Holidays: Latest FCDO travel update for France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Germany & Portugal

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From coronavirus tests on entry to mandatory face mask in all public spaces, nations around the world are enforcing their own COVID-19 rules for visitors and residents. As holidays resume after the second lockdown, and the new test to release scheme comes into play, Britons should be sure to read up on the rules in their vacation destination before jetting off.

Here are the latest updates from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for some popular holiday destinations in Europe.


Though the majority of Spain has been axed from the UK travel corridor list for some time, the Canary Islands removed the only quarantine-free destination in the region.

However, last week this changes, with the Canary Islands being removed from the UK’s “safe” list of destinations.

Despite this, the FCDO is yet to change its travel advice for the Canary Islands.

It states: “Spain, including the Balearic Islands but excluding the Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

“If you are returning to the UK from the Canary Islands on or after 4am on 12 December, you will need to self-isolate on your return.

“You must still self-isolate if returning to the UK from any other part of Spain. Some exemptions apply.”

For those who are planning to travel to any part of Spain a negative PCR (swab) test taken must be provided on arrival.

Tests must be taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, in order to enter the country.

In the Canary Islands, there is a small exemption, with other forms of the test also accepted alongside the PCR tests.

Visitors will also need to fill out and sign an online Health Control Form 48 hours prior to travel.

You may have to undergo a temperature check and a visual health assessment on arrival.

A number of anti-coronavirus measures are in place throughout the country which includes social distancing rules and the use of face mask in both indoor and outdoor settings.

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France is not currently on the “safe” travel corridor list.

According to the FCDO website: “The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the whole of France based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”

The coronavirus situation in France remains “severe”, and the nation is subject to strict rules in a bid to combat the spread of the virus.

“Arrivals by sea and air routes will need to complete a ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight,” states the FCDO.

Britons who chose to visit France will need to self-isolate upon their return.

The 14-day period can be reduced from December 15 if travellers opt to pay for a private test on day five of their return.

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The FCDO continues to advise against all but essential travel to the whole of Italy.

“If you are returning to the UK from Italy, you will need to self-isolate on your return (unless you are exempt),” states the FCDO.

However, from December 15 the 14 day period can be slashed to five with the retrieval of a negative coronavirus test.

Those who still wish to travel to Italy are subject to a number of entry requirements.

Travellers must show evidence they tested negative for COVID within the 48 hours prior to travel.

If you do not show proof of your test, you will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

The FCDO warns: “Do not use the NHS testing service for a test to travel to Italy. You should arrange to take a private test.”

Visitors to Italy must also download and complete a self-declaration from the Ministry of Interior.

Tourists must also follow the coronavirus regulations which are being enforced across Italy.


Greece was removed from the travel corridor list months ago, with arrivals now facing quarantine on their return.

“The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to Greece based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks,” states the FCDO.

The FCDO is not advising against travel to the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete.

This means holidaymakers can still visit the Greek islands without risk of quarantine on their return.

However, there are a number of strict entry requirements they must follow.

If you travel to Greece by air, you will need to show proof of a negative covid test taken within 72 hours of travel.

Everyone also must complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before travel.

There are also a number of strict rules in place in Greece to curb the spread of COVID-19.

These include restrictions on “non-essential travel”.

Britons are advised to follow the advice of local authorities in Greece.


The FCDO is currently advising against all but essential travel to mainland Portugal.

The autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores are on the list of countries and territories where self-isolation is not required on return to the UK.

Those who still wish to visit Portugal will be subject to a number of entry requirements.

On arrival in mainland Portugal travellers will be subject to health screening.

If travelling to Madeira, Porto Santo or the Azores, visitors must take a COVID-19 test before travel or on arrival.

Anyone who tests positive on arrival will have to remain in confinement until they are given a deconfinement certificate from the health authorities signalling they are covid-free.

Visitors will also be required to complete and submit a traveller questionnaire 12 to 48 hours ahead of departure.

The FCDO further warns visitors: “You must observe the rules on social distancing and hygiene.”


Germany remains off the travel corridor list meaning arrivals into the UK face quarantine.

The FCDO states: “If you’re travelling to Germany from the UK or an EU/EEA country, you no longer need to demonstrate a valid reason to enter Germany. Standard German entry and immigration rules in place before the COVID-19 outbreak apply.”

It adds: “However if you’re travelling to Germany from an area designated as presenting an increased risk of infection, you will need to follow the rules on quarantine on arrival, as set out below. The UK is currently designated as an increased risk area.”

Travellers must register in advance of travel to Germany.

On arrival, visitors must travel to your accommodation and quarantine there for ten days. After five days it is possible to secure release from quarantine with a negative test.

There are some exemptions from the quarantine requirement, including for frontier workers and individuals deemed to be providing essential activities.

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