Denmark lifted the last of its Covid-related rules – both entry requirements and domestic guidelines – at midnight on Monday, joining a select few European countries that have done away with all pandemic restrictions for holidaymakers.
If you’re looking for the simplest possible holiday this Easter, these 11 destinations, although not the usual top 10 for spring travellers, might be your best bet.
All of these countries have now removed both entry requirements such as tests and proof of vaccination, and most of their rules on the ground (with masks recommended or advised in certain spaces, such as on public transport).
Or opt for a staycation, if you’re in the UK – England also removed all remaining Covid guidelines in February.
Here are your faff-free 11, regardless of vaccination status, with Sweden and Latvia set to join the pack later this week:
The UK’s emerald neighbour scrapped its remaining Covid-related rules for international visitors in early March, including eliminating its passenger locator form. Now travellers to the country, regardless of vaccination status, will have no pandemic-related admin to contend with before departure or on arrival. The Irish government announced: “From Sunday 6 March 2022, travellers to Ireland are not required to show proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative PCR test result upon arrival. There are no post-arrival testing or quarantine requirements for travellers to Ireland.”
This Scandi city-break favourite dropped the majority of its Covid rules back in February, but on Monday night eased restrictions even for unvaccinated people coming from non-EU countries – before, they’d needed a pre-travel test. However, authorities warned that they reserve the right to put restrictions on countries where new variants are detected. “As a part of this contingency, the so-called ‘handbrake’ can be activated if concerning variants emerge. The handbrake is not activated for any countries at this time,” said a government statement.
Norway was one of the first to axe all of its Covid restrictions in one fell swoop, back on 12 February. “From Saturday, 12 February 2022, you can travel to Norway without having to worry about anything more than having a good time!” the tourist board posted on its website. Post-Brexit, Britons do have to watch out for the current passport expiry rules – outlined here by Simon Calder – but they can visit countries such as Norway in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. From the beginning of 2023 or whenever the ETIAS scheme is up and running, Brits will require an ETIAS visa for Norway.
Like Norway, Iceland was quick to drop the entirety of its Covid restrictions on 25 February in a bid to tempt back tourists. “All official epidemiological measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic will be lifted, both domestically and at the border,” the government said in a statement. “This eliminates all rules on restrictions on gatherings and schooling, as well as the requirement for isolation of those infected with Covid-19.” This means no tests or quarantine for anyone, vaccinated or unvaccinated.
One of the most recent to join this list, Poland scrapped all entry requirements on Monday, 28 March, following a decision to remove the mandatory mask rule on 23 March. Masks now are only required in hospitals and healthcare institutions. The country had previously been fairly strict, requiring proof of full vaccination and a pre-travel test. Now you can explore cities such as Warsaw and Krakov, test- and mask-free.
In mid March, Montenegro removed its Covid-related entry requirements, ending the demand for proof of vaccination or a negative test result on arrival. While slightly under the radar, Croatia’s neighbour has been slowly building a profile as a travel destination these past few years, and with Croatia holding firm to its “vaccination or test” rule, as well as a passenger locator form, some tourists may be tempted here instead.
As of 7 March, travellers have no longer needed to test, show proof of vaccination or quarantine when holidaying in Hungary. Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, announced the move at a government briefing. Like all EU countries, Britons need to watch out for passport expiry rules, making sure theirs is valid for at least three months after the day they plan to leave. Hungary is a great choice for spring, be it the foodie, trendy capital Budapest or further afield, before temperatures ramp up in summer.
Visited by our travel correspondent Simon Calder this week, Lithuania announced in late February that it would no longer require visitors from certain countries – including the UK, those within the EU and EEA – to provide proof of vaccination a test result or fill in a health form. This is regardless of vaccination status. However, Foreign Office advice states: “On 24 February 2022, Lithuania announced a State of Emergency, in response to Russian military action in Ukraine.”
Slovenia dropped all of its remaining travel restrictions – bar a passenger locator form – at the end of February. “There are no longer any Covid-19 restrictions for entry to Slovenia,” read a statement from the tourist board. “The recovered/vaccinated/tested condition has been removed, making Slovenia an accessible, attractive destination for UK and Ireland travellers looking to experience incredible scenery, farm-to-fork cuisine, historic architecture, hiking trails, and much more.”
Increasingly popular with indie travellers and hikers prior to the pandemic, Romania lifted all remaining Covid restrictions on 9 March. This included the use of vaccine passports and the requirement to wear masks both indoors and outdoors. It coincided with the government’s decision not to extend a nationwide state of emergency that had been in place for almost two years. However, Romania is one of the least-vaccinated countries in Europe, with just under 42 per cent of the population choosing to take up two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine thus far.
Madeira has been a hit with restriction-averse travellers throughout the pandemic, with spells of being one of the more relaxed destinations to visit in Europe. Since early March it has no longer required tests, proof of vaccination or isolation from either vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers – though some mask rules do remain on the ground. “There are no restrictions on the entry of travellers at the airports, ports and marinas of the Autonomous Region of Madeira,” the statement of Madeira Regional Tourism Board, though it recommends that all visitors fill in its “Epidemiological Survey” on the Madeira Safe website.
Meanwhile, Twitter user Edu has created a map showing in green all the countries that have removed mandatory use of masks.
Spain remains firm on masks, shown in red, as do Austria and Croatia.