Travel restrictions in the EU lifted as of 15th of June

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As of 15th of June, most of the travel restrictions in Europe have been lifted. Passengers are now able to visit 27 European countries, excluding the countries where the travel warning is still in force - Norway, Finland, Sweden and Spain. On the website of the Federal Foreign Office it is also urgently advised against travelling to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta. The reason for this recommendation is that in these three countries a two-week quarantine is still required after entry. Among the 27 “authorized” European countries are some of the main holiday destinations of Germans such as Italy, Austria, Greece, France and Croatia. In the meantime, the last border controls of Germany's neighboring countries have also been abolished. Non-EU members such as Serbia, Albania, Iceland and Georgia now plan on lifting the existing entry restrictions as well. As a result, travel in Europe is slowly, but not yet fully, going back to normal in time for the holiday season. After approximately three months of strict rules and travel constraints, the travel warning in a large part of Europe has been revoked, giving the starting signal to EU citizens for their summer holidays.

COVID-19 related travel warning (graphic). Source: German Federal Foreign Office

Can I travel to Spain?

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic situation, there is still a travel entry ban to Spain. This means that the pandemic is still not under control and the government does not believe it is safe enough to travel. Initially, government officials agreed on opening the borders as of 1st of July, but now have preferably moved the date to the 21st of June (Sunday). This decision has been taken as a measure to start the summer holiday season in Spain earlier and help the declining economy. Beaches and hotels should no longer remain empty because the tourism sector normally accounts for 12% of Spain’s gross domestic product. During this crisis, Spain has so far suffered a significant quarterly contraction, the biggest one on record since the 1970s.

Starting from 21st of June, it is believed that tourists will be allowed to enter Spain and of course to visit Germany’s number one travel destination – Mallorca. Local businesses and authorities are working hard to make Mallorca as safe as possible for visitors this summer and are preparing to welcome travelers soon. As of the 8th of June, restaurants, bars and beach clubs are welcoming visitors both into their indoor and outdoor spaces at half of their usual capacity. However, it is still not sure how the party resort in Mallorca will function as large gatherings of people are still prohibited. It was announced that nightclubs and other public spaces will be open and events will be celebrated with a reduced volume of people while safety and hygiene measures remain in place.

Summer holiday by the sea despite Corona. Source: Adobe Stock

Can I travel to Turkey?

There are passionate debates regarding the opening of Turkey’s borders. The European Union suggests that the borders remain closed and travelers do not visit Turkey until the end of August. However, the Turkish government and President Erdogan do not react positively to the recommendations and would much rather lift the entry ban as soon as possible. Similar to Spain, Turkey also heavily relies on tourism, as it ranks sixth globally in tourist arrivals and tourism accounts for 12% of its economy. In order to speed up the lifting of restrictions, Turkey is working on a “healthy tourism certification” system. This system includes severe checks on airlines, local transport and hotels. Trains and buses are operating at 50% capacity. A curfew remains in place for people suffering from a chronic medical condition and people over the age of 65 and under the age of 20. Citizens and tourists need to wear protective face masks in the public transport, supermarkets, pharmacies and other public places.

Another factor that might affect your trip to Turkey is that upon entry from abroad, you either need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or you will be tested at the airport. Even if you do not show any symptoms, a 14-day self-quarantine is still required. Travelers that do exhibit symptoms such as e.g. fever will be subject to public health requirements, which may include mandatory hospital stay and/or testing that results in hospital quarantine. You should consider whether you feel safe enough to travel and keep in mind that Turkey is not a member of the European Union. Therefore, rules and regulations that apply differ across countries.

Summary of the most important points

  • You can travel to 27 European countries - Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Greece, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Republic of Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
  • Norway, Finland, Sweden and Spain still have a travel warning in place.
  • The Federal Foreign Office advises against travelling to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta due to their 14-day quarantine.
  • It is planned that Spain opens its borders on the 21st of June (Sunday).
  • The European Union advices that trips to Turkey should not be considered before the end of August

Top image: Adobe Stock

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