Greece has been gradually welcoming back tourists since May and given the current situation, it's relatively easy to travel the mainland and island-hop if you meet entry requirements and have the right health documentation. Across the country attractions including the Acropolis and Parthenon are open, as well as restaurants, bars and tavernas. But the fast spread of the Delta variant has become a cause for concern this week, prompting authorities to bring back more controls across the country.
If you're planning a trip to Greece this summer, here's what you can expect.
Can I travel to Greece from the EU?
Tourist-dependent Greece was one of the first countries to trial the EU digital COVID-19 cert which facilitates the return of free movement across the bloc. It's a digital or paper certificate for EU residents that indicates the holder meets the conditions for travel: is fully vaccinated (the last dose administered at least 14 days before departure), or has recovered from COVID-19, or holds a negative COVID-19 result from a PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours of travel.
With the digital COVID cert, you can enter Greece without quarantine or further testing requirements.
Can I travel to Greece from a non-EU country?
Greece is open to travelers from destinations outside the EU and Schengen Area with a low infection rate. According to the Greek tourist board they include the US, the UK, Serbia, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Israel, Canada, North Macedonia, Ukraine, China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Belarus, Bahrain, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Japan, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Jordan, Moldova, Brunei, and Kosovo.
Arrivals from these countries must show either proof of full vaccination or recovery from the virus or a negative COVID-19 test result.
For now, Greece is closed to countries not on that list for non-essential travel.
Do I need COVID-19 documents to travel between the Greek islands?
Yes, you'll need to present your digital COVID cert or, if you're a non-EU resident, an official health form to confirm your vaccination, recovery or testing status. You'll also need to fill in a sea travel COVID-19 declaration form.
What vaccines does Greece accept from travelers?
Accepted vaccines include Pfizer BioNtech, Moderna, Astra Zeneca/Oxford, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac Biotech, Gamaleya (Sputnik), Cansino Biologics and Sinopharm.
Do children need to be vaccinated to enter Greece?
No, children under 12 can enter Greece without any COVID testing or vaccination requirements. However, children over the age of 12 must show a vaccination certificate, a certificate of recovery or a negative PCR/antigen test result.
What else is required?
All arrivals are required to fill in a passenger locator form before arrival, regardless of their COVID status or point of departure.
Can I get tested in Greece?
Tests are widely available across Greece in major hospitals and testing centers should they be required for your return journey home. Testing is also available at the airport in Athens. If you want to track your nearest site, the Greek National Tourism Organization has published a list of testing locations on the Visit Greece app. The cost of tests nationwide is capped at €60 (about US$70).
What's open in Greece?
Generally, most tourism and hospitality sites are open and welcoming guests with social distancing requirements. However, the fast spread of the Delta variant in Greece has prompted authorities to tighten restrictions again from July 16 until August 31 for unvaccinated people. During this time, only people who are vaccinated or recently tested negative for COVID-19 will be allowed in bars, restaurants, cinemas, theaters and other closed spaces in Greece. The rules apply nationwide, including the Greek islands.
Restaurants, cafes, and bars are open but service is provided outdoors only with a maximum of six people per table. Museums and archaeological sites, including the Acropolis, are open though it's recommended you book tickets in advance. Face masks are required in indoor and outdoor public spaces and on public transport.
Beaches with organised tourism activities have stricte rules as part of the country's social distancing measures. Beach umbrellas and sun loungers have to be placed at least four metres (13 feet) apart and must be regularly disinfected. The playing of music at beach bars is prohibited to prevent patrons raising their voices to be heard, which can facilitate more particles being spread into the air.
In areas with high infection rates, tighter restrictions apply. You can view what rules apply to your Greek destination on this map.