A few weeks ago, the European Union announced that the 27 E.U. countries would be open to American travelers this summer, some as soon as the middle of June.
This set off a new wave of excitement in the U.S., though to be clear, some European countries are already open to American travelers while we are still prohibited from visiting others.
Here’s a quick rundown of what European countries are doing to reopen safely, and what you can expect if you’re planning a post-pandemic vacation across the pond in summer 2021. Keep in mind that the situation is changing rapidly. We will do our best to keep the most current information available.
To start, the E.U.’s digital passport system is now expected to launch on July 1. Foreign visitors, like those of us from the U.S., should be able to “plug into” the system in some way to deliver their vaccination status on arrival.
The vaccines that will be accepted for “fully vaccinated” status are Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
Here are some popular European countries for American leisure travel and their current mandates for visitors:
Not currently permitting international leisure visitors outside the E.U.
While strictly speaking Belgium is open to international travel, the country is not open for leisure visitors and still has a strict night curfew in place.
Croatia has been open to Americans since July 2020! Visitors from the U.S. who can provide proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival, or proof of previous infection will be permitted entry. Passengers may also be asked to take a PCR test upon entry and be required to quarantine until a negative result is received by the government. Croatia also maintains a list of “low risk” countries whose citizens can bypass this system. The U.S. is not currently on this list.
Nightclubs and indoor dining establishments have not yet been permitted to reopen, with no directives being announced yet. The good news is that Croatia is famous for its plethora of al fresco dining options, with many restaurants only offering open-air dining anyway!
The Czech Republic
While strictly speaking the Czech Republic is open to international travel, the country is also not open for leisure visitors and strongly recommends people limit all non-essential travel.
France will be open to fully vaccinated Americans on June 9, according to French President Macron. This change in protocol is predicated upon a new Healthpass (in both digital and paper forms) that will be rolled out in the next few weeks, and may be the first of its kind.
Museums and outdoor service at cafes opened up last week, and by the second week in June, restaurants are to be open for full service. France is also still under curfew, though a staged easing of the curve details in underway. The curfew is expected to be completely lifted by June 30.
Germany has been battling a spike in infections, but it does have a plan to ease restrictions that has already been actioned, but Oktoberfest has already been canceled for 2021. For now, Germany remains off limits for American travelers, unless they hold dual citizenship or E.U. residency. There’s been no announcement as to when this might change, but we will keep you updated.
Greece is open to international visitors from the U.S. who can provide proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival, and the completion of a passenger location form, so they can be traced while within the borders of Greece.
Iceland is open and has different rules for different kinds of travelers’ health statuses. The unvaccinated have the most hoops to jump through. First, you must provide proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of departure (no rapid tests will be accepted), in addition to filling out a pre-registration form before arrival.
Then, after arriving you must be tested again (even if you’ve already had COVID and this requirement extends to children). You then must quarantine for 5 days.
Vaccinated folks and those who have already had COVID must also test on arrival and quarantine until a negative result is received.
If you can provide an “adequate quarantine location, you don’t need to isolate in a state-sponsored location.
The Green Isle never implemented formalized travel bans, but still recommends essential travel only. The government has slowly started to ease restrictions, with hotels and Bed & Breakfasts scheduled to reopen on June 2, and pubs and restaurants opening on June 7 (outdoor service only).
All visitors must fill out a “passenger locator form,” upon arrival which gives the details of where you can be found for the first 14 days, and arriving visitors are expected to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Italy has announced it will have a health pass available to international travelers earlier than the planned E.U. pass, so this has given some Americans the impression that the country is wide open. Most of regular life in Italy remains restricted for citizens, though Italy is likely to open borders for leisure travel sometime in June.
While strictly speaking the Netherlands is open to international travel, the country is also not open for leisure visitors and strongly recommends people limit all non-essential travel.
Scheduled to open up for non-essential travel on May 24.
Poland is not open for leisure visitors with exceptions for those with Polish family members or a Karta Polaka card (proving a Polish background).
At the moment, U.S. visitors are not permitted to visit for leisure travel.
Spain is presently closed to American leisure travelers, but the tourism secretary of state has announced that the country will be open to Americans sometime in June, when Spain implements its digital system of tracking (1) the fully vaccinated, (2) those that have tested negative and (3) those who have already recovered from COVID-19 (the three criteria for entry).
Scheduled to open up for non-essential travel on May 31.
Not currently permitting international leisure visitors outside the E.U.
Even though its citizens are currently still living under lockdown, Turkey has opened its borders to those who can produce a negative PCR test upon arrival. We urge travelers to exercise caution with Turkey, as the tourism infrastructure is impacted by the lockdown for citizens.
The United Kingdom
The U.K. has not been officially closed to leisure travelers from the United States, but there are some expectations you’ll need to keep in mind. All visitors must fill out a passenger locator form, provide a negative PCR test upon arrival, quarantine for 10 days upon arrival, and take two tests upon arrival (these tests must be pre-booked – details can be found here).
Leisure visitors to Scotland are not currently allowed.
We would expect the United Kingdom to change or relax some of these restrictions as they too roll out a digital passport option some time this summer.
You might also check out our International When to Buy study, which can help you identify the best time to buy your airline tickets this year, and a fun little post we did to show you which of the iconic sites are open right now all across the continent. We’re so excited to get back to travel. We hope you are too. Please sound off in the comments below and let us know what destinations you’re considering for your first international trip back!
Current as of May 24, 2021