Nothing beats European tourist destinations when it comes to romantic getaways. Thankfully, many countries in the continent have reopened their borders, especially U.S. tourists, many of whom have been vaccinated already. However, not every country in Europe requires tourists to be vaccinated. But of course, getting the shots will give you more perks.
If you decide to travel first before getting your vaccination, you have to be compliant with the rules set for non-vaccinated tourists. The reopening of borders doesn’t mean those countries are now letting their guard down, so you mustn’t forget about the health protocols, too.
That said, let’s now walk through some of the European countries that now accepts international tourists:
1. United Kingdom
Leisure travel in the U.K. is still discouraged but not banned. On March 8, the U.K. government started easing restrictions as the first phase in a four-step roadmap that would reopen the country. As of now, they have already reached step three. Step four is originally scheduled no earlier than June 21 but has been put back until July 19 — for now. Step four will remove all legal limits on social distancing.
For now, you can dine at outdoor restaurants, visit outdoor attractions, and partake in small outdoor events in romantic hotels since they have started accepting bookings, too, so claim a slot before it gets taken.
Wales has also allowed free travel, except for tourists from the countries in the “amber list” for the past ten days. Northern Ireland requires a negative COVID-19 test result, while Scotland still restricts nonessential travel.
Croatia reopened on May 9, but only for travelers within Europe and the European Economic Area (EEA) and others from a select few countries. They don’t require vaccinations, and but vaccinated tourists can skip testing and quarantine requirements. All tourists must fill out a form, vaccinated or not, and non-vaccinated ones must get tested and come out negative within the past 48 hours of their arrival.
France recently reopened for U.S. tourists, but a curfew is still in place, scheduled for lifting on June 30. The leisure destinations that have reopened include museums, movie theaters, and outdoor restaurants. You need a health pass, which comes in a digital or paper form, to be allowed entry.
Spain just welcomed back U.S. tourists in June. Only vaccinated tourists are allowed, though. Just present your proof of vaccination, and take a COVID-19 PCR or antigen test within 48 hours of your trip. If you tested positive within 90 days of your travel, you’d need to obtain documentation from a licensed healthcare provider that you have recovered.
Take note, however, that Spain may deny entry to vaccinated travelers whose vaccines aren’t approved by the European Medicine Agency. You’re safe if you’ve been shot with Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson.
Your Santorini fantasies can now become a reality again. Greece is now open to U.S. tourists, but testing is required unless you’re fully vaccinated. If you’re not yet immune to COVID-19, you must get tested within 72 hours of your arrival. All tourists must also fill out a “passenger locator form” at least 24 hours before arriving.
Important Reminders Before Booking a Flight
As you’ve seen above, almost every country requires a negative test result. And they want it within a few days of your arrival. That means the negative test result you got some months ago is now outdated. Hence, to avoid the inconvenience of testing, get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.
Choose your destination carefully. Ensure that you’ve done enough research before booking a flight. Consider other modes of travel too, like via cruise ship. It may take longer to reach your destination that way, but planes are still a high-risk space for viral transmission. Remember, getting vaccinated doesn’t make it impossible for the COVID-19 to infect you. You can still carry the virus; only you won’t get sick from it.
If you’re not yet vaccinated, it’s even more necessary to consider other modes of traveling besides air. Cruise lines and airlines are increasingly announcing vaccination requirements.
If you got the all-clear and have been allowed to fly, keep avoiding crowds and still observe social distancing. Again, the vaccine doesn’t make you immune to the virus, but just from the disease itself. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your fellow travelers by following health protocols.
And most importantly, abide by the rules of your destination. Your excitement can make you drop all the precautions, so remind yourself to stay alert and considerate at all times. Your non-compliance can cost your entire home country the right to travel, so pose a good example for all international tourists.