Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases are in flux across the globe. Health officials caution that staying home is the best way to stem transmission until you're fully vaccinated. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on December 30.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Greece, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Greece is still open to some vaccinated or certified Covid-free tourists without the need for quarantine, but restrictions have tightening to try to keep the Omicron variant in check.
What's on offer
Ancient monuments, myriad islands, spectacular beaches and vast mountains. Greece attracts millions of visitors each year looking for a sunny seaside escape, or a history-focused trip exploring its long and storied past.
Its popular resorts are perfect for partying during the summer, but there's plenty of space to get away from the crowds, and outside of summer season you'll often find yourself the only tourist around..
Who can go
Travelers from the following countries may now travel to Greece without quarantine requirements: EU and Schengen Area countries, USA, UK, Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Moldaova, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Qatar, Russia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey, UAE and Ukraine.
Travelers from Montenegro and the Russian Federation are also allowed entry, with different regulations. See below.
Officials says targeted rapid checks will be carried out at entry points and quarantine hotels are ready to accommodate those who test positive during this process.
Like other countries around the world, Greece has raised new restrictions on arrivals from southern Africa in response to the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variation.
Only essential travel is now permitted from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Eswatini, Zambia and Malawi,.
Travelers from these counrries must seek a special permit from the local Greek embassies and diplomatic missions to travel. On arrival they will be tested, subject to 10 days' quarantine and then tested again.
What are the restrictions?
Greece's rules were tightened in mid-December, requiring all travelers to have a negative PCR or rapid antigen test taken no more than 48 hours before arrival, regardless of vaccination status. Authorities say the new rules will last over the Christmas period to help contain the spread of the Omicron variant.
Test results must be written in English and include the name and passport number of the person traveling. This does not apply to children under 10. For full details of the laboratories accepted, see here. All travelers must complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) prior to departure. This includes details of where the individual has been and the address they plan to stay at in Greece. Each PLF includes a unique QR code which must be scanned upon arrival at the Greek border.
The QR code will tell you whether you need to have an additional test done at the airport. If you do, you must self-isolate until you have the results -- around 24 hours.
Greece's inter-island ferries are fully operational, but passengers over the age of 12 must complete a health declaration and show proof of a recent negative Covid test or full vaccination 14 days before travel.
What's the Covid situation?
Greece is currently tightening Covid restrictions as cases have risen steadily since the end of summer . The country has seen 1,134,713 Covid cases and a total of 20,636 deaths as of December 30. Full vaccinations currently stand at close to 7 million -- or more than 65% of the population.
What can visitors expect?
Most places in Greece are now open, but the country's prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, announced that from November 22, only those with proof of vaccination will be permitted in most indoor spaces, including museums, theaters, cinemas and sports venues. The rules already apply to cafes, bars and restaurants.
In an effort to tackle the Omicron variant surge, new rules requiring bars and restaurants to close by midnight will be introduced between January 3-16. Tables will be limited to six seated customers. Standing customers will not be allowed at entertainment venues.
The government has made mask wearing mandatory in all indoor and outdoor public spaces. Masks must be either double surgical or N95.
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