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Are Crete Holidays About To Get The Green Light?

Posted on Tuesday 20th April 2021 by

We’re delighted to report that international travel is expected to resume on May 17th, paving the way for a long-awaited return to Crete.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps shared the welcome news recently and also confirmed the introduction of a new traffic light system.

Here’s what we know so far and how it will impact bookings with us….


Villa K - artful style 1

The government is expected to allow flights out of the UK for holidays from May 17th.

While this has not yet been finalised, a definitive date is expected within the next 2-3 weeks.

The traffic light system will come into force and should be widely publicised so that travellers are aware of the current COVID situation at their preferred destination, as well as the protocols they’ll need to follow before returning home.

Countries will be categorised as one of green, amber or red by the Global Travel Taskforce. Statuses will be determined by:

  • The percentage of the country’s population that has been vaccinated.
  • The current rate of infection.
  • The presence and spread of new variants.
  • Scientific data/ genomic sequencing .

The system will only apply to all those living in England and Wales as Scotland and Northern Ireland are working on separate guidelines, yet to be announced.

Formal reviews are also set to take place on June 28th, July 31st and October 1st, intentionally spread across the summer months.

Of course, like you, our main focus is Crete and right now there’s cautious optimism Greece and its islands will be given the ‘green light’.

Here’s what that would mean…


Anyone returning from a green listed region will be required to take a pre-departure test (likely to be a rapid test) before flying back to the UK and a PCR test within two days of arriving back.

Providing they return a negative result no quarantine period will have to be served.

Meanwhile Greece itself is still planning to allow British tourists into the country who haven’t yet received a Coronavirus vaccine. To enable a quarantine free stay, those visitors who have not received both doses of a vaccine will need to show a negative result from a PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Greece. All arrivals in Greece will be tested with a rapid test.


Villa Iona - 5

Should Crete be marked as an amber destination, entry into and out of the island will be the same as if the country was classified as a green destination.

Pre-departure tests will again be necessary, along with a 10-day quarantine period when back in the UK. For many of us denied holidays in the last 12 months, that would seem a reasonable compromise – particularly as it’s time spent in the comfort of our own homes.

Crucially, that period of isolation can also be shortened. 

PCR Tests will be required on days two and ten, but you can bring the second of those forward to day five. Providing that comes back negative, your quarantine will be reduced.


Thankfully there is no expectation that Crete will be placed in the most severe category, which is red.

Those travelling to red zones will need to take the customary pre-departure test before serving 10 days in a government regulated quarantine hotel. The cost of this stay, which totals £1,750 per adult, will be self-funded.

PCR tests will be arranged on days two and eight of the isolation period, which will be served in full.

The rules associated with each colour can be seen here…


Having renewed hope for holidays in 2021 Minister Shapps explained the thinking behind the traffic light system and how it will inspire confidence.

“The framework announced will help allow us to reopen travel safely and sustainably, ensure we protect our hard-won achievements on the vaccine roll out, and offer peace of mind to both passengers and industry as we begin to take trips abroad once again.”

Coming Soon

It’s been a long time coming but more good news could well be on the way.

Further encouragement is expected with the arrival of vaccine passports.

Long rumoured, these would enable vaccinated and inoculated people to bypass quarantine when arriving back in the UK. This is a welcome boost for those who have decided against booking trips abroad for fear of missing work or using up annual leave upon their return.

In another boost, the government is also said to be exploring ways in which they can reduce the price of those all-important COVID tests.

While vital, the likes of PCR tests are known to be very expensive, costing between £100 and £120. This has proven another turn-off for would-be holidaymakers looking to save money.

While the government consider their options, vitro diagnostics company Randox have already partnered with several major airlines and carriers to halve the price of PCR tests to approximately £60. This should hopefully convince many considering trips to press ahead.

COVID-19 Guarantee

Villa Daymer 2020 - 2

In conclusion, it’s been a long and arduous wait, but holidays to Crete could soon be on the horizon.

And while JET2 chose to cancel flights up until June 23rd, most airlines have retained their schedules, a decision likely to be vindicated.

Here at Crete Escapes we remain committed to assisting customers booking villas despite the continued spectre of Coronavirus.

Our COVID-19 Guarantee offers travellers the option of paying their final balance closer to the date of departure (but no later than 14 days out) if travel is disrupted or borders closed before such time.

Likewise, we also promise to refund balance payments for those that have paid in full before unforeseen restrictions are imposed.

Finally, if travel is ruled out on your departure date itself, we will offer you the chance to move your booking to another window in 2021 or 2022, subject to availability.

You can find out more about our efforts to help customers here.

Overseas travel and a return to our favourite island just moved that bit closer.