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Coronavirus NEWS/ Travel to greece

Over the course of the summer Crete Escapes have made an effort to keep customers informed of the latest developments on the island in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic. With the tourist season now at an end these updates will become less regular. Rest assured, we’ll share details on any major developments, and you can still contact us if you have questions regarding existing or future bookings. Stay safe.

For the latest travel information and guidance about travel to Greece please click the link below;

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece

Latest News

November 6th - Quote from a client who booked with Crete Escapes in 2020 - 

Hello, I hope you are well. I am sorry for not sending this soooner but here is my feedback for you.

We booked with Crete Escapes in 2019 and due to the fact that we had such a positive experience with them, we decided that if we were going to book a holiday with all the uncertainly around Covid19, then it would only be with them. We took a punt and booked flights when Crete wasn't even open to visitors from the UK in the hope that this would change. We booked the same villa that we had stayed in the year before which is not what we usually do. However, as we loved the villa and the area and we were already taking a risk with booking an overseas holiday, we wanted to have the resassurance that if the trip did go ahead, we knew that we weren't going to be disappointed. The communination from Crete Escapes was brilliant and they managed to reduce the levels of anxiety by responding to matters as they arose and understanding how clients were feeling. We didn't have to pay the final balance until a month before the arrival date with the promise that if travel restrictions were imposed, then we would receive all our money back apart from the deposit which was more than fair. 

The villa (Stephania) was beautifully clean and the people who were maintaining the property and grounds were wonderful and respected all the Covid guidelines. 

We had another fantastic holiday on this beautiful island and were able to discover other areas that we hadn't visited during our 2019 stay.  Thank you for being a ray of sunshine in what was otherwise a rather stressful year. 


October 20th -  As of 4am on Sunday (October 18th) those returning to the UK from Crete are no longer required to quarantine.

This is great news for holidaymakers, who were previously faced with two weeks’ self-isolation upon their return from the island.

The FCDO is no longer advising against non-essential travel to the region, meaning those booking trips can be safe in the knowledge their insurance will remain valid.

To date there have been 25,802 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Greece, of which 9,989 people have recovered.

The death toll stands at 520 which, though tragic, is considerably lower than most European neighbours.


September 10th -  We’re conscious travel guidance from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has changed in recent days and will have caused many to postpone plans to holiday in Crete.

If you’re still looking to book a villa holiday with us between now and the end of the season, we’re on-hand to answer any questions you may have about your accommodation, journey and current restrictions in the region.

We’re also looking ahead to 2021 and what we hope will be a return to the kind of holidays we know and love.

Stay tuned for three new villa listings in the coming weeks and check availability for all properties for the next 12 months using our search tool.


One new Coronavirus case was confirmed in Crete yesterday (Wednesday 9th September), this in the Rethymno region.


September 8th - In the wake of the British government's decision to add a handful of Greek islands to England's two-week quarantine list from tomorrow morning, it's been revealed there were 156 new confirmed cases across the country yesterday. Of these 4 originated in Crete, all in the Haraklion region.


September 7th -  It has this evening been announced that anyone returning to England from Crete - along with 7 other Greek islands - will need to quarantine for two weeks. The changes come into effect from 4am on Wednesday morning (September 9th). Please check the Crete Escapes website in the coming days for more on this development.


September 2nd - As Scotland imposes a two-week quarantine on all arrivals from Greece, a series of measures have been announced for those living and holidaying in Crete.

As of yesterday, there is a ban on all public events including parties, religious festivals and street markets. Any public or private gatherings meanwhile are to be limited to just 9 people and a maximum of 4 can be seated at a single table in cafes or restaurants. This number can be increased to 6 providing those present are immediate family.

Elsewhere face masks are now mandatory in all public places.

The new rules will remain in force until Tuesday 15th September and come in the wake of a recent spike in Covid-19 infections. Greece as a whole currently has 10,317 confirmed cases.

While Scotland’s First Minister has Nicola Sturgeon has added the country to it’s so called red list from Thursday morning, it’s important to note Greece remains some way short of the 20 infections per 100,000 people that usually triggers such action. At the time of writing the average stands at 13.7.

The British government have tended to announce new travel restrictions on Thursdays. Stay tuned to the Crete Escapes website for any developments.


August 26th - 168 Coronavirus infections were recorded in Greece yesterday, down significantly on the 284 reported on Sunday. As in Britain, plans are underway for children to return to school across the country and in neighbouring islands such as Crete. Teachers will go back to work on September 1st with a view to pupils joining them a week later. A final decision will come on Tuesday according to Education & Regional Minister Niki Kerameos.


August 24th - In order to make every effort to contain the spread of the virus, The Greek Government announced some new measures today which affect the Chania area of Crete (where Crete Escapes villas are located) and which come into effect from 6am on Tuesday the 25th of August until 6am on Tuesday the 1st of September.

  • The operation of open markets is suspended during this period.
  • It is mandatory to wear a face mask inside and outside in ALL public places.
  • The number of diners allowed at one table together is limited to 4 unless the diners are first degree relatives and then it is 6. Bars and tavernas will continue to close between the hours of midnight and 7am.

Please be aware that The Greek Government takes the public health of its citizens and visitors very seriously and therefore failure to comply with the measures is likely to result in a fine.

Check the UK government website for updates - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece


August 24th- Despite much speculation Greece is still to be added to the UK's two-week quarantine list. The British government have explained the rationale behind adding the likes of Spain, France and most recently Croatia to their so-called 'red list', forcing those returning from holiday in these regions to self-isolate for 14 days.

Action is taken when any country records more than 20 cases per 100,000 for 7 consecutive days. Whereas Croatia hit 27.4 cases per 100,000 last week, exceeding the threshold, Greece currently stands at 14.1.

While the infection rate on the mainland has indeed risen, it remains some way short of the point at which restrictions will be enforced. As of this morning there is no immediate prospect of a two week quarantine being imposed, nor the current air bridge between the two countries being removed.


August 19th - There were 250 new confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Greece yesterday.

To date 7,472 infections have been recorded, of which 3,804 people have recovered. The country's death toll stands at 232, still one of the lowest in Europe.

Despite talk of the mainland and its islands being added to Britain's two-week quarantine list, no such move has been announced and tourism continues. With villa breaks affording privacy and isolation they represent the safest form of holiday at this time. View our accommodation here...


August 17th - Speculation continues to mount that Greece will soon be added to Britain's two-week quarantine list. Those travelling to Spain and France already face a fortnight of self-isolation upon their return, as severe steps are taken to control the spread of the virus. The news comes as confirmed cases in Greece topped 7,000 last week.

A number of ministers have though urged the Prime Minister to delay any expansion of the so-called 'Red List' until September to protect family holidays. Be sure to check the Crete Escapes website for any breaking news.


August 14th - Comments from a guest who has recently returned from Villa Kournedes ...

"We were delighted to be able to go to Crete in the end and had a wonderful holiday. It all felt very normal, much more than here in the U.K."

Click here to read about the download pdf Villa Cleaning and Hygiene Protocols re covid 19 in place in Crete.


August 13th - While Greece's biggest daily spike in Coronavirus infections was recorded  on Monday (10th) it's been revealed that none of these cases originated in Crete. The island remains a safe place to holiday and even attracted Hollywood royalty in the form of Jennifer Lopez last week. Find out what a break in the region looks like in summer 2020 by reading our latest travel diary.


August 11th - From today late-night curfews are in place for bars and restaurants in Crete, as the Greek government battle to control a rise in Coronavirus cases. Establishments have been ordered to close from midnight until 7am in new measures set to last a week. The death toll in Greece remains a comparatively low 212 but 203 infections were recorded on Sunday, the highest daily number since the start of the pandemic.

Elsewhere it's been announced that passengers from Belgium, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden will soon need to provide negative Covid-19 test results up to 72 hours before entering the country. These changes come into effect on August 17th but do not affect British tourists.


August 6th - Greek officials have moved to quell a sudden rise in Coronavirus cases across the country and spare its islands from similar spikes. Masks are now compulsory in almost all closed spaces, including churches. Only offices with limited access to the public remin exempt.

This weekend anyone wanting to visit a traditional bar or beach equivalent must be seated while visitors will not be permitted into hospitals or retirement homes until next Saturday (August 15th).

Specialists are confident the new measures will prevent a further rise in infection rates and protect nationals and tourists alike. Discover what a holiday in Crete looks like during the pandemic by reading our latest travel diary.


July 30th - With talk of a potential second wave of Coronavirus hitting the UK it's worth noting the situation is very different in Greece and Crete. Both are exempt from the FCO's advisory against all non-essential international travel, meaning they are considered safe and visitors will be covered by travel insurance.

4,227 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic and 202 people have died. Whilst tragic, these numbers are considerably lower than many European countries and Greece has been widely praised for its handling of the crisis. There are no signs of a second wave in the region.


July 29th- Julie is back with her second holiday diary, providing insight on what it's like to holiday in Crete post lockdown. Read her experience of beaches, tavernas and more here.


July 27th - The announcement that anyone holidaying in Spain will have to quarantine upon their return has understandably panicked those planning a European getaway. No such restrictions are in place for anyone destined for Greece or Crete however, where 5 people have died from Coronavirus in the month of July. While some UK travellers will be asked to take a test on landing, usual, fun-filled activities can be enjoyed. Current preventative measures are as follows:

  • Adhere to social distancing of 1.5m
  • Wear face masks on public transport and in closed spaces
  • Restrict car or taxi travel to just two adults and one driver.

Read our first-hand account of returning to the island here.


July 22nd - Our very own Julie Houston is currently holidaying in Crete, her first trip to the island since travel restrictions were lifted. In the first of two diary entries she shares her experience of the journey out. Read part one here.

July 22nd - The Greek government has issued strict guidelines and cleaning protocols for all tourist accommodation as it guards against a rise in Covid-19 cases. You can find further information on villa hygiene and the measures that have been put in place, by downloading this documement:

download pdf Villa Cleaning and Hygiene Protocols


July 20th - Brits planning a holiday in Crete are being reminded to complete an online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before their arrival. The reminder comes in the wake of news some tourists have been hit with £455 fines for forgetting to do so. You can complete your own PLF here.


July 18th - official statistics from Greece re testing carrried out on passengers arriving on direct flights from the UK. 15th July - 1366 tests carried out. 16th July - 1437 tests carried out - all negative. Additionally, Julie from Crete Escapes flew to Crete on the 18th and reported a journey that was perfectly fine. At Chania airport, in line with all arrivals,  Julie and her travelling companion were required to show their QR codes (see below) but neither were tested and were wished a "nice holiday". More to follow from Julie in the coming days.


July 15th - It's been a long and arduous wait but as of today Britons can once again fly into Greece. Holidaymakers are required to complete an online form 24 hours before their arrival - https://travel.gov.gr/#/.  An acknowledgement of the completed form is sent by email and at midnight on the day of travel a QR code will be issued which can be printed or downloaded.  The code must be presented at their chosen Greek airport to avoid hefty fines. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has reassured nationals and tourists alike that the opening procedure will be 'continuously evaluated', amid a recent rise in cases. The country's death toll stands at 193, one of the lowest in Europe.


July 9th - It has been a difficult summer in which we have tried to assist our clients as much as we possibly can by deferring final balance payments were travel restrictions caused uncertainty and/or switching deposits to 2021 for those who were barred from travelling due to FCO advice and/or Greece closing its borders to flights from the UK. 

We are now pleased to report that the UK government has removed the need for Britons returning to England to quarantine on their return from Greece (effective from 10th July) and the Greek government has announced that direct flights from the UK will be allowed into all Greek airports with effect from the 15th July.

All travel from the 15th July can therefore go ahead and our standard terms and conditions attaching to your booking will apply unless you have been contacted by us directly to advise otherwise.

The situation is subject to change but please be assured we are monitoring developments in the UK and Greece very closely.   

For the latest travel information and guidance about travel to Greece please click the link below;

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece


2nd July - Greece yesterday opened its borders to all European travellers with the exception of holidaymakers from Sweden and the United Kingdom, who are unable to fly into the country until July 15th. Brits hoping to visit Crete later this summer should note that anyone entering Greece is required to complete a mandatory form 48 hours before they land, detailing where they are travelling from and where they will be staying. Random swab tests are also being conducted at airports. The Coronavirus death toll currently stands at 192 in Greece, rising by 2 in the last fortnight.


29th June - Greece is in talks with the UK about establishing an 'air bridge' between the countries from mid-July. This arrangement would permit travel between the two nations without any need for quarantine. As part of this agreement it's hoped travellers will be exempt from a mandatory 14-day quarantine period on arrival back in the UK. Revisit this page for the very latest developments.


21st June - It's been revealed as many as 20,000 hospitality workers have received special Covid-19 protocol training ahead of an expected surge in tourism on the island. The online course was funded by the Regional Authority and has been completed by the likes of cleaners, waiters and even taxi drivers. Greece recorded 3 deaths linked to the virus in the first week of June. The country’s overall number of fatalities stands at 190, one of the lowest in the world. Read our blog for the latest developments.


16th June - The tourism season in Greece has officially begun however Britons will be made to wait a little longer before holidaying in the region following a late decision to block travel from the UK until July 1st. Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis explained the U-turn  was made in accordance with the European Commission’s recommendation to phase out travel restrictions. Check our latest blog for more information.


11th June - Greece has announced it's cutting VAT and GST on all modes of transport from 24% to 13%. This is an effort to drive tourism back to the country and its islands with cheaper flights. For the very latest on the fight against Covid-19 in the region, read our newest blog.


8th June - Talks are underway about the creation of Air Corridors, which would allow for easier passage from the UK to European holiday destinations, including Crete. For more information on this and the planned reopening of hotels, read our latest blog.


8th June - Greece has entered what it's calling the sixth phase of lifting lockdown restrictions across the country. From today casinos, internet cafes, live music venues and nightclubs will reopen, with capacity limited to 60%. Find out more in our newest blog.


2nd June - Greece has reversed its decision to exclude the United Kingdom from a list of 29 countries from which it will allow tourists this summer. Between June 15th and June 30th flights will be allowed into Athens and Thessaloniki solely. International flights will be allowed into all Greek airports from July 1st however. According to new guidelines, travellers will be required to bed down in a designated hotel upon arrival for testing purposes. If test results are negative visitors will then have to self-quarantine for seven days. If a positive test is given, they will be quarantined under supervision for 14 days. Keep checking the Crete Escapes website for latest developments. 


26th May - Greek officials have today confirmed the country will reopen to international tourists from June 15th. Obligations to enter a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival will be lifted from June 1st. There remain doubts as to whether Britons will be welcomed at this point given the UK is still deemed to be one of several "highly contagious" countries. There is speculation Brits may be permitted to travel but asked to isolate for two weeks having reached Greece. Crete Escapes continues to monitor the situation closley. Read our latest blog on the Coronavirus in Crete here.


21st May - Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has confirmed Greece's tourism season will begin from June 1st. Travel to islands such as Crete and Evia from the mainland will be permitted from this date. Charter flights to Greece and its popular tourist destinations will commence from July. It remains to be seen whether the United Kingdom features on a list of approved countries from which Greece will welcome visitors. As of May 21st there have been 166 deaths nationwide, far fewer than neighbouring regions. Mitsotakis has proclaimed his homeland a "passport of safety, credibility and health". Read our latest blog on the Coronavirus in Crete here.


18th May - Greece and its neighbouring islands are set to welcome tourists once more from July 1st. Social distancing rules mean hotel occupancy will be capped at 50% while the likes of beach umbrellas will stand 10m apart. One property on each island will be set aside to isolate holidaymakers showing symptoms of Covid-19. Read our blog on the latest updates here.


14th May - Civil Protection Deputy Minister for Crisis Management, Nikos Hardalias, has confirmed travel to Greek islands, including Crete, is under consideration and that this may be permitted as early as May 25th. The news comes after the re-opening of some schools and businesses earlier this week, in what has been labelled the second phase of lifting restrictions.


12th May - Shopping malls and department stores are set to open in Greece from June 1st. Social distancing rules will be applied to prevent the spread of the virus. Read our latest blog here.


4th May - Salons, bookstores, repair shops and sporting goods outlets have all been opened as Greece slowly starts to lift restrictions across the country and its islands. Find out more here.


22nd April - Minister of Development and Investment, Adonis Gerogiadis, has stated that leading tour operators will direct tourists to Greece when travel restrictions are lifted, given the country's response to the pandemic and comparatively low death toll. Find out more here.