Following two years of Covid, Europe as a whole is finally reopening for travel. While some European countries are ahead of others in fully removing curbs, virtually all of them are signalling strict travel rules are a thing of the past. This week, there have been 5 more countries easing entry rules and internal restrictions.
From April onwards, traveling to the popular tourist hotspots of Spain, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and even Germany becomes much easier, as all five of these scrap some of the existing mandates and start aligning themselves with their European partners.
Here, you will find a complete list of the restrictions being lifted in these nations, and whether a further relaxation of measures can be expected:
One of the stricter countries in Europe in terms of Covid management, Spain has been shifting its strategy lately and slowly moving to a phase where the disease is treated as endemic. Now that Covid cases only account for just 3.5% of hospital occupants, and the country remains seemingly unaffected by the new BA.2 variant, more rules are being eased.
While indoor masks will continue being an official requirement over Easter, April 20 will see the long-anticipated lifting of the mask mandate ahead of the busy summer months.
This means tourists will no longer be required to cover their faces when inside restaurants, bars, clubs, museums, and most indoor venues.
Face masks will continue being mandatory in public transportation and certain facilities, including hospitals, though Covid-wary, Spain-bound travelers will be thrilled to know they can again move around maskless across a majority of spaces. As for restrictions at the border, Spain is still reluctant to drop its guard, continuing to require Covid proof of entry.
Similar to other European countries, Croatia has abolished almost all Covid protocols internally, including the mandatory use of face masks indoors and restrictions affecting EU arrivals. Even though it has already been open for tourism during most of the pandemic, traveling to Croatia has just gotten extremely smoother.
Besides the dropping of the mask rule indoors on April 4, Croatian authorities have announced arrivals coming directly from fellow European Union or Schengen states will not be required to present any Covid proof of entry. This means vaccination certificates, recovery letters, and negative test requirements no longer apply to this specific category of travelers.
As for those arriving from outside the European Union, including Americans, Canadians, and Brits traveling from their own countries, they must continue to present at least one of the following:
- A vaccination certificate issued less than 270 days ago;
- Proof of a booster dose, which extends one’s immunization status indefinitely;
- A positive test or recovery letter issued in the previous 180 days, and at least days prior to traveling to Croatia;
- A negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to the border crossing;
- A negative Rapid Antigen test performed within 24 hours of arrival.
The small Eastern Mediterranean nation of Cyprus is also easing some of its entry restrictions from April 18. As announced by Cypriot authorities, their color-coded categorization of countries, which made travel much more challenging from the red-listed United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, will be finally abolished.
In summary, when arriving from any Red List destination, unvaccinated visitors are currently subject to testing, on-arrival testing, and isolation. Although the scrapping of the list is a strong indicator this may change in the near future, it is noted unvaccinated tourists will still be required to present a negative test.
In summary, U.S., Canadian, and British citizens will soon be able to visit Cyprus by presenting either one of these:
- A vaccination certificate issued up to 270 days prior to arrival;
- Proof of a booster dose, which extends the validity of vaccination with no expiry date;
- A negative PCR in under 72 hours;
- A negative Rapid Antigen within 24 hours of arrival.
Recovery certificates do not seem to exempt unvaccinated travelers from testing.
On top of that, as soon as April 11, masks will no longer be required outdoors, allowing visitors to enjoy their sunny breaks in Nissi Beach or Ayia Napa restriction-free. Lastly, Cyprus’ Safe Pass, which ensured entry into certain venues and is usually held by those vaccinated, will also be eliminated on this date.
The Eastern European nation of Bulgaria is joining the others in easing Covid mandates. As of April 1, travelers are no longer required to wear face masks either outdoors, or indoors, and Covid Passes, which are known to restrict entry into cultural venues for the unvaccinated, were also abolished.
At their external borders, Bulgarian authorities have also simplified entry requirements, allowing visitors into the country irrespective of their place of departure, as long as they present a valid Covid certificate.
Previously, those coming from the extinct red list of countries had to jump through more hoops to visit, while Green List arrivals enjoyed unrestricted entry, especially if coming from fellow EU member states.
Now, travelers can choose between the habitual 9-month travel pass, which applies to the fully vaccinated with one or two doses, a booster dose, which extends the pass indefinitely, or proof of recovery and/or negative tests, much like Croatia and Cyprus.
A favorite among Americans, Germany is also easing several restrictions starting April 4. From this date, travelers are no longer required to present Covid certificates when entering restaurants, museums, shopping centers, or other cultural venues and public spaces where the requirement applied, with the exception of public transportation and healthcare facilities.
Besides bringing an end to the vaccination mandate, the German Government also eased mask requirements across the country, though individual German states, as well as private venues, may enforce different rules. In general, masks are no longer necessary, either indoors or outdoors, though travelers are advised to check specific local regulations in place.
Despite its relaxation of internal rules, Germany is yet to follow Poland, Denmark, Slovakia, and Latvia in returning to pre-pandemic entry rules. Currently, only those with a valid vaccination pass, as established by the European Union, a negative test, or recovery certificate are allowed to enter Germany from outside the EU and the wider Schengen Area.
As pandemic trends change across Europe, travelers should continue monitoring the news closely, especially in the months preceding summer. When flying abroad, they are also strongly advised to purchase health insurance covering Covid treatment costs and quarantine in case they test positive and/or develop symptoms while traveling.
Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com