On 14th May 2021, the tourist season officially opened in Greece. A few movement restrictions are still in place. Here’s what you need to know to travel to Greece in Summer 2021.
Summer 2021 – Restrictions in Greece
Depending on when you plan to visit Greece in 2021, you may find a few restrictions within the country. Some of them might affect your vacation. It’s important to know them in advance of your planned vacation.
Hi, I’m Vanessa from Athens! I’ve been following the lockdown measures in Greece since March 2020. The purpose of this article is to provide information about all local travel restrictions and laws that are in place because of COVID-19 for Summer 2021. This article has last been updated on 19 June 2021. I will keep this article up to date for Summer 2021, so you can come back to it now and then. Please share with anyone who might find it helpful!
Summer 2021 – Movement Restrictions in Greece
The following rules apply everywhere in Greece:
- There is a curfew from 01.30 – 05.00. Movement during these hours is only allowed for work or health reasons. The curfew is likely to be lifted on 1st July.
- Masks need to be used everywhere, for anyone over 4 years old. The only exceptions are cafes / restaurants, private cars (for members of the same family / people living together / first-second degree relatives) and exercising. Note: Depending on where you go in Greece, you may not see this happening at all.
- Social distancing (1.5 metres) needs to be maintained
- Up to four people (driver + three passengers) are allowed in vehicles with a passenger carrying capacity of up to 7 people. There are exceptions for families with young children, for people in need of medical assistance, and for teachers and students in rural areas.
- Up to five people (driver + four passengers) are allowed in vehicles with a passenger carrying capacity of up to 9 people.
- Tourist coaches run at 85% capacity, ferries at 50-85% capacity, depending on the type of ferry. Cruise boats and yachts also run with limited capacity, depending on the size of the boat.
- Sailing a private boat and recreational fishing is allowed.
Travelling in Greece Summer 2021
People travelling around mainland Greece (including the islands of Lefkada, Evia and Salamina) are advised to take a self test when moving between different Regional Units. Self tests are available from pharmacies in Greece and cost around 5 – 10 euro.
Travelling from a mainland port (e.g. Piraeus, Rafina) to the islands (apart from Lefkada, Evia and Salamina) is subject to vaccination or testing. This does not apply for people travelling between islands or from the islands to the mainland.
Travelling to the Greek islands Summer 2021
Unless they are vaccinated or have already contracted COVID-19, all passengers over 6 years old will need to take a test before boarding ferries, sea taxis or airplanes from the mainland to the islands.
There is a choice between a PCR test, a Rapid test and a self-test:
- PCR test (up to 72 hours before scheduled time of departure) – at a cost of around 60 euro, available at medical labs. For anyone who needs to do the test in Athens, a lab called Genelabs offer the test for 40 euro. You can e-mail them with your preferred date and time to book an appointment.
- Rapid test (up to 24 hours before scheduled time of departure) – at a cost of 15 – 20 euro, available at medical labs
- Self test (up to 24 hours before scheduled time of departure) – at a cost of 5 – 10 euro, which we can buy at pharmacies. These tests can be purchased by everyone, both residents and visitors. You can print out and use this form and this form, or use the forms provided by your carrier. Refer to your ferry company / airline who will give you further instructions.
People exempt from the testing obligation:
- Anyone who has been vaccinated 14 days or more prior to travel, and has the relevant paperwork
- Anyone who has contracted COVID-19 two to nine months before travel, and can prove it with paperwork issued by a public authority. Quoting travel.gov.gr: “A certificate of a positive PCR molecular test result, confirming that the holder recovered from the SARS-CoV-2 virus infection, performed at least 2 months before arrival, and no later than 9 months before arrival”.
The documents will be checked by the ferry company / airline employees during boarding.
The above is not necessary for the following ferry itineraries:
- Mainland Greece – Salamina
- Rio – Antirrio
- Mainland Greece – Evia
- Pounta – Elafonisos (Lakonia), for permanent residents of Elafonisos
- Trypiti – Ammouliani (Chalkidiki), for permanent residents of Ammouliani
If you are travelling from an island to a mainland port, you will not need to be tested, but you will need to complete the paper form. Check with your ferry company.
If you are hopping between islands in Greece, there is no testing or paperwork involved.
Scenario: If you are planning to visit Athens for a couple of days and then move to an island, you will need to take another test if your first test has expired. This is unless you are vaccinated, or have official paperwork proving you have contracted COVID-19.
Finally, here is some important information about international travel to and from Greece.
How to book Greek ferries
I use Ferryscanner to book ferries in Greece. You can book your ferry right here.
(If you use this form I’ll get a small commission which helps me run this website and post all the covid-related info!)
What is Open in Greece Summer 2021 – Businesses and Services
Most businesses and services in Greece are open for Summer 2021. This includes the following:
- Tavernas, restaurants and cafes currently operate outdoors only. There is a max number of 6 people per table. Here’s an article with 50 dishes to try in Greece!
- All retail stores, shopping malls and outlets
- Supermarkets, bakeries, butchers, fishmongers, other grocery stores, kiosks
- Street markets, including the Varvakios market in Athens
- Hair salons, nail salons and beauty salons, by appointment
- Zoos, natural reserves, for organized groups of up to 20 people
- Archaeological sites, for organized groups of up to 20 people (or more, if families)
- Museums, for organized groups of up to 8 people (or more, if families)
- Playgrounds, funfairs
- Outdoors cinemas, with compulsory e-ticketing. Cinemas will operate without a refreshment break in the middle of the film (which is a quirky Greek thing and you might have not been expecting it anyway!)
- Open theatres and open-air concert venues, only for seated viewers, with compulsory e-ticketing and further restrictions
- Catering services
- Gyms and similar activities, wellness services
Protocol for gyms around Greece
- All members of the gym (workers and members) will need to take a weekly COVID test. Anyone who is entitled to a self test can use that, otherwise they will need to take a rapid test.
- Gyms will operate by appointment only. Members will need to sign in, and declare their test result.
- Gyms will operate with specific numbers of gym members (1 person per 10 sq.m. / 2 metre distance).
- Unless doing aerobics exercises, gym members will need to wear either a double mask, or a KN95 / FFP2 mask. People who have completed their vaccination process at least 14 days before going to the gym are exempt.
- During aerobics exercises, a distance of 3 metres has to be respected.
- Gym members should wash their hands frequently and avoid contact wherever possible.
- Showers and saunas will not be in use.
Summer 2021 in Greece – Nightclubs remain closed
The following businesses and services remain closed for now and there is no scheduled date for reopening:
- Bars / nightclubs
- Indoors seating at restaurants
Indoors cinemas will reopen on 1st July, with a 50% limitation on number of viewers. People can go to the cinema if they have either been vaccinated or have had a self test. Masks will be mandatory.
Sources for this article
I have collected the above information from official announcements and the following official websites:
- Official Travel website (in English) – Information related to international travel from / to Greece
- Government Gazettes – ΦΕΚ (in Greek) – The official source where all measures are published in detail. The latest Gazette is 2660B/18-6-2021
- Ministry of Culture (in Greek) – All updated protocols
- Ministry of Maritime Affairs
If this article has helped you, please share!