Ferry travel in Greece 2021 – New measures and testing explained

In summer 2021, boarding ferries in Greece will be subject to certain measures. Here’s all you need to know to travel on a ferry in Greece for summer 2021.

Ferry travel in Greece Summer 2021

This article about summer 2021 will no longer be updated. If you are travelling in Greece from 13 September 2021 onwards, please refer to these two articles:

Ferry travel in Greece for summer 2021 will not be the same as other years. New measures for people traveling by ferry, mean that passengers must show proof that they have been vaccinated, tested, or previously contracted COVID-19.

Note that most of these principles apply for domestic flights to the islands. There is one exception – more info later.

Ferries to Greek islands

According to the latest official announcements (link in Greek), this applies to boarding ships / sea taxis both from ports of mainland Greece to the islands and between the islands.

If you can read Greek, you can download Gazette 3117B/16.7.2021 from the government’s official website.

Travelling from the mainland to the islands, or between islands in different Regional Units

The following applies for adult travellers travelling from

  • any mainland port (e.g. Piraeus, Rafina, Lavrio, Kavala, Patras, Igoumenitsa) to the islands
  • between islands in different Regional Units (more on this later)

Adult passengers can only board a ferry if:

(A) They have completed their COVID-19 vaccination at least fourteen (14) days prior to travelling, and can demonstrate a vaccination certificate – OR

(B) They have previously contracted the virus and can display a certificate issued at least thirty (30) days after the first positive test. The validity of this certificate lasts up to one hundred and eighty (180) days after it has been issued – OR

(C) They have a negative rapid antigen test, taken within the last forty eight (48) hours before the scheduled travel time – OR 

(D) They have a negative PCR test, taken within the last seventy-two (72) hours before the scheduled travel time. 

A rapid / PCR test can only be taken at a lab, which will provide you with a relevant certificate. Here is where to take a Covid test in Greece for areas like Athens, Santorini, Mykonos etc.

As of the 16th July, adults travelling from the islands to the mainland are required to either have one of the above, or a negative self-test, which has been taken 24 hours before the scheduled travel time. Self tests are available from pharmacies at a cost of around 5 – 8 euro, and the result needs to be registered in this paper form.

In addition to the above, all adults travelling from the mainland to the islands OR an island to the mainland, will need to complete the “Pre-Boarding Health Declaration Form”. This can be completed in either paper form or electronic form.

If you prefer to complete the e-form, you will need to fill in details such as your email and mobile number. Children under 18 years old are included in the parent’s or guardian’s form.

Travelling with family in Greece – Children and teenagers

Here is what applies for people travelling with family:

Children / teenagers from 12-18 years old (born before 30.6.2009) can travel with a negative self test taken 24 hours before the scheduled travel time, and a certificate provided by the parent / guardian. Self tests are available from pharmacies at a cost of around 5 – 8 euro. The result needs to be registered by the parent / guardian in this paper form.

Children up to twelve (12) years old (born after 1.7.2009) are exempt from the above obligation and can travel without any restrictions.

Exceptions to the above for Greek ferry travel

There are certain exceptions to the above:

(A) Passengers traveling on ferries between islands of the same Regional Unit can travel after taking a self-test within twenty-four (24) hours before their scheduled travel time.

Self tests are available from pharmacies, at a cost of about 5 – 8 euro. You will need to register the result using this paper form.

I have included certain examples below so you can see where you will need a self test rather than a PCR / rapid test.

How to travel by ferry in Greece summer 2021

(B) Passengers who travel between different Regional Units for work purposes on a daily basis. These passengers can travel by performing a weekly self-test, which is mandatory for certain categories of employees in Greece.

(C) Passengers traveling on the following ferry lines

  • Perama – Paloukia in Salamina
  • Perama Megaridos – Faneromeni in Salamina
  • Rio – Antirrio
  • Any mainland port to Evia

Passengers on these lines can travel with a self-test, taken twenty-four (24) hours before scheduled travel time.

Examples for ferry travel summer 2021 / Self test vs rapid test

Here are a few examples of routes and what tests you will need for each one. Again, if you have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days before your trip, or have contracted COVID as above, you will not need any testing.

Disclaimer: I am providing these sample itineraries as a guideline, based on the interpretation of the above. This should help you know what to expect if you are travelling to Greece this summer. Always get in touch with your travel agent or ferry company who will be able to officially inform you about all current rules.

Here are some examples of routes where a self-test is sufficient:

  • Mykonos to Santorini (South Aegean Regional Unit)
  • Santorini to Milos (South Aegean Regional Unit)
  • Andros to Tinos (South Aegean Regional Unit)
  • Naxos to Schinoussa (South Aegean Regional Unit)
  • Aegina to Hydra (Attica Regional Unit)
  • Rhodes to Kos (South Aegean Regional Unit)
  • Any travel between the Cyclades island and the Dodecanese (South Aegean Regional Unit)
  • Corfu to Zakynthos (Ionian Islands Regional Unit).

Examples where a self-test is NOT sufficient, as these islands are in different Regional Units:

  • Santorini to Crete (or vice versa)
  • Milos to Crete (or vice versa)

As these islands are in different Regional Units, you will need to take a rapid test or PCR test at a medical lab.

Examples for ferry travel summer 2021 / Island hopping

Now, let’s say that you are not vaccinated / recovered, and you travelling from Athens to Mykonos to Santorini to Crete and back. Here is what you will need:

  • Athens > Mykonos: PCR or rapid test (unless you travelled to Greece with a PCR test and it is still valid at the time of your onward trip to Mykonos)
  • Mykonos > Santorini: Self test taken 24 hours before travel
  • Santorini > Crete: PCR or rapid test taken 72 / 48 hours before travel
  • Crete > Athens: Self test taken 24 hours before travel

Rapid / PCR tests typically need to be arranged in advance, depending on the area where you are. Prices are normally 20 and 60 euro, respectively. Check this article on where to take a Covid test in Greece.

Greek Ferry boarding procedure summer 2021

The boarding process will take place as follows:

All passengers must carry the vaccination certificate / certificate of previous Covid diagnosis / negative test result in paper or electronic form. For residents in Greece, a copy can be obtained at gov.gr.

Vaccination certificates of the European Union (digital COVID certificate) and third countries will also be accepted.

During boarding, the above certificates will be checked by the ship’s crew, under the supervision of an executive of the Port Authority.

Rules for Greek ferry travel summer 2021

The identity of the passengers will be checked with the passport, ID or any other identity document.

Passengers boarding ferries from ports of mainland Greece to the islands and vice versa, will need to fill in the Health Declaration Questionnaire. Your ferry company will provide you with a paper copy, or you can download it here. Alternatively, you can register your details here.

To avoid delays, passengers are kindly requested to arrive at the port at least one and a half hours before the scheduled ferry departure time.

Flights to the Greek islands

If you are flying to the Greek islands, the same principles apply. So, any trip from the mainland to the islands is subject to vaccination / previously contracting Covid / rapid testing / PCR testing. Trips from the mainland to the mainland do not require any of the above.

If you are flying from an island back to the mainland, there is a suggestion to take a self-test (while this is mandatory for ferry travel).

How to book Greek ferries

There are several platforms where you can compare routes and book your tickets to the Greek islands. I use Ferryscanner, and if you book your tickets here I will get a small commission (at no extra cost to you!) which helps me run this website.

You should also be aware of all the rules that apply for entertainment in Greece for Summer 2021. Includes eating, theatres, performances and clubbing. Long story short, non-vaccinated adults will need to have a rapid / PCR test to visit indoors venues and all clubs.

Finally, this article summarizes all restrictions that apply in Greece in summer 2021.

Islands near Santorni - Crete

Hi! I am Vanessa from Athens, and I’ve been following the COVID measures n Greece since day 1. This article was last updated on 25 August and will no longer be updated. If you have any questions on the above, please leave a comment right below, and I’ll do my best to help you. However, I am not an “official” source, so you should additionally get in touch with your ferry company, travel agent or embassy. Feel free to like my FB page for notifications on new blogposts and other news about Greece!

16 thoughts on “Ferry travel in Greece 2021 – New measures and testing explained”

  1. Now that Greece is calling for covid testing to return to the mainland from the islands it seems less complicated to visit the mainland since there appears to be no testing required to go from one area of the mainland to the other.

    Most people think of Greece as only an island(s) destination but the mainland is just as “Greek” as the islands and may be easier to get around on.

    I’m booked for early October and I was debating between Crete and the Peloponnese. Looks like it may be the Peloponnese but it’s still a few months away and things may change.

    Will watch the Greek websites and try to stay as informed as possible.

    Reply
    • Like you say, OCtober is far away, and things might change by then (more than once, based on my experience following the measures for so long). They have also said that they might introduce further measures when travelling on the mainland, but this hasn’t been applied yet. Do follow the page where I post all news. And btw, both the Peloponnese and Crete are wonderful destinations, especially as the weather is a bit cooler by then.

      Reply
  2. Hi, thanks for doing such a great job. So glad I found your site!

    I am travelling from Dubai, UAE to Athens then by ferry to Aegina for 11 days then on to Manchester. The Dubai-Athens and Athens-Manchester legs I’ve got covered, but I’m unsure about the Piraeus-Aegina-Piraeus leg. I have my Sinopharm vaccination certificate on our UAE govt app in English and Arabic. Will I need a paper print out and should I carry with me a couple of the self-administered test kits in case? Are there any testing facilities on Aegina, do you know?

    Reply
    • Hello! In your case, you wouldn’t need a test, as proof of your vaccination is enough. I’m sure there would be facilities in Aegina, but it’s best to ask a local when you are there. The official government website travel.gov.gr states that “Proof of a negative test is not required however for all travelers that have completed their vaccination (i.e., 14 days have elapsed since the last vaccination, depending on the doses required) and hold a vaccination certificate.” While it is not explicitly mentioned on that website, all sources in Greek clearly state that they accept both electronic and paper documents. In any case, I would suggest you have a printed copy just in case – e.g. if your battery dies! Safe travels and enjoy!!

      Reply
  3. Hi,

    I’m going to Costa Navarino in the Peloponnese mid October for the Half Ironman race on October 24th, after that, I want to spend a week in Ikaria to recuperate, so the last week of October by Ferry. Any idea on the weather there, esp. if there is much rain.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • October weather can be hit and miss. Have a look at this article for some general info. Ikaria is close to Samos, and here is some October info: average temperatures range from 23.5 (high) to 15.5 (low), with an average of 5 days of rain. Hopefully you will get more sunshine than rain! Good luck with the race!

      Reply
  4. Hi. I’m reading conflicting information about ferry travel between islands. I’m visiting Mykonos, Santorini, Naxos, & Milos .. which are all in the same regional units. Is the “self-test” all I need to board the ferries between these islands ?

    Also, can I buy self tests at pharmacies?

    Reply
    • Hi Nimo! Yes, the way the regulations stand at the moment, you would only need a self test between these islands (and this is unless you are vaccinated, in which case you don’t need any test). However, please doublecheck with your ferry company, as things may change at any minute (I will try to keep this article alive for the whole summer, so feel free to come back now and then). Like you say, self-tests can be bought at pharmacies – there are two types that I’m aware of, saliva tests and nose swab tests. Have a fabulous time!

      Reply
      • Thank you. Sorry to bother. If I were travelling from Milos to Athens, what would I need?

        I can’t find information for this online

        Thank you

        Reply
        • I haven’t got any info on this yet either, so I believe all you need to do is complete a form. It appears that you will now need to complete this electronic form, I understand that the paper form that was available might not be adequate in the future. I will update the article when this happens. When are you travelling?

          Reply
  5. Hi
    I was wondering what kind of tests you would need for travelling from Santorini -> Ios -> Mykonos -> Athens?
    Is it only self tests that we would need?
    I feel it’s hard to find the correct info but I really appreciate your blog!

    Reply
    • If I am interpreting the rules correctly myself, you would need self tests like you say. However, I won’t be surprised if measures become stricter, so please check again before you travel (When are you travelling?) Also, your ferry company should let you know, if you’ve booked your tickets online and need to check in a screen will come up with instructions. Enjoy!

      Reply
  6. Thank you so much for posting this. We are leaving from Canada on Friday the 16th of July.
    I have both my vaccines, the paper proof as well as a QR code from Canada. We are going to Athens then flying ride to Crete then ferry to Ios than Paros and Ferry back to Athens.
    Is the proof of vaccination sufficient?
    I am so thrilled they are implementing these restrictions to keep everyone safe.

    Reply
    • Hello! Yes the proof of vaccination is enough (I am assuming 14 days have passed). However, there is also a “Pre-Boarding Health Declaration Form” (please check the article as I’ve literally added that an hour ago), you will need to fill that from Paros to Athens. Also, your airline from Athens to Crete should let you know if you need to fill in another form.
      Have a fantastic trip! I’ll be posting new articles on Paros soon, so please follow the blog – and if you go to Antiparos, check out this article about the cave and this article about the ancient site of Despotiko.

      Reply
  7. My wife and I and family are flying to Skiathos from Manchester on July 21. We stay on the island for 8 nights before getting a ferry to Skopelos to stay for 4 nights. We plan to get the ferry back to Skiathos on 2 August before flying back that evening to Manchester.
    My wife and I were fully vaccinated many weeks ago. We will have a 21 year old and 15 year old neither vaccinated with us. What tests will the younger ones need to travel on the ferry out to Skopelos and back to Skiathos? What forms will we need to complete? Will we all need to have tests to travel back from Skopelos if we have taken lateral flow tests on Skopelos for the flights back to Manchester?

    Reply
    • Hello! I am answering your question having in mind the regulations as they stand on July 12th:
      You and your wife will just need to show your vaccination passport. You don’t need to complete any other form.
      Your 21 year old will need a rapid (or PCR) test for both trips, taken within the last forty eight (48) hours before the scheduled travel time. Again, no other form.
      Your 15 year old can do a self test for each of those trips, available from pharmacies, and you will need to fill this form.
      Now, these are the Greek regulations to the best of my knowledge, and you should double check with your ferry company. In addition, you will have to consider the documentation / tests the UK needs so that you can get back home.
      Hope this helps! Enjoy your holiday!

      Reply

Leave a Comment