How entry requirements vary around Europe’s main holiday destinations

Travelling to Europe this summer will be high on many people’s lists of priorities. Having endured more than a year of lockdown restrictions, with many of the personal freedoms we used to take for granted seriously hindered, a holiday to a hot country will be a much-needed respite for large portions of the population. Yet, the governments in Europe are still working to stop the spread of Covid, and they all have their own way of ensuring that new variants are not introduced through foreign travel.

As a result, many of Europe’s main tourist destinations have very different entry requirements that you need to meet if you want to travel there. In the most part, it will mean making use of travel test packages from government-approved companies such as MedicSpot, but there will be other requirements that you may have to meet in addition to providing negative test results.

Portugal’s entry requirements

Portugal managed to keep its infection levels low for a sustained period of time due to a mass lockdown that began in January 2021. As a result, it is now able to welcome many tourists after opening its borders again to foreigners. All it asks is that you present a negative Covid PCR test taken within 72 hours of the departure of your flight to the country. Importantly, and handily, you do not have to quarantine when you get there unless you test positive for Covid-19 while on holiday. Holidaymakers in Portugal do not have to be vaccinated to be allowed entry — not even one dose of a two-jab vaccine is required. The country is very much trying to make it as easy as possible to visit it.

Spain’s entry requirements

Spain is a hugely popular destination with holidaymakers thanks to its stunning coastlines, cosmopolitan cities such as Barcelona and Madrid, and its wonderful climate. Holidaying there means a certainty of sun during the summer months; however, its tourism industry has suffered massively in the wake of the Covid pandemic. Now, it has a number of entry requirements in place for foreigners wishing to come into the country.

Like Portugal, it is trying to make it as easy as possible to allow holidaymakers to jet there without too much difficulty. As a result, visitors only need to show a negative Covid test that has been taken in the previous 72 hours. Those tests can be PCR, TMA or LAMP. And, when arriving in Spain, travelers do not need to quarantine or self-isolate for any time at all.

France’s entry requirements

France remains a hugely visited country for so many reasons. Its history and beautiful cities such as Paris and Bordeaux are a huge draw, along with its world-renowned cuisine. France’s countryside is stunning and vast, while its beaches — on any of its coasts — offer an easy and picturesque spot to relax.

To enter the country, visitors are only allowed in with a negative Covid-19 PCR test result and a declaration that they have no symptoms. Currently, visitors are only allowed to enter from the following countries: Australia, Israel, Singapore, New Zealand, the UK, South Korea and Japan. After June 9th, visitors from other countries, in addition to those listed above, will have to provide a health pass or a pseudo vaccine passport. That health pass will likely need to include a negative test result as well.

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If you want to visit now and are not on its list of allowable countries, you need to offer a legitimate reason to enter. Currently, that would be for work, for your health or to visit family. In short, if you want to go on holiday in France, you won’t be allowed in until at least June 9th. And, currently, when non-EU entries go into France, they need to quarantine for 7 days. That quarantine period can be conducted anywhere they like, but they have to isolate for a week.

If travellers are coming from some countries, such as Turkey, UAE, Pakistan and India, for example, they are required to quarantine for 10 days in addition to needing to present a negative PCR test that has been taken in the 36 hours prior to departure.

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Requirements for travelling to Europe on holiday

Whether or not Covid is much of a concern to you, you will still need to adhere to the rules if you want to go on holiday to any of the countries listed above this summer. If you don’t, you risk being turned away at border control and having to pay for an expensive return trip home.

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For the most part, taking a Covid test (which is the most common requirement) is not an onerous task. It can be a little uncomfortable and, depending on what provider you go with, it can be an added expense. However, it will be well worth it when you finally get to holiday abroad to enjoy your destination’s local culture.

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