August 11th Update: Greece has added fresh entry requirements and new curfews for bars and restaurants, in addition to limits on concerts and other gatherings.
Greece opened to visitors full tilt on July 1st, and all the hotels, cafes, bars and other things you might enjoy were already opened June 15th, ready for your visit. Basically, if you’re thinking about Greece, it’s ready for you.
Now with summer in fill swing, here’s what you need to know about getting there to see Greece for yourself.
For some EU countries, that means new entry requirements, including a recent negative covid-19 test result, but for the chance to experience the country in ways people haven’t been able to for decades – hint, fewer tourists – it’s an option worth jumping up and down about with excitement.
Greece Has The Hope Of The Traveling World
Greece is the country others within Europe, and also those far beyond are looking to for indications of the future of safe travel. The country had one of the earlier phased re-openings of tourism, with most things like cafes, hotels, parks and beaches already opened from the end of May.
As of August, a fresh wave of covid-19 infections has set back plans, but a small spike in cases was always somewhat expected, and measures are being taken.
If the country manages to continue to open its idyllic settings to visitors while avoiding further worries, it will be a strong signal to the rest of the world that travel is once again safe, ok and responsible – if done right.
Greece has taken many precautionary measures to limit spread from locals and visitors, including testing requirements for some entrants, social distancing and nwq strict protocols for bars, restaurants and accommodations, and has even closed land borders when necessary, to limit flow.
Greece is open to most travelers from the European Union, European Economic Area and the UK, and also to travelers from outside of Europe on the EU approved country list. Americans are not currently on the approved list, but government has suggested they may be by the end of July. European countries eligible for entry include…
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland (Rep.), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
And the international list of countries eligible for entry into Greece includes…
Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
To confirm your eligibility, use the official Timatic resource provided by IATA, which is the system used by airlines to confirm your eligibility. For example, immediate family members, such as spouses and or or dependent parents or children of EU nationals are also allowed to enter, regardless of passport.
Greece has been open for tourism since July 1st, 2020, but there’s a lot you more you should know about what to expect, and what you’ll need to do to enter.
New Entry Requirements For Travel To Greece
August 11th Update: From August 17th, visitors from Belgium, Czech Republic, The Netherlands and Sweden will need to produce a recent covid-19 test taken within 72 hours or be refused entry.
Keep up on the latest updates on the official Greek Government Travel Website.
At land borders, travelers entering Greece by land from Albania or Bulgaria will be required to produce a negative covid-19 test, taken with 72 hours of arrival at the border as of July 13th, 2020.
Passengers arriving by air from other countries are not required to produce a negative covid-19 result prior to departure, but may be subjected to a test on arrival, if symptoms are shown.
All visitors to Greece must fill out a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) and complete it online at least 48 hours prior to departure to Greece. The form will produce a QR code you can print out or leave on your mobile phone, and this will be scanned on arrival into the country.
What’s Open In Greece Right Now?
Famous landmarks and archaeological sites, shopping centers, beaches and even ferries are now up and running, making life within Greece a lot more like normal. With more than 500 beautiful beaches reopened, locals and visitors are taking a much deserved dip after months of quarantine.
Restaurants and cafes are as well, albeit with social distancing. Expect tables spread at acceptable distance, and preference given to tavernas with outdoor seating. The experience will undoubtedly be different, but for those hoping to visit shortly thereafter this date, it’s a big step toward the trip feeling fulfilled.
August 11th Update: After reckless behaviour was attributed to recent covid-19 spread, restaurants and bars in Antiparos, Crete, Chalkidiki, Kos, Mykonos, Paros and a variety of islands will be forced to close between midnight and 7AM.
With fewer cruise ships operating and travel from much of the world restricted, in many ways this will be a rare opportunity to experience Greece in ways which haven’t been possible for decades.
Getting To Greece Summer 2020
There’s now wide availability for direct flights from Europe to Athens, Crete, Paris, Santorini, Mykonos and other dreamy island getaways. Direct flights from the UK to Greece resumed July 15th, and are not subject to quarantine on arrival in either direction.
Ferries are open in Greece, so if you’re planning to transit within the country by boat, you can. Social distancing and other practical measures are being observed on ferries.
Should you travel to Greece this summer? The Prime Minister specifically stated the country is ready for visitors, and in fact looking forward to them. They wouldn’t open their border and wouldn’t invest so heavily in safety measures if they didn’t want people to come, so it’s really up to you and your level of risk.
Here’s a guide to Santorini, and where to stay, in case you’re looking.
This leaves the final big questions: when can Americans and others join the socially distanced party in Greece?
The answer: perhaps after August, at least according to Greek Government spokesman Stelios Petsas. The country is mulling plans to reinstate flights from the United States, but travelers would be required to produce a negative covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure, to be allowed to visit.
Full on travel to Greece is in the cards for visitors from Europe and select countries outside Europe this summer, and with fewer visitors than usual, the experience may be more valuable than ever before.
As many as 10,000 tourists per day typically visit Santorini off of ferries, so the chance to experience such a stunning island, and the many, many others, without as many visitors may not be seen again for decades to come.
If you’re looking to speculatively book travel from the USA with the hopes Americans will be allowed in come September, Emirates currently has their flight from New York (EWR) to Athens (ATH) on sale from September 1st, 2020.
With ferries already open again, and internal flights moving well, international visitors can move around the islands as they previously could, albeit with social distancing, as well as hygiene and crucial safety protocol. Greece may be one of the few countries open to visitors right now, but it’s always been one of the best.
We’ll update this page with any details if plans change.