Travel

Should I book a holiday to Portugal, Spain, Greece or Cape Verde?


Ferragudo in Faro, the Algarve, Portugal (Picture: Getty)

The UK’s green list and kick-off date for the slow reopening of international travel (May 17) has been announced.

Since we’ve been grounded more or less since March 2020, it’s no surprise that many are frantically searching for holidays.

Portugal, Greece, Spain and Cape Verde are among the tantalising destinations currently intriguing British travellers.

But while dreaming and planning for a future trip is great fun, should you book now for 2021 or 2022?

Here’s the latest guidance.

Should I book a holiday full stop?

Grant Shapps sets out traffic light system for international travel from May 17

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It will be possible to holiday abroad in certain countries from May 17 onwards.

Many say it’s wise to wait a little longer – but if you are keen to book for summer 2021, proceed with caution.

Thoroughly research:

  • your destination
  • its coronavirus guidelines (including by country, region, on arriving there and if you’ll need to wear a mask out-and-about)
  • the rules here in the UK, which can be found by perusing the green, amber and red lists
  • your accommodation and planned activities. Are you happy with their Covid-19 policies? Are they fully operational?

Be prepared for sudden changes (such as a destination moving from the green or amber list to the red list).

Is now the time to book a holiday at all? (Picture: Getty)

Scrutinise your travel insurance, too. Now’s not the time to skip the T&Cs.

Most providers will offer some form of Covid coverage (including treatment and repatriation) – but if you’re travelling against FCO advice, they won’t.

If in doubt about booking independently, speak to a travel agent or book an ATOL-protected packaged holiday instead.

Should I book a holiday to Portugal?

Bookings for Portugal have, reportedly, ‘gone through the roof’ since May 7. Prices have doubled, too.

No surprise, really – as the European country is one of only 12 places on the UK’s travel green list.

Its autonomous regions, the island of Madeira and the Azores, are also part of the green list.

Can you go to the Azores, as well as mainland Portugal? (Picture: Getty)

And it’s one of the very few places on the green list that won’t require a lengthy quarantine period on arrival for British travellers.

Numerous sources report that Portugal (and the Azores) will allow Brits in from May 17. Madeira already allows travel for any purpose.

This has yet to be confirmed by the FCO website, so keep an eye on Portugal’s entry requirements.

Essentially, all signs point to visits being possible from May 17.

And while you’ll need to take a bunch of Covid-19 tests, you won’t have to self-isolate while there, or on return to the UK.

Porto, one of Portugal’s prettiest cities (Picture: Getty)

Should I book a holiday to Spain?

Spain is on the amber list – including the Balearics (like Ibiza) and Canary Islands (like Tenerife).

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said that leisure travel to amber countries isn’t recommended.

So, there are lots of requirements to travel to Spain from May 17, including numerous tests and a quarantine period on return to the UK.

Then there’s the question of when Spain will actually let Brits in without quarantining on arrival, too.

Keep an eye on Spain’s entry requirements, detailed on the FCO website.

Seville, Spain (Picture: Getty)

Right now, it’s believed Spain will start reopening to British travellers from June onwards.

Nothing is set in stone, so maybe put down the credit card for now – and watch this space.

Should I book a holiday to Greece?

Greece and all of its islands – including Corfu and Kos – are on the amber list.

From May 17, the British government allows travel there – but you will have to self isolate on return to the UK.

Greece is currently allowing British tourists to enter, if they have a negative Covid test result.

Can you head to Santorini and other Greek hotspots? (Picture: Getty)

The FCO website states:

‘From 19 April, arrivals from the UK with proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, undertaken within the 72 hour period before arrival into Greece are exempted from the need to self-isolate on arrival to Greece.

‘In addition to this they have announced that UK travellers with proof of two COVID-19 vaccinations completed at least 14 days before travel are also exempt from self-isolation.

‘Until there is means to certify vaccinations for international travel, all travellers should continue to obtain a PCR test as stated above.’

Keep an eye on Greece’s entry requirements – as things can change rapidly.

Should I book a holiday to Cape Verde?

Santiago, Cape Verde’s largest island (Picture: Getty)

The African archipelago of Cape Verde is on the amber list, like Spain and Greece.

Therefore, you’ll need to self-isolate on return to the UK.

To enter Cape Verde, you’ll need to complete a number of entry requirements – including a negative PCR test and several travel forms.

Updates to Cape Verde’s entry requirements can be found here.

Again, on announcing the lists, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that leisure travel to amber countries isn’t recommended.

And trusted consumer site Which? recommends holding off on booking for the time being.


MORE : Which countries are on the green travel list?


MORE : Just four countries on green list will let UK tourists in without quarantining


MORE : Do you need a Covid vaccine to go on holiday abroad?

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