Destinations Travel News

Greece Opening: Beaches, Hotels, and Tourist Updates

Written by Charlie

Greece is in the process of opening their country up again and this will show you what is open and when everything else is schedule to re-open.

Greece is the country in Europe that people have been watching for a chance at a summer, European, beach vacation (if that is you, here are some tips for planning a summer trip to Greece). Here is where Greece currently is with their plans to reopen.

Greece is Opening – Here is Where They Are At Now and Where They Are Headed

Keep in mind that external borders into the EU are currently closed until June 15 – more details here

Greece had originally laid out this schedule for opening in phases but the opening has gone so well (as in very few new cases of the coronavirus as things have opened in the last couple of weeks) that they are slowly moving up some of their scheduled openings.

Beaches Are Open

One of the early things to open was last Saturday – over 500 public beaches opened and just in time! Temperatures hit all-time highs for this time of year and the roadways leading to those beaches were packed! Of course, social distancing was in effect. This meant that umbrellas had to be 13 feet apart as well as some service safety standards.

May 18 – Malls, Archeological Sites, and Ferries

On May 18, Greece opened shopping malls which is a full two weeks before they were set to open. While there are some regulations that shoppers need to observe (such as mandatory use of masks inside the stores themselves), shoppers certainly have not seemed to mind as they were able to enter the malls again after two months of closures.

Also on Monday, over 200 archeological sites (including the famed Acropolis) have opened to visitors again as well. Zoos and botanical gardens are now open as well.

In addition, ferries are now allowed to operate (though they will require that people fill out a questionnaire which you can find here – the page is in Greek but the forms can be accessed in English). However, at least until June 15, passengers will need to observe a social distancing of 1.5 meters and wear facemarks.

May 25 – Restaurants and Cafes

Restaurants and cafes are pretty much an actual part of Greek life. Not only is the food and coffee fantastic, but the eating and drinking is done in a joyous manner that is not rushed. It is not uncommon to sit with someone for a coffee or tea for several hours.

So, it is a good thing that these spots will open again for on-site customers in just one week. There will be a limit of 6 people to a table (unless the people are family) and 1 person per 2 square meters.

June 1 – Flights, Quarantines Over, and Hotels

More carriers are re-starting their flights to Greece including the Greek carrier Aegean Airlines. Aegean is ramping up their flights now with new measures that mean that all travelers booking new travel get the Flex fare. This gives a free bag under the plane and free changes.

Lufthansa will be adding their flights back and KLM just restarted their flights to Athens as well. Even better is that Greece has extended the quarantine policy to just the end of May! This is great news for all that are able to enter Greece as of June 1 since the 14 day quarantine will not be required after that (at least as of this time).

In addition, year-round hotels will be allowed to start opening June 1 as well. You can even book those hotels now while some may not start accepting reservations until a few days into June.

June 15 – EU Opens

The EU external borders are set to open on June 15 and barring any serious spikes between now and then, I think that is a hard date now. European countries need the rest of summer for tourists, even if it is just from fellow Europeans. But, that is the date everyone is eyeing now.

July 1 – Seasonal Hotels and Tourist Season “Officially Open” – if all goes well

This is the one that many vacationers are looking at – when those awesome seasonal properties in Instagram-famous photos start to open. The seasonal hotels (ie. hotels that are not open year-round) are the ones that are really in some of those advantageous places with gorgeous private beaches, etc.

Check out this article for some of the chain seasonal brands and where they are and their plans for re-opening.

This week or shortly thereafter, hotels will be getting the standards that they will need to operate by in this COVID-19 world so I will be covering that when we know more.

Greece has done a tremendous job in containing the virus and their response in their re-opening is something that many countries are watching with some hope. Things have gone well so far and I will be updating you from inside Greece with future plans!

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About the author


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.


  • Always appreciate your updates, Charlie. Efcharistó.

    I’m just wondering how the US and Greece will discuss opening borders so we can get over to Greece in July, Aug, etc. A lot of people are betting on Greece this year as the European vacation destination based on how well the Greeks have fared during this crisis.

    Also hoping it will be easier to get a COVID test within a 72 hour period for international travel as we approach summer. I don’t think it would be easy to get a test right now in a short period of time without having had any type of symptoms.

    • Thanks, Sam! Believe it or not, Greece is actually talking about not requiring tests! As of June 1, they will not be requiring quarantine anymore which was a surprise to me.
      I do hope the testing will be easier and quicker to get. I know of some places here in Greece that will let you get a test for €120 but you still need to wait 72 hours for the results.
      Greece is really betting on visitors, too! They are working on setting up protocols with the UK and the US (the two countries with the most cases right now that also supply a host of visitors) so that they can start coming as of July 1.

      • Cheers both. Charlie, Greece has been vocal about engaging the UK, however not the US. Every update as of now is focused on the EU. Are you sure Greece is currently engaged in bilateral talks with the US? I emailed the Greek Tourism Minister today and he responded vaguely, just letting me know he passed my query on to the appropriate team..

        Point blank: will Greece allow US citizens in starting July?

        No one seems to answer that directly. If you have any intel here please do share!

        If Greece says yes, Americans will be booking in droves.

        • I did the same thing a couple of week ago, sending Mr. Theoharis an email. He did respond but did not offer any insight. He also provided me an email to send to his tourism committee which I did.

          From the US side, I’m still concerned about Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s comments on May 4, “His expressed optimism was, however, only in reference to U.S. domestic travel. Questioned as to whether he thought international travel would resume within the year, Mnuchin said that it’s simply, “Too hard to tell, at this point.””

          Delta still has their JFK-ATH direct flight scheduled starting July 2

          • I get the feeling of uncertainty for sure. I had said in another post (can’t remember which one!) that I thought it was telling that it was the TREASURY Secretary making that statement. He obviously wants the money spent in the UD rather than abroad so it could make sense why he is encouraging people to do domestic travel. Or, I could just be a huge optimist! 🙂

        • The Greek PM is set to lay out the plans in more detail tomorrow. I will have to dig them up, but there were two separate interviews where the PM talked about welcoming visitors from the US. The US market is huge for Greece, not just for vacationers but family members as well. Family members are already allowed (as well as those who have residence permits) and the virus doesn’t distinguish between them and other people in the US! So, they may require something from Us travelers but they are looking at welcoming them.

          • I think you’re right, Charlie. You had mentioned that previously and it makes sense.

            I’m signed up for updates from the US Embassy in Greece. Like you said, hopefully we will know more tomorrow after the PMs speach.

            Greece wants American tourists. I believe I saw a statistic that Americans spend more or close to the most per person in Greece while on vacation out of all tourists.

  • Very good point on the US Treasury Sec. Any bilateral agreement would be based on that country allowing their citizens into the US as well, so the deal goes both ways in other words. This makes sense.

    From a recent Reuters’s article on foreign travel our of the US: “Any decision on easing travel restrictions will depend in large part on what safety protocols all countries put in place to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus and whether those countries in turn grant entry to Americans, U.S. officials told Reuters.”

  • Thanks for the continuing updates Charlie, they are appreciated. Also interesting, and good news, to hear that testing may not be required.
    Looking forward to further updates and the family is still hoping we will be able to return in September.