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Greece Will Reopen Earlier Than Expected to Vaccinated Travelers

By Michelle Baran and Tim Chester

Apr 19, 2021

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Vaccinated travelers can visit Greece as early as mid-April.

Photo by Zebra-Studio/Shutterstock

Vaccinated travelers can visit Greece as early as mid-April.

We’re regularly updating the list of countries that are welcoming vaccinated visitors (including Americans). Israel, Croatia, Greece, and Nepal are among the latest additions.

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Several more countries have announced they’re opening up to vaccinated travelers as rollouts continue in the United States and abroad. Israel, Nepal, Greece, and several Caribbean destinations are among the latest to make the move.

The biggest news this week, via Reuters, is that Greece has lifted its quarantine restrictions and will reopen to vaccinated travelers from the European Union and five other countries, including the United States. That’s a month earlier than expected. We will gradually lift the restrictions at the beginning of next week ahead of the opening on May 14,” a senior tourism ministry official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Greece is one of more than a dozen destinations now allowing vaccinated U.S. travelers to visit, including:

  • Anguilla
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Ecuador
  • Estonia
  • Republic of Georgia
  • Guatemala
  • Israel
  • Iceland
  • Montenegro
  • Nepal
  • Poland
  • Seychelles
  • Slovenia

There is an ongoing debate about whether vaccinations should be a passport to entry for travelers—in many cases, countries also have alternative protocols for unvaccinated travelers, such as the option to submit to a COVID-19 testing requirement.

Whether or not you’re vaccinated, you can, of course, still travel. You can drive or fly to countless destinations across the U.S. and you can even venture farther afield to Mexico and other countries where Americans are allowed to enter (regardless of vaccination status), typically when armed with negative COVID test results. Hawaii currently still requires all travelers, even those who have been vaccinated, to provide negative a test result to avoid quarantine. However, in early April plans for a vaccine passport system that would allow vaccinated travelers to avoid testing and quarantine emerged. The timeline for implementation is not yet clear.

These are the countries that at press time were giving travelers vaccinated for COVID-19 a pass of some kind.

Anguilla

As of April 12, vaccinated travelers who had their final dose at least 21 days prior to arrival only need to stay in place for 7 days (reduced from 14). They’ll still need to submit a test result 3 to 5 days before arrival and undergo a second test on arrival.

The entry application fee for fully vaccinated visitors staying under 90 days in a hotel or villa is $300, as opposed to $600 for unvaccinated travelers staying in an approved private dwelling. From July 1, Anguilla is removing the fee and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated visitors. The entry protocols will be revised and eventually eliminated by October 1. Anguilla’s tourist board has more information on the new entry protocols.

Barbados

Fully vaccinated travelers (who have had the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson shots) can travel to Barbados with a shorter quarantine as of May 8. They’ll still need to provide a negative PCR test result three days prior to travel, as well as a vaccination certificate, have a test done at the airport, and then quarantine for one to two days. Unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for five to seven days and can’t leave their rooms at approved accommodations until their second negative PCR test result. Visit Barbados has all the latest COVID travel guidelines.

Belize

Have vaccine, will travel . . . to Belize.

In order to be permitted to travel to the Central American country of Belize, travelers must present a COVID-19 vaccine card that shows proof of complete vaccination at least two weeks prior to arrival. Those who have not been vaccinated must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 96 hours prior to travel or a negative rapid antigen test taken no more than 48 hours prior to travel. Children under the age of five are exempt.

Croatia

Come for the coastline, stay for Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

As of April 1, anyone can travel to Croatia if they present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate (the final dose must be administered at least 14 days before arrival); can present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in Croatia (if it’s a rapid test, a second test must be taken 10 days after the initial test if your stay in Croatia is longer than 10 days); or were diagnosed with and recovered from COVID-19 no more than 180 days prior to arrival. Children under seven years of age are exempt.

The U.S. Embassy in Croatia reminds travelers that tourists who meet the above requirements will only be permitted to enter Croatia if they provide evidence that they have paid for their Croatia accommodations in advance and in full prior to arrival at the border.

Cyprus

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In early April, guidelines from Visit Cyprus said that “for persons traveling from certain countries, a vaccination certificate will be accepted as an additional facilitator for travel. Dates of implementation may vary for each country, so travelers should follow public announcements made by the Cyprus Government.”

Travelers who can prove vaccination status won’t have to undergo any tests, nor will they be placed in quarantine. A copy of the certificate will need to be uploaded onto the Cyprus Flight Pass platform. Visit Cyprus has full details of the latest plan, including more on its traffic light system for country categorization.

Ecuador

Ecuador's wildlife-filled Galápagos archipelago is now available to vaccinated travelers.

On March 17, Ecuador issued new guidelines for entering the country that went into effect on March 22: Anyone can enter Ecuador as long as they have a COVID-19 vaccination certificate, can present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than three days prior to arrival in Ecuador, or were diagnosed with and recovered from COVID-19 and are symptom free. Children under two years of age are exempt.

Visitors will be asked about and screened for symptoms (such as fever, cough, general malaise, loss of smell, loss of taste) upon arrival in Ecuador and will be evaluated by health ministry personnel. If there’s cause for concern, travelers will be required to take a rapid antigen test and, if it comes back positive, isolate for 10 days at their own expense. If the rapid antigen test is negative, the visitor can continue on their trip and will not need to isolate.

Travelers in Ecuador must abide by safety protocols including mandatory mask wearing, maintaining a social distance, and avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people.

Estonia

If you’re vaccinated, Estonia will have you.

Effective February 2, the northern European country of Estonia has declared that those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 can enter the country without having to submit to an otherwise mandatory 10-day quarantine and COVID-19 testing requirements. The Estonian government has said that vaccinated travelers must still adhere to any public health measures that are in place in Estonia.

Georgia

Georgia’s Caucasus Mountains are accessible for those who have been vaccinated.

As of February 1, 2021, any fully vaccinated traveler from any country is allowed to enter Georgia as long as they present documentation confirming their COVID-19 vaccination status (if the vaccine required two doses, proof of both doses must be provided).

Unvaccinated travelers arriving from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, the European Union, Israel, Kazakhstan, Norway, Northern Ireland, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, or the United States must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result conducted within 72 hours prior to travel at the Georgian border. On their third day in Georgia, travelers must submit to a second PCR test.

Greece

Via the Associated Press: Greece on April 19 lifted quarantine restrictions for travelers from most European countries, as well as Israel and the United States as it prepares to reopen tourism services next month despite an ongoing emergency in pandemic-related hospital care.

Air travelers from those countries will no longer be subject to a seven-day quarantine requirement if they hold a vaccination certificate or negative PCR test issued within the previous 72 hours, the Greek Civil Aviation Authority said.

The countries made exempt are EU member states, the U.S., Britain, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia, Israel, and non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland that are part of a European travel pact.

Those visitors will have to travel to Greece via the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Chania, Rhodes, Kos, Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu, and two border crossings.

Government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni described the new travel rules as a “pilot measure” as Greece reopens more of its economy, noting that tourists are also subject to domestic travel restrictions. Greece remains under partial lockdown after widespread restrictions were imposed in early November, but has struggled to contain an urban spike in infections that have kept intensive care facilities close to capacity.

Visit Greece has COVID-related advice and information for travelers.

Guatemala

The Spanish colonial buildings and surrounding volcanoes of Antigua are calling.

Effective February 24, anyone entering Guatemala must present either a COVID-19 vaccine certificate with vaccination completed at least two weeks prior to arrival, a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival, or proof or having tested positive and recovered from COVID-19 within three months of arrival, according to the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala. Children under 10 are exempt.

Iceland

Vaccinated Americans can now visit Iceland.

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Effective April 9, “everyone arriving to the country shall be tested at the borders as before, quarantine for five days and undergo a second test upon finishing,” the Icelandic government says. Vaccinated travelers don’t have to quarantine but must go to their place of stay and wait for the initial test results. Iceland also allows travelers who have been previously infected with COVID-19 to enter the country without quarantine and testing.

Everyone needs to preregister before visiting the country.

Israel

The Israel Ministry of Tourism and the country’s Ministry of Health say that the country will begin welcoming vaccinated travelers back starting May 23. Full details of the guidelines are expected in due course, but the program will see a select number of tour groups allowed to visit at first. The number of groups will increase based on the success of the program. Individual travelers will likely be allowed in July. All visitors will still be required to undergo a PCR test before flying to the country, as well as a serological test to prove their vaccination upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport.

“Sixty percent of Israel’s population has been vaccinated and with the United States and Israel using the same vaccines, we are hopeful that by summer we can open our doors wide and welcome every visitor to Israel who would like to come,” said Eyal Carlin, Israel’s tourism commissioner for North America.

Montenegro

The city of Podgorica in Montenegro is open to vaccinated travelers.

Montenegro is allowing in vaccinated visitors from any country, including the United States. Travelers must present either a negative PCR test from the previous 72 hours or proof that they received the second dose of a vaccine more than seven days before their arrival. The CDC still currently classes Montenegro as a level four (“do not travel”) country. The country’s government declared that there were 6,446 active cases of COVID as of April 1.

Travelers to Montenegro will have a new place to stay from the beginning of May: the One & Only Portonovi at the entrance of Boka Bay on the Adriatic Coast. The luxury development’s Chenot Espace spa and new dining space from acclaimed London restaurateur Giorgio Locatelli are among the reasons it’s one of our most highly anticipated 2021 hotel openings.

Nepal

Nepal is allowing in vaccinated travelers. All arrivals must show either a negative PCR result taken 72 hours before boarding or “a document showing complete vaccination against COVID-19.” They’ll also need either a visa or recommendation letter from the department of tourism, proof of travel insurance, and a barcode obtained via an online application. Nepal's tourism board has a document outlining the latest protocol.

Poland

Vaccinated travelers who are permitted to enter Poland can do so without quarantine.

The only travelers currently allowed to enter Poland are Polish citizens and residents and their family members, diplomats and their families, essential workers, students, and EU citizens and residents. That doesn’t change for the vaccinated. Being vaccinated means the above travelers can bypass an otherwise mandatory 10-day quarantine. They can also bypass the quarantine by providing a negative COVID-19 PCR test result procured within 48 hours of departure to Poland.

Seychelles

The Indian Ocean island paradise of Seychelles is beckoning.

In a March 29 advisory, the island nation of Seychelles announced that it’s welcoming all visitors regardless of vaccination status effective immediately, as long as they have a negative PCR test result from within 72 hours of travel. There’s no quarantine requirement, but they must have travel insurance and need to stay at licenced establishments or liveaboards. Visitors who have been to South Africa in the previous 14 days are excluded.

Slovenia

Bled, Slovenia, is one of the country’s most beautiful destinations.

The central European country of Slovenia had a long list of European countries on its so-called red list, or list of countries with an unstable epidemiological situation, in March. The “red list” countries currently do not include the United States (the U.S. is on the list of “third countries,” which generally cannot enter the country).

Those who enter Slovenia from a “red list” country must quarantine for 10 days, unless they provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test procured within 48 hours of departure or a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test taken no more than 24 hours before departure.

Another way to bypass the quarantine is providing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. (You won’t be allowed entry until at least 7 days after having the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine administered, at least 14 days after the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, or 21 days after the AstraZeneca vaccine.)

This story was originally published on March 8, 2021, and was updated on April 2, 13, 14, and 19, 2021, to include current information.

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