Europe Tightens COVID-19 Restrictions: What Travelers Need To Know

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As COVID-19 cases surge in Europe, the continent is increasing restrictions.

In the previous 24 hours, Germany has recorded 23,607 new cases, Hungary has recorded 21,060 cases, France has recorded 12,508 cases, and Austria has recorded 11,227 cases. 

Amid the rise in cases, various nations are imposing tighter COVID-19 restrictions, which is impacting travelers visiting Europe. 

The New Restrictions 

The Netherlands 

The Netherlands has imposed a partial lockdown nationwide. The country is closing all bars and nightclubs from 8 pm after the Netherlands witnessed record COVID-19 cases in a single day. 

The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, “Tonight we are bringing a very unpleasant message with very unpleasant and far-reaching measures. The virus is everywhere and needs to be combated everywhere.”

Spectators weren’t allowed to attend the Dutch football team’s World Cup qualifier against Norway last night. Moreover, the Netherlands has closed supermarkets and non-essential retailers earlier and reintroduced social distancing measures. 

The Netherlands also extended the vaccine passport requirement for certain places, and citizens have to wear face masks in indoor places, such as stores and libraries. 

Amsterdam, Netherlands. Amsterdam is famous for its vibrant and diverse nightlife. Amsterdam has many cafẻs (bars). They range from large and modern to small and cozy. Under the drug policy of the Netherlands, the sale of cannabis products in small quantities is allowed by licensed coffeeshops. The majority of these also serve drinks and food.


Austria announced a lockdown on unvaccinated people over the weekend. The news has sparked controversy worldwide. As a result, over two million Austrians are now back in lockdown. Unvaccinated people are only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, such as exercise. 

Around 65 percent of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated, which is one of the lowest vaccination rates in Europe. 

The head of the Austrian Medical Chamber said, “We know that vaccination is the only way to increase the number of infections. 

“We know this from other countries. We hope that lockdown for unvaccinated people will be enough to decrease the number of infections. But experts are not sure about that. Maybe we will need additional measures to reach the goal to decrease numbers. 

View of Vienna


Germany has tightened COVID-19 restrictions in several states, including Berlin. The government announced only fully vaccinated people and those who’ve recovered from COVID-19 can enter restaurants, museums, cinemas, and concert venues. 

On Thursday, the country’s parliament will have a vote on a new legal framework for COVID-19 restrictions. 

Couple taking selfies in front of famous Brandenburg Gate

Tightened Entry Restrictions 

Various EU member states have started introducing more entry restrictions.

For example, France started asking travelers from 16 EU countries to present a negative COVID-19 test taken 24 hours before reaching the nation. Previously, France only required travelers to present a 72-hour negative COVID-19 test upon entry. 

The nations include the following:

  • Belgium 
  • Bulgaria 
  • Croatia
  • The Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • The Netherlands
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

Germany added more nations to its high-risk list last Friday. These nations include Austria, Czechia, Hungary, and Laos. Spain has added various regions of France to its high-risk list, including Basilicata, Lombardy, and Piedmont. 

Norway, a nation that dropped all COVID-19 restrictions in September, has narrowed down its safe list of countries to only Spain. In addition, Greece has extended its current travel restrictions for another two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise in Europe. 

Royal Palace of Madrid

It’s likely EU member states will continue to impose restrictions over the winter as cases increase. What’s more, unvaccinated travelers should note that they don’t have access to bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and museums in various EU nations currently.

Furthermore, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has advised against traveling to the majority of the EU member states due to rising cases. The CDC has also added various European nations to its level 4 do not travel list.

Sadly—as frustrating as it may be—travel isn’t back to normal in Europe this winter despite high hopes from travelers.

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories

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