As the rate of vaccinations in Europe rises, American travelers will be welcomed in most of Europe this summer. While certain attractions will remain closed or limited (the Palio horse race in Siena has been canceled for July), several nations are laying on the red carpet for travelers in the hopes of reviving the critical summer tourism season.
Italy, Greece, Croatia, and Iceland are just a few of the nations that have removed immigration hurdles. France and others have stated that they will open within the next few weeks. The European Union is poised to grant American visitors their own green light soon, after which it will be up to the 27 member nations to impose additional limitations.
Be ready to pounce if you’re waiting to book until you’re 100 percent sure you’ll be able to enter a certain country or countries. Ticket prices and demand tend to rise in response to even minor policy changes.
While much of Europe will likely be available to Americans by the end of the month, summer travel will be different. Americans will almost always need a vaccination certificate, a recent negative Covid test, or proof of recovery from Covid within the last six months in virtually all circumstances. The policies of different countries differ. A positive Covid test conducted between 12 and 180 days before arrival in Croatia is considered confirmation that the passenger is virus-free.
Indoors, masks are almost universally necessary, including for those who have been vaccinated. Outdoor rules differ, and in certain nations, masks are optional when social distance is possible. Some communities have curfews, although these are being phased out as infection rates decline.
Because the situation is always changing, double-check the regulations and epidemiological hazards in the area where you want to visit. Nearly all of Europe is classified as Covid level 4, the highest on the scale, by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which advises against unnecessary travel. The CDC rates the United Kingdom and Iceland as category 3, or somewhat less dangerous, and advises against travel there as well.
The country is gradually returning to normalcy. That means you can finally drink a pint at the pub again, both inside and out. Shops and restaurants are also open for business. The Tower of London, as well as many other historical landmarks in the capital and around the country, have reopened.
London’s theaters and museums are open for business. A retrospective of paintings by 19th-century British landscape painter J.M.W. Turner is on display at Tate Britain through Sept. 12. Paula Rego, an 86-year-old Portuguese artist who trained in London, will have a retrospective at Tate Britain beginning July 7 with more than 100 paintings, drawings, collages, and other works.
The Glastonbury Festival, the United Kingdom’s most famous summer gathering, is not taking place this year, but there are plenty of other options. The Reading and Leeds Festival will take place on August 27-29, and will feature performances such as former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and English rapper Stormzy. The Royal Albert Hall in London hosts the BBC Proms classical music event, which runs from July 30 to September 11. Mozart’s “Cosí fan tutte” and Verdi’s “Luisa Miller” are among the works performed at Glyndebourne, a summer opera festival in Sussex, which runs through August. The Edinburgh International Festival, which will feature theater, opera, and music events at outdoor sites across the Scottish capital, will run from August 7 to 29.
On July 11, soccer fans may assemble in London’s Wembley Stadium to see the European Championship final.
The United States is on the United Kingdom’s “amber list,” which means that even if vaccinated, Americans must obtain a Covid test before travelling and then undergo several tests and a 10-day quarantine period after they arrive. (These restrictions apply to England; Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland may have somewhat different restrictions.) The United Kingdom’s color-coded listings are updated every three weeks, with the next one due on June 7.
Visitors who fly from the United States to Italy on “Covid-tested flights” (provided by airlines like as Delta, Alitalia, and American) can bypass the mandatory 10-day quarantine upon arrival.
The Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre—a series of fishing communities on the Italian Riviera connected by paths—are already packed with hikers for outdoor sports.
Many museums, like the Uffizi in Florence and the Galleria Borghese in Rome, do not ordinarily need reservations, but will this year. Following a two-year repair and a loan to Rome, Florence’s Pitti Palace has mounted a special exhibition of Raphael’s “Portrait of Leo X with Cardinals Luigi de’ Rossi and Giulio de’ Medici.” Rather than returning to its previous home in the Uffizi, the Medici pope’s picture will remain at the Pitti. The exhibition is scheduled to expire in late June, although it may be extended.
Venice is celebrating its 1,600th birthday with a slew of cultural, musical, and religious activities. According to legend, the first stone of the Saint James church was set near the foundation of the Rialto bridge in 421. The anniversary provides an opportunity to visit churches and art that are not generally open to the public. In addition, the city’s Architecture Biennale, in which nations create exhibitions based on a subject, runs through November.
Not everything has been restored. Due to coronavirus limitations, the Palio, in which jockeys ride bareback three times around Siena’s Piazza del Campo, has been canceled for July 3. The Palio on August 16 has yet to be decided by local authority.
After more than a year, France prepares to welcome tourists from the United States on June 9.
The Champs-Élysées, the Luxembourg Gardens, the Place des Vosges, and the Place Vendôme are just a few of Paris’ most popular attractions. Visitors can look up at the Eiffel Tower from below, but they must wait until July 16 to use the elevator or walk up to enjoy the stunning views. In May, the Palace of Versailles, a short distance from the City of Light, reopened to tourists with pre-booked reservations. The Avignon Festival, held in Provence from July 5 to 25, features weeks of visual and performing arts in cloisters, courtyards, gardens, and other locations within the historic walled city.
The majority of reopened museums in Paris need reservations. In the city’s historic commodities exchange, one housing François Pinault’s collection just opened. The Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and Caravaggio’s “The Fortune Teller” are on show in the Louvre, as is the exhibition “Italian Renaissance sculpture from Donatello to Michelangelo,” which continues through June 21. The Orsay Museum has reopened for people interested in French Impressionism.
Since mid-May, Greece has been accessible to tourists from the United States, Israel, and the rest of Europe. The Greek government has made vaccinations a top priority in order to attract tourists and boost summer commerce.
The Acropolis in Athens, as well as most other outdoor cultural monuments in the Greek capital and around the nation, are open to the public. The Acropolis museum is available to people interested in learning more about the area’s archeological and historical significance.
The Free Earth festival in Halkidiki, near Thessaloniki on the mainland, offers a week of live music and beach festivities. It’s billed as “positive feelings and mindfulness,” according to the organizers.
In Greece, island hopping is still a popular tourist activity. Ferries departing from the mainland are subject to the same requirements as airplanes in terms of confirmation of vaccination, a negative Covid test, and confirmation of recovery.
Iceland was the first European country to allow vaccinated visitors from outside Europe to enter the nation. Reykjavik is served by Delta, American, and United Airlines.
This year, the country’s main attraction—nature—puts on a stunning performance. According to the Icelandic Tourist Board, the Geldingadalir volcano began erupting in March and has attracted more than 115,000 people since then. Although Geldingadalir is close to Reykjavik Airport, it is not causing flight disruptions as another erupting Icelandic volcano did in 2010.
Iceland opened a 590-mile driving route around the Westfjords in the country’s northwest last year. Cliffs, fjords, waterfalls, and typical Icelandic settlements may all be seen along the road. The 155-mile Diamond Circle road in Iceland’s north, which passes past large waterfalls, the horseshoe-shaped Asbyrgi canyon, and Iceland’s oldest settlement, is another popular drive.
Cultural Night, a series of free events throughout the city’s streets, squares, museums, and parks, will take place on Aug. 21. The evening marks the start of Reykjavik’s museums and theaters’ annual cultural activities. From August 28 to September 4, the Reykjavik Jazz Festival takes place in Iceland.
Croatia didn’t wait for the EU to open its doors either. Tourists to this southeast corner of Europe must also show they have paid for lodging or own a property here, in addition to the vaccine-test-recovery criteria.
Delta and United will offer direct flights from the United States to Dubrovnik in July and August, following the absence of such flights in the summers of 2019 and 2020.
Dubrovnik has been a popular tourist destination in recent years, with “Game of Thrones” fans flocking to see where scenes from the series were shot. The Sonus Festival, held on the island of Pag in mid-August, is a five-day outdoor techno music festival featuring 70 bands and beautiful Adriatic beaches.