Advice from the UK Foreign Office for Greece, Spain, Tenerife, France, Switzerland and other European countries

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Planning a vacation this year has been even more stressful than usual. The entry restrictions in each country may change weekly, while the risk of quarantine may even be introduced while you are away.

This means that it is important to follow the latest advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and to check with your airline before booking what the current situation is.

The FCO currently advises against ‘near essential travel’, with a list of countries on the UK’s quarantine list changing weekly.

However, some airlines have continued to offer vacations regardless of those willing to risk quarantine when they return home, so that it is possible to travel.

Each country also has its own rules that you’ll need to know, and some threaten to re-impose quarantine exclusively on UK travelers – so you may need to self-isolate longer during and after your break.

Here is the latest information on visiting some of the most popular European destinations for Britons:

Foreign Office advice for Greece, Spain, Tenerife, France, Switzerland and other European countries

Spain



Tourists sunbathing on a beach in Magaluf

Spain was one of the first countries to be removed from the list of travel corridors on July 27, following an increase in cases in some areas.

The FCO still advises against all non-essential travel within the country, including the Balearic and Canary Islands (Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote).

If you come back from Spain you will need to self-isolate when you return to the UK, but the FCO does not advise you to cut your vacation short.

For those arriving in Spain, you will not need to quarantine but you will have to follow three conditions:

  • Provide the Spanish Ministry of Health with the mandatory contact details and any history of exposure to Covid-19 48 hours before travel
  • Temperature control
  • A visual health assessment

Mr Shapps MP has warned that travel to Spain and France could not resume anytime soon after both countries see an increase in cases.

The government has a threshold of 20 in 100,000 to be considered safe, and currently both countries are comfortably above that measure.

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Suisse

In Scotland, people arriving from Switzerland will need to self-isolate for 14 days, but this does not currently apply to the rest of the UK.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the country was not on the coronavirus quarantine list with the restriction of “all but essential travel”, and the rules have remained the same.

However, this is subject to change.

There are currently 21.1 new cases per 100,000, which means that in the last few days it has crossed the UK government threshold, but no announcement has been made yet.

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Netherlands

The Netherlands was added to the quarantine list on August 15, meaning anyone returning to the UK after visiting the country will need to self-isolate.

The government is not asking UK visitors to leave immediately, but those who stay to complete their holidays or plan to visit the country will need to follow local advice to help prevent the spread of the virus.

There is no need to quarantine on arrival in the Netherlands – although if you are from Leicester or a local locked out area you are advised to self-isolate for 10 days – but you will need to complete an online entry form in advance, including your contact details and address for the duration of your stay.

Croatia



Kolovare beach in Zadar, Croatia

Croatia was added to the quarantine list on August 22, which means anyone returning to the UK after visiting the country will have to self-isolate.

The government is not asking UK visitors to leave the country immediately, but is making it clear that all who arrive will need to be quarantined.

Those who stay to complete their vacation or plan to visit the country will need to follow local advice to help prevent the spread of the virus.

There is no need to quarantine on arrival in Croatia, but you will need to complete an online registration form in advance, including your contact details and address for the duration of your stay.

Greece



Forest fires can affect Greece during hot summers
Despite speculation, trips to Greece have not been interrupted so far

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said Greece was still exempt from the restriction on “substantially essential travel” and the rules had remained the same.

However, that could change in the short term and there has been speculation about the country’s removal from the list.

There are currently 14.9 new cases per 100,000, so it is still below the threshold but has increased.

If you are traveling to Greece, you will need to follow certain steps.

These include completing a passenger tracking form at least 24 hours before arriving in the country, or risking a fine and even being barred from entering the country.

France



People walk past the Louvre in Paris on August 12, 2020. Temperatures in Paris are expected to reach 36 degrees Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit) on Wednesday afternoon.
People walk past the Louvre in Paris on August 12, 2020

France was removed from the list of exempt countries on August 15, following an increase in cases.

The FCO now advises against all but essential travel to France (including Corsica) and has added it to the quarantine list.

However, those still in the country are not urged to leave immediately and should follow the advice of local authorities.

This includes compulsory masks on public transport and in closed public spaces, but also on busier streets and in tourist hotspots.

For those planning to travel to France from the UK, be aware that the French government has reportedly discussed a quarantine for UK arrivals – meaning you will need to quarantine yourself for 14 days once in France and 14 days once back in Britain.

However, this is currently not in place and has yet to be officially announced.

Austria

Advice on travel to Austria changed on August 22, following an increase in cases.

UK visitors are not required to return immediately, but will now need to be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival in the UK.

Those who stay to complete their vacation or plan to visit the country should follow local advice.

For those arriving in Austria, there are no specific requirements and a test is no longer necessary – however, if you have been in another country in the 10 days prior to your arrival in Austria, you may need to be self-isolating or show a negative Covid-19. test.

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