The people of Britain have been travelled-starved for the best part of 2020 and 2021! The good news is that travel is set to become easier and more accessible from October 4 when the traffic light system which categorises countries into three bands (red, amber, green) is to be scrapped. The system will move to a list of ‘red’ countries and the rest of the world where people from the UK can travel quarantine free.
There are many popular holiday destinations that have been removed from the red list which is opening up the places that some of us have missed the most!
In this post, we are running over the most sought after and most viable destinations for people from the UK to travel to. This takes into account the restrictions in each country for travellers from the UK as well as restrictions imposed in the UK upon return.
What are the new travel rules?
Fully vaccinated travellers arriving from non-red list countries no longer have to take a PCR or lateral flow test for people returning to the UK. This includes people from the UK, EU, US and 18 other recognised countries. Everyone under 18 can travel without taking tests regardless of their vaccination status.
If you aren’t vaccinated and you’re 18 or over you still need to take a PCR or lateral flow test within three days before returning to the UK. You also need to take a test on or before day two and on or after day eight after you return. You are also required to self-isolate at home for 10 days after arrival in the UK.
What are the rules for countries on the red list?
Red-list countries are those the UK government has said should only be visited under extreme circumstances. There are currently 54 countries on that list and it includes most of Africa and Central and South America. The full red list of countries can be found at the end of this post.
If you have been in one of the red-listed countries in the last 10 days, you can only enter the UK if you are a UK or Irish national, or a UK resident.
Check foreign travel advice before booking anything
Foreign travel advice will tell you if they allow people to enter from the UK and whether you need to show proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test before arrival. It will also tell you whether you will need to quarantine on arrival.
Side note: from November, fully vaccinated UK passengers will be able to travel to the US.
Our top holiday destination choices
The new categorisation in the UK of red destinations and the rest of the world makes it easier for residents of the UK to know where they can and can’t go. But it’s important to get your head around which ‘safe’ countries for the UK will actually allow UK residents to enter. For example, New Zealand is deemed safe but your chances of getting in through that border are basically 0 (even if you are a New Zealander living in the UK!).
In this post, we are listing out the most popular destinations that are available and accessible for people from the UK to enter. We also include information on restrictions and requirements for entry to each country. It is also important to bear in mind that most of these destinations will only be easily accessible for those who are fully vaccinated.
The countries listed in this post are valid to visit in October 2021. The regulations in the UK and the rest of the world are changing all the time so always check the latestgreen-list status andForeign Office before making any decisions.
Turkey is the first country on our list as it is one hot destination that has only recently been deemed safe to travel to. Even though we are at the end of the European summer season there are still so many amazing things to do in Turkey.
Turkey is where the east meets the west. It is rich in ancient history and is home to some of the most remarkable ancient ruins in the world. Turkey is also a nation that has a vibrant culture and arguably the best food in the world.
It is also home to some of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful natural landscapes in the world, from dramatic coastal mountains, endless deserts, turquoise water beaches and unforgettable mineral pools (all complete with onsite ancient ruins of course!).
Turkish people are warm, friendly and go above and beyond to help you and make you feel welcome in their country. An extra added bonus is that Turkey is one of the mostaffordable places to visit in Europe!
There is so much to do in every corner of the country. All in one week you can bathe in ancient pools, take a sailing trip, ballooning over the desert to sipping on a coffee in Istanbul and so much more! To discover our Ultimate Turkey Bucket List clickHERE!
You may even be able to score some shoulder-season deals on summer activities like cruises because the weather stays relatively warm through November.
Turkey travel requirements
If you’re coming from the UK you need to show either proof of full vaccination, evidence of having recently recovered from COVID or a negative test on arrival.
As of mid-September about half of the population have been fully vaccinated. Cases have risen over summer but are lower than in the UK. Mask mandates in public places are strict.
2. The Maldives
The latest announcement which moved the Maldives from the red-list to the green list has been a welcome relief for those who need a tropical reprieve from winter. December to March is the high season in the Maldives so hopefully, the news will help the mostly tourist-dependent country recover from the pandemic.
The Maldives is one of the most sought after tropical destinations in the world with almost 1200 islands grouped into atolls. The Maldives is all about white sand beaches, coconut trees, snorkelling and luxury accommodation. Swimming with whale sharks and manta rays are some of the coolest activities that the Maldives have to offer.
Maldives travel requirements
To visit the Maldives you need to have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days. You also have to take a PCR test within 96 hours before departure and fill in a health declaration form.
Vaccination rates are similar in the Maldives to that of Europe. COVID cases are at average levels. Individual resorts have their own COVID-19 protocols that guests need to adhere to.
3. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is another hot tourist spot for UK travellers looking for a tropical escape during winter so it is a welcome addition to this list of destinations! There is so much to see and do on this small tropical island. Whether you want to go on the most famous train ride in the world, visit gorgeous tea plantations, chase magnificent waterfalls, go on a wildlife safari, take up surfing or just relax on an idyllic tropical beach all day, then Sri Lanka may be the destination for you!
Sri Lanka also has food that is to die for, beautiful people and exciting culture. There is never a dull moment in this picturesque island nation. To discover our favourite things to do in Sri Lanka (especially if you are an adventure seeker), clickHERE!
Sri Lanka travel requirements
Requirements have been changing a lot so always check for the latest updates before making any plans. You should have a negative PCR test from the last 72 hours before boarding your flight. If you are fully vaccinated you no longer need another PCR test on arrival and you no longer need to stay in an approved hotel.
Vaccine rates in Sri Lanka are similar to those in the US. The country escaped the worst of the 2020 outbreak. They had a surge in cases over the summer but it seems to have settled down. Public gatherings are still limited but this may change from October.
Oman is another up and coming destination that many people in the UK will be busting to escape to. It is also one of our topoff the beaten path destinations to visit in the world. Oman is just further than Dubai but not quite a long haul flight away. As the summer heat in the desert eases, Oman is now on the cards as the cooler months of winter set it.
Oman is on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is a must-visit for travellers who love hiking, the outdoors, swimming and exploring natural landscapes. There are also a lot of man-made marvels to visit! Expect sand dune deserts, ancient forts, rocky canyons and pristine beaches.
One of the top things to do in Oman is to hike theJebel Shams Balcony Walk. The Jebel Shams is Oman’s answer to the Grand Canyon. The balcony walk is a trail that goes along the edge of the canyon. There is a steep cliff face on one side and a 500m drop on the other. There are stunning views and a waterfall at the end to top it off.
Wadi Bani Khalid and Wadi Shab are also must-visit spots in Oman. The Wadis are freshwater rivers and lagoons that run through the palm tree-lined canyons that you can hike to and swim in. Paradise!
Oman travel requirements
You must show a certificate with a QR code recording a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival. You should register this and your vaccine certification pre-flight.
Oman has come down from the peak infection rate in June 2021 after a moderate vaccine rollout. There are many mask requirements in place and you may need to show a vaccination certificate to enter restaurants and shopping malls.
Croatia is an incredible Balkan country on the Adriatic coast. Croatia is made up of a mountainous mainland and thousands of islands that are simply breathtaking to visit. Dubrovnik is one of Croatia’s most popular destinations. This medieval city is still fully walled with incredible architecture, scenery and nightlife.
Some of our most favourite places to visit in Croatia include Split, Dubrovnik, Hvar, Korcula, Mjet, Makarska, Stari Grad, Plitvice Lakes and so much more! One of the best ways to visit Croatia is by taking a sailing trip through the islands in summer. There is nothing quite like the sunny days, crystal clear oceans and candy floss sunset skies of Croatia!
Croatia Travel Requirements
Non-EU citizens aged 12 or over need to show one of the following: Evidence of a negative PCR test, a negative antigen test, proof of vaccination or proof of COVID recovery less than 180 days ago.
You’ll also need to fill out an online form and show you have paid for accommodation.
Residents and visitors are still expected to wear a mask indoors and in open spaces where physical distancing isn’t possible. Cases in Croatia are generally low even though vaccination rates aren't particularly high.
Malta is an incredibly tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. It is a reliable destination for those sun-starved citizens of the UK who can enjoy an escape to the sun at almost any time of year.
This island may be small but it packs a punch with a gorgeous main port city of Valletta which boasts beautiful architecture, colourful seaside villages and ancient walled medieval towns. Our favourite part about Malta is the incredible coastline and surrounding islands. Expect bright blue water at the famous blue lagoon, incredible cliffs and rock formations, rock jumping at St Peters Pool and even some stunning beach clubs to enjoy the sunset, such as Cafe Del Mar.
Malta also has an interestingly diverse culture with Arabic, Italian and British quirks.
Malta Travel requirements
Travellers from the UK need to have proof of vaccination. All travellers over the age of 12 need to be fully vaccinated. Children under 12 can travel with vaccinated parents if they present a negative PCR test less than 72 hours before travel.
Restrictions in Malta have been gradually removed since May 2021. But some remain such as a limited of 6 people seated at restaurants. Masks are still expected in many settings and no dance floors are open.
The vaccination rate in Malta is among the worlds highest!
Iceland is the epitome of adventure. This arctic land of fire and ice is bursting with dramatic mountains, volcanic beaches, live volcanoes, hot springs, glaciers, hardcore waterfalls, rivers, valleys and everything in between. It is also an incredible place to see the Northern lights, making this a top destination for a winter escape this Christmas.
One of the most epic ways to see Iceland is to embark on an 820-mile self-drive loop around the country of Route 1. This is the best way to take in all of the outstanding, out-of-this-world scenery.
Iceland Travel Requirements
UK travellers can enter if they provide proof of vaccination that happened over 14 days ago. You must take a Covid test on arrival and quarantine until a negative test is returned within 24 hours.
All restrictions were listing on gatherings, mask-wearing and business openings in June 2021. Iceland has achieved high vaccination rates and low case numbers.
Barbados is known as the gateway to the Caribbean and is one of the most popular tropical escapes for those needing some sun in the UK! This incredible island is a tropical paradise with something to suit everyone’s taste. On the west side of the island, you’ll find gentle clear blue seas as well as the most luxurious resorts. This is perfect for travellers who want the ultimate holiday of relaxation.
On the east coast you’ll find more wild seas and waves which is perfectly suited for those who love to surf. The best part is, you can have both in one visit to Barbados. The historic capital of Bridgetown is also an amazing place to visit to soak up the culture and history of this beautiful island.
Barbados Travel Requirements
Travellers need to present proof of a recognised PCR test taken three days before arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers will be tested again on arrival and if results are negative will be free to leave quarantine after a day or two. Unvaccinated travellers must take a test after 5 days of quarantine.
Local curfews were listed on June 30, although restrictions on large events such as carnival remain as do requirements to wear face masks in public and social distancing.
Portugal is another hotspot for travellers from the UK which has been off-limits for some time for UK travellers. But the new system allows UK travellers to travel freely to this incredible country. Portugal is affordable, full of incredible landscapes, cities, beaches and culture plus it is only a couple of hours from the UK, meaning Portugal is a welcome addition to the green list!
Portugal is small, but this small country on the Atlantic coat packs a punch. From the riverside city of Porto with its beautiful tiled buildings, massive bridges and of course port wine, to the vibrant capital of Lisbon, to the beautiful mountains inland, the surfing hotspots along the coast and of course the incredible beaches and coves of the Algarve region, plus so much more! There is something for everyone to love about Portugal.
Portugal Travel Requirements
Portugal imposed a 14-day quarantine for people coming from the UK but you are exempt if you can show that it has been 14 days since your second vaccination. Under 18s with fully vaccinated parents also don’t need to quarantine. All travellers over 12 must show an approved negative test 48-72 hours before boarding their flight.
Rules inside Portugal vary depending on the area and how high risk it has been deemed. There are high vaccination rates but cases have also been rising which travellers need to take into account when making travel plans.
While summer may be over, Greece is still an incredible country to visit in the winter months. It is also the perfect time to start planning an epic Greek summer trip for summer in 2022. Greece is hugely dependent on tourism and so has always wanted visitors back since the beginning of the pandemic.
Greece is most famous for its incredible islands. Of the 3000 islands 100 are inhabited and there are endless options for islands to visit. Santorini is the most famous and also the most stunning, it certainly lives up to the hype. Other favourites include Milos, Ios, Pathos, Karpathos, Corfu, Crete and Mykonos to name just a few. If you love crystal clear water, dramatic coastlines, spectacular sunsets and relaxed seaside vibes- a Greek Island trip is for you!
When planning a trip to Greece we mustn’t forget the mainland which is full of incredible ancient cities and ruins such as Olympos and Athens plus their spectacular mountain regions. You will also find an abundance of incredible Greek culture and food all year round on Greece’s mainland, making this a wonderful yet unexpected winter escape for people from the UK!
Greece Travel Requirements
You can enter Greece if you have one of these three things: proof of a negative test result, proof of full vaccination or proof of a positive COVID test from the past 30 to 180 days.
Face masks are still expected in most indoor settings and you may have to show proof of vaccination to enter bars and other crowded spots.
Red list of countries and territories
- Cape Verde
- Congo (Democratic Republic)
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- French Guiana
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- Trinidad and Tobago
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