With the changes to UK travel rules, a summer vacation abroad is now a realistic prospect for Brits who have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days before departure.
UK requirements still include at least one antigen test before return and one PCR test within two days of arrival in the UK.
Some countries still require a test or a passenger search form (in addition to the UK) before departure. In a normal year, choosing a destination can take months, with heated family debates in winter, but not this time. Quick decisions are required. Where? Here is a list of possible countries.
entry requirements: no isolation for people with double impact on arrival, but you have to fill out an online form (at entercroatia.mup.hr/) before departure and show the booking receipt for the accommodation. Masks must be worn indoors and when social distancing cannot be maintained. Restaurants are open for indoor and outdoor use. Cafés and bars only open outdoors.
Croatia has stunning coastline and islands, but some places can get crowded: Dubrovnik and Split are usually crowded in summer; Popular islands like Rab and Hvar can also get crowded. Instead, head to the lesser-known islands like Dubi Otok, Brijuni, and Lastovo. Any island that requires a double ferry ride is likely a good choice. To really get away, try an active vacation like kayaking or sailing.
Malik Adventures goes to the Kornati islands, where with luck you will see another tourist. Alternatively, head to the mountains like Velebit, where there are great hiking opportunities and beautiful villages and mountain huts. Croatian food and drinks are excellent and you can often find gems in the mountains like Drniš, the home of the best raw ham, pršut.
Entry requirements: However, people who have received two vaccinations more than 14 days before departure must fill out a Cyprus flight passport at least 48 hours before departure (cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/de/geimpfte-fliegen-frage.) Cafés, bars and restaurants are open with reduced indoor capacity. Night clubs are open, but dance floors remain closed.
Crowds are usually easy to find in Cypriot cities like Paphos and Ayia Napa. To get off the beaten track, head towards the Troodos Mountains to the southwest and cycle through the villages or hike to the Caledonia Falls. Finish off with a grilled trout and a glass of the local dessert wine Commandaria, the oldest wine in the world still in production 800 years later.
Entry requirements: Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to be quarantined, but must have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival or an antigen test within 48 hours. Masks are required indoors and on public transport.
No doubt the mountains will be calling out loud this summer with fresh air and plenty of space. Fortunately, France has many highland regions to offer: the Jura, the Massif Central and Pyrenees they all look like good bets. Where the traditional beach hotels are the losers, the traditional gites (gites-de-france.com/de) that give you self-catering and remote rural locations.
Entry Requirements: People with double thrusts are exempt from quarantine requirements, but as the UK is currently classified as a high incidence area, you will need to fill out a form prior to departure einreiseanmeldung.de/#/. Land entry is subject to other regulations that you should check. Music venues and nightclubs are closed, but the situation varies across the country depending on federal regulations. Beer gardens and outdoor catering are generally open.
Germany is a country that British visitors increasingly visited before the pandemic. With a great mountain backdrop, beautiful lakes and forests and a fine coastline, it has a lot to offer. Try the waterways and lakes in Meklenburg, a summer favorite of Berliners, or head to Saxony to discover beautiful villages and landscapes near the Czech border. In the Baltic Sea, islands like Rügen offer a gentle, relaxed attitude to life that is perfect for a hiking or cycling holiday.
Entry requirements: No isolation for those who have a vaccination record with a full vaccination at least 14 days before departure. You need to fill out a passenger locator form (https://travel.gov.gr/#/) before arrival. Masks are required indoors. Random tests are carried out at airports.
While some Greek islands attract crowds, others are oases of calm even in the high season. From Piraeus, take a ferry to spectacular mountain towns such as Amorgo, Ikaria and Sifnos, where long walks on mountain trails lead to stunning beaches and villages. On the mainland, travel from bases such as Ioannina and Kastoria to the gorges near the Albanian border or to the beautiful green Pelion peninsula. In August, when the days can get hot, get up early and have the space to yourself.
Entry requirements: Proof of double vaccination more than 14 days before departure. You must also provide a completed Public Health Passenger Form upon arrival (onda.ma/form.php). Bars and restaurants are open but close at 11 p.m.
At 4,167 m, Mount Toubkal is the highest peak in North Africa and a worthy challenge for a first trip abroad in a long time. It is usually climbed from Imlil, a small mountain village that is a taxi ride from Marrakech (the 67km are often driven as well). These Atlas mountain villages are wonderful to explore, but you might want to wait until September when the weather is cooler. From Imlil you could go to Ijoukak. Many UK tour operators go on walking tours here. Another great peak is Mount Mgoun, 4071m, a lesser-visited peak that stands above the Ait Bougmez Valley, where terraced fields rise up the mountainsides.
Entry requirements: No isolation for fully vaccinated people over 18 years of age. Face masks are worn indoors and outdoors when social distancing cannot be guaranteed. The restrictions tend to be stricter than the UK. Bars, cafes and restaurants are open normally.
A very popular destination for the British, but Portugal still has many less explored areas outside of the hotspots of Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve. New hiking and biking trails in the mountains are a great way to get away from the crowds. Saddle Skedaddle, for example, make a great mountain bike tour, Atlantic Trails, into the mountains near Sintra, while the hiking specialist Inntravel offers a nice tour through the only national park in the country, Peneda-Gerês, on the northern border with Spain, where there are wild horses and a small population of ibex.
Entry requirements: Individuals who are fully vaccinated do not need to be isolated, but must have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure. There is no mask requirement in public spaces. Bars open as usual.
Not so long ago, tourist hotspots like Barcelona were calling for the numbers to be reduced so their neighborhoods would not be overrun. The situation is very different now, but it is a chance to look at regions of the country that have never registered much on the visitor radar. Inland from places like Valencia and Benidorm are mountainous areas that have been depopulated in recent decades, yet still boast splendid traditional villages and ancient hiking trails. Further north in Catalonia, Wild Frontiers take a walking tour of Montseny National Park, where you can also discover Priorat – one of the best, but lesser-known, wines in Spain.