Greece is opening itself back up to some tourists, but not from the UK - here’s why

Tuesday, 26th May 2020, 12:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th May 2020, 12:54 pm
This is what you need to know about travelling to Greece (Photo: Shutterstock)

Lockdown restrictions are beginning to lift around the world, to varying degrees, with the Greek government making moves to get the country back to normal.

This is everything you need to know about Greece welcoming tourists back to the country as it emerges from its coronavirus lockdown.

When can I travel to Greece?

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From 1 June, tourism will gradually begin to resume in Greece, with hotels and campsites being able to open. As of 25 May, the final restrictions on domestic travel to the islands have been lifted, allowing for free movement around the country.

International flights will be permitted to land only at Athens International Airport until 30 June. As of 1 July, flights from abroad towards all Greek airports will be allowed.

The country’s government announced that the international tourism period will begin on 15 June, when seasonal hotels will be permitted to open their doors again.

What new measures will be in place?

Following lockdown, tourism in Greece won’t be back to the way things were before - everywhere from hotels, restaurants, cinemas, flights and more will have to operate under a reduced capacity to allow for social distancing.

For passengers and crews on aircrafts, the use of masks are mandatory. This is also the case on public transport. Tourists will be expected to wear masks in public places. Travellers coming via air will be subjected to spot tests by health officials.

Certain tourist activities are still not allowed, such as large group tours with a guide, or cruise ship holidays.

Restaurants, cafes and bars will be open, but, as per government guidelines, tables will only be places in open air and semi-outdoor areas, with a safe distance between them.

Beaches, parks and gardens opened from 18 May, with swimming in the sea permitted and individual sports in open spaces, but there are strict social distancing guidelines that need to be followed.

Are UK residents allowed to visit Greece?

Unfortunately for UK travellers, the United Kingdom has been included in a list of seven countries that are not being accepted to Greece.

Greek tourism minister Haris Theoharis told ITV that the UK’s record on coronavirus has not been good enough to allow British travellers to visit Greece. There has been no indication when UK travellers might begin to be permitted again.

In an interview with ITV’s This Morning, health secretary Matt Hancock said, “It is unlikely that big, lavish international holidays are going to be possible for this summer. I just think that’s a reality of life.”

The other six countries that travellers are not allowed to enter Greece from include:

  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Netherlands (until 31 May)
  • Albania
  • Northern Macedonia
  • Turkey (until 14 June)

All travellers looking to visit Greece, no matter their mode of transport, are subject to a 14 day quarantine upon their arrival.

Greece’s borders will continue to be temporarily closed to non-EU travellers until 31 May, however there are exceptions to this rule, such as:

  • Health workers
  • Those obtaining a long term visa in a European country or Schengen country
  • Those obtaining entrance by a Greek consulate
  • Government officials
  • Diplomatic, military and humanitarian staff
  • Aircraft crew