Greece is now considered a corona risk area. Is it still possible to take a vacation in the country? A look at the situation in the country and the applicable corona rules.
Athens – summer, sun, sand and sea. Many vacationers think of a trip to Greece with its picturesque mainland and idyllic islands when they hear these words. But is it even possible to have a relaxed holiday there despite Corona? Many people are concerned about the delta variant of the corona virus, which is spreading ever faster. An overview of the current Corona situation in Greece and all the rules that travelers must observe.
Greece is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Germans. Although trips have declined due to the virus, the country was among the top 10 most popular travel destinations, according to an ADAC analysis. And that also in the Corona year 2020. According to a trend analysis, an island in Greece even replaced Mallorca as a top travel destination for the year 2021.
The pandemic hit the country hard. According to data from the Johns Hopkins University, more than 482,000 people from Greece have been infected with the corona virus and more than 12,800 deaths have been recorded (as of July 28, 2021). Recently, the number of new infections rose again significantly. There is also the worrying Delta variant.
Greece vacation despite Corona: what is the current situation in the country?
The delta variant of the corona virus is also gaining ground in Greece. There are currently no exact figures on the spread of the Corona variant in Greece. This is also due to the fact that tests are carried out for this less frequently in the country. But infections with the delta variant were already known on the popular holiday island of Crete, among other places. The tourist country has strongly advanced its vaccination efforts. 47.4 percent of the population are now fully vaccinated.
After many regions in Greece had been declared corona risk areas at the end of 2020, the situation in the country has visibly normalized in recent months. Only a few weeks ago the Greek government relaxed its corona rules comprehensively. But in view of the increasing number of cases, some measures have now been tightened again. Since July 18, 2021, all of Greece has been a risk area again, as announced by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and the Federal Foreign Office.
Greece vacation 2021: what is the current corona incidence?
The current incidence is 179.1, which is significantly higher than in Germany (source JHU, as of July 28, 2021). The 7-day incidence in Greece thus currently also exceeds the critical limit value of the Robert Koch Institute of 50. However, the RKI classifies the area as a simple risk area not only on the basis of the incidence, but also with the help of other factors. However, if the number of cases continues to increase, classification as a corona risk area is possible again.
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Holidays in Greece: which corona rules apply when entering the country?
The Foreign Office has issued a travel warning to Greece since Sunday (July 18th). However, holidaymakers could not just enter the country beforehand. You need an entry form. This should be completed no later than one day before entry. Those wishing to travel must include their name and address. The place of residence in Greece and, if applicable, the flight number are also requested. If the form has been filled out correctly, a QR code will be issued. This must then be presented upon entry.
In addition, there is an obligation to test for the corona virus. A PCR test must not be older than 72 hours, a certified antigen test not older than 48 hours before arrival. Children from the age of twelve must also present such a corona test.
There is an exception to the compulsory test for travelers to Greece if they have either recovered or have been fully vaccinated and present a vaccination certificate. According to the Greek government, corona vaccines such as Biontech / Pfizer, Astrazeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson and the Sputnik vaccine are accepted. There is currently no quarantine obligation for travelers from Germany.
It is also possible to enter and leave Greece by land. As announced by the Federal Foreign Office, the possible border crossings are:
- Via Bulgaria : border crossings Exochi, Nymphaea / Nymfaia, Ormenio and Promachonas
- Via North Macedonia : Evzoni and Niki border crossing
- Via Albania : border crossings Kakavia, Kristallopigi and Mavromati *
- Via Turkey : border crossings Castania and Kipoi
- * Entry via this border crossing is subject to restrictions on the number of people and the time
Greece vacation: which corona rules apply when traveling in the country?
Due to the increasing number of corona cases, Greece has tightened the rules for traveling on ferries. From July 5th, a negative corona test must be presented on Greek ferries when starting the journey. Here, too, PCR tests and antigen tests are allowed.
Fully vaccinated and convalescent people are again excluded, provided that they have the relevant evidence with them. In addition, a self-declaration must be completed when using the ferry. For trips to the Greek islands or back to the mainland, a health declaration must be completed before embarkation.
Vacation in Greece: These are the current Corona rules
Although the government in Greece has relaxed many measures in the fight against Corona, some rules currently still apply that holidaymakers must observe. The hygiene rules apply to restaurants and bars, but also to museums and local public transport.
- Bars, restaurants and cafes may only open the outside area for catering. A maximum of six people can sit at one table. Only vaccinated people are allowed to sit indoors.
- In closed rooms such as museums and supermarkets, it is mandatory to wear a mask. A full corona vaccination is also a condition of entry in cultural establishments.
- A mask must also be worn on public transport and in taxis. In addition, certain modes of transport, such as ferries, are required to fill out a self-declaration.
- A mask must be worn in certain busy outdoor public spaces. This also applies to weekly markets, for example.
- There are special hygiene protocols and occupancy restrictions for hotels and other accommodations.
- Distance rules must be observed.
- Violations can result in a fine of 300 euros.
Greece vacation despite Corona: what rules apply on the beach?
In Greece, the corona rules must also be observed on the beach. This includes compliance with the distance rules. There should be at least two meters of space between visitors. There are fixed maximum numbers of people for sections of the beach.
These vary depending on whether the beaches are private or public. In addition, other safety rules such as stricter distance requirements may apply to private beaches.
Returning from Greece: What do holidaymakers have to consider inside?
To return to Germany, holidaymakers in Greece must again submit a negative Corona test before departure. Exceptions apply again to vaccinated and convalescent people and children under six years of age.
This generally applies to all returnees who enter Germany from abroad. If the test result is positive, the traveler must be quarantined on site. Some tour operators offer insurance for this when booking a trip.
Return trip from Greece to Germany: digital entry registration for risk areas
Since Greece has been classified as a risk area since July 18, 2021, a digital entry registration must be completed before entering Germany. This is possible no earlier than three days before entry. The confirmation that you receive must be shown at controls at the airport or border crossing. If there is a quarantine obligation, the responsible health department will also be informed.
If you return to Germany from a corona risk area *, a test is also mandatory – even if you are traveling by land (exception: vaccinated, convalescent, children under 6 years of age). For returnees from risk areas, the following quarantine rules apply in Germany:
- A quarantine for 10 days applies immediately upon entry.
- Quarantine can be ended immediately with a negative test result (notification via the digital entry registration).
- The corona test may be a maximum of 48 hours (rapid test) or 72 hours (PCR test) old.
- There is no compulsory test or quarantine for children under 6 years of age.