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Greece is open for vaccinated travellers: why you want to visit in 2021

Times are tough for travellers. But with the world preparing to reopen in 2021, we're here to keep you dreaming and planning for your next adventure - whether that's a staycation or flying off to parts unknown. Until then, we've got the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates to keep you up to date and ready to go.

With historic cities to stroll around, tranquil islands to bask on and rugged countryside to explore, Greece is understandably popular with British travellers. In 2020 it even overtook Spain as the number-one spot for a sunshine holiday. As of April 2021, Greece is open to travellers from the UK who have had both doses of a Coronavirus vaccine, as well as those who have tested negative for the virus within 72 hours of arrival. There’s no need to quarantine, so you can get straight out and enjoy your holiday.

Bear in mind that Greece is currently on the UK’s amber list for travel, meaning that passengers from Greece have to self-isolate at home for 10 days on arrival back in the UK.

Travel restrictions change regularly at the moment. Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning to visit Greece as a fully vaccinated traveller.

PLEASE NOTE: Restrictions implemented by airlines, such as the type of test you need to board or the vaccination proof you need to provide may not be aligned with your destination’s restrictions and entry conditions. We recommend that you double-check the latest entry and exit conditions with individual airlines, and Greece’s national guidelines.

Greece is open now: things you need to know before travelling

Coastal village in Santorini, Greece, with boats sitting in the harbour in front of colourful houses and soaring cliffs.

What vaccination proof do I need to travel to Greece?

illustration of a hand holding a smartphone and another holding a tablet, displaying a check-mark and location logo to symbolise track and trace.

Greece is open to fully vaccinated Brits, so visitors need to prove that they’ve had both doses of an approved jab at least 14 days before travel. The type of proof varies based on which nation of the UK you’re a resident in:

  • England: citizens can prove their status using the NHS app, or a written letter. You can’t get proof of vaccine from your GP. Instead, you should request it by phoning 119
  • Scotland: download a vaccination status letter from the NHS Inform patient portal, or request it by post via the Freephone Covid Status Helpline on 0808 196 8565
  • Wales: request a certificate by calling 0300 303 5667. Note that it can take up to ten working days for a certificate to arrive. The Welsh Government is currently in talks with the UK government to allow Welsh citizens to use the NHS app for proof of travel
  • Northern Ireland: the Northern Ireland Executive is currently developing a vaccine certification programme for its citizens.

You can’t use your appointment letters as proof of vaccination. You must either use a written letter from the NHS, or a digital product such as the app.

What vaccinations does Greece accept?

Greece is open to anyone who has had one of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). This includes the four vaccines approved for use in the UK: BioNTech and Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Do I still need a test before entering Greece?

Illustration of a waiter's hand lifting up the lid on a serving dish to present a lateral flow test.

No. If you’ve had both doses of an approved vaccine, you won’t need to produce a negative test result. Note that arrivals may be asked to undergo a rapid COVID-19 test on arrival. This is determined at random, based on the QR code on the back of your PLF. If you’re selected, you will need to isolate until the results come in: this can be up to 24 hours. If you test positive, you and your party will need to isolate for at least 10 days in an approved quarantine hotel. The cost of this is covered by the Greek state.

Are there other travel restrictions in place?

Yes. Although Greece is open to vaccinated visitors, there are a few extra preparations. In addition to bringing your proof of vaccination – or negative test result – you will also have to:

  • Fill in a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before travel. You need to do this before you enter and again before you leave the country
  • Wear a face mask while on a plane, bus, train or ferry travelling to, from or around Greece. You also need to keep your mask on at the airport
  • Comply with all instructions given by the Greek authorities.

Do I need to quarantine when I get back to the UK?

Illustration of a couple in a hotel room. The woman is opening the curtains with a smile on her face, while the man is sitting on the bed cradling a baby.

Yes. Greece is currently on the amber list for travel, which means that there are travel restrictions in place upon your return. Before you come back from your trip to Greece you should:

  • Take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of your flight, even if you’re vaccinated
  • Pre-book and pay for day two and eight COVID-19 tests, to be taken once you arrive in the UK
  • Complete a passenger locator form (PLF).

Once you arrive in the UK, you will need to:

  • Quarantine at home or in your accommodation for 10 days.
  • Take a COVID-19 test on or before day two, and again on or after day eight.
  • If you live in England, there’s the option to end quarantine on or after day five through the Test to Release scheme.

Note that the UK’s traffic light system is reviewed every three weeks. Greece could be moved to the green or red list, depending on case levels. You can keep up with the latest status via the FCDO’s official website.

What things can I do in Greece right now?

1. Go to the beach

Young family walking down a beach path to the sea.

Greece has some of Europe’s best beaches, with pristine golden sands and clear turquoise waters. New rules have been introduced to help reduce the chance of COVID-19 spreading on beaches this summer. Expect sun loungers to be placed four metres apart, with regular disinfection taking place. Beach bars, restaurant and cafés will be asked to keep the music off so that people don’t need to raise their voices to be heard and employees will need to wear face masks. Face masks are required in all public places in Greece. You won’t need to wear one while you sunbathe or swim, but you will need to wear them while you stroll around the beach.

2. Visit a museum

Greece is open so you can visit outdoor museums like these ancient ruins in Athens, as well as indoor venues.

Greece has a wealth of ancient history, and you can learn all about it – while escaping from the summer heat – by diving into a museum. Venues like Athens’ Acropolis Museum, Archaeological Museum and Museum of Cycladic Art have been open since 14 May. Expect to see some restrictions, such as pre-booking tickets online, having your temperature taken at the door and staying two metres away from other visitors. Face masks are mandatory in all public places, so remember to bring one with you to the museum. Some services, such as gallery talks and audio guides, may be unavailable.

3. Enjoy dinner with a view

Now that Greece is open you can enjoy meals in outdoor restaurants, with tables and chairs set right beside the sea in Santorini, with views out to ramshackle buildings in the foreground and further mountain in the back.

Olive oil-drizzled mezze, rich moussaka and freshly grilled seafood… Greek food is delicious, and well worth indulging in during your trip. Café, bar and restaurant terraces reopened in Greece at the beginning of May, so you can enjoy alfresco plates of souvlaki, saganaki and taramasalata while watching sun set over the Aegean. Restrictions include a ban on music and a 10.45pm curfew. Tables are also spaced further apart than usual, at a distance of 90 cm to 1.8 metres. Staff and owners have to regularly take COVID-19 tests. There’ll be no standing at the bar, either – only seated customers will be served. Staff and customers need to wear masks, unless seated, and menus are sanitised between visitors.

Greece is open to vaccinated travellers, so get ready for an adventure

Although restrictions are still in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there are still lots of things to see and do during a trip to Greece. For vaccinated travellers, and those who have tested negative within 72 hours of departure, it’s possible to start your holiday right away without any need for quarantine. It’s best to keep an eye on the UK government’s traffic light system for travel, however. Greece is currently amber-listed, which does mean self isolation for up to 10 days on your return to the UK. If you’re able to work from home, however, it may not be too big a sacrifice to make for a few weeks of sun, sea and Cycladic culture.

Discover where you can go

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