Greece was one of the countries that first reopened to international tourism in the spring and summer of 2021.
The sun-soaked Mediterranean nation is set to be among the most popular destinations for Canadians throughout the rest of 2021. Here’s the key information you need to know if you’re planning a trip to Greece.
Greece Travel Restrictions
In May 2021, Greece reopened its borders to a travellers from a host of countries, including Canada, the United States, and all EU, EEA, and Schengen countries in Europe.
The full list of countries from which entry into Greece is allowed can be found on the Greece Ministry of Tourism website.
How Can Canadians Enter Greece?
Travellers are allowed to enter Greece through all international airports and maritime ports, as well as most land borders with North Macedonia and Bulgaria. Ferry connections with Turkey are temporarily restricted.
Travellers coming from Canada have three options for entering Greece:
- Present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival, or a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours of arrival.
- Present proof of vaccination. The following vaccines are accepted by Greece: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm, Sinovac, CanSino Biologics, and Sputnik V. (For Canadians, the vaccination card from your provincial health authority will suffice.)
- Present proof of recovery from COVID-19. This includes a medical certificate issued by a doctor, health authority, or certified lab within the past 180 days, or a positive PCR test issued between the past 30 to 180 days.
Travellers must complete an online Passenger Locator Form no later than 11:59pm Greece Time of the day before their planned arrival.
Only children under the age of 12 are exempt from the PCR test requirement. For children above the age of 12 who are not yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, they will need to present a negative test or proof of recovery to enter Greece.
Testing & Quarantine Upon Arrival
Upon arriving, travellers may be randomly selected for a rapid antigen sampling test.
If a traveller tests positive, they would be subject to mandatory isolation in a quarantine hotel for a maximum of 10 days with expenses being covered by the Greek authorities.
Testing & Quarantine Upon Return
Travellers must complete a negative PCR test within 72 hours of boarding their flight back to Canada.
Fully vaccinated Canadians can return to Canada by air without undergoing quarantine, upon completing a negative test at the airport on arrival into Canada. Canadians are considered fully vaccinated if they’ve received a full series of one of (or a mix of) Health Canada’s approved vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson – at least 14 days before entering Canada.
Canadians who are not fully vaccinated must undergo a mandatory hotel stopover, a 14-day quarantine at home, and a self-administered test on Day 8.
Current Health Requirements in Greece
Major attractions, archaeological sites, tour buses, public transport, and inter-island transport are operating with some capacity restrictions. Most businesses, including hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues have also returned to normal operations.
Masks remain mandatory in indoor public spaces for travellers aged 6 and older.
As of July 13, in response to the spread of the Delta variant, Greece now requires mandatory proof of vaccination at indoor bars, restaurants, and cafes; furthermore, customers at nightclubs, cinemas, and theatres will need to be vaccinated and seated.
Travellers without proof of vaccination will be limited to outdoor dining venues until this measure is relaxed.
How to Get to Greece
Air Canada is currently offering three-times-weekly service between Toronto and Athens, as well as two-times-weekly service between Montreal and Athens.
Economy class fares for the summer and fall of 2021 are in the range of $1,000+ round-trip. That’s fairly high compared to historical standards, given the resurgent demand for travel this summer.
(Some connecting flights via the US may be available for cheaper, although Canadians cannot enter the US from Europe until the US travel ban on Schengen Area countries is lifted.)
Accordingly, Air Canada direct flights are also expensive if redeeming Aeroplan points, in both economy and business class. Unless you use eUpgrades to upgrade from Economy Latitude, you’re looking at 200,000+ points for a one-way business class flight.
Instead, some common business class routings on fixed-price partner airlines might include:
- Austrian Airlines, from Montreal via Vienna for 70,000 Aeroplan points
- Lufthansa, from Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver via Frankfurt or Munich for 70,000–85,000 Aeroplan points
- LOT Polish Airlines, from Toronto via Warsaw for 70,000 Aeroplan points
- Swiss, from Montreal via Zurich for 70,000 Aeroplan points
- TAP Air Portugal, from Toronto or Montreal via Lisbon for 70,000 Aeroplan points
- Turkish Airlines, from Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver via Istanbul for 85,000 Aeroplan points
And if you’re an aspirational traveller looking to celebrate your first post-pandemic trip with some luxury flying, consider aiming for:
- Lufthansa First Class from a US gateway airport via Frankfurt or Munich for 100,000 Aeroplan points
- Emirates First Class on the fifth-freedom Newark–Athens route for 85,000 Emirates Skywards miles
Greece has reopened to international travellers, including Canadians, since May 2021. The country has clarified that vaccination is not a requirement to enter, allowing travellers to opt for a negative PCR or antigen test to enter the country instead.
For fully vaccinated Canadians who do not need to quarantine upon their return, the idea of a fairly relaxed trip to Greece this summer or fall may well be an enticing prospect.
Still, it’s important to remain cautious and follow local health guidelines, given the recent uptick in Delta variant cases and the new requirement for proof of vaccination at indoor dining and entertainment venues.
As always, you can refer to our Travel During COVID-19 Resource for Canadians for the most up-to-date information on travelling in the pandemic era.