Is it safe to travel to the Athens area?

To keep Greece safe, the country is only opening its borders to countries which meet certain criteria around low levels of infection. We follow the advice of the UK government and, as of 14 November, the FCDO removed the Athens area from the exempt list and are now advising against all but essential travel. Please regularly check the FCDO travel advice for the most up-to-date information. 

What is life like in the Athens area?

Nearly all shops, bars and restaurants are open and staff are required to wear face masks. Visitors must wear masks in enclosed public spaces such as supermarkets, and bakeries. It’s also advisable to wear a face mask where there is large amounts of people.  Social distancing is in place in restaurants so the capacity may be reduced and you may have to queue to enter stores or local attractions where the number of visitors are restricted due to social distancing measures. Bars, restaurants and entertainment venues will be closed from midnight to 7am each day.

How should I keep safe in the Athens area?

You should follow local regulations and continue to practice good levels of hygiene as advised by the NHS while you are on holiday. You can refer to the government website for detailed information but there are a few basic principles to follow: avoiding being face-to-face with people, keep your hands and face as clean as possible, keep indoor places well ventilated, avoid crowded spaces, use face masks and wash your clothes regularly.

What was the COVID-19 pandemic response? 

In general Greece handled the pandemic well and measures are in place to continue to minimise the spread of COVID-19. To support this, the FCDO advise that it is mandatory to wear face masks on public transport (including flights and ferries), at airports, in taxis, in all medical facilities and in lifts. The use of face masks is strongly recommended in other closed spaces. Please regularly check the FCDO travel advice for the most up-to-date information.

Are there any pre-departure requirements in regards to visas and passports?

You must complete an online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 48 hours before your arrival in Greece. Once you have completed the form, you’ll receive an email acknowledgement. In a separate email, you will also receive a ‘QR’ code. This code is likely to be sent up to you 24 hours before you travel, regardless of how early you fill in your form. When you receive your code, make sure you either print it or can show it on your mobile phone. You will need to show your code to the Greek authorities upon arrival. Some airlines may also ask you to show your code before you board your flight to Greece. Our local agent has advised that on arrival – depending on your QR code – you will be either be sent to a screening area where a COVID-19 test will be carried out, or to the exit to collect your baggage. UK nationals must have 6 months validity on their passport upon return from Greece but you do not need a visa to enter the country.

What are the quarantine guidelines in the Athens area?

You do not need to quarantine on arrival as long as you do not test positive for COVID-19. If you test positive at the airport or you develop symptoms and/or are diagnosed while on holiday, you will be required to quarantine for a period of time.

If I test positive for COVID-19 in the Athens area, what will happen?

You may not be allowed to enter Greece if you display signs of COVID-19 on arrival. The FCDO advise that if you test positive while in Greece, the authorities are likely to ask you to self-isolate for 14 days, or they will assist with providing quarantine arrangements. Hotels are setting aside rooms within their property to enable guests to quarantine. Notify your representative, hotel, a medical facility or our 24-hour Duty Officer (the Duty Office details will be detailed on your travel documents). Guidance and assistance will be provided and important local numbers will be provided  upon arrival.

What is the airport experience like?

All passengers must wear a face mask and maintain social distancing in and around the airport terminal. Depending on your QR code, you may be asked to take a COVID-19 test at the airport. Temperature checks are also conducted around terminals.

What are the transfers like?

For private transfers, vehicles that seat 5 people will carry a maximum of 3 passengers and vehicles that seat 6-7 will transport a maximum of 4 passengers.  A mask must be used when in the vehicle. A strict cleaning protocol is in place for vehicles, with drivers logging the times that the vehicle has been sanitised in line with local government guidelines.

What should I expect at the hotel?

Generally, hotels currently have a check in time of 3pm and check out of 11am to allow for extra cleaning to take place after each guest leaves. Hotel rooms will be thoroughly disinfected and cleansed as per local protocols. Most hotels are offering outdoor and keyless check in to reduce contact. Most hotels also prefer electronic payments (credit or debit cards) rather than cash. Members of the hotel’s staff may be wearing gloves and will wear a face mask.

Do I need to quarantine in the UK on my return from the Athens area?

The FCDO advises that UK nationals returning from the Athens area need to quarantine for 14 days on their return to the UK.

Forms required for travel to and from the Athens area

The Passenger Locator Form must be completed for all passengers on the booking before you fly to Greece. You will the receive a QR code at 12.01am on the morning of the flight and you will be required to show it at check-in before boarding the flight. If you do not have this you may be denied boarding. A UK arrival form must be completed 48 hours before your return home.