It’s Official: Greece Re-Opens To Tourists From Around The World July 1

Greece will begin opening to tourists June 15 and then open up to the world starting July 1. And once you can enter Greece, you can probably visit most of Europe.

With a population of around 10 million, similar in size to Sweden, Greece has had around 2900 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 175 reported deaths. They’ve been spared the worst of coronavirus, despite a culture like Italy’s not given to distancing. Their economy relies heavily on tourism. It’s no surprise they’re anxious to open up, even risking bringing more cases of the virus into the country.

Currently international flights are only permitted to arrive into Athens. Non-residents are tested on arrival, and must stay overnight at a specified hotel. If the test comes back negative, they still have to self-quarantine for 7 days. A positive test requires a 14 day supervised quarantine.

These policies will be rolled back in two phases, first on June 15 and then on July 1.

Restrictions Begin To Loosen June 15

Between June 15 and June 30 international arrivals will be permitted into both Athens and Thessaloniki. If you’re originating from outside of a high risk airport (which includes 22 U.S. states) then there’s no mandatory test. If you started at a high risk airport then the current procedure applies of testing on arrival and quarantine.

    Loophole: Starting June 15 you could start your journey in Nevada, Oklahoma, or one of 26 other U.S. states and enter Greece without more than the possibility of a random test. Of course they’re just looking at your flight reservation. Someone in New York might fly somewhere on one ticket, and begin their journey to Greece on another ticket from an airport not on the high risk list.

In addition land border arrivals will be permitted from Albania, North Macedonia and Bulgaria with the possibility of random testing.

Tourists Worldwide Are Welcome July 1

Beginning July 1 Greece will permit international arrivals into any airport, with just random testing on arrival. Arrivals by sea will be permitted as well. And while “[a]dditional restrictions regarding certain countries will be announced at a later date” it seems as though everyone, broadly, will be welcomed.

Gateway To Europe

Once permitted to enter a Schengen Area country – one of 26 countries in Europe that permit border-free travel under normal circumstances – it should be possible to enter other countries in that zone, provided those countries are accepting travel from other European nations which is expected.

So even if you can’t enter many countries of Europe by July 1, you’ll be able to fly to Greece, visit, and then in all likelihood continue to France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and more.

Of course Iceland is also a Schengen Area country. If they permit Americans to visit with testing starting June 15, that’ll be an avenue to continue from there to other Schengen Area countries as well.

Greece Offers Access, Not Peace Of Mind

Alaska is looking to eliminate its required 14 day quarantine on arrival with either testing prior to departure for the state, or testing on arrival. The Maldives is looking at requiring 14 day stays and testing on arrival. The problem with testing on arrival is false positives. It’ll keep tourists away, worried that even though they don’t have COVID-19 they test positive – and they’re on the other side of the world when they do.

A week ago I wrote that coronavirus testing is a marketing tool, not just a safety measure. That’s because – while it’s a hassle for those that have to go through it – it’s also peace of mind that everyone else has been tested (false negatives notwithstanding). Greece is offering access, but not peace of mind.

Still, summer months with higher temperatures are peak tourist season. While humidity drops at this tie, it remains generally humid throughout the summer. Much of life occurs outdoors. The virus hasn’t been known to spread significantly on planes, and the summer months seem like an ideal time to socially distance in Greece.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I read on Friday that Greece was Closed to people from North and South America. Did I read wrong?

  2. No, Dhammer53, you are right. Greece is not open to tourists from the US, UK, and several other countries until July 15 (possibly earlier but July 15 is the current date)

  3. Gary, what is your source for “virus hasn’t been known to spread significantly on planes” – just curious would like to read, thanks.

  4. @ Charlie

    July 15….that’s awful

    Paris Hilton and Tiffany Trump will miss out on nearly half of this year’s clubbing scene on Mykonos.

  5. Some of the views in this post are, at the very very least, irresponsible. Suggesting any way at all to circumvent travel restrictions should be dealt with swiftly. Like many, I can’t wait to get back to travelling, but this kind of thinking will just make everything worst for everyone. So Greece right now are not accepting anyone from a country black list, including many Schengen countries, and rightly so.
    On July 1st they will open their borders but, as far as I understand, it is not only up to them to accept travelers from outside Schengen. Other countries have said Schengen borders will stay closed until later in the year and, given how this is being handled in some countries, I really hope that’s the case. So, if you are from a high risk region, make everyone a favour and stay home. Travel restrictions are there for a reason. If you don’t like being from a high risk region, consider your government’s response to this crisis the next time you go to vote.

  6. @Charlie or @Gary – can you please post a link to where the July 15 date is posted? I am getting conflicting information about US arrivals. Thanks!

  7. July 1 is the current and correct date per news today from Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs linked to at the top of this post.

  8. @Gary – that page is in addition to what was released, not replacing it. There are still not dates for when tourists from the US and other countries will be allowed. The “international flights” part is just referring to the islands being open to direct flights from outside Greece.
    But, they have been opening things here earlier than they say, so we will see how they finally address the US/UK and others.

  9. @Charlie, starting June 15 you are only subject to testing/quarantine on arrival if your journey originates from an area on this list.
    https://www.easa.europa.eu/SD-2020-01/Airports#group-easa-downloads

    That includes 22 U.S. states.

    From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs document released today “Greece welcomes the world”

    “Phase 2 – Bridge phase- 15 June to 30 June
    International flights are allowed into Athens and Thessaloniki airports.
    If your travel originated from an airport not in the EASA affected area list (https://www.easa.europa.eu/SD-2020-01/Airports#group-easa-downloads), then you are only subject to random tests upon arrival.”

    Starting July 1 there is no quarantine or testing on arrival, other than random testing, except for visitors from certain countries who may face additional restrictions – though those countries and restrictions have not been announced yet.

  10. From the Greek Foreign Ministry’s statement: “Additional restrictions regarding certain countries will be announced at a later date.” and then in a later paragraph: “Greece at any stage retains the right to modify any of the above in light of changing circumstances.”

    I think it is likely that visitors from the US and most other countries will not be allowed until the European Commission lifts the ban.

    These annoucements from Greece and other countries are vague because they really don’t know when the European Commission will lift the ban on non-EEC visitors. Some observers point out that a country is not obliged to follow the European Commission. I don’t think they want to be the odd man out especially considering their debt situation.

    I follow European news and I have the feeling it is more likely that Europe will be open much later in the year if not 2021.

  11. I read about a reporter who had been stopped and grilled at many Schengen borders. How will that not stop travel from Greece to other countries?

  12. my concern is now that Greece is doing this the EU which will make their decision June 4th on all of this , will restrict travel to and from Greece which I’ve read is a very popular area for the Germans to go to. So for example July 1st if I wanted to book a ticket from Miami to Athens and then go on to Frankfort where I need to go visit family are you saying that will actually be possible even though the Germans won’t open their borders by July 1? what happens if I get on the plane from Greece to Frankfurt and I am told I can’t come in how can you say that that is all possible?

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