Belgium remains closed to tourists.

2021 European Travel During Coronavirus | Safety, Policies, and FAQs

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Discover all you need to know about traveling to Europe during the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure your journey to and around the continent is as safe, smooth, and enjoyable as possible!

Guide to Europe Donates One Vaccine for Each Booking

Guide to Europe is proud to be doing our part in tackling Covid-19's impact globally by donating one vaccine to COVAX for every booking we receive; we promise to do this until the pandemic is over. COVAX is an initiative working to provide free, fair, and fast access to vaccines for everyone across the globe by speeding up their development, production, and distribution.

Post COVID, going back to nature such as the he Italian Dolomites would be a great travel choice.

Is it Safe to Travel to Europe Right Now? 

Deciding whether or not to travel to Europe during these last stages of the Covid-19 pandemic is a personal choice as much as it is an institutional one. All must be aware that travel increases your risk of exposure to the virus, and this is particularly relevant for those in vulnerable groups, such as the elderly.

Still, things are moving in the right direction. Those who are vaccinated or have already had the virus are dramatically less likely to catch it on their journeys, and with successful vaccination programs, lockdowns and curfews, many European nations are becoming more stable by the day.

It should be noted, however, that certain areas are at higher risk than others. 

Norway has had great success in fighting COVID and many regions are labelled as green and considered safe to travel to.

As you will see in the upcoming border policy section, the rules about entering a country usually correspond with their current Coronavirus situation, but this is not the case exclusively. It is thus best to compare the policies with the national or regional statistics of your destination to make an informed decision. 

These stats can be seen on the EU’s color-coded map, detailed below.

Aside from vaccinating their populations and enforcing measures such as lockdowns and curfews, individual countries and the EU as a whole have taken a range of steps to keep the virus contained and their populations healthy. 

These steps have made many areas much safer to visit and helped to ensure confidence in concerned travelers. 

The most important of these factors in making travel to Europe safe are contact tracing, the Re-Open EU platform and map, the Traffic Lights System, Digital Green Passports, and a fact-based approach to international tourism regarding countries with low infection rates.

Greece has been one of the earliest countries to open its border to travellers.

Contact Tracing in Europe

Tracing apps have been adopted by many European states, and the EU has worked to ensure that these different apps can communicate warnings about possible virus exposure to each other. This has been essential in ensuring both locals and visitors are informed about potential risks to their health. 

These apps, however, are largely voluntary, not all countries have them, and not all the countries that have them are connected to the European network. It is thus important not to rely on tracing apps, but it is heavily recommended to use them if they are available. 

Travelers flying into Europe, however, will often need to fill out a tracing form. In the EU, this is called the Common European Passenger Locator Form, and non-EU countries will have something similar. Completing these forms correctly and honestly is a legal obligation, and essential in protecting yourself and helping to contain the virus.

The Re-Open EU Platform and Colour-Coded Map

Since June 2020, the EU launched the platform ‘Re-Open EU’, aiming at encouraging safe tourism across the European member states. With new data and strains of the virus, however, the focus of this has been much more nation- and region-based, with recommendations on a case-by-case basis.

This more localized approach has helped identify Covid-19’s presence and spread in Europe, and led to the creation of a commonly cited, color-coded map

This map identifies areas as ‘green’, ‘amber’, or ‘red’ based on their positivity rate and 14-day notification rate per 100,000 people. This information can be accessed either via the website or a free mobile app. 

With this information, the EU was able to develop the ‘Traffic Light System’ as a guide for international travel.

The Traffic Lights System

Since November 2020, ‘the Traffic Lights System’ has been an EU recommendation for helping countries determine who is and who is not allowed in their borders, and what regulations the former travelers may face.

Travelers from countries that have spent the past 14 days in ‘green’ areas are likely to face no or few restrictions upon entry to a European country, often only having to produce a negative test result. Travelers from ‘orange’ or ‘amber’ areas will need to produce this at a bare minimum and are also likely to face quarantine or further tests on arrival. Travelers from ‘red’ areas will likely have to meet both these conditions, and may even be banned from entering.

The Traffic Lights System is only a recommendation so far, and not all EU countries have adopted it. Furthermore, some non-EU countries, such as the UK, are adopting their own versions.

Digital Green Certificate

As of March 17th, 2021, those living in the EU can apply for a Digital Green Certificate for free movement between member states. These documents are safe and secure ways to show that you have either been vaccinated, received a negative test, or already had and recovered from Covid-19. 

While the core European principle of free movement largely stands without the certificate, some member states require proof of testing or vaccination for certain services and rights. 

If you live in a member state, you can get such a document from your local health center, testing center, or hospital for no cost. They can be given to you in either print or digital form, are written in your native language and English and have a QR code that can be scanned for security and authenticity.

There are no limits to your movement throughout Europe if you have such a certificate, unless, of course, the EU/Schengen nation you are in is under a stay-at-home order or a state of a medical emergency.

Unfortunately, these do not apply to those arriving from outside of the region, unless you come from a country with very low Covid-19 rates.

Border Policy in Europe

Though travel to Europe is, as a general rule, becoming increasingly safe, Europe is a vast continent, and one rule cannot apply to every place. While many countries have successfully curbed the spread of the virus and are now comfortable opening their borders to different degrees, others are still under lockdown or else completely inaccessible to non-essential travelers. 

This is further complicated by the political structure of Europe. There are 48 independent countries on the continent, 27 of which are in the European Union and 26 of which are in the Schengen Area (meaning they have free movement between them). 

Some countries are both in the EU and Schengen (such as France, Italy, and Germany); some are just in the EU (such as Croatia and Bulgaria); some are just in the Schengen Area (such as Norway and Iceland), and some are in neither (such as the UK and Ukraine). 

Furthermore, all of the EU states, as well as Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein are members of the European Economic Area (the EEA).

These different categories have different ways of defining their borders, and even then, there are national restrictions that mean countries in the same group may have different rules.

Furthermore, there may even be different restrictions within countries based on regions, particularly countries with geographically isolated islands, such as Spain.

We have thus compiled a thorough list of all European countries and their current travel restrictions regarding COVID-19.

We will update these and change the categories of the countries as we get new information.

Before looking at the border rules of the European country you wish to visit, however, there are a few notes to consider.

  • Your home country’s rules: Note that while all countries have policies regarding travelers entering their borders, your home country may have restrictions on you leaving yours, and which countries you may go to. 
  • When to get tested: When a negative test is required before departure, this is almost always to be taken within 48 hours of arrival. A few countries instead ask for 72 hours, but this is likely to be the subject of change as international standards are ironed out. Furthermore, airlines have their own rules, which almost always require guests to have a negative test 48 hours before departing.
    Generally speaking, you should aim to have your Covid-19 test as close to your departure time as possible.
  • Important Paperwork: Almost all the countries will require you to fill out a sworn statement that you are not symptomatic and have not been exposed to the virus recently. As previously noted, you are also likely to have to fill out tracing information before arrival, should you later be found to be in contact with the virus.

Please note that unless specified, all countries will require you to fill out a passenger locator form.

Slovenia's beautiful autumn season

Albania: Travelers to Albania must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, a negative rapid antigen test taken 48 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months. 

Andorra: Andorra can only be entered via France and Spain, which have their own national restrictions. Travelers staying for more than three days must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, a negative rapid antigen test taken 48 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months. 

Austria: Travelers to Austria must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months. Restaurants, ski lifts, bars, and many other businesses require proof of vaccination to use their facilities. Austria is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate.

Belarus: Most countries are not flying into Belarus, and travel to Belarus is highly discouraged.

Belgium: Travelers to Belgium must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, a negative RAT test taken 24 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months. Belgium is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Travelers to Bosnia and Herzegovina must present proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival. 

Bulgaria: Travelers to Bulgaria must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, a negative rapid antigen test taken 48 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months. Bulgaria is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate.

Croatia: Travelers to Croatia must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, a negative rapid antigen test taken 24 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past 11 to 180. EU travelers face no restrictions.

Cyprus: Travelers to Cyprus must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, a negative rapid antigen test taken 24 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months. Cyprus is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate.

Czech Republic: Travelers to the Czech Republic must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, a negative rapid antigen test taken 24 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months. The Czech Republic is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate.

Iceland has very low infection rates of COVID-19 and is a popular travel destination for post-COVID travellers

Denmark: Denmark has no COVID-related travel restrictions for those not symptomatic. 

Estonia: Estonia follows its own system of identifying high-risk countries, and currently, only Vatican City is on the green list. If from one of the three yellow countries - Romania, Spain, and Sweden - and unvaccinated, you must take tests before and after arrival. Unvaccinated passengers from the rest of the world must quarantine upon entry for six days. This is despite Estonia being part of the EU.

Finland: Travelers to Finland must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, a negative rapid antigen test taken 24 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months. Even vaccinated and recovered travelers from some non-EU countries must take a test before departure. Finland is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate.

France: Travelers to France must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, a negative rapid antigen test taken 24 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months. Unvaccinated travelers from many non-EU countries require a valid reason for travel. France is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate.

Germany: Travelers to Germany must present proof of vaccination or a negative test taken 24 hours before arrival. Germany is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate.

Greece: Travelers to Greece must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, or a negative rapid antigen test taken 24 hours before arrival. Greece is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate.

Hungary: Hungary has no COVID-related travel restrictions for those not symptomatic. 

Iceland: Iceland has no COVID-related travel restrictions for those not symptomatic. 

Ireland: Ireland has no COVID-related travel restrictions for those not symptomatic. 

Italy: Travelers to Italy must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, or a negative rapid antigen test taken 24 hours before arrival. Italy is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate. 

Kosovo: Travelers to Kosovo must present proof of three vaccination doses or two doses with a negative PCR taken 48 hours before arrival. 

Latvia: Latvia has no COVID-related travel restrictions for those who are not symptomatic. 

Liechtenstein: Liechtenstein’s borders are controlled by Switzerland.

Lithuania: Travelers outside Europe, the UK, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican City, and San Marino must present proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival. Lithuania is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate. 

Luxembourg: Non-EU travelers cannot enter Luxembourg for non-essential reasons. Luxembourg is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate. 

Malta: Travelers to Malta must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, or a negative rapid antigen test taken 24 hours before arrival. Some countries are still banned from entry to Malta if they have exceptionally high COVID-19 rates. Malta is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate. 

Moldova: Moldova has no COVID-related travel restrictions for those who are not symptomatic. 

Monaco: Travelers to Monaco must present a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival. Some countries are still banned from entering Monaco if they have exceptionally high COVID-19 rates. 

Montenegro: Travelers to Montenegro must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months. 

Netherlands: The Netherlands has no COVID-related travel restrictions for those not symptomatic. 

Greece is one of the first countries in Europe to open their borders during COVID.

North Macedonia: Travelers to North Macedonia must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months. 

Norway: Other than a passenger locator form, Norway has no COVID-related travel restrictions for those who are not symptomatic. 

Poland: Poland has no COVID-related travel restrictions for those not symptomatic.

Portugal: Portugal is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate. However, many non-EU-based travelers cannot enter for non-essential reasons. Non-EU travelers who can enter Portugal must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, a negative rapid antigen test taken 48 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months.  

Romania: Romania has no COVID-related travel restrictions for those not symptomatic.

Russia: Most countries are not flying into Russia, and travel to Russia is highly discouraged.

San Marino: There are no prerequisites for traveling into San Marino, but the only way into San Marino is through Italy.

Serbia: Travelers to North Macedonia must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months. Travelers from high-risk countries may be subject to further testing on the first and seventh days of their mandatory quarantine.

Slovakia: Slovakia has its own traffic light system. All unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for 14 days, but those from green areas can end it on the fifth day with one negative test. Vaccinated passengers from green list countries are exempt from all restrictions other than signing a passenger locator form. Slovakia is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate. 

Slovenia: Slovenia has no COVID-related travel restrictions for those who are not symptomatic.

Spain: Travelers to Spain must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, a negative rapid antigen test taken 48 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months. If your last vaccination was over 270 days ago, you are considered unvaccinated. Spain is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate. 

Sweden: Sweden has no COVID-related travel restrictions for those who are not symptomatic.

Switzerland: Travelers outside the Schengen Area cannot enter Switzerland for non-essential reasons. Switzerland is part of the EU, and free travel is possible with an EU Digital COVID Certificate. 

Turkey: Travelers to Turkey must present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, a negative rapid antigen test taken 48 hours before arrival, or proof of Covid-19 recovery in the past six months.

Ukraine: Travel to Ukraine is not advised.

United Kingdom: The UK has no COVID-related travel restrictions for those who are not symptomatic.

Vatican City: The Vatican City follows Italy’s travel restrictions and is otherwise open.

Belgium remains closed to tourists.

What if COVID-19 Affects My Travel Booking?

If a flight you booked through Guide to Europe is canceled due to Covid-19 or you test positive for the virus before your departure, we will provide you with a full refund as soon as you request one. Please note that your bank or credit card company may take a few days to process this.

Even though we are not responsible for tour, event, and activity cancellations that may occur due to Covid-19 on your trip (for which you will need to speak with your travel agent or the company responsible), we can still provide you with help and resources in finding other things to do.

Our team of Europe experts has roots across the continent, a passion for what each country has to offer, and a dedication to ensuring every moment of your trip is as memorable as possible. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that all of us are overdue for a fantastic holiday to recoup for lost time. Even though we cannot guarantee that measures to curb the virus will not have an impact on your journey, we will do all we can to give you the Europe trip that you deserve.