Top 15+ holiday destinations from the UK – which can you travel to hassle-free?
Travel restrictions are hugely complicated at the moment as a result of the pandemic, with Foreign Office warnings, quarantine requirements and a long list of other rules to worry about – plus for some countries, such as Spain, restrictions that had been lifted but now have been reimposed. To help, this guide cuts through the confusion and summarises the rules for the top 15+ travel destinations.
Here's what to weigh up when looking at travel restrictions:
- Is the Foreign Office warning against travel? For months it was warning against all non-essential travel – that's no longer the case, but the list of countries exempt from that warning is ever-changing.
- Do you have to quarantine on return to the UK? Arrivals from many countries (there are slightly different lists in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) must self-isolate for two weeks – which can make travelling there in the first place a non-starter.
- What entry restrictions does the country itself have? Some are barring Brits altogether – others require you to quarantine, take a test or fill in paperwork.
To help, the table below, which we're updating daily, shows the latest situation for the top 15 travel destinations.
Always check for yourself before travelling or planning travel, as this is a fast-moving situation – if you spot something in the table that needs updating, let us know.
|Spain||✘||✘||✓ (must complete sanitary control form online/via app to show on arrival)||✓||✓ (but temp check & visual assessment at airport)||Referred to health professional|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, if aged 6+ and can't do 1.5m social distance. Some regions have made masks mandatory in public.|
|France||✓||✓||✓||✓ (unless signs of infection)||✓||N/A|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in all enclosed public places (eg, shops, museums, restaurants, public transport) if aged 11+ (€135 fine if not). On flights with French airlines masks must be disposable not fabric.|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Varies by city and by state (sometimes even by store).|
|Italy||✓||✓||✓ (must complete a self-declaration form before arrival. For Sardinia, must register trips online at least 48hrs before arrival)||✓||✓||N/A|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in all enclosed public spaces incl shops, restaurants and transport (in all public spaces in Lombardy and Piedmont).|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in shops and on public transport if aged 6+, but check regional variations. €25 to €150 fine depending on region.|
|Greece||✓||✓||✓ (must complete passenger locator form at least 24hrs before arrival)||✓||Maybe (random testing at airport)||14-day quarantine|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, need to wear masks on public transport, in taxis, large shops and supermarkets. Also compulsory in lifts. See more detailed info on the rules for visiting Greece below.|
✓ (but temp scan. If fever detected, Covid test)
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, on public transport, in shops, museums and leisure spaces, and in restaurants while walking around (€120 to €350 fine if not).|
|The Netherlands||✓||✓||✓ (must complete health declaration form before leaving UK)||✓||✓||N/A|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, on public transport if aged 13+.|
|Turkey||✓||✓||✓ (must complete passenger locator form before arrival)||✓||Maybe (medical evaluation for all at airport, test if you've symptoms)||Referred to private hospital|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in crowded public places and shops, and public transport. Many areas, incl Istanbul and Bodrum, require masks at all times outside the home/hotel (900 lira fine if not).|
|Croatia||✓||✓||✓ (recommends filling in online form in advance and to carry proof of accommodation)||✓||✓||N/A|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, on public transport and in shops.|
|United Arab Emirates||✘||✘||✘||✘||✘||TBC|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in public places (can remove for eating and drinking) if you're aged 6+.|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in indoor public places and transport; requirements vary by city and state.|
|Austria||✓||✓||✓||✓||✘ (must book test at airport in advance, or take proof of negative test)||TBC|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in shops and on public transport.|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, on public transport. They are recommended to be worn in shops.|
|Australia||✓||✓||✘||✘||✓ (but there may be a health screening at airport)||TBC|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, but only in places where there is 'community transmission' and if you're aged 12+ ($200 fine if not). Check local requirements.|
While the table above summarises the rules in all the top tourist destinations, here's a full rundown of what's required if you're going to Greece or the Greek Islands – as it's a popular destination at this time of year with some particularly strict rules:
- The good news is UK travel restrictions have generally been lifted. As the table above shows, there's no Foreign Office warning or quarantine requirement for travellers returning to the UK, and the country itself is letting UK visitors in.
- You must fill in a 'passenger locator form' at least 24 hours before arrival – or you may be refused entry or fined. You can complete the passenger locator form online or via the Visit Greece app (free from the App Store and Google Play). You'll need to provide details such as your flight number, passport number and address in Greece.
Although the Greek Embassy and the form itself state that only one is required per household, some airlines are telling passengers it's one per person and we've heard of people being refused boarding for not having completed one form each, so it's best to check ahead of time with the airline.
Once you've filled in the form you'll be sent a unique QR code by email just after 12.01am on the day of your scheduled arrival – you'll need to show this to the authorities when you arrive. Failure to show a QR code could result in a €500 fine or you could even be refused boarding or entry.
- You MAY be tested at the airport. Visitors are being tested randomly on arrival. If you are tested, you will need to practise social distancing and look out for symptoms until the results comes through, usually within 24 hours, though you DON'T need to wait at the airport. You'll have to quarantine for 14 days if you test positive.
- Renting a car or taking a taxi? Watch out for new occupancy rules. There are limits on passenger numbers in vehicles – though we've seen conflicting reports on how this works in practice. The Foreign Office says a maximum of three adult passengers can be in a private car or taxi, in addition to the driver, and children don't count towards the limit. Yet we've also seen some say that the size of the vehicle matters – we're awaiting full info on this from the Greek Embassy and will update this guide as soon as we hear back.
Are there any other countries I can go to with little or no hassle?
Aside from the top 15 holiday destinations from the UK, there are several other 'no hassle' and 'low hassle' countries and territories you might want to consider for your next holiday. We will be adding to these lists as we go (do note that things are changing rapidly, so always check before you book AND before you travel).
- No hassle. With all the destinations below, the Foreign Office is no longer advising against travel, the country itself will let you in and you don't need to quarantine when travelling either way (though you may still need to take a coronavirus test or show proof of a recent negative test when entering the country):
- EU countries: Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Guadeloupe (part of France), Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Poland, Reunion (part of France), Slovakia, Slovenia.
- Non-EU countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bermuda, Curação, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Liechtenstein, New Caledonia, Norway, San Marino, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
- Low hassle. With all the destinations below, the Foreign Office is no longer advising against travel and the country itself will let you in, but you WILL need to quarantine when travelling, when arriving in the country, when coming back to the UK or potentially both:
- EU countries: Ireland, St Barthélemy.
- Non-EU countries: Cambodia, Jamaica, Martinique, St Maarten, Wallis and Futuna.
This depends on which way you're going when you're in transit:
- If you visit a country in transit on your way to your final destination – for example, you fly from the UK to country A via country B – then quarantine requirements will depend on the rules of the country you end up in. Unfortunately you'll need to check with the country in question, as it's impossible for us to stay on top of every nation's changing requirements – but if you need help, the country's UK embassy may be a good place to start.
- If you visit a country in transit on your return to the UK, or at any point in the 14 days before you arrive in the UK, then if that country is not on the list of those exempt from quarantine restrictions, you may need to self-isolate for two weeks once you're back in the UK, depending on the nature of your stop.
If returning to England or Wales, a 'transit' stop is where passengers can get on or off. It can apply to coaches, ferries, trains or flights. You WILL need to follow self-isolation rules if at the stop new passengers get on, or you or other passengers get off, mix with other people, then get on again.
If you're returning to Scotland or Northern Ireland, the rules aren't quite as detailed – so you should be prepared to isolate in all instances where you make a transit stop in a country not exempted from quarantine, whether new passengers get on or not.
It's important to understand that right now travel isn't financially risk-free, and there's a chance additional travel restrictions may be brought in in the coming weeks. So it's vital you understand the risks before booking. For full info on your travel rights, including what insurance will cover, how refunds work and more, see our Coronavirus Travel Rights guide.
If you are sure you're ready to book, for full help on getting the best deal see our Cheap Flights, Cheap Hotels and Cheap Package Holidays guides. Look for flexibility when booking as that's key right now – see airline-by-airline flexible booking policies for further help when booking flights. Also check your travel insurance, and if travelling to Europe, make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card.
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