Finally the announcement came this weekend of the list of TWELVE countries we have the 'green light' to visit.
Essentially 'green list' means that you won't have to quarantine when you return to the UK. Don't be fooled however, there are still rules. You'll need to test at your location TWO DAYS before you return home (and if a member of your group tests positive, you'll be following the local rules of isolation) then, once you get home, you'll need to test again two days after you arrive home. Both these tests will have to be paid for by you. They start at around £50, which means adding £100 at least, per person, onto your holiday.
Also, just because England has given these countries the green light, still doesn't mean you can book a flight and go. Each country still has its own rules about who they allow in. Despite being on the green list for example, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are currently closed to UK nationals, and a lot of the other countries on the list still demand a two-week quarantine when you arrive. For more details - check our other article here:
But for now, if you DID want to visit any of those countries, what can you expect?
Some of our amazing Seatkickers group members, have been sharing their experiences of the countries that feature on the list.
Let's start with Portugal, which has been a firm favourite:
We went to Portugal in August 2019, we stayed at the 4* Alfaga village in Albuferia. Perfect for kids with our own apartment but with use of all the hotel's facilities. We had a 2 bed room over looking one of the pools, there was a kids pool with splash park and slides ect. And 2 or 3 other big pools for inflatables. With drinks and snack bars at each. We also did a pirate boat tour and jumped in the sea ect and also a jeep safari into the mountains to visit a honey farm x
We visited Portugal in the Summer of 2019 and will definitely return. It is a stunning place and not at all what I imagined. I Imagined it to be like Spain, but it couldn't have been more different. The influence of its heritage from The Algarve was occupied The Moors is still very evident from the architecture to the food.
We stayed in a lovely resort called Olhao de Agua, which means eyes of the water. This refers to the fresh water springs to be found on the beautiful beach. This was a lovely small resort for families half way between Albufeira and Vilamoura. Both great places to visit and dead easy on the bus. It is a perfect family resort, and only approx 3 hr flight time and then to that resort only 30 mins transfer, it is a nice distance to handle travelling with kids. The weather perfect as well, as not as silly hot in the summer months as some places get, but obviously still glorious.
We have spent many summers on The Algarve. Perfect for families. Beautiful beaches, lots of gorgeous places to eat along the beach, a favourite of ours is BJ’s on Almargem beach which often has live music and alway has fresh fish to eat. Our kids love Zoomarine for a day out and also Slide and splash water park and Aqualand. We usually rent a self catering place as it is so easy to drive around and lots of local markets and places to get food. Love it!! Fingers crossed we will get there this summe
we went to Lagos and we loved the beaches, the beautiful little cobbled towns and the food. Our kids love fresh fish so we were excited about taking them to the little beach front restaurants and trying new things.xx
Albufeira in Portugal is an absolutely brilliant family resort, been there twice in the last few years
Portugal is the pick of the green list crop with sandy beaches, delightful islands and beautiful cities. I recommend a trip to Porto which will please the kids too - it's home to the Harry Potter library!
Although Portugal seems like the obvious choice, the list has 11 other countries you could consider:
Iceland is an adventurous option with fantastic landscapes and even an active volcano. It's family friendly with its famous wild ponies and even a diamond beach. You might need to wrap up warm, though.
Israel will definitely provide the warmth. A stay on the super-buoyant Dead Sea will seem like a dream to the children while there's relaxing spa options for Mum and Dad https://mikeosbornphoto.com/2019/10/20/dead-sea-shores/
Continuing with Israel, Tali has spent a lot of time there, and gives us this advice:
My recommendation is to base yourself in Tel Aviv. I find it the most vibrant city. It’s got miles of gorgeous Sandy beaches, eateries for lunch on a lounger or sundowners. The prom runs along the whole length of the city and has a great atmosphere to walk / run / cycle or scooter.
Tel Aviv has it all for me; beach, culture, amazing food scene (visit HaCarmel market and the restaurants in Jaffa are 🏻) history and a great party scene too if you get a night off from kids. The street art is beautiful and did you know it has a UNESCO heritage site to honour the Baushaus architecture?
There are plenty of big hotels on the beachfront with pools. Neighbourhoods to look at for accommodation are
1. Neve Tzedek. Cool boutiques, cafes and the best ice cream parlour
2. Jaffa / the old town for historic views
3. Old North is quieter more family vibes.
If you want to travel around on your trip here’s a few ideas...
1. Fly or drive south to Eilat for beach time on the Red Sea. The main pull for me is the dolphin swimming which we did growing up.
2. The Galilee is a beautiful region, lots of hots springs to visit at Tiberias
3. Dead Sea. Totally unique, you can book into a spa there. It’s not the place for young children though.
What about Brunei? It's on the list of 12 countries we can travel to, but what do you know about it? Fab fellow Instagram travel account @_tinytribetravels lives there and tells us all about it:
Home to a prosperous gas and oil economy and stunning mosques, this beautiful country basks in year round sunshine. At night it really comes to life, with eating out being the most popular way for locals to socialise. No trip to Brunei is complete without a visit to the Gadong night market to get a taste of local cuisine. Leaving the city behind, take a short boat ride down the Brunei river, through the mangrove waterways to experience the natural haven that is Temburong - the green jewel of Brunei
Although it's on the green list, Brunei is actually closed to everyone other than for essential travel, unless you have permission from the Sultan!
New Zealand is a joyous, utterly beautiful place that is hard to put into words but I'll try...It's lush and green and friendly and full of adventure...there is something for everyone, of any age, and the scenery will leave you gasping for breath
Thanks so much to all our contributors, if you've been to any of the other Green List countries and want to let us know what it's like, do get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org
Or join our ace facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/351428182424634
And follow us on Instagram @seatkickers_