All the countries UK holidaymakers can visit now without quarantine or Covid certificate

Noble Horvath

The list of countries that Britons can travel to without having to quarantine for 14 days on return is sadly diminishing week by week. © Provided by The Independent The latest to go are Turkey and Poland,  meaning that all arrivals to the UK from those nations must self-isolate – […]

The list of countries that Britons can travel to without having to quarantine for 14 days on return is sadly diminishing week by week.



a group of people on a rocky beach


© Provided by The Independent


The latest to go are Turkey and Poland,  meaning that all arrivals to the UK from those nations must self-isolate – unless they get home by 4am on Saturday, 3 October.

It follows the removal of Denmark, Iceland and Slovakia from the travel corridors list the week before, and Slovenia and Guadeloupe a fortnight ago, along with the additions of Singapore and Thailand. 

The Portuguese mainland was moved to the no-go list last month, while France, Malta and the Netherlands were removed from the exemption list in the middle of August, alongside Monaco, Switzerland, Turks & Caicos and Aruba. 

They joined Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas, as well as Spain, Serbia and Luxembourg.

All of these destinations were previously given the green light for travel, but have been removed after reporting spikes in coronavirus cases.

To confuse things further, holidaymakers have to check two different government lists: the Department for Transport’s travel corridors list (so you don’t have to quarantine on return) and the FCO’s exemption list (it is currently advising against all travel to countries not on the list, which could affect your travel insurance).

While the lists are not the same, there is a significant overlap of countries and the lists are moving closer. 

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: 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.

And then there’s the hurdle of getting a Covid certificate before you travel.

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

This list will be updated weekly.

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.

Many travellers from the UK don’t need to quarantine on arrival. 

However, as of 2 October, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the North West and North East of England, and Yorkshire and the Humber are considered high risk areas.

If you have visited any of these areas in the previous 14 days, you will need to quarantine for 14 days or show evidence that you have tested negative for Covid-19.

What are the rules?

Wearing a face masks is required in certain public areas in all of Germany’s 16 states. The rules vary from state to state – check here for further information. 

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. 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?

On 28 August, the government of Gibraltar announced that it is a legal requirement to wear masks in all enclosed indoor spaces which are open to the public – this includes retail shops, takeaways and hair and beauty salons, as well as on public transport. Bars, cafes and restaurants are not included in the restrictions. Those failing to wear a mask are subject to a fixed penalty notice of £100. 

The government of Gibraltar also recommends that people do not socialise outside of their family or established social bubbles.

What’s open?

Shops, beaches, museums, restaurants, cafes and bars are all allowed to open, albeit with reduced capacity and social distancing measures.

Since 21 August, bars and restaurants in Gibraltar have reduced their opening hours. Last orders are at 12:30am, and the premises must shut by 1am. Additionally, the drinking of alcohol in unlicensed public places after 11pm is now prohibited, and those who do so can be subject to a fixed penalty notice of £100.

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



a castle on top of a building: Agios Pavlos Church in Thessalonikiistock


© Provided by The Independent
Agios Pavlos Church in Thessalonikiistock

The popular holiday spot was closed to the UK until 15 July. Since then, 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).

As of 9 September, those returning from the Greek islands of Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos (also known as Zante) will have to self-isolate for two weeks. 

The FCDO (formerly FCO) is already advising against travel to these islands.

Travellers returning to England and Northern Ireland are required to self-isolate for 14 days when returning from the islands of Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos.

Scottish holidaymakers are also required to quarantine for 14 days upon returning from anywhere in Greece, including its islands. The new ruling was introduced on 3 September after ministers said there had been a “significant rise” in cases of Covid-19 being brought into Scotland from people who had been to Greece.

Deputy first minister said the move was “proportionate” and designed to “give us as much protection as possible here domestically to avoid a rise in cases and that’s what we’re trying to avoid at all possible costs”.

Travellers returning to Wales from the islands of Mykonos, Zakynthos (Zante), Lesvos, Paros and Antiparos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Crete are now also required to self-isolate for a fortnight upon their return.

At present, travellers returning to England from the Greek mainland are not subject to quarantine regulations, although if infection rates rise this may change.

What are the rules?

Face masks are obligatory in public indoor spaces, including medical facilities, lifts, staircases and any enclosed venue providing goods or services (including supermarkets, grocery stores, bakeries, cafes, banks, government and utility providers’ offices, retail shops, barber shops, hairdressers and beauty parlours and places of worship).

You must wear a face mask at all times when on an aeroplane or ferry travelling to or from Greece; and while 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.

There is a nationwide limit of 50 people as the number that can gather for public and social events, except those to which special rules apply, such as restaurants, theatres, cinemas.

There are also a number of local restrictions and measures in place. Check the FCDO website here for more information. 

What’s open?

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

As of 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 open.

Restaurants, bars and entertainment venues will remain closed from midnight to 7am in the following areas: Attica (which includes Athens, and the islands of Angistri, Aegina, Hydra, Kythira, Poros, Salamis, and Spetses), Crete; East Macedonia; Thrace; Thessaloniki; Halkidiki; Larissa; Corfu; Mykonos; Paros; Antiparos; Santorini; Zante/Zakynthos; Kos; Volos; Katerini. This list of areas may be expanded.

How can I get there?

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

Italy



a view of a city with a mountain in the background: Vineyards in Tuscanyistock


© Provided by The Independent
Vineyards in Tuscanyistock

While it may have started out as the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, Italy then managed to admirably flatten the curve and open up to visitors again. However, cases started to rise again from mid-August, particularly on the island of Sardinia.

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?

Social distancing of one metre must be observed.

The use of face masks remains mandatory in enclosed public spaces. From 16 August, masks must also be worn in all outdoor spaces between the hours of 6pm and 6am. You should pay close attention to signage and carry a mask with you at all times.

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 and subject to social distancing.

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

Note that many restaurants, beach facilities and other venues are asking patrons to provide their name and contact details before using their services.

Museums and archeological sites have been given permission to open. Entry must be pre-booked online.

As of 16 August, dance activity has been suspended in enclosed nightclubs and open air venues.

Regional authorities in Italy are empowered to adjust these measures in keeping with local requirements; regional differences may therefore apply in addition to the restrictions listed above.

How can I get there?

Train companies have reduced domestic services and international travel is limited. Some cross-border bus companies are also cancelling their services.

British Airways, Ryanair, easyJet, Wizz Air, Alitalia and Iberia are all flying direct to multiple destinations across the country. 

Portugal (Azores and Madeira only)

Most of Portugal has fallen foul of the quarantine list, with the exception of the islands of the Azores and Madeira.

UK travellers can still visit those islands without having to quarantine on return, and they are currently exempt from the FCDO’s advice against travel.

For Madeira and Porto Santo, you have to fill out a traveller questionnaire 12 to 48 hours before you arrive.

You should also upload the results of a negative Covid-19 test, taken 72 hours before departure, if you have one. If you don’t, you can take a test on arrival – this takes around 12 hours and you have to quarantine in your hotel in the interim.

For the Azores, a health questionnaire needs to be completed 72 hours before departure. This will generate a code, which you can show at the airport once you land. There’s also the option of completing this on arrival.

Incoming visitors will need to go through a health screening and show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken 72 hours before departure. Alternatively you can take a test on arrival – but you must self-isolate until the results come back.

For stays of seven days or more, you have to take a second test after six days.

What are the rules?

In Madeira, everyone over 10 is required to wear a mask while in enclosed spaces and while outdoors. The exceptions are when you’re driving, exercising, while on the beach or walking on recommended routes in the forest and mountain areas.

On the Azores the restrictions in place vary from island to island and you should check the local government’s website for the latest information.

What’s open?

Most hotels, restaurants and other leisure spaces have reopened. However, they may be subject to additional local curfews.

How can I get there?

EasyJet and British Airways both operate direct flights to Madeira from the UK. Ryanair and TAP will take you to the Azores via connecting flights.

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. FCDO guidance states that “all visitors must comply with social distancing and sanitisation regulations”.

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.

Sweden



a tree lit up at night: Pine trees in Swedish Laplandistock


© Provided by The Independent
Pine trees in Swedish Laplandistock

The UK government suspended quarantine measures for all British travellers returning from the country on 12 September and the country was reinstated to the UK’s “safe” list.

What are the rules?

There is no requirement to wear a face mask in public, although the Public Health Agency of Sweden asks people to maintain physical distance from others and asks those feeling unwell to stay at home.

Public gatherings of more than 50 people are banned, as well as visits to elderly care homes. People aged 70 and over are also advised to stay close to home to minimise contact with other people as much as possible.

What’s open?

Accommodation remains open throughout Sweden, with enhanced cleaning procedures in place. Stockholm’s Grand Hotel is opening for bookings, as is the country’s famous Ice Hotel.

Most shops, restaurants and stores are open, although some may operate with reduced hours and limitations on the number of customers allowed. Many museums are open, including Stockholm’s Fotografiska, ABBA The Museum and Gothenburg’s Museum of Art. Cinemas are open, with many remaining open at the height of the country’s coronavirus outbreak.

How do I get there?

There are a limited number of direct flights between the UK and Sweden – airlines have reduced the number of international flights to and from Stockholm and Gothenburg. 

Carriers flying direct to the country include British Airways, Ryanair, Finnair and Scandinavian Airlines.

Read more

Quarantine-free travel corridors: All the countries on the government’s list

Greece travel: Will country stay on England’s quarantine-free travel list and what rules are in place?

Sweden travel: Will country stay on UK’s quarantine-free travel list and what rules are in place?

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