On 14th May 2021, the tourist season officially opened in Greece. However, certain movement restrictions and rules are still in place. Here’s what you need to know to travel to Greece in Summer 2021.
Summer 2021 – Restrictions in Greece
This article about summer 2021 will no longer be updated. If you are travelling to Greece from 22 November 2021 onward, please refer to these two articles:
Since May 14th, Greece has been welcoming travellers into the country. This is an ideal time to visit popular islands like Santorini or Mykonos. We visited five islands in May and June – you can see an overview of our budget here.
If you are planning to visit Greece in 2021, you will find a few restrictions still exist within the country, and they tend to change often. It’s important to be aware of these restrictions 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 was last updated on 25 August 2021 and will no longer be updated.
Summer 2021 – Movement Restrictions in Greece
The following rules apply everywhere in Greece:
- Masks need to be used in all indoors areas and outdoors crowded areas, for anyone over 4 years old. Note: Depending on where you go in Greece, you may not see any masks at all. This doesn’t mean that you should forget about them.
- Social distancing (1.5 metres) needs to be maintained
- Up to six people (driver + five 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 eight people (driver + seven 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.
If you are travelling in Greece Summer 2021 you may need to take a Covid-19 test
In many cases, people travelling in Greece in summer 2021 will need to get a test for Covid-19.
First of all, your country of origin might ask for a negative Covid test before you return.
Moreover, unless you have paperwork proving that you have either been vaccinated (at least 14 days ago) or contracted Covid-19, you may need to have a negative test for travelling in Greece. This includes any family members who are 12 – 18 years old.
Here are all the rules that apply for ferry and airplane travel in Greece for Summer 2021. As these rules change frequently, please bookmark the article and check it from time to time. In addition, always check with your ferry company or air carrier.
Scenario: Let’s assume you have not been vaccinated, and have not contracted Covid-19. 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 the test with which you entered the country has expired. The same will apply if you are island hopping in Greece.
Finally, here is some important information about international travel to and from Greece.
Travelling in Greece 2021 – Where to get a Covid test
There are three types of tests you can take in Greece. Here is where to get them, and how much they cost.
Self tests: These are tests which you can do yourself at home. They are available from all pharmacies in Greece at a cost of around 5 – 10 euro. You will need to print out and use this paper form where you will declare the result of the test. You can use this test when travelling between islands in the same Administrative Unit, or for children from 12 – 18 years old.
Rapid tests: These are available at medical labs and some airports, at a cost of 20 euro (might be higher in certain areas like Santorini). The results are normally e-mailed to you a few hours after you’ve had the test. You can use a rapid test for any travel within Greece.
PCR tests: These are also available at labs and some airports, normally at a cost of 60 euro. For anyone who needs to have a PCR test in Athens, a lab called Genelabs offers the test for 40 euro. Again, you will receive the result in your e-mail. PCR tests are good for any travel within Greece.
Here’s a complete article on where to get a Covid-19 in Greece and more info on testing. Includes popular areas like Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Crete etc.
How to book Greek ferries
I use Ferryscanner to book ferries in Greece. If you use this link, I’ll get a small commission (at no extra cost to you) which helps me run this website and post all the covid-related info!
Greece Summer 2021 – Tavernas, cafes, bars, nightclubs
These venues are now open with restrictions on the number of people, seating arrangements etc. Here is a quick overview:
Tavernas, restaurants and cafes can operate outdoors and indoors. However, indoors venues only allow access to people who have either been vaccinated, or have contracted Covid in the last few months and have a certificate to prove it. There is a max number of 10 people per table.
Clubs and nightclubs currently operate with restrictions on the number of people. Customers will need to either be vaccinated or have recovered from COVID. Only seated customers are allowed.
You can read more about dining and entertainment restrictions in this article.
Greece Summer 2021 – Shops, shopping malls
All shops and services are now open in Greece, with restrictions on number of customers and mandatory masks. This includes the following types of shops:
- All retail stores, shopping malls and outlets
- Supermarkets, bakeries, butchers, fishmongers, other grocery stores, kiosks
- Street markets, including the Varvakios market in Athens
- Our traditional feasts, panigiria, will only be celebrated in areas where at least 50% of the population has been vaccinated (e.g. Amorgos)
- Hair salons, nail salons and beauty salons, by appointment
Greece Summer 2021 – Tourist activities, entertainment
Entertainment venues and tourist activities currently operate with restrictions on the number of people. Masks will be mandatory in most of these venues – when in doubt, just ask.
- Archaeological sites – if you are going with a licensed guide, they will explain any further rules. Here’s how to book a guided tour to the Acropolis in Athens.
- Museums – if you are going with a licensed guide, they will explain any further rules
- Zoos, natural reserves, caves (e.g. the cave in Antiparos)
- Playgrounds, funfairs
- Outdoors cinemas, with compulsory e-ticketing
- Open theatres and open-air concert venues, only for seated viewers, with compulsory e-ticketing
- Indoors cinemas and theatres, with a 50% limitation on number of viewers. People can only go to these venues if they have either been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.
Protocol for gyms around Greece
- All gym members (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. People who have completed their vaccination process at least 14 days before going to the gym are exempt from taking a 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.
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 2955B/6-7-2021
- Ministry of Culture (in Greek) – All updated protocols
- Ministry of Maritime Affairs
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