Bulletin – Portugal and her islands plus Green List Update

Well, the government has published its eagerly anticipated traffic light travel list. As expected there are only a handful of countries on the Green List and even fewer who are actually welcoming or expecting to welcome UK tourists this summer (see boxes below).  Nepal, the Maldives and Turkey have been added to the Red List and everywhere else is on the Amber List.  Grant Schapps in his announcement discouraged people from travelling to Amber List countries for holidays.  But if you are not discouraged by the testing regime and home isolation on your return then there are a number of Amber List countries now welcoming UK travellers such as Cyprus, Greece and Montenegro.  The traffic light travel list will be reviewed every three weeks from reopening and there will also be a watch list for green countries which may move into amber.  

More countries now on the Green List will open up to the UK and more will be added as time passes.  For the time being, your best bet for a sunny summer holiday is Portugal and her islands. You can expect demand to surge and prices to increase so, if you are keen, get in touch now to book.  As always there is some inspiration below (prices are a very loose guide and will almost certainly increase with demand).     

As I have mentioned before, travel in the next few months is not without risk and hoops to be jumped through (not least nasal swabs!).  But if you are dreaming of blue skies and sunshine read Shearwater Travel’s updated guide to booking a holiday this summer.  It contains useful tips on how to mitigate these risks. Please also bear in mind that when you get to your destination, with very few exceptions, there will be rules to follow.  

Green List countries  welcoming UK tourists  
(or expected to open for this summer) 

Israel (groups only from 23 May, individuals later in the year)


Green List countries not currently welcoming UK tourists

Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
New Zealand
South Georgia and Sandwich Islands
St Helena, Tristan de Cuna and Ascension Island


Eastern Algarve
from £950 per person B&B for 7 nights
Stay in a charming, country resort hotel, set in 9 hectares of land between Faro and Tavira in the eastern Algarve.  Or opt for a Pousada in a former 16th century convent in Tavira.  I’ve been to this region many times and love it. Spend your days relaxing on the various beaches on sand bars off the coast in the Ria Formosa National Park, walking in the countryside, visiting the sardine and tuna fishing port of Olhao, the charming whitewashed town of Tavira and sampling Portugal’s culinary delights. In June the temperature will be in the 20s and there will be plenty of sun.  Click here to read more about Portugal
Self-guided hike in Alentejo, south west Portugal
from £771 per person for 7 nights
Take yourself off on a self guided hike in the Alentejo where you will experience some fabulous beaches, isolated fishing villages and miles of protected flora, fauna and coastline.  Alentejo  is a great destination for nature lovers and best explored on foot. There are two walking trails, which can be divided into shorter trails to allow for day walks.  The Historical Way stretches from Santiago do Cacem  to the Cabo de Sao Vicente in the Algarve.   The Fisherman’s Trail meanders along the Atlantic coast from Porto Covo  to the Cabo de Sao Vicente in the Algarve. Accommodation is in two separate comfortable hotels with access to day walks along these trails.  

Stay in a quinta in Madeira
Spend a week in Madeira staying in a quinta on the outskirts of Funchal.  We particularly like these boutique hotels often set in beautiful botanical gardens some of which mix traditional character with contemporary style.  There is plenty to do for those who want to stay active including walking, cycling, canyoning, paragliding and mountain biking.  There are amazing walks along the levadas, delicious local cuisine and you can spot whales and dolphins all year round. It has a subtropical climate and in June temperatures in the 20s.  Click here to find out more about Madeira.  

Your own villa in the Douro
4 bedroom villa rental from £4000 per week
If you love wine then why not rent a villa in the heart of Portugal’s wine producing region in the Douro. Choose from hundreds of different wine estates to explore, take a trip on a traditional rabello boat along the Douro (or if you’re feeling more energetic, in a kayak!).  You can take a day trip to Portugal’s second city, Porto.  The food scene here is fantastic with a huge array of restaurants from simple village tascas to fine dining in traditional quintas along the Douro.  

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