Travelling to Greece in Summer 2021: Here’s What You Need to Know

To anyone dreaming of a seaside escape, visiting ancient monuments, or numerous islands, these dreams are now possible as Greece has opened its borders for visitors since May 14.

After a lockdown period, Greece has reopened for some tourists without obliging them to self-isolate upon arrival in the country. Such an announcement was made back in April when the latter lifted the quarantine requirement for European Union Member States and several other third countries.

Regardless of the COVID-19 outbreak, the authorities of Greece have continually called for measures that would enable the safe reopening of the travel and tourism sector in a bid to prevent further financial losses and revive the industry by the summer season.

Nonetheless, the country continues to keep in place stringent entry restrictions for other countries due to the pandemic situation.

Who Is Allowed to Travel to Greece This Summer?

Since May 14, Greece has opened its borders for persons all over the world wishing to visit the country during the summer season in a bid to help the country’s travel and tourism sector recover from the loss suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, Greece allows restriction-free entry to all arrivals from European Union and Schengen Area countries.

Besides the EU/Schengen Area countries, Greece welcomes travellers from other countries as well that have recently reported low infection rates of COVID-19. Thus, arrivals from the following third countries are permitted to enter Greece:

  • United Kingdom
  • The United States
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Rwanda
  • Singapore
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Israel
  • North Macedonia
  • Canada
  • Belarus
  • Bahrein
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Qatar
  • China
  • Kuwait
  • Montenegro
  • Ukraine
  • Saudi Arabia

The authorities highlighted that all persons arriving from Montenegro must provide both a vaccination certificate and a negative COVID-19 test result, which should not be older than 72 hours at the time of arrival.

Arrivals from any country outside the EU/Schengen Area or any third country that was not mentioned above are not allowed to enter Greece.

Greece has also opened its borders for travellers from the United States after they remained banned for more than a year. Travellers from the US will be subject to the same requirements as citizens of other countries that are permitted entry.

Greece has been extending the entry ban for third-country nationals for several months now.

Greece’s Entry Restrictions

Before entering Greece, everyone is required to fill in the Passenger Locator Form no later than the day before arrival. The form requires detailed information on passengers’ departure location, the duration of previous stays in other countries, as well as the address of their stay while in Greece.

All persons entering Greece must submit a negative COVID-19 test result obtained within 72 hours of arrival in Greece.

In addition, travellers from countries listed above as well as those travelling from an EU/Schengen Area country are allowed to enter Greece as long as they provide one of the following acceptable documents:

A certificate proving vaccination against the COVID-19: at least 14 days should have passed since the second dose of the vaccine was taken to be permitted entry. The 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 recognised as long as it is issued by a public authority of each country in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, or Russian.

The vaccination certificate must include the traveller’s name, the type of vaccine that has been administered, the COVID-19 vaccine dose(s) injected, and the date of administration.

“Entry of tourists in Greece is not subject to vaccination. Presenting a vaccination certificate greatly facilitates the procedures upon arrival. However, in no case is a vaccination or antibodies certificate considered a ‘passport’,” the Government clarified.

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test result: the test should not be older than 72 hours when entering Greece. Children under the age of six are not required to undergo testing.

A certificate that proves recovery from the COVID-19 in the past nine months: the recovery certificate should be issued by a public authority or a certified laboratory. Travellers can also provide a previous positive PCR test result, performed at least two months before arrival and no later than nine months before arrival.

All the three above-mentioned certificates must contain the key identification information, including the holder’s full name, which must match the name on the passport or any other recognised travel document.

Foreigners may also provide a Digital COVID-19 Passport to be permitted entry to the country, either in paper or electronic form, reports.

Regardless of the certificate that travellers possess upon arrival, they may be subject to mandatory random health screening drawn from a targeted sampling system, which means they need to undergo a rapid antigen test. In case someone refuses to cooperate, the authorities have the right to reject entry into the country.

Furthermore, if the random test result turns out to be positive, travellers and their companions will be accommodated in quarantine hotels, where they will undergo further health checks. They must stay quarantined for at least ten days, and the expenses will be covered by Greek authorities.

Entering Greece Through Land, Air, or Sea

Non-essential land border arrivals are allowed through Evzones border crossing point from North Macedonia and through Promachonas, Ormenio, and Nimfea border crossing points from Bulgaria.

Travelling by sea is also allowed across Greece, and foreign vessels may arrive at Patras, Igoumenitsa, and Corfu harbours.

Admission to Greece by sea is permitted through the ports of Patra, Igoumenitsa, and Corfu, whereas connections with Albania and Turkey are temporarily restricted.

As for those who plan to use public transportation during their stay in Greece, they are obliged to wear a protective mask at all times when in public places, including here airports 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 in order to avoid stop-over country requirements.

What to Expect When Visiting Greece?

Archaeological sites are open to visitors across Greece, with a limit of up to 20 persons at the same time. During their archaeological visits, everyone must wear a face mask and respect the physical distancing measures.

Restaurants, cafes, and bars are open as well. However, service is provided at outdoor spaces only, and the maximum number of persons allowed to sit at one table is six. Those waiting for a table must keep their mask on at all times.

Moreover, theatres, concerts, and other types of performances are also allowed, but only with a 75 per cent capacity in open spaces.

For those wishing to spend some time at the beach, the authorities highlight that only up to 80 persons are allowed for 1000 m2 of the beach area. Furthermore, only two persons can use the same umbrella, except for families.

The public transport will only operate with 65 per cent capacity, whereas tour and sightseeing buses will operate at 85 per cent capacity.

Currently, Greece has a national curfew in place from 1:30 am until 5 am, meaning that tourists can stay outside even after midnight.

Travel Insurance – A Must When Travelling During COVID-19 Pandemic

It is highly suggested that all persons who wish to travel to Greece or any other country during this summer purchase an extended travel insurance package that covers epidemic and pandemic situations.

The insurance makes sure that in case the trip gets cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation, most of the money that is spent to make reservations is turned back.

You can buy medical travel insurance for Greece for a very reasonable cost from AXA Assistance, Europ Assistance, or MondialCare.

Greece’s EU Digital COVID-19 Passport

Greece has successfully joined the EU gateway after the country passed the technical tests and has started to issue the first EU COVID-19 passports.

The country had revealed the first EU Digital COVID-19 Passport back at the end of May, during which time the Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed that the system will be running in the country before the deadline of July 1 that Brussels set, which has turned out to be true.

Additionally, during the launch of the passport 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 established the EU COVID-19 Vaccination Passport in a bid to restore safe travel within the bloc.

COVID-19 Situation in Greece

Similar to the other European countries, Greece has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the country has been able to keep the situation under control by imposing nationwide lockdown measures.

As of June 21, Greece has registered 417,253 COVID-19 infection cases and 12,494 deaths.

The country has administered at least 7,446,861 COVID-19 vaccine doses, with a rate of around 97,057 doses per day during the last week. This means that around 41.7 per cent of the population have received at least one dose of the vaccine, whereas about 29.6 per cent have been fully vaccinated.

Vaccines that are offered in Greece include Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.