After several very long months, Greece started lifting lockdown restrictions through summer and autumn – and now it wants to help salvage your early 2021 holiday plans. Following the prime minister’s promise that the country was ready to ‘welcome the world’ in May, Greece resumed flights to its major airports from June 15.
As of September 7, travellers allowed into the country include residents and citizens of EU and Schengen-travel-zone member countries, plus the UK and around a dozen other countries around the world including Australia, Japan, Israel and Canada.
There are also new rules for travellers arriving in the country. All visitors must fill out a ‘passenger locator form’ at least 24 hours before arriving. This requires ‘detailed information on [passengers’] point of departure, the duration of previous stays in other countries, and the address of their stay while in Greece’. They must also bring a negative test result from within 72 hours of arrival, and take a rapid test once they land.
If you were planning a holiday over Christmas or New Year, you should also note that the country has announced that anyone arriving between December 18 and January 7 will have to self-isolate for ten days. That would make the beach – and every other place but your accommodation – very much out of bounds.
When travellers do arrive in the country, they will also find that most activities are restricted. As part of Greece’s second nationwide lockdown, restaurants and bars are closed until at least January 7, and you must text a government number every time you leave the house.
British travellers should also note that from anyone returning from the mainland and most islands will have to self-isolate for 14 days. Only the less-affected islands of Rhodes, Crete, Corfu, Kos and Zakynthos are still on the official ‘travel-corridor’ list.
So in other words: it’s probably worth waiting until after the festive period before you jet off on that balmy Aegean or Mediterranean getaway.
Remember, many countries are still warning against all non-essential travel and some are quarantining all overseas arrivals, including their own returning citizens. Check all the relevant restrictions before you think about travelling.