For members


Reader question: Should I cancel my ski trip to Switzerland this winter?

The ever-changing travel rules and other Covid-related restrictions make it difficult to plan a ski trip to Switzerland in the coming weeks. Here’s an overview of how things stand right now and what they might look like in the near future.

Large cable cars will have their capacity reduced to 70 percent. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Large cable cars will have their capacity reduced to 70 percent. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

In the pre-pandemic days, skiing or engaging in other winter sports in one of Switzerland’s trendy (or less trendy) resorts was relatively easy. All that was needed was plenty of snow, a plane ticket, hotel or apartment booking and lots of cash.

You still need snow and money to ski in Switzerland, but now planning a trip to Swiss Alps is fraught with uncertainty, which is expected to intensify as Christmas is approaching.

This uncertainty prevails on several levels.

Travelling to Switzerland

Under the new rules, everyone entering Switzerland must show a negative PCR test taken within 72  hours of arrival. This is required regardless of your vaccination status.

Those travelling via plane will also need to show the test before boarding. 

You will then need to take another PCR or antigen test between four and seven days after arriving — unless you are staying in Switzerland fewer than four days. 

READ MORE: Travel: What are Switzerland’s Covid test requirements?

These requirements were enforced on December 4th to rein in the spread of Covid and its newest variant, Omicron, while scientists are investigating whether vaccination protects against this particular strain, and to what extent.

These new rules may be necessary to keep the pandemic under control, but they are inconvenient from a purely tourism-related point of view, as they require additional advance planning and expense.

READ MORE: ‘A new wave’: Why Switzerland wants to impose tight new measures

The only way to get into Switzerland these days: a PCR test. Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP

Resort and ski slope requirements

You do not need a Covid certificate / proof of vaccination to ski, but you do need to show it to be allowed into indoor areas of bars and restaurants on slopes and in the resorts.

However, people eating and drinking on outdoor terraces and balconies will not need it.

The certificate will also be required to access all the indoor facilities like clubs, cinemas, gyms, private parties, and other indoor venues and activities.

Switzerland accepts the following vaccines for entry and access to the Covid certificate: Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Covaxin.

If you come from an EU/EFTA country, you can simply use your Covid pass anywhere the Swiss Covid certificate is required. 

Switzerland also recognises a number of foreign Covid passes, including all EU/EFTA countries, the UK, Israel, Turkey and several others. 

Travel: Which foreign Covid certificates does Switzerland recognise?

If you do not come from an EU/EFTA country and your country’s Covid pass is not recognised, you will need to get a Swiss Covid certificate. Some of the countries without mutual recognition include the United States and India. 

You will need to pay a fee of CHF30 ($32/£24/28.50/$AU44) in order to get the Covid certificate. 

Issuing Covid certificates is up to health authorities in every canton in a Swiss language or English. Foreigners can get a Covid certificate through a federal government site. The direct link to the government site is here

Canton-by-canton: How visitors can get Switzerland’s Covid certificate

You can also apply directly via the canton. While this may be more difficult in English in some cases, some visitors have told us that they were not charged when booking in their canton, so this may be an option for people wanting to save 30 francs. 

And another regulation has just been put in place: cable cars will introduce capacity restrictions from December 18th. Large gondolas accommodating more than 25 people will have their capacity reduced to 70 percent under new rules.

This may not sway you one way or another from coming to Switzerland, but do expect longer waits to get to the top of the mountain.

If you think it’s all downhill from here, it is not…

Tougher rules may be on the way

You may want to wait to book your ski holidays until next week because Switzerland may introduce stricter measures.

On December 10th, the government presented two separate sets of proposed measures that could be adopted due to the worsening epidemiological situation in the country.

“I would have liked to say enjoy the holidays,” President Guy Parmelin told a news conference on Friday, adding that “unfortunately, the government must once again propose additional measures to stymie a new wave” of infections.

The measures are either restricting indoor areas only to the vaccinated and those recovered from the virus — the so-called 2G rule — or partial closures.

Both options have been been sent out to the cantons for consultation and the governments is expected to announce the final decision on the measures to be implemented nationwide — if any — on Friday.

READ MORE: 2G or closures: Switzerland presents new Covid measures plan

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For members


UPDATE: What are the current rules for entering Switzerland?

Headed to Switzerland or returning home from abroad? These are the current entry rules.

UPDATE: What are the current rules for entering Switzerland?

After almost two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, Switzerland is gradually returning to normal. 

Nowhere is this clearer than in relation to travel. 

Entry from EU/EFTA countries

As of February 17th, Switzerland relaxed all Covid-related entry rules for EU entry.  

“It will no longer be necessary to provide proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test or complete an entry form” the government wrote. 

There are currently no countries on the ‘virus variant of concern’ list, although this may change if another mutation is detected. 

Travel: Six ways to save money while visiting Switzerland

In this case, entry rules may again be reinstated. Previous measures have included outright bans or requiring evidence of vaccination and/or tests, with these sometimes coming into effect at short notice. 

Non-EU/EFTA countries

Travel restrictions remain in place for third-country nationals, according to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

Non-Europeans must present proof of full immunisation administered within the past 270 days with a vaccine recognised in Switzerland: Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, Sinopharm and Covaxin.

Those who have not received one of the approved vaccines can’t enter Switzerland at the moment.

This link explains what rules are in place for various categories of travellers.

Covid certificate no longer required

In addition to relaxing entry rules, the Swiss government removed the Covid certificate requirement. This will no longer need to be shown in restaurants, bars and at events in Switzerland. 

Keep in mind however that other countries may require a Covid certificate. 

Reader question: Do Swiss still need Covid certificate to travel abroad?

It is important to note that this purely relates to Covid-related border measures. 

Other restrictions on entering Switzerland, i.e. the requirement to be granted a visa or due to specific bans placed on individuals and nationalities, will remain in place. 

A comprehensive guide on all of the measures which have been relaxed is laid out at the following link. 

Q&A: Everything you need to know about Switzerland relaxing Covid measures

What measures are still in effect? 

Masks will no longer be required in shops, supermarkets and the workplace, while they will continue to be required in public transport for the meantime. 

Berset said the continuation of this rule was justified as while people can avoid shopping – even supermarket shopping – this was not the case with public transport. 

“You can avoid shopping, for example with online shopping or by adjusting the time you go shopping. This is not the case in public transport,” he told the press on Wednesday. 

The government said this will be maintained in the meantime, but may be relaxed in the future as the situation allows it. 

Another measure which will remain in place is the isolation requirement for those who have tested positive. 

Anyone who has tested positive in Switzerland is required to isolate for five days. 

While Berset said this looks to be relaxed at the end of March, it was still important to stop the spread of the virus. 

“Anyone who has tested positive is very contagious in the short term… The most contagious people can be taken out of circulation in this way.”

Swiss President Ignazio Cassis said the isolation measure reflected solidarity in broader society. 

“You also stay at home when you are sick. Society demands that people stay at home when they are sick,” he said

Switzerland has registered more than 2.6 million Covid-19 cases and over 12,500 deaths during the pandemic and currently has a vaccination rate of 70 percent.