The European Union spent decades getting rid of its borders. Coronavirus brought them back.
When the pandemic first washed across the bloc in early 2020, panicky countries restored border controls; people and trucks transporting everything from car parts to cabbages spent days in huge lines waiting to cross frontiers.
Most air travel ended. Over the last year, as COVID-19 vaccines have become available, those barriers have been lowered — but they haven’t entirely gone away.
Instead of a seamless travel zone from Finland to Portugal, the EU is very much a cacophony of independent nations. Travel rules that apply in Estonia aren’t the same in Cyprus.
Whilst many European countries have scrapped travel restrictions relating to Covid-19 there are some countries where it is still mandatory to test and come equipped with Covid-19 vaccination or recovery certificates.
The last 7 European countries with travel restrictions in place.
Estonia—arrivals from outside the EU/EEA need to show proof of vaccination status, a recovery certificate or a negative test result or they must isolate for 7 days.
Finland—only fully-vaccinated individuals can visit Finland, which includes having had a booster shot within 270 days of the second jab. Unvaccinated travelers are not allowed for non-essential travel. These rules might be dropped at the end of June.
France—whilst France has relaxed many of its travel restrictions, it does have different rules for whether someone is vaccinated or not and depending on the country from which they are traveling.
Most countries are listed green, from which people can travel for non-essential travel and fully vaccinated travelers can enter without testing requirements.
Malta—as of 6 June, there are no mandatory quarantine requirements but anyone arriving in the country must be in possession of either a vaccination certificate, a recovery document or a negative Covid-19 test result.
Netherlands—there is an entry ban still in place for all travelers arriving from outside the EU/Schengen area into the Netherlands, except for those who can prove they are vaccinated or can show a recovery certificate.
Portugal—anyone traveling to mainland Portugal would need either proof of vaccination, recovery status or a negative test result. However, Madeira and Azores have lifted all their restrictions, regardless of vaccination status.
Spain—the country recently dropped the requirement for travelers coming from inside the EU/Schengen area to show documentation relating to their Covid-19 status.
However, from outside the EU/EEA region, travelers must show proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test result—either PCR taken within 72 hours or antigen taken within 48 hours.
Despite these remaining 7 nations, Europe is very ‘open’
Most of Europe, especially around the Balkans, is now totally open and free of all covid-related entry requirements. In fact, Eastern Europe is currently the most restriction-free area of the world.
When will countries like France, Spain, and Portugal join the rest of Europe? Some experts suggest they will also remove barriers this summer, but as the season has already started and entry rules still apply, it’s hard to tell what those nations might be thinking.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories