These European countries hope to welcome UK tourists this summer - but visitors may need a Covid vaccine

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 1:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 1:46 pm
Some European destinations have announced plans to reopen their borders this summer (Photo: Shutterstock)
Some European destinations have announced plans to reopen their borders this summer (Photo: Shutterstock)

Foreign holidays are currently banned across the UK, under strict rules to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

Currently, travellers are only permitted to leave the country with a reasonable excuse, such as for work or study, with people living in England and Wales facing a £5,000 fine for breaking the rules.

However, despite the ban on travel, several foreign countries have announced they will welcome British tourists this summer once restrictions lift.

Here is the latest guidance on travel and holidays, and which countries UK travellers will be able to visit once restrictions are lifted.

When will foreign travel resume?

It is currently illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes in the UK, with foreign trips only permitted if it is essential, such as for work purposes.

A UK government taskforce report is due on 12 April, which is expected to detail how and when international travel can resume.

At the moment, the earliest date when people living in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to holiday abroad is 17 May.

However, this will be dependent on various factors, including the number of Covid-19 cases across the country and the success of the coronavirus vaccine rollout.

Northern Ireland has not yet confirmed its plans for holidays and travel, but chief medical office Dr Michael McBride has said it would be “premature” to book a foreign summer trip.

The slower rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in Europe, and a recent surge in coronavirus cases, has also cast doubt on the possibility of foreign travel being able to resume this summer.

Which countries will welcome UK tourists?

Many popular European holiday destinations have announced plans to reopen their borders this summer, with the hope of welcoming back UK tourists.

Malta is the latest country to state it will welcome the return of UK travellers from 1 June, although it will be required that tourists have had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine to be allowed to enter.

The UK is currently on Malta’s red list of countries, which means non-vaccinated travellers are banned from entering.

As such, travellers will need to show their vaccination card before boarding flights, according to the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA).

Tolene Van Der Merwe, director for the UK and Ireland at MTA, said: “Malta is a very popular destination for British holidaymakers and is a key contributor to Malta’s economy, so we are excited to welcome back fully vaccinated travellers from the United Kingdom from 1 June.

“The people of Malta are looking forward to tourists returning who have loved our sunshine, culture, food and warm spirit year in, year out.”

Here are some of the other European countries that expect to welcome UK holidaymakers back this year, and the requirements for visiting:

Greece

Greece is aiming to reopen its borders to foreign tourists from 14 May.

Visitors will be required to have had a vaccination, a recent negative Covid-19 test, or have coronavirus antibodies in order to enter.

Spain

Spain is keen to reopen its borders “as soon as possible”, but is yet to confirm how or when UK holidaymakers will be welcomed.

However, the country has announced it is considering the use of vaccine passports from May.

Portugal

Portugal expects to be open for UK visitors from 17 May, which is the earliest date that people in England, Wales and Scotland could be allowed to travel abroad for holidays.

It is likely that travellers will be able to enter the country without restrictions if they show evidence that they have been vaccinated, have coronavirus antibodies or have received a recent negative Covid-19 test.

France

France is allowing UK visitors to enter if they have had a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours before departure.

However, travellers must self-isolate for seven days on arrival under current rules, before taking another test.

A date for the easing of measures is yet to be confirmed.

Cyprus

British nationals who have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine will be welcomed from 1 May, without the need to take a Covid-19 test or self-isolate.

Italy

All arrivals from the UK on non-essential visits are banned until at least 6 April, amid concerns over the UK variant of coronavirus.

Travellers must also have proof of a negative molecular or antigen swab test taken in the 72 hours preceding their entry, and take another test within their first 48 hours in the country.

Turkey

Turkey expects to welcome UK holidaymakers this summer even if they have not been vaccinated or taken a recent Covid-19 test.

The country will assess its plan for the summer after 15 April.