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How to Travel to Greece as a Tourist

Beach in Mykonos. Credit: Public Domain

As the country begins opening back up for international tourists, Greece has released a new welcome message for all those hoping to travel to the country, in which the latest restrictions and protocol for entry are outlined.

Greece began the process of welcoming international tourists on Monday, April 19, in what the country considers its “soft opening” ahead of the official start of tourism on May 14.

As of Monday, the country reopened for American, British, EU, UAE, Serbian and Israeli travelers who either are vaccinated, have recently recovered from Covid-19, or can show a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours before arrival.

Currently, Greece is also open to travelers from New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, and Singapore.

Tourists from these countries, who can the provide necessary documents for entry into Greece, are not required to enter into self-isolation upon their arrival in the country.

This soft opening of the tourism sector is expected to help authorities in identifying policy gaps and omissions ahead of the official launch of the 2021 tourism season on May 14, when the travel ban is scheduled to be lifted for visitors and residents alike.

All tourists must show negative Covid-19 test, antibodies, or vaccination for entry into Greece

According to measures regarding the country’s soft opening on April 19, all those traveling to Greece, including children over the age of 5, must provide a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure.

This excludes those who have completed their vaccination process against the virus, and hold a certification of their inoculation.

This means that anyone planning to travel to Greece 14 days after the final dose of the vaccine does not require a negative PCR test to enter the country.

Those who have received shots that are not yet approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), including the Sputnik and Sinovac vaccines, do not need to show proof of a negative test before arrival in Greece.

Greece will release updated travel measures ahead of country’s full opening on May 14, if there are any changes.

Travelers, regardless of vaccination status, may be subject to random health screening

While proof of vaccination or antibodies greatly facilitates entry into the country, these certificates are not considered a “passport,” and do not necessarily guarantee automatic entry into the country.

Every traveler who arrives in Greece, regardless of the certificate in their possession, may undergo a random health screening. If selected, the screening is mandatory.

Otherwise, authorities reserve the right to refuse entry into the country. The selection is made through a targeted sampling system, based on the EVA system used in the summer of 2020.

Those who have tested positive for the coronavirus after random screening in the airport will have to enter mandatory quarantine in hotels, where they will undergo further PCR testing to confirm the initial diagnosis.

Guests will stay in seclusion in hotels for at least ten days, at which point they will undergo new tests. The expenses of the accommodation in quarantine hotels are covered by the Greek state.

greece travel tourists
Credit: Greek Reporter

Travel to Greece restricted to nine airports

At the moment, international travelers are allowed to enter Greece through nine airports–Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Corfu, Rhodes, Kos, Chania, Mykonos, and Santorini.

They may also travel to Greece from the country’s land borders through the entry gates of Promachonas and Nymphaio.

As of the 23rd of April, “blue cruising,” or cruising with no intermediate stops in ports, and yachting, will be allowed with some restrictions, which will be the same for both Greek and foreign citizens.

What tourists must do before, and upon, arrival in Greece

Before arrival, every traveler must fill out the special PLF (Passenger Location Form) no later than 23:59 of the day before arriving in Greece.

The traveler must ensure prior to departure that he/she carries some kind of certification of their health condition, as mentioned above.

These include a negative PCR test result taken no more than 72 hours before departure and a vaccination certificate from a certified authority.

All certificates must include the critical information in English and the person’s full name must match with the name listed on the passport or other travel document.

Restaurants, cafes to open in Greece on Monday, May 3

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made an announcement on Wednesday outlining Greece’s roadmap out of lockdown.

According to current information, Greece will be almost entirely out of lockdown — which has been ongoing since last November — by mid-May.

The first step in getting Greece back to normal is the opening of cafes and restaurants to outdoor dining, which is to occur on Monday, May 3.

The current curfew of 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM will also be loosened to restrict travel only between 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM.

There will be multiple safeguards in place for dining, including mandatory coronavirus self-testing for employees, a specific distance between tables, and all other hygiene measures.

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