Where in the world can you travel this summer?
Italy, Barbados, Madeira and the Maldives are among the destinations preparing to welcome UK visitors
As much of the world emerges from lockdown, would-be travellers are starting to look for the ideal post-coronavirus holiday destinations.
The Foreign Office currently advises against all but essential trips, but the government is expected to announce that this blanket warning will be relaxed from 6 July.
Compulsory quarantine for inbound travellers from countries deemed “safe” will also be lifted from 6 July, meaning more people can head off on their holidays.
A remote location and tiny population shielded Iceland from the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and swift government action brought the country’s small outbreak under control. From 15 June, it is hoping to kick-start its tourism-dependent economy by offering visitors exemption from a two-week quarantine if they take a coronavirus test on arrival.
Sample itinerary: The Luxury Arctic Travel Company offers tailor-made trips combining five-star accommodation and a taste of Iceland’s wild side. Itineraries can include 4x4 and snowmobile adventures, helicopter tours, glacier trekking and horseriding - or a more genteel sojourn at the Blue Lagoon.
More on Iceland: The Week Portfolio’s guide to the Golden Circle
Visitors to the Portuguese island of Madeira can avoid quarantine by presenting a negative Covid-19 test certificate issued no more than 72 hours before arrival - and from 1 July, tests have been offered free to all arrivals.
Sample itinerary: At the far western fringe of Europe, Madeira could easily pass for Brazil with its densely forests, dramatic beaches and subtropical climate. The year-round balmy climate made it a traditional destination for those seeking a sedate place to winter, but a thriving adventure sports scene is attracting a younger crowd. The brand new Savoy Palace hotel, with its five restaurants and 360-degree rooftop bar, is an opulent base.
More on Madeira: 72-hour guide to the best of the Portuguese islands
Despite the seriousness of its Covid-19 outbreak, Italy opened its border to visitors from the UK and EU on Wednesday, becoming the first European country to do so. It does not require tests or time in quarantine for incoming visitors. Most attractions, including the Colosseum, the Vatican and the Leaning Tower of Pisa are open and restrictions on travel between regions have been lifted.
Sample itinerary: For those who might be anxious about crowded budget airlines, Air Charter Service can arrange private flights from London Biggin Hill, Luton, Stansted or Farnborough to a range of Italian cities. Return flights to the VIP terminal at Milan Linate on a six-seater Citation CJ2, plus three nights at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como is available from £4269pp, based on six people travelling
It’s hard to think of a better post-pandemic destination than a cluster sun-drenched islands, many hundreds of miles from the nearest city. And, after the government’s coronavirus U-turn, they’re looking considerably more attractive.
Plans to impose visa fees, charge for testing on entry and require a minimum two-week stay have been scrapped, in favour of a system in which visitors will have to present a negative Covid-19 test certificate issued in the fortnight before travel. A handful of resorts have remained open during the outbreak, offering a luxury lockdown experience for a lucky few - the rest started reopening on 1 July.
Sample itinerary: The Raffles Maldives, on Meradhoo private island (pictured, top), is offering 10% off its best room rate, as well as daily breakfasts, a spa treatment and guided snorkelling tour to guests staying for at least three nights before the end of September.
Sitting in gloomy lockdown UK, it’s hard to believe that the warm, calm beaches of the Caribbean will soon be an option for British holiday makers.
Barbados has begun welcoming tourists back to the island, with British Airways restarting commercial flights from 18 July and Virgin Atlantic expected to resume on 1 August.
Instead of its previous 14-day quarantine regime, arrivals to the island will need to present a certificate indicating you are Covid-19 negative and take another test within 72 hours of arrival, says The Telegraph.
Sample itinerary: Luxury accommodation is a given on Barbados, and one of the finest boutique hotel on the island is Cobblers Cove. Start your trip with a tour of Bridgetown, one of the region’s most important historic towns and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2011.
If you have the legs for it, you can walk from the east coast up into the island’s central hills and back down to its western shore, or take a guided tour of Coco Hill Forest, one of Barbados’s more innovative eco projects.
And don’t forget to eat. For every flamboyant fine-dining hotspot (Cocktail Kitchen, Cin Cin, Lone Star, Daphne’s, Hugo’s, The Fish Pot and The Cliff being some of the best), there’s a ramshackle (Cuz’s Fish Shack at Needham’s Point).
Full-size cruise ships are unlikely to ply their trade for some time yet, but for those with deep pockets - and a desire to holiday with only their closest friends and family - Aqua Expeditions offers a very different sort of voyage. Its small, super-luxurious river cruisers and expedition vessels, with 15 to 20 cabins, are available for private charter for tours of the Amazon, Mekong and Indonesian Spice Islands. A four-night cruise through Cambodia and Vietnam costs £2,825 per person, based on 32 sharing, including fine-dining, premium wines, excursions and private guides (a saving of 10% on the usual price for individual travel).