A safe travel corridor between the UAE and Greece has opened for fully vaccinated travellers to move between the two countries.
Under the agreement, passengers holding vaccination certificates issued by health authorities can travel to Greece from today without having to quarantine on arrival. From May 18, the same rule will apply for travellers flying from Greece to the UAE.
Travellers still need to abide by Covid-19 precautionary measures in place in both destinations.
The agreement is the fourth one signed by the UAE in May, after safe corridor travel plans were also established with Bahrain, Serbia and the Seychelles.
Who can travel to Greece?
Greece is restarting its tourism season and travellers from many destinations can now fly to the country.
The country is welcoming visitors from EU and Schengen countries as well as from several other destinations. These include visitors from the US, the UK, Serbia, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, Singapore, the UAE, Russia and Israel.
Do I need to quarantine in Greece?
Travellers who can prove they are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 or who present a negative Covid-19 test certificate will no longer need to self-isolate when landing in Greece. The new safe travel corridor also means that vaccinated travellers flying from Greece to the UAE can travel quarantine free. More information on Greece's reopening plans and precautions can be found here.
What do I need to do before flying to Greece?
All travellers flying to Greece must fill in a Passenger Locator Form at least 24 hours before entering the country. This must include the address that travellers will stay at when in Greece. If you're planning to visit multiple destinations, you must complete accurate address information for at least the first 24 hours of your visit. Passengers will receive confirmation that they have completed the form on time, inclusive of a QR code that must be presented when checking in for flights.
Travellers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will not need to take a PCR test to fly to Greece unless the airline requests it. However, travellers must have documentation proving that they have completed the vaccination process at least 14 days prior to arrival in Greece.
Other travellers can show a negative Covid-19 test result for a test taken no more than 72 hours before arriving in Greece in order to travel to the country. Children under five are exempt from testing.
Which airlines are flying to Greece from the UAE?
From the UAE, you can fly direct to the Greek capital in just over five hours. Emirates offers flights from Dubai with fares starting from Dh2,595. From Abu Dhabi, Etihad will get you to Athens for Dh1,768. Aegean Airlines, the national airline of Greece, and Wizz Air also fly between the two capitals.
If you want to venture to Santorini, Milos, Kos, Mykonos or one of the countless other Greek islands, there are several options for domestic flights from Athens and ferry crossings are also available to some destinations. Gulf Air can get you to Santorini with one-stop in Bahrain.
What rules are in place at the airport?
Travellers visiting Greece under the UAE-Greece quarantine-free travel corridor will need to show proof that they have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
"Citizens and residents wishing to benefit from the quarantine-free travel corridor in both countries will be required to show documentation that they have received the last dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in accordance with the approved applications or certificates issued by health authorities. Travellers can also present PCR laboratory test results through these applications," said a statement from the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
All international arrivals will be subject to random health checks in Greece, which can include a rapid Covid-19 antigen test. Anyone who tests positive will be transported to a quarantine hotel, paid for by the Greek government, where they will take a Covid-19 PCR test to confirm the results. For travellers who test positive again, they will remain in quarantine for at least 10 days.
Which parts of Greece can I visit?
Greece is fully reopening to visitors so you can take your pick of where you want to go. Domestic flights and ferry crossings are also reopening to tourists to make getting around the country easier.
From the historic capital of Athens and the familiar islands of Santorini and Mykonos to more off-the-beaten-path spots like Kefallonia or Milos, Greece has something for everyone.
With beaches and coastlines, fishing villages, ancient archaeological sites and old fortified towns, Greece offers countless options for a Mediterranean holiday, with delicious Greek food a staple no matter where you choose to go.
Where should I stay in Greece?
Greece's accommodation portfolio is varied with everything from tiny budget-friendly guesthouses to sprawling luxury private villas. This year, several new hotels have opened and some of the country's favourite abodes have relaunched with new offerings.
Omma Santorini will reopen in May for travellers headed to the island known for its sugar-cube style buildings overlooking the Aegean Sea. The newly opened Santorini Sky is another good choice, with full-service villas featuring private plunge pools and coastal views.
Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort in Mykonos, will reopen in May. The Marriott property has announced it will be home to Mykonos Social, the first Mediterranean restaurant from celebrity chef Jason Atherton.
Towering above the mainland, Amanzoe offers a villa stay that merges the colonial grandeur of classical Greek architecture with modern amenities and complete privacy. Eco-minded travellers can try the Aristi Mountain Resort in Zagori, part of the newly launched Beyond Green collection that features luxury hotels around the world that exemplify sustainability in action.
For secluded luxury, Ultima Corfu offers a stunning private villa perched on a hillside overlooking the Ionian Sea. It has reopened for single-group bookings and offers seven bedrooms, two infinity pools and a personal concierge service.
Those travelling with children may consider a stay at the newly opened MarBella Elix near Praga - a largely undiscovered region of mainland Greece. The hotel has both children and teens adventure clubs that encourage younger guests to get outdoors and explore the natural beauty of the country.
What restrictions are in place in Greece?
Face masks are mandatory in open air spaces as well as in buildings, including on public transport, and fines are applicable to anyone not wearing a mask. The country's night-time curfew has been pushed back and will be in operation from 12.30am until 5am from May 14.
Archaeological sites and museums are open, but with caps on visitor numbers. Beaches have also reopened with social distancing measures. From May 21, open-air cinemas will reopen with a capacity of 75 per cent, and from May 28, live events including theatre, concerts and dance performances can restart in open-air venues at half capacity.
What do I need to do when flying to the UAE from Greece?
Greece has not been added to Abu Dhabi's Green List of destinations from where travellers can fly without the need for quarantine. However, the establishment of a vaccine corridor between Greece and the UAE means no quarantine will be required for travellers flying into any airport in the UAE.
Travellers will need a negative PCR test to fly back to the UAE and those staying in Abu Dhabi must follow the most up-to-date PCR testing requirements for the emirate.