France, Greece and Portugal relax Covid travel restrictions as half-term nears | Europe holidays

As more of us are considering heading abroad again, travel restrictions in a number of popular tourist destinations have been relaxed.

France, Portugal and Greece have each updated their entry requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, with changes coming into effect in time for half-term.

Vaccinated tourists travelling to Portugal will no longer need to provide a negative test result to enter, although unvaccinated passengers will.

Greece has also dropped pre-departure test requirements for fully vaccinated arrivals. However, as with many other EU states, it will require arrivals that have had their second jab more than 270 days ago to have had a booster.

France also announced it would soon drop its requirement of a negative Covid test for vaccinated travellers from outside the EU, as daily infection numbers continue to fall.

“We again required tests in December over the Omicron variant. In the coming days we will announce that tests are no longer needed for vaccinated people,” Europe minister Clément Beaune told France 2 television on Tuesday.

Currently, anyone visiting France from outside the EU, including the UK, has to show a negative test result from the previous 48 hours, regardless of vaccination status.

“This week there will probably be a new European protocol for vaccinated people arriving from outside the EU, with eased measures,” Beaune added.

EU members agreed on 25 January to better coordinate their travel rules, in particular for people crossing borders within the bloc.

The Omicron surge prompted Italy and Denmark, for example, to impose recent negative test requirements for entry by fellow EU residents as well as proof of vaccination, a tightening of the rules that irritated officials in Brussels.

French authorities began lifting Covid restrictions this month, with nightclubs set to reopen from 16 February and standing areas once again authorised for concerts and sporting events as well as bars.

Norway also eased restrictions, no longer asking travellers to test when they arrive in the country but requiring all travellers over the age of 16 to complete an online registration form 72 hours prior to arrival in Norway. Those who aren’t fully vaccinated must complete the online registration form and have proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken less than 24 hours before arrival.

Meanwhile, Morocco has opened for the first time in 16 weeks and Australia also opened its border for fully vaccinated tourists and all visa holders from 21 February, almost two years after borders were first closed.

However, travellers were warned to continue to double-check their half-term holiday plans to make sure they meet Covid vaccination rules when travelling to EU destinations. France joined Spain and Denmark last week in requiring anyone who completed their vaccination jabs more than 270 days ago to have a booster to enter the country – or be considered unvaccinated. Austria requires boosters after 180 days.

People travelling to Italy, Croatia and Switzerland, as well as New York state or California, will not face the same border checks but may find it harder to go to restaurants, museums and other indoor venues if they have not been boosted.