The amber-listed countries where holidays will still happen

·3 min read
Scenic sea view in Kos - Getty
Scenic sea view in Kos - Getty

Portugal has become the latest country to slip between the cracks of the Government’s travel advice.

The country has been moved onto the amber list, according to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) traffic light system, but the Foreign Office (FCDO) guidance on travel to the country remains unchanged.

This means that although the Government says British holidaymakers should not travel to Portugal, tour operators will still run trips there as it does not contravene Foreign Office guidance.

In short, you shouldn’t go, if you listen to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps... but you can if you're willing to jump through the requisite hoops.

Tui, Europe’s largest tour operator, still intends to run trips to Portugal. It says: “We will only travel to a country on the UK traffic light system’s amber list if the country’s borders are open, if the advice from the FCDO is not against all but essential travel there, and if there are no requirements for quarantine on arrival where you can’t forgo this quarantine period by providing evidence of a negative Covid-19 test or of being fully vaccinated.”

On the Beach, too, anticipates trips to amber list countries that do not go against FCDO advice will still run while easyJet Holidays says: “Holidays to ‘amber’ destinations can go ahead if you’re happy to travel and follow the re-entry steps set out by the government.”

Portugal is the main such destination on everyone’s lips after it was dumped from green to amber this week, but it is not the only option for those happy to quarantine on return.

Read on for more, all of which are on the amber list.

What are the amber list rules?

Any travellers arriving in the UK from “amber” countries will be required to self-isolate at home for 10 days (potentially reduced with a paid-for “test to release” on day five). They will also have to take PCR tests on (or before) day two and on day eight of isolation, as well as taking a test before returning to the UK (proof of a negative result can be a printed document or an email or text shown on your phone) and completing a Passenger Locator Form.

The Government currently requires each of these tests to be a PCR test, which can be costly. Prices are slowly being reduced, with one Government-approved provider now charging £45 and Tui offering test packages for "green" destinations from £20.

Greece

The UK Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to Greece, except for a number of islands, all of which happen to be key holiday destinations. These are Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete.

Spain

Spain is in a similar boat, with the Foreign Office cherry-picking the Canary Islands for those tour operators can still run trips to. That means holidays can still operate to Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, La Palma and La Gomera.

Malta

The Mediterranean island may have missed out on the green list this week, as it hoped, but the Foreign Office has not changed its advice on travel to the country. This means it makes Tui’s list of amber countries it still plans to run trips to.

Caribbean

All of the below are on the amber list, but many are open to UK visitors and have dodged the wrath of the Foreign Office. These include Cuba, St Lucia, Barbados, Antigua and Grenada.