Your Best Chance of Getting to the Mediterranean This Summer is a Trip to Greece or Turkey

Ever since Greece won its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1830, relations between it and Turkey have been, shall we say, spotty, marked by alternating periods of hostility (including being on opposing sides in four major wars) and reconciliation. While military tensions have arisen again this year (a maritime dispute), in just the last two weeks, the vicissitudes of the pandemic have made Greece and Turkey unexpected bedfellows: They are the two tried-and-true destinations where la-dolce-vita-deprived Americans are most likely to get their Mediterranean fix this summer.

French international borders remain closed to non-essential travelers. (There had been hopes they would open by mid-March.) Italy recently extended its state of emergency until April 30--and its unclear what will happen after. Spain continues to be off limits to visitors from non-EU and non-Schengen countries, as well as from all countries without a reciprocal agreement with Spain for accepting travelers--which the United States does not have.

Don't get me wrong. Travel specialists are still receiving inquires (and bookings) for Italy, France, and Spain. "We are seeing around 23 or 24 new requests per week coming in," says Andrea Grisdale, of the high-end Italian travel agency IC Bellagio. "But the majority of them are for Q3 of this year, with 2022 in second place. We don't expect to see our travelers from the US before this July." Ditto for France: "Right now, people are booking for July onwards, but mostly September," says France travel advisor Philip Haslett, of Kairos. "And everyone is looking very closely at the cancellation conditions of course!"

But July feels far off, doesn't it? And with the coronavirus's chicanery, anything could still happen between now and then....


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