It was difficult to imagine travelling anywhere again during the height of lockdown but a few months on we are happy to confirm that you’re now allowed to fly to certain destinations around the world for non-essential travel. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the government’s list of air bridges (countries that don’t require you to go into quarantine upon arrival or return) doesn’t cover as vast a list of places as we’d like, but there’s still plenty of destinations awaiting those in search of a late summer getaway.
After a drop-off in visitors since their respective lockdowns, tourist destinations are keener than ever to attract visitors and there’s bargains to be had. Due to dwindling numbers, there’s also some once-in-a-lifetime-opportunities to experience places without the bustle and crowds. Make the most of a new time for tourism and book an escape.
Air Bridge: Greece
Hotel: Andronis Arcadia, Santorini
One of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations, Greece lifted its flight ban from the UK on July 15th and since then tourists have started to trickle back. Testing upon arrival remains in place and it’s been reported that this will continue as more tourists arrive but this coincides with hotels and Airbnb accommodation opening, with shops and restaurants having opened earlier. Face coverings are advised in all closed spaces.
First place on our list is undoubtedly Santorini. One of Greece’s most popular tourist destinations, thanks to a drop in visitor numbers – especially due to the ban on cruise ships docking in Greek ports – now is a great time to visit the picturesque Greek island minus the crowds.
We’d recommend a stay at the indulgent five-star Andronis Arcadia, which boasts individual white-washed villas complete with their own ocean-facing private balcony and pool. A level of luxurious privacy that’s also perfect for social distancing.
Air Bridge: Germany
Hotel: 25 Hours, Berlin
The Germans were extremely effective with their response to COVID-19 and as a result tourism in the country has returned largely back to normal with understandable precautions still in place. Face coverings are expected to be worn on all public transport and in confined spaces and social distancing of 1.5 metres is encouraged.
Before you ask, Bavaria has unfortunately cancelled Oktoberfest, but it’s certainly worth visiting Munich regardless, especially as temperatures during the summer months sit comfortably in the high 20s and those tempting beer hall gardens await.
For us though, it’s always Berlin that tempts us back and particularly 25 Hours – a stylish hotel that offers quirky, individually-designed rooms and a view out over the popular Kufürstendamm shopping street area.
Air Bridge: France
Hotel: Hotel Martinez, Cannes
France is open again after beginning “progressive deconfinement” in mid-May. No particular entry requirements are currently in place for UK citizens but as of July it’s mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport, private hire transport and enclosed public spaces including shops and banks.
After everything that’s happened of late, you deserve a French Riviera holiday. Get yourself down to Cannes whilst there’s a lull and make the most of an array of Michelin-star dining options and some of the world’s most glamorous hotels. The Hotel Martinez has been a mainstay since the roaring twenties while the InterContinental Carlton Cannes drips with film festival history and boasts some of the best views the coast has to offer.
Air Bridge: Malta
Hotel: Corinthia Palace, San Anton
In the grand scheme of things, Malta has managed the outbreak extremely well – recording only nine deaths and around 650 cases as of July 2020. The island is seen as low risk when it comes to COVID-19 and the country’s containment has been used as a WHO case study.
Precautions remain in place with foreign visitors tested upon arrival, a social distancing recommendation of 2 metres and masks to be worn on all public transport and in buildings. Most amenities have now opened but capacity restrictions remain in place.
Malta is perfect for a beach getaway while visitors can expect culture and character in equal measure in its easy-going and vibrant towns. The five-star Corinthia Palace is our pick. Sitting in the heart of the island, adjacent to the Presidential Palace, it offers a superb jumping off point for any excursions and a truly luxurious stay.
It’s also worth highlighting that Malta topped the 2020 Rainbow Europe Index, doing so for the fifth year, cementing itself as the best destination in Europe for LGBT+ travellers.