Some countries have said they’ll allow international travellers to enter without negative coronavirus tests or having to quarantine – once they’ve had the Covid vaccination. Here’s what you need to know
WHICH COUNTRIES ARE OPEN TO VACCINATED TRAVELLERS?
By ABIGAIL MALBON
February 26 2021
The UK is currently in lockdown, meaning international travel isn’t currently allowed. However, following the announcement of the planned road map by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday 22 February, it seems UK staycations are looking more likely by Monday 12 April, while overseas breaks may be permitted from Monday 17 May at the earliest. Read 'When will we travel?' for all the latest information. And in more good news, some countries have said they’ll allow travellers to enter once they’ve been vaccinated, something the UK is hoping to achieve for the entire adult population by autumn 2021.
While the UK government has not yet 100 per cent confirmed whether vaccine passports will go ahead, these are the countries that have said they will welcome travellers, potentially without a negative Covid-19 test or having to quaratine upon arrival if they have official proof of having had a coronavirus vaccine, or, in some places, if passengers have evidence that they have recently had and recovered from the virus, and therefore still have the necessary antibodies in their system.
The Estonian ministry has confirmed the country will welcome travellers in these circumstances: ‘From 1 February, 10-day self-isolation and Covid-19 testing are not mandatory for individuals, including those arriving from the UK or a third country, who either have suffered from Covid-19 and no more than six months have passed since they have been declared cured, or who have undergone Covid-19 vaccination and no more than six months have passed since its completion.’
Where to stay: The unique capital, Tallinn, shimmers in beautiful Northern light and can be both endearingly shabby and stunningly attractive. The Three Sisters Hotel was Tallinn's first contemporary-style hotel, and is housed in three adjacent 14th-century buildings, the so-called 'sisters'.
What to do: A morning can easily be spent wandering through the old town, visiting the Town Hall and Upper Town for a special view of the majestic city. Follow this up with a visit to the National Art Museum, which houses an impressive 59,000 items, many of which are on show in the 18th-century noble's house.
The Seychelles is planning to remove all quarantine requirements for those who have had a Covid vaccine. However, a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travelling will still need to be shown.
Where to stay: The nation of 115 islands has plenty of choice, but the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island is a firm favourite. Alternatively, check out more of the most beautiful places to stay in the Seychelles.
What to do: Explore a few of the islands to make the most out of your trip. Getting around is relatively easy thanks to inter-island plane transfers.
The UK is not currently in the green category, meaning the new rules don’t apply for Cyprus yet. However, it is expected that we will be included once infection rates drop. The Minister of Transport for Cyprus, Yiannis Karousos commented: ‘The amended action plan is expected to further boost the interest of airline companies to carry out additional flights to Cyprus, improve connectivity and increase passenger traffic.’
Where to stay: Sumptuous scenery is pretty much guaranteed wherever you choose to stay in Cyprus, although Paphos stands out thanks to its ancient ruins and stunning harbour. Stay at Almyra design hotel for top-notch food: the chef is a Nobu alumnus.
What to do: A visit to Paphos' ancient ruins is a must, but we'd recommend hiring a car and driving north of the island for some of the dreamiest beaches.
Covid measures for travellers to Iceland include testing and quarantine, but it’s expected that people who can prove they have had a vaccine will be able to bypass this from Saturday 1 May 2021. Authorities are also accepting certificates proving previous Covid infection, enabling those with antibodies to be exempt from testing or quarantine requirements.
Where to stay: Most head to Reykjavik for its café culture, boutiques and world-class bars. For a particularly special trip, book into The Retreat – a 62-suite spa hotel in a private extension of the famous Blue Lagoon.
What to do: A bucket-list blitz, of course: see the Northern Lights, swim in the Blue Lagoon and go on a whale tour. For something a little more unusual, horseback riding in the cold, open air is equally as memorable.
Arrivals into Romania will not need to quarantine, provided they can show proof of two Covid vaccinations, the second dose having been given more than 10 days before travel.
Where to stay: Transylvania is a glorious throwback to go-slow, rural living, filled with 12th-century buildings and Gothic castles, horse-drawn carts, brown bears roaming the mountains and farmers busily ploughing fields. There's also some excitingly fresh places to stay there too, thanks to Bethlen Estates.
What to do: Take a trip to the Carpathian Mountains to see Bran Castle – also known as Dracula's Castle, due to its similarity to the fortress described in Bram Stoker's novel. Or choose to explore one of the many, many other beautiful places in Romania.
In Lebanon travellers will be able to skip longer quarantine measures as long as they have a negative PCR test taken 96 hours before flying. Upon arrival, they are then required to take another test and quarantine for 72 hours.
As of Monday 1 February 2021, all international tourists can enter Georgia (the country, not the American state) as long as they can prove that they have had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
The 10-day quarantine requirement for those travelling to Poland will be lifted for anyone who has been fully vaccinated. You will need to have a Covid test issued within 48 hours before arrival, but both PCR and antigen tests will be accepted.
WHICH COUNTRIES ARE RUMOURED TO BE CONSIDERING LETTING IN VACCINATED TRAVELLERS?
Greece is said to be considering allowing tourists to enter the country. This would mean the country would be breaking from the European Union, which is pushing for a cautious approach to reopening for non-essential travel from outside the bloc. However, Greece has already forged a ‘vaccine bubble’ agreement with Israel and Cyprus, which means it's feasible that the process could be applied to UK travellers, too.
Spain is also reportedly considering allowing British travellers to visit if they have had a Covid vaccine. In late February, the country’s tourism chief said travel could return as soon as summer, although this has not been confirmed by the UK government.