Greece lifts quarantine rules for British tourists

Emma Featherstone
·32-min read
greece - Getty
greece - Getty

Greece has scrapped quarantine rules for UK travellers who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, or those who can show proof of a negative PCR test.

The UK is one of 33 countries for which the requirement to self-isolate on arrival in Greece has been waived ahead of the country's formal reopening on May 14.

These new travel rules were described as a “pilot measure” by government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni. Tourism is vital to Greece's economy as it usually accounts for one fifth of the country's GDP.

Foreign visitors will be required to follow lockdown restrictions in Greece, which include night-time curfews.

Britons are also currently subject to the UK Government’s ban on foreign holidays. However, this step by the Greek Government would enable quarantine-free trips to the country when overseas travel resumes, should Greece be included on the UK's "green list".

Scroll down for the latest travel updates.

04:19 PM

A round-up of today's stories

A look at today's top stories.

  • India added to UK's red list

  • France 'working hard' to reopen to vaccinated travellers

  • Sturgeon warns travel traffic light system 'poses risk' from variants

  • Holiday enquiries up 127pc since Gov report on travel, says Saga

  • Australia and New Zealand open travel bubble

  • Portugal, Switzerland and Slovenia ease Covid restrictions

  • Covid tests for holidaymakers could fall below £50

Join us tomorrow for more live travel updates.

04:13 PM

7 incredible (quarantine-free) holidays to book this summer

Our experts round up the best holidays that will be quarantine-free this year.

For a tropical island escape: Kauai, Hawaii

Simon and Susan Veness

Remote, rugged, impossibly picturesque – Kauai, the northern outlier of Hawaii’s archipelago, has stolen almost all its sister islands’ share of big, bold and dramatic. Take a small-boat cruise along the north-west coast to discover the looming Na Pali cliffs, the razor-like peaks towering almost 4,000ft high; soothe your soul in Hanalei Bay, where the gorgeous two-mile, crescent-shaped beach is backed by verdant mountains; marvel at Waimea Canyon, a breathtaking rift through the island’s core, 10 miles long and 3,000ft deep, fully justifying its nickname as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

Hanalei Bay, Hawaii - Getty
Hanalei Bay, Hawaii - Getty

For a road trip: Yellowstone National Park

Laura Chubb

Yellowstone National Park is a hell of a place – encompassing everything from whooshing geysers to bubbling mud pots, steaming rivers to bears and bison – but there’s even more to explore in the three states it sprawls across (Idaho, Wyoming, Montana). So, don’t make Yellowstone the focus of a road trip. Instead, make it a blockbuster stop in the middle, with plenty of time to delve into some equally compelling curiosities en route.

Find all seven holidays here.

04:03 PM

What is your favourite way to spend a holiday in Scotland?

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03:52 PM

'You'll probably fall for your instructor': 10 things I learnt on my first ski holiday

Learning to ski isn't easy but there's always hope, as one novice found out on her first trip to the slopes, writes Mel Bradman.

1. Looking the part is an endurance test in itself

After slipping on thermals, fleece, salopettes and ski jacket, comes the first challenge: putting on the ski boots. Rock solid, intractable and weighing a ton, I couldn’t even get my feet through the neck of them. The trick, I discovered, was to push the tongue of the boot 120 degrees forward, then push my foot in, really hard. It worked. And I was exhausted. But not as exhausted as I was after carrying the skis out of the hire shop. And there was the pressing matter of what to do with my long hair. To avoid the dreaded dishevelled “helmet hair” look I opted for pigtails.

2. Gondolas aren’t exclusive to Venice

On being informed that I’d be taking the gondola to my first lesson, I pictured myself gliding gracefully along the town’s beautiful Lake Zell in an ornate rowing boat. What a gorgeous way to start the day.

Find all ten things Mel learnt here.

03:30 PM

To bookmark for later: 15 most perfect Greek islands to visit in 2021

While the red list is growing, the end to the foreign holiday ban is still pencilled in for May 17. A small number of European countries are set to be included on initial "green list", but more could follow in the June update. As such, quarantine-free Greek holidays may still be on the horizon this summer.

To whet your appetite, we've selected some of the country's very best islands, including:

1. Best for beaches: Zakynthos

Shipwreck Bay - Getty
Shipwreck Bay - Getty

The Ionian Islands can’t be beaten for sandy beaches backed by dramatic coastlines. Myrtos Beach on Kefalonia and Porto Katsiki on Lefkada are among the most photogenic, but Shipwreck Bay on Zakynthos (also known as Zante), only accessible by boat, trumps them both – even if it does get a bit crowded.

Read the full list.

03:17 PM

Which countries are on the 'red list'?

Direct flights from these countries are banned and hotel quarantine rules apply to all British citizens who have been in or transited through red list destinations in the previous 10 days. Any non-Britons who have been in a red list country within the past 10 days will simply be denied entry to the country.

The 40 hotel quarantine red list countries

  1. India

  2. South Africa

  3. DR Congo

  4. Tanzania

  5. Zimbabwe

  6. Botswana

  7. Eswatini

  8. Zambia

  9. Malawi

  10. Namibia

  11. Lesotho

  12. Mozambique

  13. Angola

  14. Rwanda

  15. Burundi

  16. Somalia

  17. Ethiopia

  18. United Arab Emirates (including Dubai)

  19. Oman

  20. Seychelles

  21. Qatar

  22. Panama

  23. Cape Verde

  24. Argentina

  25. Brazil

  26. Bolivia

  27. Chile

  28. Colombia

  29. Ecuador

  30. French Guiana

  31. Guyana

  32. Paraguay

  33. Peru

  34. Suriname

  35. Uruguay

  36. Venezuela

  37. The Philippines

  38. Pakistan

  39. Kenya

  40. Bangladesh

03:11 PM

Matt Hancock rejects call to impose global travel ban

The SNP's Phillipa Whitford asks if the Government will extend the travel ban to all countries, noting that travellers from red list countries can avoid the ban by going via another country.

She notes that South African and Brazilian variants are increasing in European countries, which do not have to go through the hotel quarantine process.

"More infectious or vaccine-resistent variants could arise in any country and we wouldn't know about it until it is too late," she adds. "The pandemic is still accelerating and... it clearly poses a threat to the UK."

But Matt Hancock said while international collaboration on vaccines was vital - particularly "amongst like-minded democracies" - the authorities were "restricting yet further" the chance of the Indian variant entering the UK.

"But the majority of the cases we have seen in the UK have been picked up by the testing we have in place for every single travellers entering the country - that is a sign it is working," he added.

03:04 PM

Matt Hancock says he understands the 'impact' of red-listing India

Speaking in the Commons, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said of putting India on the red list: "This means anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident or a British citizen cannot enter the UK if they've been in India in the previous 10 days.

"UK and Irish residents and British citizens who have been in India in the past 10 days before their arrival will need to complete hotel quarantine for 10 days from the time of arrival.

"These rules will come into force at 4am on Friday.

"India is a country I know well and love. Between our two countries we have ties of friendship and family. I understand the impact of this decision but I hope the House will concur that we must act."

02:57 PM

India added to UK's red list

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, has confirmed the addition.

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02:53 PM

Seven incredible (quarantine-free) holidays to book this summer

New analysis shows the USA, Israel and Malta are top contenders for the holiday ‘green list’.

So what does this mean for your summer holiday hopes? Telegraph Travel’s team of experts have mined their knowledge to pick out seven once-in-a-lifetime holidays that will be possible this summer, without any quarantine on arrival or return. Among the options is Malta.

For a city break (all to yourself): Valletta

Dghajsas in Valletta's Grand Harbour - Getty
Dghajsas in Valletta's Grand Harbour - Getty

This summer Valletta may well live up to its nickname, “the silent city,” writes Juliet Rix. There will be far fewer cruise groups crowding its atmospheric labyrinth of tiny medieval alleys, flanked by the honey-stone palazzi of the Maltese aristocracy. The capital since Roman times, Mdina became a living museum after the bustle of administration moved to Valletta, a new capital built from scratch by the Knights of St John (the Knights of Malta) in the 16th century.

Read the full list.

02:36 PM

Budget UK-US flights set to return

Cheaper transatlantic flights could be on the horizon as the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given approval to US-based airline JetBlue to operate routes between London, New York and Boston.

This approval marks the first scheduled foreign carrier permit that has been issued to a new operator since the UK's exit from the European Union, says the CAA.

All non-UK air carriers that wish to undertake commercial services to, from or within the United Kingdom are required to hold a Foreign Carrier Permit before any flight is undertaken.

02:20 PM

France 'working hard' to reopen to vaccinated travellers

France is working towards reopening to foreign travellers who have been vaccinated or who can show evidence of a negative Covid test, President Emmanuel Macron has said.

“We will progressively lift the restrictions [at] the beginning of May [...] So we are working hard to propose a very concrete solution, especially for US citizens who are vaccinated, so with a special pass,” he told US network CBS on Sunday.

“We are building a European certificate to facilitate the travels after these restrictions between the different European countries with testing and vaccination. And the idea indeed is altogether to offer that to the American citizen when they decided to vaccinate or with a PCR test being negative,” he added.

Mr Macron did not specifically mention UK travellers in the interview. British visitors are currently required to present results of a negative Covid test on arrival to France and to self-isolate for seven days before taking another test.

02:12 PM

The Caribbean destinations most likely to make the 'green list'

The Caribbean welcomed British holidaymakers whenever possible in 2020 – so which of its islands are the best bet for a 2021 holiday? Hazel Plush has crunched the numbers. Among the contenders is:

Antigua: Chance of making the green list: 8/10

Arrival restrictions: Simple

Antigua’s vaccination programme is continuing apace, with around 27 per cent of the population having received their first jab. For context, France, Germany and Spain have administered first doses to around 15 per cent, while Britain has reached 50 per cent. In Antigua, tourism staff are among those prioritised for the jab.

Even during the first wave, the island has never closed its borders to international travellers, and yet its case rate has remained low. At present, all the island asks Britons for is a pre-arrival negative test result (taken within seven days of arrival), a health check and form upon landing, and adherence to social distancing regulations throughout your holiday. However, you will need to check that your accommodation is on the ‘approved’ list, and some visitors may be instructed to take a PCR test on arrival (costing $100/£72).

Read the full story.

01:50 PM

India and Bahrain could face 'red list' in update, says travel boss

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, predicts which countries might be soon be added to the UK Government's "red list".

A reminder: Britons returning from "red list" destinations are subject to a stay in a quarantine hotel and direct flights from red-listed countries are banned.

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01:42 PM

'By Australia's mad logic, I will never get to see my father again'

Australia says it won't open up even once its population is fully-vaccinated, leaving Annabel Fenwick Elliot with little idea of when she'll see her Australia-based family again.

It is quite possible that I will never see my father or siblings again. That’s the logic behind Australia’s ongoing Covid policy, the country in which they live. Even if both he, my brother, sister, and I, are all fully vaccinated. Even though we therefore pose close to a zero risk of spreading the virus.

“If the whole country were vaccinated, you couldn't just open the borders,” said Australia’s health minister Greg Hunt last week, dashing any hope that international travel will recommence this year, as was previously indicated. “Australia is in no hurry to open those borders, I can assure you", its prime minister Scott Morrison confirmed yesterday. The Australian government has also backed away from its promise to have its entire population inoculated by October. Due to inevitable supply issues, it looks like this won’t happen until 2022. Even then, it won’t allow vaccinated foreigners to visit. Even its own citizens, some 40,000 of whom are still stranded abroad, even if they've had the jab too.

Thing is, this is infinitely more ridiculous than banning all cars everywhere lest anyone die in a crash. It is drastically more insane than forbidding families from hugging come next flu season, even if they’ve all had the flu jab. It is further horrifying proof that democratic leaders are in no rush to release this North Korea-esque grip on their own people: No-one in. No-one out. No questions. Just obey.

Read Annabel's comment in full.

01:33 PM

Israel and Malta will not cope with the impending holiday explosion

Each hotel bed in Malta could have 458 suitors, according to number crunching of UK travel habits, writes Hugh Morris.

If the early modelling on the Government’s ‘green’ list is to be believed, plenty of British travellers this summer are going to find themselves out in the cold. Literally.

The US, New Zealand, Australia, Israel, Malta, Iceland, Ireland and Gibraltar are to be the Accessible Eight, set to reopen to UK visitors when international travel resumes on May 17, without the need for quarantine on return.

But with just three of those countries in the top 20 nations typically preferred by Britons, 2021 will be the year of the Holiday Homeless, scouring the internet for the best resorts in countries they had never given a second thought to visiting.

Read the full story.

01:13 PM

Blenheim Palace to Host Cecil Beaton Photography Exhibition

Blenheim Palace will be hosting a new exhibition ‘Cecil Beaton, Celebrating Celebrity’ from May 17 until August 1 2021.

Iconic images by the British fashion and portrait photographer will be displayed throughout the State Rooms of the Palace, with ighlights including portraits of Barbara Streisand, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe alongside Marlon Brando, Coco Chanel, Picasso, Andy Warhol and Twiggy.

Barbara Streisand, photographed by Cecil Beaton
Barbara Streisand, photographed by Cecil Beaton

Beaton was a regular guest at the Palace, attending parties and weekend breaks alongside a host of aristocrats, artists and writers, so the new exhibition feels particularly fitting.

Blenheim Palace was an old haunt of Cecil Beaton
Blenheim Palace was an old haunt of Cecil Beaton

The exhibition was conceived in partnership with the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, where it was first shown. It was selected and mounted by curator Dasha Panaiotti, from the State Hermitage contemporary art department, Hermitage 20/21.

To book visit blenheimpalace.com.

01:05 PM

Sir Ranulph Fiennes on his feats, future – and cruise plans

The 'world's greatest living explorer' is setting sail again next year, writes Benjamin Parker.

The tedium, to put it politely, of lockdown life over the last 12 months has skewed my perception of adventure. When I swap the monotonous clockwise amble around Bishop’s Park, in west London, for an anti-clockwise route, it’s as though I’m an intrepid explorer. This time three years ago I was climbing a mountainside in Oman; this year heading down from my fourth-floor flat and back up again more than once in a day feels worthy of acclaim.

Unless they were simply humouring me (I admit there is a chance), my friends tell me they’re feeling much the same. As our worlds have shrunk, so has the opportunity for exploration.

How refreshing, then, to speak with Sir Ranulph Fiennes, a man who is intimately acquainted with the concept of adventure. Not the “foot in sand” luxury adventure most would be quite pleased with, where you’re “deserted” on a uninhabited atoll with your significant other while butlers and chefs wait around the corner. But real adventure.

Read the full interview here.

'Travelling along the coastlines gives you a chance to see the world in an entirely different way' - Gary Salter
'Travelling along the coastlines gives you a chance to see the world in an entirely different way' - Gary Salter

12:45 PM

Leeds named most popular road trip for Britons

As the possibility of a holiday abroad this summer continues to be uncertain, many in the UK will be planning to travel domestically instead, with road trips proving to be a popular choice.

There have been 104,880 Google searches for UK road trips between January and March this year, according to research from car insurance brand, Uswitch. Leeds was the most-googled road trip destination in the last two months, featuring in over 7,000 monthly searches – a 654 per cent increase when compared to the same time last year. The full data is featured below.

UK Road Trip Destinations: YoY% increase July – March

  • Leeds: 638%

  • Manchester: 632%

  • Glasgow: 500%

  • York: 391%

  • Cardiff: 329%

  • Scottish Highlands: 292%

  • Cornwall: 232%

  • Bournemouth: 167%

  • Bath: 167%

  • Lake District: 162%

12:32 PM

How will the Government's traffic light system for travel work?

Read more: How will the new 'traffic light' system kickstart holidays again?

12:14 PM

Slovenia eases Covid restrictions

Slovenia is among the European countries lifting Covid restrictions following a fall in Covid infections.

Café and restaurant terraces have welcomed back customers today in most of the country's 12 regions. They are still shut in four regions where cases remain higher, including the capital Ljubljana

Strict social-distancing rules are still in force and diners must be sat at least 5ft apart.

12:00 PM

Boris Johnson says it's not his call to put India on red list

Boris Johnson has insisted it is not up to him whether to put India on the "red list", after he cancelled his long-awaited visit to the country amid concerns over a record-breaking surge in cases.

During a visit to Gloucestershire, the Prime Minister told broadcasters: "The red list is very much a matter for the independent UK Health Security Agency - they will have to take that decision.

"But Narendra Modi and I have basically come to the conclusion that, very sadly, I won't be able to go ahead with the trip. I do think it's only sensible to postpone, given what's happened in India, the shape of the pandemic there."

However this morning a Sage scientist said restricting travel to and from countries with concerning Covid outbreaks was a "political decision".

Read more on the Politics live blog.

11:58 AM

Switzerland’s season proves ski holidays are possible next winter

Ski resorts in Switzerland were some of the few in the world to open this year – the rest of Europe can learn from their successes, writes Justine Gosling.

ski lift
ski lift

This winter, Switzerland was the only country in Europe to open ski resorts all season, and to all.

In an unwavering act of defiance despite huge pressure from EU countries to close, the Swiss government remained steadfast and opened ski resorts at a time when other European nations were entering their second waves and locking down. At the start of the season, as Christmas approached, new contagious variants had been discovered, travel bans were being reintroduced and the World Health Organisation was urging caution – specifically to skiers.

Now the winter is at its end, Swiss resorts are congratulating themselves on operating a safe and successful season, against all odds. Jean-Daniel Clivaz, ski instructor and president of Crans-Montana tourism, summed up the feeling among resorts: “Switzerland has achieved a good balance between restrictions to keep Covid-19 numbers down, and, prioritising the mental and physical health benefits to people of being in the mountains.”

Read the full story.

11:51 AM

Rail passengers given further six months to use travel vouchers

Thousands of rail passengers will have an extra six months to use travel vouchers, the transport secretary has announced.

Those with vouchers that have expired, or which are due to expire, from October 20 2020 and June 30 2021 are being given the extra time due to the second and third lockdowns.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "This extension ensures that passengers with travel vouchers are not penalised for following government advice.

"By offering people more time to redeem their vouchers, we are ensuring that passengers will not be left out of pocket as they come back to the railways."

11:35 AM

Greece opens to vaccinated tourists, and those with a negative Covid test

Greece began opening to tourists on Monday with few bookings but hopes for a better season to help make up for a 2020 devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

On Rhodes island, where most visitors are from abroad, hoteliers are scrubbing, polishing and painting in anticipation of a make-or-break year.

"We're preparing the hotel in order to start as soon as the government gives us the green light," George Tselios, general manager of Sun Beach Hotel, told Reuters.

Greece will formally open on May 14 but starting Monday, tourists from the European Union, the United States, Britain, Serbia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will not quarantine if they are vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19.

Tourism, which generates a fifth of Greece's GDP and one in five jobs, is vital for an economy which had climbed out of a decade-long slump only to slip back into recession last year as COVID-19 struck. Tourists will be subject to lockdown restrictions, which include night-time curfews. Restaurants and bars have been closed since November.

11:31 AM

Wonderful walks in the UK, starting from a train station

As the UK unlocks and the weather improves, Joe Bindloss tracks down the best walks you can complete without a car. Among them are:

Edale to the top of the Tor

mam tor - Getty
mam tor - Getty

For a walk with instant scene-appeal, you can't beat the hike from Edale station to Mam Tor. A four-mile circular trail begins just south of the station, placing you out in the wind-buffeted countryside in minutes. From the scattered houses of Edale village, it’s a steep climb to the ridge of Derbyshire’s ‘mother hill’ for eye-stretching views across the heights of Peak District National Park.

Arrive on an early morning train and you can be back at the Old Nags Head pub – official starting point of the Pennine Way long distance path – by lunchtime, ruminating ahead of an afternoon tramp along the crest formed by Kinder Scout, Grindslow Knoll and Ringing Roger. After a tramp up the Tor, retreat to the historic, gritstone-built Ollerbrook Cottages ( from £438 for three nights), in a fine location at the foot of Ringing Roger.

Here are the other walks Joe suggests.

11:20 AM

'Like a scene from Love Actually': families unite in NZ and Australia

Australia and New Zealand Monday after more than a year of Covid-related restrictions, writes Giovanni Torre in Perth.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had wished she’d been able to witness the first quarantine-free international arrivals in more than a year.

"I would have loved to have been a bystander, seeing those families being reunited for the first time," she said.

"A scene from Love Actually is how I'd anticipate it would look and it would feel."

Read the full story.

11:03 AM

Sturgeon warns travel traffic light system 'poses risk' from variants

A traffic light system for restarting international travel “poses a risk” of importing new variants, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned.

“We don’t know where the variants of real concern are going to come from, which is why an approach to international travel that tries to categorise risk with some countries labelled as red-list countries and others deemed to be safer poses a risk,” Ms Sturgeon told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

“None of us know where the next variant that might be really problematic is going to occur,” the First Minister added.

Scotland has tougher restrictions in place with all people arriving from overseas facing a stay in a quarantine hotel. Britons arriving in England are only required to enter such a facility if they are returning from a country on the “red list”.

Ms Sturgeon’s comments come as travel industry modelling suggests just eight countries would meet the criteria for the UK Government’s “green list” when foreign travel resumes at the earliest of May 17.

The analysis based on the Government’s “risk” criteria suggests the US, Israel, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, Australia and New Zealand will be among those on the list for quarantine-free travel.

10:52 AM

Will passengers need the Covid vaccine to go on a cruise?

Holidays at sea are returning this summer – but some cruise lines won't let you board unless you've had your Covid jabs.

Get all the details here.

10:38 AM

Firefighters battle blaze on Table Mountain

Residents are being evacuated from Cape Town neighborhoods after a huge fire spreading on the slopes of the city's Table Mountain was fanned by strong winds overnight and houses came under threat.

City authorities say residents of parts of the Vredehoek neighborhood were being evacuated Monday as a precautionary measure after the fire spread towards the area.

helicopter table mountain -  AFP via Getty Images
helicopter table mountain - AFP via Getty Images
table mountain - MIKE HUTCHINGS/Reuters
table mountain - MIKE HUTCHINGS/Reuters

10:18 AM

Border Force staff: Airlines must check passenger paperwork

Airlines who fail to sufficiently check passengers paperwork for entry to UK should face tougher penalties, according to Border Force staff.

Seven-hour queues were reported at Heathrow last week as border officials face carrying out checks on thousands of passengers paperwork on arrival – all people arriving in England are currently subject to either a period of self-isolation at home or a stay in a quarantine hotel (if they are Britons returning from a red list country).

The Immigration Services Union, which represents Border force workers, said pressure to ensure arrivals have followed travel rules should be placed on airlines. Passenger locator forms should be checked prior to boarding by airlines, which can face a £2,000 fine if they fail to do so.

However, checks are being missed, meaning arrivals sometimes get to border force officials with incorrect forms or lacking proof of a negative Covid test. This increases their contact time with officials from four minutes to between 30 and 40, according to the union.

09:57 AM

US: half of adults have had least one vaccine dose

Just over half of the United States' adult population, around 131 million people, have now received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, officials say.

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that, as of Sunday, 84 million people had been fully vaccinated. Anyone aged over 18 is now eligible to get the jab.

The US has been listed as one of eight possible destinations that could meet the Government's criteria for the travel green list ahead of the pencilled in May 17 restart for international travel.

09:50 AM

'My testing on arrival' nightmare bodes terribly for the summer'

Eleanor Aldridge has spent a total of two months in self isolation due to necessary travel during the pandemic.

As a French resident with legal reason to travel to the UK, I must get a negative PCR test within 72 hours before travel, pay £190 for a “Day 2 & Day 8” postal testing package, then quarantine for ten days on arrival. Unfortunately, I’m among many to receive incorrect tests – or no tests at all. Only after exchanging 36 ever-more-infuriating emails with my approved test provider do I spot the last two reviews on their Trustpilot read “scam” and their partner’s Google rating stands at 1.7.

None of this was a twinkle in Boris Johnson’s eye back in my proto-quarantine when I left France before lockdown in March 2020, before restaurants closed, before anyone had started wearing masks, before there were any restrictions at the border.

Read the full story.

09:41 AM

Other European countries easing Covid restrictions

English residents have enjoyed their first weekend of domestic breaks since self-catering accommodation reopened on April 12, with holidays to Wales also permitted.

Elsewhere in Europe, other nations are also taking steps out to ease Covid rules. In Switzerland, restaurants have resumed outdoor dining while in Portugal shopping centres have reopened for the first time in two months. Restaurants and cafes in Portugal are also allowed to serve indoor customers

09:26 AM

Scotland enjoys easing of travel restrictions

Scotland lifted the notice to "stay local" on Friday, allowing people to travel across Scotland and to meet in groups of six outdoors.

The rule change does not yet permit overnight stays, but holidays and non-essential travel to other parts of the UK will be allowed under Scottish guidance from April 26.

families at loch lomond - Jane Barlow/PA
families at loch lomond - Jane Barlow/PA
loch lomond - Jane Barlow/PA
loch lomond - Jane Barlow/PA

Read our guide on travel to Scotland.

09:13 AM

'There should be space for everyone': campsites see bookings surge

There's going to be a camping revolution, changing the landscape of British holidays forever, writes Jonathan Knight.

group of friends - Getty
group of friends - Getty

Campsite owners across the country are busy cleaning, repairing and sprucing their campsites to be ready for what looks set to be the biggest UK camping season on record. There’s an expectant buzz in the air, as bookings are bounding in like never before. On the Cool Camping website alone, bookings are up by over 500 per cent this year compared with 2019, so the buzz is very real, with a new wave of holidaymakers set to embrace UK camping for the first time this season. Admittedly, uncertainty around foreign travel has added to the staycation surge, and the interest in camping in particular [...].

Thankfully, there should be plenty of space for everyone, as the increase in demand has been accompanied with a similarly vast explosion in places to camp. Planning regulations have been relaxed on temporary “pop-up” sites, allowing them to open for longer without a full campsite licence, thus making them viable for more land owners.

Read the full story.

09:03 AM

Boris Johnson's India trip cancelled

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has cancelled his scheduled visit to India next week “in light of the current coronavirus situation”, Downing Street said.

Downing Street issued a joint statement from the British and Indian governments.

"In the light of the current coronavirus situation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not be able to travel to India next week," the statement said.

"Instead, Prime Ministers Modi and Johnson will speak later this month to agree and launch their ambitious plans for the future partnership between the UK and India. They will remain in regular contact beyond this, and look forward to meeting in person later this year."

08:51 AM

Holiday enquiries up 127pc since Gov report on travel, says Saga

Saga Holidays has seen an increase of 127 per cent in booking enquiries to its contact centres since week since the Government published its report on the resumption of overseas travel.

Enquiries for 2021 are mostly for UK and European stays, according to the tour operator. Short-haul destinations such as Egypt and Madeira are proving popular for travel in 2022, as are European river cruises.

The USA and Canada top the list for most searches for long-haul holidays next year. And cruise searches have focused on the launch of the tour operator’s modern, boutique ships ‘Spirit of Discovery’ and the brand new ‘Spirit of Adventure’ this summer, of which all but one are now sold out.

Nick Stace, chief executive of Saga Travel said: "We’d already received a surge in enquiries when the vaccine roll-out started and in the week since the Government’s announcement around international travel, we’ve seen another spike from travellers keen to secure holidays."

08:38 AM

France working on plans to welcome non-EU tourists this summer

France will begin to lift travel restrictions on visitors from non-EU nations next month, French President Emmanuel Macron told US-based CBS News show 'Face the Nation' on Sunday. This could see restrictions lifted for those who are vaccinated or who have a negative test.

“We are building a certificate to facilitate travel after these restrictions between the different European countries with testing and vaccination,” said Mr Macron.

"We will progressively lift restrictions at the beginning of May," he said.

He added that officials in Paris are working to develop a way for "French, European citizens but also American citizens" who are vaccinated to travel more freely by this summer.

08:26 AM

First trans-Tasman bubble flight lands in Wellington

Australian visitors received a warm welcome at Wellington Airport today as the first first trans-Tasman bubble flight landed.

wellington airport - Getty
wellington airport - Getty
people at airport - Getty
people at airport - Getty

08:13 AM

Australia and New Zealand open travel bubble

Hundreds of passengers from Australia began arriving in New Zealand airports today after authorities reopened borders, a pandemic milestone that allows quarantine-free travel between the countries for the first time in more than a year.

two women airport - Getty
two women airport - Getty

Though most Australian states have allowed quarantine-free visits from New Zealand residents since late last year, New Zealand had enforced isolation for arrivals from its neighbour, citing concerns about sporadic virus outbreaks there.

Television footage showed emotional scenes at airports with families reuniting and scores of passengers thronging the international departure terminals at Australian airports. Qantas will ramp up flights between the countries to about 200 each week, while Air New Zealand said it had quadrupled its flights to 30 today, with its planes flying into New Zealand 97pc full.

The open border will help drive the economic recovery for both countries and reunite thousands of families and friends, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison and New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a joint statement.

08:05 AM

What's the situation in our favourite holiday destinations?

Only eight countries would make green list for safe travel, according to industry modelling.

British holidaymakers favourite European destinations, including Spain, France and Greece are unlikely to be included due to their high Covid rates, according to the research by Robert Boyle, former strategy chief of BA and its owner IAG due to their high Covid rates.

Spain is the most-visited country by UK travellers with some 18.1 million taking trips there in 2019, followed by France 10.3 million). Meanwhile, both Spain and Greece have committed to welcoming back UK holidaymakers this summer with Greece opening its borders to vaccinated travellers from the UK next week.

The report does point out, however that last year “the Spanish and Greek islands were given a lower-risk rating than the mainland and that could happen again this year,” said the report, which is circulating within industry circles.” Here's how infection rates are looking in Spain and France.

07:58 AM

Indian variant requires action 'sooner rather than later'

The Indian variant poses an "unknown level of threat" to the UK, a Government adviser has said, as he urged ministers to act "sooner rather than later".

Last week it was revealed that 77 cases had been identified in Britain, but it is currently being treated as a "variant under investigation".

But Professor Andrew Hayward of University College London who also sits on Nervtag, which is one of the groups advising Sage scientists suggested ministers should follow Hong Kong's example of imposing a two-week travel ban from India.

Prof Hayward said: "What we have is an unknown level of risk, my own preference in all of this is to err on the side of caution and to act sooner rather than later. But ultimately, that's going to be a political decision."

There have been calls to add India to England's travel ban "red list".

Read more on the coronavirus live blog.

07:54 AM

Covid tests for holidaymakers could fall below £50

Private Covid tests for summer holidaymakers could fall below £50 under plans being considered by the Treasury to exempt them from VAT.

In a partial climbdown, HMRC has already ruled that the gold standard PCR tests will be exempt from VAT when they are administered or overseen by a registered nurse, The Telegraph can reveal.

Now senior sources say the Treasury could go further and fully exempt the tests from the charge which can add 20 per cent to the price which can range from £60 to £300 per test. The exemption would mean a saving of roughly between £40 and £240 for a family of four for a single test each on their return.

The decision will affect thousands of holidaymakers because of the Government’s insistence that all travellers returning to the UK must take at least one PCR test on or before the second day of their arrival even if they are coming from a safe “green list” country.

Read the full story.