Since my last bulletin there have been changes to the requirements for fully vaccinated travellers returning to the UK from Amber List countries and movement in both directions between the Green and Amber Lists. Great news for fully vaccinated travellers and accompanying children under the age of 18 who can now travel to most destinations in Europe without having to quarantine at home on their return. Not so great for those over the age of 17 who have not yet received their second jab. Many clients of mine are left facing the situation where parents and younger children return from holiday with nothing more to worry about than a PCR test on Day 2. Whilst their elder children face ten days isolation and two or three PCR tests.
Whilst yesterday’s announcement places the Balearic Islands (including Malllorca, a popular destination for young adults with just one jab) on the Amber List from 4 am on Monday, Bulgaria, Hong Kong and Taiwan have been moved to Green or Green watch Lists. In the meantime many countries in Europe have tightened their entry requirements for UK travellers.
So where does this leave you if you are hoping to take a summer holiday in Europe this summer? Check out the lists below where we have put together FCDO advice, Traffic light categories, and national entry requirements to give you some ideas of what is feasible.
And because my daughter has just had a fantastic time travelling around Croatia for a month and bombarding me with photos of dazzling sea, lush national parks, gorgeous towns and the odd open air nightclub, I have included some ideas below for a holiday in gorgeous Croatia, whether you plan to go this year or next.
Best bets for holidays in Europe this summer
As at the date of publication of this bulletin the countries below are Shearwater Travel’s best bets for a summer holiday. No quarantine on arrival into destination and fully vaccinated travellers will not have to isolate on return. Non fully-vaccinated travellers will have to isolate for ten days (or test to release on day 5) on return to the UK from Amber List countries (as indicated by type colour).
Fully vaccinated travellers and accompanying children only
All travellers regardless of vaccination status
France (with PCR72 or Ant48)
Portugal (with PCR72 or Ant48)
Switzerland (with PCR 72)
*Bulgaria (FV or PCR72/Ant48)
Spain (FV or PCR72)
Greece (FV or PCR72Ant48)
*Croatia (FV or PCR72/Ant48)
Cyprus (FV or PCR72/Ant48)
Morocco (FV or PCR72)
*Montenegro (FV or PCR72)
FV = fully vaccinated, at least 14 days have passed since your second dose of Astra Zeneca, Pfizer or Moderna
* = FCDO still advises against travel – check your travel insurance
PCR72 = PCR test where swab is taken in the 72 hours before arrival at your destination. LAMP tests and other Covid tests maybe possible. check FCDO or national website for details.
Ant48 = antigen test where swab is taken in the 48 hours before arrival at your destination. Test must be approved by EU and be certified by doctor. NHS free tests may not be used.
I know I’ve said this about other destinations, but Croatia really is a country with something for everyone. History buffs can discover immaculately preserved Venetian-era settlements, mediaeval cities, ancient fortresses and Roman remains. Those wishing to taste a relaxing mediterranean lifestyle can relax on one of literally hundreds of islands. There are spectacular parks (some UNESCO listed) with turquoise lakes, waterfalls and great hiking. And the quality of accommodation is high. From boutique hotels in local character to luxury retreats and private villas with pools. Travelling around is easy with decent roads for self drivers or buses. See below for some ideas, all of which can be customised to your interests and budget. Please get in touch if you fancy a trip to this lovely country whether this year or next.
City and Lakes
Combine the City of Zagreb with the watery delights of Plitvice National Park on this tailor-made self-drive holiday. Spend some time in Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, and enjoy a half-day city tour while you are there. The Old Town is particularly fascinating having developed from two separate hilltop settlements and Zagreb Cathedral is well worth a visit. Spend time walking along its cobblestone streets edged with small shops and cafés. Plitvice National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the oldest and largest national parks in Croatia. Enjoy the time to explore it under your own steam and drink in the stunning natural beauty to be found here. There are some glorious walks in the park along well marked trails.
7 days from £1175 pp. Consider adding on beach time on one of the islands afterwards.
Losinj & Istria escape
Escape to the Croatian island of Lošinj on a week-long multi activity break. The island is said to have a special microclimate where tourists once went to ‘take the air’. This escape invites you to elevate your spirits with active tours, sail the archipelago to discover the islands incredible secluded beaches, feel the health benefits of the famous microclimate and gain first-hand access to the true ‘local’ way of life with your personal guide. The last few days of the holiday are reserved for mainland Istria where you will stay in the romantic coastal town of Rovinj and visit the Medieval hilltop villages of Motovun and Gruznjan. Activities, including private speedboat trips around the island, dolphin watching, a private flight over the archipelago are included and the inclusion of a rental car allows flexibility and the chance to explore the island further at your leisure.
From £2195 pp for an 8 day tour
A fly-drive holiday is the perfect way to experience the many delights of Croatia up-close and at your own pace. Drive scenic routes through verdant valleys, across secluded mountain villages and along pristine Adriatic coastline. Stop off at stunning, historic hotspots including the ancient city of Zadar, magic Dubrovnik, enchanting Split and the beautiful island of Korcula with its sparkling beaches and picture-perfect Old Town. This suggested itinerary is based on 3 and 4-star hotels with Group A car hire but can easily be upgraded to 4 and 5-star options.
15 days from £1850 per person
Villa holiday on a Croatian island
Beautiful beaches, rich culture and glimmering turquoise waters, the iconic Croatian islands promise a villa holiday like no other. Each island has its unique qualities but they are united by the warmth of their welcome, a distinct Mediterranean vibe blended with centuries of tradition, and landscapes ranging from dense woodland interiors, vineyards and olive groves to picturesque bays, attractive fishing villages, ornate buildings and quaint cobbled streets devoid of traffic and enticing you to explore.