Yes, you read that correctly. Greece has announced a reopening plan that will see the country reopen to all international visitors in May. Details given included that travelers will either have to be vaccinated to enter the country, have antibodies or have provided a negative COVID19 anitgen test within several days of departure.
Once in the country travelers will then be permitted to travel to the islands and within the country without any travel restrictions in place. Exact date given for this to be started is May 14th, 2021. Nearly 20% of Greece's workforce is reliant on tourism.
No time is more critical to Greece than the sun kissed peak summer season, when travelers from all over the world come to visit the beautiful islands of Greece and it's historic capital Athens. Greece also benefits from typically having the longest summer season of most EU countries with sunny & warm conditions lasting May through November.
I've personally been to Greece several times. I've stayed at luxury hotels and apartments in Athens, my favorite district is Kolonaki, where trendy dining venues, cafes, shops and bars give off a boutique feel to this chic neighborhood of Athens. I've also stayed on and been to the islands of Mykonos, Crete, Santorini, Hydra, Naxos, Syros, Samos, among others and have even sailed on a yacht twice from Athens through the Aegean and over to Turkey.
On the mainland of Greece I've visited Napflio, Monemvasia, Delphi, Meteora and other smaller places. Greece has something incredible for everyone be it the stunning soft sand beaches of Mykonos or Crete, the incredible unique views of the caldera in Santorini, the ancient history of Athens, Olympia, Marathon, Delos, and island hopping adventure is a great way to see several islands in one vacation.
At the time of writing this the CDC still requires a negative antigen test within 3 days of returning from outside US. Which means a trip to Greece this summer (unless CDC drops this requirement), would likely mean you need to be in your final destination for a least 3 days so you have time to get the test and the results before returning home to the US, even if you are vaccinated this test is required to come back.
Many hotels worldwide are providing on site/off site testing for their guests. Some places require you to pay for the test while others do not, and give it to you as part of your stay. It's more likely larger luxury high end hotels, brands and chains will be able to offer these options, while smaller hotels may not, and you'll be completely on your own to get tested locally if opting for a villa or apartment. Hotels that are giving the testing options, have a same day or next day turn around time on antigen test. Having the inclusion of being tested right on site at your hotel is a very nice feature that travelers do not need to worry about going to a clinic or hospital to get tested.
Greece in the early months of the pandemic resisted the EU call to completely close all borders and keep things open longer, but eventually they did close up. Now it looks like Greece will be the leader of the EU pack to reopen those borders. A move that will likely see other EU countries follow suit as soon as they feel it's ok to do so.
Honestly EU tourism really cannot afford to take another hit with a full summer season of revenue losses again in 2021. While at the time of writing this several EU countries are again going on partial lockdown for several weeks to try and avoid a third wave. These lockdowns will last into April as of now, but I expect once they are lifted we are going to be hearing of tourism reopening plans from the other major players in the EU. I think Greece is doing things the right way, reopen with vaccinated travel allowed or test those who are not vaccinated.
That is the proper way to reopen the world to tourism in 2021.
Thinking of a vacation to Greece for the summer, fall or in 2022, please reach out and I can organize absolutely every aspect of your arrangements.