You’ve probably heard the phrase “the only game in town”, which refers to things which may not be perfect, but are the only option. Greece is perfect, and even it may be one of the few options for summer travel, it’s still an option worth jumping up and down about with excitement.

The country opened to visitors full tilt on July 1st, and hotels reopened, cafes, bars and other things you might enjoy opened on June 15th.  Now with summer in fill swing, here’s what you need to know about your chances to get there and see it for yourself…

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. The country will had one of the earlier phased re-openings of tourism, with most things like cafes, hotels, parks and beaches already open from the end of May.

If the country manages to continue to open its idyllic settings to visitors without any notable second waves or 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 social distancing and strict protocols for bars, restaurants and accommodations.

To help with this, the country plans to implement a variety of safeguards including swab tests on arrival to be administered to some, but not all guests, mainly based on recent travel and visible signs at the border. With new reports of those who’ve recovered potentially being unable to spread the virus, there’s real hope it could be a great, safe summer for travel in Greece.

For most travelers, no needs for a 14 day quarantine exist, and we’ve got the info on the few who might need to.

Greece Opens For 2020 Summer Travel

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, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. 

To confirm your eligibility, use the official Timatic resource provided by IATA, which is the system airlines use 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.

Greek Entry Requirements From July 13th Onward…

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 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.

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

Initial flights from June 15th, 2020 – July 1st, 2020  mostly focused around Athens and Thessaloniki, with a few exceptions. Now, wider availability for direct flights from Europe to Santorini, Mykonos and other dreamy island getaways are available, and direct flights from the UK  will go ahead from July 15th onward.

Ferries are open in Greece, so if you’re planning to transit within the country by boat, you can.

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 July, 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.

It’s On For Travel To Greece

Full on travel to Greece is in the cards for visitors from Europe and select countries outside Europe, 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 August, 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 as well, international visitors can move around the islands as they previously could, albeit with social distancing, 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.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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11 Comments

  1. Hope you’re right about Americans being able to travel to Greece come July, Gilbert. I don’t think the Greek government will be an issue. I’m more concerned about the US government remaining strict about our travel abroad similar to Australia. So far, I have not heard anything from the State Department, etc. to indicate that travel to Europe/Greece will occur. Hope it happens as I have my flight from JFK-ATH on Delta in August

  2. I hope its true too – have my tickets from US to Athens in August – headed to Zante. My work may not let me return for a few days post trip but I’ll deal with that…;)

  3. Since the virus already spread across the entire USA there is no increased risk going somewhere else. I feel safe going anywhere other than Venezuela, North Korea and Somalia.

  4. You can go to Portugal starting June 1st. Portugal is lovely, flights are available, and costs are moderate. You have a choice of history, scenic or amazing beaches, or you can pick all three. And you can get around Portugal cheaply by train or bus.

  5. And i hope americans CANNOT travel after seeimg how irresponsible they behave. In their own country. We do not want this here. Pay the price for your stupidity.

  6. As an American, I could not agree more with what a disgrace our country is. I would not blame any country for banning us. However, I do thank Greece for being open-minded. Some of us are working hard to be safe to make up for the stupidity of others.

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