When can Britons go on holiday again and where can they go?

As the travel industry slowly begins to relax restrictions on movement, it feels as if there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon for those desperate to get away this summer. It goes without saying that safety must take precedence over any personal urge for, let’s say, a Florentine gelato, but the optimists among us are starting to see a shift in the right direction. With restrictions remaining in many destinations, we’ve looked at where Brits might be permitted to travel and when.

When can Britons go on holiday again?

International travel

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At present, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) continues to advise against all non-essential international travel. While the ban was initially implemented to prevent Brits getting stuck abroad as flight routes shut down, the gradual re-starting of airlines’ summer schedules could see this change.

The FCO’s advice – which they say is under “constant review” – doesn’t make travel abroad “illegal” as such, but it does invalidate your travel insurance and means you may find it tricky to get help from the embassy or consulate if things go wrong.

On 15 June, the European Union lifted travel restrictions, leaving individual countries to decide if and when they’re ready for visitors. Economic affairs commissioner Paulo Gentiloni stated that the EU “will have a tourist season this summer, even if it’s with security measures and limitations”.

From 8 June, the UK government implemented a blanket 14-day quarantine on all arrivals into the country – including Brits returning home.

Until both the FCO advice and the quarantine measures change, it simply won’t be feasible for the majority of British wannabe-holidaymakers to book a trip abroad.

However, earlier this month transport secretary Grant Shapps said that the introduction of ‘air bridges’ to facilitate easier travel between certain countries was being discussed by government officials.

The ‘bridges’ would enable the free movement of people between select countries without the need for quarantine measures.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed that quarantine measures on foreign visitors, plus the possible implementation of air bridges, will be reviewed on 29 June, and that the government was “looking at all options”.

Domestic travel

At present, it is still against the rules to stay overnight somewhere unless you are a person living alone or a single parent with children under 18, in which case you’re allowed to pick one household to form a “support bubble” with and are permitted to stay the night at their home.

It’s likely that this might change in England from 4 July, which is the date mooted for stage three of the government’s ‘roadmap to recovery’.

Many English hotels are gearing to reopen from around this time in July – for example, The Pig hotel brand is opening some properties from 4 July – complete with stringent new cleaning measures.

Be aware that things might be a little different – breakfast buffets are likely to be scrapped, while spas could require guests to get changed in their rooms to avoid overcrowding of changing rooms.

Northern Ireland will be a day ahead, with hotels, pubs, restaurants and tourist attractions all able to open with suitable social-distancing measures from 3 July, while Scotland has a provisional date to open to visitors on 15 July.

At present, the Welsh government has not yet said when tourism will resume.

For anyone without a car, travelling any distance will remain difficult until leisure trips by train are once again permitted.

People have previously been urged not to rush to beauty spots such as the Lake District. In May, Visit Cornwall stated that “unless you can visit a location and return within 90 minutes or so, you should visit a location nearer your home to spend time outdoors”.

Malcolm Bell, Visit Cornwall’s chief executive, said: “Our response at the moment is please stay away. It would be better to start planning a holiday for the future.”

Where can Britons travel?


Portugal is currently the firm favourite favourite for a possible summer sojourn, with the country’s foreign minister, Augusto Santos Silva, stating that British holidaymakers would be “most welcome”.

While talks are ongoing, Mr Santos Silva said that he hoped an ‘air bridge’ between the UK and Portugal could be agreed by the end of June.

There are no specific restrictions on mobility within the Portuguese territory, but social distancing and the use of face masks on public transport and in enclosed areas are mandatory.

Restaurants, bars and cafes, museums and cultural spaces are all open with extra measures including social distancing.

Beaches, cinemas and theatres are open with reduced capacity.

Quarantine restrictions?

Nope. Mr Santos Silva described quarantine measures as “an enemy of tourism”, before adding that he respected the UK government’s right to enforce one.


Spain has announced that the State of Emergency declared on 14 March will end on 21 June. From this date, UK travellers will be allowed to enter Spain. This includes the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera). Providing you don’t have coronavirus symptoms, there should be nothing stopping you from being permitted entry.

Beaches re-opened across Spain on 1 June, but local authorities are taking measures to ensure social distancing and hygiene regulations are observed.

Major attractions such as Granada’s Alhambra Palace, the Mezquita-Catedral in Cordoba, the Alcazar in Seville and Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum have also re-opened.

People aged six years or over are required to use face masks outdoors, on public transport and in enclosed spaces. Failure to comply with this could result in a fine of up to €100.

Quarantine restrictions?

Possibly. Spain’s foreign minister Arancha González Laya said Spain was considering introducing quarantine measures for UK tourists after the country re-opens to international visitors on 21 June. This follows the UK’s blanket 14-day quarantine on all incoming arrivals from 8 June.

“We will be checking what the UK will be doing and we will be in dialogue with the UK to see whether or not we should be introducing reciprocity as they have different measures than the rest of the EU,” she told the BBC’s HARDtalk programme.

She added the situation was “fluid” and said officials would like to “properly engage in a dialogue with the UK authorities to make sure that we both take the message that best corresponds to the health situation, which today is a little bit better in Spain than it is in the UK”.

“Hopefully by the time we open our borders, the UK would have moved forward also,” she said.


Turkey’s approach to the pandemic has been comparatively relaxed, with lockdowns largely confined to specific times and age groups. Restaurants, bars, cafes and beaches all re-opened on 1 June, alongside museums and ancient sites, and unrestricted travel is permitted within the country.

On Wednesday, however, the wearing of face masks in public became mandatory in 47 out of 81 provinces, including the major cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Bursa, following an upward trend in the number of daily infections.

Despite this, a Turkish government official told the Financial Times earlier this month that an agreement between Turkey and the UK was “close” with a provisional date of 15 July mooted for travel to resume between the two countries. “The two sides are in close contact,” the official said. “The UK is a very important country for us.”

Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced a ‘healthy tourism certificate’ programme in mid-May that promises social distancing at pools, beaches, restaurants and regular health checks for staff.

Quarantine restrictions?

Visitors to Turkey will not be subject to quarantine measures, but those entering the country may be screened using thermal cameras to assess body temperature.


France opened its borders to the EU on 15 June, following the re-opening of hotels and campsites earlier in the month. Bars and restaurants re-opened on 2 June with “adapted health measures”, and most shops and open-air markets are now open. Public spaces such as parks, gardens, beaches and lakes are open across France, unless it’s not possible to apply social distancing measures.

Major attractions have also been permitted to reopen – the Palace of Versailles reopened on 6 June, while the Centre Pompidou and the Louvre are opening on 1 and 6 July respectively.

Face-masks are mandatory on public transport, and many shops and supermarkets require customers to wear them. Those who fail to do so could face a fine of €135.


At the moment, yes. France was prepared to let Brits come and go freely, as it is doing with citizens of all EU countries, plus Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican, but made it clear that it expected reciprocity in this arrangement. Since the UK imposed a blanket 14-day quarantine on all incoming arrivals from 8 June, France has responded in kind.


Despite starting out as the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic, Italy has since managed to flatten the curve and open up to visitors once again; the country became one of the first to re-open its borders on 3 June.

The country has been relaxing lockdown measures since mid-May, and beaches and parks are now open with social distancing rules in place.

Cafés, bars, pubs, restaurants, ice-cream shops, patisseries and other eateries are now permitted to open with certain restrictions on the number of patrons. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be worn by staff and customers and social distancing rules must be followed.

Cultural attractions have also started opening their doors. In Venice, the famed Doge’s Palace reopened on 13 June; the Leaning Tower of Pisa opened at the start of June.

It’s currently compulsory to wear a face mask in enclosed spaces including public transport or anywhere where it may not be possible to exercise social distancing.

Quarantine restrictions?

At the moment, no. From 3 June, Italy has allowed Brits to enter the country with no need to quarantine for two weeks.

Best of the rest

UK holidaymakers can travel unrestricted to Germany, Croatia, Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland, without the need to be tested or self-isolate (although they still face a 14-day quarantine when they return home). Other countries allowing UK travellers to enter but demanding testing and quarantines are as follows:


British citizens must produce a negative Covid-19 test no older than 96 hours and self-isolate for two weeks on arrival.


All arrivals from overseas, including Irish residents, are asked to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival. This does not apply if you are returning to Ireland from Northern Ireland. From 28 May there is a legal requirement for passengers, including Irish residents, arriving in Ireland from overseas to complete a Public Health Passenger Locator Form with penalties for non-compliance.


British citizens must produce a negative Covid-19 test no older than 96 hours and self-isolate for two weeks on arrival.


Border restrictions were dropped on 15 May, but a 14-day quarantine is required.

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