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Which European countries have opened their borders ahead of the summer holiday…

by ace
Which European countries have opened their borders ahead of the summer holiday...

As European countries begin lifting COVID-19 restrictions, many people across the continent have begun thinking about whether they can have a holiday this summer.

But where can you access and what is still off-limits?

There is a mixed picture across Europe, with the usually easy travel across the Schengen Area restricted.

Almost every country has its own rules in place and its own timetable for reopening to tourists, both from its EU neighbours and further afield.

If you’re intending on coming to the EU 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-EU citizen coming from a non-EU country.

The EU Commission has called for the reopening of the bloc’s internal borders by June 15.

But it’s all changing quickly, so here’s our updated guide to the border situation in Europe this summer.

Austria

Austria opened its land borders with Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic on 4 June.

The country will reopen its border with Italy from 16 June, but a travel warning will be issued for the region of Lombardy. There will be no restrictions with most European Union countries.

People arriving in Austria “from any other country” however must produce a medical certificate proving a negative COVID-19 test. The certificate cannot be more than four days’ old.

Entry by air is prohibited to citizens coming from countries outside the Schengen Area.

Belgium

Belgium’s borders are closed and the country has banned non-essential travel abroad.

The government has announced plans to reopen the border to citizens from the EU, the UK and the four other Schengen countries (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway) from June 15.

“The conditions for travel outside of Europe have yet to be defined in light of the evolution of discussions at European level”, the government said on June 3.

The country further eased lockdown on June 8, however many restrictions, in particular for the hospitality and culture industries, remain in place until July 1.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The border is only currently open to citizens of neighbouring Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia – other foreign arrivals are not permitted. There are some exceptions to this, such as for freight driver, residents and diplomats.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria opened borders on June 1 to EU, UK, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican, Serbia and North Macedonia citizens, as well as to medical workers and family members of Bulgarian citizens, as listed on the government website.

Croatia

Croatia will reopen its borders to all EU citizens, including from the UK, on June 15, with no obligation to quarantine.

Croatia opened its borders in mid-May without restriction to nationals from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Germany and Slovakia.

Other visitors from the EU/EEA, and the UK, could also visit from May 11, though restrictions were in place, including quarantine and proof of accommodation.

Cyprus

Cyprus resumes tourism travel on June 9 and will do so in two different phases, after closing borders for almost three months.

The country will also cover health costs in case of coronavirus contamination occurring on the Mediterranean island.

A first reopening took place on June 9 for passengers coming from Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia and Lithuania, but they will have to obtain a health certificate proving they are virus-free. This document will have to be no older than three days.

On June 20, passengers from Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia and the Czech Republic will be allowed in.

The passengers from this group of countries will have to obtain health certificates while those from the first group will no longer have to.

These lists exclude the country’s two main tourism markets, Britain and Russia.

However, flights from Britain could restart in mid-July, and a few weeks later from Russia.

US, France, Spain, and Italy remain excluded too until further notice.

Czech Republic

Borders with Austria and Germany reopened on June 5, 10 days earlier than expected. From May 27, the country opened its frontier with Slovakia and Hungary, but with restrictions.

The other EU countries have been divided into coloured groups dependent on risk: green, orange, and red.

From June 15, Czech residents and EU citizens from green countries — eastern and Baltic member states, Finland and Norway — will be able to travel to and from the country without any requirements.

Those from the yellow group, which includes France, Italy, and Spain, will be required to have a valid health certification to enter.

Test and quarantine conditions will apply for people entering from the UK and Sweden — the two red nations in Europe.

Denmark

Borders are closed for foreign travellers. Only citizens or residents of Denmark, Greenland or Faroe Islands can currently enter, or those with a “worthy purpose”.

Since May 25 people with a permanent residence in one of the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) or Germany have been allowed to re-enter if they are in a relationship with someone in Denmark, have grandparents there, or if they have a business trip.

From June 15, Copenhagen will open its borders to tourists from Germany, Iceland and Norway. They will need to show documentation of a valid booking upon arrival and must stay a minimum of six nights in accommodations outside the capital.

As of June 8, other EU nationals, as well as UK nationals, are not allowed to enter Denmark until the end of summer.

Estonia

Opened borders to Baltic neighbours on May 15 and to the rest of the EU, the Schengen area, and the UK on June 1.

“Travel documents and medical symptoms are checked” at points of entry, the Foreign Ministry has said.

Those coming from countries with a high infection rate will have to self-isolate for two weeks.

Finland

Finland plans to allow travellers from Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from June 15 and recommends against unnecessary travel to other countries. People travelling from these countries also will not need to quarantine.

Finland will continue to have border checks with Sweden though the “the aim is to enable unrestricted travel from Sweden to Finland as quickly as the disease situation allows,” Finland’s interior ministry said in a statement.

Travel for work purposes is possible from EU countries as well as for residents or family purposes.

The interior ministry said borders with non-EU countries will remain closed until at least July 14.

France

Travellers from EU member states as well as Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, and the Vatican will be allowed to visit the county from June 15 without a health certificate or any form of quarantine upon arrival except passengers from Spain and the UK who will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

This is “in reciprocity” to current regulations in place in both countries, France’ Foreign Affairs Ministry has explained.

President Emmanuel Macron has also announced that international borders with countries outside the EU “where the epidemic has been controlled” will reopen on July 1.

Germany

On June 15, Germany is expected to lift border restrictions for travellers coming from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and the United Kingdom.

Germany, however, decided to extend until August 31 its warnings on travelling outside the EU.

More information here.

Greece

The Foreign Affairs Ministry published on Sunday, May 31, its plan for reopening borders, which entails three different phases.

Phase 1 (present-June 15)

Only a limited number of international flights are allowed to land in Athens.

All arriving passengers must be tested and stay overnight at a designated hotel.

In case of a negative test, passengers have to quarantine for 7 days.

If the test is positive, they need to quarantine “under supervision” for 14 days.

Phase 2 (June 15-June 30)

From June 15, tourism travel resumes, and international flights will land not just in Athens but in Thessaloniki too.

However, some passengers will have to undergo mandatory testing upon arrival.

Those coming from any of these airports listed by the European Aviation Safety Agency, will have to get tested on arrival, then go to to a designated hotel and quarantine for 7 days if the test is negative, and for 14 days if the test is positive.

All other passengers, including all travellers coming from Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Finland – will be subject to random tests and no further restrictions.

In addition, land arrivals from Albania, North Macedonia and Bulgaria will be allowed in the country.

Those travellers will be subject to random tests upon arrival.

Phase 3 (July 1-onwards)

International flights will be allowed into all airports in Greece and all travellers subject to random tests upon arrival.

“Additional restrictions regarding certain countries will be announced at a later date”, the Foreign Ministry says.

Arrivals by sea will also be allowed on July 1, with travellers subject to random testing.

Hungary

Hungary opened its border with Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Serbia on June 12 without the need for going into quarantine.

Iceland

Iceland is set to reopen to EU and UK travellers on June 15.

Tourists will be tested upon arrival. A few hours later, they will get the result on their phone, after downloading a tracking app.

The test, free for a period of two weeks, will cost 15,000 Icelandic Krona (€100) from July 1. Children born in or after 2005 will be exempt.

Authorities are yet to clear procedures for those who test positive.

Ireland

The…

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