Which countries are open to tourism?


With Autumn creeping up on Europe slowly but very surely, and with the pull of city breaks and European Christmas markets tantalising our social media feeds and taste buds, one of the most prominent questions popping up across internet searches in recent weeks is ‘where can I travel to?’

If we had posed this situation to you last year, telling you that in just a few months the travel industry would be brought to its knees by a global ban on travel, how would you have reacted? You would likely have laughed us out the door. But as 2020 has shown, nothing is impossible.

Luckily, despite some areas backtracking and taking steps back towards lockdown for the safety of their residents, every week new places and destinations are being added to the “yes” list for global tourism. This article, written in the middle of November, highlights the situation as it stands right now. However, it should be noted that this list is changing all the time.

Where can you go on holiday?

The United Kingdom has announced a series of countries which it has placed on a travel corridor list, enabling UK citizens to travel between their home country and these select countries without having to quarantine on return.

The fact is that every country has imposed its own rules and guidelines, and while self-isolation for up to 14 days is the norm in many location after travel, there are some destinations where these guidelines are more severe and more relaxed. Getting your head around these restrictions is no mean feat – and with rules constantly changing every day, it seems as though the best we can hope to do is stay in the loop with our local area and ride through the challenging months to come.

Most of Europe is open for some form of travel – however, what changes between countries is the testing guidelines and self-isolation requirements on entry. For information on travel to specific destinations, visit their countries government or state regulations and travel information pages.

However, if what you are looking for is a basic idea on where you can go away in the coming months, the following list details those countries where travel is currently allowed, subject to local entry requirements.

In Europe:

Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Austria, Azores, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Lavia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine

Outside of Europe, nations across the Mediterranean have been open in varying capacities since May, making huge steps towards welcoming tourists back to their tropical island destinations and luxurious resorts to prop up the tourism economy. Asia has also committed to opening its borders again throughout October and November as the start of its peak tourist season begins; and, perhaps most crucially, airlines are starting to get back on their feet as flights reopen and airline staff are brought back in small groups to manage long haul and shorter flights as demand begins to grow.

For the most part, travellers are being urged both by their home country and their destination that local rules will apply and that testing prior to travel is crucial to being able to land safely and to avoid having to isolate on arrival.

Having said that, there are countries imposing their own guidelines, with the USA banning entry for all travellers coming from the UK, Ireland, Brazil or China unless they are prepared to self-isolate on arrival for 14 days. The same applies on return from the USA.

Top tips before you decide to travel

  1. Find out what the guidelines and rules are in your destination country and ascertain whether you need to do a test before travelling – don’t leave thus to the last minute!
  2. Contact your hotel or accommodation and make sure that they are aware of your trip. It is also worth asking them what their precautions are to ensure your safety as a guest.
  3. Wear a mask on all transportation and in communal areas.
  4. Get travel insurance to help cover your trip should you be unable to travel at the last minute.
  5. Keep an eye on the change in guidelines and rules in the lead up to your trip.
  6. Do some research and find things you can do on your break which won’t rely on visiting key attractions and hot spots. Find local walks and outdoor spaces to enjoy, and plan to spend time in more isolated areas.

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