The contribution of travel and tourism to Greece’s GDP is pretty big. It only makes sense, then, that the sunny mediterranean country does not want to see that part of its GDP shrink and put more pressure on its economy.
To avoid this, Greece had to take certain actions to ensure and promote safety regarding the coronavirus pandemic. One of these actions takes the form of an operation called Blue Freedom. Its purpose is “to vaccinate all the residents of the Greek islands by the end of June “at the latest”, according to the prime minister of Greece.
The operation calls for all adult permanent residents to be vaccinated on a list of islands:
Kastellorizo, Meganisi, Kastos, Thimena, Psara, Kalamos, Fourni and Inousses, Erikoussa, Agathonisi, Nisyros, Gavdos, Halki, Mathraki, Lipsi, Othoni, Tilos, Arki Donoussa, Elafonisos, Saria, Kimolos, Ano Koufonisi, Iraklia, Psara, Thimena, Telendos, Folegandros, Thirasia, Trizonia, Anafi, Sikinos, Pserimos, Ammouliani, Aghios Efstratios, Paleo Trikeri, Schinoussa, Giali, Antikythera, Peristera, Antipaxi, Marathi, Dokos, Kalolimnos and Farmakonisi.
So let us take a look at a few of them:
Kastellorizo is the vaccine race champion. Located in the Aegean sea, it is the first Greek island that managed to be fully vaccinated — back in January.
Also known as “Megisti”, Kastellorizo is a hidden gem on the borders of Greece. It is considered one of the best options for a quiet vacation.
If you want to visit the island, keep in mind that tourist traffic is low so the number of accommodations is limited as well. Due to this slow development of tourism, Kastellorizo remains unchanged from any modern trends; it maintains its traditional style and offers the visitor an unforgettable vacation.
You can reach Kastellorizo by boat from Piraeus, or by air.
Holidays in Donoussa are a fantastic experience suitable for those looking for relaxing moments by the sea. It is a small island in the east of the Cyclades, known for its beautiful natural landscapes and majestic beaches.
Gastronomy enthusiasts should also know that on the island they will find many traditional taverns and restaurants and a lot of chances to taste the local cuisine.
For hikers and for those who love walking, the small size of Donoussa allows them to turn it on foot easily. To give you an idea of its size, the longest route does not last over 1.5 hours. By going on foot you will have the opportunity to discover every hidden corner of the island.
Donousa is a real charm. The colors of the sky and the view of the Aegean and the neighboring islands of the Cyclades as the sun sets will be unforgettable!
Year by year, Elafonisos is getting more and more popular and it has risen to the preferences of tourists. While the previous islands are located deep in the Aegean Sea, Elafonisos lies off the coast of Cape Malea and Vatika, in the southeastern tip of the Peloponnese (the peninsula Spartans come from).
The trademark of the island is the exotic beach of Simos. Simos beach is pretty famous and it’s divided into two beaches, Mikros Simos and Megalos Simos (Small Simos and Big Simos).
Due to the pretty small size of the island, you should ideally visit Elafonisos in the beginning of summer or after August, as from the middle of July until the 15th of August, the island is so packed with tourists that it takes much of its charm -and your serenity- away.
What About The Non-Covid-Free Islands?
Just because there are covid-free islands does not mean that other islands or even the mainland are not safe. Greece applies strict health protocols especially for the professionals that work in the tourism sector. And for those employees that have not vaccinated yet, they are obliged to undergo tests twice per week (self-test or rapid test).
So, if you wanted to visit a non-covid free island all along, there is really no reason to worry. You will still be able to visit and enjoy Santorini’s idyllic sunsets, Mykonos windmills or Creta’s Palace of Knossos even if they are not covid-free.
What is more, if safety and privacy are pretty high on your list, you should consider getting in touch with a villa rental company. As villas are a home away from home, it means that, first and foremost, you are staying with the people you have chosen. And if your fellow travelers are vaccinated, then you know that 100% you spend your holidays with vaccinated people.
Last but not least, luxury villas also have very strict cleanliness measures which will ensure your safety.