Visiting Greece 2021
Last Update December 21, 2021
Important information for 2021
Tourism to Greece was severely limited during the 2020 pandemic, but that changed in 2021 with a very aggressive government effort to balance both public safety and the passage of tourists into and out from Greece, and the result was a fairly nimble program that reacted to the wax and wane of the pandemic in 2021. Greece also had a "Tourism for All" program in place to encourage internal tourism using a voucher program.
The 2021 figures for tourism in Greece is still being calculated by various agencies and businesses, but the general number already available is 11.6 million visitors with the top origin countries being Germany, France, UK and USA. [Source: Naftemporiki]
Allowed Travel to Greece December 2021 update - the rules for entry.
Official Greek government website: Protocol for Arrivals in and Departures from Greece
Airports of Greece - list at the Hellenic Aviation Authority
Though the government continues to adjust requirements for restaurants, bars, tavernas, beaches, etc., the tourism in Greece is completely open to the vaccinated tourist.
Update to international entry travel rules: PCR test within 72 hours or Rapid Test within 24 hours now allowed, regardless of vaccination status
December 16, 2021: story at Keep Talking Greece [English]
International travellers to Greece: Covid certificates now only of three months validity
December 13, 2021: Story at Keep Talking Greece [English]
UK cautions travellers to EU over passport stamps
Nov 12, 2021 – story at UK Express [English]
USA opens up for international travel
Nov 12, 2021 – tory at MSN News [English]
The ten hour ferry trip from Italy to Greece
November 2021 – story at Yahoo News
July 8, 2021
United Kingdom dropped the quarantine requirements for returning travellers, and so bookings immediately surged by an estimated 400%.
May 12, 2021
April 20, 2021: US State Department has increased their "Level 4" Travel Advisory list from 34 to 131 countries overnight, and this includes Greece.
Latest restrictions and the plans for opening up at Allowed Travel to Greece list
Some airports in Greece are reopening. Flights from the EU, USA, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Israel will begin on April 16. Airports that are opening Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Chania, Rhodes, Kos, Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu, and two border crossings. (See this Reuters report for more info.)
Eleven countries that have allowed travel to Greece, though with a number of rules to follow:
- United Kingdom* (Special requirements)
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates* (Special requirements)
The 22 Member Schengen Zone Countries and other EU Countries allowed to travel into Greece, also including various rules.
- Czech Republic
March 27, 2021 Update
Though restrictions and "lockdowns" continue to be made around Greece, the planning for lifting of barriers on tourism has begun, with a complete opening of doors to tourists (meeting certain requirements) expected on May 14, 2021.
Greece's Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis announced at the ITB Berlin trade show March 9th about Greece's plans for a May 14 opening, with these basic "protocols:"
All tourists will be subject to random testing
Tourists with vaccinations welcome
Tourists without vaccination can come if they provide proof of antibodies, or record of a negative test, written in English, and it includes the name and information matching the passport (See more about this is MSN News, March 27, 2021)
All arrivals will quarantine for seven days at hotel or home
A negative test will mean a minimum of a 14 day quarantine
Mandatory masks in public, indoors and outdoors
Travelling to Greece in 2021 - the rules for entry (updated April 2, 2021).
Protocol for Arrivals in Greece - Hellenic Republic Government page in English.
Moving to Greece, Living in Greece - Some helpful resources
Airports of Greece - list at the Hellenic Aviation Authority
Older Information prior to May 14, 2021
Tourism problems to watch out for in 2021:
Tourism had a dramatic reduction in 2020 because of the ongoing pandemic, and these conditions continue to complicate 2021.
The tourism that is still be pursued (and provided in Greece) is often at deeply discounted rates, but also with curtailed activities, especially as periodic medically necessary but usually temporary restrictions are in acted. Please see below for more info on visiting Greece in 2021.
January 11, 2021 update: Greece is still periodically popping open (and often back closed again) depending upon the ongoing dilemma of the COVID19 pandemic.
For travel to Greece, one must be from an "allowed" country, and must abide by the frequently changing conditions of quarantine and other considerations.
Archeological sites restaurants and beaches are sometimes open, and though the whole country is looking forward to things returning to "normal," that has not happened yet.
Coronavirus/Covid-19: in the beginning of March of 2020, the spread of coronavirus around the world raised heightened fear that it would derail the important tourism season in Greece (for example see this article - in Greek - at Tovima). By mid-March that fear has been realized as mass closures across the country brought tourism, and business and public life in general, to a complete halt. The concern over a "wildfire" spread of the virus (as happened in China and Italy, for example) caused the Mitsotakis government to implement a severe lockdown which continued well into April and May - see this story at Naftemporiki). While huge numbers of fatalities were realized elsewhere in the world, Greece was able to maintain a very small total count of cases, and a very low death count, with only 165 deaths as of May 18, 2020, but that number rose to over 5,000 by January 2021. (See this article at Greek Reporter for details).
West Nile Virus In 2020, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control recorded 143 infections with 23 deaths (see the website for the EU Disease Control Center, Nov 27, 2020 here)
There were 223 cases of West Nile Virus in 2019, and 300+ cases in 2018. This is a threatening ailment though with less than 1% of cases proving to be fatal. Spread by mosquito, the virus produces a fever and when serious, other complications (the American CDC page on West Nile is here). Health care on mainland Greece is considered very good, however the islands frequently have much more limited resources. (For reference see European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control ECDC Europa.)
Passport checks increase travel time - In 2017 the Schengen Borders Code regulation EU 2017/458 began implementation, and the Greek police began enforcing these stricter border controls in April of 2019. Making sure you have the appropriate paperwork and identification with you is important. US citizens usually only need a passport with trips of 90 days or less into Greece, beyond that time frame a visa is required. For more info see:
Related: Touring Greece
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