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As part of our ongoing travel coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic, we provide site-specific updates.
As the rate of COVID-19 infections continues to decline in most of Europe, countries have reopened their borders to tourists. The latest list of approved countries published by the European Union includes Australia, New Zealand and Canada, but not travelers from the United States. This does not mean that travel is out of the question for those in the US. If you are a US resident, you can visit the UK and Ireland, provided you are isolated for 14 days. Travelers can enter any EU country on the useful Reopen EU website and get the most up-to-date information on travel regulations.
One country that is open to all international travelers is Croatia. You do not need to quarantine either if you can show a negative COVID-19 test performed no more than 48 hours before arrival, according to AFAR magazine.
Where is it safe to travel in Europe?
The big question, of course, is security. To help you navigate which places in Europe are safest to visit, the European Bureau of Best Destinations has compiled a list of 20 places that have been least affected by the pandemic. Another advantage of these destinations is that the proportion of hospital beds to the population is higher than in most European countries.
The first destination on the list is Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, a country that has managed to keep its infection rates 260 times lower than other European countries. Other destinations include the Madeira Islands in Portugal, one of the sunniest destinations in Europe and one of the safest beach destinations on the continent. The Greek island of Corfu is another destination that the EBD deemed safe to visit.
Madeira Islands, Portugal
The EBD also offers a list of the safest beaches in Europe. At the top of the list is Preveza in Greece, where Monolithi Beach is located, the largest beach in Europe. City authorities have introduced various safety and health measures in their accommodation, shops and restaurants. Comporta in Portugal and the Hel Peninsula in Poland complete the first three recommendations.
A general rule to remember is, the hotter the destination, the better. This will allow you to spend more time outdoors later in the year, which means less risk of catching COVID-19.
Some destinations even offer financial incentives to visit. Sicily offers to pay half the cost of your flight ticket, some of your hotel expenses and will provide free tickets to museums and cultural sites. Cyprus hopes to attract tourists by promising to provide free healthcare and hotel expenses if you contribute with COVID-19 during your visit.
As it can be difficult to follow the different rules and regulations for COVID-19 travel in Europe, one way to make sure you are in safe hands is to book your vacation through a trusted travel expert. Then you can relax and enjoy your vacation knowing that the right precautions have been taken and that you have access to expert help if something goes wrong.
“As a tip for those who have reservations about booking a trip now, I would say: beautiful cities and places like Athens, Porto, Meteora and Lisbon are almost empty of tourists at the moment. There is no crowd on the streets and you do not have to wait in line for long. Hotels have very few guests, and this is especially noticeable in larger facilities where you will find many empty sunbeds by the pool and much more peace and quiet than usual. “
– Mrs Brennhäußer, Charming travel visitor to Portugal and Greece, summer 2020 Athens, GreecePorto, PortugalMeteora, Greece
Safety tips for traveling in Europe
If you are worried about flights, it may not be as dangerous as you think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, “most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of the way air circulates and is filtered on airplanes.” According to the Wall Street Journal, almost all commercial aircraft use high-efficiency particulate air filters similar to those used in hospitals. The cabins are also cleaned with antimicrobial disinfectants between flights. However, you should take the following precautions for air travel:
- Wear a mask. Most airlines require you to wear one for the entire duration of the flight.
- Maintain social distance as much as possible at the airport and on the plane. Some airlines book flights to keep the middle seats open, which increases your ability to keep a distance of six meters.
- Wash your hands often carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer to ensure your hands are virus-free. Avoid touching your face or eyes.
- Avoid using airport and airplane toilets as much as possible. If using it, wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds afterwards.
- Consider bringing your own replaceable bottle of water and snacks as services are limited both on the plane and at many airports.
Our travel experts track our destinations around the world to inform you about travel restrictions due to COVID-19 (and any other safety issues). Check back for updates or follow us on Facebook to see the latest.
Are you thinking of a European getaway? Talk to a European expert today and see what the continent has to offer!