For many people, summer just isn’t summer without a beach holiday - sea air, sunshine, and sand between your toes. After several long weeks of lockdown, even the most devoted homebody might be thirsting for a bit of travel, so it’s great news that many European countries are easing travel restrictions and preparing to welcome visitors once more.

The destinations on this list are recognised by the European Best Destinations organisation (EBD) as “least affected by Covid-19”, so you can scratch your travel itch safely. Local safety protocols and social distancing measures may still be in place - be sure to research these before your trip, and stick to the protocols so your dream holiday stays incident-free.


Malta

Not only do the islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino offer beautiful beaches and azure seas, they also sport lush valleys, and superb walking country.

The climate, typical of the Mediterranean, makes the islands wonderful for all manner of outdoor activity including watersports, diving, golf, horseback riding, and boA‹A‹i - a local variant of lawn bowling.

This Mediterranean gem also claims a rich history, reflected in its incredible limestone architecture and many museums, churches, forts, and archaeological sites.

Additionally, as a medical tourism destination, Malta boasts more hospital beds per resident than the UK or Ireland. This, coupled with a low coronavirus caseload, means that the island country is equipped and ready to accommodate visitors, should needs arise.

Malta’s tourist season begins on 1 July.


Kotor, Montenegro

The Montenegrin city of Kotor might not be the first thing that comes to mind when the words ‘beach holiday’ are uttered, but this secluded coastal town deserves a second look. There are 10 small beaches in the vicinity of Kotor. Orahovac, with its pebbly shore and old stone houses, is the firm favourite, but the clear waters of Trsteno and bay views of Morinj are not to be missed.

The EBD describes Kotor as “one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe”, and it’s not hard to see why. The landscape surrounding the Mediterranean port is breathtaking, from the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea to the limestone cliffs of LovA‡en and Orjen, making it perfect for nature lovers.

Kotor is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to the Venetian fortifications that surround the old town, and boasts many historical and cultural attractions including the romanesque Cathedral of Saint Tryphon.

The country has experienced very few cases of coronavirus, and Kotor has remained a green zone with no cases detected during the pandemic.

Montenegro will reopen for tourism on 1 July, and no quarantine is requested.


Cavtat, Croatia

Another worthy jewel on the Adriatic coast is Cavtat. This stunning small town lies just 20km south of Dubrovnik, on the peninsula of Rat.

Long seaside walks and peaceful, hidden coves are ideal for travellers with a romantic streak, but that’s not all the area has to offer. Steeped in history and tradition, Cavtat will delight those looking for cultural experiences, and the nearby Konavle region provides all the outdoor activity a nature-lover could desire.

Croatia’s number of hospital beds per capita is one of the highest in Europe, and the country has introduced sanitary measures in its larger hotels, meaning that tourists can enjoy peace of mind during their stay.

Croatia will reopen for tourism on 1 July, and no quarantine is requested.


Preveza, Greece

Preveza sits between the Ambracian Gulf and the Ionian Sea, perfectly poised as “an island on the mainland”. With access to sixty kilometres of sandy beaches, there’s no shortage of places to take in the sun and the sea.

Aside from the usual delights for sun-worshippers, Preveza is also home to St. George’s Castle, the Archaeological Museum of Nikopolis, and the Fortress of Pantocrator, amongst other historical sites.

No trip to Greece would be complete without sampling the local cuisine, and you’ll find plenty of cafes, restaurants, and meze-bars nestled between the neoclassical buildings of the city.

For the ecologically-inclined, the wetland of the Ambracian gulf is protected under the Ramsar Treaty, and approximately 280 species of birds have been recorded in the area. The country has more hospital beds per inhabitant than the UK and is also one of the countries least affected by the coronavirus. Preveza is within easy distance of three hospitals.

Greece will reopen for tourism on 1 July, and no quarantine is requested.


The Azores

In the North Atlantic Ocean lies an archipelago of nine incredible islands - The Azores. The deep blue sea surrounding these islands allows visitors to spot dolphins and whales in the wild.

The islands are volcanic, giving rise to a landscape full of thermal water springs, dry calderas, and crater lakes. The rich natural heritage and geological wealth of The Azores make the islands an ideal destination for geologically-minded tourists.

There are several beaches and bathing areas across the islands, as well as opportunities for surfing, diving, yachting, and canoeing.

The archipelago has remained relatively unaffected by the coronavirus and has 3 well-equipped hospitals.

The Azores will open to tourists on 1 July, and no quarantine is requested.

 

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