This page is being constantly updated with the latest information regarding travel to Greece
Summer is finally here and along with it our dreams for a vacation and a very urgent need to take a break from all the Covid-19 madness.
This summer more than any other time, breaking away is of vital importance. The lockdowns, the measures, the sad news of death and infection, the fear mongering, the lack of privacy or rights, the inability to see or hold our loved ones, the violent cut of our connection with others – all these realities have made taking a vacation more pressing than ever but at the same time much more difficult.
The truth be said, we are now officially – whether we want to or not – out of our comfort zone and treading uncharted waters – in high winds, I might add.
The good news is that we are slowly but steadily returning to our (new) lives. Our dreams of traveling later are now about traveling soon, and very soon, you’ll be on your next trip.
This said, being blessed to be living in a country that many people worldwide dream of, I can only be thankful but I can also proudly say that Greece is among the very few countries in the world to have kept the deadly virus at bay and to already have a year of valuable experience with tourism in the Covid era under its belt.
As a tourism professional, I can happily say that Greece is ready to welcome the world again and show all of us anguished by the coronavirus reality that life does go on and to remind us that we made it through this too and this time, we’re one step closer to an even better year.
As one of my favorite writers, Haruki Murakami put it clearly:
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”Haruki Murakami
That’s exactly where we’re at right now. So take it from a country that welcomed over 33 million tourists a year before the global outbreak of Covid and several millions in the first Covid summer in 2020, the time is right to take our next steps in the new post-covid reality, take heed of expert guidelines and coronavirus advice, and leave fear behind. Or as the ancient Greeks always said: All in good measure.
I hope that this post will answer all your questions regarding travel to Greece. And if you still have concerns or questions, feel free to ask me via mail, messenger or twitter or visit The Greek Vibe’s “Ask Me about Greece” page. I would be more than happy to answer. This is after all a time of sharing and coming together.
Greece Opens to the World
In short, Greece is ready to welcome its first visitors from abroad. All guidelines, rules and announcements (drawn up by tourism and health experts) depend on coronavirus management and vaccination rollouts in Greece and elsewhere as well as on EU and world travel policies and airline decisions. Read here.
- Greece opens officially to all travelers this weekend (May 14-15) accepting visitors from all countries.
- If you are coming to Greece from abroad will be asked to provide proof that you have completed (two doses) of Covid-19 vaccination 14 days prior to arrival, present a negative PCR test result taken 72 hours before arrival, or a Covid-19 recovery certificate. This applies to everyone aged 5 and above. See here which vaccination certificates are valid.
- All passengers will be subject to additional rapid testing at airports, ports, or border points. Should you be found to be infected, you will be accommodated at special quarantine/recovery hotels with costs covered by the Greek state.
- Decisions, guidelines, health protocols have been drawn up by epidemiologists and health experts and are constantly being revised so keep up to date by visiting your embassy’s website.
- It’s good for travelers to know that Greece is moving swiftly ahead with a far-reaching vaccination program that has given islands priority. At the same time, based on last’s year’s experience, nearly all Greek destinations have access to a health facility (like hospitals) – this would be mainland Greece and the island of Crete or to a health center within a two-hour proximity: the Saronic and Cyclades islands nearer to Athens, and Evia.
- To address all possible cases and needs, the health ministry is again enforcing a far-reaching action plan stationing medical doctors and health professionals on all islands and providing immediate emergency transport by air should the need arise.
- Would be a good idea to check out Re-open EU, an interactive site providing you with real-time information 24/7 in 24 languages to plan your travel and holidays to Europe, while staying healthy and safe.
- American travelers will be required to get a viral antigen test or a (PCR) test before their return to the US.
- Currently, passengers from the UK who will visit Greece will be required to quarantine upon their return to their country.
Greece Ready for Tourism: The Timeline
* Alert at least 48 hours before checking in for your trip to Greece, you are required to fill in the Passenger Locator Form (PLF), which this year will include space for vaccination or testing information. This applies to all travellers irrelevant of origin of flight or vaccination status. It also applies for incoming visitors by road or sea.
- Greece welcomes all visitors with a vaccination certificate (indicating full vaccination -two doses where this applies – 14 days prior to travel), a negative PCR test result taken 72 hours before arrival, or a Covid-19 recovery certificate.
- Starting June 1, Greece will be accepting the EU Covid-19 Certificate (aka Digital Green Certificates), a travel passport of sorts expected to make going through passport control much easier
- restaurants, cafes and bars are open offering outdoor services only
- the Acropolis, archaeological sites and museums countrywide are open
- all airports in Greece are operating
- wear a mask at all times. You don’t want to pay 150-euro fine for not doing so.
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What You Need to Know About Travel to Greece in Covid-19 Times
➣At the Airport
- wearing masks on board and in the airport at all times is mandatory
- you are advised to use hand gels regularly – these are available throughout the airport
- ticket desks and passport controls are now carried out behind protective panels
- make sure to practice safe distancing from those in front or after you in waiting lines. Stickers on the floor indicate the distance
- be alert, be informed, be responsible
- there will be no 14-day quarantine period if you hold a vaccination certificate or negative PCR test result
- maintain social distances at all times: leave one seat empty when sitting in lounge areas or during boarding at gates.
* Greek health authorities have the right at any given time or place to take random coronavirus tests.
➣In Public Spaces and on Public Transport:
- avoid using public transport if you can walk
- if you take a bus or train, avoid crowding up, wear a mask, and once you get off sanitize your hands. Always throw away a used mask.
- Cab drivers are obliged to wear a mask and have windows partially open
- open the window – do not accept the use of air conditioning
- always wear a mask.
➣On the Ferry:
- According to the shipping ministry, you can board only after presenting either: a Covid-19 vaccination certificate (proof of vaccination completed 14 days prior to travel) – a negative rapid test (PCR) result conducted 72 hours before travel – a negative antigen test or self-test done in the last 24 hours before the trip – or a Covid-19 recovery certificate. Make sure the company that books your ticket declares the self-test results here. This applies to all passengers Greeks or foreigners over the age of 5.
- Sit outside
- maintain distancing (1.5-2 meters – about 6ft – away from fellow travelers) at all times, including embarkation and disembarkation
- wear a mask if you decide to sit indoors or outdoors when windy
- you must fill in a pre-boarding health declaration which you can print out from here. This should also be available in digital format from the ferry operator you book with
- you will be required to undergo a temperature check prior to boarding
- ferries will be traveling at 50 percent capacity (55 percent on ferries with cabins)
- passengers with high temperature or symptoms will be turned away
- if you have purchased a cabin, one person is allowed, with the exception of families of up to four, and people with disabilities traveling with companions
- all ferries are disinfected after each route.
- all hotels in Greece are required by law to implement stringent health protocols. These have been further improved this year incorporating last year’s experience. Hotels are required by law to display the “Health First” seal in the reception area
- hotels with over 50 rooms or more are required by law to have an action plan and doctor on call in case of coronavirus incident
- hotels and accommodation facilities are required by law to keep a log of all visitors
- the Greek tourism ministry has designated special “quarantine hotels” in all of the country’s regions to host potential Covid-19 cases or hotels may have special “quarantine rooms”
- all hotel employees will be tested for Covid-19 weekly
*Greek hotels and tourism businesses cannot be held liable for coronavirus-related charges if they have implemented the Greek ministry’s health protocols.
- The city center has been redesigned to create more public space for visitors and residents with walking and bike lanes allowing for more outdoor activities and recreation
- avoid crowded spaces.
➣On the Greek Islands
- Greek authorities have said that medical doctors and health coordinators will be stationed at small island hotels
- emergency air transportation will be available to nearest health facility and telemedicine services activated
➣Renting Sail Boats or Yachts in Greece
- rent a boat only with friends or close contacts and make sure to self-test
- social distancing rules apply to all boat rentals or charters
- visitors are not allowed on board without self-testing
- a detailed log of all activity must be kept at all times
- the number of passengers will depend on size of boat
- wearing a mask and practicing hygiene are encouraged on board and mandatory in closed spaces for skippers, who will also self-test.
➣Cruises in & from Greece
- Cruises to the Greek islands have begun
- For the first time, most of the world’s major cruise lines will be launching round-trip cruises to Greece, Cyprus, and Israel destinations with boarding from Athens (Piraeus) or Lavrion only for vaccinated passengers or for those with a negative PCR test result 72 hours before boarding.
- Other companies are expected to launch cruises including off-the-beaten-track destinations in Greece in the coming months.
- For the first time, American nationals visiting Europe can now take a cruise out of Athens.
➣Camping in Greece
- Camping protocols have not been announced yet. Stay tuned for updates.
- The entrance of your tent, camper or trailer should 5 meters (16ft) from the others and 3 meters on either side
- campers should maintain distancing rules at all times keeping at least 1.5m apart from others
- all organized campsites have emergency plans in place and quarantine space for suspected Covid-19 cases
- always wear a mask when you are inside or in all common-use areas and facilities such as reception, bathrooms and washing areas. Don’t forget to practice hygiene
- campground owners are required by to disinfect regularly.
➣On the Beach
- the keep-your-distance rule applies to all beaches. Organized beaches allow 40 people per 1,000m2 of space. Umbrellas must be set at 4 meters apart and can be used by two people with the exception of families with children.
- sunbeds should be placed 4m apart (about 13ft)
- tables will be places 2m apart
- bring your own towel to the beach and use on beach chairs. It’s mandatory
- beach chairs and loungers are disinfected after every use
- drinks and food will be served or available as take-away at beach bars and cafes. All staff will be required to self-test regularly. Keep distances when waiting in line.
♬And I end today’s post with some music-filled travel inspiration: a song penned in 1948 by rebetis Vassilis Tsitsanis: “Akrogyalies Deilina” about Greek seashores & sunsets. Here a fresh take by Greek band Imam Baildi.