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Europe Reopens to US and Canadian Travelers
Contents

Europe Reopens to US and Canadian Travelers

TripBlog
Jul 16, 20211250

The European Union is once again welcoming travelers from the United States and Canada. Popular destinations including France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Spain are again accepting visitors from North America. With Americans rushing to dust off their passports, we’re updating our guide to awesome European cities with information on current travel restrictions. Whether you’re looking to wander an Old World capital or eager to get off the beaten path, the great cities and towns of Europe are calling. Read on to discover some amazing places to take a summer vacation in 2021.

Contents

1. Berlin, Germany
Current Restrictions
Things to Do
2. Metz, France
Current Restrictions
Things to Do
3. Wroclaw, Poland
Current Restrictions
Things to Do
4. Riga, Latvia
Current Restrictions
Things to Do
5. Vienna, Austria
Current Restrictions
Things to Do
6. Kotor, Montenegro
Current Restrictions
Things to Do
7. Florence, Italy
Current Restrictions
Things to Do
8. Crete, Greece
Current Restrictions
Things to Do

A quick word of caution. Travel restrictions continue to change often, and sometimes with little warning. While we make every effort to provide accurate and timely information, conditions may have changed since this guide was published. Always double-check the latest official announcements for your destination before making booking decisions. Better to be safe than sorry.

Europe Reopens to US and Canadian Travelers

1. Berlin, Germany

Europe Reopens to US and Canadian Travelers

Current Restrictions

Visitors from the United States and Canada, whether they are vaccinated or not, require proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before traveling to Germany by air. Travelers should obtain a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours of their scheduled departure. It is also important to make sure you have not visited any countries or regions that the German government considers "high-risk" in the 10 days before you depart. Persons with a recent travel history to such locations face additional restrictions.

Things to Do

The German capital is a glorious summertime destination. Berlin’s dozens of outdoor parks, world-class museums, and high-quality restaurants make it a perennial travel favorite. Start your tour at the famed Brandenburg Gate. Notice the small stone markers in the street indicating where the Berlin Wall used to stand. Make your way to the historic Reichstag and tour the Parliament Building. See graffiti left by Soviet soldiers when they took Berlin in May, 1945 to end the Second World War in Europe. Next visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and allow yourself to get lost as the monument’s undulating design evokes a world where nothing was stable. Spend the afternoon touring Museum Island before venturing to either the Kreuzberg or Kurfürstendamm districts for some evening entertainment and a great meal. There’s a lot to do in Berlin so try to budget a few days in order to really get to know one of the hippest cities in Europe.

2. Metz, France

Europe Reopens to US and Canadian Travelers

Current Restrictions

Visitors from the United States and Canada who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can enter France without restriction. In order to be considered fully vaccinated, travelers must have received a vaccine approved by European Medicines Agency (EMA) at least two weeks before they depart in the case of two-shot vaccines, or four weeks before they depart in the case of one-shot vaccines. Unvaccinated travelers from the US and Canada must show proof of a negative PCR test issued within 72 hours of departure before boarding flights for France.

Things to Do

When it comes to travel in France, Paris gets all the love. If you tell someone you're looking to get outside the City of Light, chances are they'll recommend the Riviera or somewhere else along the Mediterranean Coast. Unless you're a ski buff heading for a weekend in the Three Valleys, you might be tempted to ignore large swaths of this most European of nations. That would be a huge mistake. Metz, a beautiful town in France's Grand Est region, sports charming gardens and leafy promenades set along the Moselle and Seille Rivers. It's easy to visit on the way from Paris, Germany, or Luxembourg. Youthful fashionistas, innovative start-ups, and creative investors have for years staked their claims in Metz. Visit the Centre Pompidou-Metz, a branch of the iconic Parisian institution housing modern and contemporary artwork. See magnificent stained glass in Metz's Gothic Cathedral, or admire the simple stone designs used at the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains, which dates back to the 4th century CE. As one of the oldest churches in all of Europe, this magnificent structure is well-worth visiting. Spend a few hours wandering the streets in central Metz and pop your head into a cafe or two. The trendy designs and colorful characters inhabiting these spaces will give you plenty to write home about.

3. Wroclaw, Poland

Europe Reopens to US and Canadian Travelers

Current Restrictions

Visitors from the United States and Canada who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can enter Poland without the need to quarantine. In order to be considered fully vaccinated, travelers must have received a vaccine approved by European Medicines Agency (EMA) at least two weeks before their scheduled departure. Poland requires travelers to show proof of vaccination in the form of an EU Digital COVID Certificate or an equivalent document written in English or Polish. Unvaccinated travelers from the US and Canada are required to quarantine for 10 days on arrival in Poland.

Things to Do

Poland’s ascension to the European Union in 2004 brought something of a renascence to this Eastern European nation. Gone were the days when students and trade unionists marched in Gdańsk. In cities around the country, new movements in art and literature sprung up, taking full advantage of Poland’s growing connections to the West. You’d be hard-pressed to find a city in Poland where this was more evident than in Wroclaw. Located a little over 215 miles from the Polish capital Warsaw, Wroclaw has a reputation as one of the most visually stunning cities in all Poland. Start your tour in the Old Town and admire the beautiful Gothic old town hall. Today it contains the Museum of Bourgeois Art. Wander around Market Square and snap some pictures of the colorful architecture. Work your way to the River Oder and see the lovely riverside designs, pathways, and buildings there. Wroclaw’s canal-like appearance where the river splits between a series of islands as well as the moat surrounding much of the Old Town have resulted in people referring to the city as Poland’s Venice. Tour Cathedral Island (which isn’t actually an island) before making your way to the National Museum in Wroclaw. Spend your evening hours plying the Old Town streets where you’ll find small galleries and tasty restaurants.

4. Riga, Latvia

Europe Reopens to US and Canadian Travelers

Current Restrictions

At the time of writing, travelers from the United States and Canada must have proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, otherwise need to carry proof of a negative PCR test issued no more than 72 hours before departure or proof of a negative antigen test issued no more than 48 hours before departure. All persons travelling to Latvia must fill out an electronic form no more than 48 hours before entering Latvia to provide the requested information concerning vaccination, testing, or recovery from COVID-19.

Things to Do

The Latvian capital Riga offers a fantastic combination of historic architecture, trendy shopping, and chic cafes. This is one of those destinations you might overlook at first; but it’s one you won’t want to miss. Great as a romantic getaway or for a backpacking adventure, there’s much to admire in Riga. Budget yourself ample time to explore the city center. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Old City Riga is a fascinating and beautiful place. Medieval architecture predominates and is interspersed with modern designs. See the iconic Three Brothers and visit Riga Cathedral with its Romanesque, early Gothic, and Baroque elements. The macabre-named House of the Black Heads is a Gothic landmark home to Latvia’s president. Visit the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia to learn about Soviet repression in the country and how this informs much of Latvian culture today. Architecture fans will want to make a point to stroll along Albert Street with its collection of beautiful facades. When night falls enjoy yourself as streets throughout Old Town come alive.

5. Vienna, Austria

Europe Reopens to US and Canadian Travelers

Current Restrictions

Visitors from the United States and Canada can enter Austria without the need to quarantine as long as they can show either: 1) have proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 2) they have proof of a negative PCR test result, or 3) they have proof they have fully recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection. To be considered fully-vaccinated, travelers must have received all doses of a World Health Organization (WHO)-approved vaccine at least 22 days before they depart for Austria. Documents must be original certificates written in either English or German.

Things to Do

With grandeur from a time when Mozart walked its streets, Vienna remains a vibrant metropolis with tons of creative dynamism. At once both supremely classic and relentlessly modern, Vienna is a truly global city. Once you’ve nailed down your accommodations, slip into the conversation at one of the city’s myriad coffee houses. Long a favored meeting place for intellectuals and radicals, Viennese coffee culture is officially recognized by UNESCO as part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. Grab a booth at the famed Café Central, a place once favored by Trotsky and Freud. Tour Hofberg Palace, St. Stephen's Cathedral, and Belvedere Palace with its ornate manor gardens. Vienna’s museums are legion and too numerable to list in one go. Find something that appeals to your sensibilities be it the Museum of Natural History or perhaps art history at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien. The city of Mozart remains a place for innovative music. Quartets regularly perform in the various churches and cathedrals around the city while the Musikverein is home to the renowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. When the sun sets, you will find conversations carrying on in the city’s many restaurants and pubs. Art galleries display modern works alongside paintings from old masters. In this timeless city there is almost too much to enjoy.


6. Kotor, Montenegro

Europe Reopens to US and Canadian Travelers

Current Restrictions

Citizens and permanent residents from the United States and Canada are allowed to travel to Montenegro without restriction.

Things to Do

Montenegro is likely not a place that immediately springs to mind when you think trendy European destinations; however, that’s exactly what makes Kotor so special. Tucked into a corner of the gorgeous Bay of Kotor, this historic port city is surrounded by fortifications and towering limestone cliffs. Today, the iconic old town is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dates back to the time of the Venetian Republic. Kotor’s winding streets, bustling town squares, and Romanesque churches are a principle draw. Getting here is best accomplished by overland routes from the Montenegrin capital Podgorica, crossing the border with Croatia via Dubrovnik, or by taking a ferry from a Southern Italian port such as Bari and then traveling from Bar. Once you arrive in Kotor wander the old town. Visit the Maritime Museum with its collection that includes model ships, paintings, and furnishings. Climb the fabled Old Town Road up to Kotor Fortress where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking photos of the town and Kotor Bay. Impressive switchbacks rise clear over the hill so you can easily hike to your heart’s content. Another popular hike ascends the local mountain called Vrmac. The trail leads to an old Austro-Hungarian fortress known as Fort Vrmac. When night falls, enjoy the scenes across the bay as lights in Kotor flicker on. It’s a magical scene.

7. Florence, Italy

Europe Reopens to US and Canadian Travelers

Current Restrictions

Visitors from the United States and Canada, whether they are vaccinated or not, require proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before traveling to Italy. Travelers should obtain a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours of their scheduled departure. Visitors must also submit a European Union Digital Passenger Locator Form (EUdPLF) online prior to departure.

Things to Do

Italy presents a wealth of options for would-be travelers. There are endless cities and towns one could visit. If you’re anxious to see Italy but unsure of where to go, we wholeheartedly recommend Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance. Here you’ll find priceless architecture, masterpieces from da Vinci and Michelangelo, and lots of authentic Tuscan cuisine. Concentrate the first part of your visit on the central city. The Piazza della Signoria is a good starting point from which to go in any direction. This is the heart of Florence and is dominated by the famed 14th-century tower at the Palazzo Vecchio. Make for the Arno River and visit the Uffizi Gallery with its vast collect of Renaissance masterpieces. Afterwards head north and see the stunning Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore with its red-tiled dome and amazing facade. Work your way to the Accademia Gallery, home to many sculptures by Michelangelo, including David. Make a point to climb up one of Florence’s many towers where you can snap some breathtaking photos. Finally, budget a day or two to get outside Florence and see the countryside in Tuscany. It’s a thoroughly romantic experience.

8. Crete, Greece

Europe Reopens to US and Canadian Travelers

Current Restrictions

Visitors from the United States and Canada can enter Greece as long as they can show either: 1) proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 2) proof of a negative PCR test result or antigen test result, or 3) proof they have fully recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection. To be considered fully-vaccinated, travelers must have received all doses of a World Health Organization (WHO)-approved vaccine at least 14 days before they depart for Greece. Vaccination documents must be written in either English, French, German, Italian, Russian, or Spanish and must contain information relevant to prove vaccination status. All travelers are subject to random testing upon arrival. Anyone who tests positive will have to undergo quarantine.

Things to Do

Crete is the largest of Greece's many islands. This is a truly special destinations with stunning natural landscapes, bustling cities, and quaint seaside villages. You can easily spend vacation wandering around without ever getting bored. Chania International Airport or the Port of Souda are the most accessible ways to reach Crete. Explore Chania, the island’s largest city, so you can take in some Cretan culture. Visit the Maritime Museum of Crete or the nearby Byzantine Collection, a lovely museum with many paintings, mosaics, and artifacts. If you’re looking for some time in the sun, book a daytrip to Elafonissi. This famous pink sand beach is split between two peninsulas with an extremely shallow and easily crossable stretch of water between. The surrounding lands are stark and gorgeous, especially when set against the Cretan mountains to the east. Go for walk along the roadway or along one of the several paths cut into the bushlands. The beach itself stretches a bit more than mile so there’s a surprising number of things to explore. Coves, shoals, and outcroppings showcase a lovely array of color, especially as sunset approaches. With its beautiful color, popularity, and scenic beauty, Elafonissi is easily one of the top-10 pink sand beaches anywhere in the world.

As you think about where to go now that international travel is returning, we wholeheartedly endorse a European vacation. If the past year has taught us anything, it's that you shouldn't wait to enjoy life. Don’t let another year pass by before you finally manage to book that European dream vacation. Come see what all the fuss is about when you explore these amazing European vacation destinations in 2021.

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