With Corona - Covid-19 infections decreasing in many countries, especially in Europe at the moment, the prospect of a summer holiday abroad is getting better day by day! As a fervent traveler to whom trips are part of the job this is very good news, which I'm staying on top of, as it's also my passion and livelihood!
Holiday abroad this summer?
The latest reports seem quite positive and hopeful for many European countries and even several overseas destinations. But nothing is set in stone, and everything can change as soon as infections start to rise locally again.
This does make it more difficult to plan your holiday ahead, but I feel that if you research the developments per country well, keep to the restrictions and stay aware of the facilities and risks at each destination, it should be possible to travel abroad this summer!
And obviously I’m not the only one, because research of NBTC-NIPO in the Netherlands shows that 7,2 million Dutch people are planning to travel this year, despite the corona crisis, of which 5 million abroad still this summer.
European regulations are generally looking good
This is of course very personal and also dependant on health and financial situations. And of course you have to be allowed to travel by your government, but luckily we just heard for the Netherlands that European travel advice will be changed to yellow from the 15th of June, which means; allowed to travel, with safety risks.
Luckily the EU is building up pressure to insist on opening borders, lift travel restrictions and relax measures as soon as possible for many countries, if infection levels keep decreasing. Therefore it can be expected that a summer holiday abroad, especially in Europe, will be possible this year after all, for most countries starting from between 15 June and 1 July.
Corona infection levels and developments differ
It's only logical though that countries with similar levels of infection will open their borders for each other first. Therefore I made a list with 15 countries that have low infection rates, or where the infection levels are decreasing, and which are most likely to open hotels and borders for visitors again the coming month(s).
You can check the current figures per country daily on this website: Worldometers-coronavirus
Traveling abroad is great for a real sunny summer holiday and I really miss tropical beaches, and that Mediterranean climate and atmosphere. But with the recent good weather in the Netherlands, traveling in my own country is not bad at all either!
Depending on the restrictions in your homeland traveling like a tourist in your own country is for most the safest option, and this way you can support your local hotels and businesses at the same time during these tough times!
That’s why I planned some short trips in the Netherlands already, and am rediscovering the beauty of our Dutch beaches, nature and beautiful heritage sites such as these:
And of course I can highly recommend you to visit the Netherlands too, as soon as you’re allowed! Infection levels here keep decreasing, are currently at an all time low, and today the hotels that were temporarily closed, all museums, theathers, restaurants and terraces re-opened, which means that our tourism industry is more than happy to welcome you. Be it with restrictions and limited availability, but in general also with more space and room as tourism is still low at the moment.
Why travel to the Netherlands this summer?
The lockdown in the Netherlands was much less strict than in Belgium or France, and currently all shops, holiday homes, parks, cultural sites, and beaches are open, but with a 30 person maximum at most indoor spaces until the 1st of July, after which this will be raised to 100 people, if all goes well.
Do note that festivals and larger events are still prohibited until the 1st of September, keeping 1,5 meters distance is the norm here, and face masks are not mandatory, except on public transport for everyone aged 13 and over.
But traveling around by car and going to touristic sites in the Netherlands is easy, safe and relatively quiet at the moment, which makes this summer the perfect time to visit my country!
For more up-to-date info about the corona status in the Netherlands and to prepare your visit check this website; Government.nl-coronavirus
And more inspiration for your Dutch visit in these blogs: ACL.com-Netherlands
One of the European countries at the top of my travel list this year. Our holiday to the Algarve in April was cancelled, but I’m still eagerly waiting to go as soon as it’s possible and safe, which seems to be very soon!
Fortunately the number of infections has never been really high in Portugal, especially opposed to Spain, and they were very strict in their lockdown from the beginning, which created opportunity for relaxing measures from the 18th of May already.
It’s also good to know that Portugal is quite big, the regional rates differ a lot, and of those the Algarve always had the lowest infection rates, which makes me feel quite confident to travel there again.
In the first phase cultural sites, touristic facilities, restaurants, terraces and shopping malls re-opened, after which no significant increase in infections were measured.
Because of this further opening of holiday parks and attractions proceeded and all beaches and hotels will start opening again in June to make a holiday to Portugal possible again.
Turismo de Portugal has also introduced the "Clean & Safe" certification for all touristic facilities, tour-operators, restaurants and other related businesses to ensure approved hygienic and safety measures for all tourists.
More than 6,000 companies have already applied for this so far. The borders for air traffic are already open for many countries, and the quarantine measures for entering both the mainland and Portuguese islands of Madeira and the Azores are lifted.
Portugal is actually the first European country to receive the 'Safe Travels'-certificate from the World Travel & Tourism Council, confirming that Portugal complies with all health- and hygiene-measures required by the Safe Travel-protocols of the WTTC.
Find more info about this on: PortugalCleanandSafe.
And while Portuguese beaches are open again they can get crowded. To prevent this and see how busy a beach is in advance they specially designed an App with realtime information, which can be downloaded for free.
From the 4th of June Transavia will fly commercially again to Faro and Lisbon and will be adding Porto from the 10th of June. More info to prepare your visit on this website; VisitPortugal.com-corona info
And some inspiration for your holiday to Portugal or the Algarve in these blogs: ACL.com-Portugal
3. Aruba & Dutch Caribbean islands
Although this destination requires a longer flight from the Netherlands, this one happy island is still at the top of my list! I was actually scheduled to go there this June, which I was really looking forward to!
It’s one of the least infected islands in the Caribbean and therefore one of the first planning to re-open for tourists, together with the 2 other ABC islands.
And since there have been no new infections for a long time on Aruba, with only 3 deaths so far and no active positive cases at the moment, I feel quite confident about revisiting as soon as I'm allowed.
It was just announced that the borders of Aruba and the other ABC islands will be opened again for European countries from the 1st of July, and for the USA from the 10th of July.
There will be thermal cameras at the airport with swift testing possibilities if required, and airport staff will be assessing incoming passengers on several criteria to determine if testing is needed. If tested positive a designated hotel will be available.
Several airlines are starting up more flights from both the US and Europe to Aruba again soon. KLM has scheduled their first flight from the 5th of July, and TUI even from June 20th already!
Shops, café’s, and restaurants are already open again and many hotels are re-opening in June already. Albeit with the obliged ‘Aruba Health & Happiness Code’ seal, ensuring visitors that their accommodation is held to the highest health and safety protocols required.
This certification will apply to accommodations, bars, casino's, retail, and tour & activity operators to make sure all tourism related business have taken every required measure for a safe environment for everyone.
All certified businesses will also be listed on the Department of Public Health website.
It’s not mandatory to wear face masks on Aruba, although staff that are servicing the general public will generally do so to ensure your safety. you can find more details for your visit to Aruba this year, and stay up to date on this website: VisitAruba.com-corona-virus-and-travel
And more inspiration in these blogs: ACL.com-Caribbean
4. Balearic islands – Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca & Formentera
Continental Spain has had it rough for a long time, but is doing quite well lately and is relaxing measures swiftly. The infection rates differed a lot per region and the Balearic islands have done much better at combating the corona virus so far.
With very low infection and death rates they already started to relax measures sooner and just anounced to re-open for tourists from 21 June.
Hotels and beaches are starting to open again and are also very ready to welcome tourists from June-July, when the borders and airports re-open.
Personally I would feel safer to visit the Balearic islands, than the mainland this summer, due to the lower count of Covid-19 cases there in general. And of course visiting Ibiza and combining this with Formentera is always a good idea😊
Get inspired by this blog: Formentera-hidden-gem-of-Baleares
New protocols for Spanish tourism were presented by the government, which is welcoming tourists back to most regions of Spain from the 21st of June. Big tour-operators are already offering holidays to Spain, and most airlines will start flying to Spain again from the 1st of July!
5. Greece & Cyprus
Greece was actually one of the least affected countries in Europe, with less than 3,000 cases, of which 175 deaths for such a big country! Also one of the reasons why Greece will be one of the first countries to re-open its borders again soon and Transavia already announced to start flying again on Athens and Thessaloniki from the 4th of June.
At the moment big travel organizations like TUI and Corendon are already offering summer holidays to Greece with arrivals starting from June.
Most hotels and beaches are already open, and if all goes well the borders are scheduled to re-open again for tourists coming in by road or air from the 15th of June to the mainland and for all other airports, among which the islands, from the 1st of July.
At the moment Greece is making a list of selected priority countries, on which the Netherlands is included, as deemed a high risk country this means you have to be tested upon arrival, and go in self-quarantine for 2 weeks if tested positive, which is very unfortunate, although the government will pay for your hotel.
But luckily this is only until the 1st of July after which all EU countries are welcome again and testing will only be done at random.
It’s also good to know that Greece has taken measures for worst-case scenarios, for example designating quarantine zones on the islands for a possible corona outbreak, and adding 600 beds on the intensive care on the island, so that a hospital can be reached within a maximum of 2 hours for everyone from anywhere in Greece.
Some tips on where to go in Greece to inspire your future trip: ACL.com-Greece
Cyprus has only reported 939 infections and 17 deaths so far, and is therefore also working hard on relaxing the corona measures and planning to re-open its airport to a number of selected countries from the 9th of June.
The government of Cyprus is also working on a package of extra special measures to make tourists feel more safe, such as a 100-bed hospital that will be set aside only for tourists who test positive, and special "quarantine hotels" for the patients' families.
They have even taken up the plan to cover the cost of accommodation, food and medicine for you and your family in case you will be infected on the island and test positive for corona after your holiday to Cyprus.
6. (Southern) Italy, Sardinia & Sicily
Although Italy has been hit hard by the corona virus, the infection rates differed a lot. None of Italy’s southern regions had many infections, compared to areas in the north like Lombardy and Veneto.
That is why I’m certainly thinking of visiting south Italy this summer, after Italy re-opens its borders again for tourists from the 3rd of June.
Face masks will no longer be mandatory outside and big airlines like Easyjet and Ryanair will start flying again to Italy from the 15th of June.
The south Italian islands Sardinia and Sicily were actually among the 10 lowest infection regions of Italy. And also interesting to know is that Sicily is taking action to kick start its tourism industry. To attract tourists the governor is planning to cover a third of the hotel expenses, half of flight costs of future visitors, and free tickets to several archaeological sites and museums, how nice is that?
Road trip summer holiday
I can imagine that not everyone will feel confident enough to start flying again, as airports are always a risk, and you should certainly wear a face mask during the transfer and flight.
But don’t worry, luckily many European countries, that can easily be reached by car from the Netherlands, are planning to re-open soon as well, and who doesn’t love a road trip right?!
You can drive to Northern Italy from the Netherlands in just 12 hours and on to the south in 2 days including an overnight stop in Como for example.
Find more Italy inspiration here: ACL.com-Italy
One of the countries I really love and have been to 3 times already, which can be easily reached by car from the Netherlands. As one of the countries with the lowest infection rates in Europe and hardly any new infections the past few days Croatia is currently already welcoming tourists again.
Accommodations are already fully bookable with also a big offering of affordable camp-sites. The national parks, beaches, touristic sites, bars, restaurants and hotels are open again as well. Do note that visitors from EU countries, including the Netherlands, will be able to enter Croatia, provided that they can disclose their reason for entering the country.
For a touristic visit it will be necessary to present a confirmation of booking in an accommodation in Croatia. Every one traveling to Croatia is requested to fill out the EnterCroatia form prior to departure, which can be accessed on EnterCroatia-form.
This will ease border crossing as the online form includes all data normally requested when crossing the border, and with the simple presentation of a passport or identity document to a police officer at the border, the number or code from the identity card or passport is automatically linked to all pre-entered data.
This way, the time to complete the entire procedure of data entry for each individual person per vehicle is reduced to a minimum and traffic flow can be increased.
All visitors who fill out the online form will receive email instructions that will include epidemiological guidelines and information currently in place for visitors to Croatia. Travelers are also requested to comply to the safety and sanitary measures and the measures of social distancing. From July most flights to Croatia are expected to resume as well.
Croatia is certainly worth a visit and with less than 2,000 infections and not even 100 deaths in such a big country, I feel that a summer holiday here will be quite corona proof. Did you know that Croatia has a coastline of 5,000 km’s, with 1,000 islands, 19 nature parks and 500 camp-sites?
Get inspired by these blogs I wrote about Croatia: ACL.com-Croatia
Find more up-to-date info about the corona situation and prepare your visit here: croatia-coronavirus
This was one of the first countries announcing to re-open again, because of their continuing decrease in corona cases. As of now all bars, cafe’s, restaurants, hotels and campsites are open again, from the 16th of June they will re-open the borders for tourists of most European countries. Quarantine upon arrival and face masks will no longer be mandatory.
Now we just have to wait until our government allows us to travel there and it’s a go!
For a visit to Vienna find more inspiration here:
This beautiful Balkan country has just re-opened its borders for tourists from the EU, as there have been hardly any new infections, which have always been relatively low with less than 1,200 at its peak!
You don’t have to go in quarantine anymore upon arrival, hotels, shops and restaurants are open again, but big events are still prohibited. From the Netherlands Slovenia is just a 1,100 kms drive and a beautiful summer holiday destination, which is still on my list!
Do note that if you want to drive to Slovenia you have to cross the border of Germany and Austria, which do not re-open before the 15th of June.
Also planning to re-open soon, because of its big decrease in infections. You can already cross the border to Germany from the Netherlands by car, and hotels and restaurants are currently re-opening in many German regions.
Holiday parks, camp-sites and hotels in Germany are already fully bookable, dates differ per region but mostly from the 15th of June.
At the moment face masks are no longer mandatory outside, and probably also not inside later this month. But this should be checked before you leave, as this can change every day.
From the Netherlands Germany is easily reachable by car and with its beautiful nature areas, castles and unique regions it makes the perfect road trip destination!
For a German city trip suggestion and unique hotels check these blogs:
The ultimate road trip destination to me, but until recently a summer holiday to France seemed doubtful with mixed messages in the media.
Luckily it now seems that France is probably a go for this summer after all! This couldn’t make me more happy, because I love this country, have been there about 15 times already, and keep coming back for more, as it's so diverse with so many unique regions.
That however also causes the restrictions, as the infection levels differ very much per region. Therefore the opening of the borders depend on the infection level per department.
In the meantime corona infection rates in France keep decreasing and therefore measures are relaxed more and more! From the 2nd of June restaurants, cafés and bars are re-opening and from the 15th of June the prime minister will announce his decision about allowing tourists from the EU to France this summer.
Fingers crossed and for more France inspiration you can check out these blogs already:
12, 13, 14, 15. Switzerland, Turkey, Thailand & Maldives
Switzerland currently has a very low infection rate, which keep decreasing, and therefore is relaxing many measures already. The Swiss government is however very strict, and only opened the borders so far for tourists of most European countries coming by car.
From July the Swiss borders will be opened to tourists from all Schengen countries and air traffic as well if all goes well.
Turkey says to have the corona situation fully under control and is taking all the necessary measures and safety procedures to welcome tourists back again this month already! They will re-open their borders for EU tourists, such as the Netherlands, from the 20th of June and flights from the Netherlands to Turkey will start from that date again as well.
With a very low amount of confirmed corona cases of less than 3,000 and only 56 deaths, Thailand has already been relaxing their lockdown restrictions from early May, and they will be welcoming tourists back from start July.
The Maldives are also planning to relax lockdown restrictions and re-open hotels the coming months. Therefore paradise may even be open for your summer holiday by August!
Although infection levels in the Maldives are not reducing a fast as in most European countries, you can be assured that those luxury hotel chains will take all the necessary measures to ensure ultimate safety and hygiene!
If possible these last 2 destinations would definitely be among my summer holiday destinations of choice, provided that it's safe enough and allowed by our government!
Find out why these destinations are pure paradise in these blogs:
Of course this blog is not an official travel advice, and the border opening dates, corona infection rates and local restrictions are all subject to daily change! But the current corona status reports of these destinations are positive at the moment, and therefore we can only hope that we may travel there again the coming months.
Would you dare to travel abroad for a vacation this year once it’s allowed? And if so, which of these 15 countries would you choose for your summer holiday?