Yay: Greece Is Now Open To Americans!

Filed Under: Travel

While this had been discussed for a while, it’s now official. Americans are allowed to visit Greece as of today. This isn’t even the only place in Europe that Americans can travel to this summer, as Croatia and Iceland are also open, and it looks like France may open up as well. Let’s go over the details.

Who is allowed to visit Greece?

As of today (April 19, 2021), Greece is open to visitors from European Union countries plus 11 other countries, including the United States. Travelers from the following countries and regions can now visit Greece without having to quarantine:

  • Australia
  • European Union
  • Israel
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Don’t we Americans suddenly feel so special? Until recently we’d only be allowed somewhere if virtually everyone in the world was, while now we’re on an exclusive list with countries like New Zealand! Our days of being picked last for travel dodgeball are over (hopefully!).

Note that as of May 14, 2021, Greece plans on opening to visitors on a much more widespread basis, and the details of that are expected to be revealed soon.

Santorini, Greece

What do you need to enter Greece?

Greece will require either vaccination or a coronavirus test for entry, in order to skip the quarantine:

  • The coronavirus test requirement is that you need to be tested no more than 72 hours before arrival in Greece, and this test is mandatory for all travelers over the age of five
  • You can bypass the testing requirement if you’re fully vaccinated, which is defined as having received your last recommended dose at least 14 days ago
  • Eligible vaccines include Pfizer BioNtech, Moderna, Astra Zeneca/Oxford, Novavax, Johnson + Johnson/Janssen, Sinovac Biotech, Gamaleya (Sputnik), Cansino Biologics, and Sinopharm

A few more things to note about entering Greece:

  • Visitors must fill out a Passenger Locator Form no later than 11:59PM the day before arriving in Greece
  • Travelers will have to undergo random health checks on arrival, which could include rapid testing
  • If traveling by air, visitors will need to arrive in Greece via one of nine airports, including Athens, Chania, Corfu, Heraklion, Kos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, and Thessaloniki

Also keep in mind that regardless of whether or not you’re vaccinated, you will have to get tested prior to returning to the US.

Mykonos, Greece

This is awesome news!

Greece is one of my favorite places in the world to visit in summer, between the amazing views, the breeze, and the great views. I’m thrilled to hear this news.

I’ve been skeptical about whether or not this would actually happen given that Greece made similar claims about opening to all last summer, but it didn’t end up happening. Fortunately Greece is open as of today, so it looks like it has in fact happened, which is exciting.

I’d absolutely recommend planning a trip to Greece this summer if you’re vaccinated and interested. I probably wouldn’t go just yet (in April), because it’s before the season and because most of the country is still in lockdown, but that should change in the coming weeks.

Porto Heli, Greece

Bottom line

Greece has today opened to visitors from several countries (including the United States). All that’s required to skip quarantine is a negative coronavirus test or proof of vaccination.

It’s fantastic to see that Europe travel is very much on for this summer. Hopefully this is a trend we continue to see.

Anyone planning a trip to Greece this summer?

  1. I presume people to the south of the USA take offense when the USA uses the term Americans exclusively for themselves.

  2. Over the weekend American pulled their PHL-ATH from the schedule until mid August. Odd timing. I spent over an hour on the phone with American reconfiguring my trip for June.

    United announced they are launching an IAD-ATH flight in July.

  3. Ben – Greek ICUs in urban areas are near capacity. Maybe you should reconsider whether it makes sense to “absolutely recommend” a trip to a country where you may not get the medical care you need if you get sick…?

    Of course I recognize that travel is an adventure and has its risks, which many of us are willing to accept. What I’m saying is that any travel boosterism should come with an honest discussion of those risks, so that people are aware of them.

  4. @NK3

    My LAX-PHL-ATH (June) flight was changed over to LAX-JFK-ATH. I got a better product on the transcon!

    So is a CDC card with your vaccine ok to be used

  5. Had booked speculatively a while back with a route from the US to Athens via MUC- any insight as to how the transfer would work? Am trying to get ahead of any issues entering the Schengen zone from a country currently not accepting vaccinated US citizens. Thank you!

  6. Pass. This summer will effectively see an American Anschluß of Greece. I can’t imagine a time when I would rather NOT go.

  7. Lucky – I would recommend adding a paragraph to what the current restrictions within Greece are. For example, restaurants are not open for dining but only for delivery and takeout. And there are other things such as domestic travel restrictions for inter-regional travel, and I think it should be pointed out here, before someone books their flights departing tomorrow.

  8. Don’t forget that you need to present a negative test for your return to the US. How simple or easy is it to get an appointment to get tested in Greece and have results issued promptly?

  9. @ Tortuga …. laughable comment. If COVID-19 is your fear not sure why being around Americans vaccinated or that have tested negative would be of concern. Just sounds like you wanted to leave an anti-America comment.

  10. @Gabe – As of now, you still can’t transit to Greece via Germany. Only way is to route directly from the states or via Istanbul. That will probably change by summer though so I wouldn’t be too worried just yet. Who knows though….

  11. Pretty dumb for any country to not be open to Americans now. Americans who have the means to actually travel internationally are generally more educated, already got their vaccine and antibodies given that US can now benefit from going through the worst of it last august, and we are ready to spend saved up travel funds in their international local economies.

  12. Lucky, does this mean travelers arriving from those countries, or citizens of those countries that have been vaccinated. Clarification would be amazing.

  13. @Luis – you can check the Reopen Europa official site, click on Germany, and then transfer travel (or check any other EU country there too). You can check TIMATIC, FRA airport official site. All will tell you that transfers are permitted. Most of the other primary hub countries in Europe are the same, some with a negative test required.

  14. I had a two AA Business Extra award tickets BOS-JFK-ATH flight for end of June and was changed itineraries over the weekend. AA dropped all BOS-JFK flights and now have me BOS-LGA and have to transfer to JFK for the JFK-ATH leg. They could not book me on the new Jetblue partnership flights (this is why AA dropped BOS-JFK in the first place)

    I specifically had these flights as I was in a A321T Sharklet in first BOS-JFK. Bummer I won’t get to try this product even if it was such a short flight.

    I have been trying to work with AA to reroute to BOS-ORD-ATH but currently no award availability to rebook on the ORD-ATH leg in Biz class. Didn’t realize I needed award availability to rebook when they do a schedule change.

    Very frustrating situation currently.

  15. @Ryan – Thanks for that info. Looks like Switzerland is still closed for Americans to transit which is unfortunate. Hopefully that changes before the summer.

  16. “ Pretty dumb for any country to not be open to Americans now.”

    So, let’s ignore the fact that there are still 60k+ daily positive cases of Covid19 in the USA – as bad as the cases were throughout last summer! You need to keep in mind that when countries decide on which countries to let in, a good vaccination programme does not erase everything else! Don’t confuse Greece’s (and Iceland/Croatia’s) desperation to boost their tourism with the end of the pandemic for the USA!

  17. I want this to be real, but I am confused b/c the Greek consulate in NY is still saying on their website that US citizens are not allowed.
    Do we know if there were any issues today in Athens with denying US citizens?

  18. @Tyler I also tried to get them to reroute me through ORD after major schedule changes over the weekend, without success. It seems like the availability of the ORD flights, at least on the dates I was booked on, was extremely limited. They ended up finding an alternate routing for me through JFK that was better than my original itinerary, so in the end I was happy.

  19. As also commented by another visitor earlier:

    Greece currently (and for at least until mid May) has one of the hardest lockdowns on the planet, with all entertainment activities (cafes, restaurants, bars theaters, cinemas etc) closed, travel not allowed outside your city or state, and even an SMS or paper form is required to leave your residence for groceries, pharmacy, walking/running.

    Only viable form of tourism (if you could call it that) would be an All Inclusive resort and a nearby beach, but would people really crosss the Atlantic to spend their days quasi-locked in a hotel under these circumstances?

  20. Couple of data points: Americans can currently transit through Germany, though the last report I saw required a negative COVID test prior to arrival. Americans cannot transit through Switzerland as of now. Also, I had an AA itinerary ATH-ORD-DEN booked for June, and discovered that AA changed the departure time from Athens by several hours (yet did not send me any kind of notification). This created a 7.5 hour layover in ORD, but I asked AA to open up 2 first class seats on an earlier flight that didn’t show award availability, and they did so. Just depends if you can get a friendly and competent agent.

  21. I don’t know if Australians can avoid the quarantine. They are allowed in but not on the list of the countries that skip quarantine. I live in Chicago and am trying to figure out the answer if anyone has an opinion !

  22. @Paul

    Those from south of the border often will complain that they are also Americans. I point out that while that may be technically true from the standpoint of being on the same continent, the United States is the only country that uses the word America in its name. They would tell me that I should call myself an “estadounidense” but I always point out that the official name of Mexico is Estados Unidos Mexicanos (United States of Mexico) so that term could refer to someone from either country. So if someone from the Estados Unidos Mexicanos is a Mexican, then someone from the USA is an American.

  23. Great to see Greece is not playing the vaccination passport game. If someone has recovered from Covid there is no reason to suspect they are less well protected than someone vaccinated. In fact, I have seen doctors claim the opposite, that the body’s learned response from the actual virus is better than that from an mRNA vaccine. Only time will really tell, but at least for now Greece is giving both groups the option to visit.

  24. @Ilias – the expectation is that Greece will be lifting these restrictions by the May 14th target date. The early opening gives them a few weeks to slowly transition from lockdown. If the lockdown were still in place by our anticipated arrival date, we would cancel, but signs are pointing to this not being the case.

  25. Given the fact they are still in lockdown, the early opening is probably more of a publicity stunt than anything else. It gets the attention of travelers ahead of the real opening mid May. I’m waiting to go until mid June just to see how it plays out.

  26. Yes @Mick, I have an opinion! Australians are STILL not permitted to leave the country, except for exceptional circumstances (not tourism!) Anyone who does get out is subject to 14 days hotel quarantine on return.
    The only exception is a ‘travel bubble’ between Australia and NZ, which commenced yesterday. As with all bubbles, it could burst anytime without notice.
    The Australian government also has an ace card up its sleeve by keeping in force a ‘Do not travel’ advisory to everywhere, which means they will help you even less than usual if you need help of any sort, and the travel insurance industry also finds it convenient to be able to negate large slabs of your TI policy.
    So overall, even though some countries are puting out the welcome mat, we must decline for now.

  27. According to a Reuters article I just linked but it got held up in moderation the US department of state is just about slap a do not travel advisory on 80% of the world so I’d hold on booking anything just yet.

  28. It’s fine for Greece to include Australians on the exempt list, but another matter entirely for them to get there ( unless they’re out of the country). The border remains closed to ‘normal’ people. But of course the -rotten-to-the-core sleazebags giving ‘special’ approval only do so for film stars, singers, cricket and tennis players, politicians and their cronies/mates. Ordinary people don’t stand a chance ( and nor do the vast majority of those applying for compelling personal/humanitarian reasons).
    Of course I’d like to go to Greece, and will get my second dose soon, and be fully vaccinated before northern summer: but the Australian government says my ‘need’ to travel is less worthy than a cricket player going to India to play in their league ( ie nothing to do with the national team, just to make money).

  29. @Luis: that is because Switzerland isn’t Schengen.

    @Gabe: you can absolutely pass through Germany to Greece as long as you have the proper documents for the arriving country. You will need to still pass passport control where they will ask about the QR code you might need or any other certification. Be advised: the passport control areas can be very backed up (at least they were recently in FRA) because they restrict the numbers into the general area to allow for distancing and overall space limitations. Germany is strict on mask, KN95 required on flights and in airport. So make sure to have some extra connection time to be safe unless you carry an EU passport where you can use the electronic option. I just passed through FRA on my way back to Spain and it was hectic and time consuming.

  30. Ray – Switzerland absolutely IS in Schengen.

    What people forget is that Schengen isn’t some monolithic body. Each nation that is part of Schengen can still open and close its borders as it wishes.

  31. I was in Greece for tourism in early November. With less than 48 hours notice, and with case numbers that were far below other European countries at the time, they implemented one of the world’s toughest lockdowns. I literally would not have been able to leave my residence except for about 5 vital reasons. I had to cut short my stay and book an expensive flight out.
    This proved to me that Greece will prioritise keeping case numbers under control over almost all other objectives. A very radical position, and not great if one is looking for a destination that is a sure bet in terms of vacationing.

  32. It’s lock down in Greece, two hours of leaving premises, (prior SMS) per day. All are included in lockdown. Only markets, gas stations and pharmacies work. Number of infected are rising. No beach, local travel, no drinks in the bar… AT THE MOMENT.

  33. So the Greek website is not complete. They have confused EU and Schenghen.
    Your list should be updated to include Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein (I checked with the Swiss embassy website in Greece)

  34. Here is a complicated one!
    American who resides inTurkey and got covid positive, healed, got negative tested.
    Turkish government says I’m “immune” now and can’t get a vaccine shot.
    So can I travel to Greece from Turkey in these conditions?

  35. Eren there is/(was in the U.S.) 3 month wait after testing negative before you can get the Covid vaccine. This may change. I work in healthcare and people were initially told to wait 3 months after testing negative from Covid to get their vaccines. I know a lady who had Covid and didn’t know it – had her 1st vaccine – recovered after 2 and a half weeks and the people who give the vaccines told her it was now okay to get her second dose. She doesn’t have to start over again and do the first injection again. So perhaps this will change soon. This is a brand new change which just started this month.

  36. @NK3

    AA changed my DFW-ORD-ATH on 4 Aug from arriving at 1pm-ish to 7:50 AM….so there were some Early AUgust flights through ORD to ATH…but I rebooked last year’s cancelled trip back in March when they announced re-opening for vaccinated peoples

  37. Interesting, but what is stopping those on the allowed list from visiting others parts of the Schengen area? Doesn’t this contradict the broader EU policy of not allowing non-EU residents/citizens to enter the EU?

  38. Flying SFO-Zurich-Istanbul (3days) then to Athens in July. We will not have issue getting into Istanbul and Zurich allows transit. We are all been vaccinated but not sure if they will allow us to fly from Istanbul to Athens without have to quarantine for 7 days. Trip is in July….Croatia would be Plan B but we already tixs including inter Island segments in Greece. Is it based on origin of the flight or the passport one carries?

  39. I have upcoming flights to Greece in June 2021 I booked this past fall from the JFK transiting through LHR. Are Americans allowed to transit through LHR and the UK at this time?

    I have not been able to find out any information and when I called American Airlines who I booked the flight through they instructed me to their SHERPA website which doesn’t list transit rules for the UK. They basically told me they don’t know and it is up to me to figure out whether I am allowed to transit. The flight is JFK-LHR-JMK on the outbound. The return is not an issue because I am going from ATH-JFK which is a direct flight.

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