Santorini, Greece. Oia city with white and blue houses in Aegean Sea. Thira, Cyclades Islands.

2020 is not officially cancelled, yet.

Cooped up, tired of cooking, desperately seeking sun and cleaned out the wine cellar already? You’re not alone, and travel is always the ultimate cure. Greek Islands? That sounds about right.

Countries in all corners of the globe are working desperately to devise plans which will safely open up borders again soon, ushering in a return of guests so vitally important to global economies. Word out of Greece is that it’s working to be among the first to sing from the hilltops that the doors will be open, likely even this summer.

Greece Eyeing July Tourism

“We want people to come to Greece this summer”.

Fun fact: nearly 25% of the entire population of Greece works in tourism. People flocking to the country’s many inimitably beautiful islands is essential, and Greece is hoping to create a variety of safety measures which will allow the travel businesses to preserve at least *some* of their peak tourism season.

Mamma Mia, after months of quarantine, that’s just the music our ears have been listening for.

a deck with chairs and a view of the oceanGreek Tourism Minister, Harry Theoharis was on BBC Radio 4 this week discussing the possibility of summer travel to the island nation, and the outlook is positive. Asked if the country was hoping for visitors this summer, the message was a resounding yet, but naturally in a covid-19 world, not without a few caveats.

Precautions to socially distance in all areas from beaches to boats are being put into place, and measures are being considered, including health screenings before anyone would be allowed to board a plane bound for Greece. The country has been one of the most effective in flattening the curve, and absolutely does not want to lose that.

If you have the time, listen to the 5 minute interview posted above.

Basically, you may need to take a test, or have some paperwork before you hop on a flight, but unlike many countries, Greece is eager to win tourists back. It’s not the only European country to feel that way, but is one of the few to offer a realistic timetable about how and when it may happen.

So who can visit Greece this summer?

Specific plans are said to be underway, with announcements due to the Greek public early next week. Like many EU countries, Greece has spoken of giving early visiting preference to travelers from EU countries which have avoided the worst outbreaks, but even then the minister said UK tourists would be very welcome.

That’s right USA, there’s still hope.

This gives hope for travelers elsewhere in the world of realizing the dream of Greece in the summer. Hot tip: the further you can push travel into shoulder season, aka early October or late September, the better though.

Assuming a successful early tourist season, restrictions could begin to lift between countries rather quickly. With announcements on procedure due in early May, there’s still plenty of time to find the perfect flights, Airbnb or hotel. At the very least, at least the dream of summer travel remains alive.


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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  1. ‘Mamma mia’ would be something you would say about Italy opening up…. not Greece…..

    Just saying…

    If you wanted to be, you know, accurate, you might say ‘Opa! Greece is opening for summer’
    Which is what, you know, a Greek person might say…

  2. This information sounds promising. However, I am not sure how many people would be able to afford to travel for leisure considering the huge income loss due to lockdown. Let’s hope things progress in a positive direction.

  3. I have spoken with Mr Theoharis via email this week, expressing my concerns and opinions as an American tourist who has a vacation scheduled to Greece toward the end of August. We go every 2 years.

    My have no concern at all while in Greece. I guess it will be interesting to see how ferries are handled, not only sitting on board but the mass on boarding and and getting off the ferries like a herd of cattle.

    Our hotels will be open, no problems there. Aegean will be flying intra-country then. I’m a 2 million miler Delta Air Diamond member. Delta has reduced their direct flights from JFK-ATH by half to one per day starting July 2. As long as this flight continues all is good.

    Perfectly fine with submitting to a medical test 5 days or less prior to departure into Greece.

    One thing I would not find appealing would be wearing a mask in Athens in the middle of the hot, humid summer

    1. Sam, Did Mr. Theoharis say whether they would allow US citizens in by July? I’m booked for July 7th and cannot see how they would block the US market, while allowing other EU countries who were high impacted as well. Did he sound optimistic that they would work out a bilateral agreement with the US and that Greece would welcome US tourists in, in July? I believe the administration is saying that in order for US travelers to go abroad the host country would need to allow their citizens to visit the US as well, so that it is a symbiotic agreement. Thanks in advance.

  4. I’m leaving for Greece this July 22 – Aug 4 this is my 3rd time rearranging my vacation plans this year and this time I’m saying the 3rd time is the charm ! This is my dream vacation since I’ve been a teenager and I’ve had this planned for so very long I’m going no matter what this time. I’m fine with any test I need to provide I’ve already had one so I’m not concerned that everything will be perfect!
    I’m just very excited to finally be visiting my dream island of Greece 2 weeks is not nearly enough time for all I want to see and do, but I plan on making several more trips in the near future to other islands.

  5. We have a trip to Greece and Italy via cruise from Rome for mid-September. We would be flying from US to Italy. Have not yet cancelled but am very afraid to take that cruise! US is struggling and not sure wearing a mask on a cruise ship and all over two countries in heat is either comfortable or will be enjoyable. Anyone have any thoughts on this? We have until mid-June to decide on whether to cancel. Thanks.

  6. I’m encouraged by the news and hope all countries are moving quickly to open up their borders and make appropriate changes to minimize risk until a vaccine or effective treatment is available. However, I think July is a little early.

    I have a flight to Germany scheduled for November (was to be in March but that got cancelled). I’m optimistic by then I can go and hopefully some of the strictest restrictions will be eased by then. I understand we will likely (at least for several years) continue with cleaning standards and personal hygiene (likely would be good to continue both permanently) but hopefully some of the restrictions on restaurants and other businesses, mask requirements, etc will have eased by then. I’m optimistic but wouldn’t consider going to Europe (or any other international trip) in July or August this year

  7. We have booked to fly to Greece on the 4th of August. Greece is our dream destination. We are really happy to know about Greece opening up. But we are Singaporean. What are our chances?

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