After spending more than a year cooped up inside, many of us are ready to make our travel dreams a reality by enjoying a jaunt through Europe. However, with coronavirus restrictions changing rapidly, it can be hard to know when and where it is possible to visit… unless you have this guide!
We go into detail about the latest announcements, country openings, timelines, and more, so that you can stay informed and enjoy traveling without stressing over entry requirements.
Also, keep an eye out for the ETIAS, which will become mandatory at the end of 2022 and is literally your ticket to Europe — check here for further information.
Enjoy the Mediterranean This Summer
The Mediterranean sits on the shores of 22 countries and has a combined coastline of 46,000 km (28,500 miles). It is one of the hottest destinations this summer — literally and figuratively!
This is all thanks to countries like Italy, Greece, and Cyprus opening up to eager travelers. Although each nation has its own list of eligible countries and requirements, the general consensus is that either proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test is necessary to enter.
For example, Greece opened its borders on May 14 to vaccinated travelers or those who present a negative PCR test (taken within 72 hours prior to departure).
In a similar vein, Italy recently presented an innovative new program called ‘Covid-tested flights.’ These flights, which have been authorized by the Italian Ministry of Health, require passengers to provide three negative COVID-19 tests during travel.
The first, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, must be taken up to 72 hours before departure. Once travelers are at the airport, they must take a rapid test just before boarding and take a final rapid test once they have arrived in Italy.
Cyprus, a Mediterranean country dependent on tourism, is opening its borders from May 10 to citizens from more than 65 countries. Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios stated that travelers will need to either show a vaccine passport or present a negative PCR test that is not older than three days.
Some of the countries on Cyprus’ list include the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United States of America, and the entire Schengen zone.
The Balkans: Perfect All Year ‘Round
Although often overlooked, the Balkans experienced a surge in popularity during the pandemic thanks to their less restrictive entry requirements.
At various times, countries like Montenegro, Serbia, and Albania had no requirements whatsoever and welcomed travelers with open arms.
At the moment, the majority of Balkan countries are open. For example, travelers wishing to enter Serbia are required to only present a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours before their arrival.
Serbia’s neighbor, Bulgaria, is welcoming citizens from the United States if they are able to present proof of a vaccination certificate (the vaccination certificate is considered valid 14 days after receiving the final dose of the vaccine) or a negative PCR test has been taken within 72 hours before arrival.
Whether it’s taking a multi-country road trip in the summer or enjoying some of Europe’s finest ski resorts in the winter, the Balkans are sure to surprise and delight every traveler that passes through the region.
The European Union: Finally Opening Its Doors
Last but certainly not least, the European Union is making headlines thanks to its reopening.
Although only citizens from eight countries, including Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, and China are currently allowed into the EU for non-essential travel, that will all change in summer 2021.
A recent announcement from the EU stated that all fully-vaccinated American travelers will be able to visit member states this summer.
This is fantastic news for those who want to explore the colorful streets of Lisbon in its famous yellow trams, casually cruise along the canals of Amsterdam, or step back in time at one of Germany’s dozens of castles.
These recent announcements are a positive signal that travel is gradually returning to normal. The only choice you’ll have to make is to pick which country to visit first!