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By the beard of Zeus! On May 2, Greece is to lift all COVID-19-related entry rules, and it could well prove a game changer for thousands of tourists during the summer holidays.
That means no proof of vaccination will be required to enter the country by land, sea or air, and testing requirements will also be scrapped irrespective of vaccination status.
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Greek officials are expecting bumper numbers of international visitors between June and August following the collective easing of travel restrictions around Europe and farther afield, with revenues predicted to reach up to 80% of 2019 levels — which itself was a record year.
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As a result, the Greek government is eager to make its historical sights, bustling markets and sun-kissed beaches as accessible as possible for visitors, who from early May will no longer be required to wear masks in indoor public places, either.
Related: 6 reasons to travel to Limassol — the Mediterranean city you probably haven’t heard of yet
This might not sound like a big deal on the face of it. However, right now Greece still boasts some of the strictest COVID-19 laws in Europe. Public mask-wearing is still mandatory throughout the country, and unless all passengers are members of the same family, a maximum of three people are permitted to travel in a taxi – and you could receive fines up to 5,000 euros ($5,353) if you break them.
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From museums to vineyards and beaches, the Wolverine State has plenty to explore.Named for its location on the Grand River in western Michigan, this is the second-largest city in the state and home to some of its most famous museums and cultural offerings, like the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and Frank Lloyd Wright's Meyer May House. In addition to art and history, Grand Rapids is nationally acclaimed for its craft beer scene and offers an "ale trail" featuring 46 breweries and almost 20 distilleries, wineries and cideries in the Beer City USA region.
On top of that, Greece is practically a no-go zone for unvaccinated travelers at present. Although anyone without jabs can enter the country by passing a predeparture test, they are unable to visit nightclubs, theaters, cinemas and stadiums, or dine in indoor restaurants. And forget about wandering around all those world-beating museums and exhibitions – those are off-limits, too.
Indeed, for thousands of travelers this announcement could be a game changer going into the warmer months. Speaking about the move, Greece’s minister for health, Thanos Plevris, stressed that the current measures are not being dropped indefinitely but are, in fact, suspended, with a view to reintroducing them from September onward.
Aegean offering fixed-rate flight passes between European destinations
A new trip-purchasing option from Aegean Airlines could offer you a unique and potentially cost-saving option for booking trips to Europe. The Greece-based carrier, which is a member of the Star Alliance, is selling multi-flight, flexible passes that allow travelers to purchase fixed-price tickets for multiple trips between set destinations. Related: Best programs for booking …The Greece-based carrier, which is a member of the Star Alliance, is selling multi-flight, flexible passes that allow travelers to purchase fixed-price tickets for multiple trips between set destinations.
Video: Where can I travel in Europe? An updated list of Covid entry rules for every European country (The Independent)
Related: How and when to renew your passport right now
“[We’re] not ignoring the pandemic, but we are entering a new regularity by lifting the restrictions, although we will be ready for the autumn and another vaccination rollout.”
To date, Greece has seen over 3,195,000 cases of COVID-19, with 28,274 deaths. However, now that the government believes it has a firmer hand on the pandemic, it is more confident that the cities and islands can open up to the levels they did before lockdown.
Be quick, though: from Athens to Mykonos, expect the number of bookings to skyrocket as holidaymakers gear up for their first big summer break in what will have felt like forever.
If you’re looking to extend your stay in the Mediterranean, Cyprus just announced it was axing its restrictions as well.
Featured photo by Gary Solomon/Getty Images.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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