UPDATE: European countries with COVID-19 restrictions in place right now

Jan 4, 2022

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While we continue to update this article as restrictions change or new ones are announced, we also recognise that rules can evolve very quickly and always advise you to check local and national restrictions prior to travelling. 

While COVID cases related to the omicron variant have skyrocketed across the continent, including a pandemic high of 162,572 in England on New Year’s Day, a number of European countries are relaxing travel restrictions for U.K. travellers.

Germany and France both stepped back restrictions put in place for U.K. nationals as they and other countries shift their focus to mandates on the unvaccinated.

Germany has eased restrictions on Brits and travellers from South Africa and seven other African nations that were imposed during the Christmas travel season. France also partially lifted its travel ban against travellers from the U.K. that had been in place since 18 December. British nationals can now travel through France to get back to their home country in the E.U., a move that will no doubt provide some peace of mind for travellers who were concerned about getting home from their holiday.

According to the BBC, the easing of the ban on Brits travelling through France was done to accommodate the large number of British nationals who travelled to the U.K. from other EU countries and now find themselves having trouble getting back home.

“Faced with this situation, instructions of tolerance have been sent to police officers at the borders with the United Kingdom, in order to allow these nationals to transit through France to reach their residence in a country of the European Union,” a French official said.

However, the majority of Brits are still banned from travelling to France as the country tries to prevent further spreading of the highly-transmissible COVID variant.

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Many other countries have imposed a variety of internal rules that could severely limit the holiday experience — particularly for the unvaccinated.

Some governments, for example, are closing bars, restaurants and other indoor venues, while others are demanding that anyone who wishes to socialise must provide official proof of a recent vaccination. In short, this means tourists to these destinations may be unable to go out for meals or enjoy many of Europe’s top attractions as they have previously.

Europe’s covid-19 and travel restrictions by country


Borders are open as usual, but you will have to provide either proof of vaccination, a PCR test taken within 72 hours, a rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours or proof of recovery from COVID-19 in the last six months.

Albania also has an 11pm curfew on all bars and restaurants.


You can now enter Armenia with a negative PCR test certificate taken within 72 hours prior to arrival or a vaccine certificate with the second dose taken at least 14 days before entering the country.


Austrian authorities announced before Christmas that all tourists, including those from the U.K., will need to show proof of a booster vaccine, or be turned away at the gate.

With the ski season about to begin, you will also be required to show proof of a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival. Entry into Austria will not be permitted without vaccination.

There is an 11pm curfew in restaurants and bars and FFP2 face masks are compulsory in all enclosed spaces, while nightclubs and après-ski locations remain closed until at least 10 January 2022 nationwide. Unvaccinated residents in Austria are also currently under lockdown.


Brits can fly to Azerbaijan on special flights. Entry by land is not permitted, however, and all travellers over the age of 18 must have proof of vaccination or proof of immunity from a recent infection.

Once in the country, over-18s will require proof of vaccination to enter indoor venues, including restaurants, cafes and shopping centres.


Not the best time to visit Belarus anyway, given the volatile political situation there which the U.K. Foreign Office describes as a “violent crackdown against demonstrators across Belarus following Presidential elections on 9 August 2020”.

But for those who do want to go, you’ll need to provide a PCR test taken within 72 hours. Unvaccinated travellers from a “red zone” country (including the U.K.) must self-quarantine for seven days — and complete the full quarantine on arrival.


Working from home has been compulsory since November, while there is a six-person limit on bars and restaurants where social distancing can be accommodated. Indoor venues where it can’t have been shut down completely.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Borders remain open, but you’ll need one of the following:

  • a negative PCR test no older than 48 hours
  • confirmation of full vaccination at least 14 days before your arrival
  • a certificate from a doctor showing you have recovered from COVID-19, 14 to 180 days before your arrival.


Over-18s need either a vaccination certificate, proof of recovery from the virus, or a negative PCR taken no more than 72 hours before arrival.

Bulgarian restrictions look a lot like most other European countries right now: you’ll need a COVID-19 pass to get into restaurants, bars, gyms, museums and other non-essential indoor settings. Masks must be worn in all public indoor spaces. Face shields, scarfs or other face coverings are not permitted in place of a face mask.


If you’re fully jabbed, recovered or can prove a recent negative test (a PCR within 72 hours of arrival or an antigen test within 48 hours) you can go. You just need a valid COVID-19 certificate. No curbs on visiting bars or restaurants yet, but face masks must be worn on public transport, taxis and in shops

Czech Republic

Czech authorities have declared a state of emergency, making it compulsory to wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces. Restaurants and bars close at 10pm and you are not allowed to drink alcohol outside licensed premises at any time.

The U.K. COVID-19 passport is a valid proof of health on entry.


On Saturday, Cyprus said all travellers from the U.K. over 12 years old will have to take a COVID-19 test and quarantine until the results are confirmed. Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative PCR or antigen (rapid) test result, taken within the last 72 hours in order to cross.

People aged 6 and above will need a COVID-19 certificate to get into venues including shopping malls and restaurants.


On Christmas Eve, Denmark announced visitors will have to take a PCR test up to 72 hours before arrival or a rapid antigen test up to 48 hours before arrival.

Earlier this month, Danish premier Mette Frederiksen closed concert halls, cinemas, nightclubs and theatres. Face masks are compulsory in shops, on public transport, in all public indoor spaces and in pubs and restaurants when standing.

There is a ban on the sale of alcohol from 10pm to 5am, and you’ll need a valid corona passport to get into bars, cafes, restaurants, tattoo parlours, hairdressers and other such venues.


Proof of vaccination is needed if you don’t want to spend 10-days upon arrival in isolation — which is what unvaccinated travellers are required to do.


The French government had closed its borders to both British tourists and business travellers from 18 December, with the only exceptions being for those who can prove they have “compelling reasons” to cross the Channel. But officials have backed off somewhat, allowing Brits who reside in another EU country to travel through France on their way home.

“British nationals who are currently in the U.K., but resident in the EU, will be able to return to their home through France over the New Year period without disruption,” A U.K. government spokesperson said.

French nationals and their spouses, however, are still allowed to return home.


If you can prove you had your jab more than seven days ago, you’ll be allowed in. The unvaccinated will need to provide an “essential reason” as to why they should be allowed to enter Finland, such as “work that is significant for the functioning of society”. For more on that, visit the Finnish Border Guard website.


There are commercial flights to and from Georgia but no direct flights from the U.K. currently. Committed travellers can get there by train from Armenia. Then you’ll need ​​to be deemed “green status” to enter hotels, restaurants and other indoor spaces by proving you’re fully jabbed, recovered or can prove a recent negative test.


As mentioned above, Germany eased restrictions on travel from the U.K. With limited exceptions, only citizens and residents had been allowed to enter the country. Unvaccinated people or those who have recovered from COVID-19 have to quarantine for 10 days. They can shorten the self-isolation period if they have a negative test result after five days.


Flights remain open to Brits, and your U.K. COVID passport will be accepted as proof you’ve had your vaccine. Unvaccinated visitors must provide a negative PCR test taken at most 72 hours before arrival, or to a certified rapid (antigen) test within 48 hours of arrival.

The unvaccinated will not be allowed to enter nightclubs, indoor restaurants, theatres, cinemas, museums, exhibitions, conferences, gyms and stadiums.

At present, it is mandatory to wear a mask in all indoor public places, as well as crowded outdoor spaces, in all areas of Greece.

Plus, if you are over 60 years old and more than seven months have passed since your second vaccination and you have not received a booster, Greece considers your vaccination status expired.


Fully vaccinated Brits can enter Hungary without providing a negative test. Inside the country, it is compulsory to wear a face mask in all indoor public spaces. You will need an immunity certificate to go to outdoor sporting events, as well as events with more than 500 people, such as Christmas markets.


Iceland is one of the more relaxed European nations when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions. The U.K.’s COVID-19 passport will get you into Iceland and when there you are expected to follow social distancing rules (1 metre, otherwise wear a facemask).


As of Monday, hospitality venues, cinemas and theatres must close by 8pm in measures that will stay in place until 30 January. Sporting events have also been limited to 50% spectator capacity. Weddings will have a cut off time of midnight and a limit of 100 guests.

The U.K. COVID-19 passport is a valid proof of health on entry.


The unvaccinated will have to quarantine for five days after stepping off the flight. And once inside the country, you must have a COVID Super Green Pass that shows proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus within the last six months. Only people with proof of vaccination or that they have recovered from the virus can eat inside restaurants or attend most public activities like sporting events.


Flights to Kosovo are restricted and movement within the country is under a midnight curfew. Taxis are restricted to two passengers and to use public transport you will need to show either, a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old, a negative antigen test less than 48 hours old or proof of vaccination.

Cafes, bars and restaurants are permitted to open until 11pm while nightclubs, festivals, weddings, family parties and other social gatherings are strictly prohibited.


A state of emergency remains in place until 11 January.  Facemasks must be worn indoors, including on public transport, and in crowded outdoor settings such as markets — or face a €50 fine. You’ll need your U.K. COVID-19 passport to enter the country.


See Switzerland.


This is strictly a medical facemask-only zone. These should be three layers of non-woven material and bear the CE marking on their packaging. They must be worn in all indoor areas, with apparently no exceptions.

The U.K.’s ​​proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record is accepted at airports into the country.

Fully vaccinated travellers from a red or grey country (which is how the U.K. is classified) do not have to test or quarantine. See details here. All travellers, however, must complete a registration form to receive a QR code to present before boarding. Otherwise, you must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure or an antigen test that was taken within 48 hours of departure and self-isolate for 10 days.


You’ll need to prove your vaccine status with a U.K. COVID-19 pass, a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours, or a rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours of travel.

Facemasks are compulsory pretty much everywhere you would expect — shops, museums etc. All bars and restaurants are required to use the “CovidCheck” system whereby only those vaccinated, recovered or with a “certificate of contraindication to vaccination” can enter. To get a certificate, visit their official website.

Breaches of regulations can result in fines of up to €1000.


You can enter Malta with the U.K. COVID pass so long as it has a valid QR code. Pre-travel testing is not required with proof of vaccination, but that could be subject to change and travellers heading to Malta to board a cruise ship are likely required to take a COVID-19 PCR test before departure.

There, facemasks must be worn in all public spaces. Groups in public places are limited to 6 people unless from the same household. A maximum of 4 households are allowed to meet indoors or face a fine.


Flights from the U.K. to Moldova are operating, business as usual. But you will need either a vaccine certificate, a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (48 hours) test, or an antibodies certificate valid for 90 days since you had the test. You will need to present this to enter any show, nightclub, or other public events, as well as wear a mask in all outdoor public gatherings and indoor spaces.


Regardless of nationality, anyone aged 16 or over must present specific documents upon arrival depending on whether their country of origin is classified as green, orange or red zone. 

If you’re travelling from a green zone country you must show one of the following:

  • A negative PCR or antigen test taken 24 hours prior to arriving.
  • Full vaccination, details of which can be found here. 
  • Proof of recovery from COVID-19

Exemptions to these restrictions apply to residents of the French departments of Alpes-Maritimes or Var, residents of the Province of Imperia in Italy, commuter workers, pupils and cross-border students, professionals from companies abroad travelling to Monaco in order to perform an urgent service that is ‘incompatible’ for a PCR or an antigen test.

Travellers from an orange country don’t need to provide a negative COVID-19 if they’re vaccinated but should provide either proof of full vaccination, or proof of recovery from COVID-19. If unvaccinated you will need to show approved justification that your journey is essential and urgent. You must also consent to either 7 days of isolation or present negative results from PCR tests carried out within 24 hours of their arrival and an additional test carried out 5 to 7 days later.


You will need to prove you’ve been jabbed or have a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (48 hours) test, or an antibodies certificate to enter the Balkan nation. You’ll need one of these to visit bars, restaurants and other public places and must wear a facemask.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands announced a strict new lockdown on Saturday in an effort to contain a major surge of the new COVID-19 omicron variant. From 21 December, all non-essential stores, bars and restaurants will be closed until January 14.

North Macedonia

Famed for its gorgeous lakes and mountainscapes, North Macedonia is now open to all tourists, including Brits.

All travellers over the age of 18 entering and exiting the country must provide one of the following: proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to travel or a negative rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours prior to travel, or proof of recovery from COVID-19 within the past 45 days.

The wearing of protective face coverings is required when visiting indoor public spaces, such as markets, post offices, health institutions, shops, banks, including when using public transport. As for bars and restaurants, you’ll need one of the aforementioned documents of good health to patronise.


Last week, Prime Minister Gahr Støre banned the serving of alcohol in bars and restaurants for four weeks.

Travellers with a COVID pass have to provide a negative test result within 24 hours of arrival. Those without must provide a negative test result taken no more than 24 hours before arrival, then another within 24 hours after setting foot on Norwegian soil.


Portugal declared a “state of calamity” in November, introducing stricter controls from 1 December. Now, you must have a digital certificate that proves you have either been jabbed or recently recovered from COVID-19 to enter bars, cinemas and restaurants. And face masks must be worn in all indoor public places.


Face masks are mandatory in all indoor areas. Last week, the Polish government closed all nightclubs across the country with a plan to reopen for two days only, on 31 December and 1 January, to allow people to celebrate New Year.


You’ll need to show proof of your vaccination or recovery status to get into the country (or quarantine for a fortnight), and also to access restaurants, bars, shopping centres and events. Masks are mandatory in public places.


QR codes that confirm you are COVID-19 safe are required for most indoor venues. But the central government has delegated responsibility for COVID-19 restrictions to local authorities. So be sure to check what it’s like where you’re going before you travel here.

The latest advice for Moscow is available on the Mayor’s website. For Saint Petersburg, advice can be found on the City Government’s website.


You will need to prove you’ve been jabbed or have a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (48 hours) test, or an antibodies certificate to enter. Masks are mandatory in all public places, indoors and outdoors if crowded. Failure to wear a mask will incur a fine. COVID-19 passes are required to get into bars and restaurants.


The Slovak government has imposed particularly strict curbs on public life to fend off Covid, including a nationwide curfew from 8 pm to 5 am.

As above, you’ll need to prove you’ve been jabbed or have a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (48 hours) test, or an antibodies certificate to enter. Many bars, restaurants and hotels are closed, and only those who can prove they are vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 can visit shops and services, including ski resorts. The unvaccinated can’t do much, other than buy essential goods. Gatherings of more than 6 people (unless from the same household) are prohibited.


Fabric masks are no longer permitted here. Instead, you must wear an FFP2 type mask in all indoor spaces. Most bars, restaurants, hotels and other public hangouts are open and subject to the usual restrictions.


Fully vaccinated travellers from the U.K. can enter Spain without needing to test or quarantine. Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated tourists can not enter at this time.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez enacted a law making it mandatory to wear masks outside, in crowded public places. They are already part of the dress code of any indoor public space in Spain.

Despite protests, several regions of Spain have introduced tighter restrictions on the unvaccinated, demanding the use of COVID-19 passes to enter bars, restaurants and other public places for the festive season.


On 21 December, Sweden tightened restrictions, the Swedish government said: “The amendments mean that all travellers must be able to present a negative test result for ongoing COVID-19 infection upon arrival to Sweden, regardless of the country they travel from,” adding “The decision is based on the increasing spread of infection and a request from the Public Health Agency of Sweden. The amendments will enter into force on 28 December.”

At the time of writing the U.K. governments travel advice for entry into Sweden does, however, state that travellers who are able to present a U.K. vaccine certificate are exempt from any bans on entry and the COVID-19 test requirement. It is however unclear whether further updates are due to be made to this page and we’d advise exercising caution here. TPG has reached out for clarification and will update this article accordingly.

Further restrictions in the country currently also include a limit of 50 people at private gatherings as well as the need for a vaccination pass for public events where there are more than 500 people.

Bars and restaurants are only able to serve seated guests while the public will also have to be seated at larger events – like football matches. Shops will have to limit the number of customers to prevent crowding.

Facemasks are expected to be worn on public transport, and Brits will need to prove good health before arriving via proof of receiving a second dose of the vaccine two weeks before the trip. Unvaccinated travellers must show a negative PCR test 48 hours before travel. Children under the age of 18 are exempt if travelling with a fully vaccinated adult.


The ski lifts remain open, but travellers will have to respect COVID-19 protocols, which include showing proof of vaccination or full recovery from infection to enter restaurants, cultural venues or other indoor events.


To enter the country, you’ll have to prove you’re in good shape by providing either:

  • a full course of COVID-19 vaccinations (completed at least 14 days prior to arrival in Turkey)
  • a recent recovery from COVID-19
  • a negative PCR test (less than 72 hours of arrival)
  • a rapid antigen test (less than 48 hours of arrival).

Here, provinces are split into four tiers by COVID-19 risk: low, medium, high and very high. To know where your destination ranks, visit the Ministry of Health.  Face masks are mandatory everywhere, from parks to pubs, beaches to barbershops.


Air routes are limited, but you can get there with proof of vaccination, immunity or a negative PCR or express test taken within 72 hours of travel. Ukraine has a colour-coded system (green, yellow, orange, red) to determine how tight the rules are per region. See the Foreign Office website for details.

But across the country, these are the rules:

In all zones, the following rules apply:

  • you must carry ID with you at all times
  • when in public buildings (including restaurants, hotels and shops) you must maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 m.
  • when in public buildings, and while travelling on public transport and in taxis, you must wear a protective mask covering your nose and mouth

And beware: failure to comply can result in a fine or, in serious cases, an actual prison sentence.

Additional reporting by Jordan Waller and Mike Avila.

Featured image by Luc Bianco / EyeEm/ Getty

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