Traveling In & Around Greece During Summer 2021 (COVID Restrictions)

Currently, I’m writing this post from my first island adventure in Greece. I’m sitting on a cushy bench at the Rethymno Youth Hostel, enjoying the tunes of Run Away (Tritonia 332) by Ben Böhmer & Tinlicker playing through the videos. Alex, a Bulgarian native and Greek resident of 7 years who works here, is DJing the late afternoon vibes.

If you can get to Greece, I highly recommend it. Currently they’re accepting mostly everyone and the locals seem excited to have their summer season come in full swing. It’s been one of the few European countries that have relaxed restrictions and rules to visitors and there is no better time than now. It’s still busy and vibrant but nothing like the crowds of years past. Take advantage of the quieter summer as travelers start to wake up and get back into it.

Getting Into Athens

I flew from Cairo, Egypt to Athens, Greece really easily. For those who aren’t vaccinated, all you need is a PCR test performed within 72 hours of your flight and to fill out a PLF (Passenger Locator Form) at least 24 hours before your departure. If you’re vaccinated, the vaccine card and PLF form are all you need. Once you’re here, masks aren’t required outdoors and most indoor dining establishments have happily set up their outdoor dining, so you can have a comfortable experience.

The rules are a little difficult to understand. I had some fear that I wouldn’t be able to enter Greece (even though I hold a US passport) because I was in Egypt, a country that’s not on their accepted list. However, since flights were running between these two cities, I decided to take a chance. Happy I did because everything worked out and I’m enjoying my first Mediterranean summer.

Getting From The Mainland To The Islands

You’ll need a PCR test, vaccine card or an antigen test. The antigen test is much cheaper and faster ($20EUR and results in ~20 mins). This is required for ferries and flights.

Island Hopping

The best way to get around the islands is by ferry. To my surprise, they ended up looking more like cruise ships, especially if you’re taking the one from Athens to Crete.

If you’re traveling within the same regional unit, no PCR test, antigen test or vaccine card is needed to island hop. Self test is fine and only costs about $6EUR from the pharmacy.

If you’re traveling from one island to another island in a different region, a PCR test, antigen test or vaccine card is required.

Helpful Guides & Resources for Entry & Travel To & Within Greece

A breakdown of the islands and their regions by A Backpacker’s Tale

COVID Updates & Ferry Protocols by Greeka

US Embassy in Greece Official Site

Travelling To Greece Guide by Schengenvisainfo

If you’re vaccinated, you’ll definitely have an easier (and cheaper) time getting around Greece.

Hope to see you all here in the summer! You’ll catch me munching on their juiciest peaches, tanning in the sun and adventuring with new friends.

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