This summer has brought good news for Americans eager to travel to Europe—a number of countries have reopened amid rising vaccination rates, welcoming U.S. travelers back once again. Some have made it possible for those with proof of vaccination to bypass testing and quarantine restrictions entirely.
It’s all part of a European Union plan, announced last spring, to reopen the continent to tourism, with an emphasis on vaccinated visitors. And while individual countries will have the autonomy to follow the EU’s guidelines to the letter, or to rewrite them completely, many have eagerly opened their borders, creating temporary apps and interim processes for validating test and vaccination status, while Americans wait to gain access to the continent’s Digital Green Pass, which is being used by E.U. residents to travel within the region.
As is the story of the entire pandemic, situations vary greatly from one week to the next, and one country to another. While many Western European countries—France, Italy, Portugal—have recently reopened to travelers, new lockdowns are still being implemented in nearby Spain (whose borders are, in fact, open). The U.K., meanwhile, continues to have stringent requirements for U.S. travelers, which includes three required tests and a 10-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival, among other things. Popular destinations in Northern Europe run the gamut: Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden are open to travelers with minimal restrictions, whereas Norway and Finland remain closed to U.S. visitors. And yet some destinations, like Greece and Croatia, are not only open, but inviting travelers to stick around—thanks to recently launched remote work programs.
Whichever destination you have your eye on—whether it’s for that first post-vaccination trip or to reunite with family—the most important thing to do is read up on the destination’s current COVID-19 situation and local travel restrictions, to ensure that any visit you plan is safe, considered, and respectful of those who call the country home. Read on for the current travel restrictions for 32 countries in Europe. (And remember to check back for updates.)
This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date. Additional reporting by Julia Buckley.
As of June 24, travelers from the United States are permitted to enter Austria with proof of vaccination, proof of recovery from COVID-19, or a negative COVID-19 test result (further details on such document requirements can be found here). Alternatively, travelers can take a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of arrival at their own expense, in which case they must also complete the pre-travel clearance form in advance of arrival. Note that travelers from the U.S. who have passed through “areas of concern” in the past 10 days will need to observe a 10-day quarantine upon arrival, in addition to presenting a negative COVID test and the required pre-travel form.
Masks are required on all public transportation, with 90 euro fines for violators.
Croatia is not in the Schengen zone, and caused a stir by opening to U.S. residents on July 1 of 2020 if traveling for “pressing” reasons—including tourism. It has remained open ever since, with some entry requirements: U.S. citizens must present proof of either full vaccination, previous infection, or a negative COVID-19 test result (PCR taken within 72 hours, or rapid test taken with 48 hours), or are asked to take a COVID-19 test upon landing and quarantine until receiving a negative result. Several categories of travelers are exempt from this entry requirement altogether, including those entering on an approved “Digital Nomad” visa, who do not have to show any of the above documents. All travelers are asked to complete the Enter Croatia web form before arrival.
Within the country, bars and restaurants with outdoor spaces have been open since February, with some indoor dining allowed. Attractions like beaches and most museums are closed, and open venues that are hosting larger crowds may require proof of a negative test of vaccination, according to the U.S. embassy.
The Czech Republic reopened to U.S. travelers on June 21. Vaccinated travelers are allowed to enter with just a Personal Locator Form, while non-vaccinated travelers must arrive with proof of a negative PCR test taken within three days of arrival, or a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours of your departure for the Czech Republic.
Face masks continue to be required to enter shops, airports, all public transportation, and anywhere else where social distancing is not possible. Stores, museums, and cultural sites have reopened with limited capacity, and indoor and outdoor events are taking place with attendance caps.
U.S. travelers can enter Denmark as of June. Fully vaccinated travelers who have received an EMA-approved vaccine are exempt from testing and quarantine requirements; unvaccinated travelers must take a test upon entry. Many businesses are open, and mask requirements within Denmark have been dropped.
As of June 9, Americans are allowed to visit France by showing proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated travelers must show a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours.
In mainland France, restrictions have been almost entirely lifted. Masks continue to be required in indoor public spaces (including on public transport), but concerts and festivals can take place at 75 percent capacity, and nightclubs have reopened. For events of certain sizes, health passes that show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test are required to be checked at entry.
As of June 20, U.S. travelers can enter Germany, so long as they are not traveling through a virus-variant area from which entry is banned (find that list here). Fully vaccinated travelers who have received a vaccine approved by Germany (list here) are free to enter, as are those who have recovered from COVID in the last 6 months. For all other travelers, a negative COVID-19 test is required for entry; PCR tests taken within 72 hours, and rapid antigen tests taken within 48 hours will be accepted.
Some COVID restrictions remain in place, like social distancing requirements, and the government announced this week that it will wait until more Germans get vaccinated before rolling those rules back entirely.
As of April, tourism-dependent Greece has been open to certain international travelers, including those from the U.S. Per the current rules, travelers must complete a Passenger Locator Form no later than the day prior to entering the country, to receive a QR code to show upon arrival in Greece. Travelers are also required to show either: 1.) proof of full vaccination, with an approved vaccine; 2.) a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, or a negative antigen test taken 48 hours before arrival; or, 3.) proof that the traveler tested positive for COVID in the past 30 to 180 days.
Within the country, bars and restaurants are open, with vaccinated individuals now allowed to dine indoors and attend sporting events without masks. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated can enter restaurants, theaters, and cinemas, but will need to show a negative rapid test for entry. Outdoor dining is available.
Iceland has officially reopened to travelers, with all arrivals required to show either proof of full vaccination or a previous COVID-19 infection. Alternatively, travelers can present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours, in addition to undergoing PCR testing upon arrival, followed by a five day quarantine which ends with a second PCR test.
As of June 26, there are no restrictions on gatherings, and social distancing and mask requirements have been lifted.
Ireland is slowly easing its lockdown rules, with a goal of reopening much of the country by August. Currently, bars, cafes, and restaurants are open for outdoor dining, and museums and other cultural attractions can operate with protective measures in place. Nightlife venues and indoor events (like concerts, shows) are not permitted.
The Irish government continues to advise against all non-essential foreign travel, though the borders are technically open. All visitors must arrive with a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to arrival, fill in a passenger locator form, then quarantine for 14 days upon entry into the country.
Italy is open to American travelers who can present proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID within the past six months, or a negative molecular PCR or rapid antigen test carried out within 48 hours of departure. Proof of vaccination requires that travelers are fully vaccinated with a European Medicines Agency (EMA)-recognized vaccine, and proof can be shown via the EU Digital Green Certificate (download the Immuni app to get one). The U.S. Embassy in Italy says that U.S. travelers can also show their white vaccination card from the CDC. All travelers must complete a self-declaration form prior to entry.
Though local restrictions have been widely rolled back, the Local reports that four out of Italy’s 20 regions—Sicily, Campania, Marche, Abruzzo—could lose their lowest-level “white zone” classification and bump up to the “yellow” zone, which would mean new restrictions like the return of face mask requirements, if cases continue to increase. Businesses like restaurants and bars are open throughout the country—find a full breakdown of what is open by region on this interactive map.
The Netherlands has reopened to travelers, and those coming from a “safe country” (a list that includes the U.S.) are not required to show a negative test result nor self-quarantine upon arrival. Those arriving by air must complete a health declaration form, which many airlines provide digitally upon check-in.
Most businesses are open, though social distancing orders are in place, and mandatory health checks are common. Cultural venues like theaters and cinemas are also open, with seating requirements for indoor and outdoor events. Nightclubs and other dance venues were closed again on July 10. Masks are required on public transportation.
Mainland Portugal’s borders are now open to travelers from some countries, including the U.S. Before boarding a flight to Portugal, American travelers are required to show either a negative test (either rapid antigen taken within 48 hours, or a PCR test taken with 72 hours), or an EU Digital COVID certificate proving that you have been vaccinated, recently received a negative test result, or have recovered from COVID. Children under 12 do not need to present a test. All passengers must fill out a Passenger Locator Card before departure.
For travelers heading to islands of the Azores and Madeira, there is also an alternative option to take a free test upon arrival and wait in isolation for 12 to 24 hours for a negative result—or, in Madeira, perform voluntary isolation for 14 days at a home or hotel. Visitors to the Azores who plan to stay longer than seven days are required to take additional tests on the sixth and twelfth days of their stay. In addition to the Passenger Locator Card, Azores visitors must fill out a local questionnaire; Madeira visitors must register on the region’s website.
Throughout the country, restaurants, cafes, and pastry shops are operating, but must close at 1 a.m. Alcoholic beverage sales are restricted, with a 9 p.m. cutoff in shops including supermarkets. Hotels are accepting guests, with “Clean & Safe” hygiene and safety measures outlined by the government.
As infections continue to rise in Spain, regions are imposing new restrictions. Catalan’s regional government (which includes Barcelona) announced a new 12:30 a.m. curfew just this Monday, with gatherings now capped at 10 people, and eating and drinking in public areas prohibited. Towns throughout nearby Valencia have also enacted a nightly curfew. Health emergency chief Fernando Simon said at a press briefing that these rising infection rates can be attributed to the increasing tourist arrivals amid the spread of the Delta variant, Reuters reports.
Though some European countries have imposed restrictions on Spanish travelers as a result, the country remains open to U.S. travelers, who are required to present a QR code generated through the government’s health portal for entry.
As of July 1, U.S. citizens coming from the U.S. are exempt from Sweden’s entry ban, with proof of a negative COVID test (PCR, antigen, or LAMP) taken within 48 hours of arrival. Restaurants and events are operating with capacity limits, though many of those restrictions are set to be modified throughout July. Some restrictions, including a ban on indoor concerts at venues serving food and drink, are set to stay in place through September.
Switzerland is now open to U.S. citizens with proof of full vaccination, a recent negative COVID test, or recovery from COVID. Unvaccinated travelers who have been in a country with a “variant of concern” in the last 10 days before entering Switzerland, who have not recovered from COVID in the last 6 months, must complete a mandatory 10-day quarantine upon arrival (there is an option to shorten this on day seven; details here). All travelers, including children, are required to fill out an entry form before arrival.
As of June 26, nightclubs are open, though they must require COVID certificates for entry. Events are also taking place, with compulsory COVID certificate checks for any event over 1,000 people. Masks are no longer required outdoors, and restaurants are open for indoor and outdoor dining.
Turkey’s government is currently welcoming international travelers, with U.S. travelers required to show a negative PCR test, or proof of full vaccination or recent recovery from COVID upon arrival. All travelers who have been in countries where variants have been prevalent—Brazil, India, South Africa—within the last 14 days must submit a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours, and undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, regardless of vaccination status.
The nationwide curfew was recently lifted on July 1, as were restrictions on intercity or interstate travel.
The United Kingdom
England plans to ease remaining COVID-19 restrictions on July 19, which will effectively lift indoor face mask requirements and re-open nightclubs, among other changes. The government is encouraging venues with large crowds to use vaccine passports, though doing so will not be legally required. The one legal requirement to remain in place within England is the self-isolation mandate for anyone contacted by the government’s Test and Trace program. This will be relaxed for vaccinated individuals over 18 as of August 16.
Scotland will also ease restrictions on July 19, moving to its lowest level “0.” Under this category, social distancing from other households is required, and nightclubs will remain closed, but most other restrictions will be lifted. Wales plans to review its current restrictions on July 15, which include limits on how many households can gather (currently, three), and a max capacity for restaurants and bars (30 people). Northern Ireland will lift some local restrictions on July 26, effectively reopening theaters, and likely lifting the face mask requirement in places of worship.
England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales currently have the same requirements for entry: All arrivals need to show a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival, book and pay for two tests (on day two and eight of their stay in the U.K.), complete a passenger locator form, and quarantine for 10 days. If you are transiting through another country within 10 days prior to your arrival, make sure to check that destination’s current listing—anyone traveling through a red list country within that timeframe will need to adhere to stricter requirements.
In England and Scotland, travel restrictions will roll back on July 19, when the current 10-day quarantine requirement is dropped for vaccinated U.K. citizens traveling from “amber list” countries (which includes the U.S.), as is the requirement for a second COVID test after arriving in the country. The government has said that it hopes to extend the same changes to all vaccinated travelers coming from “amber countries” (which would include American travelers) “later this summer.”
Albania is open to U.S. citizens, with health screenings upon entry. Cyprus is currently open to American travelers, who must complete a Cyprus Flight Pass questionnaire and declaration form 24 hours prior to departure, in addition to taking a PCR test within 72 hours of departure (all vaccinated travelers are exempt from these entry requirements). Malta is open to vaccinated travelers with specific vaccine certificates—though CDC vaccination cards are not currently on the approved list of certificates, meaning U.S. travelers must submit to a PCR test and 14-day quarantine in a government-selected hotel at the traveler’s cost upon arrival.
Romania is open to U.S. citizens, who are exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement if able to show proof of a negative test, vaccination, or recent recovery from COVID. Serbia is open to U.S. citizens with proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours. Ukraine is currently open to vaccinated travelers (CDC cards are considered acceptable proof), or those able to show a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours of entering the country; proof of medical insurance is also required.
Finland, Hungary, and Poland remain closed to U.S. leisure travelers, with exceptions for family members of citizens. Belgium and Norway are closed to all U.S. travelers.
We’re reporting on how COVID-19 impacts travel on a daily basis. Find our latest coronavirus coverage here, or visit our complete guide to COVID-19 and travel.
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