This article was updated on Friday 4th June to reflect the recent announcement from the UK government about Portugal’s status.
The Portuguese Government recently announced that UK tourists could enter Portugal from the 17th May – meaning holidays to this country could now go ahead again.
At the time of writing this post, Portugal was on the UK government’s green list, although tourists were still be asked to provide proof of a negative COVID test before flying. However, on Thursday 3rd June the UK Government announced it would be moving Portugal from the green list to the amber list on the 8th June due to the country\s coronavirus positive test rate “almost doubling”.
Other popular holiday destinations, such as Cyprus, Greece, Spain and Turkey are also keen for UK holidaymakers to return – but they are not currently on the green list. Plus, the UK government is still advising against travel to those countries on the amber and red list.
What is the traffic light system?
The UK government has assigned countries different colours based on a range of COVID-19 health metrics. These colours indicate not only the potential risk level in each country but also the quarantine period and tests required.
Travellers returning from green list countries do not need to quarantine but do need to take a pre-departure COVID test and a PCR test on or before day two of their arrival back into the UK.
Travellers returning from amber list countries must quarantine at home for ten days, in addition to the tests outlined above, while arrivals from red list countries must quarantine for ten days in a government-approved hotel (adding a large cost to the holiday).
Countries may change list colour at any time, so it is still a risk if you plan on booking a holiday. It is unlikely, however, that flights would stop running just because a country is moved to the red or amber list – so you would still have to take your flight or you won’t get a refund.
Should I book a holiday to Portugal this summer?
Portugal is now on the government’s amber list from the 8th of June, having previously been on the green list. The Portuguese government had agreed to permit travellers from the UK for holidays from 17th May. At the moment there are thought to be 1120000 Britons on holiday in Portugal, who will be scrambling to return home before the change in status.
Travellers must currently show a negative COVID test result to be allowed to enter, however – regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.
At the moment, there are no quarantine requirements if you return from Portugal, but once they move to the amber list on the 8th of June, then arrivals into the UK will have to quarantine for 10 days and take two PCR tests (on day 2 and day 8).
Should I book a holiday to Spain this summer?
It is not recommended. Spain is on the amber list of countries, with the UK government advising people to not travel to amber list destinations for their summer holidays.
Spain is also not due to reopen to holidaymakers until June at the earliest, so at the moment you are only able to fly there for education, health or work reasons.
Should I book a holiday to Greece this summer?
Not yet. Greece is also on the amber list, although they have already dropped quarantine requirements for Uk travellers provided they can prove they have had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine or can present a negative COVID-19 test result.
Should I book a holiday to Cyprus this summer?
Not yet. Similar to Greece, Cyprus is currently on the amber list, although they have said they will welcome Uk nationals who have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, without the need for tests or a quarantine.
Should I book a holiday to Turkey this summer?
No, Turkey is currently on the red list – meaning you would have to quarantine in a hotel for ten days on your return to the UK, at a cost of £1750 per person. The UK government is strongly advising against travel to red list countries.