Can I go walking in Europe? Walking and trekking in summer and autumn 2020

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Walking, trekking and other outdoor activity holidays in Greece, southern Europe and eastern Europe – travel, accommodation and other facilities are open and possible, but with certain restrictions. This page will help you find up-to-date information for walking, trekking and other outdoor activities during summer and autumn 2020.

Updated 7 August 2020

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You must show proof of a completed passenger locator form at the UK border. This applies to UK residents and visitors
entering the UK from all Countries. You should complete the form before you enter the UK.

With coronavirus cases surging in Eastern European countries like Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Croatia, authorities are imposing new restrictions. Read more at Euronews:Https://apple.news/A7pYizxhyRAK_CNZ4VL03-Q

Areas of Spain and France make masks mandatory in public spaces, both indoors and outside.

14 day self-isolation is mandatory on re-entering the UK from Spain, Belgium and Andorra.

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General travel requirements and restrictions

It is no longer necessary to demonstrate that your journey is essential, and no additional form of authorisation is required to enter Schengen countries from the UK, transport options permitting.

Non-UK/EU/EFTA citizens still face entry restrictions, notably from the USA, Sweden and Portugal.

In general, most European countries are currently allowing relatively free movement between borders, although conditions may change, so a 'traffic light' system is to be used from 10 July, with Green open without restrictions, and amber and red setting restrictions of varying degrees. Spain was removed from the travel corridor list on 26 July 2020.

Travel corridors are effective from 10 July, meaning that quarantine is not required when travelling between these countries. For Europe, this includes: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey and Vatican City. Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia and Slovenia have been added to this list. (29 July)

For more information about travel corridors, see this link to the UK gov website.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises British Nationals against all but essential travel to Sweden, Belgium, and any other country worldwide not on the list of exempt countries (see link above). They also currently advise against cruise ship holidays.

Other countries have various restrictions in place, ranging from tests to mandatory quarantine. These include Romania and Montenegro.

Covid-19 and public transport

Masks must be worn at all times when using public transport, both in the UK and in Europe generally.

On buses, long-distance coaches, ferryboats, ships and trains it’s always necessary to wear a mask, keep a safety distance to strangers and only take specified seats. The number of passengers may be limited.

Cicerone has guidebooks for many other areas of Europe, as well as France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland already covered in separate articles related to Covid 19 (see related articles below). Travel for walking and hiking outside of Europe is severely limited during the rest of 2020.

In northern Europe, Sweden's Kungsleden is possible, but with restrictions, and Iceland still currently has a number of restrictions too. In eastern Europe – Slovenia, Romania, Poland and Slovakia (for Tatras), Austria, Bulgaria and Hungary all have more cautious approaches. A useful link is on the UIAA website.

Greece and Covid-19 walking and trekking restrictions

Message from Gillian Cameron-Cooper (author of The Greek Islands: the Cyclades) about Greece and the Greek Islands:

"None of the walks on any of the islands in the Cyclades guidebook involve huts, and independent walking remains the healthiest and safest way to explore the islands. Hotels, tavernas, and shops are open. Villa lets/airbnb are as well, and these are the best bet for accommodation on the Naxos Strada route, for example. Special COVID19 health & safety guidelines have been issued for all holiday accommodation, such as disinfected keys left in sealed plastic bags, chlorine-based cleaning, etc. Bus and taxi services appear to be running but restrictions on number of passengers, and you have to wear a mask."

Gilly adds that autumn and spring are the best time to walk in the Cyclades...'All that’s best about Greece is condensed into four iconic islands, linked by ferry, location and history, but quite different in character. The 35 day walks take you to the heart of each island that other tourist don’t reach: the dramatically diverse landscape of Naxos, peaceful monasteries of Paros, starkly beautiful Amorgos and volcanic Santorini."

* Greece is currently open to visitors from most EU countries, however they will not be accepting visitors from Sweden. Tourists from other regions of the world are not yet allowed.
Passengers arriving into Greece by air, sea or road, are now required to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 48 hours before entering the country and provide information including their point of departure and the address of their stay while in Greece.

Message from Tim Salmon, author of Trekking in Greece (Pindos and Peloponnese)

"The Pindos guesthouses are all functioning normally. They are without exception tiny remote places with very few guests, about as safe as it gets. The same goes for the Peloponnese and the rest of the Greek mountains. There are only a couple of manned huts in the entire country, principally on Mt Olympus. I don’t know whether they are operating any restrictions on numbers of guests. I would avoid Olympus anyway in the summer now; it has become a tourist attraction, the summit sometimes crawling with people who have never seen a mountain before – and potentially dangerous as a result. The only risky bits, from the Covid point of view, could be the bus journeys to your chosen starting point.

If I had to recommend one section of the Pindos Way at present, it would be the last stage, Metsovo to Samarina and Ayia Paraskevi, six or seven days’ worth. The path has been all but completely cleared and signposted in the last two years. You would have to spend at least one night under canvas if you went beyond Samarina. Last year an American friend did it alone and said he did not even need to look at the map. The only thing is the start, Metsovo, is five or six hours by bus from Athens or Thessaloniki or one hour from Ioannina if you flew there from Athens.
This applies to the Peloponnese Way also. They only places you will come into contact with more than a handful of people is on public transport or in cities.

Greece: Anyone arriving into Greece from abroad may be required to take a test for coronavirus (COVID-19), and to undergo a period of self-isolation/quarantine. The specific arrangements that apply depend on your point of departure. See Entry requirements for more information.

How will Covid-19 affect mountain huts and refuges?

Mountain huts will be open during summer 2020, however various restrictions will be in force, to ensure maximum safety. All hikers and trekkers should follow these basic guidelines:

Maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres, and provide details to your mountain leader or refuge for future tracking of possible infection. Wear a mask if it is not possible to keep your distance (for example on public transport) and wash or disinfect hands regularly. Stay at home if you have symptoms.

Reduce risk of accidents by staying on marked trails and taking care when crossing snow, and when staying in a refuge, the additional requirements are;

  • Only visit huts in a healthy condition.
  • Reserve your place to sleep - no overnight stays without a reservation.
  • Bring your own: hut sleeping bag, pillow case, disinfectant hand gel. Soap, towel and protective masks. (Attention: CIA huts have duvets and blankets removed and you have to take your own sleeping bag with you.)
  • Take your rubbish back down to the valley.

Tour of Mont Blanc is open. See here for updates and further information.

Austria and Covid-19 walking and trekking restrictions

General guidance for hikers and outdoor activities (courtesy of the Austrian Alpine Club) There is a booking system, online or by phone for all reservations.

Slovenia and Covid-19 walking and trekking restrictions

is open to visitors, but with the normal restrictions such as wearing face masks, and social distancing. Mountain huts are open to serve food and drinks outside. It is currently unclear if huts are open for overnight accommodation (as at 30 June).

Romania and Covid-19 walking and trekking restrictions:

All travellers arriving from the UK are subject to compulsory self-isolation for 14 days. Self-isolation is rigorously enforced. Some land border checkpoints remain closed, and those that are open may vary.
For mountain walking, the Romanian authorities recommend day walks, and activities well within your ability, to avoid unnecessary exposure to rescuers. Also recommended is social distancing and face masks.

Sweden and Covid-19 walking and trekking restrictions

Up to date tourist information is available here, for staying in mountain huts.

Spain

Andalucia, along with other areas of Spain, are making wearing a mask obligatory in all public areas/streets even where social distancing can be achieved. The latest graphic is above. They are giving out fines of a minimum of €100 but looking to increase this!

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