Gatwick and Heathrow: New travel rules for Greece, Spain, Italy and more ahead of summer holidays


The summer holidays are coming around fast, which means the chance to book a holiday away somewhere hot with the kids. But for many families it may be the first time they have been away since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago.

The spread of Covid grounded flights all over the world and essentially stopped people from going on holiday. Countries tightened up their borders and once vaccines had been introduced, travellers could often only enter if they showed proof of being vaccinated.

Since then, however, many countries have begun to relax their entry requirements, making it much easier for holidaymakers to travel abroad. The UK scrapped all its Covid travel rules in March meaning no one entering the country has to take a pre-departure test or fill out a passenger locator form.

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So if you’ve decided to book a relaxing summer holiday with the family, below is SurreyLive’s quick guide to five popular holiday destinations for Brits with each county’s current entry requirement rules.

Spain

You must show valid proof of one of the following when travelling to the country for a holiday:

  • Fully vaccinated – your vaccination status must meet the Spanish authorities’ validity period requirements.

  • Negative Covid test – shown either through taking a PCR taken within 72 hours prior to departure, or an antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to departure.

  • Recovery from Covid in the last six months – you can also use a medical certificate or recovery record to prove your Covid status on entry to Spain.

Children under 12 years old do not need to:

  • Complete an online Health Control Form before travel.
  • Show proof of being fully vaccinated or take a diagnostic test prior to arrival.
  • Show proof of having recovered from prior COVID-19 infection in the last six months.

Image of people on a beach in Ibiza
Make sure you check a country’s entry rules before jetting off on holiday.

Turkey

The country lifted all Covid entry requirement rules as of June 1. The UK government stated: “All Covid-19 restrictions in Turkey have been lifted, and passengers arriving in Turkey are no longer required to present proof of vaccination or negative PCR test results.

However, Covid-19 entry requirements may change at short notice, you should check the specifics with your airline before you travel.” Before June, travellers needed to show a vaccination certificate prior to entering Turkey or, if not, show proof of a negative Covid test result.

France

Travellers from the UK aged 12 and over must provide proof of vaccination – proof such as the NHS Covid Pass will be accepted.

If you are not fully vaccinated then you must show a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours or an antigen test result taken within 48 hours before departing. For travellers aged 18 and over, France will recognise you as “vaccinated” for entry purposes if you completed your initial vaccine course within the last nine months.

If more than nine months have elapsed since your initial course, and you have not since received a booster, you will be considered unvaccinated. All children under 12 are exempt from entry restrictions.

Greece

Image of Mykonos Old Town in Greece
Some countries still require proof of vaccination before entering.

Despite the Greek authorities leaving Brit holidaymakers slightly baffled with a series of U-turns on its entry requirements, passengers arriving in Greece do not need to show a proof of Covid vaccination, a negative Covid test, or a certificate of recovery from Covid. You do not need to complete a passenger locator form as you previously did before entering the country.

The UK government notes, however, that precise rules are subject to change and you should follow any instructions given on arrival at immigration or airport testing facilities.

Italy

As of June 1, all Covid restrictions on entering Italy have been lifted. The country does not require any proof of vaccination, a negative test result, or a Covid recovery certificate to enter the country, regardless of your vaccination status.

Passenger locator forms previously required to enter or travel through Italy as a visitor have also been scrapped. However, all passengers entering the country by plane, ferry, train or coach must wear an FFP2 mask in order to enter the country.

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