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TRAVEL NEWS

Five spring destinations from Germany – and the Covid rules in place

With the long Easter weekend in sight, it's the perfect time for a short trip away for some fresh mountain air or glorious sunshine. Here are five of the most popular travel destinations from Germany this year - and the Covid rules you need to know before heading there.

The skyline of Bologna, Italy.
The skyline of Bologna, Italy. Photo: picture alliance / Barbara Vecchio/Comune di Bologna/dpa | Barbara Vecchio

As Germany emerges from a long, cold winter, many people are feeling a distinct sense of Wanderlust – a desire to get back out there an explore the world. And the country’s location in the heart of Europe makes it the perfect starting point to take a quick break almost anywhere on the continent. 

According to data compiled by Statista, people in Germany are just itching to get their travelling shoes on as the world reopens, and many of them have a destination in mind.

From the Norwegian fjords to the stunning sights of northern Italy, here are some of the top destinations Germans want to travel to this year – and the Covid rules you’ll need to know about if you fancy following suit. 

Spain

No list of Germany’s favourite travel destinations would be complete without a mention of Spain – the ultimate holiday destination for sun-seeking Germans. And with around seven percent of Germans saying they plan to visit the country in 2022, it seems no amount of Covid rules are going to the end this love affair with the southern European country. 

To get into Spain, passengers arriving by air or sea will need to complete a Health Control Form before departure and obtain their QR code to present at boarding and health controls on arrival.

In addition to the form, passengers need to present a certificate proving vaccination against Covid, a negative test, or a recovery certificate. Children under 12 years of age are exempt from giving these certificates.

In some regions of Spain, the ‘EU Digital Covid Certificate’ is required to access certain public spaces – Spain’s Autonomous Communities can implement specific territorial regulations.

Face masks are mandatory in indoor public spaces but also required outdoors if a 1.5m distance is not possible at large events. However, it’s possible the mask-wearing rules could be relaxed slightly after April 20th this year. 

Spanish regions have virtually lifted all other previous Covid restrictions such as capacity limits, curfews, limited opening hours, the Covid health pass and bar, restaurant, and nightclub closures.

READ ALSO: TRAVEL: Will Spain change its Covid restrictions ahead of Easter?

Italy

Following hot on the heels of Spain, Italy is set to be the second most popular holiday destination for Germans this year. And with balmy sunshine, breathtaking culture and sandy beaches, we don’t blame them. 

Currently, travel to Italy for any reason, including tourism, is allowed from all countries as restrictions were eased as of March 1st.

All arrivals need to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test result, which must be established before boarding flights or ferries, and possibly during border checks if travelling by road or rail.

Travellers also need to fill out a passenger locator form, or ‘dPLF’. Find out how to do that here.

Once inside the country, there are a few rules to be aware of. There is currently a mask mandate in all indoor as well as some outdoor public places. Additionally, many businesses will ask for a “green pass” with proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 or a negative test.

A “super green pass” is required to access venues, including restaurants, hotels, and public transport. It is equivalent to the 2G rule in Austria, meaning only vaccinated or recovered people can enter.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What Covid-19 rules are now in place in Italy?

Scandinavia 

If mountains and fjords are more your thing, you may want to join the five percent of Germans who have already set their sights on a trip to Scandinavia this year. 

Denmark, Sweden and Norway have all dropped their Covid-related restrictions the past months, so you won’t have to worry about presenting proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test or filling in passenger locator forms when travelling there.

You can also expect public life in all three countries to be back to normal, with no masks, social distancing, Covid certificates required. 

READ ALSO:

Cruise ship in Norway

A cruise ship passes along a Norwegian fjord. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/AIDA Cruises | AIDA Cruises

Greece 

With its breathtaking, sun-soaked islands and remnants of ancient civilisation, Greece is another incredibly popular destination for Germans in 2022. 

People arriving in the country from within the EU will no longer have to fill in a passenger locator form, but they will have to present their EU Digital Covid Certificate with valid proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test. This can be done using the CovPass or CoronaWarn app.

Unlike many countries in Europe, Covid measures in Greece remain relatively tight. You’ll need to wear either an FFP2 mask on public transport and in other indoor spaces, and will also have to present proof of vaccination and your passport to enter many public indoor venues like museums, bars and restaurants. 

There are also limits on how many people can travel together in a taxi. In a seven-seater taxi, up to three people may travel together, while in a nine-seater, this goes up to nine. If you are all members of the same family, however, these restrictions don’t apply. 

Turkey 

With the strong links between Turkey and Germany, it’s little surprise that the Eurasian nation is the fifth most popular destination for Germans this year.

To see the likes of bustling Istanbul and Ismir, you’ll need to follow a basic ‘3G’ rule – meaning proof of vaccination, recovery (within the past six months) or a negative test are required. Antigen tests must be taken no more than 48 hours before travel, while PCR tests must be taken no more than 72 hours before travel.

You’ll also need to fill out and submit a Digital Entry Form before travel. 

A view of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

A view of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/XinHua | Osman Orsal

Once you’re in the country, you’ll find that things have returned to relative normality. In restaurants, shops bars, for instance, masks are no longer required if there is adequate ventilation and social distancing.

Museums have also reopened, though masks may be required.

You will also need to carry proof of vaccination or a negative test taken within the past 48 hours when using public transport, and you will also be expected to wear a mask. 

Coming back to Germany

Currently, there are no countries on the Robert Koch Institute’s risk list, meaning passengers returning to Germany no longer have to fill in the digital entry form or worry about going into quarantine. 

Instead, Germany has a simple 3G rule for entry, meaning travellers should present proof of vaccination, recovery, or negative test to enter the country on their return.

Here’s all you need to know about Germany’s current entry and Covid rules.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

With the EU changing its Covid recommendations for flights, there is some confusion around whether people boarding a plane in Germany will still need to wear a mask. Here's what we know so far.

Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

As of Monday, the aviation safety agency EASA and the EU health authority ECDC no longer recommend mandatory Covid masks in airports and on planes.

However, if masks are compulsory at the point of departure or destination, this should continue to apply in aircraft as well, they say.

So, what does this mean for passengers boarding flights in Germany? At the moment, not very much at all. 

In Germany, the Infection Protection Act still stipulates that masks have to be worn on long-distance trains and planes. Masks are also compulsory on local public transport.

The previous weeks have seen Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) come out in favour of scrapping compulsory masks – especially on flights.

But so far, nothing concrete has been done to change the Infection Protection Act, which is due to expire on September 23rd. 

READ ALSO: German politicians row over lifting mandatory Covid mask rule

What are the current rules on flights? 

According to the Federal Ministry of Health, masks are compulsory on all flights taking off or landing in Germany.

FFP2 or medical masks must be worn when boarding and disembarking and throughout the flight, though they can be removed when eating and drinking.

Children under the age of six are exempt from the mask-wearing requirement. 

The ministry has argued that the obligation to wear masks also complies with the new EU recommendations. 

What are the rules acros the EU? 

In general, the relaxed EU recommendation does not mean that masks are no longer compulsory on all flights. However, many countries have kept this measure in place as a simple way to reduce infection. 

Europe’s largest low-cost airline, Ryanair, published a list of 14 EU countries in which national laws continue to require the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of Covid.

Besides Germany, popular tourist destinations such as Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy and France are included on the list. 

In other EU countries, the airline said it would be dropping mandatory masks on flights, adding that it “welcomed” the relaxed recommendations from the EU health authorities.  

READ ALSO: Will Germany soon get rid of mandatory face masks on public transport?

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