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rapid antigen tests in Athens

Hi Everyone,
I'm in a bit of a panic. We will be in Athens on the 25th and we fly out at 7 a.m. on the 26th. I read that we have to get a test (either rapid antigen or PCR) a day before we fly out. I just called our hotel to see if they could book this and they told me the 25th is a bank holiday so they are not sure whether we can get a rapid test then.

Does anyone know how readily available rapid tests are? And do all pharmacies close on bank holidays? If so, do you have any suggestions as to where we can get a test. I would have thought it would have been easy to get one at any time. Perhaps the front desk person at the hotel is misleading me.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Posted by
68 posts

I just called another hotel where we are staying at for the second leg of our trip in Athens (we are staying at one hotel, flying to another island, then returning to Athens but staying at another hotel). The front-desk person there was more helpful and called a pharmacy nearby and found out that pharmacy will be open in spite of the bank holiday.

However, I am a bit confused as to the kind of test we need to return to the U.S. I looked up "the Order" from the CDC and it says the test "must be a SARS-COV-2 viral test (nucleic acid amplification test NAAT or antigen test with emergency use authorization for the FDA."

Does all this mean that either a rapid test or PCR test would be fine? Or is there a specific type of rapid test that is required? I'm a bit confused. I don't think a PCR test would work because it might not be ready within 24 hours so it looks like the only kind of test we can get is a rapid test.

Posted by
1386 posts

A simple antigen test will do. No need for a PCR test. Simplest would be to buy the BINAX at home Proctered test and take it with you. You can then test from the comfort of your room without worrying about whether a pharmacy is open or not

Posted by
234 posts

Rapid test is fine for the US. If for any reason neither the pharmacy or the home proctored test works out, you can get tested at the airport. I did that last August before flying from Athens to Chicago and had results within 30 min. You should be able to find further info on the Athens airport website. Not sure how early they open so you would potentially need to make a trip out there the day before. Obviously the pharmacy or a home proctored test would be more convenient!

Posted by
984 posts

I read a post saying that Athens airport has two testing areas and between them they are open 24 hours. Just google Athens airport rapid antigen testing.

Posted by
68 posts

Hi Stan, Did the post happen to say where the sites are located in Athens airport? I did a search for COVID testing sites at Athens airport and found information saying that Athens Medical Group is offering tests at the airport but I tried to send them an inquiry and got an error message. In France, for example, I know there are testing sites located in specific terminals. Never having been to Athens airport, I have no sense of how large it is and whether we'd be wandering around aimlessly trying to find a testing site. I'm thinking I may try to look for the site upon arrival and talk to them in person.

Posted by
128 posts

Yes, I agree about taking the Binax proctored test kit. It’s important to make sure it is proctored because Binax makes a version that is not and that is sold in pharmacies. They only sell the proctored version online and you need to set up an account. They sell a pack of 6 tests for 150.00. I’m not sure what the shelf life is for these tests.

Posted by
984 posts

Here is the information I found about testing at Athens airport. Seems to be the same group that you tried to contact.
https://loyaltylobby.com/2021/07/14/covid-19-pcr-rt-antigen-testing-at-the-athens-airport/

Just another point on the rapid antigen tests. This may be exclusively a Canadian issue but it might be a good idea to check to see if this applies to other countries.

At this point, Canada requires a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of your return flight. Tests must be administered by a recognized provider from the country you are departing from. The home tests from Canada would not qualify. Hopefully that will change over time.

Posted by
68 posts

Hi Stan,
Yes it is the same in the U.S. I went ahead and purchased the Binax protored test from E-med just in case....

Posted by
1386 posts

Just a reminder that the US requirement is that the test be taken within 1 day of arrival - I.e the requirement is NOT 24 hours. In essence you generally have much more than 24 hours to do the test unless your flight is departing shortly after midnight.