Travel guide to Spain, Portugal, France and more holiday hotspotson June 3, 2021 at 1:10 pm

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What you need to know about travelling abroad to Portugal, Spain, Greece, France, Italy and Turkey.

Airport queue

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Foreign holidays are back, but organising a trip isn’t straightforward.

Here are some of the things you need to know about visiting six popular destinations – Portugal, Spain, Greece, France, Italy and Turkey.

Foreign holidays are legal, although Welsh residents have been asked not to travel abroad.

England’s traffic light list classes destinations as green, amber or red. Similar rules apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There’s no quarantine when you return from a green country. However, you must pay for Covid tests before and after you travel and complete a passenger locator form.

The government says you should not holiday in amber and red countries. Quarantine rules apply and there are extra tests.

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Green list banner

Travel to Portugal

Portugal is currently on the green list, but the government has announced it will move to the amber list from 04:00 BST Tuesday 8 June.

The country is open to UK tourists, but you must:

In Madeira/Porto Santo you can show proof of having two vaccinations, or recent recovery from Covid, instead of a negative test.

If you are returning to the UK before 8 June you must follow the green list rules. The government has a list of private clinics for Covid tests in Portugal, but you can also buy approved tests in the UK and take them with you.

Once Portugal moves to the amber list, the rules for returning to the UK will change.

If you are in Portugal when the rules change you will need to prepare to self-isolate for ten days when you return to the UK, taking tests on your second and eighth days in quarantine.

Beach in Portugal

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Covid cases in Portugal:

  • 36 confirmed Covid cases per 100,000 people per week (seven-day average) – cases rising. (UK – 34 cases)
  • 57 total vaccine doses administered per 100 people. (UK – 96 doses)

(source: Our World in Data, 2 June)

What are the rules in Portugal?

Face coverings must be worn in public, but aren’t required while sunbathing or swimming.

Visit Portugal and the UK Foreign Office advise (as of 2 June):

  • Restaurants/pavement cafes can seat six together indoors (10 outdoors) and must close at 22:30
  • Bars and nightclubs remain closed
  • Shops shut at 21:00 on weekdays and 19:00 at weekends
  • Beaches have one-way systems, sunshades and towels should be three metres apart
  • Check beach-occupancy levels, avoid “red” and “amber” ones
  • Golf courses, museums and art galleries are open
  • Public transport is limited to two-thirds capacity
  • Fines up to €100 if you breach regulations

Accommodation must have a Covid “contingency plan”, and multiple households can share. Campsites have two-thirds capacity.

Rules apply to sharing a hire car.

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Amber list banner

Travel to Spain

If travelling via Gibraltar, check the latest Foreign Office travel advice.

Follow the amber list rules when you return to the UK.

View of Benidorm

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Covid cases in Spain:

What are the rules in Spain?

A nationwide state of emergency has ended, but local rules remain.

These include overnight curfews and limits on meeting inside homes or in public. Beach rules vary by region.

Across Spain:

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Amber list banner

Travel to Greece

UK tourists are allowed entry.

You must complete a passenger locator form and will receive a QR code.

Everyone (aged five and over) must provide either:

You may have to take a rapid Covid test on arrival, with quarantine in a hotel for at least 10 days if positive. You may also have to self-isolate if other passengers on your flight/ferry test positive later.

Follow the amber list rules when you return to the UK.

Sunny street in Greece

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Covid cases in Greece:

What are the rules in Greece?

National and local restrictions remain under regular review:

  • You must wear face coverings in public places (indoors and outdoors)
  • A curfew is in place from 00:30 to 05:00
  • No more than three people can travel in a taxi or private vehicle (unless in the same family)

Travel across mainland Greece and the islands of Lefkada, Evia and Salamina is allowed. Travel to other Greek islands requires a negative test (or proof of vaccination).

  • Restaurants, cafes and bars cannot play music and only six people can sit together
  • Beaches are open, with umbrellas at least 4m apart and two sunbeds per umbrella
  • Museums and archaeological sites have reduced capacity
  • Theatres and live events can operate

Tourist accommodation must have Covid action plans.

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Amber list banner

Travel to France

The French Government says travel from foreign countries is “strongly discouraged”.

Follow the amber list rules when you return to the UK.

French holiday gite

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Covid cases in France:

What are the rules in France?

Face coverings are compulsory for anyone aged 11 or over on public transport and in many public places.

The Foreign Office and Explore France advise:

  • A national curfew is in place from 21:00 to 06:00
  • Most shops, museums, zoos and monuments can reopen
  • Bars cafes and restaurants can open outdoors only, with six people per table

Tourist accommodation, including camping and caravan sites, can open. Hotel restaurant/bar areas must stay closed.

The next relaxation is due on 9 June when:

  • Indoor hospitality will reopen (six per table)
  • The curfew will be pushed back until 23:00
  • France is expected to open up more to foreign tourists
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Amber list banner

Travel to Italy

Italy no longer requires 10 days’ quarantine on arrival at airports – as long as you present a negative Covid test result (taken within 48 hours).

You must:

Follow the amber list rules when you return to the UK.

Sistine Chapel in Rome

image copyrightGetty Images

Covid cases in Italy:

What are the rules in Italy?

The UK Foreign Office and Italy’s official tourism website advise (as of 2 June):

  • Face coverings are mandatory in public spaces (indoors and outdoors) for all aged six and above
  • Shops, ice cream parlours and pastry shops are open
  • Bars/restaurants can open indoors and outdoors with table service
  • Four people can sit at a restaurant table (more if from same household)
  • A nightly curfew is in place 23:00-05:00 (to be relaxed from 7 June)
  • Public transport has 50% capacity
  • Beaches and open air swimming pools can open
  • Beach umbrellas must have 10 sq m of free space
  • Cinemas, theatres and museums have limited capacity
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Red list banner

Travel to Turkey

  • Provide a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours before arrival
  • Complete an online form within 72 hours of travel
  • Expect a medical evaluation for coronavirus symptoms, including temperature tests

Follow the red list rules when you return to the UK – including 10-days quarantine in a hotel and taking two Covid tests after arrival.

Aerial view of Istanbul

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Covid cases in Turkey:

What are the rules in Turkey?

There are nationwide curfews until at least 1 July. Provinces are split into four tiers by Covid-19 risk from low to very high.

The Foreign Office advises (as of 2 June):

  • Face coverings must be worn outside of private homes
  • Smoking in public is banned
  • Restaurants have limited opening hours for takeaways and deliveries only
  • Shops have limited opening hours
  • Public transport limited to 50% capacity
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