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Quarantine-free destinations: where can I travel this summer?

Which countries are opening their borders to tourists?

As countries begin to loosen lockdown restrictions, we take a look at which ones are opening their doors for the summer. Please note that all information was correct as of 9 July; all changes since yesterday are in green.

On 4 July, the UK FCO announced that the travel advice for a number of countries would be downgraded from ‘all travel’ to ‘all but essential travel’. Click here for the full list.

Which countries are on the UK quarantine exemption list?

Destinations you can visit now

The Alentejo, Portugal

Forget the crowded beaches of the Algarve: this little-visited corner of Portugal should be your new summer destination. The Alentejo is Andalucía as it used to be: crumbling Moorish castles perched on craggy hilltops, tiny towns of cobbled streets clustered around ruined Roman temples, Renaissance palaces filled with priceless art. Eagles soar over rugged, rocky hills, while lynx hunt in forests of wild olive and cork oak. And on the coast, hundreds of kilometres of sweeping caster-sugar sand see more visiting terns than tourists.

© Alex Robinson

And if all that doesn’t convince you, the Alentejo has declared only one coronavirus fatality, making it one of the safest areas in Portugal.

Date of opening 6 June

Who can visit? Anybody

What are the restrictions? None

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? No

The Azores

If you need to stretch your legs after three months inside, the Azores are the place to do so. Long coveted as Europe’s best-kept secret, this Portuguese archipelago is famous for its wealth of well-marked hiking trails, fantastic flora, bubbling volcanoes and old-world settlements. ‘There is so much to explore,’ says author, David Sayers, ‘these islands should be savoured like a rare wine’.

Azores whale watching which countries are open
© Dennis Van Der Water, Dreamstime

Flights between the main airport on Ponta Delgada and Lisbon are starting to recommence, with the hope that other EU and Schengen countries will follow suit.

Date of opening 1 July

Who can visit? Countries within the EU and/or Schengen Area, plus Australia, Canada, Algeria, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay

What are the restrictions? Travellers must submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test up to 72 hours prior to flight departure, or perform a test on arrival and remain in isolation until the result is obtained.

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? No

Flanders, Belgium

Recent reappraisals have redefined Flanders; what was once criticised as fuddyduddy is now considered hip. Its refreshing mix of cosmopolitan towns and rural villages allows you to spend one day exploring Art Nouveau districts and medieval town squares, and the next visiting rural communities where life slips back a gear.

© Mapics, Shutterstock

And with bars and restaurants opening up, there is plenty of opportunity to sample the region’s world-renowned cuisine. Not only will you have the choice of over 800 beers, piles of fries and chocolate as far as the eye can see, but there is also a dense concentration of Michelin stars – indeed, there are more starred restaurants in Bruges alone than in the whole of Denmark.

Date of opening 15 June

Who can visit? Arrivals from the European Union, UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Algeria, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay

What are the restrictions? None

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? Yes

Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy

An hour or so from Venice, this oft-overlooked corner of Italy is poles apart from its busy neighbour. It’s small – you could easily drive across it in a day on the back roads – but it squeezes in a remarkable diversity of landscapes. In short, there’s a little bit of everything, all within easy reach.

© Marco Milani, Turismo FVG

The coasts combine urbane beach resorts and pristine lagoons. Above the coasts, the Friulian plains and hills have the art towns and the wine regions, and above them tower the Alps: the sunny slopes on the way to Austria, or the mountain fastness of Carnia on the west, with its hidden valleys and traditional folkways.

Date of opening 3 June

Who can visit? Arrivals from the EU and/or Schengen Area, plus the UK, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, Australia, Canada, Algeria, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay

What are the restrictions? Visitors are not permitted to use public transport.

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? Yes

Iceland

Iceland’s remarkable reaction to the coronavirus pandemic has garnered praise from around the world. With a rigorous testing regime, the country has enjoyed a low rate of infection without the need for strict lockdowns seen elsewhere in Europe.

Dettifoss Iceland waterfall
© Max Topshii, Shutterstock

Now is the time to see this ever-popular island in a new light: without the crowds. The landscape is the epitome of isolated, boasting miles upon miles of wild mountainscapes, gushing waterfalls, heavenly hot springs and the last great glaciers of Europe. Come to enjoy a breathe of fresh air, to sail along shimmering fjords, drive along the newly opened Arctic Coast Way or witness some of the best birdlife in the North Atlantic.

Date of opening 15 June

Who can visit? Countries within the EU and/or Schengen Area, plus the UK, Australia, Canada, Algeria, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay

What are the restrictions? A test is given upon arrival (ISK15,000). Travellers are also required to fill out a pre-registration form before departure and encouraged to download the contact-tracing app, Rakning C-19.

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? Yes

Istria, Croatia

Croatia is among the least-affected European countries, with only 2,200 cases recorded. With this in mind, why not start planning a trip to its lesser-known Istrian peninsula? While the Dalmatian coast has topped the list of tourist destinations in Croatia in terms of visitor numbers for a while now, it is little Istria’s proximity and accessibility that attract those who want to stay and really appreciate what life on the Adriatic has to offer.

© Vera Kailova, Shutterstock

A large, wedge-shaped peninsula at the head of the Adriatic, Istria has some of Croatia’s most famous sites, including Pula’s Roman amphitheatre, UNESCO-protected Byzantine mosaics in Poreč, picturesque medieval hill towns and hidden frescoes, and Brijuni Islands National Park, home to Tito’s former summer residence. The area is also renowned for its cuisine, in particular its truffles, game, first-rate pasta, seafood, wine and olive oil. Its second city, Rijeka, was set to be European Capital of Culture in 2020.

Date of opening 15 June

Who can visit? Croatia is currently permitting travel for tourism from all EU/EEA states, as well as the UK. There is currently no quarantine for visitors except those arriving from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, and North Macedonia.

What are the restrictions? None

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? Yes

Luxembourg

Ah, little Luxembourg. Often overshadowed by its bigger neighbours, the world’s last remaining Grand Duchy has previously fallen beneath the tourist radar. But with a low rate of infection and very few restrictions, it is currently one of Europe’s most accessible destinations.

© Mikel Trako, Shutterstock

This landlocked microstate is crammed with heritage, hills and castles – more of the last than any similarly pint-sized nation could decently be expected to possess. With everything so close at hand, there are no tiring journeys here to make you weary of tourism before you’ve even begun. And to help you reflect on this wealth of history and nature, the wining and dining options are consistently great.

Date of opening The borders never closed

Who can visit? Anybody

What are the restrictions? None

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? Yes

Northern Greece

The Greek islands remain one of the most popular destinations in Europe. So why not stick to the mainland this summer? Northern Greece is in many ways a world apart from the rest of the country.

Mount Olympus Greece which countries are open
© dinoschimacal, Shutterstock

Those who already know Athens and southern Greece could look at it as the Hellenic version of Scotland, very familiar yet different, a land of astonishing natural beauty – spectacular mountains, rivers, lakes and gorgeous coastlines, its history filled with highlanders from dozens of clans – who even dressed in kilts, when they joined up with Alexander the Great. And lively student-filled Thessaloníki could be the Edinburgh of the south, only with more sun.

Date of opening 1 June, with revisions made 15 June

Who can visit? Most EU citizens, but only if your travel originated from an airport not in the EASA affected area list. UK arrivals are to be permitted from 15 July.

What are the restrictions? Travellers are subject to random tests upon arrival.

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? Yes

Rwanda

We’ll be honest with you: Rwanda is one of our absolutely favourite destinations. So we were extremely excited when we heard that it was reopening its doors to tourists.

© SAS14, Shutterstock

Rwanda is the world’s premier gorilla-tracking destination. It was here, on the southern slopes of the Virungas, that the late Dian Fossey studied gorilla behaviour for almost 20 years, and on these very same bamboo-covered slopes that the acclaimed movie Gorillas in the Mist was shot in 1988. And for the first time in months, visitors are now permitted to book their own gorilla-tracking experiences. Click here for full details.

Date of opening 17 June

Who can visit? Anybody

What are the restrictions? All visitors travelling by charter flights are expected to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to arrival. Tourists will take a second COVID-19 test prior to visiting any tourist attraction.

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? No

Serbia

Serbia was one of the first countries to lift all restrictions for locals and foreigners. Bars, restaurants, shops, markets and even some tourism attractions are fully open (subject to social distancing), meaning there’s never been a better time to visit this ever-popular destination without the crowds.

© Randrei, Shutterstock

Highlights include the capital, Belgrade, a vibrant, sophisticated city with museums, galleries and nightlife equal to anywhere in the region. Smaller university cities like Novi Sad and Niš have their own individual appeal too, as do many of Serbia’s smaller country towns.
Nature lovers are catered for as well, with a landscape punctuated by river valleys, gorges and rolling hills. National parks such as Mount Tara in the west, Fruška Gora in the north and Đerdap Gorge in the east are ideally situated for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and birdwatching.

Date of opening 22 May

Who can visit? Anybody

What are the restrictions? None

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? Yes

Spain

After much discussion, Spanish authorities have finally decided to lift restrictions on UK arrivals, meaning that Brits can now visit without having to quarantine for 14 days (although, as it stands, they will still have to quarantine on return to the UK, unless an air bridge is announced).

San Sebastián at sunset © François DALLAY on Unsplash

And we’re excited about Spain opening not because that means we can flock to the Costas, but because it allows us to visit the oft-overlooked northern coast. The Basque Country spans the French–Spanish border, is home to one of Europe’s oldest and strongest cultures. Home to famed cities like Bilbao and San Sebastián, it is also known for the Camino de Santiago, a 1,000-year-old pilgrimage route that you may well be able to discover today without the usual hordes of tourists. If that wasn’t enough, Basque cuisine, surely one of the world’s finest, is bestowed with accolades but accessible to every budget.

Date of opening 21 June

Who can visit? Those arriving from EU and Schengen countries, as well as the UK, Australia, Canada, Algeria, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay

What are the restrictions? Temperature checks on arrival

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? Yes

Somaliland

What a unique, strange and intriguing place Somaliland is. Set along the northern shores of the Horn of Africa, lapped by the warm turquoise waters of the Gulf of Aden, its timeworn ports evoke an obscure history of maritime trade stretching back to Pharaonic times.

© Eric Lafforgue

Inland of this, the vast empty badlands of the Somali interior – populated as they are by a thin scattering of desert nomads, domestic camels and wild antelope – are studded with medieval Islamic ruins and shrines, mysterious stone tumuli dating to earlier times, and ancient rock art painted by one of the world’s earliest cattle-herding societies.

Date of opening 23 June

Who can visit? Anybody

What are the restrictions? Arrivals must produce a COVID-free certificate that is not older than four days

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? No

Tanzania

While other African countries continue to keep their borders firmly closed, Tanzania is welcoming visitors with open arms. Home to the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro, the magical offshore spice island of Zanzibar and the endless plains of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania is home to some the continent’s most evocative place names and is also its premier safari destination. Where better to escape reality for a little while?

© Ariadne Van Zandbergen, Africa Image Library

Despite all of this, however, many have accused President Magufuli of covering up the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak in Tanzani, so do be wary of this if considering a trip.

Date of opening 27 May

Who can visit? Anybody

What are the restrictions? Temperature checks on arrival

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? No

Uzbekistan

On 19 June, President Mirziyoev’s announced that any foreign tourist visiting Uzbekistan on a group tour with a local tour operator would be protected by a national guarantee. In the unlikely event that they become infected with COVID-19 during their stay, the tourist will receive US$3,000 in financial compensation from Uzbekistan’s Anti-Crisis Fund. Such an initiative stands in contrast to Cambodia, where visitors have to pay a US$3,000 deposit on arrival to cover the cost of any treatment caused by COVID-19.

© Darrell Chaddock on Unsplash

Although as it stands EU and UK travellers still need to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, it is hoped such restrictions will be eased in the coming weeks once countries begin to take control of their outbreaks.

Date of opening 15 June

Who can visit? China, Israel, Japan and South Korea. EU and UK visitors will hopefully be given the green light in the coming weeks

What are the restrictions? Temperature checks on arrival

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? No

West Sweden

Swedens’s reaction to the pandemic has been deemed controversial, with the country deciding to keep borders open within the EU – a decision that has meant many of its Nordic neighbours have since added Swedes to their red lists.

Bohuslan Coast west Sweden which countries are open
© Jonas Ingmann, West Sweden Tourist Board

But if you’re looking to reconnect with nature, there’s no better place to do so than west Sweden. Here, you can hop on a boat and catch fresh mussels for lunch; paddle your own kayak round the archipelagos of the west coast; cycle through meadows of wild flowers along the banks of the Göta Canal … or simply find your own perfect smultronställe (the place where the wild strawberries grow), as the Swedes call it, perhaps by a lakeshore or a clearing in the forest, breathe the fresh air scented with pine and relish the unspoilt nature; this is what West Sweden is all about.

Date of opening The borders never closed within the EU

Who can visit? Arrivals from the European Union, the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Algeria, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay

What are the restrictions? None

Is it on the UK quarantine-exemption list? No

Other countries that do not require quarantine:

Andorra As of 1 June, arrival is permitted through the borders with France and Spain for all citizens.

Antigua and Barbuda As of 1 June, borders are open to all citizens. Visitors must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of boarding.

Aruba As of 1 July, arrivals from Canada, the Caribbean (excl Haiti and Dominican Republic) and Europe are permitted.

Austria As of 21 June, borders are open to all EU and Schengen citizens as well as those from Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican and the United Kingdom.

Barbados As of 1 July, borders have reopened to many visitors. UK arrivals will be permitted from 15 July, when British Airways resume flights.

Bahamas As of 1 July, borders have reopened to all visitors. Visitors must submit an electronic health declaration form before arrival.

Belarus As of 1 July, borders have reopened to all visitors. Arrivals from the UK must present a medical certificate showing a negative coronavirus test result, issued no later than 48 hours before entry.

Bermuda As of 1 July, borders have reopened to all visitors. Visitors must obtain a certified negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure and will also be tested upon arrival, staying in isolation until a negative test is received.

Bulgaria As of 15 June, borders are open to citizens from 34 countries without quarantine, but the UK is not on this list.

Cuba As of 1 July, international flights have resumed to all major airports.

Cyprus As of 26 June, borders are open to arrivals from Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia, Lithuania, Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia and the Czech Republic. UK arrivals will be permitted from 15 July.

Czech Republic As of 15 June, arrivals from ‘green’ countries do not require quarantine. Click here for the full list. Travel restrictions for UK citizens have been lifted.

Denmark As of 27 June, borders have reopened to those from EU and Schengen countries (except Sweden and Portugal).

Dominican Republic As of 1 July, international flights have resumed to Punta Cana airport.

Dubai As of 7 July, international arrivals are permitted to enter and travel through Dubai. All arrivals must obtain medical travel insurance, complete a Health Declaration Form, register details on the COVID-19 DXB App, and sign a form declaring that they would bear all costs of quarantine or treatment in Dubai. Arrivals will also undergo thermal screening at airports.

Egypt As of 1 July, certain areas have reopened to international tourists, including Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab, Hurghada,Marsa Alam and Marsa Matrouh.

Estonia As of 1 June, borders are open to arrivals from EU countries where the COVID-19 incidence rate is below 15 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days (this now includes the UK). Click here for a full list of those who will need to quarantine.

Faroe Islands As of 27 June, borders are open to arrivals from EU/Schengen countries and the UK. Visitors will be tested on arrival.

Finland As of 15 June, borders are open to travellers from Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway.

France As of 15 June, borders are open to EU citizens, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican. Spanish arrivals will be permitted from 21 June.

Germany As of 17 June, borders are open to EU/Schengen citizens, as well as those from the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Hungary As of 18 June, borders are open to those arriving from the EU/EEA. UK arrivals must self-quarantine for 14 days.

Jamaica As of 15 June, borders are open to all visitors. All high-risk arrivals will undergo a test for COVID-19.

Latvia As of 3 June, borders are open to EU member states, EEA members and the Swiss Federation, where the COVID-19 incidence rate is below 15 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days.

Lithuania As of 15 June, borders are open to European countries in which the COVID-19 incidence rate hasn’t exceeded 25 cases per 100,000 in the last 14 days. Full list of countries not included can be found here.  

Malta As of 1 July, flights have resumed to a number of European destinations. From 15 July, flights will resume to London Heathrow.

Montenegro As of 1 June, borders are open to a number of countries, including the UK. Click here for a full list.

Netherlands As of 15 June, borders are open to all EU and Schengen citizens.

Norway As of 15 June, borders are open to arrivals from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Åland and the island Gotland in Sweden.

Poland As of 13 June, borders are open to all EU citizens.

Romania As of 13 June, borders are open to citizens from the EU, EEA, Switzerland and the UK.

Slovakia As of 16 June, borders are open to Liechtenstein, Germany, Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia,  Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Latvia, Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

Slovenia As of 13 June, borders are open to Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Norway, Slovakia and Switzerland.

St Lucia As of 4 June, borders are open to all citizens. Visitors must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 7 days of travel and fill in a pre-registration form before boarding.

St Vincent and the Grenadines As of 1 July, all international arrivals are welcomed to the islands. Testing is mandatory upon arrival, but no quarantine.

Switzerland As of 15 June, borders are open to those arriving from visitors coming from the EU/EFTA and the UK.

Tunisia As of 28 June, international flights have resumed. The country has classified countries within green, orange and red lists: those on the green list can enter without restriction, those on the orange list can enter but must self-quarantine for 14 days, and those on the red list are not permitted to enter. As of 9 July, the UK is now on the green list; see full details here.

Turkey As of 8 June, borders began reopening to 40 countries. Click here for the full list.

Ukraine As of 1 July, borders were open to foreign nationals from those countries that have a low risk of infection. The UK is currently still on the red list.

Destinations that are opening soon

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has an incredibly low infection rate, with only 2,000 cases recorded on the island and no new cases reported in the last 30 days. It’s one of the first destinations in Asia to commit to reopening to tourists.

Sri Lanka by rail which countries are open
© dave, Shutterstock

If you’ve spent lockdown dreaming of tropical beaches, gorgeous eco-lodges and a wealth of fantastic wildlife, then look no further.

Date of opening 1 August

Who can visit? Anybody

What are the restrictions? Travellers must submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test up to 72 hours prior to flight departure. Free tests will also be carried out at the airport.

Other destinations opening soon:

French Polynesia From 15 July, flights will resume to Europe and the US. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours old must be shown before boarding the flight.

Georgia From early July, the country will open so-called ‘green corridors’ with other countries with a low rate of infection. Details of which countries this will be is yet to be announced.

Maldives From 15 July, international flights will resume. A health declaration card will be required as part of the on-arrival procedure.

Turks and Caicos From 22 July, all international arrivals will be welcomed on the islands.

Note: The COVID-19 pandemic is by no means over. The challenges of containing the virus vary significantly from country to country, and it is the responsibility of each country to decide what is or isn’t appropriate/necessary to manage the virus in their destination. It is then up to individual travellers to decide whether they feel those measures are sufficient and, if they decide to travel, to observe necessary precautions to ensure they minimise the risk to themselves and to others.


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