Travel restrictions now history in more parts of Europe

The classic, multi-country European holiday is almost a possibility again.

By Matt Lennon, May 17 2022
Travel restrictions now history in more parts of Europe

Travellers can now roam even further across Europe, with a flurry of popular destinations including Croatia, Switzerland and Greece dropping all entry requirements earlier this month.

The latest to return to pre-pandemic policies is Austria, which this week removed its vaccination, recovery, and testing conditions.

It joins a small but enticing list that counts Bulgaria, Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia and Slovakia among its ranks.

From 16 May, passengers flying within the EU also no longer need to wear masks in airports or on flights, though some countries, such as Germany and Italy, are keeping the rule in place.

The latest developments mean it’s easier for Australians hoping to visit in time for the European summer. However, popular countries such as France, Finland and Spain remain notable exceptions. In fact, Spain has just extended its restrictions a further month to June 15.

Of course, restrictions and entry requirements do change quickly, so it’s important to check Smartraveller for the latest information specific to your circumstances.

Many European nations are removing restrictions on travellers.
Many European nations are removing restrictions on travellers.

Unvaccinated visitors to France must still provide a “compelling reason” for their visit, with a test-on-arrival a likely outcome, in addition to presenting evidence of another test taken prior to departure. Travellers who have received at least two doses simply need to obtain a Vaccination Pass from the French Government website.

Further south, Spanish authorities still consider Australia an ‘at risk’ country and as such, unvaccinated travellers are unable to enter. If you’ve had at least two jabs, with the second coming less than 270 days ago, you can enter freely and enjoy Spain without restrictions, but you’ll need to complete an online health form within 48 hours of arrival.

In Germany, travellers are required to provide either proof of vaccination status, a negative PCR or rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours, or evidence of having recovered from COVID-19 on entry. 

Finland stands apart from its Scandinavian neighbours, with its border measures in place until 30 June. Until then, travellers are required to present proof of vaccination prior to entry.

The Netherlands opened its doors to all EU residents back in March, however Australian travellers must still be fully vaccinated and show proof at the border.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 350

Time for Australia to follow this path also in the very near future. 

31 May 2018

Total posts 10

Is that advice in your article re Germany correct? Smart traveller suggests there is no need for a negative covid test to enter germany if you’re vaccinated. As do German government websites. However this article seems to suggest a negative test is also required irrespective of your vaccination status?

26 Sep 2020

Total posts 10

You are correct. Germany does not require a test if you are double vax from Australia. Their website can be confusing but the German Consulate in Sydney confirmed that if you are double vaxed, you can just walk off the plane in Frankfurt as I will at the end of April after a two year delay.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 526

A better option would be to fly to Denmark (no entry requirements) then enter Germany from there. That way you can avoid doing any testing. However, I suppose if you're sure Germany doesn't require testing from vaccinated travellers AND you've been vaccinated already, then there is no reason not to fly directly into Germany.

12 Oct 2017

Total posts 7

I flew from Australia to Germany last week and no one checked anything not even the vaccination certificate. Took a train to France from Stuttgart to Paris and there were no issues there either. 

26 Sep 2020

Total posts 10

They would have checked your certificate when you checked in at the airport.

31 May 2018

Total posts 10

It seems the advice regarding Germany in this article is if you’ve been in a high risk area. It’s the case at the moment that no region/country is considered high risk. 

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 788

Hopefully by July when we are booked for Europe every country will be open and accessible to double and triple jabbed people the only downside will be where the war is up to and also our flight being down graded from SQ A380 to SQ 777er300.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 526

Switzerland and Belgium both allow unrestricted entry for EU/Schengen nationals arriving from anywhere in the world. I've received numerous emails from various European embassies including these ones recently, which confirms this.

So an Australian who is also a dual national of any European country, can freely enter Switzerland or Belgium from Australia, with no vaccination or testing proof required. Australian citizens who are not dual nationals may still require such proof, for now.

However, given that EU borders have mostly been reopened to one another and to the best of my understanding, most, if not all checkpoints that were set-up initially in late March 2020 between member states have now been removed, any Australian wishing to travel to any country in Europe simply needs to first arrive in a hassle-free country such as Denmark, Sweden or Norway, then travel to their intended destination.

For example, an unvaccinated Australian wishing to travel to Spain can do so after first arriving in Sweden or Denmark and then spending a bit of time there, then travelling to Spain as a "domestic" (EU/Schengen) person. I don't think Spain is making checks of arrivals from Sweden or any Schengen country anymore. Of course, this would need to be confirmed.

However, unlike Asian countries, which all have strict border controls between one another, in Europe crossing borders is like crossing between states or provinces. Whatever checks are conducted, will be at the external border, such as when arriving by air from outside the zone.

26 Sep 2020

Total posts 10

Or you could do the right thing by your community and get vaccinated.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 526

Not everyone wants to be vaccinated or can be vaccinated.

15 Jun 2018

Total posts 6

It would be great to have an over view of what the green pass is still being used for and if there is any need for Australians to have it in most countries? 

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 788

It's all a moving feast at the moment from what I can see, like price increases don't blink the price goes up.

22 Sep 2021

Total posts 2

We are now living in New Zealand so it would be good to hear any comments about travel to/from Europe for New Zealand, regarding travel restrictions. 

Unfortunately we always have to transit at-least one stop on the way to or from Europe.  ie; Malaysia, Qatar, Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi. Singapore, Los Angeles, and now New York.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 526

Very easy now - most European countries are fully open including the UK and Ireland. Some, such as Germany, Italy and I believe France, still require testing and/or vaccination proof for those arriving from outside the EU who are not citizens of member states. This will probably change soon.

If you're unvaccinated and/or don't want to get tested, don't fly via the USA, because they will demand vaccination and testing proof even if you're a transit passenger. You'll want to transit via Singapore as they don't require anything except masks on board the flight and in the transit lounge of the airport. Other options include Dubai (Emirates), Doha (Qatar) and Malaysian, assuming they've resumed services from Auckland.

You can probably fly maskless on the Europe bound flight sector, especially if it's operated by a European airline.

I will be visiting Hungary in July Lax-Fra (transit)-Bud and then Bud-Fra (transit)- Sin (transit)- Syd. I am fully vaccinated do I need a covid test for Fra? as I believe all other destinations do not require a test.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Mar 2016

Total posts 52

I am flying to the UK on the 28th May via Japan and a few days later travelling by Eurostar to Paris and according to the Eurostar website all I need as triple vaccinated is my international covid certificate from the Australian government. Also from what I understand it is now pretty easy to move about the EU countries and Switzerland if you come by land, I will be driving from another EU country. I think some of the restrictions may apply if you are flying from Australia to an EU country.

So my understanding is that you are free to drive from France to Belgium to Netherlands then Germany, Austria and Switzerland and back to France and the only thing I need is proof of the triple vaccination and even that doesn't seem to be required by all countries.

Luckily my plans are very flexible as when I booked back in February I only booked hotels that could be cancelled without any penalty a day or two before the check in date.

After two years of no travel I am eager to get away.

26 Sep 2020

Total posts 10

I read this article whilst waiting at Frankfurt Airport to return home after 3 weeks in Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. The advice for Germany is incorrect as it was when first published in March. If you are fully vaccinated you don't need to do anything other than present your vaccination certificate when you check in for you flight to Germany. This took a few seconds on check in and when arriving in Germany, I exited the airport in minutes without anything other than a quick stamp in my Passport. The only thing I noticed at borders was a stricter enforcement of the mask requirement as I entered Austria from Germany on the train. The only hassle on return was the debacle that is the Australian Government's PDP App. After completing it, I received an email hours before the flight saying that it was not completed (it was) without any contact details whatsoever or information on what was not completed. I received an email to say it was completed and I was OK to enter Australia 24 hours after I got home. On top of all that, the App logs you out when not in uses and every time I reopened it, I had to reset the password. In the end, no harm was done, but it would create unnecessary anxiety for some travellers and it makes the Australian Government look like fools. 

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 195

I travelled extensively over the last 2 Years by getting travel exemptions to leave Australia from the government. Restrictions were a waste of time. They did not stop the virus from spreading and just caused misery and economic turmoil which will last decades. Most travel restrictions have now gone. Putting them in was politically motivated, they did not stop the virus but caused many other associated health, social and economic woes. They were wrong at the start and they are still wrong now. 

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