September 26 , 2021
Wondering if it’s a good time to visit Europe? Right now, travel abroad is not the simple “book-and-go” affair it has been in the past (a luxury many Americans have taken for granted), but that doesn’t mean it’s a terribly complicated time to journey. With just a touch more planning and awareness, you can have an extremely rewarding trip in some spectacular places!
Thinking about the upcoming Winter 2021 and Spring 2022 travel seasons (yes, you can have a great vacation in the wintertime!), the following are the most important questions we’ll be asking ourselves before booking a trip:
This information is based on the latest requirements for Americans as of September 26th, 2021. Please keep in mind, all of the following advice hinges on the assumption that the traveler is already fully vaccinated.
In countries like Italy, many locals, particularly those catering to tourists, are really excited to see the arrival of Americans once again. Those countries who are open to foreign visitors are doing their best to make your stay a special one while sticking to precautions like masking indoors and providing more outdoor seating in beautiful surroundings. A lot of places, from Greece to Turkey to Spain, really value their American customers for their openness and curiosity, and they are ready to welcome you again!
You can rest assured on this account. Rates of fully vaccinated people (see the dark green bar in the chart below) in our top Mediterranean destinations like Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal are well above the rates of vaccinated people in the US.
The number of confirmed cases in the countries of Greece, France, Portugal, Italy and Spain has steadily declined since the summer, and all are below numbers in the US.
In general, fully vaccinated travelers have just a couple of additional steps to complete for entry to European countries (please check the up-to-date requirements for your specific destination/s). 1) Complete some type of Passenger Locator Form that helps with contact tracing; and for some countries 2) Submit a negative Covid-19 test that was taken within 72 hours of arrival. That’s it!
You’ll also need a ‘rapid test’ for re-entry to the USA, taken within three days of returning. Those are easily available in most European pharmacies.
The short answer is no. Our travelers report that the white CDC vaccination card is accepted in Europe at airports, restaurants and venues like museums that require full vaccination for entry. The United States has not yet joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate system (the ‘GreenPass’ app). If you want to store your vaccination record digitally for more peace of mind, you can try apps like Clear, CommonPass or VeriFly, but these won’t be accepted everywhere. Always carry your CDC card with you and keep it protected!
Yes! Our clients who have traveled in recent months have had great experiences overseas! The best part of taking an upcoming trip is that you’ll be able to take it all in without the usual crowds. Just be sure to keep your white CDC card handy, as you will likely need to present it at most indoor venues. You can expect that institutions from the Vatican Museums to the Louvre are currently operating under certain quotas due to the pandemic, so if you are purchasing tickets on your own and not through a tour, you are generally obligated to book online for a timed-entry ticket.
With low numbers of Covid-19 cases and high vaccination rates, Portugal and Spain are looking great for a late fall or early winter trip. The weather does become chilly, but particularly in southern Spain’s Andalusia region, or along Portugal’s Algarve Coast, you will find pleasant days with sunshine for going out and about.
If you’re looking for a bit of winter magic, then a trip to Europe during the holiday season is a real delight. You might not see snow, but you’re sure to find a lot of twinkling lights, outdoor Christmas markets and spiced beverages to ward off the cold. Try the decked-out cities of Strasbourg, France; Florence, Italy; Seville, Spain or Zagreb, Croatia.
We love visiting Greece in April or May, before the peak summer season and when the weather is simply divine. There are so many charming islands to choose from – out of almost 6,500! – so why not try somewhere new? For outdoor lovers, Croatia is a paradise in the spring, when you can experience the awakening of nature at the many national parks like Plitvice Lakes and Krka waterfalls, the Istrian Peninsula, plenty of mountain trails, and of course the unmatched islands like Korcula and Vis to name only two.
The bottom line: Traveling in the off-season can be a great time to get the real essence of a hot-ticket destination. As long as you double-check the country-specific travel requirements before you go and keep your CDC vaccine card in your wallet, you shouldn’t have any problems visiting Europe!