The coordinated opening of Europe under the supervision of the European Commission is happening gradually and irreversibly starting on Monday, June 15.
Some countries already have lifted all internal border-crossing bans ahead of that date, while others are preparing for more intercontinental openings. And if all goes according to the Commission’s recommendations, many will be ready for international travel in time for the summer holiday season starting July 1, albeit with limitations.
The limitations relate to the countries outside the bloc that are still battling the coronavirus pandemic and won’t yet be allowed entry, with some exceptions for students and highly-skilled non-European Union workers.
The European Commission is asking member states to agree on a list of non-EU countries whose citizens could travel to Europe starting in July — a list that should be reviewed on a regular basis and would be based on each country’s infection rates and capability to deal with the virus.
The external opening will apply to “countries whose epidemiological situation is similar to the E.U. average and where sufficient capabilities to deal with the virus are in place,” explained Ylva Johansson, European Home Affairs Commissioner. “As travelers entering the E.U. can move freely from one country to another, it is crucial that member states coordinate their decisions on lifting travel restrictions.”
With restrictions on non-essential travel to the E.U. introduced in March by European regulators due to lapse on June 15, almost every country has put in place its own rules and timetable for receiving European tourists and from farther abroad — some more anxiously than others.
“Countries are not required to follow the European Union advice and some – including British summer holiday favorites – are taking a different approach,” writes The Telegraph.
In Italy, for example, borders opened to E.U. nations and the U.K. on June 3. Spain, in contrast, is imposing a 14-day quarantine on arrivals until July 1, while Germany has extended its travel ban to countries outside Europe until August 31.
“Not all countries plan to reopen borders to E.U. travelers next week,” writes Euronews. “Spain and Portugal are set to reopen later in June and Denmark only planning to open borders with Germany, Iceland and Norway.”
The E.U. has recommended the lifting of travel restrictions for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
As Euronews reports, “if you’re intending on coming to the E.U. for a holiday, it’s worth knowing the bloc’s external borders are set to be closed until at least July 1. But that only applies if you’re a non-E.U. citizen coming from a non-E.U. country.”
Fear of Covid-19 and the current rates of infections across the borderless Schengen Area is not expected to hold travelers back, in particular those planning trips for vacation, once the zone opens up.
A survey conducted by SchengenVisaInfo.com of 2,636 respondents from 87 third-countries, shows that the majority of travelers are planning to travel to Europe within the first three months of border reopening, mostly for tourism.
The main results of the survey show that :
- 62% of travelers will visit Europe within first month of borders reopening.
- 80% of travelers intend to visit the Schengen Area within the three first months of border reopening;
- Another 12.5% hope to travel to the territory later this year;
- Tourism is the primary purpose of their trips;
- Germany and France top the list of Schengen countries where tourists plan to travel.
Which European countries are accessible? Which will soon be, and which are still off-limits?
Here’s an update on the borders reopening for the summer, country by country, starting with the more traditionally popular destinations:
Currently, trips into France for non-residents are restricted to essential travel only. Borders are due to reopen on June 15 to tourists from Britain, the E.U. and Schengen countries.
Until then, travelers arriving from the U.K. or Spain must submit to voluntary quarantine or must have a health certificate stating that they don’t have coronavirus.
Visitors from farther abroad won’t be able to enter until the E.U. issues directives with dates for the reopening of external borders.
“Some flights are operating,” reports The Guardian. “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.”
At the moment, Germany permits crossing of its borders with Austria, France, Denmark, Luxembourg and Switzerland, with”random” checks conducted at crossing points.
E.U. citizens and those from the United Kingdom, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, and their family members, are permitted to return to their home country or to their place of normal residence in Germany or another country.
All border limitations are planned to be lifted on June 15 for visitors from the E.U., Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and the United Kingdom, but will remain for those from outside the E.U. until August 31.
Italy has been among the ‘pioneers’ opening its borders to international tourists since June 3. Visitors coming from outside the E.U., Schengen area and the U.K. must go through 14 days of quarantine unless they’ve been to any other European country in the 14 days before reaching Italy.
Many airports remain closed and cruises banned, while flights and trains are reduced.
To lure tourists, Sicily has offered to subsidize domestic and international travel once it’s safe to return:
Borders are open to tourists from E.U. and Schengen countries except for the U.K. and Sweden as long as they follow social distancing and wear masks when using public transportation.
For tourists from outside the Schengen Area, including the U.K., Canada and the U.S., non-essential travel is discouraged until June 15, when some regulations will be relaxed. Currently, travelers from high-risk countries must submit to 14 days of quarantine, according to the Dutch government website.
Outdoor restaurants and bars are open, as are theaters, music venues, museums and cinemas (with social distancing), campsites and holiday parks. Events, concerts and festivals with more than 100 people may be allowed after September 1.
Some flights are operating and the Eurostar is planned to start June 28.
At the moment, foreign visitors entering Spain most conduct 14 days of quarantine.
The country is gradually opening to international tourism starting July 1 with different stages and dates for various regions and the islands. Domestic travel is to start on June 22, with exceptions for special cases such as cross-border workers, health or elderly-care professionals and Spain residents.
None of the regulations are applicable to Andorra or Gibraltar.
Limited flights for essential travel are operating. Outdoor restaurants and bars, museums and hotels are open in most of the country, with the Canary Islands permitting beach access.
In partnership with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Canaries also are set to be the first destination in the world to trial digital health certificates when they open to international tourists in July,” The Guardian reports.
The country officially starts its tourist season on June 15 as airports open under a detailed plan from the Foreign Affairs ministry for lifting border restrictions in phases.
On June 15, international flights will be permitted to Athens and Thessaloniki, with passengers arriving from any of the airports listed by the European Aviation Safety Agency, undergoing mandatory testing upon arrival and then going to designated hotels to quarantine for seven days if the test is negative, and for 14 days if the test is positive.
All other travelers coming from the following countries are deemed safe: Albania, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea and Switzerland. However, they will be subject to random tests.
From July 1, international flights and arrivals by sea will be allowed into all airports and ports and all travelers subject to random tests upon arrival. Also, direct domestic flights and ferries (operating at 50% capacity) to other mainland areas and to all the Aegean and Ionian islands will be permitted.
Throughout June, malls, cinemas, amusement parks, playgrounds, sports facilities and hotels are permitted to open gradually.
Portugal has already reopened its borders for tourism from select countries but the government hasn’t fixed a date for borders to open to all tourists.
Portugal’s Foreign Minister, Augusto Santos Silva, recently said that “tourists are welcome in Portugal,” with some health checks at airports and no compulsory quarantine for those flying in except for the Azores Islands.
Some regional tourist boards including Madeira and Porto Santo are aiming to reopen to international tourists from July 1 under conditions such as travelers having to present negative test results from within 72 hours prior to travel, or be tested on arrival.
Limited flights are operating already, with plans for international flights — including from outside the E.U. — to start after June 15. Rail and bus links to Lisbon from most parts of the country and taxis are operating now.
Beaches and campsites are open and restaurants and bars in many regions are permitted to reopen at limited capacity.
Borders are currently open. From June 8, visitors from abroad will be required to quarantine for 14 days except those traveling from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Upon arrival, those who are required to self-isolate need to provide their journey and contact details.
The government says these measures will be reviewed every three weeks.
Borders are opening to tourists from all E.U. countries, the U.K., Iceland and Liechtenstein on June 15, without quarantine measures.
Visitors will have to comply with the government’s hygiene and social distancing rules.
Travel from countries outside Europe could resume mid-July. Before those dates, any foreign traveler without a valid residence or work permit will be refused entry.
There are limited flights from abroad through the airports at Zurich, Geneva and Basel. Hotels, shops, markets and restaurants are open. Theaters, museums, cinemas, swimming pools, ski resorts, spas, mountain services and other leisure activities including summer camps have resumed business.
Large events with a thousand-plus people may resume from August 31.
Borders were opened to tourists from Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Hungary on June 4.
The country will reopen its borders to most European countries on June 16, including Italy (except those from the Lombardy region).
To enter, tourists must show a medical certificate proving a negative Covid-19 test conducted within four days of travel. Testing is available at Vienna airport for €190.
Entry by air is prohibited to citizens arriving from countries outside the Schengen Area. The Vienna, Innsbruck and Salzburg airports are operational but with limited services.
Belgium’s borders are still closed and the country has banned all non-essential travel abroad, and all arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days.
The government, which eased some restrictions on June 8, has announced plans to reopen the border to citizens from the E.U. and the U.K. on June 15.
Many restrictions, particularly for the hospitality and culture industries, will remain in place until July 1.
Some indirect flights are operating for essential travel and the Eurostar is offering a significantly reduced service. More extended openings are planned after July 1.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The opening of borders is limited to visitors from neighboring nations. Other foreign entries are not permitted except for special cases such as freight driver, business representatives, residents and diplomats.
The government has said that it will follow the E.U. directives but that there will be “not a real opening before the end of the sixth month.”
Bulgaria opened borders on June 1 to E.U. and U.K. visitors, as well as to medical workers and family members of Bulgarian citizens, as listed on the government website. All arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days.
A reduced number of direct flights are operating and transit is permitted. Some hotels, swimming pools, markets and the outside areas of bars and restaurants are open and individual outdoor sports and mountain visits are permitted, while national parks are open.
The country opened its borders in mid-May without restriction to nationals from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Germany and Slovakia.
Croatia will reopen to the rest of the E.U. and to U.K. citizens on June 15, with no obligation to quarantine. All arrivals should fill out a form online in advance and proof of a tourist accommodation booking is required on entry.
Parks, beaches, shops, museums, hotels and outdoor restaurants and bars are open, public transport is operating as well, as are some international and domestic flights. International flights are expected to increase throughout June.
Cyprus is resuming tourism travel in two phases from countries regarded as having dealt well with the coronavirus:
On June 9, it will permit entry of visitors from Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia and Lithuania, with the presentation of a health certificate proving they are virus-free three days prior their departure, a requirement that will end by June 20.
On June 20, it will open to travelers from Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia and the Czech Republic, also with health certificate and negative test results on entry, or pay €60 to be tested.
The country will cover health costs in case of coronavirus contamination occurring on the Mediterranean island.
Britain, Russia, the United States, France, Spain, and Italy remain excluded until further notice.
The second phase starting June 21 includes the reopening of outdoor cafes and restaurants, hotels, museums, parks, archaeological and historical sites and marinas.
Borders with Austria and Germany reopened on June 5. The country already had opened its borders with Slovakia and Hungary, with restrictions, on March 27.
For now, residents of E.U. member states can enter to perform economic activities, visit relatives or study at a university. All must show negative test results for Covid-19 upon entry.
The rest of the borders are to be open to tourists from the U.K., E.U. and Schengen countries from June 15, while a weekly assessment of countries and their risk will be conducted to determine if they need to be subjected to testing on arrival or if certificates of negative test results will be required.
The Prague airport is open for limited flights, transit is permitted with proof of residence and onward travel and domestic travel is allowed. Shops, outdoor restaurants, pubs, museums and other cultural institutions are open, and events with up to 500 people are permitted. Hotels, outdoor campsites and other accommodation have reopened.
Only citizens or residents of Denmark, Greenland or Faroe Islands are permitted to enter freely.
Also those with a permanent residence in one of the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) or Germany can re-enter if they are in a relationship, have family in Denmark or are on a business trip.
From June 15, the borders will open to tourists from Germany, Iceland and Norway if they have booked accommodations, are staying at least six nights in the country and visit Copenhagen only for the day but don’t stay in the capital overnight.
Other E.U. or U.K. nationals won’t be allowed to enter Denmark until the end of summer.
The country opened borders to its Baltic neighbors starting May 15, and to E.U. and U.K. travelers on June 1.
People arriving from countries with high infection rates will have to self-isolate for two weeks. The list of countries is being revised every Friday, and changes depending on the per capita rate of coronavirus infections.
Domestic travel is permitted, including to the islands. Hotels, museums, swimming pools, restaurants and bars are open.
Borders to tourists from Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will open on June 15 but the government recommends against unnecessary travel to other countries.
Tourists from other E.U. countries won’t be permitted at least until July 14.
Some international flights are operating, shops, bars, restaurants and cultural institutions are open, and hotels are starting to reopen. Gatherings of up to 50 people are permitted, and events of over 500 may be permitted starting in July.
Borders are open now to tourists from Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.
On June 12, the country will open to tourists from Croatia. Limited flights are operating. Shops, parks, outside bars and restaurants are open and hotels are in the process of reopening.
Currently, anyone entering the country must go into quarantine. Iceland will reopen to E.U. and U.K. travelers on June 15.
Tourists will be tested for free upon arrival. A few hours later, they will get the result on their phone, after downloading a tracking app.
From June 15, all arrivals must choose between being tested for coronavirus or self-isolation for 14 days. Children born in 2005 or later are exempt.
Some flights are operating, and most hotels, attractions, restaurants, nightclubs, gyms and shops are open.
Anyone traveling to Ireland, except from Northern Ireland, must self-isolate for 14 days and must provide details of accommodation upon arrival, including Irish residents.
Some flights and ferry services between Ireland and the U.K. are operating. Public transport is limited, restaurants and pubs will reopen on June 29 and hotels, museums and galleries on July 20.
Currently the borders are open to tourists from the E.U. and U.K. but they must self-isolate unless their country of origin has had 15 or fewer people per 100,000 inhabitants infected with coronavirus in the past 14 days.
On May 15, it opened its borders without requiring quarantine to Baltic neighbors Estonia and Lithuania.
A list of high-risk and exempt countries is updated every Friday. Commercial passenger flights are suspended.
Borders are open to tourists from the E.U. and U.K. but with 14 days quarantine unless their country of origin has had 25 or fewer people per 100,000 inhabitants infected with coronavirus in the past 14 days.
Lithuania is also allowing entry to citizens of Poland for business and studies.
As in Latvia, a list of high-risk and exempt countries will be updated every Monday. The government has said that it will reassess the border measure by June 16. Hotels, restaurants, swimming pools, night clubs and other venues are reopening.
Luxembourg ‘s border with Germany has been open since May 15. The government has announced the full opening of its borders starting June 15. Some limited flights have started operations and restaurants, shops and hotels are permitted to reopen, as are outdoor non-contact sports.
Currently, all arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days.
The government has announced that on July 1, borders will reopen to travelers from Germany, Austria, Cyprus, Switzerland, the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia, Iceland, Slovakia, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Israel, Latvia, Estonia, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic, when airports also will open.
More countries “will be announced in due course, once clearance from the health authorities is received.”
Entry to Montenegro is allowed without quarantine, as long as visitors arrive from countries with a rate of transmission below 25 per 100,000 inhabitants.
The Montenegro government is keeping an up-to-date list of countries allowed to enter.
Norway’s borders with Denmark and Finland are to open from June 15. Exemptions for other neighboring countries are expected starting July 20.
Other foreign travelers will be turned away at the border. The country’s ministry of foreign affairs has advised against all international travel that is not strictly necessary until August 20.
Norway currently has a 10-day quarantine for those returning from international travel.
Some hotels, shops, restaurants, parks, music venues, galleries and other cultural institutions are open. Organized events with up to 50 people are permitted.
Borders will open with no self isolation requirements to tourists from the E.U. from June 13.
According to a government statement “European Union citizens will be eligible to enter Poland without any obstacles,” SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Some domestic flights are operating and international flights are expected to resume starting July 16.
Currently, all other non-essential arrivals must quarantine for 14 days.
Restrictions inside the country have been lifting gradually and travel to cities, national parks and beaches is permitted. Hotels are reopening as well as shops, restaurants, bars, museums and galleries.
Borders are open to tourists from the E.U., Switzerland and the U.K., with self-isolations for 14 days.
It has opened without restrictions for travelers from Hungary.
Domestic travel is permitted. Hotels, open-air museums and attractions, outside restaurants and bars, parks and beaches are open and outdoor events with up to 500 attendees are allowed.
Slovakia will open borders to those from Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland on June 10.
It has already opened to Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Some flights are operating, and transit is permitted with proof of onward travel.
Currently all arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days and register for entry 72 hours in advance.
The country reopened its borders to Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Norway, Slovakia and Switzerland.
Other E.U. countries and U.K. citizens must self-isolate for 14 days and provide proof of accommodation.
Flights are limited and train connections with Austria are suspended.
Although it took a different approach to manage the coronavirus epidemic and didn’t impose a strict lockdown on its citizens, Sweden closed its borders to non-E.U. or European Economic Area nations until June 15.
Borders are due to open to tourists from the E.U. on June 15, although some European countries, including Norway and Denmark, are not permitting entry to people traveling from Sweden.
Hotels, shops, bars, restaurants and some museums are open. Large gatherings of more than 50 are still prohibited.
The government is aiming to have international tourism return by mid-June.
For now, there is no entry for foreign travelers.
Some international flights and domestic flights are operating. Hotels and restaurants are permitted to open.