We've got some very good news for you: leisure travel abroad is back on the table this summer as travel restrictions are loosening up. Got an itchy foot? I don't blame you, and now you can go scratch it. 

Need to feel some heat? Curious enough to chill out somewhere new that you wouldn’t have usually considered? Deserve to be pampered? Or do you fancy some late-night summer dining surrounded by smiling mask-free locals with exotic accents? If you're nodding to any or all of these, keep reading. 

Here we take a look at the best, most interesting and different destinations on the Green List as well as a few places on the Amber List for those who have been fully vaccinated.

 

Countries To Visit on the Green COVID List

What’s the ‘Green List’? 

Countries on the Green List have fewer COVID-related risks and therefore you don’t need to quarantine on arrival back in the UK. However, you will need to do a COVID test before you travel (with a negative result), then a test when you come back. Plus, you should always check the destination country's policy for entry before booking your holiday.

If that seems like a fair deal, here are some great destinations to consider and what (if any) red tape needs completing. 

 

On a Budget – Split, CROATIA

Split is a stunning coastal city full of life and fun and history. 

You can fly directly for around £70 or, if you want to save a bit more, you can fly to Zara for £25. Zara is about 60km to the north of Split, and although it might not be as charming, it does have the best access to the islands that are scattered down the western coast - these are a must-see!

Croatia Green List

There are lots of things to do in Split and you will feel a long, long way from the grey streets of the UK. 

You should expect temperatures of high 20s/low 30s in August.

You will need to have a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior. Kids are exempt.

 

Mid-range – MADEIRA

This Portuguese island has been popular lately, even if it is tiny. Located approximately 200km off the western coast of Morocco, it really is an isolated rock that would be a fitting home for Robinson Crusoe. 

But don’t worry, there is some civilisation! The city of Funchal has around 100,000 inhabitants and is the main hub of life on the island. The rest being green, rugged and mountainous - complete with forest lagoons and waterfalls. 

Madeira Green List

The island is about 20km long and 10km wide, so you can imagine that getting around by bike is a popular way to travel. There are, of course, activities such as climbing, trekking, canyoning, kayaking and hiking too, and also some sandy coves for sunbathing and swimming. It really is a little paradise for those who love nature and the outdoors, and want to feel a million miles away from the rest of the world.

The walking and trekking routes are breathtaking.

Flights to the island are going for around £120.

It will be mid 20s temperature-wise in August. 

You will need to have a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior. Kids are exempt.

 

Luxury – Antigua and Barbuda

You know those picture postcards of impossibly white beaches and crystal clear seas? Yep, they are taken here.

Check out Princess Diana Beach – this is where the late Princess often spent her down time away from the palace.

Both islands have luxury resorts, serving excellent food and providing services you’d expect for the price tag. 

Places To Visit On The Green List

In terms of things to do? RELAX. 

Direct flights cost about £400 and you can expect a steady temperature of 30 degrees.

Seriously, it’s paradise. 

You will need to have a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior. Kids are exempt.

 

Countries To Visit on the Amber COVID List

What’s the ‘Amber List’? 

Countries on the Amber List have slightly stricter travel arrival/departure requirements than those on the Green List due to current COVID infection rates in the destination country. 

From the 19th July, if you have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days before departure, you will have more freedom to travel to countries on the current Amber List, and without quarantine obligations on your return (as long as you test negative when you come back). 

In short, Amber List countries will be practically the same - in terms of red tape - as Green list countries for vaccinated travellers from the UK. 

That's another great reason to get the jab! 

Be sure to check the destination country’s policy beforehand though, and remember that rules can still change!

Check out these options we’ve found for a summer getaway this year, and what you need to do.

 

On a Budget - MALTA

Malta is the first country in the EU to reach Herd Immunity.

Although Malta is on the UK’s Green list, to visit there you are required to be vaccinated, and therefore you need to show certification. 

With flights going as cheap as £28 (one-way), the chance to feel some real heat and splash about in the Meditteranean is less expensive than an average Friday night in the UK. 

It is a relatively small island, once under British rule due to its strategic location between Italy and Northern Africa. For this reason, the locals speak English, Maltese and some Italian.

Malta Amber List

The capital, La Valetta, is a charming seaside port town with characteristic Italian-style architecture and narrow mazey alleyways. You can find plenty of accommodation here. 

Apart from good food (particularly seafood) and the turquoise Med, Malta also offers a variety of land and sea activities to have a go at: hiking, coastal walks, cycling routes, rock-climbing, quad-biking, diving, jet skiing (into caves), and kayaking. 

Temperatures will be around 31/32 degrees throughout August.

 

Mid-range - Ithaca, GREECE

Fancy visiting the home of the legend Odysseus? Ithaca is a small island off the west coast of mainland Greece, steeped in greek mythology and history. 

It is also ideally located for boat trips to surrounding islands (and there are a lot of them!). 

Fly to Kefalonia with British Airways from £207 return, and then take the ferry over. However, you could just as easily stay in Kefalonia to be honest. It’s stunning. 

The charm of Ithaca is obviously the myths and legends of its ancestors, but also that it isn’t quite as touristy as other islands, remaining traditional, peaceful and unspoilt. 

Places To Go On Holiday In 2021

Greece is famous for the islands and island-hopping is quite a popular thing to do. However, Ithaca offers a range of beaches, pebbled, sandy and rocky and will give you a place to relax, eat well, and let your imagination wonder.

You can expect temperatures of 30+ in August.

You need proof of COVID vaccination to enter Greece, but no quarantine is required. Kids are exempt.

 

Luxury-ish - Iceland

Not what you were expecting, right? Well, Iceland offers up something a little different, not so focused on the sun, sea and sandy beaches.

The land of fire and ice! Wide open spaces, fresh cool air, and a range of adventure activities. The Times have put together an excellent 5-day package tour starting in October. At £1,295 per person, all inclusive, you will get the chance to explore this magical island and see the natural phenomenon of the Northern Lights, as well as check out volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, hot springs and do boat tours. 

Visit Iceland In 2021

It really is a well-put together trip, and ticks many a box on the bucket list.

It will not be a trip for those who want to rest their heads.

To take part, you must be fully-vaccinated.



All-in-all, we hope that like us, you are happy that borders are opening up again. It is a huge step in the right direction and cause for optimism that we can and are moving on from COVID. 

Writing this has made our feet very itchy indeed… 

If you want to play it extra safe though, check out our recent blog on staycations in the UK.