Where can I go on holiday in 2021?

Kirsten Henton

Kirsten Henton

With summer 2021 upon us and restrictions slowly lifting in the UK and overseas, the chance of getting away for some much-needed sun, sea and sand is increasing.

As we all know by now, the UK government has introduced a traffic light system where all countries are labelled green, amber or red to signal the restrictions that apply for travellers returning to the UK from overseas.

Cala Macarelleta, Menorca, Balearic Islands
Cala Macarelleta, Menorca, Balearic Islands © Morfheos - Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Green-listed countries are the easiest to return from because, although two coronavirus tests are required, there is no quarantine, and, we hope, more countries will be added to the green list as the months go by.

From 8 August 2021 travellers who have been fully vaccinated in the UK, USA or EU and children under 18 no longer need to quarantine when travelling to the UK from amber-listed countries which opens up many popular holiday destinations.

If you are planning a holiday abroad in 2021 there is, of course, also the outward journey to consider, where different rules and regulations apply because other countries have their own traffic light systems of restrictions in place.

So make sure you are also aware of the entry requirements at your holiday destination before you book. Most countries require you to produce evidence of a negative test, but some, even those that are on the UK government's green list, require you to quarantine as well.

Start planning today: use our interactive Covid-19 travel planner for a summary of Covid-19 statistics and entry regulations by country, and to compare destinations worldwide.

Green list countries in Europe

Below you'll find some of the countries that feature on the UK government's official green list which means that there is no quarantine on return to the UK. It's worth considering these European destinations for a holiday in 2021 now that some or all of their border restrictions have been eased.

UK requirements Green country
Pre-departure test in destination Required
Test on arrival in the UK PCR test on or before day 2
Quarantine on arrival in the UK Not required

Please note: although there are now a number of countries on the UK's green list it is important that travellers check border, quarantine and testing requirements for arrival in those countries before booking.

The historic city of Valletta, Malta
The historic city of Valletta, Malta © GB27photo - Adobe Stock Image


Head for the majestic shores of Malta this summer and you'll enjoy warm, sunny weather along with beautifully clear waters for swimming, snorkelling and kayaking, while the UNESCO-stamped capital city of Valletta has striking architecture, history and fabulous seafood dining options in abundance.

  • Entry requirements for Malta
  • Vaccine rollout (%) Fully vaccined
  • New cases/100k 7-day average

About Malta >>

Back to top


Madeira, an archipelago including the main island of the same name, lies some 250 miles north of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean.

It's a subtropical paradise known for its wine, tropical fruit groves, pebbly beaches, volcanic landscape and wonderful walking routes. Owing to its position, it benefits from a warm climate year-round, meaning there's no truly bad time to visit.

  • Entry requirements for Madeira
  • Vaccine rollout (%) Fully vaccined
  • New cases/100k 7-day average

About Madeira >>

Back to top


Whether you're after a truly relaxing beach break, a bit of history and culture or looking to sample some of the Adriatic's finest fresh seafood and splendid local wines, the sunny shores of Croatia beckon.

From Rovinj and Pula in the north down to Zadar, Split and on to the ancient walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia is bursting with beautiful beaches and plenty to see and do such as hiking, cycling, sailing and other water sports.

  • Entry requirements for Croatia
  • Vaccine rollout (%) Fully vaccined
  • New cases/100k 7-day average

About Croatia >>

Back to top


The British territory of Gibraltar, dominated by its limestone rock, promises sunshine with a touch of the familiar, from the British bobbies to the post boxes.

It's a fascinating place where nature and wildlife, including the resident macaques, combine with modern and ancient history, activities such as hiking and paddleboarding and much more besides.

  • Entry requirements for Gibraltar
  • Vaccine rollout (%) Fully vaccined
  • New cases/100k 7-day

About Gibraltar >>

Back to top

Green list countries in the Caribbean

Parts of the Caribbean are now also on the green list including the popular destinations of Antigua, Barbados and Grenada. It's important to check border, quarantine and testing requirements for entry to these countries before you book.

Green list countries >>

Back to top

Amber list destinations

Double vaccinated travellers from the UK, US and EU can avoid the 10 day quarantine when returning from amber countries. Children under 18 also do not need to quarantine.

Proof of vaccination can be via the NHS App or NHS paper certificate and at least two weeks must have elapsed since the second dose. Pre-departure tests and Day 2 PCR tests back in the UK must still be completed along with the passenger locator form.

If you have yet to be double jabbed or you live in the other UK nations, but you are prepared to pay for the relevant PCR tests and quarantine for either 10 days or five if you choose to do Test to Release (England only), amber countries might still be appealing.

Amber list destinations in Europe

Popular European destinations on the amber list are now viable options for holidays in 2021. Some of the most popular worth considering are:

UK requirements Fully vaccinated in the UK, EU or USA or under 18 Otherwise
Pre-departure test in destination Required Required
Test on arrival in the UK PCR test - day 2 PCR test - days 2 & 8
Quarantine on arrival in the UK Not required 10 days at home - Test to Release (England only) on day 5

Spain (mainland)

The holiday favourite is back! Pack your bags for Spain and you could be wandering down La Rambla in Barcelona, eye-balling classic paintings in Madrid's Prado Museum, luxuriating in Marbella, scorching in Seville, sampling the finest paella beachside in Valencia or cruising your way along the numerous Costas.

Whatever you call a holiday, you'll find it with a dose of exceptional weather in mainland Spain.

Balearic Islands

Holiday favourites Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera are the four main islands within this archipelago off the east coast of sunny Spain.

The crystal clear waters of Majorca, Balearics
The crystal clear waters of Majorca, Balearics © Simon Dannhauer - Adobe Stock Image

There's something for everyone across the Balearic Islands, from history, beaches and walking trails to luxurious stays, ample shopping and splendid fine dining.

  • Entry requirements for Balearic Islands
  • Vaccine rollout (%) Fully vaccined
  • New cases/100k 7-day average

About the Balearics >>

Back to top


One of the most exciting destinations to feature on the amber list is mainland Portugal. Remember Madeira and the archipelago of the Azores are on the green list.

Whether you're hankering for a beach break in the Algarve, keen to explore rural Alentejo or the Douro Valley, or yearning for the culture of a city break in the likes of Lisbon or Porto, Portugal is a tantalising option.

  • Entry requirements for Portugal
  • Vaccine rollout (%) Fully vaccined
  • New cases/100k 7-day average

About Portugal >>

Back to top

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands remain one of the most popular holiday destinations for their year-round sunshine and variety of things to do.

Whatever shape your holiday takes, be it sunbathing, surfing, dolphin watching or hiking up Spain's highest mountain, Mount Teide, you'll find it across Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.

  • Entry requirements for Canary Islands
  • Vaccine rollout (%) Fully vaccined
  • New cases/100k 7-day average

About the Canaries >>

Back to top


Whether you jet off to Cyprus for the luscious beaches and lively resorts, the ancient history or fragrant hiking trails through the Troodos Mountains, Cyprus guarantees a holiday to remember with something for everyone.

What's more, thanks to its location in the eastern Med, the weather stays warmer for longer both on land and in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Entry requirements for Cyprus
  • Vaccine rollout (%) Fully vaccined
  • New cases/100k 7-day average

About Cyprus >>

Back to top


From the mountains of Thessaloniki to the ancient history of Athens and the laidback feel of the more than 200 Greek islands, your biggest issue with going on holiday to Greece will be deciding where to go.

On arrival, expect beautiful beaches of all shapes a sizes, stylish resorts, boutique stays, fascinating archaeological sites, plenty of activities from boat trips and hiking to cycling, not to mention spectacular food.

  • Entry requirements for Greece
  • Vaccine rollout (%) Fully vaccined
  • New cases/100k 14-day

About Greece >>

Back to top

The following countries also currently feature on the amber list but, using new case rates from our own Covid-19 travel planner and by keeping an eye on how each destination's vaccine rollout unfolds, we suspect there are some here to watch for potentially moving over to the green listing in the near future.

Amber list countries >>

Back to top

Amber list countries in the Americas

Parts of the Caribbean and North America are far from off-limits. The following countries and idyllic island nations are ones that are either currently open for travel from the UK or may become more accessible in the coming month and therefore worth keeping an eye on.

Amber list countries >>

Back to top

Amber list countries in Africa & Asia

The following amber list countries in Africa and Asia are reporting relatively low infection rates, and are also open for international travel, with minor restrictions in the case of Mauritius. It's worth keeping an eye on their entry requirements especially when they move to become green list countries.

Amber list countries >>

Back to top

Common Travel Area

The Common Travel Area (CTA) includes the four home nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland along with the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland.

Effectively, so far as the UK is concerned, all of the Common Travel Area is green-listed because you do not have to quarantine when returning from any of these to the UK.

Please note, however, that each destination has its own regulations on who can enter along with separate rules for testing and quarantine.

About Common Travel Area >>

Back to top

Green list countries with no travel options

The following countries feature on the UK green list even though some are practically impossible to get to while others like Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore are currently closed to visitors from the UK.

However, so far as the UK government is concerned, if you wish to travel to the UK from any of the countries below you will not need to quarantine.

Green list countries >>

Back to top

Guidance on planning your holiday: we have many ways to help you find a viable holiday in 2021, from travel deals and discounts to Covid-19 travel advice.

Top tip: be sure to use our Covid-19 travel planner, and keep an eye on the latest new case statistics and vaccine rollout in countries around the globe. You'll also be able to stay up-to-date with any changes to the traffic light system with our rundown of the UK's official list.

Low deposits on summer & winter sun holidays with TUI
Kirsten Henton

Kirsten Henton

Kirsten Henton is Weather2Travel.com's editor. Kirsten writes, commissions and edits our travel features, liaising with our contributors and ensuring copy is spick-and-span. A member of the British Guild of Travel Writers, Kirsten also freelances writing articles on travel, history and the outdoors for titles such as Scotland Magazine and BBC Travel.

Article updated on Thursday 26th August 2021 in: Africa Asia Beach Caribbean Europe North America Summer Travel Insider

Back to top

Explore holidays in the sun for less

More holidays

Airport parking

More parking

Airport lounges

More lounges

Related posts

Back to Travel inspiration Top ^