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Driving to Switzerland

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
We have the bare bones of a trip booked for next February, which can't happen under current circumstances i.e. because of France/Germany. Tunnel plus stopover in France each way plus apartment deposit.
I thought it would be useful to start a thread for when (if?) it becomes possible to drive to Switzerland again...
Or should we give up hope for another year? Sad
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
It’s very easy. Where are you heading to? We come home from Calais -Metz - Basel - Zurich. The A4 is a better drive - loads more Aires than the Nancy route and then there’s a massive Carrefour and Grand Frais just before Basel.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I know all that, we've driven many times! But as I understand it, France and Germany are currently off-limits for mere tourists. Or am I missing something?
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Nadenoodlee, no doubt a lovely route, but not so good if going to Verbier-Nendaz.
In days before Google Maps we went down to Macon then A40 to Geneva and round the lake.
It seems this is an hour longer than going on the A39 and skirting Lausanne.
You live and learn . . .
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
caughtanedge wrote:
I know all that, we've driven many times! But as I understand it, France and Germany are currently off-limits for mere tourists. Or am I missing something?


It is still possible to drive through Germany I thought. You simply can’t stay there. My understanding was that it was still possible to get to Switzerland by ferry to Belgium and then drive down through Germany and enter at Basel. I won’t be doing a drive for quite a few weeks yet so have not fully researched it and might be wrong on that.
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My Son works in Verbier, he drives every winter. He breezed it two weeks a go via the chunnel. At the French/Swiss border, the Swiss border guards were mostly interested in whether he had receipts for his five pairs of skis, none of which were new. Confused


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Thu 23-12-21 16:09; edited 1 time in total
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Mollerski wrote:
My Son works in Verbier, he drives every winter. He breezed it two week via the chunnel. At the French/Swiss border, the Swiss border guards were mostly interested in whether he had receipts for his five pairs of skis, none of which were new. Confused


They need those customs charges to pay the Xmas bonuses! What does your son do in Verbier?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
JohnMo wrote:
caughtanedge wrote:
I know all that, we've driven many times! But as I understand it, France and Germany are currently off-limits for mere tourists. Or am I missing something?


It is still possible to drive through Germany I thought. You simply can’t stay there. My understanding was that it was still possible to get to Switzerland by ferry to Belgium and then drive down through Germany and enter at Basel. I won’t be doing a drive for quite a few weeks yet so have not fully researched it and might be wrong on that.


Thanks! This is the sort of info I'm looking for!
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The only ferry to Belgium is Hull to Zeebrugge. Harwich to Hook of Holland (Rotterdam) might be a better option. Then drive through Holland and Germany. Both allow transits.
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Mollerski wrote:
My Son works in Verbier, he drives every winter. He breezed it two week via the chunnel. At the French/Swiss border, the Swiss border guards were mostly interested in whether he had receipts for his five pairs of skis, none of which were new. Confused

I think "works in Verbier" and "2 weeks ago" are key phrases which won't apply to me when trying to enter France!
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There's a Blog on our apartment webpage I wrote for clients, about Self-drive to the Swiss Alps.

The focus is more on what to do beforehand in terms of preparation and admin chores. For the main alternatives in terms of driving routes, the site has a downloadable document on Calais to La Tzoumaz - Routes and shopping en route. I deliberately don't give a status of the current rules and regulations because they change so fast and it's better to go to the official sources:

I also did a Blog piece listing the main source websites for Official Travel Updates about France and Switzerland. Snowheads threads are great for on-the-ground actual experience at the time. But while it's tedious, I think that you still need to have a handle on the main gov.uk, French and Swiss official pages as well. The piece has links to the main official pages and you can sign-up to updates from gov.uk for travel to CH and France.

We're scheduled to go via Eurotunnel through France to Switzerland in late January. As it stands, this is infeasible and we're in a position where you can pretty much only fly into Switzerland if you want to avoid quarantine in France or elsewhere. Our hope is that things will have settled down by then and it will be possible. One issue for us under current rules is that we nowadays do a stopover in France one night, and this raises the issue of the validity time of tests. It means that even with quarantine lifted, we would probably have to drive down in one go. This is fine in the summer but in the winter, bad weather might make a long drive very difficult, even with 2 of us alternating the driving.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Thu 23-12-21 10:27; edited 2 times in total
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Thanks for all this - I could probably drive to Zermatt (well, Täsch) in my sleep! I suppose what I'm waiting/hoping for is the situation to change with France before February.
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@Quantski, The Hull > Zeebrugge service has ceased to operate IIRC.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

The Hull > Zeebrugge service has ceased to operate IIRC

That's right, it stopped at the start of 2021. AFAIK there are no passenger ferries from UK to Belgium anymore. There are options to Holland:
Harwich -> Hook of Holland
Hull -> Rotterdam
Newcastle -> Amsterdam

So, if it's permitted to transit through Holland and Germany, then I think these are the only driving options if France is still off-limits
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I once booked Hull > Rotterdam by accident (instead of Hull > Zeebrugge).

Nearly got away with it too, until my other half commented that they'd done a lot of work on the place . . . and then saw a sign that said Rotterdam. Surprise, surprise that then got stored in the permanent memory for retrieval every time we go to CH.

I too go to Nendaz (same circuit as Verbier). After trying a few routes, now always via Reims > Troyes > Dijon > Dole > Pontarlier > Jougne (last supermarket in France) > down to Lausanne etc.

In theory, once in the Schengen area and if you have the French motorway douffer, you can drive through France without speaking or stopping other than for petrol (pay at pump) but I didn't want to chance it.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just to bump this thread further along. What are the restrictions for driving back to the U.K. after spending Christmas and New Year in Switzerland? In total we will have been here for 17 days. Are we treated the same as a Swiss citizen as far as testing requirements are concerned?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Rareperk wrote:
Just to bump this thread further along. What are the restrictions for driving back to the U.K. after spending Christmas and New Year in Switzerland? In total we will have been here for 17 days. Are we treated the same as a Swiss citizen as far as testing requirements are concerned?


You follow the rules of the country you live in…so if England you need a pre departure test before leaving Switzerland and a day 2 pcr test on arrival and isolate until you receive your result of this.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
andmelffion wrote:
Rareperk wrote:
Just to bump this thread further along. What are the restrictions for driving back to the U.K. after spending Christmas and New Year in Switzerland? In total we will have been here for 17 days. Are we treated the same as a Swiss citizen as far as testing requirements are concerned?


You follow the rules of the country you live in…so if England you need a pre departure test before leaving Switzerland and a day 2 pcr test on arrival and isolate until you receive your result of this.


And not forgetting the passenger locator form completed within 48 hours of your arrival in the uk
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BobinCH wrote:
Mollerski wrote:
My Son works in Verbier, he drives every winter. He breezed it two week via the chunnel. At the French/Swiss border, the Swiss border guards were mostly interested in whether he had receipts for his five pairs of skis, none of which were new. Confused


They need those customs charges to pay the Xmas bonuses! What does your son do in Verbier?


He's worked for SVE for the last 4 winters, this is his last he says. wink My Daughter worked in Verbier for seven years as an SB instructor. Laterly with Altitude and Vivid.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
caughtanedge wrote:
Mollerski wrote:
My Son works in Verbier, he drives every winter. He breezed it two week via the chunnel. At the French/Swiss border, the Swiss border guards were mostly interested in whether he had receipts for his five pairs of skis, none of which were new. Confused

I think "works in Verbier" and "2 weeks ago" are key phrases which won't apply to me when trying to enter France!


I'm not sure if the french bods would give a hoot. He's a Brit kid in a van as far as they're concerned and 2 weeks ago is significantly more current than 'next February '.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Thu 23-12-21 17:56; edited 1 time in total
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@andmelffion, sorry I didn’t make myself very clear. I was thinking more about the rules for driving home, particularly entering France in a car with


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Thu 23-12-21 18:34; edited 1 time in total
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Mollerski wrote:
caughtanedge wrote:
Mollerski wrote:
My Son works in Verbier, he drives every winter. He breezed it two week via the chunnel. At the French/Swiss border, the Swiss border guards were mostly interested in whether he had receipts for his five pairs of skis, none of which were new. Confused

I think "works in Verbier" and "2 weeks ago" are key phrases which won't apply to me when trying to enter France!


I'm not sure if the french bods would give a hoot. He's a Brit kid in a van as far as they're concerned and 2 weeks ago is significantly more current than 'next February '.


I think you missed my point - he was travelling for work, and I think 2 weeks ago was before the current French tightening of the rules for UK arrivals. So not an average tourist passing through France, which is what I am when I drive to Switzerland, and therefore not allowed at the moment. As others have said here, ferry to NL and then transiting DE is currently an option for the average tourist skier. Like many, I'm waiting/hoping to see things change regarding France, before mid-Feb.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@andmelffion, Not sure what happened to the other half of my post.
We will be driving back to the UK in the New Year, so I was just wondering if there are any PCR requirements to enter France from Switzerland. We will have effectively quarantined for over 14 days since we left the UK so presumably although we are UK citizens there will be no such conditions?
The rules to enter the UK are clear as you say.
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Quantski wrote:
The only ferry to Belgium is Hull to Zeebrugge. Harwich to Hook of Holland (Rotterdam) might be a better option. Then drive through Holland and Germany. Both allow transits.

Hull Zeebrugge is sadly no more. Canned last year.
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Rareperk wrote:
@andmelffion, Not sure what happened to the other half of my post.
We will be driving back to the UK in the New Year, so I was just wondering if there are any PCR requirements to enter France from Switzerland. We will have effectively quarantined for over 14 days since we left the UK so presumably although we are UK citizens there will be no such conditions?
The rules to enter the UK are clear as you say.


i see what you mean now and it is a good question - reading the rules i would understand it that as you are leaving a green country if you are fully vaccinated then no tests are needed to enter France and tranist through France as you have the 'compelling reason' of travelling back to the UK - how the border guards may view that and what proof they will need apart from the document for entering/leaving France/proof you have been in Switzerland for 14 days and proof of your return crossing - good luck is all i can say and have safe trip back, I just wish we could visit our own property in France for our planned xmas and new year ski break!
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@caughtanedge, unlikely to change, bad luck
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