How to get a Covid Test in Europe

Now is a great time to go visit Europe. The streets aren’t full, lines to get into attractions are less than they’ve even been for a shoulder season, and the food… the food is something you’ll always remember.

Getting a Covid test in Europe is important to get the coveted “Green Pass” which allows you to enter restaurants, go to museums, and visit the sights.

In order to get back to the USA, even as a vaccinated citizen, you’ll need to get a Covid-19 test. We’re going to give you the best ways to get Covid tests in Europe so you can get back home with no stress.

Covid Testing in Europe

Covid test are not necessarily free in Europe like they are in most parts of the USA, and it’s important to know which types of tests count for re-entry back to the USA.

UW Testing Seattle Covid Coronavirus from KUOW

You must be tested with a viral test that could be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT)

The CDC publishes exactly which types of tests you need to get back home. Read up here for the full details, but as a brief overview:

• Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)
• Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)
• Transcription-mediated amplification (TMA)
• Nicking enzyme amplification reaction (NEAR)
• Helicase-dependent amplification (HDA)

The most popular, quickest, and cheapest test is the rapid antigen test. This test brings back results in literally minutes and will be all you need to get back home. This will also provide you with the coveted Green Pass to get around Europe with ease.

Make sure you get the email from the provider and show this at the check in counter in Europe. You won’t need a printed copy, but if you feel more secure, just ask your hotel front desk to print one out for you.

The majority of pharmacies in Europe will be able to get you a covid test. We went to one in the center of Rome called Farmacia Scrofa. There was a tent outside and for 22 euros we got a nose swab and were on our way.

Expensive Options

Don’t fall for the expensive options that many airlines offer. Delta emailed us before our flight with a list of locations for PCR tests in Rome for $139 each. This is overkill, and it’s more expensive than what you need to do.

You can also get tested last minute at the airport of your departure, but you run multiple risks. First, you’ll pay more than you should. Second, the results might take longer, meaning you lost valuable vacation time, and third, if for whatever reason the testing site isn’t working properly, you might not be able to board your flight home.

Major European Countries and Testing Locations

Here is a list of some of the testing locations for the major European tourist destinations

United Kingdom
Iceland
France
Scotland
Ireland
Germany
Netherlands
Croatia
Spain
Greece

Bottom Line

In Europe, the majority of pharmacies will have covid testing options for a small price, typically 20+ euros. If you are staying in an AirBNB or don’t know where to go, my suggestion would be to head into the lobby of a fancy hotel and ask where the closest pharmacy is that you can get tested.

Enjoy Europe!

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the info. However, I’m in Nice and flying from CDG to ZRH to ORD on Swissair and they require a 2 day test to get into Switzerland. Worried that any test I take in Nice won’t take 8 hours to get the results back because
    I’m returning to Paris by TVG and flying out the next day.

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