May 23, 2024
Traveling to Greece during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Traveling to Greece during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Editor’s Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on February 26.

(CNN) — If you’re planning to travel to Greece, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Greece reopened to some tourists on June 1, but has been under national lockdown measures since November 7, with strict new quarantine measures in place for all arrivals, including Greek nationals.

What’s on offer

Ancient monuments, myriad islands, spectacular beaches and vast mountains. Greece attracts millions of visitors each year looking for a sunny seaside escape, or a history-focused trip exploring its long and storied past.

Its popular resorts are perfect for partying during the summer, but there’s plenty of space to get away from the crowds, and outside of summer season you’ll often find yourself the only tourist around.

Who can go

Residents from EU+ countries (the 27 member states plus Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and the UK), are allowed into Greece, along with travelers from Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the UAE.

However everyone must quarantine on arrival. See below for details.

Those from other countries are not permitted to travel, unless for essential reasons.

What are the restrictions?

All arrivals must quarantine for seven days at their hotel or home.

All arrivals in Greece, including Greek citizens and permanent residents, must provide a negative test result. This must have been taken within 72 hours of departure, must be written in English and include the name and passport number of the person traveling. This does not apply to children under 10. For full details of the laboratories accepted, see here.

Travelers from the UK must also have a rapid test on arrival in Greece. Any negative test will require at least 14 days of quarantine. Arrivals from other countries may also face these requirements.

All travelers must complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) prior to departure. This includes details of where the individual has been and the address they plan to stay at in Greece. Each PLF includes a unique QR code which must be scanned upon arrival at the Greek border.

The QR code will tell you whether you need to have an additional test done at the airport. If you do, you must self-isolate until you have the results — around 24 hours.

What’s the Covid situation?

After a strict lockdown paid off in very low case numbers in the first wave, Greece has seen a rapid rise in cases and deaths since the end of October and has been under full national lockdown since November 7. The country has seen more than 186,000 Covid cases and a total of 6,410 deaths as of February 26.

Some lockdown measures have eased, but all travel between prefectures banned. Retail shops and hair salons reopened on January 18, but with limited capacity.

Amid rising cases, Athens went into lockdown on February 11, shuttering schools, shops and hair salons for the rest of the month. It’s since been extended to cover the region of Achaia, the island of Evia as well as Arcadia and Nafplion in the Peloponnese.

A nationwide curfew has been in place since November 11. It runs from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., with exemptions for those traveling to work, walking pets close to home and for medical reasons.

What can visitors expect?

Cafes, bars and restaurants remain shut across all of Greece, meaning there’s no chance of sipping a Mythos while watching the sun set over the sparkling Aegean.

Masks are mandatory in public, both indoors and outdoors.

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Joe Minihane and Julia Buckley contributed to this report