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Travel to Europe: Latest Covid rules and practical guidance
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England has moved to a new simplified system for foreign travel under which countries are categorised as high risk, requiring hotel quarantine for returning Britons, or low risk.

All countries in Europe are rated low-risk, with the exception of Montenegro, which remains on a red list of countries requiring hotel quarantine of 10 days on return to the UK at a cost of £2,285 per person.

Of course some European countries also have restrictions on people arriving from Britain, which might include showing proof of a recent negative test or even a quarantine requirement. A number of destinations are not granting entry to unvaccinated travellers.

The good news for travellers from Europe to Britain is that the Government has dropped restrictions for fully vaccinated people and reopened its borders to European holidaymakers.

Where can I go on holiday in Europe right now?

Fully vaccinated UK travellers can visit almost all European countries without the need to quarantine on return, but must still carry out some compulsory testing.

With Turkey removed from the Government's red list in the latest update, Montenegro is the only European country that remains on the hotel quarantine list.

Countries across Europe have varying entry requirements – some are laxer than others. Spain, for example, simply requires UK travellers to provide evidence of full vaccination or a PCR test, while Malta is not allowing entry to unvaccinated visitors.

The Foreign Office (FCDO) may still advise against non-essential trips to some of the destinations in Europe which can make it more difficult to secure insurance.

What travel insurance do I need?

Most insurance companies offer some degree of Covid cover. The main consideration is whether the FCDO advises that you should not visit the country for non-essential reasons. If so, your insurance will likely be invalidated unless you use a bespoke company. Check our Covid insurance guide for more information.

What tests do I need when returning to the UK?

Under a new simplified system, effective since October 4, double-jabbed travellers from 'safe' countries no longer have to take any sort of test before they get on a flight home from overseas; and from late October, only a lateral flow on their second day back in the UK, rather than a costly PCR test.

Vaccinated travellers need:

A PCR (or lateral flow test from late October), taken within 48 hours of arriving back in the UK

To complete a Passenger Locator Form before returning to the UK.

Unvaccinated travellers need:

To self-isolate for 10 days.

A Covid test before boarding a flight home,

To complete a Passenger Locator Form before returning to the UK.

A PCR test within 48 hours of arriving back in the UK and another Covid test on day eight

Will I need a vaccine passport?

The EU has confirmed it will accept holidaymakers who can prove they have received two doses of a certified vaccine, or proof of a negative PCR test before arrival this summer. The UK Government has launched its own version via the NHS app, which shows inoculation status and previous test results – it has been confirmed that European countries will accept this as part of their entry requirements.

What are cases like in Europe right now?

Cases remain much lower on the continent than the UK, where the current seven-day case rate is 332.54 per 100,000. Here's a snapshot of how things currently stand (as of October 4):


Seven-day case rate: 31.07; Total given second vaccination dose: 91.18%


Seven-day case rate: 35.92; Total given second vaccination dose: 78.68%


Seven-day case rate: 147.16; Total given second vaccination dose: 66.76%


Seven-day case rate: 53.02; Total given second vaccination dose: 80.56%


Seven-day case rate: 67.07; Total given second vaccination dose: 75.04%

When is the next travel update?

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps typically updates the country on the travel rules every three weeks. The next update is expected on Thursday October 7.

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Rahul C

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