, Switzerland boasts the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa and spiky Pilatus, as well as some terrain from Mont Blanc. Go trekking, hiking, biking or climbing and enjoy alpine lakes, timber cottages and traditional farmsteads in the country's untouched rural destinations.
What's the Covid-19 Situation in Switzerland?
Switzerland has opted to relax Covid-19 restrictions as infection rates drop across the country, and the vaccination roll-out continues.
The European nation has recorded 702,507 cases and 10,882 deaths since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, ranking Switzerland in 38th place worldwide for total case numbers.
The country is currently seeing a decline in positive cases and at least 41 per cent of the population had been vaccinated as of Friday, according to the latest data from Bloomberg.
Source: The National