Where can I go on holiday in 2021?

Please note: travel restrictions remain in place owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Be sure to check the latest travel advice and explore current covid rules and regulations by country.

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 © Morfheos - Flickr Creative Commons
Cala Macarelleta, Menorca, Balearic Islands © Morfheos - Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Fully vaccinated travellers and children under 18 do not need to quarantine when travelling from amber-listed countries (except France) 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 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 © GB27photo - Adobe Stock Image
The historic city of Valletta, Malta © GB27photo - Adobe Stock Image

Malta

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.

  • Vaccine rollout (%) Partially · Fully
  • New cases/100k 7-day · 14-day
  • Travel status Malta · UK

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Madeira

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.

  • Vaccine rollout (%) Partially · Fully
  • New cases/100k 7-day · 14-day
  • Travel status Madeira · UK

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Croatia

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.

  • Vaccine rollout (%) Partially · Fully
  • New cases/100k 7-day · 14-day
  • Travel status Croatia · UK

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Gibraltar

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.

  • Vaccine rollout (%) Partially · Fully
  • New cases/100k 7-day · 14-day
  • Travel status Gibraltar · UK

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Green list countries in the Caribbean

Parts of the Caribbean are now 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 >>

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Amber list destinations

From Monday 19 July 2021 travellers who are double vaccinated by the NHS can avoid the 10 day quarantine when returning from amber countries. Children under 18 also do not need to quarantine.

If you have been in France in the 10 days before you arrive in the UK, you must follow the amber list rules for people who are not fully UK vaccinated.

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. The two most popular destinations worth considering are:

UK requirements Fully vaccinated by NHS 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 unless arriving from France 10 days at home - Test to Release (England only) on day 5

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 © Simon Dannhauer - Adobe Stock Image
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.

  • Vaccine rollout (%) Partially · Fully
  • New cases/100k 7-day · 14-day
  • Travel status Balearic Islands · UK

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Portugal

One of the most exciting destinations to feature on the amber list is Portugal, including the archipelago of the Azores. Remember Madeira is already 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.

  • Vaccine rollout (%) Partially · Fully
  • New cases/100k 7-day · 14-day
  • Travel status Portugal · UK

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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.

  • Vaccine rollout (%) Partially · Fully
  • New cases/100k 7-day · 14-day
  • Travel status Canary Islands · UK

About the Canaries >>

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The following countries 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 >>

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Amber list countries in the Americas

Parts of the Caribbean and North America are far from off-limits, for example, Mexico.

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 summer of 2021 and therefore worth keeping an eye on.

Amber list countries >>

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Amber list countries in Africa & Asia

The following amber list countries in Africa and Asia are currently reporting low infection rates, but also have a ban on international travellers. It's worth keeping an eye on their entry requirements especially when they move to become green list countries.

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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 >>

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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 are able to visit any of the countries below you will not need to quarantine upon return.

Green list countries >>

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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 travel list.

Kirsten Henton

Kirsten Henton
Article updated on Friday 9th July 2021 in: Africa Asia Beach Caribbean Europe North America Summer Travel Insider

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