Everywhere you can go on holiday this summer

Alcudia beach, Majorca: istock
Alcudia beach, Majorca: istock

The government has announced a list of countries and territories where Britons will be able to go on holiday this summer without quarantining.

From 10 July, those travelling from 59 approved destinations into England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 57 countries into Scotland are exempt from the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period imposed on all inbound arrivals. (The lists are currently identical barring two omissions from the Scottish one: Spain and Serbia).

Alongside this, the Foreign Office (FCO) has published a separate list of destinations where it has now lifted its blanket advice against all non-essential international travel.

While the lists are not the same, there is an overlap of 46 countries for Scotland and 48 for the rest of the UK. For those looking to travel to one of the places where both elements of the “double lock” have been scrapped, there is another hurdle to overcome before holidays are possible though: the country in question has to have also lifted restrictions, allowing Brits to enter freely without quarantining on arrival.

For example, New Zealand was included on both lists – but is still all but closed to international arrivals.

With all that in mind, here’s where you can legitimately travel to this summer so far. (As well as being on the government’s exempt lists, all the countries highlighted below currently have no quarantine on arrival for British nationals and don’t require a health certificate proving travellers are Covid-free.)

This list will be added to as more countries are announced.

Andorra

Belgium

Croatia

Czech Republic

Denmark

France

Germany

Gibraltar

Greece

Italy

Liechtenstein

Luxembourg

Malta

Monaco

Poland

San Marino

Spain

Switzerland

Turkey

Andorra

Although the tiny, land-locked principality situated in the Pyrenees Mountains has been one of the worst-affected countries in terms of number of cases in relation to its small population, figures have plummeted since early June, prompting the UK to include Andorra in its list of ‘low risk’ countries that UK residents can visit.

What are the rules?

Social distancing measures vary depending on where you are and what you’re doing. If you are passing through an urban area, walking on the right-hand side and maintaining a distance of 4 metres is recommended, along with wearing a face mask.

In enclosed spaces, including bars, restaurants, shops and museums, use of a face mask is mandatory, while social distancing drops to 1.5 metres.

It’s recommended to keep a of 4 metres fro others when walking, 10 metres when running and 20 metres when cycling.

What’s open?

Ski resorts are currently closed. But with 90 per cent of Andorra comprised of natural space, hiking, cycling and horseback trails are now open. The 550 metre Grandvalira zip-line is also open. Shops, restaurants and cultural hubs are also open.

How do I get there?

Despite welcoming almost 3 million tourists in 2019, Andorra does not have its own airport. Travellers can fly to Barcelona with British Airways, Iberia, Vueling or Ryanair, then travel on to Andorra by bus or hire car – the journey time is around three hours.

Alternatively, visitors can fly direct to Toulouse with British Airways or Ryanair and complete their journey by bus or car.

Those looking to avoid air travel could take the Eurostar to Paris, and then take a train to Barcelona’s L’Hospitalet, before continuing by car or bus to their final destination.

Belgium

Despite imposing lockdown restrictions swiftly and having one of the best healthcare systems in the world, Belgium held the unfortunate record of the world’s highest number of Covid-19 deaths per capita in April. Thankfully, the country had significantly flattened the curve by early June prompting the relaxation of restrictions and the free movement of residents and tourists around the country.

What are the rules?

The Belgian government “strongly recommends” that people wear a face mask. This is mandatory on public transport and other public locations where it is not possible to maintain social distancing. Social distancing restrictions of 1.5 metres are also in place throughout the country.

What’s open?

All shops, pubs and restaurants are open, although you can only meet up with a maximum of 10 people in such premises at this point. Theme parks, playgrounds, casinos, libraries and museums are also open, along with top attractions such as the medieval Castle of the Counts in Ghent, the Musée Magritte Museum in Brussels and Chocolate Nation, the world’s largest Belgian chocolate museum.

How do I get there?

British Airways, Lufthansa, Brussels Airlines and Ryanair all fly directly to Brussels, the Belgian capital. Direct Eurostar services also depart regularly from London to Brussels, while an Any Belgian Station ticket offers passengers onward travel anywhere in the country within 24 hours.

Croatia

Although Croatia has reported a relatively low number of Covid-19 cases, the number of infections has accelerated in the past few weeks. This has prompted Croatian officials to reintroduce quarantine restrictions of 14 days for visitors from Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo and North Macedonia. British travellers can enter freely to make the most of this holiday hotspot, known for its Mediterranean climate, 1,777km of Adriatic coastline and idyllic islands.

What are the rules?

All foreign visitors to Croatia must complete an online form before entering the country. Tourists are also required to provide evidence of accommodation booking or proof of holiday home or boat ownership upon arrival.

Social distancing rules appear to have been relaxed, but wearing a face mask on public transport is mandatory.

What’s open?

Croatia has been gradually easing out of lockdown since early May, with many hotels, villas and campsites opening their doors from 11 May. Beaches are open, although people are required to maintain a social distance of 1.5 metres, alongside restaurants, bars, cafes, aquaparks, national parks and even nightclubs. Dating back to 27BC, the Roman amphitheatre Pula Arena is also open.

How do I get there?

Ryanair, easyJet, Wizz Air, Jet2 and British Airways are flying direct from the UK to destinations including Dubrovnik, Split, Pula and Zagreb.

Czech Republic

To date, this landlocked country in central Europe has reported a relatively low number of coronavirus cases and less than 400 deaths. A sudden spike in infections towards the end of June caused some concern, although the curve has since flattened.

What are the rules?

It is mandatory to cover your mouth and face when on the Prague Metro, in the airport and in health and social care facilities, but face masks are not compulsory elsewhere. People are required to comply with social distancing measures of 2 metres or more when in public.

What’s open?

Almost everything. Hotels, campsites, restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, gardens and castles all reopened on 25 May. Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral are both open. Veletržni Palác (Trade Palace) and the City of Prague Museum are both open, although the latter’s main building has been closed since 15 June for renovations.

How do I get there?

British Airways, Ryanair, easyJet, Wizz Air, Czech Airlines and Smartwings are flying direct to the Czech Republic from the UK.

Denmark

Known for its cosiness that sparked a global movement (thanks hygge), superior Scandi design aesthetic and being one of the happiest countries in the world, Denmark offers some top city break locations. Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, Aalborg – take your pick.

What are the rules?

Mask wearing is not mandatory in Denmark, but people are asked to maintain a distance of 1 metre from others. No more than 50 people are allowed to gather either outside or inside (apart from on public transport and in supermarkets, airports and work places).

What’s open?

Restaurants, shops and cafes were able to reopen from early May.

Cultural institutions, hotels, museums, theatres, art exhibitions, cinemas, public aquariums, outdoor amusement parks, zoos and botanical gardens are all able to open as part of phase three of Denmark’s road out of lockdown.

Discos, music venues, night clubs and indoor sport and leisure facilities such as gyms, waterparks and swimming pools won’t be able to open until August.

How do I get there?

Norwegian, SAS, Ryanair and British Airways all offer flights to Copenhagen.

France

Just a hop across the Channel, France is usually the most popular country in the world for international tourists, and will hope to reclaim its crown now travel restrictions are easing.

It had previously imposed a “voluntary” two-week quarantine for all Brits on arrival (in retaliation to the UK’s blanket quarantine policy), but this should lift on 10 July in reciprocity.

What are the rules?

It’s currently compulsory to wear a mask while on public transport and in taxis, and when at the station or airport.

Strict social distancing has been implemented in many places, and no more than 10 people may gather in any one place at present.

What’s open?

Since 11 May, lockdown measures have been gradually relaxed in France, but vary from region to region depending on the infection rate.

Most shops, open-air markets, bars, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, entertainment venues, leisure parks, gyms, swimming pools and sports centres are now able to reopen.

Public spaces such as parks, gardens, beaches and lakes are open nationwide, unless it’s not possible to apply social distancing measures.

Major attractions have also been permitted to reopen – the Palace of Versailles reopened on 6 June, while the Centre Pompidou and the Louvre are opening on 1 and 6 July respectively.

Campsites and hotels were given the green light to reopen in June.

How can I get there?

The most obvious method of Channel-hopping is the Eurostar, which is currently running three daily services from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord.

The Eurotunnel is open for you to drive from Folkestone to Calais, subject to the completion of an online form and health declaration.

P&O Ferries is operating five daily sailings between Dover and Calais.

Flying is also a possibility – although fares may be steep. For example, British Airways is offering one remaining seat on a Heathrow-Nice flight on 6 July for £634 one-way.

Germany

Held up as the golden child of western Europe, Germany managed to implement a comprehensive track and trace programme early on which saw its coronavirus death toll stay comparatively low.

Travellers from the UK can visit with no need to quarantine on arrival.

What are the rules?

Wearing a face mask is required in certain public areas in all of Germany’s 16 states. Just one household can meet another household outside according to current rules.

What’s open?

Shops are open with social distancing measures in place. The re-opening of restaurants, hotels, theatres, cinemas, bars, trade fairs and other facilities will differ from region to region, reflecting local conditions.

How can I get there?

A number of airlines are flying between the UK and Germany from 10 July. British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair fly to Berlin; Eurowings and Ryanair have services to Cologne; and Lufthansa and BA operate between London and Munich.

Gibraltar

This British Overseas Territory on Spain’s south coast boasts the Rock of Gibraltar (a 426m-high limestone ridge) and the remains of a 14th-century Moorish Castle. And, hopefully, better weather than the UK…

What are the rules?

Gatherings of more than 12 people are currently not permitted. Face masks are mandatory on public transport and recommended in enclosed spaces, such as shops.

What’s open?

Lockdown restrictions are now in the process of being relaxed by the Government of Gibraltar, via a six-stage process named ‘Unlock the Rock’, which started on 2 May. The territory is now in phase five: shops, beaches, museums, restaurants, cafes and bars are all allowed to open, albeit with reduced capacity and social distancing measures.

How can I get there?

British Airways and easyJet are both offering direct flights from the UK to Gibraltar, with a flight time of around three hours.

Greece

The popular holiday spot was closed to the UK until 15 July, from when flights have been able to resume and Brits can enter without mandatory quarantine.

However, there are some hoops to jump through. Travellers must complete an online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before their arrival in Greece. They will then be issued with a QR code that they must show upon arrival.

Some visitors may be directed to take a health screening, including a coronavirus test, after which they must self-isolate until they receive their results – usually within 24 hours. Those who test negative may continue their holiday as planned, while those who test positive must self-isolate for 14 days, either in their accommodation or, if instructed, in a government-mandated facility (paid for by the Greek authorities).

What are the rules?

You must wear a face mask at all times when on an aeroplane or ferry travelling to or from Greece; and whilst at airports. It’s mandatory to wear face masks on public transport (including ferries), in taxis, in all medical facilities and in lifts. The use of face masks is strongly recommended in other enclosed spaces too.

Travel in a private car or a taxi is limited to a maximum of two adult passengers per vehicle, in addition to the driver. Any children in the vehicle do not count towards this limit.

What’s open?

Restaurants, fast-food joints, bars, internet cafes, shops and open-air nightclubs have been open since 6 June.

From 15 June, museums, historic buildings and areas, theme parks, gyms, saunas, spas and thermal springs have also been able to open to visitors, albeit with new rules in place, such as limiting the number of customers per square metre.

Archaeological sites are now operating on extended summer hours (8am-8pm) and visitor numbers per hour are capped to avoid overcrowding.

Hotels and airbnbs are also allowed to open.

How can I get there?

EasyJet, Ryanair, Wizz, Aegean and British Airways are all offering flights to various Greek destinations.

Italy

While it may have started out as the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, Italy has since managed to admirably flatten the curve and open up to visitors again.

Brits have been allowed back in since 3 June, provided they haven’t travelled outside the Schengen area in the previous two weeks.

What are the rules?

It’s currently compulsory to wear a mask in enclosed spaces including public transport or anywhere where it may not be possible to exercise social distancing.

What’s open?

Concert halls, theatres, cinemas, cafés, bars, pubs, restaurants, ice-cream shops, patisseries and other eateries are now permitted to open with certain restrictions on the number of patrons.

Parks and beach resorts can also open, as can most shops and hotels – again, with social distancing measures in place.

Cultural attractions have started opening including the famed Doge’s Palace in Venice and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

How can I get there?

EasyJet is currently set to resume flights from London Gatwick to Rome Fiumicino from 17 July and to Venice from 8 July (at a whopping £281.99 one way).

Ryanair has been operating services from London Stansted to Rome Ciampino since 27 June, and resumed flying to Venice from 3 July.

British Airways has been operating London Heathrow to Rome Fiumicino flights for much of June.

Liechtenstein

This tiny principality (just 25km long) sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland may be small, but offers up pretty Alpine villages, mountains, idyllic hiking trails and medieval castles.

What are the rules?

Social distancing of at least 1.5 metres must be maintained with others at all times.

Wearing a face mask is compulsory when travelling on public transport and failure to do so is punishable by a fine (though children under the age of 12 are exempt).

What’s open?

Shops, markets, restaurants, cultural institutions, mountain railways, campsites and tourist facilities, all entertainment and leisure facilities (such as cinemas, concert venues, theatres, casinos and gambling halls) can reopen, as can indoor and outdoor swimming pools plus wellness facilities. Groups of more than four people can now sit at a table in restaurants and bars, and even events of up to 1,000 people are permitted.

How do I get there?

Liechtenstein’s nearest airport is Zurich. Swiss, easyJet and British Airways all currently fly there from the UK.

Luxembourg

Bordered by Belgium, France and Germany, the small nation of Luxembourg has natural parks to explore to the north and a fortified medieval old town in its capital, Luxembourg City.

What are the rules?

You must wear a face covering and observe social distancing requirements when travelling through Luxembourg Airport (Findel). Your mask should not be removed during security control.

Face coverings must be worn on public transport, with fines of up to €145 for failing to comply. Masks must also be worn in shops, supermarkets, exhibitions and other places “which are open to the public”.

What’s open?

Hotels, cinemas, theatres and cultural spaces are open, provided reservations are made in advance and social distancing is maintained. Bars and restaurants can open until midnight (customers must wear a face covering on entry/exit and until seated).

Cultural institutions, including libraries and museums, are also open within a strict framework of reduced numbers and online reservations.

Sports halls and fitness centres are open with strict hygiene requirements and social distancing measures in place.

How do I get there?

Ryanair and Luxair are both flying direct from the UK to Luxembourg.

Malta

This island nation parked in the Mediterranean is a firm favourite with British holidaymakers thanks to its beaches, hot climate and fascinating history (it’s worth tearing your self away from the beach to spend some time in its tiny capital, Valletta, a beautiful walled city established in the 16th century by the Knights of St John).

As of 15 July, flights from the UK have been allowed to resume, and Brits are no longer required to self-isolate upon arrival into Malta.

All passengers must have completed a paper copy of both a public health and a passenger locator form, and will have their temperature checked on arrival and departure. Passengers with a high temperature will be required to undergo a swab test.

What are the rules?

Passengers on public transport, including the Gozo ferry, must wear face masks. Social distancing of 2 metres is encouraged.

What’s open?

Museums and tourist attractions, shops, gyms, hairdressers, swimming pools, restaurants and bars have re-opened with restrictions on the number of customers allowed entry, a requirement to wear a mask and an ability to maintain social distancing.

How do I get there?

Ryanair, easyJet and Air Malta are all offering direct flights from London to Luqa airport in Malta.

Monaco

Not for nothing is this tiny country on the French Riviera known as “Billionaires’ Playground” – it’s famed for its wealthy inhabitants, high-rolling casinos and old-world glamour. To date, it has recorded under 150 coronavirus cases and just four deaths.

What are the rules?

Wearing a mask is mandatory on public transport, in shops or in a health professional’s office.

It’s also recommended elsewhere, as is maintaining a distance of 1 metre from people not in your household.

Gatherings of more than five people in a public space or at home are prohibited, although this doesn’t apply to restaurants and bars.

What’s open?

Bars and restaurants are open with no more than 10 guests per table. Shops, places of worship, hairdressers and salons have been allowed to reopen as of 4 May.

Museums and exhibition spaces, beaches and swimming pools, casinos and gaming rooms and some concerts and performances are all back on the menu, as are gyms and cinemas.

How do I get there?

The closest airport is Nice in France. British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair are offering flights.

Poland

This sprawling country in Central Europe has plenty to explore, from city breaks in capital Warsaw and charming Krakow to its 23 national parks.

What are the rules?

Masks are mandatory on public transport, with fines of £1,000 to £6,000 (5,000 to 30,000 PLN) for those caught breaking the rules.

In shops but you must cover your nose and mouth and wear single-use gloves. At restaurants and pubs, you must wear a mask when not seated at the table. Masks are also required in most indoor public spaces, and social distancing of 2 metres is recommended even when outdoors.

What’s open?

National Forests, parks and beaches are open, as are shops, restaurants and pubs. Museums, libraries and cultural venues are open, plus cinemas, theatres and concert halls (with capacity limited to 50 per cent).

Swimming pools, gyms, indoor play centres and theme parks, saunas, and massage salons are all open.

How do I get there?

Wizz and Lot are flying regularly into Warsaw and Krakow, while BA also has some availability.

San Marino

In April, this mountainous microstate in Italy of just 34,000 people was the world’s worst-affected country in terms of Covid-19-related deaths per capita. An aggressive testing policy of the entire population was rolled out and the curve has since flattened, however.

What are the rules?

It is currently unclear whether masks are mandatory or not; wearing one in any enclosed spaces and on public transport is probably the safest bet.

What’s open?

Restaurants, cafes and bars in San Marino are open, as are museums and other places of culture, social centres and leisure centres.

How do I get there?

San Marino is not the easiest place to reach, with no public airport or rail network. Visitors can fly direct with Ryanair to Rimini in Italy, which is situated 12km from the San Marino border, before catching a bus or hiring a car to reach their destination. Alternatively, Ryanair flies direct to Bologna, 128km from San Marino.

Spain

British travellers have been allowed back in to Spain since 21 June. Now that the UK government has eased travel restrictions, sun, sea and sangria might actually be a possibility this summer – although only if you’re returning to England, Wales or Northern Ireland. Scotland has said the risk is still too high to include Spain on its list of countries exempt from quarantine.

What are the rules?

People aged six years or over are required to use face masks outdoors, on public transport and in enclosed spaces. Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to €100. Exceptions are made for those with disabilities or respiratory illness, as well as when eating or playing sport.

What’s open?

Hotels and campsites; bars and restaurants; beaches and parks; cinemas, theatres and concert halls; tour groups; shops; museums and exhibition spaces; major attractions including the Alcazar in Seville, Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum and Granada’s Alhambra Palace.

Many of the above must cap capacity at 50 per cent to enable social distancing, and rules may differ between regions, depending on what phase of recovery they’re in.

How can I get there?

British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair are all resuming a number of UK-Spain routes in July. Brittany Ferries has resumed passenger services departing Portsmouth or Plymouth to Santander and Bilbao.

Switzerland

This mountainous country has beautiful alpine regions for hiking, and a plethora of lakes for swimming in, plus city break destinations such as Basel, Zurich, Geneva and Bern.

What are the rules?

The Swiss government has now ended its “extraordinary situation” in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), but some measures remain in place. Social distancing of 1.5 metres should be maintained.

Wearing a face mask is compulsory when travelling on public transport and failure to do so is punishable by a fine. Children under the age of 12 are exempt.

Individual Swiss cantons may impose further restrictions – check before travelling.

What’s open?

All shops, restaurants, markets, museums and libraries are now able to reopen with social distancing measures in place. Restaurants are able to accommodate groups of more than four people, and events of up to 1,000 people are permitted.

How do I get there?

Swiss, easyJet and British Airways all currently fly to Zurich and Geneva from the UK.

Turkey

Turkey has long been a favourite with British holidaymakers, thanks to its hot weather, sandy beaches bordering the Aegean sea, and fascinating history and architecture found in cities like former capital Istanbul.

What are the rules?

Those under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who is under 65 when travelling within Turkey.

Anyone wishing to undertake intercity travel using public transport must get an “HES” code (“Hayat Eve Sığar”). This can be done through the e-Devlet system, the ‘Hayat Eve Sığar’ smartphone application and by SMS.

The wearing of masks is obligatory throughout Turkey in crowded places and specifically in markets and supermarkets, hairdressers and barber shops. Masks are also compulsory on all public transport, and whenever outside the home in the following provinces:

Adıyaman, Afyonkarahisar, Agri, Amasya, Ankara, Ardahan, Aydın, Balıkesir, Bartın, Batman, Bilecik, Bingöl, Bitlis, Bolu, Burdur, Bursa, Çanakkale, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Düzce, Elazığ, Erzurum, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Giresun, Iğdır, Isparta, Istanbul, İzmir ,Kahramanmaraş, Karabük, Kayseri, Kırklareli, Kocaeli, Konya, Kütahya, Malatya, Mardin, Muğla, Muş, Nevşehir, Ordu, Osmaniye, Rize, Sakarya, Siirt, Sinop, Sivas, Şanlıurfa, Şırnak, Tokat, Tunceli, Uşak, Yalova, Yozgat and Zonguldak.

Those who do not abide by this rule may be issued with a fine of 900 TL (£106).

There is currently a curfew in place for those with a chronic medical condition, plus adults over 65 years old must stay inside between 8pm and 10am.

What’s open?

Restaurants, bars, cafes and beaches all re-opened on 1 June, alongside museums and ancient sites.

How do I get there?

Turkish Airlines is offering (unsurprisingly) the greatest range of destinations in Turkey. Regular flights from the UK are already in operation, with four direct flights a day between here and Istanbul, and daily nonstop services to Dalaman and Antalya.

British Airways starts flying from London Heathrow to Istanbul from 16 July, to Dalaman from 17 July, and to Bodrum from 1 August.

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