For anyone who dreams of escaping from the seaside, visiting the monuments or the many islands, these dreams are now possible as Greece has opened its borders to visitors since May 14.
After a lockdown period, Greece has reopened its doors to some tourists without forcing them to self-isolate upon their arrival in the country. Such an announcement was made in April when the latter lifted quarantine requirements for EU member states and several other third countries.
Regardless of the COVID-19 outbreak, Greek authorities have consistently called for measures that would enable the travel and tourism sector to safely reopen in a bid to prevent further financial losses and revive the industry by the summer season.
However, the country continues to impose strict restrictions on entry to other countries due to the pandemic situation.
Who is allowed to travel to Greece this summer?
Since May 14, Greece has opened its borders to people from all over the world who want to visit the country during the summer season in a bid to help the country’s travel and tourism sector recover from the loss incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Greece currently allows unrestricted entry to all arrivals from EU countries and the Schengen area.
Besides EU/Schengen area countries, Greece welcomes travelers from other countries as well who have recently reported low rates of COVID-19 virus infection. Thus, arrivals from the following third countries are allowed to enter Greece:
United Kingdom United States Australia New Zealand South Korea Thailand Rwanda Singapore United Arab Emirates Russia Serbia Israel North Macedonia Canada Belarus Bahrain Bosnia and Herzegovina Qatar China Kuwait Montenegro Ukraine Saudi Arabia
Authorities have confirmed that all people arriving from Montenegro must present a certificate of vaccination and negative COVID-19 test results, which must be no more than 72 hours old at the time of arrival.
People from any country outside the EU/Schengen area or any other country not mentioned above are not allowed to enter Greece.
Greece has also opened its borders to travelers from the United States after they have been banned for more than a year. Travelers from the United States will be subject to the same requirements as nationals of other countries with admission.
Greece is extending the entry ban for third-country nationals for several months now.
Greece entry restrictions
Before entering Greece, everyone is required to fill out a passenger locator form no later than the day before arrival. The form requires detailed information on the passengers’ departure location, the length of their previous stays in other countries, as well as their address of residence while in Greece.
All persons entering Greece must submit a negative COVID-19 test result obtained within 72 hours of their arrival in Greece.
In addition, travelers from the above-mentioned countries as well as travelers from an EU/Schengen area country are allowed to enter Greece as long as they present one of the following acceptable documents:
Certificate of vaccination against COVID-19: At least 14 days must have passed since the second dose of the vaccine was taken to be allowed in. Vaccines approved in Greece include Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca-Oxford, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac Biotech, Sputnik V, Cansino Biologics, and Sinopharm.
The vaccination certificate is recognized as long as it is issued by a public body in each country in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish or Russian.
The vaccination certificate must include the traveler’s name, the type of vaccine given, the dose(s) of the COVID-19 vaccine injected, and the date of administration.
“The entry of tourists into Greece is not subject to vaccination. Presenting a certificate of vaccination greatly facilitates the procedures upon arrival. However, the government clarified that in no way does the vaccination or the antibody certificate be considered a “passport”.
Evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result: Test must be no more than 72 hours old when entering Greece. Children under the age of six are not required to take the test.
Certification of recovery from COVID-19 in the past nine months: The recovery certificate must be issued by a public authority or accredited laboratory. Travelers may also submit a previous positive PCR test result, which is done at least two months prior to arrival and no later than nine months prior to arrival.
All three certificates listed above must contain key identification information, including the full name of the holder, which must match the name on the passport or other recognized travel document.
Foreigners may also submit a digital COVID-19 passport to be allowed entry into the country, either in paper or electronic form, TheSchengen.com reports.
Regardless of what certificate travelers have upon arrival, they may undergo a random mandatory health check taken from a targeted sampling system, which means they need to undergo a rapid antigen test. In the event that a person refuses to cooperate, the authorities have the right to refuse entry into the country.
Moreover, if the random test result is positive, the travelers and their escorts will be accommodated in quarantine hotels, where they will undergo further health checks. They must remain in quarantine for at least ten days, and the Greek authorities will cover the expenses.
Entering Greece by land, air or sea
Non-essential land border access is permitted via the Evzones border crossing point from North Macedonia and through the Promachonas, Orminio and Nymvia crossing points from Bulgaria.
Travel by sea through Greece is also permitted, and foreign ships may arrive at the ports of Patras, Igoumenitsa and Corfu.
Entry into Greece by sea is allowed through the ports of Patra, Igoumenitsa and Corfu, while communications with Albania and Turkey are temporarily restricted.
For those who plan to use public transportation during their stay in Greece, they are required to wear a protective mask at all times in public places, including airports here as well.
Passengers are allowed to enter Greece through all international airports. However, non-EU/Schengen area citizens are strongly advised to use direct flights to Greece to avoid the country stopover requirements.
What do you expect when visiting Greece?
Archaeological sites are open to visitors all over Greece, with a limit of up to 20 people at the same time. During their archaeological visits, everyone must wear a face mask and respect physical distancing measures.
Restaurants, cafes and bars are also open. However, the service is served in outdoor spaces only, and the maximum number of people allowed to sit at one table is six. Those waiting for a table should keep their masks on at all times.
Furthermore, theaters, concerts, and other types of performances are also permitted, but only at 75 percent capacity in open spaces.
For those who want to spend time on the beach, the authorities assure that only up to 80 people are allowed in 1,000 square meters of beach area. Moreover, only two people can use the same umbrella, except for families.
Public transport will only operate at 65%, while tour and sightseeing buses will operate at 85%.
Currently, Greece has a national curfew from 1:30 am to 5 am, which means that tourists can stay outside even after midnight.
Travel insurance – a must when traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic جائحة
It is highly recommended that all people who wish to travel to Greece or any other country during this summer should purchase an extended travel insurance package that covers epidemic and epidemic situations.
The insurance makes sure that if the flight is canceled due to the COVID-19 situation, most of the money spent to make the reservations is returned.
You can buy medical travel insurance for Greece at very reasonable cost from AXA Assistance, Europ Assistance or MondialCare.
EU digital COVID-19 Greek passport
Greece successfully joined the EU portal after the country passed technical tests and started issuing the first European passports for COVID-19.
The country had unveiled the EU’s first digital COVID-19 passport at the end of May, with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis confirming that the system would be operational in the country before the July 1 deadline set by Brussels, which turned out to be correct.
In addition, during the passport launch in Athens, Mitsotakis urged other EU countries to open for the summer season to help travel and tourism recover from the financial loss caused by the pandemic.
The European Union has created the European COVID-19 vaccination passport in an effort to restore safe travel within the bloc.
COVID-19 situation in Greece
Similar to other European countries, Greece has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the country has managed to keep the situation under control by imposing nationwide lockdown measures.
As of June 21, Greece has recorded 417,253 cases of COVID-19 and 12,494 deaths.
The country has given at least 7,446,861 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, an average of about 97,057 doses per day over the past week. This means that about 41.7 percent of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, while about 29.6 percent have been fully vaccinated.
Vaccines on offer in Greece include Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.