Can I travel to Spain and Greece and what are the Covid-19 restrictions for tourists?

Rising coronavirus cases in both countries have led to stricter safety guidelines and new curfews

New restrictions have been introduced in Greece. Cristina Gottardi / Unsplash
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Although both Greece and Spain are open to international visitors, a rise in Covid-19 cases in both countries in recent weeks has resulted in authorities imposing stricter safety measures to try to curb the spread of the virus.

Here's what you need to know if you are planning a visit to either country this summer.


Greece reopened its borders to tourists on May 14, just in time for the summer season, and is already experiencing an influx of visitors.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 infections have also surged since late June, with authorities blaming carelessness at bars and restaurants, as well as the spread of the highly infectious delta variant. In response, the government has introduced new restrictions that will apply across the country, including the islands and other popular tourist destinations.

"The aim is for the end of the pandemic not to become a prelude to a new ordeal in the fall," said Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the country’s prime minister. "Therefore, starting today and quickly, we can close the last chapter of the health crisis."

Among the new restrictions expected to impact visitors to the country is a rule only allowing people who have been vaccinated into indoor spaces. “From Friday and until the end of August, all indoor areas, nightclubs and bars, cinemas and theatres, will be open exclusively with an increased, but predetermined, number of visitors who are vaccinated,” said Mitsotakis. “The digital application that will easily certify if the person has been vaccinated will also be in service. This is a practice already followed by countries such as Denmark, Germany, Austria and Luxembourg.”

UAE travellers arriving in Greece are currently required to present either a negative PCR test, taken no more than 72 hours before arrival, or a negative antigen certificate taken no more than 48 hours before arrival.

The UAE and Greece have established a travel corridor, meaning fully vaccinated travellers, including those with the Sinopharm vaccine, do not have to present a PCR test, as long as their second jab was taken at least 14 days prior to arrival. Travellers will also not need to quarantine when returning to Abu Dhabi.

All visitors must fill in a Passenger Locator Form at least one day before travelling and may be subject to random testing at the airport.


New restrictions have been put in place in the Spanish province of Valencia. Unsplash

After a rapid rise in cases over the last few weeks, the Spanish tourist spots of Catalonia and Valencia have implemented new restrictions. In Catalonia, all public activities will now end at 12.30am, and people cannot congregate in groups of more than 10, either in public or private spaces. Eating and drinking in public areas will also be banned.

"We are still in a situation where we have to reduce risks,” Spain’s health emergency chief Fernando Simon said on Monday, dubbing the situation in Catalonia as “really dramatic”.

In the province of Valencia, a 1am to 6am curfew has been restored in 32 towns. Social gatherings of more than 10 people are also banned.

Spain has reopened its borders to vaccinated UAE travellers, and recognises the Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines. Travellers must present a vaccination certificate proving their final dose was administered at least 14 days prior to travel. All visitors are required to fill in a Health Control Form and obtain a QR code that must be presented on arrival in Spain.

Spain is on Abu Dhabi’s Green List, meaning travellers do not need to quarantine upon their return to the UAE capital.

Updated: July 15, 2021, 11:04 AM