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A Country-by-country Guide to COVID-19 Entry Requirements in Europe

Everything you need to know for a safe and healthy trip to Europe.

eastern europe travel restrictions

When the COVID-19 pandemic first spread around the world, many countries shut their borders. In the years since, countries have opened, welcoming tourists with different vaccination or testing rules in place. 

But many countries in Europe have since dropped travel-related restrictions, reverting back to pre-pandemic times and making it easier than ever to plan a trip. 

Here, we've outlined every country in Europe and its current reopening status, including entry any requirements foreign travelers need to know.

Albania does not require U.S. travelers to show any COVID-19-related documents or tests, according to the U.S. Embassy in Albania .

To get to Andorra, visitors need to go through France or Spain, and therefore abide by the rules and regulations for those individual countries. Beyond that, there are no further entry requirements for coming to Andorra, according to the Andorra tourism site .

Austria is open to travel and there are no vaccination or testing requirements in place, according to the country’s official tourism site . In Vienna, masks must be worn on public transportation. 

Belgium welcomes travelers from the U.S. and does not require them to show proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test, according to the U.S. Embassy in Belgium . 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomes U.S. travelers without any COVID-19-related travel restrictions, according to the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina .

Bulgaria welcomes U.S. travelers without any COVID-19-related travel restrictions, according to the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria . 

Croatia welcomes U.S. travelers without any COVID-19-related travel restrictions, according to the Croatian National Tourist Board .

Cyprus has eliminated all COVID-19-related entry restrictions, according to the Deputy Ministry of Tourism . Masks remain mandatory on public transportation. 

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has eliminated all COVID-19-related entry restrictions, according to the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic .

Denmark eliminated all of its COVID-19 entry and internal restrictions, according to the government’s COVID-19 website .

Estonia has eliminated all COVID-19-related rules, according to the government .

Finland has lifted all COVID-19-related entry rules, according to the Finnish government .

France has lifted all pandemic-related entry rules, according to the French government .

There are no longer any COVID-19-related entry rules for travel to Germany, according to the German Missions in the United States .

Greece has lifted all pandemic-era travel rules, according to the government . Greece has an optional Passenger Locator Form travelers can choose to fill out.

Hungary has lifted all COVID-19-related entry rules, according to the Hungarian Police .

Iceland welcomes travelers without any pandemic-era entry rules in place, according to Iceland’s COVID-19 website .

Ireland has removed all COVID-19-related entry rules for travel, according to the government .

Italy has lifted all COVID-19-related travel rules, according to the country's National Tourist Board .

Travelers entering Kosovo are not required to show proof of vaccination, according to the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo , but the embassy recommends travelers bring such proof. The country also doesn’t require pre-arrival testing, but the embassy said some airlines may.

Access to public institutions, malls, and indoor dining inside does require proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test for customers over 16.

Latvia has lifted all COVID-19-related travel rules, according to the Latvian tourism board .

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein, a landlocked country, is accessible through Switzerland or Austria. Switzerland handles all immigration for Liechtenstein. COVID-19-related travel restrictions have been lifted in Liechtenstein, according to the European Union .

Lithuania no longer requires any pre-arrival testing or proof of vaccination to visit, according to the national tourism development agency .

Luxembourg welcomes travelers from all countries, regardless of their vaccination status, according to the U.S. Embassy in Luxembourg . Travelers do not need any pre-arrival COVID-19 tests.

Malta has eliminated all pandemic-related travel restrictions, according to the Malta Tourism Authority .

Moldova does not have any COVID-19-related entry restrictions in place for U.S. travelers, according to the U.S. Embassy in Moldova .

To get to Monaco, most visitors must travel through France. Monaco does not have any pandemic-related travel restrictions in place, according to the government .

Montenegro does not have any COVID-19-related entry rules in place, according to the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro . Face masks are required on public transportation, according to the country’s government .

Netherlands

The Netherlands has lifted COVID-19-related entry rules, according to the government .

North Macedonia

North Macedonia is open to American travelers who are not required to undergo any COVID-related entry requirements, according to the U.S. Embassy in North Macedonia .

Norway has discontinued all COVID-19-related entry restrictions, including pre-arrival testing, according to the government . 

Poland has lifted all pandemic-era entry rules, including for vaccination and testing, according to the government . 

Portugal, including the Azores and Madeira, no longer requires proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter, according to Visit Portugal .

Romania has lifted all pandemic-era entry rules, according to the government . 

San Marino is a landlocked country surrounded by Italy. The country doesn’t have any specific COVID-19-related entry rules, according to the International Air Transport Association .

Serbia has removed all COVID-19-related entry restrictions, according to the U.S. Embassy in Serbia .

Slovakia has lifted all pandemic-related entry rules, according to Slovakia Travel . Travelers no longer have to show any proof of vaccination or tests to enter hotels, restaurants, or other venues.

Slovenia has eliminated pandemic-era travel restrictions, according to the government .

Spain has dropped all COVID-19-related health controls at entry points, according to the government , becoming one of the last European countries to do so. However, the country still asks that travelers from outside the European Union travel with either proof of vaccination administered within 270 days, proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure, proof of a negative rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of departure, or proof they contracted COVID-19 and recovered within 180 days.

Sweden no longer has any COVID-19-related entry restrictions, according to the Public Health Agency of Sweden .

Switzerland

Switzerland has lifted all COVID-19-related entry rules, according to the Federal Office of Public Health .

Turkey is open to foreign travelers and does not have any COVID-19-related entry rules in place, according to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey .

Visitors to Ukraine must show proof of either vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours, according to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine . Travelers must also have a health insurance policy to cover the potential costs of COVID-19 treatment.

The U.S. Department of State has currently issued a Level 4: Do Not Travel warning against visiting Ukraine due to the ongoing war and Russian invasion.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has dropped all COVID-19-related entry rules, according to the government .

Vatican City

Vatican City is the world's smallest country and is encircled by the Italian city of Rome. It is open to travelers who are able to enter Italy .

The information in this article reflects that of the publishing time above. However, as statistics and information regarding coronavirus rapidly change, some figures may be different from when this story was originally posted. While we strive to keep our content as up to date as possible, we also recommend visiting sites like the CDC or websites of local health departments.

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Europe’s Travel Restrictions for U.S. Citizens

Europe’s Travel Restrictions for U.S. Citizens

Countries across Europe have now lifted COVID-19 entry requirements for travelers from America and almost all other third countries.

EU member states now permit travelers from the US to enter regardless of vaccination status and without negative test results.

European Coronavirus Travel Restrictions for US Visitors

The EU is recommending that Americans should be allowed to enter the bloc without travel restrictions based on health.

Member states now permit U.S. passport holders to enter for non-essential purposes, including tourism , without additional health paperwork.

Each EU member country is free to decide whether to allow entry to travelers from outside the bloc. However, member states follow the EU’s advice regarding passengers arriving from the U.S.

American tourists should still check the entry requirements for each European country they will visit.

When Will Europe Lift Its Travel Restrictions for US Tourists?

EU member states are responsible for setting their own entry rules. How quickly restrictions are eased will depend on the individual country.

Most European nations have already fully lifted entry restrictions for U.S. citizens , regardless of vaccination status.

A number of European countries temporarily reintroduced COVID-19 restrictions for passengers coming from China, regardless of nationality. It is unclear how long this measure will be in place.

Where in Europe Can US Tourists Travel?

U.S. tourists traveling to Europe can visit all parts of the EU and Schengen Area.

Many nations, including Austria, France, Italy, Latvia, and Portugal have lifted all restrictions, including for travelers without a vaccine certificate.

Tourism in Europe during COVID-19

Tourism has now returned to European destinations. American tourists can now enjoy a vacation in favorite destinations including France, Italy, and Germany.

Hotels and other accommodation are available and restaurants are operating as normal in most cases.

Tourist attractions are open and welcoming visitors.

Face masks may be required on public transport and other indoor public spaces.

ETIAS And Public Health in the EU

Beyond COVID-19, the European Union is taking other measures to ensure the public health of its visitors, residents, and nationals .

One of these initiatives is ETIAS U.S. or European Travel Information and Authorization System. U.S. citizens are amongst those eligible to obtain an ETIAS, planned to start from 2025.

The application is online, where travelers will be required to fill out their information, including where they are arriving from. The health questions on the visa waiver application form are one way in which ETIAS will protect Americans’ public health.

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How to Travel to Europe from the U.S. Right Now

European countries have again adjusted their policies after the united states was removed from the eu safe travel list—and the result is a wide variety of entry protocols, ranging from outright bans to no changes at all..

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How to Travel to Europe from the U.S. Right Now

As of September 9, only vaccinated Americans can still travel to France for leisure purposes.

Photo by Shutterstock

On August 30, the United States was removed from the European Union’s approved list of countries for entry—only a little more than two months after it had finally been added to the list following a seemingly endless 458-day ban on travel from the U.S. to Europe.

The move left many travelers wondering if and how the decision would affect their upcoming travel plans. The answers depend on how individual countries in the 27-nation European Union respond to the recommendation, which is just that, a recommendation.

America’s spot on the European Council’s approved travel list meant that EU countries could relax restrictions for U.S. leisure travelers, both vaccinated and unvaccinated—and that’s exactly what the vast majority did. Now that the United States has been removed, European countries have responded with a wide range of policy adjustments—from outright bans on travel from the U.S. (such as in Sweden and Bulgaria), to restricting unvaccinated travelers from entering while still allowing vaccinated visitors to come (Italy, Germany, France and Spain have taken this path). And some have changed nothing at all about their policies toward U.S. travelers—at least not yet.

The council’s recommendations state that only vaccinated travelers, those traveling for essential reasons, and those traveling for nonessential reasons from the list of approved countries should be allowed to enter Europe.

But each country in Europe ultimately has the final say on what its requirements are—and will be—for travelers entering its borders. After more than a year and a half of travelers having to chase down constant changes to entry restrictions around the world, the latest round of updates in Europe has proven to be no exception to what has been a never-ending patchwork of new rules and regulations to navigate.

Are Americans banned from traveling to Europe now?

No, Americans are not banned from traveling to all of Europe.

At press time, two European countries—Sweden and Bulgaria—had reintroduced outright bans on U.S. travel. But the majority of European countries remain open to U.S. travelers, particularly those who are vaccinated. Some countries have introduced new regulations barring nonessential travel for unvaccinated U.S. travelers, including France, Germany, Italy, and Spain—meaning no vaccination, no leisure travel.

But Portugal has said it will continue to allow U.S. travelers to enter, regardless of vaccination status, as long as they provide a negative COVID test result upon arrival, and some countries, such as Greece, have not yet instituted changes that cut off access to U.S. travelers.

Once countries reach certain epidemiological benchmarks (no more than 75 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, for instance), they can be considered for the European Council’s approved countries list, which allows for the lifting of restrictions on nonessential travel regardless of vaccination status.

Unfortunately, during the current Delta variant–spurred wave , the United States has surpassed some of those benchmarks and thus has been removed from the list. For instance, one of the requirements is that cases should be stable or decreasing, but the United States has seen a steady uptick in cases in recent weeks.

Of course, there could be additional changes and updates in the coming days and weeks, especially as countries keep a close watch on factors such as the Delta variant and the evolution of the pandemic in general. European Union leaders have agreed on an “emergency brake mechanism” that takes into account the possible risks posed by new variants and allows new restrictions to be imposed quickly if need be.

It is worth noting that the United States still has a ban in place on travel from the European Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, with the exception of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

What kind of proof of vaccination must Americans have to enter Europe?

The European Union is facilitating travel within Europe with the EU Digital COVID Certificate, a digital pass for EU residents who have been vaccinated for COVID-19, tested negative for the virus, or have recovered from it. While the digital document has not yet been made widely available to U.S. travelers, most European countries asking U.S. travelers for proof of vaccination status as one of the requirements for entry have indicated that the CDC-issued paper certificate will suffice.

How can U.S. travelers stay up to date on EU travel restrictions?

One excellent resource is the U.S. State Department’s detailed COVID-19 travel information and country-specific advisories , which are typically updated regularly. We often cross-check these references with entry requirements that are published by each individual country’s foreign or public health affairs office (many of which are linked below). Countries’ official tourism marketing organizations often provide up to date information for travelers as well.

U.S. travelers should be aware that all international passengers age two and older flying into the U.S. (including returning U.S. citizens and permanent residents) must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test procured within three days before boarding their flight to the United States.

In addition, the CDC has detailed recommendations for travel during the pandemic, both for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

Travelers should also verify all the public health measures and openings and closures that are in place throughout Europe. European countries are all closely monitoring pandemic factors such as the Delta variant . Some businesses and services may have limited operating hours or capacity restrictions, curfews could be in place, and there could be additional regulations on the ground, including COVID passes that are required for entry into certain venues such as in France and Italy . These restrictions can change frequently so it’s important to stay current.

A country-by-country guide to travel restrictions for Americans in Europe

Here’s a brief summary of how some European countries are approaching travel for Americans as of September 8, 2021. This is far from an exhaustive list, but it serves as an example of how different all the rules and regulations continue to be within Europe. It remains vital that travelers heading into Europe and crossing borders within Europe are up to date on the latest travel restrictions related to COVID-19 because they are constantly changing.

Quarantine-free travel from the United States to Austria is allowed as long as travelers present a CDC-issued vaccination certificate indicating they received their second vaccine dose no more than 360 days prior to travel or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 180 days. Unvaccinated travelers from the U.S. can still enter Austria but must pre-register , present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival (a PCR from within 72 hours of travel, or an antigen from within 48 hours of travel), and they must quarantine for 10 days, according to the Austrian government .

Nonessential travel from the U.S. to Belgium is permitted provided travelers have a valid vaccine certificate, according to the U.S. Embassy in Belgium . Those who are not vaccinated are not permitted to enter Belgium for nonessential travel purposes. Travelers entering Belgium need to fill out a Passenger Locator Form no more than 48 hours before arrival.

On September 1, Bulgaria classified the United States as a “red zone” country, meaning that all travelers arriving from the U.S., regardless of vaccination status, can only enter if they have a valid exception—in short, nonessential travel is out. “The fact that you are vaccinated or have a negative COVID test result is not considered an exception,” reports the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria . Interestingly, though, Bulgaria’s requirements are based on where you are traveling from, not citizenship, so U.S. travelers arriving from “green” or “orange” zone countries may enter Bulgaria.

Leisure travelers can enter Croatia if they present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate (the final dose must have been administered at least 14 days and no more than 270 days prior to arrival); can present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival or a negative antigen test taken no more than 48 hours before arrival in Croatia; or were diagnosed with and recovered from COVID-19 (there are several very specific requirements for this, so confirm the latest with the Croatian government ). Children under 12 are exempt.

The U.S. Embassy in Croatia reminds travelers that they must fill out an arrival form at Enter Croatia before reaching the border.

Cyprus is following a color-coded system for COVID travel requirements. At press time, the United States was classified as red, meaning that travelers from the U.S. to Cyprus must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test procured within 72 hours of departure and complete an online Cyprus Flight Pass form . They will also need to pay 15–19 euros (US$18–$22) for a PCR test that they will take upon arrival in Cyprus; the result will be available within three hours online . Children under 12 are exempt from the testing.

Czech Republic (Czechia)

The Czech Republic now considers the United States a country with very high risk, and as such U.S. travelers must present proof of vaccination or proof of having recovered from COVID-19 within the last 180 days. Those who are unvaccinated will need to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test from within 72 hours of travel or a negative antigen test from within 48 hours of travel to the Czech Republic. They will then be required to take another PCR test five days after arrival and will have to quarantine until a negative result is procured, according to the Czech government .

Vaccinated U.S. travelers are still welcome to enter Denmark , but those who have recovered from COVID-19 now need a “worthy purpose” to enter—such as for work, studies, family, legal, or real estate matters—and unvaccinated U.S. travelers must quarantine after arrival in addition to providing a negative COVID-19 PCR test from within 72 hours of boarding and then getting tested again upon arrival. (They didn’t have to quarantine before.)

Estonia is only welcoming vaccinated U.S. travelers or unvaccinated travelers who are traveling for an essential work, study, or family reason. Travelers arrriving in Estonia must complete an online health declaration , according to the U.S. Embassy in Estonia .

Finland has reopened its borders to leisure travelers who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, including Americans, with the last dose having been administered at least 14 days prior to arrival.

Fully vaccinated U.S. travelers must present their CDC-issued vaccination certificate upon arrival in Finland, after which there will be no mandatory COVID-19 testing or quarantine.

Unvaccinated travelers from the United States are allowed to enter Finland for essential reasons only, according to the U.S. Embassy in Finland . They must also provide a negative COVID-19 test result, furnish proof of recent recovery from COVID-19, or take two COVID-19 tests upon arrival, the embassy advises.

Unvaccinated minors under 18 can enter with vaccinated parents or guardians.

On September 9, France moved the United States from its “green list” to its “orange list” of countries (or “amber list” depending on which section of the French government’s website you are looking at), meaning that unvaccinated U.S. travelers are no longer allowed to travel to France unless they have a pressing or compelling reason, such as being an EU citizen or resident, for an essential work purpose, or for studies.

Vaccinated travelers from the United States can continue to enter France with no additional requirements other than submitting a health declaration form . Americans who have recovered from COVID-19 within the past six months can present a certificate of recovery to enter France.

Unvaccinated minors traveling from the U.S. are allowed to enter France, but those age 12 and older will have to show a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 or 48 hours, respectively, before their flight.

As of July 21, visitors now need a special COVID pass to ride up the Eiffel Tower or visit French museums or movie theaters. To get the COVID pass, people must show they are either fully vaccinated, have a negative virus test, or provide proof they recently recovered from an infection.

Germany is no longer allowing unvaccinated Americans to enter for leisure travel after removing the United States from its list of unrestricted countries. Those arriving from countries that are not on the list must either be vaccinated or be traveling for an essential reason (such as an approved work purpose). For proof of vaccination, it must have been at least 14 days since the last vaccine dose was administered, and travelers must have a physical copy of their vaccine certificate. (A digital photo of a card will not be accepted.)

Travelers from the United States are allowed to enter Greece without having to quarantine if they meet certain conditions, according to the Greek government .

Those who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to arrival do not need to quarantine and are also not required to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test. Those who are not vaccinated will need to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test that was conducted no more than 72 hours before arrival or a negative antigen test conducted no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in Greece. Children under 12 are exempt.

Every traveler must fill out a passenger locator form no more than 24 hours prior to arriving in Greece.

All international arrivals will be subject to random and mandatory health checks in Greece, which can include a rapid COVID-19 antigen test. Those who test positive for COVID 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 travelers who test positive again, they will remain in quarantine for at least 10 days, after which they will undergo a new round of testing to determine if they are COVID-free.

Visit Hungary notes that those who have been vaccinated, who have recovered from COVID-19 within the past six months, or who present a negative molecular COVID test from within 72 hours of travel are not subject to travel restrictions in Hungary.

Iceland welcomes vaccinated travelers and those who have recovered from COVID-19 into the country. They will still have to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test result from within 72 hours ahead of arrival. A second test after arrival is recommended but not required. Those who are not vaccinated may travel to Iceland as well, but they will have to submit to a COVID-19 test upon arriving in Iceland, quarantine for five days, and then undergo a second test after the five-day quarantine. Everyone needs to preregister before visiting the country.

Travelers must provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated (so two doses if two doses are required) at least 14 days prior to arrival.

Read more: Iceland Travel Restrictions Continue to Change—Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Travelers from all non-European countries, including the U.K. and the U.S., are allowed to enter Ireland as of July 19 as long as the country is not on the European Union’s “emergency brake” list—countries that have new or renewed restrictions applied to them due to a worsening epidemiological situation.

Travelers arriving from the U.S. must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to bypass otherwise mandatory COVID-19 testing and quarantine. Those without proof of vaccination will need to present evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours before arrival. They will then need to quarantine after arrival and take a second postarrival test.

In Italy , the latest changes have resulted in a new testing requirement for the vaccinated and no access for unvaccinated leisure travelers. Prior to August 31, Americans could enter Italy as long as they were vaccinated, had recovered from COVID, or presented a negative COVID test result. As of August 31, only those who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID can enter (which means that unvaccinated leisure travelers won’t be allowed to enter), and they will also need to have a negative molecular or antigen COVID test result from within 72 hours of travel.

As of August 6, Italy requires people to have COVID passes to enter gyms, museums, and movie theaters, sit inside restaurants, and access other venues. To be eligible for a pass, individuals must prove they have received at least one vaccine dose in the last nine months, recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months, or tested negative in the previous 48 hours.

The Netherlands

After the Netherlands introduced a new 10-day quarantine requirement for vaccinated U.S. travelers on September 4, the government doubled back on its decision and is dropping the mandatory quarantine for vaccinated U.S. travelers effective September 22, 2021. Vaccinated travelers will need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test performed within 24 hours before departure for the Netherlands. Children under 12 are exempt. Unvaccinated travelers are currently prohibited from entering for nonessential or leisure travel purposes.

Fully vaccinated travelers (meaning it has been at least 14 days since their second dose if two doses were required) entering Poland , including those from the U.S., are exempt from an otherwise mandatory 10-day quarantine.

Following the European Council’s decision to remove the U.S. from its safe travel list, Portugal announced that it will remain open to travelers from the United States. U.S. travelers must present a vaccine certificate or a negative PCR or antigen COVID test procured within 72 hours of boarding their flight to enter Portugal. Children under 12 are exempt.

The U.S. Embassy in Portugal reminds travelers that they must complete a Passenger Locator Card within 48 hours of traveling to Portugal and that proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result is now required upon checking in at hotels, resorts, and vacation rental accommodations.

U.S. travelers who want to visit the Portuguese islands of the Azores or Madeira should be aware that they both have their own rules for entry.

International travelers arriving in Romania, including Americans, can skip a 14-day quarantine requirement if they provide proof of vaccination (completed at least 10 days prior to arrival) or proof of recovery from COVID-19, according to the U.S. Embassy in Romania . Children 3 and younger are exempt. Children age 3 to 16 must provide a negative COVID PCR test from within 72 hours of travel.

Spain is no longer allowing unvaccinated Americans to enter for leisure travel after it removed the United States from its list of countries with unrestricted access. Those arriving from countries that are not on the list must either be vaccinated or be traveling for an essential reason (such as an approved work purpose). Travelers to Spain from the U.S. must also fill out an online Health Control Form and present the resulting QR code upon arrival.

After lifting its ban on travel from the United States on June 30, Sweden has reinstated its U.S. travel ban, effective September 6. From June 30 to September 6, U.S. travelers who presented proof of a negative COVID-19 test from within 48 hours prior to arrival could enter Sweden, regardless of vaccination status. Now, only those Americans who are traveling to Sweden for an exempted purpose, such as residents of Sweden or essential workers, will be allowed to enter; they will still need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival. Leisure travelers will be turned away at the border.

Switzerland

As of June 28, fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. can enter Switzerland and will not need to quarantine or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. They will just need to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated travelers will need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test from within 72 hours of travel or a negative COVID rapid antigen test result from within 48 hours of travel.

Travelers, regardless of vaccination status, will need to fill out an online form before entering Switzerland.

United Kingdom

Vaccinated Americans can enter the United Kingdom without a mandatory quarantine, the British government announced on July 28.

Fully vaccinated Americans arriving into the U.K. are required to submit a predeparture negative COVID-19 test taken prior to arrival and will need to take a COVID-19 PCR test on day 2 after arrival. Those vaccinated in the U.S. will also need to provide proof of U.S. residency.

Children age 11 and younger are exempt from the U.K.’s testing requirements for international arrivals.

Everyone entering the United Kingdom from abroad must fill out a passenger locator form before arrival, on which they will provide U.K. border control with their contact details, including their phone number and the address of their U.K. accommodation.

Unvaccinated Americans arriving in the U.K. are required to quarantine for 10 days and take three COVID tests—one within 3 days prior to departure to the U.K. and two (reserved in advance) after arrival, on day 2 and day 8 of the 10-day quarantine.

This article was originally published on May 6, 2020. It has been updated frequently, most recently on September 17, 2021, to include current information.

>> Next: Everything You Need to Know About Vaccinated Travel

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A Complete Guide to Where Americans Can Travel in Europe

By Megan Spurrell and Tonya Russell

Scenic summer view of color buildings of Nyhavn in Copehnagen Denmark

For Americans, the rules surrounding travel to Europe have no doubt been confusing. Over the summer, amid rising vaccination rates, a number of European countries reopened their borders to U.S. travelers once again. But recently, as the Delta variant has ripped through America, the European Union decided to remove the United States from its safe travel list .

That means that E.U. officials have advised countries that are members of the bloc to restrict non-essential travel from the United States. However, each European nation is free to make its own entry rules for tourists, with many still allowing fully vaccinated travelers from America to enter. So a European vacation could still be possible this fall, depending on where you're interested in traveling.

Whichever destination you have your eye on—whether it's for that first post-vaccination trip or to reunite with family —the most important thing is to read up on the destination's current COVID-19 situation and local travel restrictions , to ensure that any visit you plan is safe, considered, and respectful of those who call the country home. Read on for the current travel restrictions for 32 countries in Europe. (And remember to check back for updates.)

This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date. Additional reporting by Julia Buckley.

As of September 15, the U.S. is no longer in Austria’s low-risk category. However, fully vaccinated travelers and anyone who has recently recovered from COVID-19 won’t need to quarantine or complete any pre-registration documents. For those who’ve recently recovered, documentation can be a recovery certificate or proof of positive antibodies less than 90 days old.

Unvaccinated individuals can still travel to Austria, but they must pre-register and quarantine for 10 days upon entry. Quarantine can be shortened if you receive a negative COVID test no less than five days after entry.

The only travelers exempt from these guidelines are those traveling through Austria for business, Austrians, and those who are there for a layover of less than 24 hours. Find more information on Austria entry requirements here .

Croatia has been open to U.S. travelers since July. However, the nation has implemented requirements for entry, including a pre-registration form, which can be found  here . U.S. travelers must also present one of the following upon arrival for entry into Croatia:

  • a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before departure or an antigen test taken 48 hours before departure
  • proof of vaccination
  • proof of recovery from COVID-19

Tourists also have the option of performing a PCR test upon arrival and quarantining until they receive a negative result, or simply quarantining for 10 days.

There are quite a few categories of travelers who are exempt from showing extra documentation—like proof of vaccination or negative tests—including anyone arriving on the country's "Digital Nomad" visa .

Lockdowns in Europe Croatia

Croatia has been open to travelers since July 2020.

Within the country, bars and restaurants with outdoor spaces have been open since February, with some indoor dining allowed. Most museums are closed, and open venues that are hosting larger crowds may require proof of a negative test of vaccination, according to the U.S. embassy . 

Czech Republic

As of August 23, travelers from the U.S. are now considered “Very High Risk.” Vaccinated travelers are allowed to enter with a Personal Locator Form and proof of vaccination, while non-vaccinated travelers must arrive with proof of a negative PCR test taken within three days of arrival, or a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours of departure.

Travelers must show proof that they meet the above requirements in order to enter public spaces including restaurants, transportation, and stores. Face masks are required wherever social distancing isn’t possible, and in crowded public spaces.

Find more information on Czech travel here.

Fully vaccinated visitors are exempt from quarantine and testing requirements. Unvaccinated U.S. travelers need a “worthy purpose” for entry, and must show proof. Most of these are work or education related. To find out if you qualify, here is a list from the Danish government. Unvaccinated travelers must also take a COVID test upon arrival at the airport. 

The Danish government recommends that you print out its guidelines and carry them with you at all times. 

Latest on Lockdowns Europe The Louvre Museum Paris France

France is currently welcoming vaccinated American travelers. 

As of September 12, unvaccinated Americans are discouraged from traveling to France, and they must have a compelling reason for visiting. Fully vaccinated Americans are still permitted, as well as their minor children, as long as they provide proof of vaccinations and a sworn statement saying that they haven’t been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19. Only Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson are vaccines accepted by the French government. No quarantine or testing is necessary.

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Unvaccinated travelers must self-quarantine for seven days then take a PCR test at the end of the isolation period. They will also need a sworn statement saying that they do not have COVID symptoms and haven’t been in contact with anyone with a confirmed case. Children under 11 are exempt from testing.

Germany has also classified the U.S. as a high-risk area, and it will require visitors to be fully vaccinated. That includes individuals who were in the U.S. less than 10 days before traveling to Germany. For unvaccinated travelers, they will need to provide a reason justifying why they need to enter the country. Any U.S. travelers, regardless of vaccination status, are required to register upon entry. Everyone must carry proof of vaccination or proof of recovery. Unvaccinated individuals may also be subject to quarantine pending a negative test after arrival.

Greece hasn’t changed its policies since reopening for U.S. tourists in April. Travelers must complete a Passenger Locator Form no later than the day before they arrive in the country. Travelers are exempt from testing if they provide proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated individuals must show a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, or a negative antigen test taken 48 hours before arrival. You can also be admitted if you had COVID less than 180 days prior to arrival (and you must have proof of recovery).

There are currently no curfews, but public transportation is limited. Proof of vaccination or recovery/negative test are required for indoor dining.

Fully vaccinated travelers as well as those who have a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 are required to present a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or rapid antigen) taken no more than 72 hours before departure. Unvaccinated visitors to  Iceland  must take a PCR test within 72 hours of departure, then take another upon arrival. (Rapid antigen tests are not accepted for unvaccinated travelers.) They are then required to quarantine for five days, before taking another PCR test. 

All visitors into Ireland must fill out the Passenger Locator Form prior to arrival, and need a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival. Vaccinated travelers and those who’ve had COVID within the last 180 may forgo the 14-day quarantine period required for all other travelers.

Italy is open to fully vaccinated American travelers and those who can present recovery from COVID within the past six months. All travelers must also have a negative PCR or antigen test within 72 hours of travel. Proof of vaccination requires that travelers are fully vaccinated with a European Medicines Agency (EMA)-recognized vaccine, which include Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, and AstraZeneca; Vaccine records can be shown via the E.U. Digital Green Certificate (download the Immuni app to get one), which is also necessary for most activities in the country. The U.S. Embassy in Italy says that U.S. travelers can also show their white vaccination card from the CDC. All travelers must complete a self-declaration form prior to entry.

In addition to presenting a negative test within 72 hours of departure, unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for five days then perform another PCR or antigen test at the end of the quarantine period. Children under the age of six are exempt from the testing requirement. Masks are required in any spaces where social distancing isn’t feasible.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands has designated the U.S. as a “high-risk” travel area. Only tourists who are fully vaccinated can enter the country, though, under the E.U. rules, some other travelers—like students or researchers—are also allowed to enter. (The full list of travelers allowed to enter the Netherlands can be found here .) All travelers must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test or negative antigen test performed within 24 hours prior to departure for entry to the Netherlands. As of September 22, fully vaccinated tourists no longer need to quarantine upon arrival, but everyone needs to complete a quarantine declaration form, even those who are fully vaccinated and exempt from the isolation period. The declaration can be completed online or printed. Masks are required in designated areas, and those who don’t abide will be fined 95 euros.

Mainland Portugal's borders are now open to travelers from some countries, including the U.S. Before boarding a flight to Portugal, American travelers are required to show either a negative test (either rapid antigen taken within 48 hours, or a PCR test taken with 72 hours), or an E.U. Digital COVID certificate proving that you have been vaccinated, recently received a negative test result, or have recovered from COVID. Children under 12 do not need to present a test. All passengers must fill out a Passenger Locator Card before departure.

For travelers heading to islands of the Azores and Madeira, there is also an alternative option to take a free test upon arrival and wait in isolation for 12 to 24 hours for a negative result—or, in Madeira, perform voluntary isolation for 14 days at a home or hotel. Visitors to the Azores who plan to stay longer than seven days are required to take additional tests on the sixth and twelfth days of their stay. In addition to the Passenger Locator Card, Azores visitors must fill out a local questionnaire ; Madeira visitors must register on the region's website .

Throughout the country, restaurants, cafes, and pastry shops are operating, but must close at 1 a.m. Alcoholic beverage sales are restricted, with a 9 p.m. cutoff in shops including supermarkets. Hotels are accepting guests, with “Clean & Safe” hygiene and safety measures outlined by the government.

Americans are allowed to visit Spain for tourism purposes if they are able to provide proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated travelers are not permitted, with the exception of essential travel. Also, visitors are required to present a QR code generated through the government's health portal for entry. The country is requiring face masks in all public spaces, including crowded outdoor areas.

Latest on Lockdowns Europe Museo del Prado Madrid Spain

Spain is open to American travelers with proof of vaccination.

Switzerland

Switzerland is now open to U.S. citizens with proof of full vaccination, a recent negative COVID test, or proof of recovery from COVID. Unvaccinated travelers who have been in a country with a “variant of concern” in the last 10 days before entering Switzerland, who have not recovered from COVID in the last six months, must complete a mandatory 10-day quarantine upon arrival (there is an option to shorten this on day seven; details here ). All travelers, including children, are required to fill out an entry form before arrival.

As of June 26, nightclubs are open, though they must require COVID certificates for entry. Events are also taking place, with compulsory COVID certificate checks for any event over 1,000 people. Masks are no longer required outdoors, and restaurants are open for indoor and outdoor dining.

Turkey's government is currently welcoming international travelers , with U.S. visitors required to show a negative PCR test, proof of full vaccination, or recent recovery from COVID upon arrival. All travelers who have been in countries where variants have been prevalent—Brazil, India, South Africa—within the last 14 days must submit a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours, and undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, regardless of vaccination status.

The United Kingdom

The U.S. is currently on England’s “Amber List” of countries, meaning that upon arrival, U.S. tourists must show a negative COVID-19 test taken three days before departure; pre-book another COVID test to be taken in England on or before day two of their trip; and complete a passenger locator form , which can be done online 48 hours before arrival in England. Those who are not fully vaccinated must quarantine for 10 days and get tested on or before day two, then again on or after day eight.

Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland also have the same entry rules for fully vaccinated travelers from “Amber List” countries: They must show a negative test taken three days before departure; complete a passenger locator form; and take another test on day two of their trip.

From 4 a.m. on October 4, 2021, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will all get rid of their current red, amber, green traffic light system and just have a single red list of high-risk countries. After October 4, fully vaccinated travelers will not need to take a pre-departure test if they are traveling to England, Wales or Northern Ireland; Scotland will still require a negative test upon arrival.

Other countries

As of September 6, travelers to Albania from the U.S. must have a vaccine passport, a negative PCR test taken less than 72 hours before travel, or proof that they’ve recovered from COVID within the last six months. The country has imposed a curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Noncompliance can result in up to a $7,000 fine. Cyprus is currently open to American travelers , who must complete a Cyprus Flight Pass questionnaire and declaration form 24 hours prior to departure, in addition to taking a PCR test within 72 hours of departure (all vaccinated travelers are exempt from these entry requirements). Malta is open to vaccinated travelers, but vaccination cards must be approved through the VeriFly app. Unvaccinated travelers must submit themselves to 14-day quarantine in a government-selected hotel at the traveler's cost upon arrival.

Romania is open to U.S. citizens, who are exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement if able to show proof of a negative test, vaccination, or recent recovery from COVID. Serbia is open to U.S. citizens with proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours. The only travelers exempt from testing have received the COVID-19 vaccines within Serbia. Ukraine is currently open to vaccinated travelers (CDC cards are considered acceptable proof), or those able to show a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours of entering the country; proof of medical insurance is also required, and mask wearing is mandatory. Unvaccinated travelers staying for more than three days must download the Vdoma app and undergo self-isolation for 10 days.

Finland is now open to vaccinated Americans, and they do not need to provide a negative PCR test. Unvaccinated travelers are only allowed for essential travel purposes, and they must provide a negative test. As of August 8, Americans can visit Hungary with a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Poland is open to Americans, though travel is discouraged. A seven-day quarantine is necessary, then a negative test is required. Sweden has added U.S. travelers to its banned list, regardless of vaccination status. Only essential travel is permitted.

Belgium allows Americans who have a valid vaccination certificate. You must test upon arrival, and again seven days into your stay. Unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for 10 days and complete a passenger locator form . Norway is closed to all U.S. travelers, except family members and/or partners of Norway residents.

We’re reporting on how COVID-19 impacts travel on a daily basis. Find our   latest coronavirus coverage here , or visit our complete guide to   COVID-19 and travel .

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  • Council updates the list of countries for which member states should gradually lift travel restrictions at the external borders

The Council today adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU.

Following the first review under the recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU, the Council updated the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted. This list will continue to be reviewed and, as the case may be, updated every two weeks.

Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, as from 16 July member states should gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries :

  • New Zealand
  • South Korea
  • China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity

Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered as EU residents for the purpose of this recommendation.

The criteria to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover in particular the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations. They are applied cumulatively.

Regarding the epidemiological situation , third countries listed should meet the following criteria, in particular:

  • number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100 000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as it stood on 15 June 2020)
  • stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days
  • overall response to COVID-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR). Information provided by EU delegations on these aspects should also be taken into account.

Reciprocity should also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis.

For countries where travel restrictions continue to apply , the following categories of people should be exempted from the restrictions :

  • EU citizens and their family members
  • long-term EU residents and their family members
  • travellers with an essential function or need, as listed in the recommendation.

Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) also take part in this recommendation.

Follow the link for more information.

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Travel to Europe: A Reopening Timeline, Country by Country

eastern europe travel restrictions

Most European countries are allowing Americans to enter on the condition they can show proof of vaccination. Some will also still accept a negative test result from unvaccinated travelers. In many countries, you may be asked to show proof of vaccination to enter a restaurant or check in to your hotel.

After the emergence of the Omicron variant in late 2021, many places have banned or restricted travel from Southern African countries and tightened entry requirements. However, in most countries, U.S. citizens are still allowed to enter. Every European country is handling the crisis differently, so read on to learn the latest travel requirements and lockdown conditions in each.

U.S. citizens are allowed to enter Austria as long as they can show proof of vaccination (within 360 days) or a certificate of recovery confirming that the traveler has recovered from COVID-19 in the past few months. Travelers will also be required to take a PCR test before entry unless they can show proof of a booster shot. Unvaccinated travelers are required to show a negative test result and quarantine for 10 days. Before boarding, all passengers must complete the Pre-Travel-Clearance Form .

The Baltics

U.S. citizens are allowed to enter Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania if they are fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated travelers may enter any of these three countries for non-essential reasons without needing to quarantine. Unvaccinated travelers may enter Estonia or Latvia if they qualify for an exception, but will need to show a negative test and self-isolate for 10 days.

The U.S. is again considered a "red zone" area and U.S. citizens may only enter Belgium with proof of vaccination and a PCR test taken within 72 hours or an antigen test taken within 36 hours. Unvaccinated travelers who qualify for an Essential Travel Certificate must quarantine for seven days. All travelers will be tested upon arrival and vaccinated travelers must self-isolate until a negative result is returned. A follow-up test on day seven is also required.

The U.S. has been reclassified as a Red Zone country, which means travelers are only allowed to enter Bulgaria if they qualify for an exception. If so, they will be required to provide proof of vaccination, antibodies, or a negative PCR test. There is no requirement to quarantine.

Tourists are allowed to enter Croatia, but they will need proof of vaccination (not older than 365 days), antibodies, or a negative PCR or antigen test. Any traveler who enters Croatia without these documents will be tested on arrival and must self-isolate until negative results come back. Travelers can upload their required documents before arrival on the Enter Croatia website.

Czech Republic

U.S. citizens must show a negative PCR test to enter the Czech Republic, regardless of vaccination status. Travelers who can show proof of receiving a booster shot will be exempt from the testing requirement. As of January 1, the government will consider a vaccination valid if the visitor is within nine months of their second dose. However, a booster shot extends the validity of vaccination indefinitely.

All travelers must also fill out a Personal Locator Form . Unvaccinated travelers will be tested on arrival and must self-isolate until negative results are returned.

U.S. citizens will need a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours or an antigen test taken within 48 hours to enter Denmark, regardless of vaccination status. Exceptions will be made for children under 15 years old. Unvaccinated travelers will be tested upon arrival and required to self-isolate for 10 days .

All travelers entering Finland must present a negative test taken within 48 hours, regardless of vaccination status. Unvaccinated travelers, except for children, are not allowed to enter Finland for tourism.

U.S. citizens are allowed to enter France with proof of vaccination, a negative test taken 48 hours before arrival, and a sworn statement they do not have symptoms. Unvaccinated travelers may be allowed to enter if they qualify for an exception, but they must supply a negative test taken within 48 hours and will also be required to quarantine for seven days.

An indoor and outdoor mask mandate is in place and every person in France is required to obtain a health pass to board an airplane or enter cafes, restaurants, and other businesses. For a fee of up to 36 Euros, tourists can obtain a health pass, or Pass Sanitaire , from a French pharmacy or doctor by showing proof of vaccination or a negative test. If showing a negative test, the pass is only good for 72 hours. As of December 15, any person over the age of 65 will need to have received a booster shot (to be taken between three and seven months after their last dose) to keep their health pass active. This rule applies to everyone over 18 years old.

Vaccinated travelers arriving from the U.S. are allowed to enter Germany as long as they can show proof of vaccination and a negative test taken within 72 hours. Any unvaccinated traveler who qualifies for an exception or any traveler coming from a virus-variant area must quarantine for 14 days, even if they have been vaccinated.

Greece has opened its doors to U.S. citizens, who will be allowed to enter with proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours. All international travelers are subject to random testing upon arrival in Greece and must complete the Passenger Locator Form . If you are selected for random testing, you must self-quarantine at your destination for 24 hours or until you receive a negative test result. Proof of vaccination is required to enter shops and restaurants, including outdoor cafes.

U.S. citizens can now enter Hungary with a negative test taken within 72 hours. There is no requirement to quarantine.

Only travelers who can prove they have been fully vaccinated are allowed to enter Iceland. Everyone will also need to pre-register their trip and show a negative test taken within 72 hours of departure and will be tested again on arrival, at no extra charge. Unvaccinated travelers who may be allowed to enter Iceland under an exemption will need to provide two negative tests—before and after arrival—and quarantine for at least five days.

Vaccinated travelers no longer have to show a negative test to enter Ireland, but unvaccinated travelers must provide a PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Before departure, everyone must fill out the Passenger Locator Form . Unvaccinated passengers that arrive without a negative test must quarantine at home and take a PCR test within 36 hours of entering Ireland.

U.S. citizens are allowed to enter Italy with proof of vaccination (or proof of recovery) and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours. This will give the traveler a "green pass," which exempts them from the required 10-day self-isolation. Before traveling to Italy, all passengers must also complete the EU Digital Passport Locator Form .

There are two levels to the green pass. The "basic green pass," obtained with a negative test, is enough to stay in hotels and use public transportation. However, the "super green pass," obtained with proof of vaccination, is necessary to dine indoors and visit cultural venues like museums. Until March 31, the super green pass will be necessary to stay in hotels and use public transportation from airplanes to trains and buses.

The Netherlands

Only U.S. citizens who can present proof of vaccination will be allowed to enter. They will also need a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 24 hours. There is no quarantine requirement for those who can show proof of vaccination or a negative test result.

Norway is allowing some travelers to enter as long as they complete the proper registration and produce proof of vaccination or a negative test taken within 24 hours of arrival. Unvaccinated travelers must get tested upon arrival. A 10-day quarantine is required for any traveler coming from red, dark red, and purple countries unless the individual can provide proof of vaccination. U.S. travelers are now allowed to enter Norway.

All U.S. citizens are allowed to enter Poland, but proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test taken within 24 hours will be required to enter. Unvaccinated travelers may enter, but in addition to providing a negative test result, they will also have to quarantine for 10 or 14 days depending on whether they are arriving from a Schengen Area country.

U.S. citizens are allowed to enter Portugal for tourism if they can show a negative test taken within 72 hours of boarding or proof of vaccination. As of January 10, masks are required indoors and a negative rapid test or proof of vaccination will be required to enter restaurants and check into a hotel. A negative rapid test or proof of receiving a booster shot will also be necessary to enter bars and large events.

U.S. citizens are allowed to enter Romania, but all travelers will be required to present a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure. If no test is presented, fully vaccinated travelers must quarantine for 5 days and unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for 10 days. A green pass proving vaccination will be required to access most businesses in Romania.

U.S. citizens are now allowed to enter Russia. Everyone traveling to Russia will be required to present a negative PCR test taken within the previous three days of their arrival with no requirement to quarantine.

U.S. citizens are allowed to enter Serbia with a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours, regardless of vaccination status. However, there's no need to quarantine.

U.S. and British citizens can only enter Spain if they can show proof of vaccination. All travelers coming from approved countries are asked to complete a health control form online , which will give them the QR code they will need to show upon entry in Spain in addition to undergoing a health check. No quarantine is required.

U.S. citizens may enter Sweden, but they will need to show a negative test taken within 48 hours and proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19. Unvaccinated travelers must qualify for an exception to enter Sweden but there is no quarantine requirement.

Switzerland

U.S. citizens may enter Switzerland if they can show proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test. No quarantine is necessary, but everyone will need to complete a second antigen or PCR test between their fourth and seventh day in Switzerland.

All travelers must also complete the entry form before checking into their flight. Tourists in Switzerland will need to obtain and show a Swiss digital vaccine certificate to enter restaurants, museums, and other businesses.

Turkey has reopened its borders to travelers from many countries, including the U.S. All passengers traveling to Turkey will undergo a health exam upon arrival and must provide proof of vaccination. Travelers under the age of 12 will need a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure. Travelers from the UK will need to show a negative test regardless of vaccination status and anyone who has visited a high-risk country like Brazil or South Africa within 14 days before entering Turkey will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

U.S. citizens are allowed to enter Ukraine if they can show proof of vaccination or a negative test taken within 72 hours, plus proof of health insurance. Only unvaccinated travelers who do not produce a negative test before entry will be required to quarantine for 10 days.

United Kingdom

All travelers must complete the Passenger Locator Form before departing for the UK. Fully vaccinated travelers may enter the UK without a test, but they will still be required to get tested on arrival by either booking a PCR or antigen test or purchasing an at-home test. They must self-isolate until the results come back negative.

Unvaccinated travelers may be eligible to enter the UK, but they must show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure self-quarantine for 10 days. They will need to take follow-up tests on the second and eighth days of their quarantine period.

Austrian Embassy. " Travel Information ." December 27, 2021.

U.S. Embassy in Estonia. “ COVID-19 Information .” January 14, 2022.

U.S. Embassy in Latvia. “ COVID-19 Information .” December 4, 2021.

U.S. Embassy in Lithuania. “ COVID-19 Information .” December 30, 2021.

U.S. Embassy in Belgium. " COVID-19 Information ." January 10, 2022.

U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria. " Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information ." January 12, 2022.

U.S. Embassy in Croatia. " COVID-19 Information ." January 10, 2022.

U.S. Embassy in the Czech Republic. " COVID-19 Information ." January 10, 2022.

U.S. Embassy & Consulate in the Kingdom of Denmark. " COVID-19 Information ." January 14, 2022.

U.S. Embassy in Finland. " COVID-19 Information ." January 13, 2022.

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in France. “ COVID-19 Information .” January 10, 2022.

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Germany. " COVID-19 Information ." January 3, 2022.

U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Greece. " COVID-19 Information ." January 7, 2022.

U.S. Embassy in Hungary. " COVID-19 Information ." December 6, 2021.

U.S. Embassy in Iceland. " COVID-19 Information ." January 14, 2022.

U.S. Embassy in Ireland. " COVID-19 Information ." January 13, 2022.

U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Italy. " COVID-19 Information ." January 14, 2022.

U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the Netherlands. " COVID-19 Information ." December 29, 2021.

Government of Norway. " Travel to Norway ." January 14, 2022.

U.S. Embassy in Norway. " COVID-19 Information ." December 13, 2021.

U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Poland. " COVID-19 Information ." January 7, 2022.

Visit Portugal. " COVID-19 Measures implemented in Portugal ." January 10, 2022.

U.S. Embassy in Romania. " COVID-19 Information ." January 14, 2022.

U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Russia. “ COVID-19 Information .” December 6, 2021.

U.S. Embassy in Serbia. " COVID-19 Information ." January 12, 2022.

U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Spain and Andorra. " COVID-19 Information ." December 23, 2021.

U.S. Embassy in Sweden. " COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information ." January 11, 2022.

U.S. Embassy in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. " COVID-19 Information for Switzerland and Liechtenstein ." January 13, 2022.

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Turkey. " COVID-19 Information ." January 3, 2022.

U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. “ COVID-19 Information .” January 4, 2022.

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in the United Kingdom. " COVID-19 Information ." January 7, 2022.

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New requirements for Americans traveling to Europe postponed until 2025

Visitors who now travel visa-free will need to get approval prior to departure.

Americans eyed upcoming travel to European destinations slightly differently due to news of a requirement that was set to start in 2024 for U.S. passport holders. But now, EU officials have postponed the European Travel Information and Authorisation System ( ETIAS ) launch until spring of 2025.

SchengenVisaInfo.com, a website dedicated to the world's largest visa-free zone where 27 European countries abolished their internal borders known as the Schengen Area, first reported that an EU official confirmed ETIAS won't go live until May 2025, "due to continued delays with the introduction of the related Entry-Exit System (EES), which needs to be operational before ETIAS can be implemented."

An official for the European Union did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

What to know about ETIAS for US travelers

If you previously traveled to Europe without a visa, you will now need to apply for authorization through the ETIAS , before visiting.

PHOTO: Tourists with umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun at Colosseo area (Colosseum), during the ongoing heat wave with temperatures reaching 40 degrees, on July 19, 2023, in Rome.

Today, American travelers have visa-free access to 184 global destinations, according to the Henley Passport Index . And while the U.S. passport is currently ranked eighth-most powerful passport to own, that could be set to shift when the European Union adds its new documentation requirements for U.S. visitors.

The application form, which will be available on the official ETIAS website as well as a mobile application, has a fee of 7 euros or $7.79 U.S. dollars. All communication is done by email.

Once you are approved for travel, the authorization entitles visitors to stay in European countries that require ETIAS for up to 90 days within any 180-day period and travelers must be in possession of a valid ETIAS during their entire stay.

MORE: New warning issued for rebooking air travel after delays, cancellations

According to ETIAS, most applications should be processed within minutes, but in case an application takes longer, decisions will be sent within four days or up to 14 days if the applicant is asked to provide additional documentation.

The European Union encourages travelers to apply for an ETIAS authorization "well in advance of your planned journey."

Confirmation of application submission will be sent on email with a unique number that is needed for future reference.

PHOTO: In this undated file photo, a tourist visa is stamped on a passport.

Upon receiving ETIAS travel authorization, travelers are to ensure that their name, passport number and other information is correct because any mistake will prevent them from crossing the border.

If an application is refused, the email will include the reasons for the decision along with information about how to appeal.

ETIAS travel authorization is valid for three years, according to the EU, or until the travel document you used in your application expires, whichever comes first.

MORE: European heat wave breaking records with little relief in sight

The ETIAS authorization is linked to a person's travel document -- such as a U.S. passport -- and both documents will be needed to board a flight, bus or ship to enter any of the European countries that require ETIAS.

Similar to international border requirements with a passport, the ETIAS authorization doesn't guarantee automatic right of entry. "Border guards will verify that you meet the entry conditions" and anyone who does not meet the conditions "will be refused entry," according to the EU.

Click here to learn more about the process from the European Union.

An earlier version of this story was originally published on July 21, 2023.

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May 10, 2022 • 4 min read

Photo of two female friends walking together and having fun together

Make sure your passport is in date before booking any trips this summer © Getty Images

What can you expect when traveling to Europe this summer? Generally, a more relaxed experience compared to the previous two years with most restrictions scrapped or reduced significantly. However, there are some questions you need to ask yourself to ensure you're prepared before you book that Uber to the airport.

Is your passport in date?

First things first: check to make sure your passport is in date. It must be less than 10 years old (five years for children) and—this is where sometimes people get caught out—on the date you plan to leave your European destination and return home, your passport must have at least three months left to go before it expires. Though the advice from the US Department of State is to have at least six months' validity remaining on your passport whenever you travel abroad.

Over the past few years, processing times for passports have increased with routine processing currently taking between eight and 11 weeks . That's twice as long as it took in 2019. The US Department of State warns that processing times only begin the day they receive your passport, not the day you mail your application or apply in a processing center, so make sure to get your application in as soon as possible if your passport has expired or is about to.

Mother and daughter on Paris street

Do you need to bring your vaccination certificate?

Most countries in Europe have dropped pandemic entry restrictions, but not all. Italy , France , Spain , and Germany , for example, still require some proof of vaccination or testing from Americans for entry. Check the embassy page of your chosen destination ahead of flying to make sure you're up-to-date with the latest requirements.

I just got back from...the Bordeaux region of France

Can you get to the airport early?

As Americans look to resume international travel, airports are experiencing some delays at security lines and check-in desks. Get to the terminal early and leave plenty of waiting time for taxis and public transport.

The same advice applies for your return journey, though you may need to be extra vigilant with your timing abroad as many airports in Europe are experiencing significant delays brought about by staff shortages. Shortly after clearing queues from the Easter travel period, airports in the UK, the Netherlands, and Ireland are being hit by fresh queues again as summer travel picks up. The forecast for the weeks ahead isn't great either. Europe’s trade body for airports, Airports Council International (ACI) Europe, confirmed this week that summer travel will suffer from ongoing disruptions with most of its members expecting airports and flight schedules to be "unavoidably affected by this staffing crunch this summer ". 

Young lesbian couple sitting wearing medical face masks, holding orange juices with a yellow wall in the background

Have you packed a face mask?

European Union officials agreed on May 11 that face masks won't be required on flights and in airports in the EU starting May 16 . However, member states can still set their own rules and some, including Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, the Netherlands, and more, have decided to keep them on . Airlines can still set their own guidelines too so you'll need to check your carrier's policy before flying. The UK, which is no longer part of the UK, still requires that face masks are worn on most flights. 

Most countries have dropped their indoor and outdoor mask mandates, so you likely won't need one when you're out exploring any given European destination. But you'll need to wear one when boarding public transport in places like Greece, Italy, Spain, and France. Also, face masks are required in all healthcare settings in Europe. It's a good idea to pick one up before you get to the airport (where prices for face masks are typically higher) and have it in your luggage - just in case.

No we shouldn't celebrate dropping mask mandates on flights. Here's why

Senior couple looking at map in European city

Have you booked a COVID-19 test for your return flight?

The US still requires that all airline passengers over the age of two that are entering from a foreign country present a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding their flight back. The test must be taken no more than one day before departure. You can get a PCR or an antigen test, but it must be lab-administered, meaning you'll need to get it done in a pharmacy or clinic. Costs vary depending on the country you're visiting so check ahead so you can factor it into your budget and, if possible, book the test before you leave for your trip.

Traveling by train in Europe this summer? Here’s 7 things you need to know

You'll be required to retain a paper or digital copy of your negative test result so that you can present it to your airline before boarding your flight home. If you've recovered from the virus within the last six months, you won't need to get tested but you will need to show your recovery certificate instead.

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An elderly man wearing a protective facemask enters his house in the Greek island of Mykonos

Which European countries are easing travel restrictions?

As some countries in Europe restart tourism, we round up lockdown-easing measures and restrictions country-by-country. Information will be updated as the situation changes

The UK Foreign Office (FCO) is currently advising against all but essential international travel for an indefinite period. However, countries across Europe have begun to ease lockdown measures and border restrictions, and some have started to welcome domestic and international tourists.

The European Commission advised EU internal borders to open from 15 June. It has recommended extended temporary restrictions on international tourists from the rest of the world entering EU countries until after 30 June. Belgium, Finland, France and Germany are among the countries that have opened borders to a wider number of European countries as of 15 June; several others opened to neighbouring nations earlier in the month.

At the UK border, all arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days from 8 June, or face a £1,000 fine. Arrivals must also provide contact and accommodation information, and the authorities have said they will carry out spot checks. Failure to supply an address may result in a £100 fine. They will also be strongly advised to download and use the NHS contact tracing app .

Currently, only passengers arriving from Ireland are exempt. Travel and hospitality companies and airlines are are calling for the scrapping of these quarantine measures , which they say will deter foreign visitors from coming here, deter UK visitors from travelling abroad and cause other countries to impose reciprocal quarantine requirements on Brits. They are instead urging the government to create “air bridges”, allowing travel between the UK and countries where coronavirus has been controlled. A group of 500 travel companies has said it has had “government assurances ” that these will be in place by the end of June, but there has been no public announcement as yet. Portugal’s foreign minister, Augusto Santos Silva, has also said he is hopeful an air bridge between the UK and Portugal can be agreed by then.

Travel restrictions and safety measures are constantly changing and we will update this article as regularly as possible.

This article was first published on 18 May at 2pm. It was last updated on 22 June at 4.30pm BST

Land borders are open to international tourists, but commercial flights suspended. Domestic travel is also now permitted. Hotels, shops, restaurants, beaches, indoor activity centres for children, sports centres, swimming pools, internet cafes and cultural centres are permitted to open. Public transport may begin operating again gradually over the next month.

Borders are open to tourists from the EU, the Schengen zone and the UK. A health certificate is no longer required for arrivals from the EU, except for the UK, Sweden, Spain and Portugal, who are still required to present one on arrival, stating that they do not have coronavirus. Those without a certificate must self-isolate for 14 days. Testing is available at Vienna airport for €190. Transit is permitted without a certificate. Cross-border passenger trains are running limited services. Vienna, Innsbruck and Salzburg airports are operational but with limited services. Restaurants, bars and hotels are permitted to reopen. Masks are mandatory on public transport and in shops.

Borders are open to tourists from the EU, the Schengen zone and the UK. Some indirect flights with the UK are operating for essential travel. Eurostar has a reduced service; public transport is running (masks mandatory). Proof of residence and onward travel required for transit. Shops, museums, bars, restaurants and some tourist attractions are open, and small open-air events are permitted (major events prohibited until after August, alongside the opening of night clubs). Non-contact sports and religious gatherings under 100 people permitted. Cultural and sports events will be allowed a seated audience of up to 200 people from 1 July.

Borders are open to tourists from the UK, EU and Schengen countries. Currently, all arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days. A reduced number of direct flights are operating with the UK, and transit is permitted. Some hotels and swimming pools are open and individual outdoor sports permitted. Some markets and the outside areas of bars and restaurants are open. Visiting mountains and national parks is also allowed. Museums, galleries and cinemas are open at limited capacity. Masks mandatory on public transport and other enclosed public spaces.

Borders are open to tourists from the EU and EEA countries, including the UK. All arrivals should fill out a form online in advance and proof of a tourist accommodation booking is required on entry (apart from for tourists from Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Germany and Slovakia, who are exempt). Parks, beaches, shops, museums, hotels and outdoor restaurants and bars are open, and some public transport is operating. Some international and domestic flights operating and transit permitted. International flights will increase throughout June.

Borders are open to tourists from countries regarded as having dealt well with the pandemic (13 countries in category A face no restrictions; six in category B must provide a health certificate and negative test results on entry or pay for a test for €60). No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals. The government in Cyprus has said it will cover the cost of lodging, food, drink and medication for any traveller who tests positive while in Cyprus (they will need to pay for an airport transfer and repatriation flight). The second phase of easing, from 10 June, included reopening outside seating areas at cafes and restaurants and unrestricted use of beaches. Some hotels and museums are open. Parks, outdoor play areas, squares and marinas are to open from 21 June (for no more than 10 people at a time), as well as archaeological and historical sites.

Czech Republic

Borders are open to tourists from the EU, the Schengen zone and the UK. However, countries will assessed weekly and categorised according to risk , and some will be subject to testing on arrival. The UK is considered a high risk country. Countries considered medium or high risk must present a negative test result, take a test with a negative result within 72 hours of arrival, or self-isolate for 14 days. Prague airport is open, with limited indirect flights to the UK, for essential travel only. Transit is permitted with proof of residence and onward travel. Domestic travel permitted. Shops, outdoor restaurants, pubs, museums and other cultural institutions are open, and events with up to 500 people are permitted. Hotels, outdoor campsites and other accommodation have also reopened. Rules on wearing masks in public have have also been relaxed, but they are still mandatory on public transport.

Borders open to tourists from Norway, Germany and Iceland, who must show proof of accommodation booking on arrival. From 27 June, Denmark is due to review the entry for the UK, EU and Schengen countries, depending on if the country has had fewer than 20 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week. Commercial passenger flights are operating, including with Greenland and the Faroe Islands to Copenhagen, where travellers can transit to the UK. Shops, parks and some hotels are open, and public transport is operating. Restaurants, bars, sports facilities, cinemas and theatres are also permitted to open.

Borders are open to tourists from the UK, EU and Schengen countries. Currently, arrivals from the UK, Sweden, Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, Malta and Spain must self-isolate for 14 days. The list will be revised every Friday, and will change depending on which countries have 15 or less people per 100,000 inhabitants infected with coronavirus (in the passenger’s country of origin in the past 14 days). Domestic travel is permitted including to the islands. Hotels, museums, swimming pools and other leisure facilities are allowed to open. Restaurants and bars can be open until 10pm.

Borders are open to tourists from Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Tourists from other EU countries may be permitted after 14 July (the Finnish government is expected to review restrictions again in by the end of June). Some international flights are operating (arriving at Helsinki, Turku and Mariehamn airports), and transit is permitted. Shops and cultural institutions are to allowed to open, and restaurants and bars until 11pm. Hotels are beginning to reopen. Gatherings of up to 50 people permitted, and events of over 500 may be permitted in July.

Borders open to tourists from the UK, Schengen zone and EU countries. Currently, arrivals from the UK and Spain (by air until 21 June), must self-isolate for 14 days. Arrivals from outside of Europe must provide a health certificate stating that they do not have coronavirus until at least July (with an alternative of 14 days’ self-isolation). Public transport is starting to run more frequently, masks are mandatory. Shops, restaurants, bars, museums, beaches and parks are permitted to reopen. P&O and DFDS are operating reduced ferry services on cross-Channel routes. Some flights are operating. Eurostar is running a limited service between Paris and London (passengers are required to wear masks). For vehicle crossings, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is operating a limited service.

Borders are open to tourists from the UK, Schengen zone and EU countries . Tourists from everywhere else are unlikely to be permitted until at least August. Flight schedules are due to increase over the next month. Domestic train schedules have resumed, as have some cross border routes. Shops, restaurants and some hotels now open. Large events, such as festivals may return after August. The 16 states have taken different paths out of lockdown, with types and timetable of amenities open varying.

Borders are open to international tourists: a list has been released of destinations deemed high risk , which currently includes thirteen UK airports. Passengers arriving from these countries face testing on arrival – a negative result will mean self-isolation for seven days; a positive will result in mandatory government quarantine for 14 days. Tourists from a list of countries deemed safe face random testing on arrival (including Albania, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea and Switzerland). Some domestic flights and ferries operating (at 50% capacity), and travel to all the Aegean and Ionian islands is permitted. Athens and Thessaloniki airports are open, but direct flights with the UK don’t restart until 1 July. Masks are mandatory in shops and on public transport. Hotels, shops, bars and restaurants are open, and throughout June, malls, cinemas, amusement parks, playgrounds and sports facilities will open gradually. Public transport and taxis operating (up to two passengers per taxi). Large gatherings, including festivals and sporting events, are unlikely to return this summer.

Borders are open to tourists from Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. Limited flights are operating. In Budapest, shops, parks, bars and restaurants are open, and elsewhere hotels are also permitted to reopen. Masks are mandatory in shops and when using public transport and taxis across the entire country.

Borders are open to tourists from Schengen and EU countries, and the UK. All arrivals must choose between being tested for coronavirus or self-isolation for 14 days (children born 2005 or later are exempt). The test will be free charge for an initial two-week period, then ISK15,000 (£90). Arrivals are also likely to be asked to download the country’s tracing app. Some flights are operating, including Icelandair, as are some buses and taxis. Most hotels, attractions, restaurants, nightclubs, gym and shops open; and public gatherings of up to 50 people permitted (with social distancing).

Some flights and ferry services continue to operate between Ireland and the UK. All arrivals are subject to 14 days’ self-isolation and must provide details of accommodation while in Ireland. UK nationals will be exempt from self-isolation procedure on return home to the UK. Public transport is limited; restaurants and some pubs will reopen on 29 June; hotels, museums and galleries to reopen 20 July.

Borders are open to international tourists, but travellers from outside the EU, Schengen area and UK must self-isolate for 14 days. Bars, restaurants, non-essential shops, parks and museums are open. Some hotels have reopened. Many airports remain closed or are operating a reduced schedule; transit permitted. Trains are operating reduced services. Masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces. Sicily has announced that it will subsidise travel for international and domestic tourists once it is safe to return.

Borders are open to tourists from Switzerland, the EU and EEA countries, including the UK. However, all passengers will have to self isolate unless their country of origin has had 15 or less people per 100,000 inhabitants infected with coronavirus in the past 14 days. A list of high-risk and exempt countries will be updated every Friday. Commercial passenger flights are suspended.

Borders are open to tourists from Switzerland, the EU and EEA countries, including the UK. However, all passengers will have to self isolate unless their country of origin has had 25 or less people per 100,000 inhabitants infected with coronavirus in the past 14 days. A list of high-risk and exempt countries will be updated every Monday. These measures will be re-assessed by 16 June. Limited commercial passenger flights are operating. Masks are mandatory in shops, at events and on public transport. Gatherings of more than five people, or longer than for 15 minutes, are not permitted, but private and organised public events of up to 30 people are allowed. Hotels, restaurants, swimming pools, night clubs and arcades can reopen (until 10pm).

Borders open to tourists from Germany. No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals, or commercial passenger flights to start operating with the UK. Restaurants, shops and hotels are permitted to reopen and outdoor non-contact sports are also be permitted. Masks are mandatory in supermarkets and on public transport.

Borders are due to open to tourists from Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovakia, Switzerland from 1 July, when airports also open. No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals or other tourists. Currently, all arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days (due to be relaxed 1 July for tourists from the countries listed above). Masks mandatory in shops and on public transport. Some restaurants and non-essential shops are open, along with some hotels.

Netherlands

Borders are open to tourists from EU and Schengen countries and the UK. Tourists from elsewhere may be permitted from 1 July. Currently travellers from high-risk countries must self-isolate for 14 days, including the UK. Proof of an accommodation booking is likely to be required on entry. Some flights are operating with the UK. Eurostar is due to operate with the UK from 28 June. Shops and some hotels are open. Masks are mandatory on public transport. Outdoor restaurants and bars are open, as are theatres, music venues, museums and cinemas (with social distancing). Campsites and holiday parks are open, and their communal facilities are due to open on 1 July. Events, concerts and festivals with more than 100 people may be allowed after 1 September.

Borders open to tourists from Denmark and Finland. No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel other tourists, although another announcement is expected by 20 July regarding entry for the remaining European countries. Some flights operating with the UK and transit permitted. Some hotels, shops and restaurants open. Organised events with up to 50 people permitted, so some parks, music venues, galleries and other cultural institutions open.

Borders are open to tourists from the EU. Some domestic flights are operating and international flights for essential travel, more commercial passenger flights are expected to resume from 16 July. Hotels and beaches are permitted to reopen, and most shops, restaurants, bars, museums, galleries and national parks are also open. City bike schemes and some public transport operating. Masks mandatory in public.

Borders are open to international tourists by air; the land border with Spain is closed until further notice. International airlines are gradually increasing schedules, including to the islands, and arrivals by air are subject to health checks but not a compulsory quarantine. On 3 June, foreign affairs Augusto Santos Silva told the BBC that he was hopeful an air bridge between the UK and Portugal could be agreed by the end of June. However, on 22 June, Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, said some coronavirus restrictions would be reimposed in Lisbon to help control outbreaks: from 23 June, there will be a restriction on gatherings of more than 10 people and orders for cafes and shops to close at 8pm in the capital. The Azores, Madeira and Porto Santo are open to tourists, who must fill out a form before travelling. They must also present negative test results from within 72 hours prior to departure; or be tested on arrival (paid for by the local government); or quarantine for 14 days. The Algarve and its hotels and beaches are also open to tourists. Public transport across the country is running at a reduced capacity, though there are rail and bus links to Lisbon city centre from most parts of the country, and taxis are still operating. Beaches and campsites are open and restaurants and bars in many regions are permitted to reopen at limited capacity.

Borders are open to tourists from the EU, Switzerland, and EEA countries, including the UK. Arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days apart from tourists from Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland, who are exempt. Commercial passenger flights are operating with these countries, but suspended from elsewhere. Domestic travel permitted. Hotels, open-air museums and attractions, and the outside of restaurants and bars are permitted to open. Masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces and on public transport. Gatherings of more than 3 people from different families are not allowed. Parks and beaches are open, and outdoor events, up to 500 attendees are allowed.

Borders open to tourists from EU and Schengen countries and the UK. All arrivals must register for entry 72 hours in advance. Arrivals must also provide a negetive test result on arrival (no older than 96 hours), or self-isolate for 14 days, unless they have spent the previous 14 days only in these 19 listed countries: Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic Germany, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Some flights operating, and transit permitted with proof of onward travel. Some shops, outdoor markets, outdoor sports venues for non-contact sports, outdoor tourist attractions, outdoor areas of bars and restaurants, museums, galleries and short and long-term accommodation are open. Taxis and some public transport operating. Masks in public are mandatory.

Borders are open to tourists from EU and Schengen countries and the UK. All arrivals must self-isolate for 14-days and provide proof of accommodation, apart from arrivals from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Norway, Slovakia and Switzerland, who are exempt. Flights are limited and train connections with Austria are suspended. Shops, galleries, smaller hotels are open, and the outside areas of bars and restaurants. Nightclubs remain closed. Some public transport and taxis operating, and masks mandatory. Gatherings of up to 200 people are permitted in public spaces.

Borders are due to open to tourists from the UK, the EU and Schengen countries from 21 June (with the exception of Portugal on 1 July). Currently, arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days, although this is expected to be relaxed from 21 June. Potential self-isolation measures or an “air bridge”, may be announced for UK tourists. Hotels, beaches, museums, bars and restaurants are open. Face masks are mandatory in public spaces. Airports are open but flight schedules are reduced; transit permitted. Inter-island travel is permitted, including in the Canaries and the Balearics. In partnership with the World Tourism Organization, the Canaries are also set to be the first destination in the world to trial digital health certificates in July. A pilot scheme will welcome 10,900 German tourists to the Balearics in June.

Borders are open to tourists from EU and Schengen countries and the UK. Some European countries, including neighbouring Norway and Denmark are not permitting entry to people travelling from Sweden. Limited flights operating between London and Stockholm. As Sweden never went into full lockdown, hotels, shops, bars, restaurants and some museums are open. Large gatherings of more than 50 are still prohibited.

Switzerland

Borders are due to open to EU and EFTA countries and the UK. Travel from countries beyond this could resume from mid-July. Hotels, shops, markets and restaurants are open. Outdoor sports with up to five people permitted. Theatres, museums, cinemas, swimming pools, ski resorts, spas, mountain services and other leisure activities including summer camps have resumed business. Large events, up to 1000 people may resume from 24 June,and events larger than 1000 people may be possible at the end of August.

Borders are open to international tourists. Some international flights and domestic flights are now operating, including with the UK. Hotels and restaurants are permitted to open. Masks are mandatory in shops and on public transport, including on flights.

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Is it safe to visit Eastern Europe at the moment?

2 years ago

By The Guide Liverpool

Is it safe to visit Eastern Europe at the moment?

Are you planning a holiday to Eastern Europe? Here’s a look at how safe it is to visit paces like Poland, Lithuania and Hungary amidst the current crisis in Ukraine.

Known for its pristine medieval architecture, lithuania’s second city, kaunas, is looking forward to a busy year as the european capital of culture 2022 (shared with esch-sur-alzette in luxembourg and novi sad in serbia)..

More than 4,000 events and festivals have been planned to attract tourists throughout the year. But organisers – along with the rest of the world – are watching nervously as events in nearby Ukraine unfold.

The vast, looming spectre of Russia is casting a dark shadow across the neighbouring and nearby Baltic states, raising concerns for anyone who might be planning to visit the region in the next few months.

eastern europe travel restrictions

Vilnius in Lithuania

Mindaugas Reinikis, head of communication and marketing for Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022, is keen to stress Lithuania remains open to visitors.

“The Baltic states and Lithuania are totally safe places to travel,” he insists. “They are part of NATO and in the EU. All flights and other means of transport are functioning as usual.”

It’s a message echoed by countries such as Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, which have become popular tourist destinations in recent years, thanks largely to a proliferation of affordable flights from airlines such as Wizz Air and Ryanair.

Eastern Europe

Warsaw in Poland

In 2019, Poland recorded 35.7 million tourist arrivals, according to the Statista Research Department, an increase of over 18 million arrivals since 2006. As Covid restrictions begin to relax globally, it was hoped those figures could be resumed.

Aside from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and part of Moldova, there are currently no UK government warnings against visiting any of the countries in Eastern Europe, meaning at this point there’s no need to alter travel plans.

However, given the ever-evolving and volatile situation, there are some important considerations to be made…

Get good travel insurance

Varying global restrictions relating to Covid-19 have made it imperative to have good travel insurance – now even more so.

Travel insurance company battleface (battleface.com) specialises in bespoke policies to a mixture of both classic and more unusual tourist destinations, and warns against taking out a “one size fits all” policy.

Instead, travellers should consider the destination, duration and activities to be undertaken on their trip. In certain cases, a single policy (rather than an annual multi-trip policy) may be a better option.

Eastern Europe

PA Photo/Alamy.

Staysure (staysure.co.uk) sells both single and multi-trip travel insurance policies, and also advises customers to carefully check T&Cs.

“In the event of one of our customers having to evacuate a country because of the FCDO [Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office] advising against all travel, Staysure would cover up to their cancellation amount,” says CEO Ryan Howsam. “However, this would only be valid if the customer purchased the Optional Travel Disruption Extension cover.”

The countries to currently avoid

For anyone who does have future holidays booked in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and part of Moldova – where the FCDO currently advises against all travel – many insurers and tour operators are offering refunds or the opportunity to book travel at a later date.

“Having spent years living in both countries [Russia and Ukraine], I am truly saddened by the events unfolding,” says Andrea Godfrey, brand manager for Regent Holidays (regent-holidays.co.uk).

“Our immediate priority is to contact all our clients with departures up to May 31, 2022 to Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Moldova, to discuss their options, which will include cancellation and refund, rescheduling to a later date, or a new booking to a different destination within the Regent portfolio.”

Useful websites to check

To keep up to date with the latest travel advice, the FCDO is the best resource. battleface has also created a useful travel tool featuring up to the minute information on global travel restrictions and requirements. Visit battleface.com/en-gb/travel-tool.

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8 Things To Know About Travelling to Eastern Europe

If you are planning a trip to Eastern Europe then this article is for you.

As a tour guide myself, I get the same questions from travellers who are travelling to Eastern Europe.

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary , some experienced hints and tips , or just craving a delicious food adventure , we’ve got you covered!

We may earn affiliate commissions from websites we link to, at no cost to you. Click here for details.

Travelling to Eastern Europe Montenegro - what countries eastern europe

So I decided to answer them all here, and I am certain you’ll find this helpful.

Table of Contents

1. What countries are in Eastern Europe?

Let’s start with the definition of Eastern European Countries. This really depends on how you split Europe into regions. You either have Western and Eastern Europe or split them into more appropriate regions of Balkans, Baltics, Central Europe and Eastern Europe.

In the wider sense, there are 20 Countries in Eastern Europe, and they can also be split into these four regions.

  • Central Europe:  The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, 
  • Eastern Europe:  Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and the European part of Russia.
  • The 3 Baltic states : Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia
  • The Balkans : Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania

If you are getting the Balkans and Baltics confused, I recommend reading my article Baltics and Balkans Countries Explained .

Travelling to Eastern Europe

2. Is it safe to travel in Eastern Europe?

I have been asked these questions for many years but this year, the main reason is the war in Ukraine that has everyone worried. So let me answer both points:

Is travelling to Eastern Europe safe for solo travellers or women?

Absolutely. Apart from Belarus, every country in Eastern Europe has a lower crime rate than countries in Western Europe. So, the chances of you being robbed, pickpocketed, or involved in any form of crime are on par with Western Europe. 

I personally feel safer as a solo woman on the streets of Eastern European capitals than in London or Paris at night. The point is, you are as safe as in Western Europe.

Our  12 tips for safe travel  apply when travelling to Eastern Europe and the rest of the world too.

Please note: Some capital cities have a small number of bars where male tourists end up “spending a lot of money” on drinks with pretty girls who invite them there. 

Is it safe to travel to Eastern Europe right now with the war in Ukraine?

With the ongoing war in Ukraine, I hear more people being hesitant about travelling to Eastern Europe. Being from Slovakia, I don’t believe it matters if you are in Poland, Germany , or Austria .

Should this conflict spill over into other countries beyond Ukraine in Eastern Europe, they are all part of NATO, and it would mean the whole of Europe is at war based on international law. 

Travelling to Eastern Europe

3. What is the best way to travel around Eastern Europe?

Is Eastern Europe easy to travel around? Yes, it is. Travelling to Eastern Europe from Western Europe is easy, there are plenty of flights to get you to your first point of travel or you can get there by train to bus. As for continuing your travelling in Eastern Europe, well the infrastructure is also great.

Here are recommended ways to travel around Eastern Europe:

Travelling in Eastern Europe by trains 

While trains in Eastern Europe might not be as fast as TGVs in France or Switzerland, and Italy, the good news is that there are many, and they often cost a third of the price.

There are great overnight trains with sleepers and some exceptional private trains too, such as Regiojet .

I wrote a dedicated blog on how to travel Europe by train for all the know-how. As for Eastern Europe, just remember the Balkans have too many mountains and trains might not connect all cities, buses are therefore a better option. But trains are a fantastic option for Prague – Bratislava – Budapest journey.

You can continue on Belgrade or add Warsaw and Krakow.

I use Trainline to search, compare and book the cheapest train fares all over Europe. Their website is so user-friendly, and the prices are unbeatable, with the average saving being up to 60 off!

Travelling to Eastern Europe Praha

Travelling to Eastern Europe by bus:

You can get everywhere and anywhere on buses in Eastern Europe. Some of the best international routes are run by Flixbus (a German Company), Eurolines, Regiojet and Omnibus. The good news is that they often include free wifi, sometimes even a coffee and USB chargers.

Plus, they can be super affordable, and buying a ticket is easy online.

I recommend using Rome2Rio to check the connection for the best option to get from A to B. And to make instant reservations, we use Omio  to reserve train and bus tickets all over Europe.

For domestic routes, you can always find buses that will get you there.

Travelling to Eastern Europe Regiojet

Car Rental in Eastern Europe: 

Yes, car rental in Europe gives you much freedom if you are keen to explore countries in depth with smaller towns or national parks.

If you’re planning to see the main cities, you are better off using a train/bus/plane to get between them and then public transport. The best way to get around the cities is on public transport (trans, metro, buses) and with a combination of Uber/Grab/taxi. 

Parking, tolls, and the cost of fuel when renting a car might add up quickly when travelling to Eastern Europe and around. And sometimes resting on a 5-hour train journey is a better option than a 4-hour drive by car. 

Travelling to Eastern Europe car rental

Lowcost Airlines in Eastern Europe

With the expansion of low-cost companies across Eastern Europe, you can get some amazing deals with airlines such as AirBaltic, Ryanair, Easyjet and Wizz Air, with a base in Budapest being the best . 

With Wizz Air, you might be able to fly from Bratislava to Sofia for as little as 11 Euros. Budapest to Zadar for 20 Euros.

To find the best deals, book on Skyscanner . 

Travelling to Eastern Europe Wizz Air

Is country hopping in Europe possible? 

Absolutely. You can choose your type of transport with Omio  or mix it up. Travelling to Eastern Europe these days can easily include multiple countries in a trip.

Get Connected with eSIM

eastern europe travel restrictions

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4. Which countries in Eastern Europe are part of the European Union?

When travelling to Eastern Europe, don’t forget to check your visa requirements. For most nationalities, travel here is straightforward within the EU (the majority of countries are part of the Schengen Zone where free movement without borders has been established across 26 countries), but it’s always good to check countries’ requirements from outside of the EU.

We wrote this post on  The Complete List of all the Countries in the EU in 2023  to explain in more detail. 

11 Eastern European countries are part of the European Union:  

  • Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

9 Countries in Eastern Europe are NOT part of the European Union:

  • Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia  are in the process of integrating the EU legislation into national law and might become part of the EU in the next years.
  • Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova, and Ukraine  are not part of the EU, but some are hoping to join.

Travelling to Eastern Europe - Countries in the EU

5. What is the best country in Eastern Europe?

This is a really difficult question to answer as each country has something to offer. Just because Croatia is more visited than Romania doesn’t mean it’s less worth it. Travelling to Eastern Europe is a joy because often you will find amazing places you knew little about. 

I have visited all the capitals and main cities in Eastern Europe, and Prague , Tallinn , and Dubrovnik are three of my favourites.

Perhaps my passion for eating the best Czech food in Prague keeps me returning time and again. It could also be because there are so many awesome things to do in Prague too.

As for my favourite country, I would have to say Slovenia. Gorgeous, with lovely capital beautiful nature, and fantastic food . and I love the Slovenian people.

Just don’t get Slovakia mixed up with Slovenia:  Slovakia vs Slovenia – What is the difference?

Travelling to Eastern Europe Slovenia

Make sure you get Travel Insurance before hitting the road. We recommend Heymondo & SafetyWing

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6. Can I pay by card in Eastern Europe?

Yes, debit and credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are accepted everywhere. American Express not so much, mostly in high-end shops, hotels, and restaurants.

The only time you’ll need cash is when buying fruit at local markets, souvenirs, and when paying at smaller restaurants. It’s always good to have cash on you and use the card when you can.  Don’t forget that you might be charged an international fee for each payment unless you have a card that offers no international fees.

Read more about the debit card we use to travel the world with zero ATM or international fees. Or better yet, sign up for a WISE international bank account, a very wise move for sure.

Also, generally speaking, in bigger cities and capitals in Eastern Europe, more people pay by card than in smaller villages.

There are plenty of ATMs to withdraw money, but ALWAYS use official bank ATMs and avoid EURONET ATMs – they are scams and you will get the worse possible exchange rate.

My friend was travelling to Eastern Europe and decided to take a lot of cash out in Prague in Euros – lost so much money as the ATM charge them really high fees.

Avoid Euronet ATMs. And if you must use one, then ensure you select to withdraw cash in the currency of the country you’re in, NOT in your home currency. If you do that, you’ll get a terrible exchange rate as I mentioned above.

7. Do people speak English in Eastern Europe?

Yes. The majority of the younger generation in Eastern Europe has learned English as a second language.

The opinion that nobody speaks English in Eastern Europe is very dated and it is one of the common misconceptions about Eastern Europe.

Of course, the ability to speak English varies between the countries in Eastern Europe, but when in doubt, find someone under 40 and the chances are they will speak English.

If they don’t, please note that the majority of people in Eastern Europe do speak 2-3 or even 4 languages, English just might not be one of them for the older generation. If you know German, you might also try it, especially in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Croatia.

And, Russian was commonly taught in the former Soviet countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine etc).

Travelling to Eastern Europe Tallinn

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8. Do Eastern European countries use Euro?

Just because countries are in European Union, it doesn’t mean they use Euro. We wrote this dedicated post about the countries in Europe that use the euro to explain this a little more.

Here is a quick list and map of countries in Eastern Europe that use the euro as their main currency.

There are 7 countries in Eastern Europe that use euros as their currency:

  • *Montenegro (not in the EU, but use Euro)
  • *Kosovo (not in the EU, but use Euro)

And there are 6 countries in Eastern Europe and the EU that do not use the euro:

  • Bulgaria –  Bulgarian lev (will adopt Euro in January 2024)
  • Croatia –  Croatian kuna ( will adopt Euro in January 2023 )
  • Czech Republic –  Czech koruna
  • Hungary –  Hungarian forint
  • Poland –  Polish złoty
  • Romania –  Romanian leu

Travelling to Eastern Europe - Countries using Euro

While euro is not their currency, you might find some places accept euro for payment, especially in Prague, Budapest, or Dubrovnik. Usually, you pay a lot more in euros than when paying in local currency.

Countries in Eastern Europe and not in the EU that do not use the euro, but they own currency: 

  • Albania –  Albanian lek
  • Belarus –  Belarusian ruble
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina –  Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark
  • Moldova –  Moldovan leu
  • North Macedonia –  Macedonian denar
  • Russia  – Russian ruble
  • Serbia –  Serbian dinar
  • Ukraine –  Ukrainian hryvnia

Best 10-day itinerary for Eastern Europe

One of the most common questions is where to go when travelling to Eastern Europe.

Since people have 2 weeks, here are a few suggestions for Eastern Europe trip itinerary, or more specific a 10-day itinerary for Eastern Europe.

I have included an itinerary for 10 days across the Baltics, Balkans, Central Europe, and more of the East part of the Balkans.

You can connect these cities with public transport (bus or train) and can add some day trips as well, but as it’s based on 4 – 5 cities in 10 days, so it can be fast-paced. 

  • Best of Central Europe 10-day Itinerary: Prague – Krakow – Bratislava – Budapest (add Ljubljana)
  • Best of Baltics in 10 days: Tallinn – Riga – Vilnius – Warsaw – Krakow
  • Best of Eastern Europe in 10 days: Budapest – Ljubljana – Split – Sarajevo
  • 10 Days across the Balkans Itinerary: Belgrade – Sarajevo – Mostar -Dubrovnik 
  • Eastern European itinerary from Black to the Adriatic Sea: Bucharest – Sofia – Skopie – Tirana – Kotor

Interested in joining a group? Book one of these group tours

If you plan to visit multiple countries in Europe, we’ve got you covered.

Check out our comprehensive city guides below where we recommend the best places to visit, top attractions, day tours and best places to eat!

Don’t miss our EUROPE CITY GUIDES

  • ROME 3 Days Itinerary
  • VENICE 1-Day Itinerary
  • FLORENCE 2 Days Itinerary
  • AMSTERDAM 3 Day Itinerary
  • PARIS 4 Days Itinerary
  • BUDAPEST 2 Days Itinerary
  • PRAGUE 2 Days Itinerary
  • LONDON 1 Day Itinerary
  • ATHENS 1 Day Itinerary
  • BERLIN 2 Days Itinerary
  • VIENNA 2 Days Itinerary
  • LISBON 2 Days Itinerary

We’ve got more helpful posts for you!

You may be interested in these 13 things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia and these Best Restaurants in Bratislava are worth a visit.

For the Czech Republic, here are the best things to do in Prague . Don’t miss tasting the best Czech food in Prague— our top 6 places .

Travel Tips for Europe

We have many travel guides and tips for Europe— an incredible continent!

Are you travelling on a budget? These ten cheapest European countries will help you plan an itinerary that lets you see as much as possible while there.

Furthermore, if you plan to travel long-term (or at least until the money runs out), these 21 cheapest countries to visit will help you make your hard-earned dollars stretch a bit further.

Delicious cuisine can be enjoyed across Europe, and our food map of Europe will inspire your culinary journey.

For food lovers, don’t miss our top 10 best countries for foodies, a couple of them are located in Europe.

Here are 8 things to know about travelling to Eastern Europe  and it’s good to know these  7 misconceptions about Eastern Europe  too.

These top 6 travel hacks to save money  are great to read when planning your travels.

You’ll need to stay connected while travelling in Europe. We recommend eSIM. It’s easy, reliable and affordable. View eSIMs for individual European countries , or consider a regional eSIM for Europe (which covers 39 countries).

If your travels in Europe are part of a much larger global adventure, then a Global eSIM may be the answer. It connects you in 124 countries , offering data-only eSIM and data/call/text eSIM . The Global eSIM has been a game-changer; we couldn’t imagine travelling without it now.

If you want to travel with like-minded travellers, consider joining a group tour. View the best deals on group tours in Europe .

Check out our best-ever travel tips compiled from more than twenty years of experience.

Travel Planning Resources

✈️ Flights : We use Skyscanner to book cheap flights worldwide.

🏨 Accommodation :  Booking.com is our preferred platform for booking hotels and accommodation. We use Vrbo to book apartments and long-term stays.

🏥 Travel Insurance : We recommend Heymondo ( Get 5% off Heymondo)  & SafetyWing

🚌 Transportation : Trainline is the best website to reserve trains. We use Omio to book transport worldwide. For travel in Asia, we use 12Go.  

🚘 Car Rental : We use DiscoverCars to book rental cars worldwide.

👫 Group Tours :  G Adventures OR compare multi-day tours worldwide with Tourradar .

📸 Day Tours & Trips :  GetYourGuide  & Viator are the only two platforms you need.

📚 Lonely Planet: The Best Range of Travel Guides & Ebooks , and FREE Shipping! (use code RACHELDAVEY10 for a 10% discount)

🎒 Luggage :  Osprey Farpoint 40L Backpack  or  Samsonite Luggage Range.

🛄 What to Pack:  Don’t forget your Universal charger and a good  power bank .  To help you pack the essentials, here is our ULTIMATE Packing List for all Travellers .

🐶 Become a House Sitter:  Join Trusted Housesitters and enjoy FREE accommodation worldwide. Use our invite to receive 25% off your new membership.

💰 Send Money Anywhere: WISE  &  Revolut  are the best online accounts that let you send money, get paid, and spend money internationally. Both are so easy to use and way cheaper than any bank transfer.

📶  Stay Connected: Airalo eSIM allows you to get connected the moment you land at your destination, and you can avoid those expensive data roaming charges. We LOVE this product! Use promo code NOMAD15 for 15% off ALL eSIMs (new Airalo users only) OR use NOMAD10 for 10% off ALL eSIMs (for existing Airalo users)

✅ Check out our Travel Gear  and  Travel Resources for more valuable tips to save you money!

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Thrifty Nomads

The Ultimate Eastern Europe Travel Guide (Updated 2024)

eastern europe travel restrictions

Fewer travelers head east – t hat’s why you should.

H ead East from Germany, and you’ll find that your Euros are less often accepted. English is not so widely spoken. The streets can appear grittier, with concrete apartment blocks often blocking out the sun. Poland has no Leaning Tower of Pisa, Budapest boasts no colosseum, and the rushing Danube may be less associated with romance than the sedate river Seine. But travel with your eyes open, and you’ll find just as much beauty, history, fun and adventure in the East as others do in the well trodden West.

Average wages behind the historic ‘Iron Curtain’ are still drastically low, which is rough on the locals, but can benefit the intrepid traveler: You’ll find that three course restaurant meal in Sofia, Bulgaria can cost you less than a cocktail in a Parisian bar. So pack a phrase book and dress up warm – we’re heading East!

  • 1 Eastern Europe: An overview
  • 2 Eastern Europe highlights: A sample itinerary
  • 3 The Baltics: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
  • 4 Poland: Gdansk, Warsaw & Krakow
  • 5 Slovakia: Zdiar, The Tatra Mountains
  • 6 Hungary: Budapest
  • 7 Bulgaria: Sofia
  • 8 How much does a trip to Eastern Europe cost?
  • 9 How long do you need to explore Eastern Europe?
  • 10 Getting around
  • 11 Getting there
  • 12 Where to stay
  • 13 When to go
  • 14 Food and drink
  • 15 What to do
  • 16 The Thrifty Gist

eastern europe travel restrictions

Eastern Europe: An overview

The definition of Eastern Europe can be a bit contentious. I moved to Poland a few years ago and have used this country as a base on and off ever since. While the folks back in England and Australia would tend to see Poland as ‘Eastern Europe,’ here locals often insist on ‘Central Europe,’ and looking at a map, they may have a point. However for the purposes of this article, Poland makes the cut. We’re also going to look at Czechia and Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, former Yugoslavia, the Baltics and Ukraine.

To varying degrees, all the countries described fell under the influence of the Soviet Union after the second world war. While most have now transformed into Western leaning democracies, the brutal memory of communism still rings in the ears. Poland and Hungary are sliding ominously towards the far right, and Ukraine’s recent attempt to lurch Westward politically was met with Russian tanks crossing the border into Crimea. While ‘history’ may feel like a thing of the past in London and Rome, here it is still an unfolding story.

eastern europe travel restrictions

Eastern Europe highlights: A sample itinerary

Eastern Europe Itinerary Map

Once you spend a bit of time staring at a map, you’ll realize there’s an awful LOT of Eastern Europe. Not just in the number of countries, but in the size. Ukraine alone could comfortably fit in several Western European nations. Below I’ll sketch a rough itinerary that involves heading due south right from the Baltics into Bulgaria. You can either complete this itinerary fully (as pictured above) – requiring 5-6 weeks – or just do sections of it. 

A few things to note is that while most of these countries are in both the European Union and the Schengen Visa Free Zone, there are exceptions – notably Serbia and Ukraine. So be sure to check your visa requirements before venturing out . Also, the below is one hell of a trip and designed to give you a sense of what is available, rather than a definitive prescription – you should, of course, pick and choose. If you wanna head straight to Prague to sample the famed (and cheap) Czech beer before braving the winter streets of Vilnius, then I can’t say I blame you!

The Baltics: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

Viru Gate, Lithuania, Estonia

So-named because of their position on the Baltic sea, these three small nations are often overlooked by Western travelers. But they shouldn’t be. Let’s have a look at each in turn:

Highlight : Tallinn. With a population of just 1.3 million, Estonia rapidly reinvented itself after the collapse of communism in 1989, and now is counted among one of the most technologically developed nations in the world. It offers digital citizenship to locals and expats, and is considered a digital nomad hub. If Eastern Europe in your mind is crumbling buildings and long queues for groceries, then start with Estonia to dispel those misconceptions. Get to know it like a local with a Welcome to Tallinn walking tour.

Highlight : Riga. The historic center of Riga is a Unesco world heritage site, and the beautifully preserved/restored town square is a great precursor of what you’re to expect as you explore countries like Poland and Czechia further south. Take in the most popular sights with a scenic canal boat cruise .

Highlight : Vilnius. Like Riga, the historic center of Vilnius is a Unesco World Heritage site, best explored with a local guide . Once unified with Poland, Vilnius boasts a proud literary heritage and a rich Jewish history – it was once referred to as the “Jerusalem of Lithuania.”

Poland: Gdansk, Warsaw & Krakow

Warsaw, Poland

One of the strongest economies to emerge from the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, Poland’s vibrant present mingles with a history that stretches back over 1000 years, through the glory days of the Poland-Lithuania commonwealth right through to the trauma suffered at the hands of the Nazis and Soviets during the 20th century. I came to this country for a week in 2015, and ended up staying on and off for three years!

Spend your final days with the Baltic Sea at Gdansk, formerly the predominantly German free city of Danzig. Walk along the old docks, or admire the city from a historic boat cruise , and remember the Solidarity movement that, led by Lech Walesa, resulted in the overthrow of communism first in Poland and then, arguably, across the rest of Europe. One of Poland’s most picturesque cities, a late night stroll through the old town and by the riverside will be a treasured memory.

The sight of unimaginable horror during the Second World War as the Soviet Tanks waited for the Nazis to eliminate all Polish resistance before sweeping in and planting the Hammer and Sickle flag over the ruined city, Warsaw’s revival is the stuff of legend. Under the shadow of the imposing Palace of Culture, the historic old town has been painstakingly restored. Visit the POLIN Jewish Museum , and experience some of the finest dining Eastern Europe has to offer among the cities many chic restaurants (Hint: Try Cafe Kafka for lunch).

Poland’s biggest tourist draw, and for good reason. The medieval old square is haunting under the moonlight, as rows of horses and cart stand to attention, ready to take the next visitor for a ride. Outside the city you can venture deep under the earth to explore the Salt Mines, and make a painful, but necessary visit to the Auschwitz Museum .

Detour: Lviv, Ukraine

Lviv, Ukraine

Take the night train from Krakow due east to experience something truly off the beaten track. Lviv is a great way to dip your toes into the gargantuan country of Ukraine, and give yourself a thrilling few days. Historically Polish and once known by the Hapsburg name, Lemberg, Lviv boasts one of the most adventurous nightlife scenes you’ll ever encounter. From a bar named Masoch (we’ll let you guess the theme) to multi story clubs, hidden restaurants accessible only with a password, rooftop bars where you sit in broken down cars, and ancient crypts beneath the city , a weekend in Lviv will give you enough stories to make your friends jealous for years.

Slovakia: Zdiar, The Tatra Mountains

Hala Gasienicowa, Tatra Mountains, Poland

Back on the road from Poland, we cross into Slovakia. The nation’s capital, Bratislava , is a rougher, smaller version of Prague (covered below) which rewards a fun weekend. But the Tatra mountains that stretch across the Polish border offer one of Slovakia’s most intoxicating delights.

Pro tip: Hit the Polish town of Zakopane just a few clicks from the border for a taste of the local Oscypek mountain cheese, before taking a minibus to the border, walking into Slovakia, and hopping another quick bus to Zdiar, a ski resort town. Stay in the Ginger Monkey Hostel for cosy diggs and to meet fellow travelers.

Detour: Prague, Czechia

It’s a bit out of the way and means a slight tack westward, but Prague, the dynamic capital of Czechia (formerly the Czech Republic, formerly formerly Czechoslovakia) is worth making the trip. Climb the steep hill to Prague Castle , and see the spires and winding streets of the city at your feet. Jostle with buskers on Charles Bridge before settling into one of the cities many cavernous beer halls for a sip (or several) of the unbelievably refreshing locals brews that flow like water and cost half as much!

Hungary: Budapest

Szechenyi thermal baths

Hungary’s mighty capital is growing in stature as a major Eastern European destination, rivaling Prague and Krakow. Divided into two halves, hilly historical Buda and flat, gritty Pest, the glory of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the horrors of the Arrow Cross Fascist regime and communist oppression, and the contemporary hipster revival of the city can all be felt after just a few hours in town. Climb up to the exquisite Royal Palace, drink the night away in a ruin bar (start with the gigantic Szimpla), take in the stunning architecture from a river cruise , soothe your soul in a thermal bath, and burn your taste buds with spicy paprika filled Goulash. For more tips on activities to do in Budapest, check our other guide here .

From here to Sofia you’ll most likely have to choose one of the below routes, which, like different prongs on a fork, all forge their own path to Bulgaria.

Option #1: Serbia: Belgrade

eastern europe travel restrictions

Step out of the European Union and into a scarier, starker version of history in Belgrade. The winding, cobbled streets are beautiful, the old ladies haggle over the price of cucumbers on the street markets, and the clubs rage until dawn. But as with much of Europe, there’s a darker side to history here. You’ll see at the ancient fortifications, in the city’s museums, and in the bullet holes still visible on some older buildings. Take in the top attractions from a sightseeing cruise .

Option #2: Romania: Transfagarasan Highway

Transfagarasan Highway, Romania

Bucharest is a rough and ready capital that will still provide plenty to distract and entertain you. But for me, Romania is a country of rolling green hills, famers on horseback, dark grey clouds and mercifully warm temperatures. Considered one of the best road trips in the world, rent a car and take it carefully over the Transafgarasan Highway (or sit back and relax with a day tour ) for incredible views and, of course, a climb up the steep stairs to Vlad the Impaler’s vertiginous castle (Bran Castle).

Option #3: Croatia: Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Go ahead, be a tourist, give yourself a treat. Famous as the filming location for much of Game of Thrones (with you can visit on dedicated tours ), this seaside city will be sure to rack up the Instagram likes. Don’t want to get caught up in the tourist crowd? Croatia’s warm and picturesque Mediterranean coast can also be experienced from cities like Split, which also boast fresh seafood and, of course, cheap local beer sold in gigantic plastic bottles. Živjeli!

Bulgaria: Sofia

Sofia, Bulgaria

How much does a trip to Eastern Europe cost?

The low cost of living in Eastern Europe constantly amazes me. To take a sample at random, I am writing this article from a cafe in Poznan, Poland. A large local craft beer would cost $2 USD, a latte about the same, and a delicious, high quality hot meal about $6-8. This is typical of Eastern Europe, with countries like Ukraine, Serbia and Bulgaria offering even cheaper rates. The major tourist towns like Prague and Budapest can sting you on accomodation if you don’t book in advance, and always be wary of nightclubs and ‘bars of ill repute’ where scams are known.

Traveling Eastern Europe can realistically be done for as little as $30-50 USD / day , including accomodation, food, beer, transport and attractions.

How long do you need to explore Eastern Europe?

The above itinerary – done properly – would require about 5-6 weeks, but you can of course take as long or as little as you like. Distances can be large and outdated transport infrastructure can mean uncomfortable journeys (hold tight to your wallet on the cheap but dusty overnight train from Belgrade to Budapest. When I did this journey in 2015, I paid just 10 Euro for the ticket including sleeper berth!).

Tatra Mountains, Poland

Getting around

While rail passes are highly recommended for travel in Western Europe, in the East they are less necessary. Train travel – even when booked on the day – is outrageously cheap, with $20 being more than enough for almost any internal journey you’re likely to make. For international journeys, consider overnight buses and trains to save on a night’s accommodation. Book in advance if going between major cities – for example, the overnight train from Warsaw to Budapest can get expensive (100 euro +) if booked at the last minute, but if booked in advance, will be a mere fraction of this.

  • For trains, try Bahn.de
  • For buses, try FlixBus
  • For flights, try WizzAir

Getting there

Most cities listed above can easily be accessed with cheap Ryanair flights from London and across Western Europe. Check Skyscanner and select “Whole Month” to visualize the cheapest dates. If traveling from afar, cities like Berlin and Munich in Germany can make convenient hubs. I’ve also found Prague to be a surprisingly affordable final destination when flying all the way from Australia / New Zealand. If coming from Scandinavia, Gdansk in Poland can sometimes be reached for as little as 15 euro.

Where to stay

Cities like Krakow and Budapest boast a thriving youth hostel culture, ideal if you want to meet other travelers and find drinking buddies for the evening. In Budapest I give my warmest recommendation to  Carpe Noctem – I practically moved in. Elsewhere, Booking.com can offer cheap short term rentals on apartments, while AirBNB is a slightly more expensive, but more comfortable option for doing the same. Although you may not even consider doing such a thing in Paris or London, don’t be afraid to be bold and check TripAdvisor for a nice hotel – I’ve found 4 or 5 star luxury for under $50 a night across Eastern Europe.

eastern europe travel restrictions

It’s no secret: Eastern Europe gets cold, with subzero temperatures not unheard of from December through to March. This has its compensations – nothing is more beautiful than a medieval town center blanketed in white snow. Christmas means Christmas markets and hot spiced wine served out of large cauldrons, but it’s also when everyone has gone home with their families. My favorite time to travel is September, when it’s still hot, but the main tourist crowds have wrapped up their summer holidays, leaving the streets clear to explore.

Food and drink

Let’s start with drink! Beer is literally cheaper than bottled water in most countries described above. Look for the local brews, but be careful – in this part of the world, beer packs a punch, and 9% alcohol volume brews are not uncommon. Vodka is available in millions of different flavors – try Zubrowka in Poland, and local fruit spirits such as the potent Sliwowica (plum spirit) are easy to find. In Hungary, try sweet and rich Tokaj wine. Eastern European cuisine tends to be heavy – food to soak up the vodka and prepare you for a long winter. Pierogi (polish dumplings) make for a hearty meal, as does Hungary’s goulash, Prague’s many manifestations of pork, and Lithuania’s rich, dark rye bread. Look out for Milk Bars in Poland for cheap meals shoulder to shoulder with students and vagabonds. Supermarket chains like Lidl and Tesco can provide you cheap groceries basically everywhere you will go.  

Goulas

Every city you visit will have a museum testifying to ancient glories and more recent horrors. Budapest boasts thermal baths, Poland has its salt mines, Slovakia has mountains and Prague – well, Prague has beer and a lot more besides, and pretty much everywhere has a fair share of castles! But the best thing to do is simply to wander, walk the cobbled streets with your eyes open, look at the people, and try and learn a few snatches of the local languages. Walking tours are available in most major cities – see Viator for what’s available in your destination.

The Thrifty Gist

  • Eastern Europe can be challenging, but it boasts a wealth of attractions and an unbelievably low cost of living, making it a dream destination for the adventurous budget traveler
  • Highlights include the Baltic countries, Poland, Lviv, The Tatras Mountains, Prague, Budapest, Romania, Belgrade, Dubrovnik and Sofia
  • Travel by overnight train or bus to save on a night’s accommodation. With the exception of a few major routes, fares are constantly low
  • Germany next door can serve as an easy hub to access Eastern Europe, but cheap flights with companies like WizzAir can get you pretty much anywhere
  • Stay in hostels to meet travelers and for a party vibe, use Booking.com and AirBNB for comfortable private accommodation, and search TripAdvisor for great deals of high quality hotels
  • December is beautiful, but cold, and with a lot of places likely to be closed. September offers warm weather, but not too many tourists
  • Drink beer, brave the local flavored vodka, and eat the hearty rich meals with a focus on meat, potatoes and bread. Yes, you’ll likely come home a few kilos heavier!
  • Eastern Europe is rich in history and has seen the conflicts of several empires. Enjoy the historic old town squares, castles, and museums, but mostly just walk the fascinating streets and listen to the stories of the people you encounter.

I like that you talked about museums in every city where we will see the ancient glories and horrors of their history. I would love to visit museums when my husband and I book a European travel tour for next year. It will be for my birthday to finally push through with my dream trip, and I can definitely enjoy the visit if I can learn about their history as well.

I love how detailed your blog is. Very helpful and informative. 🙂 So, I recently visited Krakow and was blown away by how charming and picturesque it is. The old town is just so charming and there’s a really lively nightlife scene. Overall, I had a really amazing time in Krakow and would definitely recommend it to others.

Thanks Jane—couldn’t agree more, Krakow is amazing!

“Sofia is most notable for its clash of influences, the Cyrillic writing system and Orthodox religion from Russia…” That is WRONG. Bulgaria created the Cyrillic writing system and Russia adopted it… Please fix that 🙂

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What Weapons Is North Korea Accused of Supplying to Russia?

Moscow needs conventional arms like artillery shells and missiles that North Korea could provide to give it an edge in its war of attrition in Ukraine.

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Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un, wearing suits, stand at a railing, with other men surrounding them.

By Lara Jakes

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia will travel to North Korea for a two-day visit starting Tuesday to meet with one of the main arms suppliers for his war against Ukraine.

As the war has dragged on, Russia has found itself in dire need of conventional weapons, including artillery shells, that North Korea could supply.

Here’s some background on what has happened so far and why it matters.

What do we know about earlier arms shipments?

The United States first accused North Korea of selling artillery to Russia as far back as September 2022, seven months after the war started. At the time, North Korea denied the accusations.

Then, last August, the White House warned that Mr. Putin and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, were conducting arms negotiations , and in September, Mr. Kim visited Mr. Putin in eastern Russia . Just weeks later, U.S. officials said that North Korea had shipped more than 1,000 containers of arms to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine. By March, officials said, North Korea had sent close to 7,000 containers of weapons to Russia.

If filled with 152-millimeter artillery shells, the containers could carry as many as three million rounds, South Korea’s defense minister said. Or, if filled with 122-millimeter rockets, they could hold more than half a million rounds. They could also have held a mix of both weapons, he said. In his latest estimate , the minister, Shin Won-sik, last week put the number of North Korea shipping containers sent to Russia at 10,000.

Additionally, the White House said in January that Russia had begun launching ballistic missiles produced in North Korea. Arms control experts said that fragments of the short-range Hwasong-11A ballistic missile have been found in the aftermath of Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian cities for months, including in Kharkiv in February. North Korea may also be supplying anti-tank missiles, and portable surface-to-air missiles, as well as rifles, rocket launchers, mortars and shells, South Korean military officials told journalists in November .

Both Moscow and Pyongyang deny trading in arms, which is banned under United Nations sanctions imposed on North Korea.

How important are these weapons?

The war in Ukraine is a war of attrition, with Russia and Ukraine trying to outgun each other, firing thousands of artillery shells, missiles and rockets every day. That means that all of the munitions that North Korea gives helps Russia maintain an edge over Ukraine.

The Hwasong-11A series missiles, in particular, have a high degree of precision and are difficult to shoot down, experts have said.

But at least some of the other weapons are thought to be old or otherwise somewhat ineffective. Last fall, the top U.S. military official at the time, Gen. Mark A. Milley, said he doubted it would be “decisive” when asked if 152-milimeter rounds provided by North Korea would have a big impact on the battlefield.

“Would it have a huge difference? I’m skeptical of that,” he said shortly before stepping down as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the given name of the South Korean defense minister. He is Shin Won-sik, not Wok-sik.

How we handle corrections

Lara Jakes , based in Rome, reports on diplomatic and military efforts by the West to support Ukraine in its war with Russia. She has been a journalist for nearly 30 years. More about Lara Jakes

Our Coverage of the War in Ukraine

News and Analysis

President Biden and the NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, announced that a record number of allies were meeting their military spending commitments  as they sought to present a united front against Russia.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia will visit North Korea  for a meeting with its leader, Kim Jong-un, as the two countries deepen military ties to support Putin’s war in Ukraine with North Korean weapons .

Scores of countries at a two-day summit in Switzerland joined Ukraine in calling for “dialogue between all parties” to end the war , but world leaders were divided on how to engage Russia.

Narrowing Press Freedoms: Journalists in Ukraine say they are subject to increasing restrictions and pressure from the government , adding that the measures go beyond wartime security needs.

Images From the Border: Photographs from two trips along Ukraine’s northeastern border regions, in the months before Russia renewed an offensive there, reveal loss and transformation .

A Russian City Adapts:  While in Moscow the fighting feels far away, residents of Belgorod, 25 miles from the border with Ukraine, have learned to duck for cover when the sirens wail .

How We Verify Our Reporting

Our team of visual journalists analyzes satellite images, photographs , videos and radio transmissions  to independently confirm troop movements and other details.

We monitor and authenticate reports on social media, corroborating these with eyewitness accounts and interviews. Read more about our reporting efforts .

Israel war on Gaza live: ‘Zero supplies’ in hospitals

  • Israeli military attacks in Gaza have killed 24 people and injured 71 in the latest 24-hour reporting period, according to the enclave’s Health Ministry.

A Palestinian wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip is treated in a hospital in Deir al Balah

  • A United Nations commission reports that Israeli authorities are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • Gaza officials demand Israel release 310 health workers “subjected to torture” and call for an international investigation “to reveal the fate” of dozens of “kidnapped” Palestinian health personnel.
  • The Israeli army says operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon have been approved as US envoy Amos Hochstein wraps up a visit to Beirut.
  • At least 37,396 people have been killed and 85,523 injured in Israel’s war on Gaza since October 7. The revised death toll in Israel from the Hamas-led attacks stands at 1,139, with dozens of people still held captive in Gaza.

Hezbollah’s Nasrallah: Israeli army appears defeated and collapsed

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has spoken in a video address. Here are some of his main points:

  • The storming of the Galilee is a possibility that remains and is likely within any war waged by Israeli forces on Lebanon.
  • The enemy (Israeli forces) fears that things will roll into a war, and this strongly affects the Gaza front and forces it to economise on ammunition.
  • The great pressure from the southern Lebanon front, in addition to other fronts, affects the negotiations regarding the outcome of the war.
  • The enemy’s image of deterrence is collapsing, and the army appears defeated and collapsed.
  • The Israeli enemy is unable to wage war on these fronts, as the British and Americans are taking care of the Yemeni front.
  • The enemy’s Ministry of Defense says there are 8,663 disabled officers and soldiers, and we ask what the number of wounded is.
  • Part of the enemy’s media and psychological war is not acknowledging its dead and losses.
  • The resistance followed a strategy of blinding the enemy and deafening its ears by targeting Israeli technical equipment, radars, balloons, and others.
  • The enemy evacuated many of its military sites on the border with southern Lebanon.
  • We have a very large amount of information, and the drone footage we published on Tuesday is a small part of long hours that were filmed in Haifa.

Head of Hezbollah threatens Israel, Cyprus in televised address

The head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah has warned that his group would fight with “no rules” and “no ceilings” in case a broader war with Israel erupts, and that nowhere in Israel would be safe from Hezbollah’s attacks.

In a televised address, Nasrallah said that included possible targets in the Mediterranean Sea.

Nasrallah also threatened Cyprus for the first time, saying Hezbollah could consider it “a part of the war” if it continued to allow Israel to use its airports and bases for military exercises.

Israeli attack reported in central Gaza

Al Jazeera’s correspondent in the Strip reports that Israeli forces blew up residential buildings in al-Zahra, north of Nuseirat refugee camp.

We will bring you more updates on this attack as information becomes available, including numbers of any possible casualties.

UNRWA: Rise in infectious diseases, high temperatures in Gaza a threat to health

Since the war began more than eight months ago, around 67 percent of the sanitation and water facilities in the coastal enclave have been destroyed, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) has said.

“As infectious diseases continue to spread and temperature rises, lack of hygiene and dehydration threaten the health of people across Gaza,” the agency posted on X.

Over the past 8 months in the #GazaStrip approximately 67% of water, sanitation facilities & infrastructure have been destroyed or damaged. As infectious diseases continue to spread and temperature rises, lack of hygiene & dehydration threaten the health of people across #Gaza . pic.twitter.com/dg08KD60Ai — UNRWA (@UNRWA) June 19, 2024

Infants suffering from severe burns throughout their bodies: Surgeon in Gaza

Bushra Othman, who also arrived in Gaza as part of a medical mission from Australia, says most of the patients being affected are “exceptionally young kids, women and children”.

“Some of the injuries we saw yesterday [at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir el-Balah] are shrapnel and blast injuries from explosions, massive chest wounds, esophageal and lung injuries, major abdominal trauma,” she told Al Jazeera.

Othman added that infants as young as 18 months old are being killed in explosions, or have severe burns throughout their bodies.

“None of these patients can go to the intensive care unit to get appropriate treatment because the hospital is understaffed, undersupplied and there’s just not enough to go around in terms of resources,” she said.

If you’re just joining us

Here’s a recap of the latest developments:

Sirens have sounded in and around the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona, where Hezbollah has claimed successive rocket attacks.

Israeli forces have bombed a home in Gaza City’s Sabra neighbourhood, killing an unknown number of people and trapping others under the rubble, report our colleagues at Al Jazeera Arabic.

  • The UN Human Rights Office has published an assessment on “six emblematic attacks” committed by Israeli forces in Gaza in 2023 that raises “serious concerns under the laws of war”.
  • The Israeli military’s “deliberate” use of heavy weapons in Gaza has been an “intentional and direct attack on the civilian population” , a new report by a UN-backed independent commission has found.

Zero supplies in hospital means reusing disposables: Paediatric surgeon

General paediatric surgeon Jamal Mari, who has been working at Al-Ahli Hospital in Deir el-Balah as part of a medical mission from Australia, says he was not allowed to bring any medical supplies into the besieged enclave.

“There are zero supplies. We are just depending on whatever [supplies are] left over from [previous] missions,” he told Al Jazeera from outside the hospital. “Whatever disposables we have, we keep reusing and reusing them, which is not safe at all.”

“They’ve got five rooms [in the hospital] which they say are operating theatres, but honestly they’re just little cubicles re-fashioned and done as theatres,” he said.

“I don’t understand how they’re managing.”

WATCH: Football brings hope to injured and traumatised children from Gaza

After his dream of being a football player was crushed by Israel’s war on Gaza, this injured Palestinian teenager has a new goal of becoming a top coach instead.

Iran’s acting foreign affairs minister heads to Qatar to discuss the war

Ali Bagheri, Iran’s acting minister of foreign affairs, is travelling to Doha to meet with Qatari officials over Israel’s war on Gaza.

During the meetings, Bagheri will discuss “mobilizing the capacities of the Islamic world to end the crimes and genocide of the Zionist regime in Gaza,” the ministry said in a statement on social media.

It added that “providing quick aid to the residents of Gaza are at the top of the discussion.”

Israeli attacks raise ‘serious concerns under the laws of war’: UN

The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) has published a report on “six emblematic attacks” committed by Israeli forces in Gaza in 2023 that raises “serious concerns under the laws of war”.

“The requirement to select means and methods of warfare that avoid or at the very least minimise to every extent civilian harm appears to have been consistently violated in Israel’s bombing campaign,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said in a statement regarding the UN’s assessment.

Here are some of the findings from the OHCHR report:

  • The UN verified 218 deaths from six Israeli attacks involving the suspected use of GBU-31 (2,0000 lbs; 925kg), GBU-32 (1,000 lbs; 460kg) and GBU-39 (250 lbs; 110kg) bombs from October 9 to December 2 on residential buildings, a school, refugee camps and a market.
  • GBU-31, 32 and 39s are mostly used to penetrate through several floors of concrete and can completely collapse tall structures. Given how densely populated the areas targeted were, the use of an explosive weapon with such wide area effects is highly likely to amount to a prohibited indiscriminate attack.
  • Series of Israeli strikes indicate that Israeli forces may have repeatedly violated fundamental principles of the laws of war.
  • In five of the attacks, no warning was issued, raising concerns about violations of the principle of precaution in attack to protect civilians.
  • In three of the strikes, Israeli forces said they targeted individuals connected to the attacks in Israel on October 7-8. But the mere presence of one commander, or several fighters does not turn an entire neighbourhood into a military objective, as this violates the principle of proportionality and the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks.
  • Palestinian armed groups have continued to fire indiscriminate projectiles towards Israel, inconsistent with their obligations under international humanitarian law.

LISTEN: Israel ready for ‘all-out war’ in Lebanon

UN officials warn of the possibility of a wider war as fighting intensifies along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel.

Each side says it is responding to attacks by the other, but could the situation spin out of control? And what does that mean for the people who live there?

Listen to The Take podcast below:

Palestinian girl with burns from Israeli shelling hopes for treatment

The disfiguring facial burns of 10-year-old Hanan Akel show how Israel’s military campaign in Gaza is not only causing thousands of deaths but terrible injuries afflicting both old and young.

Hanan lies in a hospital cot in Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, struggling to move her mouth as she speaks with her eyes partly shut, patches of her forehead still raw and stitched scars across her nose and lips.

When her mother Walaa Akel tried to clean her, she wailed.

SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB A wounded Palestinian girl, Hanan Akel, who suffered burn injuries in an Israeli strike, lies on a bed at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Deir Al-Balah, in central Gaza Strip June 18, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed

Hanan was out walking in Bureij refugee camp where the family had taken shelter after leaving their home when she was caught in Israeli shellfire, her mother Walaa told Reuters.

Instead of spending the Eid al-Adha festival playing with friends, she has spent it in the Al-Aqsa Hospital being treated for second- and third-degree burns on her face and limbs. Now she hopes for treatment and for her face to heal.

“I want to go back to what I was like before,” she said.

Doctor Mahmoud Mahani, the plastic surgeon treating Hanan at the hospital, said she needs urgent treatment somewhere with more advanced equipment.

Walaa Akel said her daughter used to be “as beautiful as the moon”. Now, Hanan often wants to look at videos and pictures of what her face was like before.

“She says to me, ‘Mama, I wish I could walk. Mama, I wish I could stand. I wish I could play with my siblings,'” Walaa said.

SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB A wounded Palestinian girl, Hanan Akel, who suffered burn injuries in an Israeli strike, lies on a bed at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Deir Al-Balah, in central Gaza Strip June 18, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed

White House denies cancelling meeting over Netanyahu video: Report

A White House official has told The Times of Israel that a planned meeting with Israeli officials has not been canceled, disputing an earlier Axios report that it was axed due to anger over Netanyahu’s video message about delays in US weapons shipments.

“As we said in the briefing yesterday, we have no idea what the [Israeli] prime minister is talking about, but that’s not a reason for rescheduling a meeting,” the White House official told The Times of Israel.

The US is still working to schedule the high-level meeting in Washington to account for the “travel and availability of principals”, the official added. However, details are not finalised “so nothing has been canceled”, they said.

Israel’s actions in Gaza ‘intentional attack on civilians’

As we’ve been reporting, the Israeli military’s “deliberate” use of heavy weapons in Gaza has been an “intentional and direct attack on the civilian population”, a new report by a UN-backed independent commission has found.

Navi Pillay, chairperson of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, said that Israel has committed crimes against humanity, forced starvation, extermination, murder, and inhuman and cruel treatment of Palestinians.

She also accused Palestinian groups of war crimes.

Read our full story here .

Home bombed in Gaza City

An Israeli strike also hit the city’s Zeitoun neighbourhood, according to their reports, injuring more Palestinians.

The attacks follow an overnight air attack on another home in Gaza City that killed six people, including women and children.

We’ll bring you more information on the latest attacks as we have it.

WATCH: Gaza amusement park is filled with displaced Palestinians

Asdaa Entertainment City, located near Khan Younis, was once one of Gaza’s most vibrant amusement parks.

Now it is being used as a refugee camp, with hundreds of tents set up under the scorching summer heat.

“We used to come to Asdaa for entertainment and to have fun,” Yosra Abu Taha, a displaced Palestinian from Rafah, told Al Jazeera.

“Now this park has been turned into an evacuation shelter. We are tired. We’re struggling to find water, food and electricity. We are exhausted in this heat.”

Watch our report below:

Belgium refuses to host football match against Israel for security reasons

Belgium says it won’t host a UEFA Nations League match against Israel in September because of the “dramatic situation in Gaza” that creates a security headache for city officials.

Brussels’s first alderman Benoit Hellings said the city believes that organising the match, which was scheduled to take place at the Stade Roi Baudouin in Brussels on September 6, is “not possible”.

Hellings said Brussels officials discussed thoroughly the possibility of hosting the match with the federal government, police forces and the Belgian football federation (URBSFA).

“Today, it is clear that the announcement of such a match being held in our capital will undoubtedly provoke major demonstrations, compromising the safety of spectators, players, residents and our police forces alike,” he said in a statement.

“The Red Devils’ matches have always been moments of unity and togetherness. The humanitarian and security situation in Gaza and its repercussions force the [city] to inform the URBSFA that it is not possible to organise this match at the Stade Roi Baudouin.”

Hezbollah rocket barrages hit northern Israel

The Lebanese group said some of the rockets struck the headquarters of Israel’s 769th Eastern Brigade in the city.

The Times of Israel is reporting that the attacks damaged property in several areas but no casualties were reported.

Israel denying commission access to OPT and Israel ‘tragic’, Pillay says

Pillay says she thinks “it’s tragic” that Israel is preventing the UN commission from visiting victims inside Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory despite the ICJ ordering that the commission be allowed access.

She told Al Jazeera the team has repeatedly requested access but Israel has not responded.

“What I found particularly disturbing is they not only deny us access into Israel and Gaza, but the whole of Palestine; we need to talk to victims there as well,” Pillay said.

“There’s been some complaints that we’ve not investigated sexual violence fully on the part of Israeli soldiers and Palestinian women. Well, we need to get there to speak to the victims ourselves.”

‘We have never seen anything like this’: UN commission of inquiry head

Discussing Israel’s war on Gaza, UN commission of inquiry head Navi Pillay says they “have never seen anything like this, to this extent”.

“Even the attack on [the] UN is unprecedented. The number of victims, [is] unprecedented. It’s never happened before,” she told Al Jazeera in Geneva following her briefing at the UN Human Rights Council session. “The figures are unbelievable.”

She added that the commission will be releasing further reports looking into other issues such as attacks on healthcare facilities in Gaza and the war’s effect on the education of children.

The next reports will be delivered before the UN General Assembly in New York, she said.

  • Israeli attacks in Gaza kill at least 18 people, including seven sheltering in tents in the Mawasi evacuation zone.
  • Israeli forces arrest 35 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, bringing the total number of arrests during the Eid al-Adha holiday to 90, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society.
  • An Israeli air raid on Lebanon’s Yaron village kills three Hezbollah members, further inflaming tensions along the Israel-Lebanon border amid fears of an all-out war.
  • Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah is expected to address the border escalation in an address this afternoon.
  • The UN’s Human Rights Council holds a session to hear from its Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which Israel has not cooperated with.
  • Navi Pillay, head of the commission, details extensive war crimes alleged against both Israel and Palestinian armed groups, including sexual violence.
  • Pillay says all parties must protect civilians and civilian objects and “attacks against UN agencies and humanitarian actors must stop”.

Denying commission access to Gaza ‘a major setback’ for Israel

Sultan Barakat, professor of public policy at Qatar’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University, says that with Israel repeatedly denying the UN commission access to Gaza so it could investigate and obtain firsthand testimonies, it is “a major setback” for Israel.

The ICJ asked the commission on May 24 to report its findings, which will add to the growing evidence against Israel in the ICJ and the International Criminal Court (ICC), he said, adding that he suspects Israel will continue to accuse the international community of “following a systematic anti-Israeli discrimination position”.

“The fact today that they’ve allowed the mother of one of the hostages to speak instead of a diplomat is probably support that they do not really give any weight to the international community’s will and findings,” he said.

“They will continue the way they’re working until they’ve achieved all their objectives.”

Victims of Yaron attack identified as Hezbollah members

Lebanese state media are reporting that three people killed in an Israeli air raid on the southern Lebanese village of Yaron were Hezbollah members.

Israel has regularly carried out strikes targeting Hezbollah members in Lebanon and Syria during the war on Gaza, killing more than 330 of them.

UN commission report ‘compelling’, will influence Western capitals

Toby Cadman, a UK-based international human rights lawyer, says the UN commission of inquiry’s report documenting alleged war crimes in Gaza is “strong, compelling and very much expected”.

He said the report is unlikely to have an immediate effect on the conduct of Israel, which has so far been unphased by such reports, but could be used as evidence in future legal proceedings and give pause to Israel’s donor countries.

“We have seen a shift in policies in Western capitals,” Cadman told Al Jazeera. “This will be further evidence as to the intent and conduct of Israeli authorities. It will have to – and should – cause all capitals to consider the extent to which support is provided to Israel in the ongoing conflict.”

Latest figures from Israel’s war on Gaza

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  12. Travel to Europe: A Reopening Timeline, Country by Country

    Belgium. The U.S. is again considered a "red zone" area and U.S. citizens may only enter Belgium with proof of vaccination and a PCR test taken within 72 hours or an antigen test taken within 36 hours. Unvaccinated travelers who qualify for an Essential Travel Certificate must quarantine for seven days.

  13. Europe In The Grip Of Fourth Covid Wave: Travel Bans, New Restrictions

    "In central and eastern Europe in particular, but also Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands, case numbers are rocketing." ... In its latest Travel Restrictions Report, the United Nations World ...

  14. When can U.S. citizens travel to Europe?

    Nineteen of the EU countries use the Euro (€) as their official currency. Collectively, these 19 countries are called the Eurozone. There's also the border-free zone, called the Schengen area, where internal borders have been abolished. Typically, U.S. citizens are issued 90 days visa-free to travel within the Schengen area.

  15. New requirements for Americans traveling to Europe postponed until 2025

    October 2, 2023, 6:29 AM. Americans eyed upcoming travel to European destinations slightly differently due to news of a requirement that was set to start in 2024 for U.S. passport holders. But now ...

  16. Europe restrictions: what Americans should expect when traveling

    Most countries in Europe have dropped pandemic entry restrictions, but not all. Italy, France, Spain, and Germany, for example, still require some proof of vaccination or testing from Americans for entry. Check the embassy page of your chosen destination ahead of flying to make sure you're up-to-date with the latest requirements.

  17. Which European countries are easing travel restrictions?

    Travel restrictions and safety measures are constantly changing and we will update this article as regularly as possible. This article was first published on 18 May at 2pm. It was last updated on ...

  18. Is it safe to visit Eastern Europe at the moment?

    As Covid restrictions begin to relax globally, it was hoped those figures could be resumed. Aside from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and part of Moldova, there are currently no UK government warnings against visiting any of the countries in Eastern Europe, meaning at this point there's no need to alter travel plans.

  19. Europe Travel Restrictions, Covid-19 Test Requirements, By ...

    Many European countries have scrapped travel restrictions relating to Covid-19—the latest countries include Estonia, Finland, and Portugal from 1 July. There are, however, still some countries ...

  20. 8 Things To Know About Travelling to Eastern Europe

    In the wider sense, there are 20 Countries in Eastern Europe, and they can also be split into these four regions. Central Europe: The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Eastern Europe: Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and the European part of Russia. The 3 Baltic states: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia.

  21. Travel Advisories

    × External Link. You are about to leave travel.state.gov for an external website that is not maintained by the U.S. Department of State. Links to external websites are provided as a convenience and should not be construed as an endorsement by the U.S. Department of State of the views or products contained therein.

  22. The Ultimate Eastern Europe Travel Guide (Updated 2024)

    Eastern Europe can be challenging, but it boasts a wealth of attractions and an unbelievably low cost of living, making it a dream destination for the adventurous budget traveler. Highlights include the Baltic countries, Poland, Lviv, The Tatras Mountains, Prague, Budapest, Romania, Belgrade, Dubrovnik and Sofia.

  23. What Weapons Is North Korea Accused of Supplying to Russia?

    In a photo provided by Russian state media, President Vladimir V. Putin, center left, and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, center right, at a space launching site in eastern Russia last year.

  24. Putin arrives in North Korea for first visit in 24 years as anti-West

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has landed in North Korea and is expected to meet with its leader, Kim Jong Un, in a sign of the two countries' deepening alignment and Moscow's need to source ...

  25. Israel war on Gaza live: 7 killed in attack on 'safe zone'

    Israeli PM says the US promised to work to remove restrictions, but Washington says bomb shipment still under review. Published On 18 Jun 2024 18 Jun 2024 More from News