A Country-by-country Guide to Europe's Reopening
A breakdown of every country in Europe and its plans to open.
When COVID-19 spread throughout the world, its impact on Europe spanned the entire continent.
While Italy was one of the first countries in Europe to become an epicenter for the coronavirus, its spread to neighboring countries and beyond led to weeks of lockdown and travel restrictions. In fact, overall, the world has recorded more than 8.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, 2.5 million of which are in Europe, according to the World Health Organization.
Now, months later, European nations are finally starting to reopen again, cautiously welcoming tourists on a phased basis.
On June 15, the European Union said countries within the Schengen area — a collection of 26 countries that don’t typically have border controls between them — should start lifting border restrictions. On June 30, that expanded to more than a dozen non-EU countries starting July 1, including Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand but did not include the United States as the country's battle with COVID-19 continues.
Here is a breakdown of every country in Europe and its plans to open.
Albania allowed commercial flights to restart on June 15 to Vienna, Belgrade, and Athens, however, only European Union residents are able to board these flights, according to the U.S. Embassy in Albania. This followed the opening of beaches connected to hotels on June 1 and public beaches on June 10.
In the meantime, Albania has reopened restaurants to outdoor seating, reopened gyms, pools, and cultural centers, and allowed shops to reopen with social distancing guidelines.
Albania, which happens to be one of the best countries for solo travel, is on the European Union’s list of countries that should consider opening its borders to when it looks to lift restrictions on coming into the EU on July 1.
To get to Andorra, visitors need to go through France or Spain, and therefore abide by the rules and regulations for those individual countries. On June 15, the Andorran government announced that tourists from the Schengen area could enter the country from France. Andorra will not require a quarantine for returning residents.
On June 16, Austria allowed EU residents — except the UK, Sweden, and Portugal — to enter without a medical certificate or quarantine, according to the Austrian National Tourist Office. Previously, Austria had opened its borders to Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, and Hungary on June 4.
Currently, foreign citizens cannot fly into Austria from a non-Schengen area country.
The easing of border restrictions comes after Austria reopened restaurants and museums on May 15, as well as hotels on May 29. Austria has also implemented a process to test hotel employees for the virus in an effort to assure tourists of a safe environment.
Those flying into Vienna International Airport can undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival to bypass the country’s mandatory two-week quarantine.
Belarus requires any foreign citizens arriving in the country to either come with a negative COVID-19 test issued within 48 hours before arrival or quarantine for 14 days, according to the U.S. Embassy in Belarus.
In addition, temperature screening measures are in place at Minsk National Airport and travelers entering Belarus are asked to tell border control officials if they have visited a country where COVID-19 is currently circulating.
Belgium opened its borders for travel to and from the European Union, the UK, and Schengen countries Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway on June 15. Belgium requires travelers from outside the Schengen area to stay home for 14 days and practice social distancing, according to the U.S. Embassy in Belgium.
While the European Union recommended on July 1 the EU allow non-essential travel from several countries, Belgium has decided to continue to limit travel to EU nations, according to the Re-open EU website.
On June 8, the country lifted restrictions, allowing people to have contact with 10 people outside their family (or an extended personal bubble) and restaurants and cafes have been allowed to open with waiters wearing masks. Nightclubs, however, will not be allowed to open before the end of August.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina lifted entry restrictions for citizens of Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro, according to the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Restaurants and most other businesses in the country are open with social distancing guidelines, and masks should be worn when social distancing is not possible, the embassy noted.
The EU has recommended lifting travel restrictions on visitors from Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 1.
Bulgaria allows citizens of several EU countries to visit without restrictions, but requires a quarantine for tourists coming from Portugal, Sweden, and the UK, according to the Re-open EU website. Visitors are also allowed from Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro, but not from other non-EU countries.
On June 15, Bulgaria started requiring most foreign nationals to quarantine for two weeks when entering the country, according to the Bulgarian Ministry of Health, but has since lifted that on several countries, including Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Belgium.
Most U.S. citizens are not allowed to enter, according to the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria.
On June 1, Bulgaria allowed restaurants, drinking establishments, and coffee shops to reopen indoor areas, and extended that to nightclubs on June 15. On June 23, the country made wearing masks in most indoor public places mandatory.
Croatia has reopened its borders to non-EU citizens for tourism, including U.S. citizens, as long as visitors show proof of a reservation for a hotel or other accommodation, according to the Croatian Ministry of Interior. Tourists in Croatia will not have to quarantine if they provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours.
Travelers are asked to fill out an entry form online, according to the Croatian National Tourist Board.
While the European Union has recommended the U.S. not be included in the countries allowed to resume non-essential travel, individual member states are able to make their own decisions.
Cyprus started allowing travel from certain European countries, including Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, and Switzerland on June 9, according to the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus. Travelers from Israel, Poland, and Romania have to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure.
Travel from the U.S. and the UK is not permitted.
In Cyprus, malls, airports, seaports, and indoor sections of restaurants have reopened, according to the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus. Beaches have also been able to open.
Cyprus has said the country would cover all costs for travelers if they test positive for coronavirus while visiting.
The Czech Republic has introduced a color-coded system for European countries. Those countries deemed “green” or “low risk,” including France, Italy, Germany, and Spain are allowed to enter without restrictions starting June 15, according to the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic. Those deemed “orange” — Belgium and the UK — and those deemed “red” — including Portugal and Sweden —must present documentation of a negative COVID-19 test at the border.
In the Czech Republic, restaurants and bars were allowed to open on May 25 along with hotels, castles, and swimming facilities, according to the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic.
Denmark has had a border closure in place since March 14. On June 15, the country opened its borders to tourists from Germany, Norway, and Iceland with a lodging reservation for six nights or more, according to the U.S. Embassy in Denmark.
Denmark has implemented a phased opening and has allowed restaurants, cafes, and retailers to reopen, according to the Danish Police. Following that, the country allowed outdoor amusement parks to reopen on June 8, including the famed Tivoli Gardens.
In May, Denmark allowed couples who were separated by the country’s border with either Germany, Sweden, Norway, or Finland to reunite as long as they could prove they had been together for at least six months before the lockdown.
While U.S. citizens can’t go to Denmark right now, they can get their fill of the country with one of these Scandinavian TV shows worth a binge session.
Estonia opened its borders on June 1 to travelers from the European Union, the Schengen Zone, and the UK, who don’t show symptoms of COVID-19 and have been in one of the approved countries for two weeks, according to the U.S. Embassy in Estonia. While most are able to enter without a quarantine, passengers from several countries, including Sweden, the UK, and Portugal will have to quarantine on arrival.
This follows the May 15 opening of Baltic state borders to each other specifically for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Estonia follows a “2 + 2 rule,” allowing up to two people together in a public space, not including families, and specifying people keep a 2-meter distance, according to the Estonian government. The country has opened shopping centers and restaurants, the U.S. Embassy noted.
On June 15, Finland lifted border restrictions on the land border between Finland and Norway, for flights and ferry services between the country and Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and for tourism by private boats, according to the Finnish government. Restrictions still exist between the country and other Schengen countries.
On June 1, the Finnish government allowed gatherings of up to 50 people, as well as reopened museums and theaters, according to the government. Restaurants were allowed to reopen during certain hours.
France lifted restrictions on travelers from the European zone on June 15, no longer requiring them to have an international travel certificate and not subjecting them to quarantine, according to the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. Visitors from the UK and those coming from Spain by air can also travel to France but are asked to quarantine for 14 days.
Restrictions, however, still remain in place for entering France from outside the European Union, including from the U.S., according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in France.
France started lifting lockdown restrictions in May and on June 2, further lifted restrictions to allow for the opening of many restaurants, bars, and cafes, as well as swimming pools, beaches, and museums. To that end, famous sites like the Musée du Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and the Palace of Versailles have all made plans to reopen.
Germany has limited entry to citizens of the EU, denying most entry to citizens of other countries, including the U.S., according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Germany. Germany ended its temporary border control for air travel from Spain on June 21, according to German federal government.
In early June, Germany gave the world a glimpse into what cruising could look like again when a local river cruise line hit the water complete with spaced-out dining and face shields.
On July 1, Greece started welcoming visitors from the EU (except Sweden, Serbia, and the UK) as well as the countries the European Union recommended non-essential travel resume from. Visitors must complete a Passenger Locator Form and may have to undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival, according to the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
International flights will are allowed into all airports and arrivals by sea will resume. Greece may conduct random COVID-19 tests on visitors upon arrival.
In the meantime, beaches have reopened and the Acropolis in Athens is welcoming visitors again.
The airport in Budapest is open, but only Hungarian and EU citizens are allowed to fly there, according to the U.S. Embassy in Hungary.
Hungary instituted a color-coded system for travel, only allowing visitors from “green” countries to enter without a quarantine, according to the Re-open EU website.
In Hungary, restaurants and cafes have reopened. On June 15, that was followed by the reopening of museums and on June 16, theaters were allowed to open.
Iceland never closed its borders to travelers from the EU, but instead required a 14-day quarantine upon arrival, according to The Directorate of Health in the country. On June 15, the country started allowing EU travelers to take a COVID-19 test to avoid the quarantine (but must stay in isolation until they get the results) in addition to filling out a pre-registration form before arrival.
While the test is initially free, after July 1, Iceland will charge passengers about $109 per test.
Currently, Iceland has reopened several facilities, including swimming pools and bars.
Anyone entering Ireland from another country with the exception of Northern Ireland is required to self-quarantine on arrival for 14 days, according to the U.S. Embassy in Ireland.
Ireland has advised residents to “stay local,” or within 20 kilometers from their homes, according to the Government of Ireland. While shops have reopened, retailers have to put measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus including installing protective screens.
On June 3, Italy reopened its borders to European citizens, becoming the first country in Europe to do so after undergoing a phased reopening internally in May. While the European Union recommended on July 1 the EU allow non-essential travel from several countries, Italy has decided to continue to limit travel to EU nations, according to the Re-open EU website.
The country’s restaurants and most shops along with famous museums have all reopened. Some regions in the country, however, will require visitors to pre-register before coming, including Sardinia, Puglia, and Basilicata.
When visitors do finally get to travel to the country, they could go house hunting for one of Italy’s famous $1 homes in a town that also happens to be completely COVID-19-free.
On June 1, Kosovo opened several of its land borders and there are currently no quarantine measures in place, according to the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo. On June 22, Kosovo expanded that to all land borders.
The EU has recommended lifting travel restrictions on visitors from Kosovo on July 1.
On May 15, Latvia opened its borders for travelers from Lithuania and Estonia, according to the U.S. Embassy in Latvia. The country has since extended that to other EU states and Switzerland.
Anyone coming from a country where there are more than 15 cases per 100,000 over a cumulative 14 days, however, will have to quarantine for two weeks, according to the country’s Ministry of Health, including the UK and Sweden.
In Latvia, tables must be spaced two meters apart and no more than four people are able to sit at a table indoors. Outdoor tables are limited to eight people.
Liechtenstein, a landlocked country, is accessible through Switzerland or Austria.
On June 17, Lithuania opened its borders to citizens of the EU and Switzerland as long as the number of COVID-19 cases has not exceeded 25 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days where they live, according to the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Lithuania has allowed places like restaurants and bars to reopen, but requires social distancing and hygiene protocols be observed, according to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.
Luxembourg, a landlocked country bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany, has blocked travel from non-EU citizens through at least June 24, according to the U.S. Embassy in Luxembourg.
On June 10, Luxembourg allowed groups of up to 10 people to eat at restaurants and events up to 20 people.
On July 1, Malta will reopen the international airport and has designated several “safe corridor” countries, according to their tourism site, Visit Malta. The countries designated as "safe" include Germany, Austria, Cyprus, Switzerland, Iceland, Slovakia, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Italy (except the Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, and Piemonte areas), France (except for Ile de France), Spain (excluding Madrid, Catalonia, Castilla -La Mancha, Castile and Leon), Poland (except for Katowice Airport), Greece, and Croatia.
On July 15, Malta will lift restrictions on flights from all other destinations. Malta has established guidelines to reopen for tourism, including installing barriers in hotel reception areas and having beach staff wear visors.
In Malta, gatherings of up to 75 people are allowed, and bars, restaurants, hotels, and outdoor pools have reopened, according to the U.S. Embassy in Malta. Movie theaters, however, remain closed.
Moldova has blocked most foreigners from coming into the country until June 30 and requires anyone who does come in to quarantine for 14 days, according to the U.S. Embassy in Moldova.
While restaurants re-opened on June 15, swimming pools and theaters remain closed and it is prohibited to be in a public place in a group with more than 3 people, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection.
Monaco is looking to welcome back tourists to the small nation, according to Visit Monaco. Monaco is bordered by France and it is currently possible to move between the two countries, according to Monaco’s COVID-19 website.
Restaurants in Monaco opened on June 2 with staff required to wear masks and tables limited to no more than 10 people, bars are opened but customers have to remain seated, and beaches have opened with social distancing observed. Casinos have also reopened with every other slot machine taken out and “systematic cleaning” of things like dice in place.
Montenegro continually updates its list of countries from which visitors are allowed to enter, based on epidemiological data. Visitors from several other countries, including Italy and Israel, are allowed to enter if they show a negative COVID-19 test.
Beaches in Montenegro have opened with social distancing measures in place, according to the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro.
The EU has recommended lifting travel restrictions on visitors from Montenegro on July 1.
The Netherlands allows travelers from EU countries, but those coming from Sweden, the UK and two areas in Portugal (including Lisbon and Porto) are “strongly advised” to quarantine for 14 days, according to the Re-open EU website.
On June 1, restaurants, cafes, movie theaters, and museums were allowed to reopen with occupancy restrictions, according to the country’s COVID-19 website. On July 1, campgrounds are expected to open, the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the Netherlands noted.
All airports in North Macedonia are closed for commercial flights, according to the U.S. Embassy in North Macedonia, and the government has not announced a reopening date. The government has also not announced a date when land borders will fully reopen for foreigners.
Starting June 15, foreigners were allowed to enter North Macedonia for up to five hours for transit purposes.
In North Macedonia, people have to practice social distancing and wear a face-covering in closed public spaces, including markets. On May 28, the government allowed restaurants and bars with outdoor seating to open.
The EU has recommended lifting travel restrictions on visitors from North Macedonia on July 1.
On June 15, Norway opened its borders to other Nordic countries based on conditions like the number of cases and the number of people admitted to intensive care, according to the Norwegian government. That included Finland, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Denmark, but large parts of Sweden did not currently qualify.
The Norwegian government said it would consider allowing some other European countries to enter by July 20. So far, Norway has opened some restaurants and bars, according to the U.S. Embassy in Norway.
If travelers can’t get to Norway immediately, they can rely on celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay for an expert review on the country's food scene.
On June 13, Poland opened its borders to the European Union and on June 17, the country partially resumed international flights, according to the Republic of Poland.
Poland requires people to wear masks in many public spaces, but has opened places like shops, theaters, and museums. Poland has also allowed hotels to open their restaurants and bars as well as their swimming pools.
Portugal allows citizens of the European Union and the Schengen area to come in along with those from Portuguese-speaking countries, South Africa, Canada, the U.S., the UK, and Venezuela as long as there is reciprocity for Portuguese citizens, according to Visit Portugal.
In the Azores, visitors have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to arrival or take a test there and isolate until they get the results, according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Portugal. Anyone who stays for more than seven days will have to be retested.
On July 1, Madeira will no longer require a mandatory quarantine for those who arrive with proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Portugal has reopened shops as well as restaurants, cafes, and beaches with capacity restrictions.
Romania waved its mandatory quarantine for visitors from several European countries, including Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Italy, according to the Government of Romania’s official COVID-19 page.
Romania requires people to wear “protection masks” in closed public spaces and stores. On June 1, Romania reopened outdoor seating at cafes and restaurants, Reuters reported.
Russia canceled many international flights and has closed its land borders until further notice, according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Russia.
On June 16, museums and restaurants with outdoor seating were allowed to open. On June 23, Russia is expected to expand restaurant access. Russian citizens no longer have to self-isolate at home or obtain a digital pass to move about the city.
San Marino is a landlocked country surrounded by Italy.
Serbia has lifted all COVID-19-related restrictions for both Serbian and foreign citizens, according to the U.S. Embassy in Serbia.
Shops, restaurants, cafes, and parks have reopened in Serbia, the embassy noted. Restrictions on outdoor gatherings have been lifted, according to the Serbian Government’s COVID-19 website.
The EU has recommended lifting travel restrictions on visitors from Serbia on July 1.
Travelers from what are considered health-safe countries, including Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Croatia, Iceland, Malta, Germany, and Norway, can enter Slovakia without any quarantine, according to the country’s coronavirus website. Anyone coming from a country not on the list has to isolate and pass a COVID-19 test on the fifth day of isolation at the earliest.
Most stores and catering establishments in Slovakia are open with capacity restrictions.
Travelers from several European countries, including France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, and Spain are allowed to enter Slovenia without restrictions, according to the National institute of Public Health. Some countries, including Bulgaria, were previously on the list but have been taken off due to worsening conditions there.
It is mandatory to wear masks in indoor public spaces in Slovenia, according to the country’s COVID-19 website. Discos and nightclubs remain closed, but the country has allowed groups of up to 200 people in public.
On June 21, Spain lifted border restrictions for all European Union countries, no longer requiring visitors to quarantine, according to Spain's official tourism website. The border with Portugal will remain restricted, however, through at least June 30.
On July 1, Spain will consider allowing people from other countries to enter based on a list of safe countries that will be drafted by the European Commission.
Sweden extended its temporary ban on entry for non-EU citizens until at least June 30, according to the Ministry of Justice. This does not apply to anyone from the EU, the UK, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland.
While Sweden has taken some precautions against the spread of COVID-19, like banning gatherings of more than 50 people, the country decided not to do a full lockdown, Newsweek noted, allowing restaurants and shops to remain open. In at least one instance, Sweden has embraced the idea of socially distanced dining with a new restaurant “Nowhere,” sitting on a nature reserve near Stockholm -- complete with six tables scattered around the reserve.
Switzerland opened its borders to travelers from the Schengen area on June 15 and said it will subject people from countries with high numbers of new infections to a temperature check upon arrival, including Sweden, according to the Federal Office of Public Health.
On July 20, Switzerland is expected to lift restrictions on Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunesia, and Urugay, as well as Bulgaria, Ireland, Croatia, Romania, and Cyprus, according to the Re-open EU website. Serbia, however, remains a “high risk” country.
On June 6, Switzerland opened facilities like amusement parks, zoos, and swimming pools, and allowed campsites and mountain rail and cableways to reopen. On June 22, Switzerland lifted most restrictions, including those on seating at restaurants, but will leave the ban on large-scale events in place until the end of August.
On June 11, Turkey started opening some international air, land, and sea borders, not including the borders with Iran or Syria, according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Turkey. Flights that have resumed are mostly to Europe.
At the airport in Istanbul, passengers will have their temperatures checked with a thermal camera, according to the airport.
Turkey has introduced weekend curfews through June 28, and on June 17, the country made wearing masks mandatory in public areas in Istanbul, Ankara, and Bursa, according to the U.S. Embassy. The country has reopened malls and some stores with capacity restrictions
U.S. citizens are allowed to enter Ukraine, which lifted its ban on foreigners, as long as they show they have medical insurance to cover all potential expenses related to COVID-19, according to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.
U.S. citizens may be required to self-quarantine if the Ministry of Health considers the U.S. a country with a high incidence of COVID-19, the embassy noted.
Most regions in Ukraine have reopened hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, and cultural institutions with certain restrictions, but it is mandatory to wear masks in public places.
Restaurants and pubs will open on July 4 with coronavirus precautions in place. Hotels will also be open for overnight stays. Retail businesses have also reopened.
In June, the UK lifted its mandatory two-week quarantine for dozens of countries and the 14 British Overseas Territories. The U.S. is not included on that list. Travelers coming from Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man were exempt from the initial quarantine rule.
Locals have been allowed to return to work as well as take public transportation.
Vatican City is the world’s smallest country and is encircled by the Italian city of Rome. On May 31, Pope Francis resumed Sunday services with a few hundred people gathering in St. Peter’s Square, wearing face masks and social distancing.
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.