All the countries UK holidaymakers can visit now without quarantine

Leipzig, Germany
Leipzig, Germany

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

And the announcements have continued despite national lockdown in place in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, meaning only those in Scotland can travel for leisure.

Germany and Sweden were the latest countries to be removed from the travel corridors list, which will be effective from 4am Saturday 7 November.

Denmark also made the no-go list in a last minute announcement that came into effect immediately after an outbreak of coronavirus in minks that could be transmitted to humans.

Last week it was Cyprus and Lithuania. It follows the removal of Liechtenstein from the travel corridors list two weeks ago, and Italy, San Marino and Vatican City three weeks ago.

Dozens of other destinations were scratched from the list in the preceding months.

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.

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

Agios Pavlos Church in Thessalonikiistock
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).

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

But on 8 October, the islands of  Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Santorini and Zakynthos were re-added to the travel corridors list. It means that those who’ve returned from the islands after 4am on 10 October 2020 no longer have to quarantine. Crete has since been added too, with arrivals from there not required to self-isolate after 4am on Sunday 18 October.

It means the only area in Greece that’s off limits is Mykonos.

The FCDO (formerly FCO) advice has been updated to reflect this change too.

The devolved nations previously had different rules regarding the Greece, but Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has tweeted:  “ALSO THIS WEEK, the whole of the UK is now aligned with our advice around all of the Greek islands.”

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

What are the rules?

Greece has entered in a national lockdown. At present, it is mandatory to wear a mask in all public places (both indoors and outdoors), in all areas of Greece.

During lockdown, residents and visitors will be required to stay indoors as much as possible, and must only venture outside for “essential” reasons; they will need a permit to go outdoors.

What’s open?

While it is still possible to travel to Greece as a tourist, and hotels are still open, many touristic establishments are not.

All attractions and non-essential shops will be closed during the lockdown.

Restaurants, fast-food joints and cafes will be shut barring takeaway and delivery services.

How can I get there?

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

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.

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?