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What are the rules for travelling to some of Germany’s favourite holiday destinations? 

Fancy shaking off a year of lockdowns with a summer holiday? Here are the rules in some of Germany’s favourite holiday destinations so you can prepare before travel.

What are the rules for travelling to some of Germany’s favourite holiday destinations? 
Tourists enjoy a meal at "Zur Krone" bar in Palma, Mallorca. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Clara Margais

What are the rules for entering or coming back into Germany?

Germany still has some strict coronavirus measures for those entering the country, but as the nation is considered safe by the majority of its citizens’ favourite holiday destinations, international travel is possible to a number of different regions this summer.

However, if you do go abroad, it’s worth knowing what you might have to expect on your return, so you can make an informed decision about which destination to choose. 

Germany currently has a three-tiered system in place for categorising Covid risk areas, with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) designating countries and regions either a basic ‘risk’ zone, a ‘high incidence’ area or a ‘virus variant area of concern.’ 

Although travel restrictions have been eased in recent days – and the Foreign Office’s blanket travel warning was been dropped on Thursday – health authorities have advised caution due to the growing prevalence of the Delta variant, which is thought to account for around half new infections and Germany at present. 

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How Germany’s latest rules on international travel affect you

Countries currently considered ‘virus variant’ areas include the UK, India, South Africa and, since Monday, Portugal and Russia. This is due to the dominance and rapid spread of the Delta variant in these regions. 

According to Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU),  the highly infectious variant, which was first discovered in India, could also become the most prevalent strain in Germany by the end of July. 

Anyone arriving in Germany by plane – regardless of the risk level of the area they are coming from – must present a negative Covid test, a vaccination certificate or proof of recovery from Covid before their flight. 

Those arriving from any country on the tiered list of risk areas must also fill out a digital entry application on the einreiseanmeldung.de portal.

Travellers from risk areas must stay isolated in their homes for 10 days upon return (though this can be ended prematurely if they can present proof of recovery, a vaccination certificate or a negative test result), while travellers from areas of virus variants of concern must spend a non-negotiable fourteen days in quarantine – though this could be set to change as the proportion of Delta infections rise in Germany as well. 

READ ALSO: Germany could ease travel rules for UK and Portugal soon, says Health Minister

None of this means travel abroad isn’t possible this summer – far from it.

In addition to Germany dropping its travel warnings for most foreign countries on July 1st, a number of tourists hotspots are actively seeking out German visitors through targeted advertising and loosening of travel restrictions for Germans abroad. 

These just happen to include some of the Germans’ favourite holiday destinations across Europe, from the Spanish islands to the Austrian Alps. 

Spain

Spain does not consider Germany a risk country, and is even encouraging German tourism, so you can enter freely. 

However, with Spain’s infection rate having skyrocketed in recent weeks – and now coming in over the threshold for a ‘high incidence’ area, it’s highly likely that the risk status of the country may be set to change, meaning residents of Germany could need to register and even quarantine on their way back to the country.

READ ALSO: Is Germany set to declare the whole of Spain a Covid ‘risk area’?

On the Spanish side, for now at least, everything’s a bit simpler.

Passengers who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 are free to enter Spain from almost any destination. Others may have to provide a negative PCR test if they are traveling from a risk area.

Travellers from Germany do not have to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test, but they do have to fill in the European Union’s Digital Covid Certificate

Passengers arriving in Spain will undergo a health examination which may include having their temperature taken, having their documents checked and a visual assessment of their health. 

The autonomous regions and communities of Andalusia, Ceuta, Catalonia, Cantabria, Navarre, The Basque Country and La Rioja are considered basic risk areas by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). However, the most popular destination for Germans abroad – the island of Mallorca – is currently considered a ‘non-risk’ zone. 

Once in Spain, foreign visitors must wear a mask in all public spaces and on public transport. 

Nightlife has just begun to reopen in most of Spain’s 17 regions, with a general curfew of 3am for bars and nightclubs. 

The Spanish government has also spent eight million Euros on a publicity campaign made to advertise the country as a tourist destination to the German population this year. It is expected that Germany will become the largest source of tourists to Spain this summer.

Italy

Italy is currently not considered a risk area by the Robert Koch Institute. 

Germans can travel to Italy for non-essential reasons under Italian law, such as to visit family or for tourism. However, you will need to show proof of either vaccination or recovery, or a negative antigen test from no more than 48 hours ago will be required. 

Anyone wanting to travel to Italy via any means of transportation must fill out this digital form prior to entering the country. 

There’s good news once you’re there, however, as the last of Italy’s regions has just moved into the country’s ‘white zone’ of coronavirus rules, which is the lowest risk tier.


The historic southern Italian town of Matera. Italy is currently considered a non-risk zone by the Robert Koch Institute. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/AP | Antonio Calanni

In the ‘white’ zone social distancing rules remain in place, meaning that parties and large gatherings are banned, but theme parks, swimming pools and conferences are being allowed to run, and discos and nightclubs are set to reopen in early July. 

Turkey

Turkey is currently classed as a basic risk area by the RKI, but citizens of Germany can enter Turkey almost restriction-free.

Entrants need to prove that they have been vaccinated, recovered from the virus, or have tested negative with either an antigen or PCR test. 

Travellers also need to fill in a form for entry to Turkey. It will be checked at the border and a failure to fill it out may lead to legal and administrative sanctions. 

Restaurants and cafes are also open with a midnight curfew. 

The wearing of masks is mandatory at all times outside the home throughout Turkey, including in parks, gardens, picnic areas, markets, public transport, shops and restaurants. 

However, swimming pools, gyms, football pitches, beauty salons, Turkish baths, cinemas and amusement parks are all open from Monday to Saturday. 

Austria

Austria has three categories of countries subject to different travel restrictions. 

Those in Appendix A, including Germany, are allowed to enter without restriction, but need to comply with the country’s ‘3G’ rule

This rule states that entrants must be able to prove either that they have completed their vaccination cycle, have recently recovered from the virus, or have tested negative for Covid. 

From July 1st in Austria, masks will not be required anywhere other than on public transport and at shops or museums. Restaurants, retail and key cultural sites are open, with a midnight closing time for restaurants.

On the German side, Austria is no longer considered a ‘risk’ zone, meaning you won’t have to register to get into Germany upon your return – though you will still need a negative test or proof of vaccination or recovery.

Greece

Entry to Greece is allowed from all EU and Schengen Area countries without a self-isolation or quarantine period. 

However, you will need to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative PCR certificate from a test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival. 

Travellers arriving in Greece may also undergo a random, mandatory health screening. If selected, you must undergo the test, or you may be refused entry into the country. 

Travellers must also fill in the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) no later than 23.59 of the day before arriving in Greece. 

It is currently mandatory to wear a mask in all indoor public places throughout Greece.

Once in the country, you’ll be able to travel freely to Greek islands and around the mainland. Archaeological sites, museums, beaches, restaurants, cafes and other entertainment venues are all open, although there is a nighttime curfew between 1am to 5.30am. 

As with Austria and Italy, the Robert Koch Institute has scrubbed Greece from the ‘risk’ list, so you won’t have to register to re-enter Germany. 

France

France is currently classed as a basic ‘risk’ zone by the Robert Koch Institute.

Shops, restaurants and museums are open with capacity restrictions. Contact tracing is still active if you sit indoors and face masks are still required in a variety of places, including outdoors. 


Museums in Paris have now reopened. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/AFP | Christophe Archambault

Germany, meanwhile, is still on France’s ‘green’ list. Travellers from France’s green zones can travel for any reason, including non-essential purposes such as tourism. 

In order to enter, you should show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test from the last 72 hours. You will also have to fill in a form promising that you do not have Covid symptoms and have not had contact with anyone who has tested positive for Covid in the past 14 days. 

The form is available here in French and English. 

Croatia

Croatia is currently classed as a basic ‘risk’ zone. 

It is open to all foreign visitors provided they can provide a negative PCR or rapid antigen test, a vaccine certificate or a certificate with proof of recovery. 

However, you can travel to Croatia from a green zone within the EU without any of the above requirements. Germany is currently a green zone, meaning that travellers can get in relatively hassle-free.

All international visitors to Croatia must complete the Croatia Travel Announcement Form

Restrictions have been loosened in Croatia recently, meaning that restaurants, catering facilities, pubs and cafes are free to serve customers indoors and up until 11pm. Public gatherings are also allowed until 11pm. 

Poland

Travelers from the Schengen Area must have proof of a negative antigen or PCR test, or they will be forced to quarantine upon crossing the border into Poland. This covers all modes of transport. 

In Poland, masks are required indoors everywhere, but not in outdoor public spaces. 

Museums, art galleries, nightclubs, cinemas, libraries and outdoor theme parks are open, and concerts are taking place. 

UK

The UK is currently classed as a ‘virus variant area of concern’ by Germany due to its high incidence of the Delta variant – there are over 75,000 known cases currently in the country.

Germany is on the UK’s amber list of countries and territories, meaning that to enter you must take a Covid-19 test, book and pay for day 2 and day 8 Covid-19 travel tests after arrival, complete a passenger locator form, and quarantine for 10 days in your place of residence. This applies even if you have already been vaccinated.

Upon re-entry into Germany from virus variant areas, a 14 day quarantine period is mandatory with no option to end it early. 

In the UK, masks are required indoors apart from when seated, but bars, pubs, restaurants, museums, galleries and nightclubs are open, and a track and trace system is in place. 

READ MORE:

Stay informed ahead of your travels

While the above risk categories were current at the time of writing (July 1st), as we all know, the Covid-19 situation across the globe is changing all the time. 

For that reason, it’s always advisable to take a look at the latest risk categories on the Robert Koch Institute website before travelling, and also update yourself on the latest information about your holiday destination and any rules you may need to follow while there. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

€9 for 90: Everything you need to know about Germany’s cheap travel deal

Germany's €9 monthly transport ticket is coming. Here's everything you should know about the deal that will allow you to to travel the country for next to nothing this summer.

€9 for 90: Everything you need to know about Germany's cheap travel deal

What’s all this about cheap transport?

Germany is about to launch a mega cheap transport ticket – and a lot of people are getting very excited about it.

The “€9 for 90” ticket is a monthly travel card that people can buy for just €9 per month over a three-month period. It’s a fraction of the price of a normal monthly travel card and – even more incredibly – can be used anywhere in the country on local and regional transport. 

The deal was initially announced back in April as part of an energy relief package put together by the government. And despite some anger from state leaders over funding for the scheme, the ticket cleared its final hurdle in the Bundesrat on Friday.

READ ALSO: German states threaten to block the €9 ticket in the Bundesrat

So far, the €9 ticket has received a lot of publicity and attention. That’s probably because it’s one of the more fun measures to combat the energy crisis – one that doesn’t involve complicated claims and write-offs in your tax return.

Instead, the government is hoping that the new ticket will cut monthly transport costs for households and encourage people to use more eco-friendly transport options. With fuel prices spiralling, it’s a great time to leave the car at home and travel around for next to nothing, while doing your bit for the environment. 

Sounds great. Can everyone buy it?

Yes! It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tourist on a weekend trip from Austria, a part-time Germany resident or Chancellor Olaf Scholz himself: everyone will be able to purchase the €9 ticket. (We imagine Olaf may already have his own transport, though.) 

It will, however, have your name on it, so it can’t be pooled between friends (as tempting as an even cheaper travel deal would be). 

READ ALSO: What tourists in Germany need to know about the €9 public transport ticket

Busy train in Stuttgart

People board a busy train in Stuttgart. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

When will it be available?

It’s currently available in a handful of cities, including Hamburg, Stuttgart and Freiburg – but everyone else will be able to purchase it from May 23rd onwards. 

The deal itself will be a summer travel offer. That means the first monthly ticket will be valid from June 1st and the last monthly ticket will expire on August 31st. Each of the tickets will be valid for the full calendar month so you won’t be able to mix and match with existing tickets.

For example, if you’ve already bought a ticket that’s expiring in mid-June, you wouldn’t then be able to buy a €9 ticket running from the middle of June to the middle of August.

Instead, you would require two €9 tickets  for June and July – though you can get a refund for the part of the prior ticket you didn’t end up using.

Where can I get hold of it?

The ticket will be available via Deutsche Bahn’s DB Navigator app, on the DB website, at in-station terminals and at ticket desks and offices.

Regional transport operators are likely to have their own ticket purchasing options as well – most likely online, but in some cases also at ticket machines and in-station offices. 

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin

A regional train near Hornberg, in the Black Forest.

A regional train near Hornberg, in the Black Forest. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Philipp von Ditfurth

What types of public transport can I use it on?

The ticket is valid throughout Germany, but only on regional and local transport.

That means you can use it on all local trains like the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, as well as on trams and buses. You can also travel on the Regionalverkehr (regional trains) across Germany. 

You can’t use the ticket for private services like Flixbus and Flixtrain or on other long-distance rail services like IC, EC and ICE trains. If you’re travelling around your state and aren’t sure if the ticket will be valid, check if the train you’re taking has an ‘RE’ in the name. That’s the shorthand for regional trains.

It probably goes without saying, but taxi services won’t be included in the price. And, yes, you will still need to pay for those e-scooters as well. 

Can I use it to travel first class?

If you’re hoping for a month of budget transport but also want to be treated like royalty whilst on board, we may have to disappoint you. The €9 ticket can only be used in second-class carriages.

This is largely because there’s likely to be huge demand for the budget offer – so there could be scuffles for first-class seats with that extra bit of legroom. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

I’ve already got an Abo. What can I do?

This has been a big concern for the folk who have already opted to pay full price for their public transport. (What fools they were…) 

Luckily, this group of keen transport users won’t miss out either. According to the DB website, people who’ve already shelled out on a monthly or annual ticket will be contacted by their local transport provider and informed about how they can get a refund.

If you’ve got a standing order set up, the transport operator will likely just debit the €9 from your account instead of the usual amount. Otherwise, you may get sent a refund via direct debit. 

Your subscription ticket will be valid for local public transport throughout Germany during the three month offer period – not just in your area.

Will students also benefit from the ticket?

Absolutely – though this is one area where things may be a little less well-organised. If you’re a student with a semester ticket, you will be entitled to a refund of the extra amount you paid, which will likely be handled by your university. 

One thing that seems a little unclear is whether the semester ticket will suddenly be valid outside of your local region, just like the €9 ticket is. We assume it will, but we’ll try to clarify this with DB and other service providers in the coming weeks. 

Can I take my bike on board?

Unfortunately, bikes aren’t included in the offer – and this seems like a deliberate choice. 

DB is recommending that people leave their bikes at home during the three months that the €9 ticket is on offer. This is because trains are likely to be extremely busy and they can’t guarantee that they’ll have room for everyone, let alone a hundred or so bikes. Instead, you can usually hire a bike at your destination.

However, if you’ve already got a subscription that allows you to take your bike with you (i.e. a student semester ticket or another type of Abo), you’ll still be able to do so. 

What about my dog? 

You will unfortunately not be able to purchase a €9 ticket in the name of Rover T. Dog (well, you could try, but it probably won’t work). However, the usual rules will apply to travelling with a furry friend. 

In some places, you may need to buy an extra dog ticket for Rover, while in others, he’ll be able to accompany you free-of-charge. 

READ ALSO: Who benefits from Germany’s €9 public transport ticket offer?

A woman carries her dog through a Berlin train station

A woman carries her onesie-clad dog in a Berlin train station. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Annette Riedl

Do children need to pay for a ticket? 

Children under six can travel for free on public transport, while children over the age of six will need their own €9 ticket. 

What about seat reservations? 

Transport operators are trying to keep things as flexible as possible to cope with demand over summer, so you unfortunately won’t be able to use the ticket to reserve a seat in advance.

Won’t public transport be rammed? 

At the moment, nobody really knows. According to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), there could be as many as 30 million public transport users per month over summer – but this is only a rough estimate.

READ ALSO: How many people will use the €9 ticket?

One way around this is to try and travel on weekdays and off-peak services where possible and (as mentioned) to hire bikes rather than bringing them in the train.

It could also be helpful to familiarise yourself with different transport connections and routes in your area. 

The other thing that could help ease the crush on public transport is the fact that the government is also planning to cut taxes on fuel in tandem with the €9 ticket. That means that, for three months over summer, drivers will be able to get cheaper petrol and diesel – so some may indeed decide to take the car after all.

The ticket ends at the end of August. What happens next? 

Once again, it’s hard to say. Critics of the €9 ticket say that the scheme will leave gaping holes in transport budgets and could ultimately lead to ticket prices going up in autumn.

On the other hand, proponents of the offer believe that it could have the effect of luring people back to public transport after the Covid crisis. That would mean that more people would be buying subscriptions after summer and using local buses and trains, which can only be a good thing for transport budgets in the long-run. 

READ ALSO: ‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 transport ticket

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