Summer vacation can come. Germany reopened the borders to its neighboring countries on June 15 and lifted the travel warning for 27 European countries. But there are still restrictions.
Summer vacation in Europe can begin. The federal government’s travel warning for most European countries ended on June 15. These include the main holiday destinations for Germans such as Italy, Austria, Greece, France and Croatia. For Sweden, however, the travel warning is still being maintained – because the number of new infections is still too large. Travel to Great Britain, Ireland and Malta is also “strongly discouraged” on the website of the Federal Foreign Office, as immigrants have to quarantine there for two weeks.
On June 17, the German government put other popular German holiday destinations such as Turkey, Egypt and Morocco on a risk list together with 130 other countries. Anyone who travels to these countries must go to a 14-day quarantine when returning to Germany.
Germans can still only take long-distance trips at their own risk if they are even given a flight option and an entry permit to their destination country. In any case, the Federal Government has extended the travel warning for 160 countries outside Europe until August 31. That means: Vacation in the Caribbean: No! Holidays in the Canary Islands: yes! Different rules and regulations apply in every country in Europe:
Spain had actually only announced the opening of the border on July 1st. Then, however, the government in Madrid decided to let tourists enter again as early as June 21, without a 14-day quarantine requirement. Of the Test operation was started with vacationers from Germany. Almost 11,000 German tourists were flown to the Balearic Islands in advance, where they had tried the emergency: How is the handling at the airport? How are the distance rules observed in the hotel and on the beach? Germany was selected for this pilot project because the epidemiological situation is comparable to the Balearic Islands.
“Tourism in Greece is back!” With these words, Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis officially opened the holiday season on the Greek holiday island of Santorini on June 14. Since then, tourists from 29 countries have been able to travel to Greece free of quarantine. These include Germany, Austria and Switzerland. However, there will be changes again from July 1st: All tourists must fill in an online registration form with a questionnaire 48 hours before their arrival and then receive a personal QR code in return, which decides on arrival whether they want to use the Corona Virus to be tested. Only after arrival do you find out whether you actually have to test and then isolate yourself at your holiday address until the result is known. The procedure is valid until the end of August.
Arrivals by plane from abroad were previously only about Athens and Thessaloniki possible. On July 1, however, all of the country’s airports open for international flights. The ports of Patras and Igoumenitsa are open to ferries from Italy, while cruise ships can go to the other ports again. In addition, the medical facilities on many Greek islands were strengthened with additional staff.
Sights such as the Athens Acropolis and numerous beaches are already accessible again. Regular ferry traffic to the islands has also been resumed, albeit with a limited number of passengers – to be able to maintain the prescribed safety distance. Restaurants and bars are also allowed to open – also with a corresponding minimum distance.
France also reopened its borders to travelers from Germany on June 15th. And just in time for this appointment, President Emmanuel Macron also announced others Corona restrictions relaxed on. All restaurants and cafés in Paris and the surrounding area are now allowed to open fully again – until now this was only allowed for outside dining. The inland restaurants had already started up again, and hotels and campsites are also open again.
Versailles Palace is already welcoming visitors again, and the Louvre in Paris will reopen on July 6th. The Eiffel Tower can be visited again from June 25th. However, visitors can only use the stairs to the second floor of the world-famous building.
Austria has already opened its borders to all neighboring countries – with the exception of Italy – on June 4th. Now freedom of travel has been extended to Italy, Croatia, Greece and many other EU countries. For German tourists, controls at the border to Italy, for example at the Brenner, are no longer necessary.
In addition, Austria temporarily lowers VAT on culture and gastronomy to five percent. The government in Vienna announced that this was intended to support museums, cinemas and restaurants in the Corona crisis. The reduced tax rate applies to food and beverages in restaurants, tickets, books and newspapers and should please holidaymakers.
Hiking and wellness yes, festivals and concerts no: major events in Switzerland such as the Festival of Classical Music in Lucerne and the Jazz Festival in Montreux have been canceled this summer. But innkeepers and hoteliers have been welcoming foreign guests again since June 15 – all with hygiene and safety concepts. Customers on cable cars, buses and trains are asked to get tickets online if possible to avoid queues at the counter. Wearing mouth and nose protection is recommended where it can get tight. There is no compulsion. Shops are open again, as are restaurants – however, only four guests are allowed at the table, and there must also be a space between the tables.
EU citizens have been able to join since June 3rd Italy travel – without having to be in quarantine. Hotels, campsites and stands are open, as are restaurants and ice cream parlors. Visits to the beach are permitted under strict conditions. For example, twelve square meters of space are required per parasol. And there is a minimum distance of three meters between the rows.
World-class cultural attractions also attract visitors. And they can be viewed without crowds. Venice, which is usually overcrowded, is happy about every single guest. The reopened Vatican Museums in Rome offer guided tours for small groups by prior arrangement. The same applies to the Colosseum. The Uffizi Gallery in Florence has also been opening its doors since the beginning of the month. “The beauty of Italy has never been in quarantine,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told the media.
The country on the Adriatic Sea, which is heavily dependent on tourism, with its long, bay-rich coast and the many islands, has allowed citizens of Germany to return without proof for any reason.
The easing also affects citizens from nine other EU countries: Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In future, travelers from these countries will only have to explain at the border where they will be and how they can be reached. So that you can find them if there are new corona infections in their area.
From June 15th, Germans, Icelanders and Norwegians can return to Denmark. Provided that you have booked a stay of at least six nights in a hotel, a campsite or the like. Voluntary corona tests are possible at the borders, and mobile test centers are also available in the holiday regions.
When the borders to Germany opened at midnight on June 15, vehicle lines had long been formed. According to the Danish Holiday Homes Association, 14,000 houses are occupied by 70,000 Germans in the current week. The Germans make up the largest group of tourists in the country with 30 percent.
Even if Germany continues to maintain the travel warning for Sweden, the borders of the Scandinavian country are not closed to German vacationers; they only travel to the country at their own risk, which is struggling with comparatively high corona numbers. The Swedish entry ban only applies to countries outside the EU and the European Free Trade Association. In the meantime, some planes are flying from Germany to Stockholm again, the ferry connections from Kiel, Rostock or Travemünde are largely used anyway. And within Sweden it has been allowed to drive from A to B for an unlimited number of days.
With a summer vacation in the Norwegian fjords it should be difficult at the present time. The Norwegian borders have been tight for foreigners without a specific entry reason since mid-March. Norwegians are allowed to return to their home country, but must first be quarantined for ten days. It was only in mid-May that the government announced that holidaymakers in Norway would have to expect the entry ban to last until August 20. The government announced on Friday (June 12) that at least Danes can travel to Norway from June 15. Until July 20, Oslo wants to see whether the borders could be opened to travelers from other nearby European countries. The status for German vacationers remains: wait and see.
Since June 8th Great Britain a two-week quarantine requirement for all travelers regardless of their citizenship. Those who do not adhere to self-isolation must expect high fines. The measure applies to travelers using planes, trains or ferries. The regulations have met with fierce criticism from companies in the travel industry. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new easing which should also please tourists: From July 4th, restaurants, pubs and hotels in England will reopen, as will museums, cinemas and places of worship. The new regulation only applies to England, the other parts of the country – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – have their own regulations in the fight against the pandemic.
The government in Reykjavik has announced that, like many European countries, it will begin to ease restrictions on travel abroad on June 15. However, newcomers will have to decide whether to undergo a coronavirus test immediately upon arrival or to undergo a 14-day quarantine wherever they are.
Turkey is the third most popular holiday destination for Germans after Spain and Italy. But the chances of spending the holidays in one of the seaside resorts around Antalya this summer are diminishing. The federal government has placed Turkey on the list of risky states and extended the travel warning until August 31.
Turkey has introduced an extra seal of approval for hotels and restaurants, with which businesses are to be identified by the end of July 2000. Hotels must among other things set up their own quarantine wing for tourists who test positive for Covid-19. Health insurance is also available for the equivalent of 23 euros. These can be closed by travelers upon arrival to cover their hospital costs in the event of Covid 19 treatment.
It also applies that people entering Germany from a risk area can expect a 14-day quarantine. However, holidaymakers from Turkey can be exempted from the quarantine regulation if they have a negative corona test that is not older than 48 hours when entering Germany.
All the measures do not seem to convince the tourists yet: The Mediterranean coast around Antalya is still in a deep sleep. The Turkish government is therefore pressing for travel warnings and risk areas to be lifted. Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors for Turkey. According to official figures, more than five million Germans went on vacation there last year.
dpa / ARD (ks / ak)
Gallery: The 10 most popular travel destinations for Germans (dw.com)