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What are the rules for travelling to some of Germany’s favourite holiday destinations? 

What are the rules for travelling to some of Germany’s favourite holiday destinations? 
Tourists enjoy a meal at "Zur Krone" bar in Palma, Mallorca. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Clara Margais
Fancy shaking off a year of lockdowns with a summer holiday? Here are the rules in some of Germany’s favourite holiday destinations so you can prepare before travel.

What are the rules for entering or coming back into Germany?

Germany still has some strict coronavirus measures for those entering the country, but as the nation is considered safe by the majority of its citizens’ favourite holiday destinations, international travel is possible to a number of different regions this summer.

However, if you do go abroad, it’s worth knowing what you might have to expect on your return, so you can make an informed decision about which destination to choose. 

Germany currently has a three-tiered system in place for categorising Covid risk areas, with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) designating countries and regions either a basic ‘risk’ zone, a ‘high incidence’ area or a ‘virus variant area of concern.’ 

Although travel restrictions have been eased in recent days – and the Foreign Office’s blanket travel warning was been dropped on Thursday – health authorities have advised caution due to the growing prevalence of the Delta variant, which is thought to account for around half new infections and Germany at present. 

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How Germany’s latest rules on international travel affect you

Countries currently considered ‘virus variant’ areas include the UK, India, South Africa and, since Monday, Portugal and Russia. This is due to the dominance and rapid spread of the Delta variant in these regions. 

According to Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU),  the highly infectious variant, which was first discovered in India, could also become the most prevalent strain in Germany by the end of July. 

Anyone arriving in Germany by plane – regardless of the risk level of the area they are coming from – must present a negative Covid test, a vaccination certificate or proof of recovery from Covid before their flight. 

Those arriving from any country on the tiered list of risk areas must also fill out a digital entry application on the einreiseanmeldung.de portal.

Travellers from risk areas must stay isolated in their homes for 10 days upon return (though this can be ended prematurely if they can present proof of recovery, a vaccination certificate or a negative test result), while travellers from areas of virus variants of concern must spend a non-negotiable fourteen days in quarantine – though this could be set to change as the proportion of Delta infections rise in Germany as well. 

READ ALSO: Germany could ease travel rules for UK and Portugal soon, says Health Minister

None of this means travel abroad isn’t possible this summer – far from it.

In addition to Germany dropping its travel warnings for most foreign countries on July 1st, a number of tourists hotspots are actively seeking out German visitors through targeted advertising and loosening of travel restrictions for Germans abroad. 

These just happen to include some of the Germans’ favourite holiday destinations across Europe, from the Spanish islands to the Austrian Alps. 

Spain

Spain does not consider Germany a risk country, and is even encouraging German tourism, so you can enter freely. 

However, with Spain’s infection rate having skyrocketed in recent weeks – and now coming in over the threshold for a ‘high incidence’ area, it’s highly likely that the risk status of the country may be set to change, meaning residents of Germany could need to register and even quarantine on their way back to the country.

READ ALSO: Is Germany set to declare the whole of Spain a Covid ‘risk area’?

On the Spanish side, for now at least, everything’s a bit simpler.

Passengers who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 are free to enter Spain from almost any destination. Others may have to provide a negative PCR test if they are traveling from a risk area.

Travellers from Germany do not have to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test, but they do have to fill in the European Union’s Digital Covid Certificate

Passengers arriving in Spain will undergo a health examination which may include having their temperature taken, having their documents checked and a visual assessment of their health. 

The autonomous regions and communities of Andalusia, Ceuta, Catalonia, Cantabria, Navarre, The Basque Country and La Rioja are considered basic risk areas by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). However, the most popular destination for Germans abroad – the island of Mallorca – is currently considered a ‘non-risk’ zone. 

Once in Spain, foreign visitors must wear a mask in all public spaces and on public transport. 

Nightlife has just begun to reopen in most of Spain’s 17 regions, with a general curfew of 3am for bars and nightclubs. 

The Spanish government has also spent eight million Euros on a publicity campaign made to advertise the country as a tourist destination to the German population this year. It is expected that Germany will become the largest source of tourists to Spain this summer.

Italy

Italy is currently not considered a risk area by the Robert Koch Institute. 

Germans can travel to Italy for non-essential reasons under Italian law, such as to visit family or for tourism. However, you will need to show proof of either vaccination or recovery, or a negative antigen test from no more than 48 hours ago will be required. 

Anyone wanting to travel to Italy via any means of transportation must fill out this digital form prior to entering the country. 

There’s good news once you’re there, however, as the last of Italy’s regions has just moved into the country’s ‘white zone’ of coronavirus rules, which is the lowest risk tier.


The historic southern Italian town of Matera. Italy is currently considered a non-risk zone by the Robert Koch Institute. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/AP | Antonio Calanni

In the ‘white’ zone social distancing rules remain in place, meaning that parties and large gatherings are banned, but theme parks, swimming pools and conferences are being allowed to run, and discos and nightclubs are set to reopen in early July. 

Turkey

Turkey is currently classed as a basic risk area by the RKI, but citizens of Germany can enter Turkey almost restriction-free.

Entrants need to prove that they have been vaccinated, recovered from the virus, or have tested negative with either an antigen or PCR test. 

Travellers also need to fill in a form for entry to Turkey. It will be checked at the border and a failure to fill it out may lead to legal and administrative sanctions. 

Restaurants and cafes are also open with a midnight curfew. 

The wearing of masks is mandatory at all times outside the home throughout Turkey, including in parks, gardens, picnic areas, markets, public transport, shops and restaurants. 

However, swimming pools, gyms, football pitches, beauty salons, Turkish baths, cinemas and amusement parks are all open from Monday to Saturday. 

Austria

Austria has three categories of countries subject to different travel restrictions. 

Those in Appendix A, including Germany, are allowed to enter without restriction, but need to comply with the country’s ‘3G’ rule

This rule states that entrants must be able to prove either that they have completed their vaccination cycle, have recently recovered from the virus, or have tested negative for Covid. 

From July 1st in Austria, masks will not be required anywhere other than on public transport and at shops or museums. Restaurants, retail and key cultural sites are open, with a midnight closing time for restaurants.

On the German side, Austria is no longer considered a ‘risk’ zone, meaning you won’t have to register to get into Germany upon your return – though you will still need a negative test or proof of vaccination or recovery.

Greece

Entry to Greece is allowed from all EU and Schengen Area countries without a self-isolation or quarantine period. 

However, you will need to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative PCR certificate from a test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival. 

Travellers arriving in Greece may also undergo a random, mandatory health screening. If selected, you must undergo the test, or you may be refused entry into the country. 

Travellers must also fill in the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) no later than 23.59 of the day before arriving in Greece. 

It is currently mandatory to wear a mask in all indoor public places throughout Greece.

Once in the country, you’ll be able to travel freely to Greek islands and around the mainland. Archaeological sites, museums, beaches, restaurants, cafes and other entertainment venues are all open, although there is a nighttime curfew between 1am to 5.30am. 

As with Austria and Italy, the Robert Koch Institute has scrubbed Greece from the ‘risk’ list, so you won’t have to register to re-enter Germany. 

France

France is currently classed as a basic ‘risk’ zone by the Robert Koch Institute.

Shops, restaurants and museums are open with capacity restrictions. Contact tracing is still active if you sit indoors and face masks are still required in a variety of places, including outdoors. 


Museums in Paris have now reopened. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/AFP | Christophe Archambault

Germany, meanwhile, is still on France’s ‘green’ list. Travellers from France’s green zones can travel for any reason, including non-essential purposes such as tourism. 

In order to enter, you should show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test from the last 72 hours. You will also have to fill in a form promising that you do not have Covid symptoms and have not had contact with anyone who has tested positive for Covid in the past 14 days. 

The form is available here in French and English. 

Croatia

Croatia is currently classed as a basic ‘risk’ zone. 

It is open to all foreign visitors provided they can provide a negative PCR or rapid antigen test, a vaccine certificate or a certificate with proof of recovery. 

However, you can travel to Croatia from a green zone within the EU without any of the above requirements. Germany is currently a green zone, meaning that travellers can get in relatively hassle-free.

All international visitors to Croatia must complete the Croatia Travel Announcement Form

Restrictions have been loosened in Croatia recently, meaning that restaurants, catering facilities, pubs and cafes are free to serve customers indoors and up until 11pm. Public gatherings are also allowed until 11pm. 

Poland

Travelers from the Schengen Area must have proof of a negative antigen or PCR test, or they will be forced to quarantine upon crossing the border into Poland. This covers all modes of transport. 

In Poland, masks are required indoors everywhere, but not in outdoor public spaces. 

Museums, art galleries, nightclubs, cinemas, libraries and outdoor theme parks are open, and concerts are taking place. 

UK

The UK is currently classed as a ‘virus variant area of concern’ by Germany due to its high incidence of the Delta variant – there are over 75,000 known cases currently in the country.

Germany is on the UK’s amber list of countries and territories, meaning that to enter you must take a Covid-19 test, book and pay for day 2 and day 8 Covid-19 travel tests after arrival, complete a passenger locator form, and quarantine for 10 days in your place of residence. This applies even if you have already been vaccinated.

Upon re-entry into Germany from virus variant areas, a 14 day quarantine period is mandatory with no option to end it early. 

In the UK, masks are required indoors apart from when seated, but bars, pubs, restaurants, museums, galleries and nightclubs are open, and a track and trace system is in place. 

READ MORE:

Stay informed ahead of your travels

While the above risk categories were current at the time of writing (July 1st), as we all know, the Covid-19 situation across the globe is changing all the time. 

For that reason, it’s always advisable to take a look at the latest risk categories on the Robert Koch Institute website before travelling, and also update yourself on the latest information about your holiday destination and any rules you may need to follow while there. 


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