As the Christmas holidays approach with rapid strides, some of us have already booked holiday trips to the Mediterranean, where temperatures are still reasonably warm and the skies are clear.
But what is not clear to many is what is happening with the recent Covid restrictions when it comes to traveling abroad, especially in light of the new Omicron mutation that has grabbed headlines in recent weeks.
Whether you have already booked a holiday for yourself this Christmas, or are considering booking one, you may want to stay up to date with the latest travel advice and entry rules before heading to the sunny side of Europe.
Here are the latest travel advice updates and rules for entry into Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.
READ MORE: Heathrow and Gatwick: The countries most at risk of being added to the red travel list
To enter Spain from the UK, anyone aged 12 and over must present one of the following when requested to do so by the Spanish border and port authorities. Either a negative Covid-19 PCR test result from the last 72 hours, or proof that you were fully vaccinated at least 14 days before your arrival.
Anyone traveling into Spain, vaccinated or not, should also fill out an online health check form. This form must also be completed on behalf of children under 12 years of age. The form must be completed within 48 hours before departure.
British nationals entering Spain from France should also be prepared to provide proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test no more than 48 hours old, or a certificate proving that they have recovered from Covid-19 within the last six months.
Adults and children over the age of six must wear masks in public indoor spaces and crowded outdoor environments as well as in public transportation. Social distance of 1.5 m must also be observed.
Restrictions may vary in Spain from region to region, so travelers should check with their local authorities regarding the rules.
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Portugal requests that all arrivals to the country complete an online passenger card.
Anyone over the age of 11 must be prepared to show a negative Covid-19 test result certificate taken within 48 hours, or a negative PCR result within 72 hours of arrival.
When you enter Portugal, you can have your temperature checked. If your temperature is above 38 degrees, you may need to take a Covid-19 test and stay at the airport until the results are negative.
Border and port authorities may request to see a vaccination certificate or evidence of a negative test.
If you are unable to provide such proof, you may have to pay for a test at the airport plus an additional fine of € 300-800.
A positive test result will require you to be quarantined for 14 days at your own home or in a place designated by the Portuguese health authority.
All travelers to Portugal who are over 12 years of age should also maintain a social distance of 1.5 m and wear a face mask in enclosed public spaces and outdoors where a distance of 1.5 m cannot be maintained.
Anyone wishing to attend crowded public spaces or events may be required to present a vaccination certificate or one of the following: A PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours, a certified antigen test taken within the previous 48 hours or a rapid antigen-self-test performed within the previous 24 hours that has been certified by a healthcare or pharmaceutical professional.
Those who can prove that they are fully vaccinated do not have to isolate themselves on arrival.
Border and port authorities in Italy can ask anyone traveling to the country to present a QR code, which will be generated after completing a passenger search form.
If you are not fully vaccinated, you will be asked to present a negative result from either a PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours before showing up at the border.
You must then notify the local health authority in the area you are going to live in, travel immediately to your destination via private transport and isolate yourself for five days.
At the end of the isolation period, take another antigen or PCR test and turn negative.
Children under the age of 18 who are not fully vaccinated do not need to isolate themselves if traveling with a fully vaccinated adult. For them, a negative PCR or antigen test from the last 48 hours is enough.
Children under the age of five do not have to take a PCR or antigen test before entering the country.
Masks are mandatory for indoor events and crowded outdoor spaces.
‘Green Passes’, which are accessible to fully vaccinated people, must be shown to enter many public spaces, with temporary 48-hour passes available to persons who have not been vaccinated but who have produced negative test results from rapid antigen tests.
Like Portugal and Italy, Greece also requires arrivals to complete a passenger search form, which will produce a QR code to be presented to border and port authorities.
Anyone over the age of 12 must either show a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their arrival or a negative rapid antigen test within 48 hours.
However, this would not be required if the person can show proof that they are fully vaccinated, or show proof that they have recovered from Covid within 30-180 days before arrival in Greece.
But people arriving in Greece may be exposed to take another quick Covid test once they enter the country. Those who test positive will be required to isolate themselves in a hotel for 10 days.
Anyone traveling to the Greek islands must present either a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours, a rapid antigen test within 24 hours, proof of full vaccination or recovery from Covid. The islands of Lefkada, Evia and Salamina are an exception.
In Greece, you may also be asked to prove that you are fully vaccinated or have a negative test within 48 hours if you wish to enter public spaces such as shops and restaurants.
Masks are a requirement for anyone aged five and over for crowded indoor events.
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