Quarantine-free beach holidays to book now, from Croatia to Greece
This week’s traffic light changes have shifted the landscape for a summer escape, and from Monday those who are fully vaccinated will be able to travel back from amber destinations without isolating.
Amber options for fully vaccinated travellers
From Monday, the Balearic Islands will join mainland Spain and the Canary Islands on the amber list.
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On the Costa Brava in Catalonia, north-east Spain, Oliver’s Travels has availability at several villas, including Villa Bisbe near Tamariu – around 40 minutes from Girona and 90 from Barcelona. Sleeping six, it overlooks the turquoise water of rocky Aigua Gelida and is within walking distance of several sandy beaches and has its own palm-shaded pool.
A week’s rental from 23 July costs £2,878 excluding flights, oliverstravels.com
In Mallorca, Villa Can Pericas – which sleeps six – offers peace and privacy on an acre of land just a mile from sandy Muro beach near Alcudia. Make the most of the sunny Spanish weather with an eight metre pool and a spacious outdoor barbecue area. With a hire car included in the cost of this Jet2 Villas holiday, it’s easy to explore, from wandering the cobbled streets of old town Pollensa or seeking out the north-east’s best beaches, from Cala Agulla to Canyamell.
Seven nights’ self-catering costs £949pp including car hire and East Midlands flights departing 24 July, jet2villas.co.uk
James Villas has several properties available in July and August in the Canary Islands. For example, Villa Rosa in Lanzarote – on the Costa Teguise – is a whitewashed villa with its own pool, barbecue and terrace. The beaches of the east coast are easily accessible.
A week’s rental from 29 July costs £949 for up to six guests, excluding flights, jamesvillas.co.uk
Spain entry requirements: Evidence of full vaccination or test (PCR, TMA, LAMP or NEAR) completed 72 hours before travel. An online Health Control form must be completed up to 48 hours before departure.
The beaches of the Algarve have undeniable appeal, but there are beautiful stretches of Atlantic coastline within easy reach of the capital, Lisbon. For example, the former fishing village of Cascais has been a favoured retreat of royalty and celebrities and is a good base for exploring the historic resort town of Sintra, at the foot of the Sintra mountains, as well as surfing spots including Ericeira and Praia do Guincho.
British Airways Holidays offers four nights at the Pousada Cidadela Cascais for £605pp including B&B at the historic hotel, set within the walls of the town’s 16th-centry fortress, as well as flights from Heathrow on 23 July, britishairways.com
Entry requirements: Passengers aged 12 and over must have proof of a NAAT (including RT-PCR) or and Rapid Antigen test taken within 48 hours of travel. Evidence of vaccination is mandatory except for children under the age of 18 who are travelling with parents. Covid form must be completed online before departure.
Essaouira offers respite from the heat and bustle of Marrakech, with its blue and white medina and cooling Atlantic breeze. The beach is wide and popular with windsurfers, while the walled city offers history and excellent food and shopping opportunities in the souks, as well as panoramic walks along the historic ramparts.
Sovereign offers five nights’ B&B at the elegant Palais L’Heure Bleue hotel for £1,056pp in early August, with flights from Heathrow, sovereign.com
Entry requirements: Evidence of full vaccination or negative PCR test no more than 72 hours before flight; children under 11 exempt. All arrivals must complete a Public Health Passenger form.
Perfect for families, the Tui Blue Elounda Breeze hotel overlooks the seaside town of Elounda on Crete’s northwestern coast. The picturesque harbour is just the right size to explore with children, replete with seafront tavernas, family-friendly cafes and a sandy beach.The hotel, has two pools, a splash park and kids’ clubs.
A week’s all-inclusive costs £970pp departing Stansted on 8 August, tui.co.uk.
On the beautiful Halkidiki peninsula in northern Greece, Olympic Holidays has a week at the Kassandra Palace Hotel for £1,777 per couple departing Gatwick on 2 August. The resort has two pools – one Olympic-size – and opens directly onto the beach. olympicholidays.com.
Entry requirements: Evidence of full vaccination or negative PCR test (72 hours before departure) or rapid antigen test (48 hours) for all travellers over 12. A Passenger Locator Form must also be completed.
Many holidaymakers will have been waiting for the opportunity to cross the Channel without quarantine and will undoubtedly seize the chance from Monday.
Eurotunntel Le Shuttle has return vehicle crossings for around £200 for five-day stays in late July and early August, eurotunnel.com.
Make a grape escape to a picturesque campsite set in its own vineyard. Domaine de Massereau, just outside Montpelier offers a five-star camping experience that includes a gourmet restaurant and a spa complex with hammam, jacuzzi and sauna. There’s a forest of holly oak that’s ideal for cycling, as well as olive groves en route to the Massereau Vineyard, which is open for tastings and tours. The pretty town of Sommières is less than 10 minutes away and beaches around Sete and the Camargue are also easily accessible.
Brittany Ferries has availability in several destinations in July and August. For example, at the Hotel Aux Tamaris in Roscoff where five nights from 30 July costs £804 for two passengers including Portsmouth to St Malo ferry crossing.
Entry requirements: UK arrivals aged 11 and above must be fully vaccinated and present evidence of a negative PCR test (72 hours) or an antigen test (48 hours) of departure. Children under the age of 18 travelling with parents do not need to be vaccinated. All must complete a Covid ‘sworn statement’.
Green options for travellers without full vaccination status
Madeira welcomes UK arrivals who are not fully vaccinated, who must present a negative PCR test (72 hours).
Croatia and Bulgaria are two more options, with Croatia moving to the green watchlist on Monday and Bulgaria to the green list. However, presently the Foreign Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to both countries, which would invalidate most travel insurance policies. A spokesperson said that “further changes to other amber and green list countries may take place before 19 July”, meaning that travel advice could be relaxed when the destinations move to the green and green watchlists.
Cook’s Club Sunny Beach is on the shores of Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast and has B&B rooms from EUR92 per night in late July, cooksclub.com. The hotel has been newly refurbished and is close to the Unesco World Heritage site of Nessebar with its 3,000-year-old ruins including acropolis, temple of Apollo and Thracian fortifications.
Entry requirements: evidence of full vaccination or negative PCR test (72 hours) or rapid antigen test (48 hours) or proof of antibodies.
EasyJet Holidays has a number of options along the crenellated coastline, from Dubrovnik to the Istrian peninsula. For example, a week at the luxurious D Resort Sibenik – which has an extensive spa, outdoor infinity pool and dramatic views from its peninsula perch – from 1 August costs £1,314pp with flights from Gatwick and B&B. The medieval town of Sibenik is accessible on foot, easyjet.com
Entry requirements: evidence of fully vaccination, or a negative PCR test (72 hours) or rapid antigen test (48 hours) or proof of antibodies. Children under 12 accompanying fully vaccinated parents do not need to present Covid certification.
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