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Acropolis and other sites reopen as Greece signals tourists may be able to return

by Sharron Livingston

Update May 21st: Harry Theocharis, the Greek prime minister has announced international visitors will be welcomed from July 1st – with lower fares on public transport and cheaper coffee. The VAT on coffee will be reduced from 24 per cent to 13 per cent.

The 14-day quarantine is expected to be lifted in time for the arrival of international travellers. The Greek minister of tourism urged the UK to agree to mutual “quarantine immunity”.

Read also: Summer holidays raised with hopes of “air bridges”


Greece has started to ease itself out of lockdown and loosening the reigns of strict quarantine measures thanks to a low incidence of coronavirus infections. There are currently 2,834 confirmed cases of the virus in Greece and 163 COVID-19 related deaths.

Sites such as the Acropolis, museums and other major tourist attractions have opened beaches are filling with sun worshipers as churches are welcoming their faithful.

People are able to travel freely in the mainland and to the country’s two largest islands, Crete and Evia, and shopping malls and zoos also reopened on Monday along with sports facilities for those aged over 13.

Social distancing rules must be respected and wearing masks is recommended, but not mandatory except on public transport.

The country is keen to put into place the air bridge agreement with the UK.

Read: Summer holiday hopes are raised with “air bridges” to top holiday spots

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has adjusted their advice on Greece as follows:

“From 18 May, you may travel in mainland Greece and to Crete and Evia; but travel to all other islands is restricted.

“To purchase a ticket to travel to any other island, you will need to provide proof of permanent residence (via a tax certificate) on the island to which you wish to travel. 

“It is obligatory to wear masks on all ferries, whose capacity is limited in order to facilitate social distancing.

“One-way travel from islands to the mainland is not restricted.”

“Cruise ships are banned from landing in Greek ports. From 18 May, private sailboats (and yachts) from outside Greece may land at Greek ports, subject to certain public health measures.

“All sailboats must be empty of passengers (excluding crew). Upon arrival, you must present to harbour authorities, who will require the completion of a health declaration, and mandatory testing (to be paid-for by the occupants of each vessel).

“Use of sailboats within Greece remains forbidden, except for vessels of seven metres or less.

“Vessels of seven metres or less may be used (including for open sea swimming), but should not approach islands; nor should you stay overnight on any sailboat.

“Changes to what is open or permitted, including international travel options, are subject to change and may occur at short notice.

Commercial flights to Greece from the UK will begin again after June 1st.

On this, the FCO explains

“This suspension may be extended further in future, including at short notice. It is possible to travel indirectly between Greece and the UK (and vice versa).

“Options include travelling via Frankfurt, Paris, Brussels, Zurich and Belgrade, though some itineraries are likely to require an overnight stay between flights or between flights and Eurostar connections.

“Itineraries departing on weekends, Fridays or Mondays tend to involve shorter times between connecting flights, but schedules continue to change at short notice. You should check travel advice for any country you plan to transit through.

“You should contact airlines or travel operators directly for more information.”



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