Greece is now facing a fourth wave of the pandemic, a situation that has prompted authorities to introduce more controls across the country from September, as the Delta variant sweeps through the population.
Tourists have been permitted to visit since May, provided they have the right health documentation. And despite the current situation, attractions including the Acropolis and Parthenon are open, as well as restaurants, bars and tavernas—albeit with new rules in place.
If you’re planning a trip to Greece this year, 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 certificate, 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.
You’ll need to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to visit the Acropolis from September ©Scott E Barbour/Getty Images
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 the US, the UK, Serbia, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, 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, Kosovo and Turkey.
Arrivals from these countries must show either proof of full vaccination or recovery from the virus, or a negative COVID-19 test result. Arrivals from Russia must present a negative test result regardless of vaccination status.
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. The rules apply to adults and children between the ages of 12 and 17. Minors between the age of five and 12 are also expected to show a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding but that can be done through a self-test.
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-19 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-19 status or point of departure. And travelers should be aware that they may be selected to undergo a mandatory antigen test upon arrival as part of the enhanced screening measures at airports.
Authorities in Greece are reimposing some of the restrictions for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues ©07402/AFP/Getty Images
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).
Do I need to be vaccinated to visit indoor venues?
You’ll need to present proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 (a medical cert issued within the last six months) to dine or drink indoors at any restaurant, bar, club, cafe or taverna in Greece. If you’re visiting museums, archeological sites, or theaters in Greece, you won’t need to prove your vaccination status but you will need to present a negative COVID-19 result to enter if you’re not vaccinated. Even then, venues still have the right to only permit vaccinated visitors. You’ll also need proof of vaccination, a negative test or proof of recovery from the virus to board long-distance public transport networks and to attend open-air sports games. These expanded measures come into effect on September 13. You can find out more here.
What’s open in Greece?
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 strict 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.
For further information on traveling to Greece during the pandemic, see here.
This article was first published in March 2021 and last updated on August 27, 2021.
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