Recently, many European countries started opening their doors to visitors from other countries in Europe. For international travelers hoping to visit Europe, however, that option may not be available until mid- or late-summer. Here’s a list of where some of the major European countries stand on reopening.
Austria has some good news and some bad news. The good news is that their economy has reopened and shops and cafes are back in business. The bad news is that traveling there isn’t possible for most people. If you’re a resident of the EU, you can visit Austria and enjoy all the fascinating history the country has to offer. However, if you live in Great Britain, Sweden, Spain, or Portugal, you’ll be required to show a negative COVID-19 test result and will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days. Visitors from outside of the EU are still banned until further notice.
Despite being one of the harder-hit countries in Europe, Belgium began reopening at the start of June. Now, their prime minister has said that the country will reopen for travel to and from all other EU countries (pending agreement by the other countries) on June 15th. Belgium will not be opening its borders for people outside the EU until further notice.
Denmark has been seen as a champion at controlling the coronavirus outbreak. They were one of the first counties to go on lockdown and the first to offer nationwide testing to all its citizens. Because of this, Denmark has seen low death rates from the virus. Starting June 15th, the nation will reopen its borders for tourists from Norway, Germany, and Iceland, and a few weeks later (although, which week has yet to be announced) they will reopen to Sweden and Finland. Outside of those countries, travel is still off-limits.
In a move that has sparked some outrage, Finland has begun reopening its borders to fellow Baltic and Nordic countries, except for Sweden. The countries that will now be able to travel to Finland include Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. However, the two countries that Finland shares a vast majority of its borders with, Sweden and Russia, won’t be allowed entrance.
June 15th is a big day throughout Europe, as this is when most countries have agreed to reopen their borders to other countries in the EU. France has said that they plan to open on the 15th as well, with Macron set to give the formal announcement on the 14th. However, France has already stated that it will be implementing a 14-day quarantine from anyone entering from the UK and Spain. The Louvre, the world’s most-visited museum, will be reopening on July 6th. France remains closed to travelers outside of the EU.
Greece has decided to open up. Previously, the country has stated that on June 15th, many European countries will be allowed to enter, as well as visitors from countries like Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, and South Korea. Since then, Greece has also included the UK to the list (with some very strict rules attached for now.) Greece will be a case study for other counties who are looking to open up international travel. If the country can keep infection rates low, it will be a great sign of a potential tourism recovery.
The stunning city of Florence
Despite being one of the hardest-hit countries in the world, Italy was also one of the first to reopen. The nation opened its borders at the start of June for the EU, plus the UK and Monaco. So far, Italy hasn’t seen a drastic rise in cases, meaning that it could soon be allowing other countries entrance as well.
The Rotterdam skyline
The Netherlands joins much of Europe for the June 15th reopening, however, because of continuing cases in the UK and Sweden, the Netherlands will continue to ban travel from those countries. Most importantly, however, on the 15th, flights can resume between the Netherlands and parts of the former Netherland Antilles, like Bonaire, which have been cut off from their European sister country for months.
Train through the Norwegian forests
Norway remains tightly locked down (most likely due to its proximity to Sweden, which is still seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases.) On June 15th Norway will only open its doors to travelers from Denmark. Norway says it will rethink letting other countries in beginning in August. However, the country currently allows for business travel from select other countries.
Portugal is another one of the few European countries that has declared itself open for business. International flights to Portugal from the US have already begun, and other foreign countries like Canada and the UK are welcome to visit as well. Portugal is also letting EU countries visit, and visitors to Portugal will not have to quarantine.
Downtown street in Madrid
Spain is also among the group of European countries opening to other EU countries on June 15th. This will be exciting news for anyone in Europe looking to soak up some of that world-famous Mediterranean fun and sun.
Drottningholm Palace in Stockholm
Sweden never technically locked down, but it did ban travel. And it will continue to do so. Sweden will continue to allow visitors from the EU, as well as the UK, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. However, it will also continue its travel ban to countries outside that list. Considering Sweden’s high number of COVID-19 cases, it’s doubtful the nation is on many people’s travel radar at the moment.
The Swiss Alps
Switzerland, which has already reopened public spaces like casinos, zoos, pools, theme parks, and more, will join most of Europe on the June 15th reopening, granting access to travelers from the EU and the UK. The nation has also set a sanitation protocol called ‘Clean and Safe’. If a company can follow these cleaning and safety standards, they will be given a logo to post on their business windows to assure visitors of their safety. Switzerland will remain closed to the US until further notice.
London Bridge by night
The UK was hard hit by the pandemic. Boris Johnson was even hospitalized for COVID-19. The spread of the virus continues in the country, and so the government is getting strict. While international travel is allowed, every visitor must quarantine for 14 days upon entering the country. This will likely deter any traveler, seeing as they will be forced to spend their entire trip trapped in a hotel room.
When thinking of travel, it’s important to remember that cities, states, and counties, are constantly amending their rules and revisions as they monitor the pandemic. If you’re planning to travel anywhere, it’s important to research that destination beforehand.
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