How to fly
Spain? Check. ✓ Portugal? Check. ✓ Greece? Check. ✓
USA? OK, maybe not the USA right now.
Some holiday destinations are on the UK's green list and some are not, and we therefore hear a lot in the news about those countries being "open" or "closed".
But very few places are still actually closed.
Some countries on the green list are easier, and yes in some cases safer, to visit than others.
One branch of the UK government - the Department for Transport - runs the traffic light list that sets countries as green, amber or red and thereby the rules for travellers returning to the UK. But another branch of the UK government - the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office ("FCDO") - says it's safe to travel to some of the countries that are on the amber list. Other governments, most recently the USA, have even opened up to visitors from countries (like Turkey and South Africa) still on our red list.
The UK government advises against non-essential travel to some destinations, and we are by no means encouraging people to ignore that advice. The government also discourages travel to destinations not on the green list - but there is no rule, at least at this end, preventing anyone travelling to an orange or even red list country.
Whether your trip is essential is ultimately up to you.
For everyone who has a trip they consider essential; for everyone who booked a trip and now can't cancel it; for everyone who simply wants to know where it's possible to go...we wrote this guide for you.
The UK's top 12 holiday destinations
Open to UK visitors without a test, except for the Canary Islands which require a test, vaccine certificate or proof of recovery if you stay in tourist accommodationOrange list rules - test before you fly home, then again on days 2 and 8 (or test to release) Flights are available FCDO advises against non-essential travel to mainland Spain and the Balearics but not to the Canary Islands
Travelling to Spain
Spain is open to UK visitors without even a test to get in - you just need to fill out a passenger declaration form. The one exception to this is the Canary Islands, which require a negative test, proof of vaccination or proof of recovery if you're staying in tourist accommodation.
Open to UK visitors with a negative test and 5 days' quarantineOrange list rules - test before you fly home, then again on days 2 and 8 (or test to release) Flights are available FCDO advises against non-essential travel to Italy
Travelling to Italy
Italy is open to UK visitors with a negative test taken 48 hours before travelling, but as of June 21 arrivals from the UK to Italy are required to isolate for 5 days. Currently this rule comes to an end at the end of July.
Open to UK visitors with a negative test or proof of vaccinationOrange list rules - test before you fly home, then again on days 2 and 8 (or test to release) Flights are available FCDO advises against non-essential travel to Greece, except for the islands of Corfu, Crete, Kos, Rhodes and Zante
Travelling to Greece
Greece is open to UK visitors with either a negative test or proof of vaccination. Greece launched an ambitious vaccination programme earlier in the year, "Operation Freedom", to fully-vaccinate the populations of more than 60 of its most popular tourist islands, and that programme is well under way. While Greece remains on the Department for Transport's amber list, the FCDO acknowledges the success of Greece's Covid eradication programme by withdrawing its "essential travel only" advice for five of the islands.
Closed to UK visitorsOrange list rules - test before you fly home, then again on days 2 and 8 (or test to release) Flights are available FCDO advises against non-essential travel to USA
Travelling to USA
The USA recently reopened its borders to more than 60 countries, including several on the UK's red list - but not the UK. Widely believed to be a quid pro quo for the UK maintaining the US on our amber list, it's likely that both parties will be able to agree a travel corridor in short order as soon as the UK moves the USA to green - which could be as soon as the next review at the end of June.
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Open to UK visitorsOrange list rules - test before you fly home, then again on days 2 and 8 (or test to release) Flights are available FCDO does not advise against travelling to Portugal
Travelling to Portugal
Until early on Tuesday June 8, Portugal was the biggest destination on the UK's green list and thousands of holidaymakers were heading off there every day. The decision to remove it, announced on June 3, caught both the travel industry and many holidaymakers by surprise - not only because the scientific advise was for Portugal to stay green, but also because the government had promised as recently as May not to suddenly remove any countries from the green list but to move them to a watchlist first.
Fair to say, therefore, that so long as Portugal continues to control the virus, it should be put back on the green list at the next review at the end of June.
Open to UK visitors either with a vaccine or with restrictions and quarantineOrange list rules - test before you fly home, then again on days 2 and 8 (or test to release) Flights, trains and ferries are available FCDO advises against non-essential travel to France
Travelling to France
From June 9 the rules for travelling to France from the UK changed. Fully-vaccinated travellers no longer need to isolate for seven days when they arrive, but they still need to complete a negative Covid test before they set off. Travellers without a full vaccine still need to isolate on arrival, and can only enter France if they can show an essential reason todoi so (or are exempt, such as hauliers).
Open to UK visitors with negative test and restrictionsRed list rules - test before you fly home, then 10 days' quarntine in a government hotel Direct flights are suspended FCDO advises against non-essential travel to Turkey
Travelling to Turkey
Turkey is on the UK's red list, and has also suspended direct flights from the UK, so may beone of the least convenient places to go for a holiday at the moment. The main package holiday providers have suspended trips there until mid to end July, so for a break you may have to look elsewhere.
Open to UK visitors with negative test, vaccination or previous Covid recoveryOrange list rules - test before you fly home, then again on days 2 and 8 (or test to release) Flights are available FCDO advises against non-essential travel to Poland
Travelling to Poland
While there is a quarantine period for some travellers entering Poland, visitors from the UK are exempt so long as they can show evidence of a negative test, full vaccination or previous recovery from Covid.
The Green Green Green list
Keep up to date with where you can travel this summer.
Closed to UK visitors barring exceptional circumstancesOrange list rules - test before you fly home, then again on days 2 and 8 (or test to release) Flights are available FCDO advises against non-essential travel to Germany
Travelling to Germany
From May 23 Germany closed its borders to UK visitors, citing a variant of concern (the Delta, previously known as the Indian, variant) circulating in the UK. Since much of the rest of Europe is open to UK visitors this seems anoamlous, and it's likely Germany will reopen its borders soon.
Closed to UK visitors barring exceptional circumstancesOrange list rules - test before you fly home, then again on days 2 and 8 (or test to release) Flights are available FCDO advises against non-essential travel to Netherlands
Travelling to Netherlands
Netherlands is closed to non-essential visits from outside the EU (and therefore closed to UK visitors barring exceptional circumstances).
Open to visitors from Northern Ireland; other UK visitors must self-isolate or quarantine for at least five daysCommon Travel Area rules - there is no requirement to test before returning to the UK from Ireland Flights and ferries are available FCDO does not advise against travelling to Ireland
Travelling to Ireland
Ireland stands outside the traffic light system as part of the Common Travel Area, an agreement that predates Covid, Brexit or even the EU. Ireland's rules on entry still apply, so you can simply travel from Northern Ireland to Ireland and haven't been overseas in the last 14 days. But if you start your journey from elsewhere in the UK, or you've been overseas, arriving into Ireland you're required to self-isolate for 14 days (which can be cut to 5 with a negative test). Ireland is not therefore currently viable for most holidays. The rules on travelling to Ireland will change in July to permit easier travel to and from the EU, but the UK is not part of the EU and not included in that scheme.
Returning from Ireland to the UK is much more straightforward - as part of the Common Travel Area, coming back from Ireland doesn't even require a test.
Open to UK visitors with either a negative test or proof of full vaccinationOrange list rules - test before you fly home, then again on days 2 and 8 (or test to release) Flights are available FCDO advises against non-essential travel to Cyprus
Travelling to Cyprus
Cyprus reopened to UK visitors on April 29, moving the UK into its amber category. That means to visit Cyprus you need either a negative test or proof of full vaccination.
Taking a UK holiday
Some people are deciding it's simpler this year just to holiday at home, staying in the UK and heading out to the beach or a theme park or a UK city break.
(Some of them are even calling their UK holiday a "staycation", and the jury's still out on whether that word really includes actual holidays or still just means staying in your house.)
If that's you - great! There's so much to see and do here in the UK you can have a great break right here. See our link below for some breaks we've already put together by combining some of the country's top attractions with some of our hand-picked hotels.
Holidays inside the Common Travel Area
As well as the green list and the red list, there's the - largely unacknolwedged - super-green list, the Common Travel Area. That's an agreement of the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man which predates Brexit (and even the EU) and normally allows people to move freely between any of those territories.
You still have to follow the local rules of the place you're visiting, even if it's in the Common Travel Area, so while Ireland was in full lockdown (for example) you couldn't easily visit, and while Jersey was closed it was closed to UK visitors too.
But (here's the big plus) if you come back to the UK from a CTA country you don't need to do any sort of test.
So you can fly (or boat, or conceivably swim if you've packed extra-light) to Ireland or Jersey and come back without the hassle and expense of more Covid tests. Jersey is open to UK travellers right now with either no or minimal restrictions and isolation; Guernsey (which includes many of the other smaller islands like Alderney) plans to reopen in July; and Ireland is open to visitors from Northern Ireland with minimal restrictions.
Looking for more inspiration, information or a handy travel guide? You'll find more on our travel hub.
At Holiday Extras we're all about hassle-free travel - so we've read all the documents and done all the research so you don't have to.
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