Travel: Greece to suspend all travel restrictions in May

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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.

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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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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.

The sun setting at Cape Sounion over the ancient Temple of Poseidon. A really unmissable view if you are in Greece near Athens. (Photo by Sergio Amiti/Getty Images) © The Points Guy The sun setting at Cape Sounion over the ancient Temple of Poseidon. A really unmissable view if you are in Greece near Athens. (Photo by Sergio Amiti/Getty Images)

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.

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Video: Where can I travel in Europe? An updated list of Covid entry rules for every European country (The Independent)

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“[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.

(Photo by Benjamin Smithson/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Benjamin Smithson/The Points Guy)

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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