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Flying into Zurich then drive to Colmar

My wife and I are considering a quick trip to Colmar, France sometime during the holiday season. We would likely fly into Zurich, as that appears to be the closest major airport, and then drive to Colmar.

My question regards Covid alert levels. Switzerland currently has a CDC level 4 Covid alert, while France is level 3. What are the Covid rules in Europe when traveling between countries? I have no idea if the EU has similar alerts for the different countries or not.

Posted by
6308 posts

While Zürich is the closest major airport as the crow flies, I would also consider Frankfurt or Paris. In travel time, the difference is negligible. And to be honest, Paris has the advantage of being in the same country as Colmar.

The rules for travelling between countries are up to each country to determine and to be honest they vary.

Posted by
8421 posts

And Colmar would easily and comfortably be reached from any of those cities by train. Rent a car when you get there.

Posted by
5579 posts

I agree with the above. When we flew to Colmar, we flew into Paris and took a train to Colmar, I think it took about 4 hours and then we rented a car in Colmar. I wanted to save a bit of money so I purchased my train ticket in advance and stayed the arrival night in Paris.

I would avoid traveling between countries. Right now, that would be my highest priority. COVID levels can change a lot in a month, FYI.

Posted by
76 posts

Fair point about trying NOT to travel between countries with Covid. I had thought about flying into Zurich though because the car ride to Colmar would only be about 2 hours. This would be a VERY quick trip (3 or 4 days total, including flights), and we don't want to spend a major portion traveling (car or train).

Posted by
76 posts

We'd be flying Delta Airlines (my wife is a retiree), so that impacts which airports we can fly into.

Posted by
5579 posts

You could check flying into Basel. We flew into Basel once and were very surprised that it was reasonably priced. Also, Basel's airport is on the border and I think you can exit directly to France. I think the drive time to Colmar would be about an hour.

Posted by
5579 posts

I did not see kerouac2's comment prior to mine. In any case, when we flew into Basel, we flew Delta. (We connected thru CDG and it was a codeshare with AirFrance.

Posted by
76 posts

Yeah, we try to avoid Delta codeshare airlines if we can. As we fly standby, it's a lot harder to get on them at times! So I think the closest available to use would be Paris, Frankfort, Stuttgart, Zurich or Milan.

Posted by
14927 posts

I was in Colmar a couple of weeks ago. It was surprisingly crowded but not by English speakers.

You do not need a covid test to enter France if you are vaccinated.

They are expecting good crowds for the Christmas markets.

If you do go. I can recommend Wistub Brenner for dinner. Make reservations as it is very popular.

Read up on getting the Pass Sanitaire as no one knew what a CDC card was.

Posted by
5579 posts

Well, then you may end up having to purchase a COVID test at the Zurich airport. The airports tend to be the more expensive places to get tests.

Posted by
5579 posts

In any case, my recommendation would be to get a COVID test as close as possible to departure so that you have it if you need it. You wouldn't even need results until you land in Europe. We did that when we recently went to Poland, in case requirements changed while we were in transit, besides, it just seemed like the responsible thing to do. The tests are free in some states, depending on where you get them.

Posted by
1368 posts

In less than 3 weeks I will be flying Delta from LAX to CDG (Paris) and catching a train from CDG to Strasbourg. You could do the same, just catch the train from Strasbourg to Colmar, about a 30 minute wait & can be booked on one train ticket. It's easy to catch the train within CDG, so there would be no need to head into Paris for a train transfer. Of course, this all depends on your arrival time at CDG & the departure time to Strasbourg. We will have a 3 hour layover at CDG, nice buffer incase of delayed flight out of the states and or longer period of going through Passport (Immigration) Control.

Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
5579 posts

Frank, I was supposed to be in France and Spain at the end of August and into September. COVID requirements and status were changing frequently. Everything looked great for my trip and then it didn't.

After looking at the embassy info, I agree that a COVID test is not currently required. However, many are recommending that travelers do take a COVID test before traveling. I listened to a program yesterday with Sarah Murdoch and her advice was to do a COVID test prior to travel within 48 hours and to avoid travel between countries.

Currently, new COVID cases are quite high in Germany (Our World in Data). I don't think I'd plan to fly into Frankfurt because that is a situation when requirements/restrictions can change. For me, it would just be simpler to fly into Basel or Paris, than take a risk, which is probably still small, that Zurich is going to be a problem. I think I would be especially cautious if the trip is short because that can really ruin a trip.

Posted by
1443 posts

Don't rent a car and drive the same day your arrive from the U.S. Fatigued driving = drunk driving.

Posted by
9540 posts

Currently, you need a negative COVID test, I think either antigen or PCR, within 48 hours prior to entering France.

No. If you are vaccinated, you just need proof of vaccination.

Posted by
14927 posts

However, many are recommending that travelers do take a COVID test before traveling.

That's strictly a personal issue. It's not necessary.

I listened to a program yesterday with Sarah Murdoch and her advice was to do a COVID test prior to travel within 48 hours and to avoid travel between countries.

No disrespect to her but I don't really care what she thinks. I don't put travel writers or travel guides on pedestals. I think I'm smart enough and experienced enough to decide what's right for me.

I follow the rules. I wear masks when I'm supposed to wear a mask, I show proof of vaccination when asked, and I do the best to follow good rules of hygiene regarding covid.

If someone is fearful or hesitant about statistics and rates of Covid, or worries whether rules will be followed once they arrive, then by all means, stay home. It would be a waste of time and money if you did not enjoy yourself. Europe isn't going anywhere.

Posted by
14927 posts

Paul & Melissa.....

Every country has their own entry rules regarding Covid. There is no one EU rule. (And the rules constantly change.)

If you want to travel between Switzerland and France, and then back, find the official rules on the perspective government websites. Don't rely on third party sites.

Posted by
19978 posts

I had thought about flying into Zurich though because the car ride to Colmar would only be about 2 hours.

It is only 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours from Zurich Airport to Colmar by train, at least mid to late morning. There are connections about every 15 minutes right from the airport.

Posted by
76 posts

I know that we don't need a negative covid test to enter, as long as we're all vaccinated (we are), but as far as I am aware, we'd still need a negative test to come back into the USA; not necessarily a big deal though.

I'm not against taking a train, as long as the travel time isn't too long and the cost not TOO high; we'd likely have to travel first class though, as my wife has back issues and I'll need to make sure she can sit as comfortably as possible.

I'll have to look into this Pass Sanitaire (a health pass) that France is going to be requiring for entry into some venues.

Posted by
19978 posts

The leg from Basle to Colmar is a French TER train, which is 2nd class only, but only a 43 minute train ride.

BTW, flying Delta metal exclusively, you should fly to Paris or Frankfurt. Those are 1-stop flights.
If you go to Zurich, at least from Denver, its a 2-stop trip and the connection in Europe is a Delta codeshare, probably either Air France or KLM.

Posted by
76 posts

There are, supposedly, non-stop trains from Paris to Colmar. Of course, I am sure they are more expensive.

Posted by
19978 posts

There are indeed direct TGV's from Paris to Colmar, 3 per day in fact and I've taken one of them. Problem is that they go from Gare de l'Est and you would be landing at CDG and would have to get to the station from there, probably by taxi (given your stated travel preferences). There are a few TGV's from CDG, but they require at least one change at Strasbourg, usually to a TER train that is 2nd class only (although only 30 minutes travel time). They take 2 1/4 to 3 1/2 hours depending on the change time in Strasbourg.

Posted by
14927 posts

I took the train to Colmar from Paris two weeks ago. It was a TGV. I had to change in Strabourg to another TGV for a short ride to Colmar. I was changing trains in Paris so these fit mt schedule. It was not a big deal to change trains.

I try to travel FC in times of Covid as I can get a seat to myself. But, some of the trains I took were TER that are second class only.

There are pharmacies in Colmar that have been approved to give the Pass Sanitaire.

Book your trains in advance. Not just to save money but many of the ones I was on were full.