Greece opens its borders for international travellers

A photo taken by drone shows an organised beach in Karathona, near Nafplio, Peloponese. Photo: AAP via EPA/BOUGIOTIS EVAGELOS


After several months of strict travel restrictions Greece opened its borders to international visitors on Friday, 14 May.

Bans on entry points by air, sea and road have been lifted, however, as announced by the Greek authorities there are very specific requirements in place.

The country will allow entrance to only travellers that have filled out the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) one day before travel and have had a negative Covid-19 PCR test received no later than 72 hours prior to their arrival.

Both the PLF form and the negative Covid-19 test are mandatory, a rule which includes children over the age of five regardless of the epidemiological situation in the country of departure.

The only travellers that are excluded from presenting a recent negative Covid-19 PCR test, are those that have completed their vaccination. Depending on the number of doses that are required to complete vaccination against Covid-19, 14 days must have elapsed since the last jab. Vaccinated travellers should also and hold a vaccination completion certificate.

Greece accepts visitors who have received vaccines by Pfizer BioNtech, Moderna, Astra Zeneca/Oxford, Novavax, Johnson + Johnson/Janssen, Sinovac Biotech, Gamaleya (Sputnik), Cansino Biologics and Sinopharm. Acceptable certificates must include the relevant information (i.e. number of doses and their respective dates) in either English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian while the holder’s full name must match the name on the passport or any other recognised travel document.

Meanwhile, if a traveller has recovered from Covid-19 in the past 9 months and hold a certificate of recovery issued by a public authority or a certified laboratory the negative PCR test is not mandatory to enter Greece.

That being said, upon arrival any traveller may be randomly selected to undergo a health screening, regardless of the certificate in their possession. If selected the process is mandatory with authorities reserving the right to refuse entry into the country should the person refuse to comply.

In the case of a positive result, quarantine is mandatory in government provided accomodation in seclusion hotels for at least 10 days where them and their co-travellers will be tested regularly. The expenses of the accommodation in quarantine hotels are covered by the Greek state.

Provided the aforementioned prerequisites are covered, visitors allowed to enter Greece can come from the European Union and Schengen Area countries, Australia, Northern Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, Belarus, Bahrain, New Zealand, Cuba, South Korea, Ukraine, Rwanda, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore and Thailand.

* Regulations concerning countries on the admission list are subject to change by the Greek authorities, when renewed assessments are made based on epidemiological data from country of origin.

Travel to Greece by air

  • All international airports in Greece are open
  • Non-EU citizens are required to either choose direct flights to Greece or abide by the stop-over country requirements

Travel to Greece by land

  • Land borders in northern Greece through the entry gates of Promachonas and Ormeni are currently open on a 24-hour basis
  • Evzoni entry point in Northern Greece is accessible from 07:00 to 23:00
  • The border checkpoints of Kakavia are open from 7am until 7pm and Kipi from 7pm to 11pm for a maximum of 400 people per day, not inclusive of commercial truck drivers

Entry through road checkpoint is allowed for Greek citizens, including their spouses or persons with whom they have entered into a cohabitation agreement, as well as their children (minors); holders of a residence permit; holders of special expatriate identity cards and persons that have their main residence in Greece.

Travel to Greece by sea

  • Visitors can enter Greece through the ports of Patra, Igoumenitsa and Corfu
  • Maritime connections with Albania and Turkey are temporarily restricted
  • Cruising and yachting is allowed but in the case of tourists disembarking strict protocol must be followed
  • Yachts and ships from Albania and Turkey are not allowed

Once in Greece, visitors should know that a curfew still applies  allowing movements daily from 05:00 to 00:30 across the country while the use of masks is mandatory both indoors and outdoors. Children under the age of four and  those with a documented medical condition, e.g. respiratory problems are excluded.

At the moment, all outdoor archaeological sites, museums, caves and zoos have opened with number restrictions. Indoor cultural spaces remain closed while open-air spaces may be visited on the conditions that visitors keep a 1.5 m physical distance from each other with person allowed per 10 m2 of space for groups of up to three individuals, with the exception of families (spouses / partners and children).

Furthermore, cinemas, entertainment venues and nightclubs remain closed and service is provided in outdoor spaces only abiding by physical distancing and health protection guidelines. All customers must be seated (maximum of six people from the same household per table) with the exception of restaurants, bars, and cafes operating in indoor hotel spaces, serving hotel guests only. In bars and cafes, two customers may be seated on stools at the counter and a 1.5 m distance must be kept from the next two customers.
The opening hours are 05:00 to 22:45 depending on the venue.

Open-air cinemas will resume operation on 21 May but not to full capacity to ensure social distancing of customers while strictly seated outdoor live cultural events and shows will begin to take place on 28 May.

Beaches are open for up to 80 individuals per 1000 m2 of beach area following an entry check. Only two persons are allowed per umbrella, with the exception of families.

In terms of public transport, operation will run at 65 per cent capacity to ensure distancing rules while taxis and Ubers may carry up to two passengers in addition to the driver. An exception applies to adults with children, and to individuals who are in need of a second passenger to aid them during their transport.
Up to three persons in addition to the driver can ride in double-cab pick- ups, mixed used vehicles and vans. This number may be higher for families with children.