Summer holidays should be back on the cards for most Brits when international travel resumes on the 17th of May (at the earliest). Countries will be placed on a red, amber or green list that will determine the rules on testing and quarantine when you arrive back in the UK.

Countries on the green list will be the most appealing for UK travellers as this will mean they won’t face any periods of self-isolation when they return, but don’t disregard the amber list of countries as they could also pave the way for holidays as well.

That’s because travel to amber list countries will be allowed, as long as you self-isolate at home for 10 days when you return to the UK. 

You will also need to take a PCR test when you arrive home, on day two of your self-isolation and on day eight. You can also opt to take a Test to Release test on day five which could see you leaving your self-isolation early – on receipt of a negative result. 

While this may not sound ideal, it could give you more options on where you book your summer holiday if you are wanting to travel abroad. 

The amber list will consist of countries that the government determines to be ‘moderate-risk – taking into account the number of positive COVID cases as well as the extent of the vaccination programme. 

We don’t know yet which countries will be on the amber list – or the green or red – as the government is not due to update us until early May – but we do have some idea of those countries that may feature on the amber list:


Cyprus has only vaccinated about 8.4% of its population, according to Reuters COVID-19 tracker and is currently undergoing a third wave of Coronavirus – so it is unlikely to feature on the ‘green list’.

However, the country has said it will reopen to UK travellers when the UK restrictions lift in May, although they will initially only allow vaccinated tourists in.  This could mean that travel to Cyprus is allowed, depending on how the COVID situation develops there in the forthcoming weeks. 


France is currently in a third national lockdown, due to the increase in COVID cases in the country. However, this seems to have led to a steady decline in the number of cases – and this paired with the fact they have begun their vaccine roll-out could be key in determining whether it lands on the ambers list or not.


Greece could be on the green list or the amber list – or even both!  This is because although Greece has recently seen a rise in the number of COVID cases reported, it is also quickly rolling out vaccines – which could place it on the amber list. 

However, the Foreign Office is currently advising against travel to Greece, with the exemption of some of the Greek islands. 


Spain is currently suffering from the fourth wave of coronavirus cases, so is unlikely to be placed on the green list. However, this current wave is felt to be more manageable than previous waves and it is making great strides in its vaccination programme. 

Spain also recently reopened its borders to UK travellers – although it is still illegal to travel abroad for a holiday from the UK. 


Turkey is seeing a steady increase in the number of reported COVID cases at the moment, but have said they expect to welcome holidaymakers from the UK this summer – even if they have not been vaccinated or taken a recent PCR test. 

Turkish authorities are due to assess this plan any day now, and so the likelihood of it being on the amber list will depend on how the situation develops.

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