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

Which countries are opening their borders to tourists?

As countries continue 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 31 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 Ireland’s ‘green list’?

Malta reopens to British travellers

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

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 permitted as of 15 July.

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

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? As of 1 July, Croatia is open to all tourists. EU/EEA countries and nations can enter with no reason given, while countries outside the EU are welcome, but must show proof of accommodation or tourist activity. 

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? Those from the EU/Schengen area, the UK and those countries considered ‘low risk’ by the EU.

What are the restrictions? None

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

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

Other countries that do not require quarantine:

Albania As of 1 July, the country opened its borders to all citizens. Visitors will have their temperature checked on arrival, and will be denied entry if it is over 37.5 degrees.

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

Antigua and Barbuda As of 4 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.

Bahamas Borders had reopened to visitors as of 1 July, but on 24 July the country went into a second lockdown meaning that all arrivals will have to quarantine for 14 days upon entry.

Barbados As of 1 July, borders have reopened to many visitors. UK arrivals are permitted as of 15 July, when British Airways resumes flights.

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.

Brazil As of 29 July, international borders were open (air only; land and sea borders remain closed). No quarantine or testing is required, but a valid visa and travel insurance is necessary.

Bulgaria As of 15 June, borders are open to citizens from 34 countries without quarantine. The UK has now been added to the list.

Costa Rica On 1 August, international borders opened to arrivals from a select number of countries, including the UK, EU, Schengen Zone and Canada.

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

Curaçao As of 1 July, arrivals to the island were welcome from Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain.

Cyprus As of 15 July, arrivals to the island are split into three lists: Category A, Category B and Category C. Those in Category A do not need to present a negative test or quarantine on arrival, but those from Category B are required to present proof of a negative test. Those on the Category C list are only permitted to enter for specific reasons. From 1 August, the UK will be listed as Category B (click here for full list).

Czech Republic As of 15 July, Czech Republic has updated its list of ‘safe’ countries that are allowed entry without quarantine, and this now includes the UK.

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

Djibouti As of 23 July, borders have reopened to all. Visitors will be subject to screening on arrival.

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.

Ethiopia International borders are now open, but arrivals must quarantine for 14 days.

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 23 July, borders are open to travellers from EU/Schengen area (not the UK), as well as those from South Korea, Georgia, Japan, Rwanda, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and New Zealand.

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.

French Polynesia As of 15 July, the islands have opened their borders to all arrivals. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours old must be shown before boarding the flight. Another test must be carried out four days after arrival.

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

Grenada On 1 August, international borders reopened. Countries are graded on a tiered system; the UK is currently listed as ‘medium-risk’, meaning that arrivals will need to provide a negative test before boarding and another test on arrival.

Guadeloupe As of 1 July, arrivals from all countries are permitted except the US, Brazil, India, Israel, Russia, and Turkmenistan. Arrivals must present proof of a negative PCR COVID test.

Hungary As of 18 June, countries are split into green, yellow and red categories: those in green can enter without restriction, those in yellow must self-quarantine for 14 days, those in red cannot enter. The UK is currently yellow.

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

Kenya The suspension of international passenger flights to and from Kenya was lifted on 1 August but the FCO still currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.

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.

Lebanon As of 1 July, international flights resumed to Beirut. All arrivals are welcome, subject to visa requirements.

Liberia As of 1 July, international borders were reopened. Passengers must submit proof of a negative PCR COVID test, taken within five days of arrival. Many other restrictions remain in place across the country.

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. As of 15 July, flights have resumed to London Heathrow.

Maldives As of 15 July, the islands have opened their borders to all arrivals. A health declaration card must be completed on arrival and passengers will be subject to thermal screening.

Montenegro As of 1 June, borders are open to a number of countries, including the UK. Click here for a full list. Note that given a spike in cases, the EU has removed Montenegro from its list of safe countries.

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

North Macedonia As of 1 July, borders are open to all arrivals with no restrictions or tests on arrival.

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. As of 15 July, UK arrivals were permitted without restriction.

Poland As of 13 June, borders are open to all EU citizens as well as those from the UK.

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

Russia As of 16 July, Russia no longer requires arrivals to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Senegal As of 15 July, international flights had resumed but land and sea borders remain closed. Passengers must submit proof of a negative PCR COVID test, taken no more than seven days before departure, and will be subject to screening at the airport.

Serbia Borders have remained open during the pandemic. The recent rise in infection rates means that the UK FCO has removed Serbia from the list of destinations exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel.

Sierra Leone Flights to Freetown recommenced on 22 July.

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. As of 20 July, UK visitors will be permitted to visit without restriction.

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. As of 20 July, UK visitors are permitted to travel without quarantine.

Spain From 21 June, borders are open to those from the EU/Schengen area. As of 26 July, Spain is no longer exempt from the UK list of countries from where arrivals do not need to self-isolate for 14 days.

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.

Sweden As of 4 July, borders are open to those from the EU/EEA and third-party countries declared safe by the EU.

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.

Turks and Caicos As of 22 July, borders reopened to all arrivals. Visitors will need to present proof of a negative PCR COVID test.

Ukraine As of 15 June, countries are permitted from those countries in the ‘green’ zone. Those in the ‘red’ zone may still be permitted entry, but could require quarantine. The UK is currently in the red zone.

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 15 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:

Bali From 11 September, it is expected that the island will open to all international tourists.

Belize From 15 August, international borders will reopen and all citizens will be permitted to enter. Arrivals must present a negative COVID PCR test at the airport, or pay to have one completed there and then.

Cayman Islands From 15 August, international borders will reopen and all citizens will be permitted to enter. Arrivals must present a negative COVID PCR test at the airport, or pay to have one completed there and then. They will then need to quarantine for five days at their hotel before being allowed to move freely on the islands.

Dominica From 7 August, international borders will open to arrivals from all countries. All travellers must complete a heath questionnaire and present a negative COVID PCR test on arrival.

Georgia From 1 September, the country will open so-called ‘green corridors’ with other countries with a low rate of infection. Details of which countries this will include is yet to be announced.

Jordan From 4 August, international flights are expected to resume. Only arrivals from green countries will be permitted; this list is yet to be announced but is expected to include Germany, Italy, Ireland and Taiwan. The UK is not likely to be included.

Nepal From 17 August, international arrivals will be permitted from those countries that have a low rate of infection. This list is yet to be published by the government.

Seychelles Commercial flights to the islands were due to recommence on 1 August. Click here for more information on this.

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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