The 53 countries you can enter without a test

·11-min read
where to travel do without testing, pre-departure testing, travel, holidays - Getty
where to travel do without testing, pre-departure testing, travel, holidays - Getty

Three of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations have joined the growing list of countries offering entry for UK arrivals without a test.

Portugal and Greece have changed their entry requirements this week. Vaccinated arrivals can enter Portugal without a test, and Greece has dropped its pre-departure test for those who have had a second jab within 270 days, or a booster.

France has also indicated that it intends to drop pre-departure tests in the coming days.

The changes are happening on home turf, too. The UK Government has dropped the requirement of pre-departure tests before flying home for the fully vaccinated, and on Friday February 11 the day two test will be scrapped for vaccinated arrivals.

However, there are still many countries that still demand tests for entry. Destinations including the USA, Barbados and Sri Lanka require a mandatory Covid-19 test before entry, regardless of your vaccination status.

But there are dozens of countries (53, to be precise, and soon to be 54 once France joins the pack) that are welcoming visitors without the need to take a test, allowing for a fully swab-free getaway. Here we round up the top destinations, with a tip on where to go to avoid the crowds, with the full list at the bottom of the page.

Note that testing requirements change frequently. While the below is correct at the time of writing, be sure to check gov.uk before you travel to ensure you have the correct tests and documentation for entry.

Greece

You’ll need:

  • Proof of full vaccination (last dose must have been administered no more than 270 days ago)

  • Tests for unvaccinated children over the age of 5

  • Possible test on arrival

Greece has become the latest country to drop the requirement for fully vaccinated passengers to take a test prior to arrival.

However, unvaccinated children still need to take a test, and there are strict mask rules in place in Greece. The FCDO says: “It is mandatory to wear a mask in all indoor and outdoor public spaces, in all areas of Greece. In certain areas, such as in supermarkets and pharmacies, and on public transport, you will be required to wear either double masks (at least one of which should be surgical), or an N95/FFP2 mask.”

But if you take the plunge, a wonderful holiday destination awaits. Consider Kefalonia in the early summer, for all the sun, sea and sand but without the party crowds.

Book it: Consider a stay at the deluxe Villa Markandoni in Kefalonia (vintagetravel.co.uk). There are two weeks with availability in May, and one week available in June. From £1,098 per week. Sleeps four.

Portugal

You’ll need

  • Proof of vaccination or proof of recovery with a single dose

  • Check specific rules for islands

  • Complete passenger locator form before arrival

British travellers can visit Portugal, plus the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores, regardless of their vaccination status, and as of this week vaccinated arrivals no longer need to take a test to enter.

To visit mainland Portugal, all arrivals must complete a passenger locator form before arrival. Proof of recovery can also be used for entry. On arrival all visitors will have their temperature taken – a follow-up test might be required if you show signs of being unwell.

Average highs in Lisbon lurk around the mid-teens in February, but go up to around twenty by Easter. The shoulder months of May and September/October are delightful times to visit Portugal and its islands.

Book it: BA Holidays has a package holiday to Les Suites At The Cliff Bay in Madeira, a five-star hilltop property that overlooks the Bay of Funchal from its infinity pool and sun terrace, starting from £1,438 in October (0344 493 0787; britishairways.com)

Egypt

You’ll need:

  • Proof of full vaccination (12 years and over)

  • If not fully vaccinated, a negative PCR test is accepted

  • A paper health declaration (issued by airline or on arrival), plus proof of insurance

  • For full information see gov.uk

In February, things start to warm up in Egypt, though don’t expect its trademark scorching heat – the mercury will sit comfortably in the late teens and early twenties. A sure-footed Red Sea option is Hurghada, says Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater.

“Where Sharm El Sheikh has fallen in and out of feasibility in the past six years – and where rival beach zones Taba and Dahab have been on the Foreign Office’s disapproval list since 2014 – this resort city has been steadily open for business.

“Its reliability is partly due to location – 290 miles south of Cairo, on the main body of the Red Sea, well away from areas that the FCDO considers a risk. But it is also about air connections. Depending on the season, you can fly in directly from Gatwick, Luton, Manchester, East Midlands, Birmingham, Bristol, Doncaster-Sheffield and Newcastle (with Tui or easyJet).”

Book it: Tui has a seven-night all-inclusive package at the Tui Magic Life Kalawy for a family of four costing £1,571 per person, departing April 9 (0203 451 2688; tui.co.uk).

where to travel do without testing, pre-departure testing, travel, holidays - Getty
where to travel do without testing, pre-departure testing, travel, holidays - Getty

Turkey

You’ll need:

  • Proof of full vaccination (12 years and over)

  • If no proof of vaccination, negative test or proof of recovery are accepted

  • Ages 11 and under do not need proof of vaccination or negative test

  • Complete an online form

  • For full information see gov.uk

February is late winter in Turkey, with temperatures nudging the mid to late teens depending on where you go. The milder weather will mean things are still nice and quiet across the country, if it’s a bit of peace and quiet you are after.

If you’d rather travel in late spring or summer, for something a bit different, consider taking a cruise on a gulet (traditional wooden sailing boat) along Turkey's turquoise coast. Telegraph Travel's Turkey expert Terry Richardson says: “A cruise on a gulet along Turkey’s beautiful south-western coast is about as relaxing as a holiday can get.

“You seem to spend most of your time eating, drinking, reading or casually keeping an eye out for a passing turtle as the boat cruises the coastline, or swimming in the clear turquoise waters when it anchors. Occasional trips ashore – to a watering hole or atmospheric ruin – complete the gulet experience.”

Book it: Check out specialist operator Gulet Escapes (020 8354 4818; guletescapes.com) for various options for a traditional sailing holiday, from May to October.

Germany

You’ll need:

  • Proof of vaccination (six years and above)

  • For full information see gov.uk

Just before Christmas, Germany banned UK arrivals entirely due to the surging omicron cases. That draconian measure has now been scrapped, making Germany a feasible option for a 2022 getaway, provided you don’t have children aged six to 11 who must show proof of vaccination (and therefore, will not be allowed in).

If you’re looking for something a bit different, Mike MacEacheran recommends island hopping on Lake Constance. “Scheduled boats ping-pong along the fractured lakeside more efficiently than they do in Greece or Croatia; there is a succession of half-timbered towns to discover; as much Cote d’Azur style as you can shake a stick at; and an island for each mood. Plus, down here, the specialty is creating ‘fernweh’, the German essence of pining for unseen places.”

Book it: Inntravel has a six-night walking holiday around Lake Constance, departing May costing £780 per person based on two sharing (01653 617001; inntravel.co.uk).

where to travel do without testing, pre-departure testing, travel, holidays - Getty
where to travel do without testing, pre-departure testing, travel, holidays - Getty

Spain

You’ll need:

  • Proof of vaccination (12 and over; final dose must have been received no more than 270 days before travel, and booster required if not)

  • 12–15 year olds can apply for a NHS Covid Pass letter for international travel

  • Under 12s are exempt from vaccination or test restrictions

  • For full information see gov.uk

Our favourite holiday destination is welcoming UK arrivals, providing you have evidence of full vaccination. If you’re looking for an alternative to the Canary Islands, consider La Gomera. Our Spain expert Annie Bennett says: “Feeling worlds away from its sun-toasted neighbour Tenerife, cliff-ringed La Gomera is the idyllic Canarian escape for keen walkers. The heart of the island is a hauntingly beautiful, mist-cloaked, World Heritage-listed laurisilva forest, protected by the Parque Nacional de Garajonay.

“Knockout views down plunging valleys to the shimmering volcanic coast are just the beginning. While gorgeous Garajonay is the obvious starting point for hikers, there are fantastic walks all across the island, including around precipitous gorges near Playa Santiago and Valle Gran Rey in the south and around Hermigua in the north.”

Book it: Kuoni runs holidays to the Hotel Jardin Tecina in La Gomera, starting from £766 per person for five nights (0800 047 3142; kuoni.co.uk).

Croatia

You’ll need:

  • Proof of vaccination (if 12 and above)

  • If no proof of vaccination, negative test or proof of recovery are accepted

  • Complete an online entry form

  • For full information see gov.uk

With Croatia still fairly chilly in February, you would do well to hold off until late spring or early summer for your Adriatic escape. Take your pick from its rocky pine-scented islands, the mountainous mainland coast and culture-filled cities.

For an off-the-beaten track escape, consider flying into Dubrovnik and using that as a base for exploration. Our expert, Jane Foster, writes: “Northwest up the coast, tiny Ston (famed for excellent fresh oysters and mussels) is the gateway to the rugged Pelješac peninsula, which produces some of Croatia’s top red wines, notably Dingač. Opposite Pelješac, verdant Korčula is South Dalmatia’s biggest island.”

Book it: Sovereign has a collection of high-end holidays in Croatia, including seven nights at the Grand Villa Argentina from £1,841 for two with flights (01293 324567; sovereign.co.uk).

where to travel do without testing, pre-departure testing, travel, holidays - Getty
where to travel do without testing, pre-departure testing, travel, holidays - Getty

Malta

You’ll need:

  • Proof of full vaccination (12+)

  • Children aged 5–11 can travel if accompanied by vaccinated adult, with evidence of negative PCR test

While by no means blisteringly hot, Malta will bring milder temperatures than much of Europe in the February half term. Although spring will prove more pleasant, if you can hold on until then. Although our expert, Juliet Rix, says the true allure of Malta lies beyond its sun and sea.

“Malta may be well-known for its sun and sea, but the island's real USP is its extraordinary history (and pre-history) and the fabulous sights this has left behind. Dotted with unique stone-age temples, Malta has been owned or coveted by many of Europe’s leading powers from the Phoenicians and Romans, Arabs and Medieval monarchs, to the Knights of Malta and the Ottoman Turks, the Axis powers and the British. Each has left its mark here – some very beautiful too – giving Malta more historic sights per square mile than any other country.”

Book it: Oliver’s Travels has a range of luxury villas in Malta, including Villa Ellul which sleeps six and costs £1,914 for seven nights departing in April (0333 888 0205; oliverstravels.com).

Farther-flung favourites

If you are looking to catch some winter sun and are willing to travel slightly farther afield, you have plenty of test-free options. Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia and Peru are all open to fully vaccinated British arrivals without any testing requirements.

Of them all, Mexico is perhaps the most appealing option over February, it being one of the driest months of the year with warm days and pleasant water temperatures. Airlines including Tui and British Airways fly direct to Cancun in under 11 hours. You must register on the Mexico Vuela Seguro Platform before you arrive, but then you are free to explore, regardless of vaccination status.

The rest of the world

We have excluded Afghanistan, Syria and Samoa from the below list, as British arrivals are currently not allowed to enter these countries. The countries that say “possible test” may have random health screening measures in place; always check gov.uk before you travel.

The Americas

  • Aruba

  • Caribbean Netherlands (possible quarantine)

  • Colombia (possible test)

  • Costa Rica

  • Dominican Republic (possible quarantine)

  • El Salvador

  • Honduras (possible quarantine)

  • Mexico

  • Panama

  • Peru

  • Sint Maarten (possible test; possible quarantine)

  • St Martin (possible test; possible quarantine)

where to travel do without testing, pre-departure testing, travel, holidays - Getty
where to travel do without testing, pre-departure testing, travel, holidays - Getty

Europe

  • Albania

  • Andorra

  • Austria (possible test)

  • Belarus

  • Bosnia & Herzegovina

  • Bulgaria

  • Croatia

  • Czechia (possible test)

  • Denmark

  • Estonia

  • Faroe Islands

  • Germany (possible quarantine)

  • Hungary

  • Ireland

  • Jersey

  • Kosovo (possible test)

  • Latvia

  • Liechtenstein

  • Lithuania (optional test)

  • Luxembourg

  • Malta

  • Moldova

  • Monaco

  • Montenegro

  • North Macedonia (possible quarantine)

  • Norway (possible test)

  • Portugal (possible test)

  • San Marino

  • Slovenia

  • Spain

  • Sweden (possible test)

  • Switzerland

  • Ukraine

Middle East

  • Armenia (possible quarantine)

  • Georgia

  • Kyrgyzstan

  • Turkey (possible test; possible quarantine)

Africa

  • Egypt

  • Senegal

Reader Service: Are you wondering what you need to do before flying? Or when you need to buy travel insurance? Learn more about the Telegraph Media Group Travel Insurance service and find answers to your question

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