Travel advice from ABTA Magazine as tourism restarts.
Greece is history and modernity combined. Stroll among ancient ruins, swim in the Aegean Sea, island-hop between white-sand outcrops, spot dolphins and sea turtles, and sample the local flavours in rustic tavernas – chase crumbling feta and honeyed baklava with a shot of ouzo – where you will hear the melodic refrains of Greek music. It’s no surprise it’s so beloved by Brits: about 3.5 million of us visited Greece in 2018, putting it among the most popular holiday destinations for UK travellers. We also flash the cash when there – Brits spent 2.4 billion euros in period between January-September 2019, more than any other nationality.
As lockdown continues to ease, the government has revealed a list of countries from which inbound tourist and returning travellers do not need to self-isolate (also known as the travel corridors list) – ending its blanket 14-day quarantine policy. However, it is not necessarily the case that Britons can enter the countries on the exemptions list without needing to quarantine, or that flights are even currently available (research suggests as little as a third of the countries can be visited without restrictions). Although firm favourites France and Italy made it on to lists revealed by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for Transport (DfT), the USA and Portugal were notable exceptions.
Greece is exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel and is on the travel corridors list, meaning returning travellers and inbound tourists do not need to quarantine on arrival in the UK. This does not apply to those flying into Scotland, as of September 3.
England, Wales and Scotland now have different rules regarding travel from Greece. In England, the islands of Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos have been removed from the travel corridors list. In Wales, Crete, Zakynthos, Mykonos, Lesvos, Paros and Antiparos have been removed. Scotland, meanwhile, has removed Greece from its travel corridors list entirely.
Those who travel to Greece will need to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before travel. Failure to do so in advance may result in your carrier not allowing you to travel, a 500 Euro fine on arrival or the Greek authorities not allowing you to enter the country, the FCO notes. It advises travellers to check directly with airlines, as many some may require all members of the same household over 18 to complete the form. However, the FCO warns: you may be required to take a test for coronavirus. This is more likely for those travelling from outside the EU – including the UK.
If you are required to take a test on arrival, you will need to self-isolate at the address given on the Passenger Locator Form while awaiting the results (which should take 24 hours). A positive results require travellers to self-isolate for a 14-day period.
During lockdown, flights between the UK and Greece were suspended, but have resumed since July 15. EasyJet will fly from London to Athens (July 23), Mykonos (July 24) and Corfu (July 19), while Ryanair, Wizz Air, Aegean Airline and British Airways are also back up and running.
Internal flights and ferries are running, meaning travel between islands is possible. Temperature checks may be carried out before boarding ferries, where face coverings are obligatory, and where capacity has been limited to allow for social distancing.