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Christmas markets/Covid restrictions,back to America.

Which country is making it easier for December travel?? We want to attend Christmas markets! We’ve heard Germany is very lenient but I’ve been there three times,once at Christmas.
My concern is the cost of a Covid test in Europe, is that still necessary to get back into the USA? Are the tests adequately available?

Posted by
7444 posts

A negative antigen or PCR test taken within the three days prior to your departure back to the United States is required.

In France, antigen tests are available all over the place and cost €29, with results in 15 minutes.

Rules are different about whether you can visit France depending on whether a visitor is vaccinated or unvaccinated. Basically, vaccinated people can come for tourism, while unvaccinated people can’t.

Posted by
9999 posts

Vaccinated travelers are welcome most anywhere: Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany, the UK, and more. If you are not vaccinated, prepare to quarantine.

As for the test to return to the US, we can only hope it goes away but I would not count on it. I brought BINAX Now test kits along on our trip and will use them to test 3 days before our scheduled flight.

Posted by
5483 posts

Many but not all Christmas markets have been cancelled for December 2021. When is your trip?

Europe is open for vaccinated travellers as of today. No one can predict what the situation will be in December.

Covid tests are widely available everywhere.

Posted by
581 posts

We too used the BINAX Now tests from eMed that we brought with us. We were in Iceland in August and this worked perfectly. These tests are the proctored ones, so are acceptable for returning to the US.

Posted by
677 posts

After returning from Switzerland a week ago I would advise the self-tests be taken with you to Europe and use those results to return home. We did find a clinic in Zurich that gave us tests but even after registering with an account to set up the appt for the tests they could not find us in their system and we had to return to their storefront the next day for our results. I think if you have the self-tests you know you have a certain test to show the airlines when you return home and you are not dependent on anyone else. We had heard that the testing clinics are everywhere in Europe and they are but they still prefer an appt to a walk-up test…….which can be tricky overseas.

Posted by
8064 posts

Jennifer - Where have you heard that many Christmas markets have been canceled? Right now, I only know of 3 small ones in the Rhein-Main region. I think most of them are taking place.

Posted by
2977 posts

People who use Binax Now are robbing themselves of the opportunity to have a truly local experience.

I paid 15 euro cash for a COVID-19 rapid antigen test in Berlin in September... at a dodgy storefront operation with no lights turned on... a few doors down from my B&B. The day before, a different guy working there told me the price was 16 euro cash. Apparently he was building in a 1 euro tip for himself. Per my B&B owner, there has been a fair amount of fraud with shady storefront COVID-19 test sites. I'm so glad I got to be a part of that rich social milieu!

Yes, some of this comment is a little tongue in cheek. Hint: it’s not the dodgy storefront operation part.

Posted by
1117 posts

We’ve heard Germany is very lenient

Really, no one can tell you for sure what will be in December. They are making plans how Christmas markets can take place, but who knows what the situation will be in December. They may decide differently from town to town, within the scope of the general rules.

Some things that are currently being discussed are that the markets might be fenced in and accessible only per 3G (vaccinated, recovered, or tested). It is not clear if alcohol will be allowed or if other restrictions may apply.

Posted by
13417 posts

Right now, today, there are no restrictions in Hungary (insides are open, no mask laws except in medical facilities - not even in the airport) and Budapest has among the best markets in Europe (no junk, only locally made products and crafts in beautiful settings).

Will they be open? I have heard yes and no, but have people checking for me.

You can fly in with a PCR test or you can drive or train in from the Vienna airport without one.

The cost of the antigen test to return to the US is about $30 at FirstMed in Budapest.

They will take an appointment and give you the results in about 15 minutes.

I leave in 30 days

Posted by
198 posts

Planning to go for 8 days to the Christmas Markets in Germany over the Thanksgiving holiday and following week and so far it looks like all those I have on the list (12 cities/markets total, some big (Cologne), some small (Ludwigsburg) ... plus the chocolate festival in Tübingen) are going to be open ... 1) It's been 3+ weeks since the last response so wondering if anyone has an update on which, if any, will be closed ... 2) CDC says you need a Covid viral test to enter the US ... I'm guessing those rapid antigen tests that cost about 25-30 euro are acceptable, but can't seem to find a definitive answer if they are a viral test ... if anyone has recently done this rapid antigen test before returning to the US, can you please let me know if it was acceptable or not ... really not looking forward to a sharp stick in the nose (better than a sharp stick in the eye) but for some authentic brats and gluhwein, I'll make the sacrifice ... thanks in advance.

Posted by
581 posts

DQ--We used the Binax Now proctored tests to return to the US when we were in Iceland. You buy the kits before you leave home and they are self administered, but with a laptop or phone you do basically a zoom Telehealth where you are proctored. We did those in the hotel room one morning and that was nice tone able to do it at our convenience vs having to find somewhere to go etc. You can buy them from the eMed website. Be sure they are the proctored ones though!

Posted by
214 posts

Not sure who told you "Germany is very lenient" - um...??? Their 3G rules are in effect in much of the country and their covid case numbers are going back up (probably due to a patchwork of different regulations based on State). So there are talks of more restrictions or universal restrictions coming into effect before things get out of control again. You must show proof of vaccination to fly into Germany. You must show proof when there to go inside to eat, and yes they checked at 98% of the places I visited for 3 weeks in a row just a recently as late October of this year. We saw some people turned away for having the wrong papers or lacking both vaccine doses. So in December when its freezing if you aren't vaccinated you will most likely be outside in the cold or hoping to get some food at an Aldi, which doesn't sound very pleasant. Covid tests are required to even board a plane back to the USA, and range from 50 Euros to 79 Euros per person for ones that are certified PCR tests (you can check the CDC website- for what kind are accepted) but getting the wrong one means you can't come back home. The tests are adequately available, but should be booked ahead of time.

Posted by
875 posts

There is a website that had loads of markets open . Just google info .

Looks like there is lots open

Have fun

I am leaving Dec 2 for them on an amawaterways cruise

Posted by
13417 posts

A couple of those websites show the Budapest markets as being open and apparently that is not correct.

Posted by
64 posts

Thanks Traveler99
I will be there by Nov.26 and it is good to know what to expect.

Posted by
2408 posts

Dave, hysterical. We also had a local experience in Split, Croatia. The testing sight was next door to the local jail. We saw a government van pull up in front of us, out hopped 3 guys from the back, hopped cause they were hand and anklecuffed. Watched as they were shuffled along to the jail.

Posted by
2977 posts

Barbara,

Strong work on not going the soft American tourist route and missing out on that great local experience!

Posted by
13417 posts

Budapest Christmas markets will open. Watched them setting up yesterday.

Posted by
4645 posts

Vienna Christmas markets ARE open. Must be vaxxed or recovered to enter. 1 in 100 people in Austria have COVID.

Posted by
10984 posts

Manchester (UK) markets started yesterday.

Colmar (France) markets will open later this month.

Posted by
677 posts

Wondering how the new increase in Covid cases in Germany will affect the Christmas markets this year!

Posted by
8064 posts

Bavaria just canceled all their markets if that is helpful for your planning.

Posted by
1117 posts

Yes, Bavaria and Saxony have canceled, and Saxony has basically stopped all tourism.