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Photos show Greece’s glittering beaches and crowded cafes as the country awaits summer tourists

Photos show Greece's glittering beaches and crowded cafes as the country awaits summer tourists

A woman enjoys the sun at Plaka beach on the Aegean island of Naxos, Greece, May 14, 2021. Thanassis Stavrakis/AP

  • Greece launched its tourism season on May 14 after reopening to international travelers in April.

  • Beaches, museums, outdoor restaurants and bars, and other attractions have reopened.

  • Travelers, who must show vaccination proof or a negative COVID-19 test, can now also island-hop around Greece.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

After a year closed off to tourists, Greece is welcoming back travelers from a list of 53 countries.

A ferry on the water in Greece and an ancient marble gate.

A ferry approaches the port as Portara, a marble gate which is part of an unfinished temple of Apollo of 530 B.C, stands atop a hill on the Aegean island of Naxos, Greece, on May 11, 2021. Thanassis Stavrakis/AP

Greece has launched its tourism season, relaxing some COVID-19 restrictions after reopening in April to some international tourists, according to the US Embassy in Greece.

As of May 14, Greece is welcoming tourists from the US, UK, EU and Schengen Area countries, Israel, Serbia, UAE, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, Singapore, the Russian Federation, North Macedonia, Canada, Belarus, Bahrein, Qatar, China, Kuwait, Ukraine, and Saudi Arabia.

The country is hoping to be the ultimate “hot vax summer” destination.

An overhead photo of blue water, sand, and umbrellas on a beach in Greece.

Umbrellas in front of the sea at Falaserna (Phalasarna) beach on the western coast of Crete island on May 15, 2021. LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images

“We are opening our tourist industry to the world,” Greece’s Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis announced May 13 at an event in Athens.

Greece joins the ranks of other Mediterranean destinations that have reopened to tourists — including Croatia and Cyprus.

In 2019, some 34 million tourists visited Greece, and the country is hoping to attain the same amount this summer, according to the Associated Press. Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on May 11 announced a plan to ensure all permanent residents are vaccinated by the end of June, reported The New York Times.

Greece’s tourism board also launched a promotional campaign to show off its beaches, historical sites, and culinary scene — and to tell travelers: “All you want is Greece,” Reuters reported.

Travelers must provide proof that they’re fully vaccinated or show a negative COVID-19 test.

Passengers wait for their luggage at baggage claim conveyor belt.

Passengers at Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport in Heraklion, Crete, Greece, on May 14, 2021. Harry Nakos/AP

Travelers are also required to fill out an information form 24 hours before entering Greece.

Tourists can dine at outdoor restaurants and bars while Greece’s vibrant, pre-pandemic nightlife scene is still on hold.

People in a restaurant in Greece with string lights outside

Guests sit in a bar-restaurant in Athens, Greece, on May 12, 2021. Angelos Tzortzinis/picture alliance via Getty Images

The US Embassy in Greece states that as of May 14, Greece’s restaurants are open for outdoor dining only.

Greece’s tourism bureau says that restaurants, cafes, and bars located in hotels can host hotel guests for indoor dining.

“Entertainment/music venues, reception areas, and boîtes” — or small nightclubs — are still closed, according to the country’s tourism department.

A nighttime curfew is also in place that prevents people from staying out between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m.

People at an outdoor bar in Greece.

People in the old town of Chania (La Canee) on the island of Crete on May 14, 2021. LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images

The curfew was put into place on May 14, according to the US Embassy in Greece.

“We’re all vaccinated, the tables are outside and spread out, with hand sanitizers on each one,” a restaurant owner in Naxos, Greece, told the AP.

People sitting in a crowded outdoor bar/restaurant in Greece.

People sitting in a cafe-bar in Chania on the island of Crete, Greece, on May 14, 2021. LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images

“We’re ready,” Kyriaki Kapri, owner of the restaurant Gorgona on the island of Naxos, Greece, told The Associated Press. “Now we wait.”

Travelers are now also allowed to island-hop around Greece.

People running on a beach in Greece.

People run on Falaserna (Phalasarna) beach on the western coast of Crete island in Greece on May 15, 2021. LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images

Travel between regions in Greece is permitted as of May 14, according to the US Embassy in Greece.

Greece and its islands’ beaches seem to be filled with umbrellas and chairs in anticipation of sunbathing tourists.

An overhead shot of a beach and water reaching the sand in Greece.

A woman enjoys the sun at Plaka beach on the Aegean island of Naxos, Greece on May 14, 2021. Thanassis Stavrakis/AP

It’s likely Greece’s many islands will be popular destinations for tourists looking to visit this summer.

Greece is known for its bright-blue waters and stunning coastlines, and in 2020, the island of Paros was named the best island in Europe by Travel + Leisure.

Museums and other historical attractions have also reopened.

Visitors look at a photo of ancient Greece at a museum.

Visitors look at an aerial photograph of Athens inside the Acropolis museum in Athens, Greece, on May 14, 2021. Yorgos Karahalis/AP

While indoor sites are still closed, Greece’s tourism board says that museums and archeological sites in open-air spaces are open with limited capacity.

As tourists from around the world potentially set their sights on Greece, some travelers might consider the country’s more remote destinations.

A person reading a book on a terrace overlooking blue waters in Greece

A person reads a book on a terrace on the Greek island of Milos on May 14, 2021. Socrates Baltagiannis/picture alliance via Getty Images

Greek islands like Kythira or Folegandros, and cities like Kavala, aren’t typically overwhelmed with tourists, yet still serve as gorgeous summer destinations, according to a native of Greece who previously shared with Insider their favorite under-the-radar spots.

Read the original article on Insider

About the author

Christine Watkins

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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