With partial travel restrictions now in place for Greece and Portugal, the prospect of an autumn sun escape is looking less certain, not least with Spain, France, Malta and Croatia still firmly off the holiday map.
While the Government’s list of quarantine exempt destinations and Foreign Office “safe” countries remains relatively robust, many of those destinations – for example Mauritius, the Seychelles, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia – are still closed to tourists.
And yet international travel has not stalled completely. There are still countries whose infection rates remain comfortably below the 20 per 100,000 baseline (over a seven-day period) that the Government uses partially to determine whether or not travel restrictions should apply.
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That said, restrictions can change swiftly and you should be prepared for all eventualities if you decide to travel abroad. It’s also crucial to ensure you are comfortable with booking conditions and that you are adequately insured and financially protected should circumstances change while you are away. Stay up-to-date with both the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Department for Transport, as well as official channels for your chosen destination.
7.5 cases per 100,000
Temperatures are still comfortably in the mid to high 20Cs in September, evenings a little cooler than in August. Sunvil has been promoting the island for 50 years and offers a range of holidays, from hiking in the Troodos mountains to lapping up the turquoise water on the coast. A week’s fly-drive costs from £659pp with flights, taking in the west coast’s Akamas peninsula national park, Paphos Town with its ancient Tomb of the Kings and beaches such as Coral Bay.
Exempt from FCDO advice against non-essential travel and from quarantine on arrival in the UK. Arrivals from the UK to Cyprus must provide a negative Covid-19 test result on arrival, obtained within 72 hours before travel.
Italy: 14.9 cases per 100,000
The climate is still warm, with temperatures in the low to mid-20Cs in September, but the island is quieter than at the peak of August. It’s also the start of the olive and grape harvesting period, so while crowds are thinner, there’s still plenty of activity. Citalia has a week in Lipari, the largest of Sicily’s seven outlying volcanic Aeolian islands, for £1,054pp in September with flights and B&B at Hotel Mea.
Exempt from FCDO advice against non-essential travel and from quarantine on arrival in the UK. Arrivals must fill out a self-declaration form from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
13.2 cases per 100,000
Similar to Cyprus, Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline basks in the high 20Cs in September. Olympic Holidays has a number of trips on the Turquoise Coast, for example in Kalkan, where Ottoman-Greek architecture is set against a mountain backdrop and spills onto pine-lined beaches. A week at the Samira Resort, overlooking the waterfront, costs from £469pp with B&B and flights.
Exempt from FCDO advice against non-essential travel (apart from some border regions) and from quarantine on arrival in the UK. All arrivals into Turkey will be subject to a medical evaluation. Any passengers showing Covid symptoms will be will be required to undergo a swab test. If it returns a positive result, you will be provided with medical treatment at a facility determined by the Ministry of Health or, if preferred, at a private medical facility in Turkey. You should check whether your health insurance policy includes coverage for Covid-19.
176 total cases, 11 confirmed in the last 7 days among a population of 286,000
Once the hurricane season has tailed off, Barbados is prime autumn and winter sun territory, with direct flights from the UK and a coastline embroidered with scores of beach-facing hotels. Wind hunters head to the east coast to seek their waterborne thrills, while you might be lucky enough to swim with a turtle or two off the tranquil west coast. TUI has a week’s self-catering at the Beach View Hotel, overlooking Paynes Bay in St James – on the west coast – from £943pp with flights in November.
Exempt from FCDO advice against non-essential travel and from quarantine on arrival in the UK. Arrivals must present a negative Covid PCR antigen test undertaken at an accredited laboratory no more than 72 hours in advance of departure. A second test will be mandatory for arrivals from “medium risk” countries – including the UK – from 1 October.
24 total cases, 0 confirmed in the last 7 days among a population of 112,523
The “Spice Isle” is best visited after the hurricane season has subsided, usually from October onwards, when rainfall also decreases. Its interior is planted with nutmeg plantations – hence the spice epithet – and is also verdant with sugar cane for the rum industry, forest walks, hot springs and waterfalls. The coast, meanwhile, is all powder-soft sand and crystalline water that is the territory of beach-goers and divers. British Airways offers a week’s all-inclusive at the Royalton Grenada, in the south-west of the island, from £1,176pp with flights in November.
Exempt from FCDO advice against non-essential travel and from quarantine on arrival in the UK. The UK is considered a “medium risk” country, for which a negative PCR test result must be obtained seven days prior to departure, and a rapid test undertaken on arrival. A negative result, provided after 48 hours, will allow movement on the island. Accommodation must be at a government-approved hotel.