The UK Foreign Office (FCO) is currently advising against all but essential international travel for an indefinite period. However, countries across Europe have begun to ease lockdown measures and border restrictions and prepare for the return of domestic and international tourists.
Reciprocal travel deals – as proposed in a leaked European commission document on 12 May – may be struck between countries with similar coronavirus risk profiles. For example, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have formed a “travel bubble” allowing movement between those countries. A similar idea was proposed by the UK’s transport secretary Grant Shapps on 18 May, whereby travel would be allowed to and from countries with an R-number – a key measure of transmission – below one to try to boost confidence in aviation travel. The so-called “air bridges” would permit re-entry without quarantine.
At the UK border, all arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days, or face a £1,000 fine. Arrivals must also provide contact and accommodation information, and the authorities have said they will carry out spot checks. Failure to supply an address may result in a £100 fine. They will also be strongly advised to download and use the NHS contact tracing app. A list of exemptions is still to be confirmed, but currently includes passengers arriving from Ireland. The UK government has rowed back on the idea of exempting travellers from France. If international travellers are unable to indicate the place where they can self-isolate, they will be required to do so in accommodation arranged by the government. The government says these measures “will be introduced as soon as possible”.
Travel restrictions and safety measures are constantly changing and we will update this article as regularly as possible.
This article was first published on 18 May at 1pm. It was last updated on 25 May at 6pm (BST).
Land borders are due to open to international tourists from 1 June, as will some hotels and attached beaches, with other beaches due to reopen from 15 June. Some shops and restaurants are open and public transport will begin operating again gradually over the next month.
Initially, cross-border travel will be permitted with neighbouring countries (that have comparable decline in the virus) – borders are due to open with Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary on 15 June. Passenger train services between Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland and the Czech Republic are suspended. Vienna, Innsbruck and Salzburg airports are operational but with limited services until 31 May at the earliest. Restaurants and bars are open, and hotels from 29 May. Face masks mandatory on public transport and in shops. No large events permitted until June at the earliest. Health certificate required on entry, stating that the traveller does not have coronavirus; those without a certificate must self-isolate for 14 days. Testing is available at Vienna airport for €190.
Belgium is aiming to reopen to international tourists by 15 June, and is likely to make an announcement by the end of May. Some indirect flights with the UK are operating for essential travel. Eurostar has a significantly reduced service; public transport is running (face masks mandatory). Shops are open, museums opened on 18 May, and from 8 June cafes, restaurants and some tourist attractions will start to reopen and small open-air events will be permitted (major events prohibited until after August). Currently, all arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days. Proof of residence and onward travel required for transit.
Borders are likely to be open with Greece and Serbia from 1 June (likely to be without self-isolation), potentially followed by Austria and Germany. No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals. Some direct flights are operating between Sofia and London for essential travel and transit is permitted. Some hotels and swimming pools are open and individual outdoor sports permitted. Some markets and outdoor bars and restaurants are open – other restaurants are due to open from 1 June. Visiting mountains and national parks is also allowed.
Some border crossings open with limitations – foreign nationals with properties or boats in Croatia, or close family; and tourists with reservations for accommodation or boat charter . Parks, beaches, shops, museums, hotels and outdoor restaurants and bars are open, and some public transport is operating. Some international and domestic flights operating and transit permitted. The majority of international airlines expected to resume operations in July. Tourists in the country since restrictions have eased have largely been domestic, or from Slovenia by road, and next they are primarily expected to come from nearby countries by road, such as Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Germany.
Airports and seaports will begin “resuming operations in stages” between 9 June and 13 July at the earliest. No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by tourists. Between 21 May and 9 June, the second phase of easing of restrictive measures will include reopening the outside of cafes and restaurants and unrestricted use of beaches. Some hotels are open, with more to follow alongside museums from 1 June. Parks, outdoor play areas, squares and marinas are due to open from 21 June (subject to the 10 people rule), as well as archaeological and historical sites.
Borders with Austria and Germany due to open by 15 June. No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals. Prague airport is open, with limited indirect flights to the UK, for essential travel only. Transit is permitted with proof of residence and onward travel. Domestic travel permitted. Shops, outdoor restaurants, pubs, museums and other cultural institutions are open, and events with up to 100 people are permitted. Hotels, outdoor campsites and other accommodation will open and taxis began operating again from 25 May, when rules on wearing face masks on public transport and in shops may also be relaxed.
The Danish government has said it will decide on border control and travel advice by 1 June. Copenhagen and Billund airports are open, with indirect flights to the UK. Transit is only currently permitted for those with a “worthy purpose”, such as people from neighbouring countries returning home. Shops, parks and some hotels are open, and public transport is operating. Restaurants and bars are open, too. Sports facilities, theatres and cinemas are due to reopen after 8 June, when events or activities involving 10 or more people will be permitted.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
Currently, only tourists from within this “travel bubble” of Baltic countries are permitted entry.
No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by tourists. Flights are operating between Finland and the UK, and transit is permitted. Shops are open and restaurants, bars and cultural institutions are to open from 1 June (with social distancing). Events of more than 50 people will be permitted from 1 June, and gatherings of more than 50 people from 31 July. Ski resorts and many hotels remain closed.
Borders due to reopen, initially with Switzerland and Germany, from 15 June. No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals. Currently, all arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days. Public transport is starting to run more frequently, face masks are mandatory. Some shops have reopened, restaurants and bars may reopen on 2 June at the earliest. Beaches and some parks will stay closed at least until 1 June, as will larger museums. A health certificate stating that the traveller does not have coronavirus will be required on entry until at least July (with an alternative of 14 days’ self-isolation). A déclaration de déplacement(certifying the reason for travel and proof of address) is required for domestic travel beyond 100km of the home. P&O and DFDS are operating reduced ferry services on cross-Channel routes. Some flights are operating. Eurostar is running a limited service between Paris and London (passengers are required to wear face masks). For vehicle crossings, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is operating a limited service.
Borders are open with Luxembourg, and are due to reopen to Switzerland, France and Austria from 15 June. Currently, arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days – but arrivals from the EU, the Schengen area and the UK will be exempt, unless entering from an area where there is a high rate of infection. Limited flights running for essential travel only. Shops, restaurants and some hotels now open. Large events, such as festivals may return after August. The 16 states have taken different paths out of lockdown, with types and timetable of amenities open varying.
Prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared 15 June the official start of the tourist season in Greece, but many direct international flights will not resume until 1 July. Currently, all arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days on arrival, but this is likely to be lifted from 15 June, when there will be coronavirus testing for arrivals. Some domestic flights and ferries operating (at 50% capacity), and travel to all the Aegean and Ionian islands is permitted. Face masks are mandatory in shops and on public transport. Some shops, bars and restaurants are open, and throughout June, malls, cinemas, amusement parks, playgrounds and sports facilities will open gradually. Year-round hotels are due to open from 1 June, seasonal hotels from 15 June. Public transport and taxis operating (up to two passengers per taxi). Large gatherings, including festivals and sporting events, are unlikely to return this summer.
Borders are open with Romania; are due to open with Austria on 15 June; and could reopen with Slovenia by 1 June. Limited flights are operating. In Budapest, shops, parks and the outside areas of bars and restaurants are open, and elsewhere hotels are also permitted to reopen. Face masks are mandatory in shops and when using public transport and taxis across the entire country.
The government expects to “start easing restrictions on international arrivals no later than 15 June”. (Borders have remained open to Schengen countries.) Testing will be required on entry, with the alternative of 14 days’ self-isolation (final details to be announced at the end of May). Arrivals will also have to download the country’s tracing app. Some flights are operating, including Icelandair, as are some buses and taxis. Most hotels, attractions, restaurants, nightclubs, gym and shops open; and public gatherings of up to 200 people permitted (with social distancing).
Some flights and ferry services continue to operate between Ireland and the UK – although all arrivals are subject to 14 days’ self-isolation and must provide details of accommodation while in Ireland. UK nationals will be exempt from self-isolation procedure on return home – a start and end date, and whether transit through Ireland is permitted, has not been confirmed. Public transport is limited; restaurants and some pubs will reopen on 29 June; hotels, museums and galleries to reopen 20 July.
Borders are due to reopen to international tourists on 3 June (when mandatory self-isolation measures for arrivals will also be lifted). Parks are open and restaurants can sell takeaway food. Bars, restaurants, non-essential shops and museums are open (apart from the Vatican Museums, which will reopen on 1 June). Some hotels will reopen in June, depending on bookings. Some flights are operating and one airport is open per region (Rome Ciampino and Terminal one at Rome Fiumicino airport are closed). Trains are operating reduced services, but no international services are running. Sicily has announced that it will subsidise travel for international and domestic tourists once it is safe to return.
Borders open with Germany. No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals, or passenger flights to start operating with the UK. Restaurants, shops and hotels are due to begin reopening after 25 May, when outdoor non-contact sports will also be permitted. Face masks are mandatory in supermarkets and on public transport.
No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel or tourists. The airport could reopen by the end of May. Currently, all arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days. Face masks mandatory in shops and on public transport. Some restaurants and non-essential shops are open; and hotels may open by early June.
Borders are open; tourists from Schengen countries and essential travel only, with the possibility of non-essential travel permitted after 15 June. Some flights are operating with the UK – airlines require travellers (including those transiting) to complete a health declaration. Shops and some hotels are open. Face masks are mandatory on public transport from 1 June. Outdoor restaurants and bars are due to open from 1 June, as are theatres, music venues, museums and cinemas (with social distancing). Campsites and holiday parks are open, and their communal facilities are due to open on 1 July. Events, concerts and festivals with more than 100 people may be allowed after 1 September.
No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals. Travel with other Nordic countries is being reviewed, with an announcement expected by 15 June. Some flights operating with the UK and transit permitted. Some hotels, shops and restaurants open. Organised events with up to 50 people permitted, so some parks, music venues, galleries and other cultural institutions open, others likely to reopen from 15 June.
Borders are likely to be open to international tourists from 13 June. Restrictions have been lifting gradually since 4 May, and travel to cities, national parks and beaches is now permitted. Some international flights are operating. Currently, all non-essential arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days. Hotels were permitted to reopen from 4 May, and most shops, restaurants, bars, museums and galleries are also open. City bike schemes and some public transport operating. Face masks mandatory in public.
On 22 May, tourism minister Augusto Santos Silva told the Observador: “Tourists are welcome in Portugal,” this summer, and that arrivals by air would be subject to health checks but not a compulsory quarantine. Some flights are operating between London and Lisbon, other international flights (including outside the EU) are likely to begin operating again after 15 June. The lifting of measures varies depending on region. Public transport across the country is running at a reduced capacity, though there are rail and bus links to Lisbon city centre from most parts of the country, and taxis are still operating. Beaches and campsites are open and restaurants and bars in many regions are permitted to reopen at limited capacity. Many of the Algarve’s hotels are already open and its beaches are due to open in June. Non-essential travel is not permitted to Madeira and the Azores, where a mandatory 14-day self-isolation is still in place.
Borders are open with Hungary. No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by UK nationals. Hotels, some shops, museums and restaurants are open, and some direct flights with the UK have resumed. Face masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces and on public transport.
No date announced for borders reopening to non-essential travel by tourists. Some flights operating, and transit permitted with proof of onward travel. All arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days and register for entry 72 hours in advance. Some shops, outdoor markets, outdoor sports venues for non-contact sports, outdoor tourist attractions, outdoor areas of bars and restaurants, museums, galleries and short and long-term accommodation (without catering) are open. Taxis and some public transport operating. Face masks in public are mandatory.
A phased reopening to neighbouring countries is likely – the border with Hungary could be open by 1 June. Flights are limited, and currently all arrivals from outside the EU must self-isolate for seven days and provide proof of accommodation. Train connections with Austria are suspended. Shops, galleries, some smaller hotels, and bars and restaurants to open outdoor spaces. Some public transport and taxis operating, and face masks mandatory. Large events will not be permitted for some time, but some tourist attractions are reopening. Mountaineering is being discouraged and mountain huts remain closed.
Borders are due to gradually open to international tourists from July, and domestic travel will be permitted from 22 June. A de-escalation process is gradually reopening the country in stages throughout June (some measures vary depending on region and throughout the islands). Very limited flights running and are for essential travel only. Currently, arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days, although this is likely to be relaxed from July. Many hotels were allowed to reopen from 11 May (minus communal spaces and catering) but not all are expected to do so until borders open to domestic and international tourism. In less-affected regions, outdoor spaces at restaurants and bars can open, although most will not be fully operational until June. Museums and beaches are open, some are limiting capacity. Non-essential travel from the mainland to the Balearic and Canary islands is not yet permitted, although these are likely to be some of the first regions to relax measures further. In partnership with the World Health Organization, the Canary Islands are set to be the first destination in the world to trial digital health certificates when they open to international tourists in July.
Borders are open to UK nationals and those of EU countries (but are closed to residents of some non-EU countries until 15 June at the earliest). Limited flights operating between London and Stockholm. As Sweden never went into full lockdown, hotels, shops, bars, restaurants and some museums are open. Large gatherings of more than 50 are still prohibited.
Border crossings to and from Germany, France and Austria due to reopen from 15 June. Hotels, shops, markets and restaurants are open. Outdoor sports with up to five people permitted. Theatres, museums, cinemas, swimming pools, ski resorts, spas, mountain services and other leisure activities are due to resume on 8 June. Large events with a thousand-plus people may resume from 31 August.
The government is aiming to have domestic tourism return by the end of May and international tourism by mid-June. International flights are limited (more are likely to be scheduled for June onwards); domestic flights remain suspended and inter-city travel restricted. Hotels and restaurants are permitted to open from 27 May. Face masks are mandatory in public areas. Measures vary across provinces and may change at short notice. Nationwide curfews have been put in place in recent weeks – the latest is a four-day curfew from 23-26 May, with a few exceptions.