As European countries begin lifting COVID-19 restrictions, many people across the continent have begun thinking about whether they can have a holiday this summer.
But where can you access and what is still off-limits?
There is a mixed picture across Europe, with the usually easy travel across the Schengen Area restricted.
Almost every country has its own rules in place and its own timetable for reopening to tourists, both from its EU neighbours and further afield.
If you’re intending on coming to the EU for a holiday it’s worth knowing the bloc’s external borders are set to be closed until at least July 1. But that only applies if you’re a non-EU citizen coming from a non-EU country.
The EU Commission has called for the reopening of the bloc’s internal borders by June 15.
But it’s all changing quickly, so here’s our updated guide to the border situation in Europe this summer.
Austria opened its land borders with Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic on 4 June.
The country will reopen its border with Italy from 16 June, but a travel warning will be issued for the region of Lombardy. There will be no restrictions with most European Union countries.
People arriving in Austria “from any other country” however must produce a medical certificate proving a negative COVID-19 test. The certificate cannot be more than four days’ old.
Entry by air is prohibited to citizens coming from countries outside the Schengen Area.
Belgium’s borders are closed and the country has banned non-essential travel abroad.
The government has announced plans to reopen the border to citizens from the EU, the UK and the four other Schengen countries (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway) from June 15.
“The conditions for travel outside of Europe have yet to be defined in light of the evolution of discussions at European level”, the government said on June 3.
The country further eased lockdown on June 8, however many restrictions, in particular for the hospitality and culture industries, remain in place until July 1.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The border is only currently open to citizens of neighbouring Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia – other foreign arrivals are not permitted. There are some exceptions to this, such as for freight driver, residents and diplomats.
Bulgaria opened borders on June 1 to EU, UK, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican, Serbia and North Macedonia citizens, as well as to medical workers and family members of Bulgarian citizens, as listed on the government website.
Croatia will reopen its borders to all EU citizens, including from the UK, on June 15, with no obligation to quarantine.
Croatia opened its borders in mid-May without restriction to nationals from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Germany and Slovakia.
Other visitors from the EU/EEA, and the UK, could also visit from May 11, though restrictions were in place, including quarantine and proof of accommodation.
Cyprus resumes tourism travel on June 9 and will do so in two different phases, after closing borders for almost three months.
The country will also cover health costs in case of coronavirus contamination occurring on the Mediterranean island.
A first reopening took place on June 9 for passengers coming from Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia and Lithuania, but they will have to obtain a health certificate proving they are virus-free. This document will have to be no older than three days.
On June 20, passengers from Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia and the Czech Republic will be allowed in.
The passengers from this group of countries will have to obtain health certificates while those from the first group will no longer have to.
These lists exclude the country’s two main tourism markets, Britain and Russia.
However, flights from Britain could restart in mid-July, and a few weeks later from Russia.
US, France, Spain, and Italy remain excluded too until further notice.
Borders with Austria and Germany reopened on June 5, 10 days earlier than expected. From May 27, the country opened its frontier with Slovakia and Hungary, but with restrictions.
The other EU countries have been divided into coloured groups dependent on risk: green, orange, and red.
From June 15, Czech residents and EU citizens from green countries — eastern and Baltic member states, Finland and Norway — will be able to travel to and from the country without any requirements.
Those from the yellow group, which includes France, Italy, and Spain, will be required to have a valid health certification to enter.
Test and quarantine conditions will apply for people entering from the UK and Sweden — the two red nations in Europe.
Borders are closed for foreign travellers. Only citizens or residents of Denmark, Greenland or Faroe Islands can currently enter, or those with a “worthy purpose”.
Since May 25 people with a permanent residence in one of the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) or Germany have been allowed to re-enter if they are in a relationship with someone in Denmark, have grandparents there, or if they have a business trip.
From June 15, Copenhagen will open its borders to tourists from Germany, Iceland and Norway. They will need to show documentation of a valid booking upon arrival and must stay a minimum of six nights in accommodations outside the capital.
As of June 8, other EU nationals, as well as UK nationals, are not allowed to enter Denmark until the end of summer.
Opened borders to Baltic neighbours on May 15 and to the rest of the EU, the Schengen area, and the UK on June 1.
“Travel documents and medical symptoms are checked” at points of entry, the Foreign Ministry has said.
Those coming from countries with a high infection rate will have to self-isolate for two weeks.
Finland plans to allow travellers from Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from June 15 and recommends against unnecessary travel to other countries. People travelling from these countries also will not need to quarantine.
Finland will continue to have border checks with Sweden though the “the aim is to enable unrestricted travel from Sweden to Finland as quickly as the disease situation allows,” Finland’s interior ministry said in a statement.
Travel for work purposes is possible from EU countries as well as for residents or family purposes.
The interior ministry said borders with non-EU countries will remain closed until at least July 14.
Travellers from EU member states as well as Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, and the Vatican will be allowed to visit the county from June 15 without a health certificate or any form of quarantine upon arrival except passengers from Spain and the UK who will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
This is “in reciprocity” to current regulations in place in both countries, France’ Foreign Affairs Ministry has explained.
President Emmanuel Macron has also announced that international borders with countries outside the EU “where the epidemic has been controlled” will reopen on July 1.
On June 15, Germany is expected to lift border restrictions for travellers coming from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and the United Kingdom.
Germany, however, decided to extend until August 31 its warnings on travelling outside the EU.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry published on Sunday, May 31, its plan for reopening borders, which entails three different phases.
Phase 1 (present-June 15)
Only a limited number of international flights are allowed to land in Athens.
All arriving passengers must be tested and stay overnight at a designated hotel.
In case of a negative test, passengers have to quarantine for 7 days.
If the test is positive, they need to quarantine “under supervision” for 14 days.
Phase 2 (June 15-June 30)
From June 15, tourism travel resumes, and international flights will land not just in Athens but in Thessaloniki too.
However, some passengers will have to undergo mandatory testing upon arrival.
Those coming from any of these airports listed by the European Aviation Safety Agency, will have to get tested on arrival, then go to to a designated hotel and quarantine for 7 days if the test is negative, and for 14 days if the test is positive.
All other passengers, including all travellers coming from Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Finland – will be subject to random tests and no further restrictions.
In addition, land arrivals from Albania, North Macedonia and Bulgaria will be allowed in the country.
Those travellers will be subject to random tests upon arrival.
Phase 3 (July 1-onwards)
International flights will be allowed into all airports in Greece and all travellers subject to random tests upon arrival.
“Additional restrictions regarding certain countries will be announced at a later date”, the Foreign Ministry says.
Arrivals by sea will also be allowed on July 1, with travellers subject to random testing.
Hungary opened its border with Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Serbia on June 12 without the need for going into quarantine.
Iceland is set to reopen to EU and UK travellers on June 15.
Tourists will be tested upon arrival. A few hours later, they will get the result on their phone, after downloading a tracking app.
The test, free for a period of two weeks, will cost 15,000 Icelandic Krona (€100) from July 1. Children born in or after 2005 will be exempt.
Authorities are yet to clear procedures for those who test positive.
The Irish health authorities currently require anyone coming into Ireland, except from Northern Ireland, to self-isolate for 14 days, upon arrival, including Irish residents.
Arrivals have to complete a passenger locator form, although exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.
Italy opened its borders on June 3 to EU, UK, Schengen area, Andorra and Monaco citizens, following the nationwide lockdown which came into force on March 9. Borders also opened with Vatican City and San Marino on this date.
Travellers coming from the above countries don’t have to undergo quarantine unless they have been in any other country in the 14 days before reaching Italy.
The government dismissed any possible attempt to apply different confinement rules in different regions as “unconstitutional” following spats between local governors.
Therefore, the same confinement rules will apply in the same way to all regions.
The country entered lockdown “phase 2” on May 18, allowing restaurants, bars, hotels and cafe to reopen, however, restrictions could be restored at any time if the epidemiological situation worsens.
Cruises on Italian ships are currently suspended.
Opened its borders to Baltic neighbours Estonia and Lithuania on May 15. Since June 1, there have been no border checks with Lithuania.
From June 3, residents of EU and EEA countries, as well as Switzerland, have also been able to enter the country without being submitted to a 14-day quarantine if the country they travelled from has a 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases not exceeding 15 per 100,000 population.
Lithuania has opened its borders to citizens from the following countries: France, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, Finland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Malta, Austria, Norway, Bulgaria, Latvia, Cyprus, Hungary, Switzerland, Iceland, Greece, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Liechtenstein.
Travellers from Ireland and Belgium have to self-isolate for 14 days, while citizens of the UK, Portugal and Sweden are banned.
Luxembourg’s border with Germany reopened on May 15.
Malta’s Tourism Ministry announced on May 31, that it will reopen tourism travel on July 1.
Borders will reopen to travellers from Germany, Austria, Cyprus, Switzerland, the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia, Iceland, Slovakia, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Israel, Latvia, Estonia, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic.
More countries “will be announced in due course, once clearance from the health authorities is received.”
Malta was the first country in Europe to ban flights from Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland, on March 10.
Entry to Montenegro is allowed without quarantine, so long as you are coming from a country with a rate of transmission less than 25 per 100,000 inhabitants.
The Montenegro government is keeping an up to date list of countries where people are allowed to enter from.
Tourists from “a number of EU countries” will be allowed to visit the Netherlands from June 15, provided they come from a country “where the health risks are similar to or lower than in the Netherlands”.
They will be asked to strictly “follow Dutch advice and rules to combat COVID-19”, like standing 1.5 metres away from each other, washing hands and avoiding to shake hands.
Travellers from outside the EU or Schengen are, even those with pre-existing visas, will continue to be refused entry for now.
More information can be found on the Dutch Government website.
Norway has closed its borders and only travellers for fellow Nordic countries — Denmark, Iceland, and Finland — will be able to return on June 15.
Sweden was excluded from the measure.
The government is to decide by July 20 whether travellers from other nearby countries can visit but the ministry of foreign affairs is, for now, advising against all non-essential international travel into the country until August 20.
Norway currently has a 10-day quarantine for those returning from international travel.
Borders reopened for EU nationals on June 13 with no quarantine condition. Restrictions on international flights from the bloc are to be lifted on June 16.
Workers and supplies are being allowed across Portugal’s land border with Spain, but it is closed to tourists until at least June 15.
Border controls have been in place since March 16. There is currently no requirement for arrivals to go into quarantine, except in The Azores.
Eduardo Cabrita, Portugal’s minister for internal administration, said no decision had been made on when to lift the restrictions.
On June 8, Russia said it will partially reopen its borders as the country eases coronavirus restrictions.
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that traveling abroad for work, medical or studying purposes will be allowed, as well as for taking care of relatives.
He also said Russia will let in foreigners seeking medical treatment or taking care of family members.
But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters there is “no set date” yet for resuming international flights, which were halted in late March.
Romania has reopened its border with Hungary.
The borders are open.
Slovakia reopened its borders to Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland on June 10.
The country’s borders to Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic were opened a few days earlier, on June 5.
Slovenia reopened borders to citizens coming from 17 countries on May 15, including neighbouring countries such as Austria, Croatia and Hungary. Montenegro and Italy are added to this list from June 15. Anyone entering from a country with high levels of COVID-19 will have to quarantine for 14 day. Click here for the list of restricted countries.
Spain plans to open its border to Schengen area countries on June 22. Portugal is an exception to this, and the border with Portugal is set to reopen on July 1.
Currently, only Spanish citizens, residents of Spain (who must prove their habitual residence), cross-border workers, health or elderly care professionals and people who can prove force majeure or a situation of need, are allowed to enter the country via Spanish ports and airports. The exceptions also include diplomatic personnel and everything related to the transport of goods in order to avoid shortages.
Borders with France and Portugal have been closed since March 17, allowing access only to Spanish citizens, people residing in Spain, cross-border workers and those who can provide documentary proof of necessity. None of the regulations are applicable to Andorra or Gibraltar.
Currently, people who enter the national territory from abroad must stay in quarantine for 14 days after their arrival.
Sweden has introduced border restrictions but it only applies to non-essential travel from countries outside the EU/EEA, except the UK and Switzerland.
That restriction came into effect on March 19 and has been extended until June 15.
Switzerland, who brought in border controls on March 13, will reopen borders to all EU countries, the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein on June 15, instead of July 6 as previously planned.
Any foreign nationals who currently try to enter Switzerland without a valid residence or work permit will be refused entry.
Air passengers from abroad are currently only able to enter the country through the airports at Zurich, Geneva and Basel.
The Swiss authorities have not imposed any quarantine measures on persons entering the country. However, you must comply with the government’s hygiene and social distancing rules.
Turkey has opened its border to foreign travellers, except for the land border with Iran. Arrivals may have to go through health checks.
Borders are currently open. Since June 8, visitors from abroad are required to quarantine for 14 days. Those exempt from these measures include people travelling from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
As in other countries, certain professions are exempt from these rules, such as healthcare workers travelling to deliver healthcare in the country. Upon arrival, those who are required to self-isolate need to provide their journey and contact details.
The government says these measures will be reviewed every three weeks.