Travel News Traveling to Greece

Greece Is Opening to the World – Here is What You Need to Know

Written by Charlie

Greece has a new plan for opening up and they really are welcoming people from around the world this time! Here is what you need to know.

All those that had their hearts set on a summer destination have been watching Greece. Not only is Greece an amazing vacation destination with beautiful beaches, fantastic food, and a multitude of ancient places to visit, but they were also the country that had done an admirable job in their handling of the coronavirus. Due to that, their reopening has been watched to see who would be allowed to enter Greece and when. As of today, we now have the latest information about that and what it will be like!

Greece Is Opening to the World!

As first written about by Gary at VFTW on Saturday, the Greek government updated their rules on who would be allowed to enter just one day after limiting the first wave of visitors to those from these 29 countries. This was a surprising turn on policy and one that many people did not even know about until last night or today (Greek border agents included). But, it was a good move since there would still have many problems with the previous policy and now this new policy will allow everyone – with some restrictions along the way.

Phase 1 – Until June 15

As all of the EU external borders are closed until June 15, the same is true for Greece to visitors outside of the EU (with exceptions that can be found in this post). Not only that, but until June 15, all international flights will only be operating into and out of Athens airport. Any visitors coming to Greece will be tested upon arrival and will need to stay in a designated hotel (I am not sure which one yet) overnight until the result comes back. When it does, if the test is negative, then the passenger self-quarantines for 7 days. If the test is positive, the passenger is quarantined under supervision for 14 days.

Phase 2 – June 15 – June 30

This is a transition phase of sorts that will see the northern city of Thessaloniki open their airport to international arrivals as well as Athens. However, it does appear that countries that were not part of the originally cleared 29 will not be operating their flights into Thessaloniki (just last night, Turkish Airlines canceled all their scheduled flights between SKG and IST until July 1). So, keep that in mind as many international flights will continue to just go through Athens.

During this phase, any visitors will be welcome to come to Greece. However, there will be testing required for any passenger that has originated from an airport located on the EASA affected area list (see that list here). In case you don’t want to read it just yet, know that 22 US states are on that affected list. These include major states where most people would likely originate. For passengers originating from the cleared list, there will only be random tests.

As with Phase 1, those tested will need to stay in a designated hotel overnight while their tests are processed. If the test is negative, the passenger will self-quarantine for 7 days. If the test is positive, the passenger will need to be quarantined under supervision for 14 days.

Phase 3 – July 1 and On

From July 1, Greece will really be open to everyone. While there will still be certain restrictions for travelers from specific countries (that will be detailed closer to July 1 – most likely similar to the standards above for earlier phases), only random tests will be occurring. Also, at this point, international flights will be able to arrive at other Greek airports as well, like the popular island airports.

How Will All of This Work?

I am scheduled to fly back to Greece shortly after June 15 (leaving Greece June 15) so I will get to observe first-hand how these procedures will be handled (and will certainly do an update post regarding them). At this point, there is not any word on things like how the testing process will be handled (ie, how long it will take, how passengers will be processed, especially when arriving from a Schengen country, which hotel(s) will be used and how that will handled for the visitors and more).

But, know this, if you depart from an airport in an area that is on the EASA list (which will be updated frequently so make sure you check that), expect to be checked for the virus and have some kind of quarantine for at least 7 days if arriving before June 30.

What Will Be Open in Greece?

Greece is opening up very quickly and ahead of schedule in some areas. As of today, open-air cinemas, primary schools, public swimming pools, golf courses, and year-round hotels have just opened (June 1). They have joined the many areas that have opened prior to this like outdoor seating at restaurants and cafes, shopping malls, beaches, stores, and more.

grand hyatt athens

While year-round hotels can open today, many have chosen to wait even longer to open. This is due to lack of interest and zero international tourism at this point. As for the seasonal hotels, those will be opening July 1. These hotels are the very popular ones in the islands and certain mainland hotels.

In other words, by the time the world starts arriving (or at least many people!) on and after July 1, Greece will have opened up everything. While things will be markedly different from past summers (due to social distancing which will affect places like private beaches, clubs, restaurants, etc.), it will still be the same beautiful Greece as it has been for years!

One thing to make note of with hotels. Part of the new guidance for handling the COVID-19 health situation is that hotels will be following the newly implemented times of 11:00 for checkout and 3:00PM for checkin. While this may sound similar to normal checkout/checkin times, it appears that this will be more enforced now to give housekeeping staff the time they need to make sure that all room changes are kept to new standards. This may impact chain hotels for which you have elite status as well – I will be putting this to the test in just a couple of weeks so will update on that as well.

I will be doing more posts in the coming weeks as things develop here in Greece as well as giving some more information for those wishing to travel to Greece. Let me know in the comments any questions you may have and I will do my best to cover those in future posts as well as answer them here!

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

16 Comments

    • From what I gather so far, they are paying for both. I think they figure the amount of mandatory testing they will need to do will be minimal before July 1 and then it is just random testing after that (with no hotel quarantine unless it is a positive). I will know for sure when I get back and will not be happy if they give me a bill for it when they are done! 🙂

      • Charlie thanks for all your extremely helpful work on this. So, does this mean that July 1st and onward even a flight originating from a US airport on the EASA list can arrive, and will only be subject to random testing? I thought we were still waiting to hear about whether citizens of specific countries NOT including on the initial 29, could enter and when? Have they now reversed this and said ANYONE can enter after July 1st and be subject to health protocols? Sorry if I am not reading this correctly.

        • Kalimera, Contanine. I was wondering the same thing. I live in Ohio but the Cincinnati airport is in Kentucky. Can I fly out of CVG and not be subjected as the airport of origin is in the state of KY?

          • Hi, Sam! I think most officials internationally may still consider CVG as Ohio even though it is Kentucky. A lot of Americans don’t even know that it is not in Ohio! They may even just think if it is that close, just test you. But, if you are talking post-July 1, I don’t think it will be a problem.

        • Hey! Good to see you here again!
          So, Greece really shifted on that 29 country list. That list now is where people can come from without having to be tested during June 15-30. But, any traveler can come from anywhere after June 15. The difference is that you know you will be tested if you come from the places on that EASA list.
          I have heard that this change was partially political and partially logistics. Someone from the US could, for example, have flown to Germany and then to Greece on a separate ticket since the old policy was about flight origination and not travel document. So, this new policy makes things – simpler? 🙂 But, they have covered themselves with the statement that they can add restrictions for certain countries post-July 1. This will not de-rail people’s vacation but may require an extra step on arriving.

          • Charlie, you’re a pro. Cheers. So this means after July 1 we should not worry about a mandatory 1 night quarantine stay somewhere along with mandatory testing? “The additional step” would not be a mandatory test or quarantine? Maybe a health declaration perhaps?

            Basically should someone book for early July without worrying that they will be subject to mandatory quarantine for 1 night upon arrival?

  • I’ll be interested in your experience with hotel status and late checkout. I’m staying at a Marriott Bonvoy property near Syntagma in the middle of August. My Aegean flight from ATH to Chania was cancelled and they put me on a 6 pm flight. Not interested in hanging out at ATH even thought it sure beats our airports here in the US. We could obviously just store our luggage, have lunch, then come back to the hotel and head to ATH.

    • Hey, Sam – I think the late checkout will be largely depending on the capacity that the hotel is at. Also, if you get an upgrade as an elite, the chances may be good that the suite may definitely be in use after you leave.
      Hotels in Greece are very used to people leaving their luggage so that would work fine.

  • Would love to get back to Greece! But, I’m in CA. The EASA doesn’t list UT or ID airports. Does this mean a separate SFO-Non-listed city ticket, and a long multi-stop that avoids CA or other blacklisted states?
    Ex: sfo-slc ticket 1
    Then, SLC-fra–ath or fra-skg
    Unfortunate LA can drag the rest of the state down.

    • Hey, Chris! Yes, you could go to an airport in a state not on the EASA warning list and fly on a single ticket to Greece. This would allow you to skip the testing. This is a rather big hole in this policy since they didn’t just blank all of the US. Maybe they depend on some states’ quarantines to help?

  • Thanks so much for this information! Great news and very informative. Two quick questions for anyone who knows.

    One: what about Airbnb? Could we travel to Greece and not stay in a registered hotel, but with a reserved address? (Only looking at places with good Covid protection policies.)

    Two: would the quarantines be self-quarantine as in they’d monitor the residence that you provided folks or would they keep you in a special hotel for one/two weeks?

    Thanks for the info!

    • From what I have heard, as of now they are quarantining people for 1 night until they get the test result back, in a hotel in Omonia.

      I assume that from June 15 to July 1 this procedure will continue using the same facilities. The US embassy has announced US citizens can enter from June 15 onwards, subject to mandatory test and 1 night quarantine as well; then a 7 day self imposed or 14 day monitored quarantine depending on the result.

      The big question is this statement we keep hearing about “additional restrictions for certain countries come July 1”. Does this allude to origina airports on the current EASA list and whether they will continue mandatory testing and quarantines for those people OR does it refer to something else?

      I think if there is a mandatory one night quarantine on tourists from certain origin locations it could really damage the demand (who wants to be subject to losing a day of your trip?) however I understand the logic and it seems a pretty safe way to track and monitor everything. I just can’t see people who only have 2 weeks submitting to a mandatory quarantine and then possibly risking a 14 day one (their whole trip) if they are somehow positive.

      • Oh Raymond, sorry; also – yes Airbnbs are definitely open. Noy sure if that answers your Q. However I don’t think you can say “I am going to quarantine there” if you have the be monitored for 14 days. If you are released for a 7 day “self imposed” quarantine then a private residence, even in form of Airbnb, would make a lot more sense than a hotel.

        • Okay, thank you! Just trying to get as much information as I can. I probably won’t be arriving until early July (2nd-5th, depending), so thanks for this update!

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