Which European countries are easing travel restrictions?

The UK Foreign Office (FCO) is currently advising against all but essential international travel for an indefinite period. However, countries across Europe have begun to ease lockdown measures and border restrictions and prepare for the return of both domestic and international tourists. Today restaurants, bars, non-essential shops and museums are reopening in Italy and on 16 May prime minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree to allow foreign tourism to resume from 3 June. Portugal, Belgium, Denmark and Poland are also reopening food and drink outlets, shops and some attractions from today, with limited capacity and health and safety measures in place.

Reciprocal travel deals – as proposed in a leaked European Commission document on 12 May – may be struck between countries with similar coronavirus risk profiles. For example, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have formed a ‘travel bubble’ allowing movement between those countries. The commission also plans to publish an interactive map where travellers will be able to check on border controls and travel conditions around Europe.

At the UK border, all international passengers must now provide contact and accommodation information; they will also be strongly advised to download and use the NHS contact tracing app. And all except those on a list of exemptions (tbc) will also be required to self-isolate in their accommodation for 14 days on arrival. The UK government has rolled back on the idea of exempting travellers France. If international travellers are unable to indicate the place where they can self-isolate, they will be required to do so in accommodation arranged by the government. These government says these measures “will be introduced as soon as possible”.

Travel restrictions and safety measures are constantly changing and we will update this article as regularly as possible.

This article was first published on 18 May


Initially, cross-border travel will be permitted with neighbouring countries (that have comparable decline in the virus) – borders will open with Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary on 15 June. Passenger train services between Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland and the Czech Republic are suspended. Vienna, Innsbruck and Salzburg airports are operational but with limited services until 31 May at the earliest. Restaurants and bars are open, and hotels from 29 May. Masks mandatory on public transport and in shops. No large events permitted until June at the earliest. Health certificate required on entry, stating that the traveller does not have coronavirus; those without a certificate must self-isolate for 14 days. Testing is available at Vienna airport for €190.


Belgium is aiming to reopen to international tourists by 15 June, and is likely to make an announcement by the end of May. Some indirect flights with the UK are operating for essential travel. Eurostar has a significantly reduced service; public transport is running (masks mandatory). Shops are open, museums will open from 18 May, and from 8 June cafes, restaurants and some tourist attractions will start to reopen and small open-air events will be permitted (major events prohibited until after August). Currently, all arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days. Proof of residence and onward travel required for transit.


No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals. Some direct flights are operating between Sofia and London for essential travel and transit is permitted. Some hotels and swimming pools are open and individual outdoor sports permitted. Some markets, outdoor bars and restaurants are open. Visiting mountains and national parks is also allowed.


Some border crossings on major routes are open for limited traffic (foreign nationals with properties or boats in Croatia, or close family). No date announced for borders reopening to other tourists. Some international and domestic flights operating and transit permitted. Parks, shops, museums, hotels and outdoor restaurants and bars are open, and some public transport is operating.


Airports and seaports will begin “resuming operations in stages” between 9 June and 13 July at the earliest, at the same time as hotels, open-air cinemas, theatres and shopping malls reopen – although no policy on tourist arrivals has yet been released. Beaches with amenities and museums will reopen from 1 June. Parks, outdoor play areas, squares and marinas are to reopen (subject to the 10 people rule) from 21 May, as will archaeological and historical sites.

Czech Republic

Borders with Austria and Germany due to open by 15 June. No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals. Prague airport is open, with limited indirect flights to the UK, for essential travel only. Transit is permitted with proof of residence and onward travel. Domestic travel permitted. Shops, outdoor restaurants, pubs, museums and other cultural institutions are open, and events with up to 100 people are permitted. Hotels, outdoor campsites and other accommodation will open and taxis will operate again from 25 May, when rules on wearing masks on public transport and in shops may also be relaxed.


The Danish government has said it will decide on border control and travel advice by 1 June. Copenhagen and Billund airports are open, with indirect flights to the UK. Transit is only currently permitted for those with a “worthy purpose”, such as people from neighbouring countries returning home. Shops, parks and some hotels are open, and public transport is operating. Restaurants and bars are due to open from 18 May. Sports facilities, theatres and cinemas are due to reopen after 8 June, when events or activities involving 10 or more people will be permitted.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

Currently, only tourists from within this “travel bubble” of Baltic countries are permitted entry.


No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals. Flights are operating between Finland and the UK, and transit is permitted. Shops are open and restaurants, bars and cultural institutions are to open from 1 June (with social distancing). Events of more than 50 people will be permitted from 1 June, and gatherings of over 50 people from 31 July. Ski resorts and many hotels remain closed. Masks mandatory on public transport.


Borders due to reopen, initially to Switzerland, Germany and Austria, from 15 June. No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals. Public transport is starting to run more frequently, masks are mandatory. Some shops have reopened, restaurants and bars may reopen on 2 June at the earliest. Beaches and some parks will stay closed at least until 1 June, as will larger museums. A health certificate stating that the traveller does not have coronavirus will be required on entry until at least July (with an alternative of 14 days’ self-isolation). An attestation de déplacement (certifying the reason for travel), is no longer required for domestic travel. P&O and DFDS are operating reduced ferry services on cross-Channel routes. Some flights are operating. Eurostar is running a limited service between Paris and London (passengers are required to wear masks). For vehicle crossings, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is operating a limited service.


Borders due to reopen, initially to Switzerland, France and Austria, from 15 June. Limited flights running for essential travel only. Shops have reopened, restaurants are due to reopen on 15 May, hotels are due to reopen on 25 May, and large events such as festivals may return after August. The 16 states have taken different paths out of lockdown, with types and timetable of amenities open varying.


Borders reopening to international tourists on 1 July at the earliest. Some indirect international flights) are operating, direct flights with the UK are due to resume 1 June. Some domestic flights and ferries operating, and travel to Evia and Crete from the mainland is permitted (all other islands still restricted). Currently, all arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days on arrival. Masks are mandatory in shops and on public transport. Throughout June, malls, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, hotels, amusement parks, playgrounds and other sports facilities will open gradually. Public transport and taxis operating (up to two passengers per taxi). Large gatherings, including festivals and sporting events, are unlikely to return this summer.


Borders with Austria due to open on 15 June. Limited flights are operating. In Budapest, restaurants (for takeaway) and parks are open, and elsewhere shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels are permitted to reopen (with social distancing). Masks are mandatory in shops and when using public transport and taxis across the entire country.


The government expects to “start easing restrictions on international arrivals no later than 15 June”. (Borders have remained open to Schengen countries.) A health certificate will be required on entry, with the alternative of 14 days’ self-isolation. Arrivals will also have to download the country’s tracing app. Some flights are operating, including Icelandair, as are some buses and taxis. Social distancing of two metres is mandatory in all public places, including hotels, restaurants and shops, which are now open.


Some flights and ferry services continue to operate between Ireland and the UK – although all arrivals are subject to 14 days’ self-isolation and must provide details of accommodation while in Ireland. UK nationals will be exempt from self-isolation procedure on return home – a start and end date, and whether transit through Ireland is permitted, has not been confirmed. Public transport is limited; restaurants and some pubs will reopen on 29 June; hotels, museums and galleries to reopen 20 July.


Borders are due to reopen to tourists on 3 June. Parks are open and restaurants can sell takeaway food. Bars, restaurants, non-essential shops and museums are due to open on 18 May. Some hotels will reopen in June, depending on bookings. Some flights are operating and one airport is open per region (Rome Ciampino and Terminal one at Rome Fiumicino airport are closed). Trains are operating reduced services, but no international services are running. Sicily has announced that it will subsidise travel for international and domestic tourists once it is safe to return.


Borders open with Germany. No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals, or passenger flights to start operating with the UK. Restaurants, shops and hotels are due to begin reopening after 25 May, when outdoor non-contact sports will also be permitted. Masks are mandatory in supermarkets and on public transport.


No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel or tourists. The airport could reopen by the end of May. All arrivals must currently self-isolate for 14 days. Masks mandatory in shops and on public transport. Some non-essential shops are open; bars, restaurants and hotels may open by early June.


Borders are open tourists from Schengen countries and essential travel. Some flights are operating with the UK – airlines require all travellers (including those transiting) to complete a “fit-to-fly” health declaration. Eurostar is operating a revised schedule. Shops and some hotels are open. Masks are mandatory on public transport. Outdoor restaurants and bars are due to open from 1 June, as are theatres, music venues, museums and cinemas (with social distancing). Campsites and holiday parks are open, and their communal facilities are due to open on 1 July. Events, concerts and festivals with more than 100 people may be allowed after 1 September.


No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals. Some flights operating with the UK and transit permitted. Some hotels, shops and restaurants open. Organised events with up to 50 people permitted, so some parks, music venues, galleries and other cultural institutions open, others likely to reopen from 15 June.


Borders are likely to be open to international tourists from 13 June. Restrictions have been lifting gradually since 4 May, and travel to cities, national parks and beaches is now permitted. International flights are due to begin operating again on 23 May. Currently, all arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days. Hotels were permitted to open from 4 May (without catering). Museums, art galleries and remaining shops due to open 18 May. City bike schemes and some public transport operating. Face masks mandatory in public.


Borders are likely to open to international tourists in 2020, and the tourist board have said that a “return for tourism is not far away”, although a date has not yet been announced. Some flights are operating between London and Lisbon. The lifting of measures varies depending on region. Public transport across the country is running at a reduced capacity, though there are rail and bus links to Lisbon city centre from most parts of the country, and taxis are still operating. Restaurants and bars in many regions are permitted to open on 18 May, at limited capacity. Many of the Algarve’s hotels are already open and its beaches are due to open in June. Non-essential travel is not permitted to Madeira and the Azores, where there are health screenings and mandatory 14-day self-isolation is still in place.


No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals. Hotels, some shops, museums and restaurants are due to open from 15 May, when some direct flights also resume. Face masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces and on public transport.


No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals – residents of neighbouring countries. Some flights operating, and transit permitted with proof of onward travel. Some shops, outdoor markets, outdoor sports venues for non-contact sports, outdoor tourist attractions, outdoor areas of bars and restaurants, museums, galleries and short and long-term accommodation without catering open. Taxis and some public transport operating. Face masks in public are mandatory.


Borders and airports are open to international tourists but flights are limited, and currently all arrivals from outside the EU must self-isolate for seven days and provide proof of accommodation. Train connections with Austria are suspended. Shops, galleries, some smaller hotels, and bars and restaurants to open outdoor spaces. Some public transport and taxis operating, and face masks mandatory. Large events will not be permitted for some time, but some tourist attractions are reopening. Mountaineering is being discouraged and mountain huts remain closed.


No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals. A de-escalation process is gradually reopening the country in stages until the end of June (some measures vary depending on region and throughout the islands). Very limited flights running and are for essential travel only. Currently, arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days. Travel by car around a province is permitted, but not between different provinces in the country yet. Many hotels were allowed to reopen from 11 May (minus communal spaces and catering) but not all are expected to do so until borders open to domestic and international tourism. In less affected regions, some outdoor spaces at restaurants and bars open, although most will not be fully operational until June. Museums are allowed to open at a limited capacity. Non-essential travel from the mainland to the Balearic and Canary islands is not yet permitted, although these are likely to be some of the first regions to relax measures further. In partnership with the World Health Organisation, the Canary Islands are set to be the first destination in the world to trial digital health certificates when they open to international tourists in July.


Borders are open to UK nationals and those of EU countries (but are closed to residents of some non-EU countries until 15 June at the earliest). Limited flights operating between London and Stockholm. As Sweden never went into full lockdown, hotels, shops, bars, restaurants and some museums are open. Large gatherings of more than 50 are still prohibited.


Border crossings to and from Germany, France and Austria due to reopen from 15 June. Hotels, shops, markets and restaurants are open. In situations where it is not possible to keep distance, the government recommends a face mask. Outdoor sports with up to five people permitted. Theatres, museums, cinemas, swimming pools, ski resorts, spas, mountain services and other leisure activities due to resume on 8 June. Large events with a thousand-plus people may resume from 31 August.


No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel or tourists. International flights are limited, domestic flights remain suspended and inter-city travel restricted. Face masks are mandatory in public areas. Measures vary across provinces and may change at short notice. A curfew is in place from 16-19 May, with varying rules depending on age, and supermarket opening hours are limited.

Source: Read Full Article