Changes to Norway’s Travel Restrictions

Norway has, this week, announced some changes to its travel restrictions.

Certain travellers will find restrictions somewhat relaxed, while those in some countries face stricter regulations.

An overcast day in Norway as buildings are reflected in the still waters
Norway’s border restrictions remain tight

Travellers in the following categories can expect relaxed quarantine and testing rules:

  • Children travelling with parents who have EU COVID-19 Certificates
  • Spouses, partners, cohabitants, minors, adult children or stepchildren of Norwegian citizens
  • Those who are Spouses, partners, cohabitants, minors, adult children or stepchildren of EEA citizens going to Norway
  • EEA citizens visiting family in Norway, or travelling with a Norwegian family member

Norwegian officials have also withdrawn the ‘Do Not Travel’ notice for the following countries. This is because of their improving epidemiological situations.

  • Albania
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Canada
  • Kosovo
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Qatar
  • Serbia

Despite this move, travel options remain limited for non-vaccinated travellers, as Norway’s regulations are strict.

Norway’s Green List

Norway is open to tourists from countries that have been put on the green list.

These are:

  • Denmark (specific areas)
  • Finland (specific areas)
  • Sweden (specific areas)
  • Austria
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Germany
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy (mainland)
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • The Vatican

Arrivals from these countries do not need to quarantine or provide a PCR test result before arriving. They however, will be tested on arrival. Travellers who have proof of being full vaccinated do not need to be tested or complete the travel registration form that is required of others. Travellers from these countries must have spent 10 days in a green country before arrival and cannot transit through any country on the orange or red list unless they are vaccinated.

Unvaccinated travellers from other countries in the EU and Schengen zone are still required to quarantine and be tested. In principle, travel restrictions do not allow travel to Norway for countries not mentioned above, however, a list of exemptions can be found here. Children arriving from outside of a green country and who are under the age of 12 do not need to provide a negative PCR test result.

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Where Can South Africans go on Holiday?

People in South Africa have had it tough for the last 6 months. As the Beta variant emerged in December, a number of countries began closing their borders to non-essential travellers from South Africa. This move has made it tricky for foreigners resident in the country who want to go home without paying exorbitant quarantine costs. And, for those with their eye on an overseas holiday, the restrictions seem insurmountable.

So, where can South Africans escape to for a well-earned holiday? We take a look at what’s available.


Albania’s many lakes and mountains are perfect for an outdoor getaway


Albania is currently open without any travel restrictions. Visitors must wear masks when travelling on public transport and in indoor spaces – masks are no longer required when outdoors. There is a curfew in place from 00:00 to 06:00. Events and attractions such as sporting championships, theatre, and art galleries are open but in a limited capacity so booking in advance is advised.

What to See

Albania‘s geography covers everything from beautiful Ionian coastlines to rugged alpine mountain ranges. Tirana, the capital, has a thriving cultural scene. Home to many art galleries and museums, including the National History Museum, the city has plenty for visitors to explore. Further afield, discover the castles that dot the landscape, and hike through the valleys, passing glaciers, waterfalls and more.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Travellers from outside of Europe must present a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours when arriving in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Fully vaccinated travellers can skip this step if they provide proof that they received the full vaccination more than 14 days before travel. If you have recovered from Covid-19 between 14 to 180 days prior to arrival then you are also exempt. Children under 7 do not needed to be tested if their accompanying adult have a negative test result.

What to See

Bosnia and Herzegovina has had a disruptive past, its capital city Sarajevo facing particular bombardment. This, and its location in the Balkans, has kept it somewhat under the tourist’s radar, but the country is a hidden gem, and the ideal holiday destination for travellers who don’t want to skimp on culture and landscape when on a budget. Bosnia and Herzegovina has plenty to attract nature lovers; rugged mountains dominate the landscape, winding rivers are great for water sports, and the country’s terrain makes it one of Europe’s most affordable skiing destinations.


Zebras graze on the grassy plains in one of Tanzania’s many national parks


Closer to home, South Africans can hop across the border to Namibia. All arrivals must present a negative PCR test taken within 7 days prior to arrival. There is a restriction on movement in place from 21:00 to 04:00.

What to See

Namibia is a land of extremes, the traveller in search of adventure will be spoiled for choice. Skeleton Coast offers a memorable, if eerie trip – the carcasses of abandoned ships dot the coastline, slowly being taken over by the desert. Safari options are abundant, both self-drive and guided. The lucky visitor may even spot a black rhino. The country has an activity for every type, be it on land, on water, or in the air. An affordable holiday option for South Africans, Namibia is adventure on your doorstep.


Another SADC country open to South Africans, Botswana requires a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours. Travellers might be tested again on arrival at their own cost. Travellers from India must quarantine in a government appointed facility for 10 days.

What to See

Botswana is home to the Okavanga Delta and the Khalahari Desert, boasting almost unrivalled natural beauty and diversity. Botswana’s game reserves have international renown, and offer guests a wide variety of accommodation types, from luxury lodges to established safari camps, or, bring your own gear and set up in camp in an assigned area. The game viewing opportunities are abundant, and the reserves are immense – perfect for an escape to the great outdoors.


Travellers arriving in Tanzania must submit a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours. There are mandatory health screenings on arrival, which includes a rapid Covid test at the traveller’s expense ($25).

What to See

Get back in touch with your wild side and go game spotting in the Serengeti National Park, home to the Big 5. Or, hike through Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, in the shadow of the famous dormant volcano. Alternatively, relax on brilliant white beaches in Zanzibar, which is also home to UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stone Town. Not many country’s give you access to excellent safaris one day, and tropical islands surrounded by coral reefs the next – Tanzania will give you a holiday with a little bit of everything.

The Americas

The Dominican Republic’s endless beaches are perfect for a relaxed holiday

Dominican Republic

South African arrivals to the Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic must present a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours. This does not apply to children under the age of 5. Fully vaccinated travellers can skip the testing process if they have proof that they received their full dose more than 3 weeks before travelling.

What to See

A trip to the Dominican Republic could be just what the doctor ordered. Relax on the soft sandy beaches – the country has 1600 km of beach coastline so you’ll be spoiled for choice. Stretch your legs taking part in the many activities available to visitors – from golf to kitesurfing and caving, there’s something for everyone. The Dominican Republic is a topographical kaleidoscope, behind the palm tree-lined beaches are looming, verdant mountains. The country is proud of its many national parks, and the diversity of its fauna, means visitors can catch sight of humpback whales, manatees, iguanas and loggerhead turtles all on one trip.

The Bahamas

The Bahamas is open to both vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers. Those who haven’t been vaccinated will need to provide a negative PCR test no older than 5 days, complete the daily health questionnaire and complete the Travel Health Visa application. Children under the age of 11 are exempt from testing.

What to See

This Caribbean archipelago is the ideal holiday destination for those needing a break. Beautiful beaches, crystal waters and a vibrant and welcoming culture, the Bahamas has it all. Visitors can enjoy fishing, sailing and scuba diving amongst other activities. The Bahamas has taken its re-opening seriously, and all activities follow Covid-19 protocols.

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Our Picks in Japan (to visit when you can)

Japan is a country steeped in history, whimsy, and currently, sportsmen and women. While travel restrictions are preventing most people from visiting at the moment, there’s no harm in planning in advance.

These are our top picks for Japan:

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park

Mount Fuji is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Japan’s highest, and most famous mountain, dominates the landscape around the park. Mount Fuji plays such an integral role in Japan’s culture and history that it has been recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. For the intrepid traveller, Mount Fuji’s most popular climb begins at the 5th station, about half-way up, has an overnight stop, allowing climbers to summit around sunrise. For the less adventurous, enjoy the views of Mount Fuji from the comfort of your high speed train, or one of the many hot springs in the region.

Kappabashi Kitchen Town

Japan is known for the high quality of its knives and craftsmen

If you’re into food, cooking and kitchen gadgets then you can’t miss Kappabashi Kitchen Town in Tokyo. Chefs and restaurateurs head here to stock up their kitchens – you’ll find every type of knife imaginable. The road is a kilometre long, and has café stops for the weary shopper along the way. You’re unlikely to come away empty-handed, whether you buy for practical use, décor, or fun.

Wild Snow Monkey Park

Snow Monkeys bathe in the pools in Winter

Open since 1964, the Wild Snow Monkey Park, allows visitors to get up and close with wild monkeys in beautiful mountainous settings. In the Winter months, the Snow Monkeys, or Japanese Macaques, tend to bathe in the pools around the park. The park is unfenced and the animals roam freely – while the monkeys are a key attraction, the surroundings are appealing enough to draw visitors. The park is open 7-days a week throughout the year.

Animal Islands Around Japan

Animal islands are popular with visitors to Japan

Another fauna-based attraction that makes our list are the animal islands dotted around Japan. This might not be a trip for the easily allergic – Okuno Island, for example, is home to over 900 rabbits, hence its alternative name of rabbit island. Similarly, there are a number of Cat islands, where the feline population far exceeds the human. One of the islands, Tashiro, has a shrine to the cats that once helped the silk producers rid the island of rats.

Ghibli Museum

The Robot Soldier guards the Ghibli Museum from the rooftop

Studio Ghibli, best known for their animated work, is behind this homage to all that’s weird, and wonderful, in the colourful Ghibli world. As you near the Ghibli Museum entrance, you’ll be greeted by a large Totoro before being ushered into a blast of colour and creativity. Every room is different – there’s a theatre, and a room full of sketches illustrating the nascent days of a film. On the roof you’ll find a garden and a five metre tall Robot Soldier from Castle in the Sky. Stop for lunch at Straw Hat Café, surrounded by rare red pine trees. Please note, visitors must book their tickets to the museum in advance.

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PCR Testing – Ages 10 and Under

Holiday planning should be fun, not a chore. Here’s our list of destinations and their testing age exemptions.

For children over 10, check out our list here.

A young boy runs through an airport
Don’t let PCR testing put a dampener on your trip – just choose the right destinations!

10 Years Old

  • Georgia: Children under the age of 10 are exempt from testing requirements. Vaccinated travellers from any country can visit Georgia without any travel restrictions. The current exception is India – arrivals need to quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.
  • Ethiopia: While all travellers arriving in Ethiopia must provide a negative PCR test, children under the age of 10 are exempt. The test must be no more than 5 days old. Please note, a rapid antigen test is not accepted.
  • Turks & Caicos: The Caribbean nation of Turks & Caicos is open for tourism. Visitors must provide a negative PCR test and children under the age of 10 are exempt. Travellers must obtain the TCI Assured certification before their trip.

7 Years Old

  • Cape Verde: The archipelago Cape Verde is once again open to visitors. Arrivals must present a negative PCR test result that is no older than 72 hours. Children under 7 are exempt. Rapid antigen testing also applies for travel between the islands.

6 Years Old

  • Egypt: All children under the age of 6 are exempt from testing requirements when travelling to Egypt. Passengers older than this must present a negative test result which is no older than 72 hours. Certain exceptions apply to arrivals from some lower risk countries – for these the PCR test must be no older than 96 hours.
  • Germany: Travellers from high risk, or high incidence areas travelling to Germany must present a negative Covid test ir proof of full vaccination or recovery. Children under the age of 6 are exempt. Germany has strict travel restrictions in place and is mainly only open to arrivals from the EU/EEA and some third party countries.
  • Turkey: Arrivals in Turkey who are younger than 6 do not need proof of testing, recovery, or vaccination. All other passengers must have a negative test result no older than 72 hours. Turkey is open for tourism, however a ban on entry remains for arrivals from some virus variant countries such as, South Africa, Brazil, India and Sri Lanka.
  • Czech Republic: Children under the age of 6 are exempt from PCR testing requirements, but then must quarantine for 5 days on arrival.
  • Italy: Children under the age of 6 do not need to be tested to travel to Italy but might need to quarantine depending on origin. Italy is open to visitors. Those from the EU/Schengen, USA, Japan, Canada and Israel can enter without quarantine provided they have proof of full vaccination, recovery, or a negative PCR test result.

5 Years Old

  • Grenada: Travellers of the age of 5 are exempt from all testing requirements. Arrivals older than this must present a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours. All travellers must present proof of a booking at an approved accommodation in Grenada, and they must stay in this accommodation for a minimum of 7 days after arrival.
  • Dominican Republic: Most travellers do not need to present a negative test result, but could be randomly tested on arrival. Travellers with a PCR test no older than 72 hours, or proof of full vaccination, will no be randomly tested. Children under 5 are exempt in all categories.
  • Malta: Travellers under the age of 5 are exempt from testing for entry to Malta. Malta has strict entry restrictions, and a lot of countries are on its dark red, or ‘very high risk’ list.
  • Rwanda: Arrivals in Rwanda must provide a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours. Children under 5 years are exempt. Rwanda has re-opened for international tourism, and its tourist attractions and national parks follow strict Covid-19 protocols. Passengers arriving from India or Uganda must complete a 7 day quarantine in a listed hotel.
  • Saint Lucia: Travellers to this Caribbean nation must present a negative PCR test result which is no older than 5 days. Children under 5 are exempt. All arrivals over the age of 18 must complete the travel registration form. Visitors must provide proof of their accommodation booking prior to travel. Passengers must print all necessary documents, including PCR test results. Different rules apply to vaccinated travellers, please check Saint Lucia’s tourism site for more details.
  • South Africa: All arrivals must present a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours. The result must have the name and signature of the medical practitioner who conducted the test. Children under 5 are exempt from all testing requirements. There is no quarantine requirement in South Africa and inter-provincial travel is permitted.

1 Year Old

  • The Maldives: Infants who are under a year of age are exempt from the test requirements for entry to the Maldives. All other travellers must have a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours. Visitors must have a confirmed booking at a registered tourist accommodation.
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Singapore Plans September Re-Opening

Like much of South East Asia, Singapore’s borders have remained relatively shut throughout the pandemic. The country has been praised for maintaining a firm handle on the epidemiological situation, and is now strategizing a re-opening in September.

Travellers who have been fully vaccinated will, according to the plan, be allowed to visit Singapore without a 14-day quarantine in a hotel. Singapore’s officials have emphasized the importance of vaccinations in their re-opening plan. By September it is expected that 80% of its 5.7 million population will be vaccinated.

Singapore is an economic hub as well as a springboard for other Asian destinations. Just a stone’s throw from Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok in Thailand, and Jakarta in Indonesia, its no wonder that leisure and business travellers have been eagerly anticipating a re-opening. Singapore has, over the course of the pandemic, created travel bubbles and corridors with varying levels of success and duration. Travel bubbles however, can be fickle beasts, and the surge in the Delta variant helped inch them to bursting point.

The indoor waterfall surrounded by gardens at Singapore's Changi International Airport
Changi International Airport is hoping to see more visitors in the coming months

Positive Signs

Seeking a re-opening solution through vaccination, is a way for the country to restart the economy without compromising its low Covid-19 case numbers, according to Singapore’s Finance Minister.

To this end, vaccinated travellers will be allowed to travel to Singapore, with the only requirement of Covid testing. Unvaccinated travellers will have to follow the strict quarantine regulations. This second group cannot travel to Singapore for leisure and will need prior entry approval before their trip.

Singaporeans may even find local restrictions are eased as soon as the middle of next month. The government is set to review the current rules, which include limiting numbers in gatherings and banning dining out – a sting for a foodie haven like Singapore.

Although no clear plans have been made public yet, it is likely that Singapore’s re-opening will start with countries that have also maintained low Covid case numbers, such as Australia and New Zealand.

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Iceland’s Top Must-Sees – And tips for getting there

As we’ve all been locked inside, hunkering out the pandemic storm on a diet of banana bread and Tik Tok videos, its no surprise that travel experts predict a spike in adventure tourism. Seeking the great outdoors, is a trend that’s expected to hang around. With that in mind, we bring you our top picks for the must-sees in Iceland – the choices were difficult!

Iceland has relaxed its strict travel regulations – most recently allowing fully vaccinated visitors to arrive with barely any restrictions. EU and Schengen zone residents will find travelling to Iceland fairly simple, as will those in a selected number of third countries. Find out more information here. For details on PCR testing requirements for children, please check here.

Third party countries who are currently exempt from travel restrictions are:

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Hong Kong (SAR)
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kosovo
  • Lebanon
  • Macao (SAR)
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • North Macedonia
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • USA

Travellers to Iceland must pre-register before arriving and it is recommended to download the local Covid-19 app.

Our Top 5 Must-Sees

Whale Watching

Whale-watching in Iceland

Far out in the North Atlantic Ocean, its no surprise that Iceland gets the treasure trove of whale sightings. Whale-watching excursions have become one of the country’s most popular tourist activities. Visitors will get a further bang for their buck, as Iceland’s rich marine is also teaming with dolphins, porpoises and up above, various sea birds. Whale-spotting tours set out daily from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík, as well as a number of smaller towns. Húsavík, which you may recognize as the town in Netflix’ film Eurovision, is whale-watching heaven as it has some of the most densely populated waters in the world.

Whales can be spotted all year round in Iceland, however, the optimal months are between April and September.

Icelandic Horses

Iceland’s horses

Did you know that the Icelandic language has over 100 names for the colours and patterns of their horses? These horses are so loved and intertwined in Icelandic history and folklore, its not surprising that horse riding is a ubiquitous activity in the country. See Iceland from a different vantage point by booking one of many horse riding tours available across the island – choosing to go on four legs instead of four wheels is the best way off of the beaten track! If riding isn’t your thing, no problem, in our opinion, the horses are just as captivating from afar.

Do go Chasing Waterfalls

Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland

Iceland is home to some incredible waterfalls. Arguably Iceland’s most famous waterfall is Gullfoss (the Golden Waterfall). Located in the south of the country, the falls, drop down either side of a gorge 32 metres deep. If you want to visit the picturesque Seljalandsfoss waterfall, then don’t forget to wear a raincoat as the topography of waterfall allows visitors to walk behind it. Please note, the pathway is closed in winter due to ice. If you visit in the summer months though, you can enjoy the wildflowers that spring out around the waterfall thanks to the spray.

Explore the Wilderness

Explore the wilderness of the WestFjords

We love going off the beaten track – and the WestFjords are certainly that! Jutting out into the sea in the north west of the country, this region has been left somewhat undisturbed – and it shows. Birdlife is abundant here, and you won’t find it difficult to spot an Arctic fox. More stunning waterfalls, and dramatic cliffs will keep your camera busy. From hiking, to kayaking, and discovering the local cuisine, the WestFjords will give you an adventure you won’t easily forget. The region is accessible by air, and is roughly 450km from Reykjavík.

Hike Iceland

Iceland has hiking trails for every level of experience

In a country lauded for its nature, hiking obviously has to make a ‘must-see’ and must-do’ list. Iceland is a walker, runner, and hiker’s playground, with innumerable trails to pick from. Your best bet is to start on a trail in one of the national parks, such as Vatnajökull National Park – which is centered round a glacier. Trail difficulties and routes are well marked. Iceland’s geographical diversity gives explorers a bit of everything – from beaches, to volcanoes and thermal pools, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Icelandair operates regular flights to a number of European and North American destinations – travellers are advised to check with their local travel service provider.

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Skip PCR Testing for Children Over 10

In the current climate there are many hurdles to overcome when planning a trip, not least of them are confusing PCR testing requirements – especially when it comes to travelling with children.

If the process is uncomfortable for an adult, let’s not imagine how it is for a child. So, we’ve compiled a list of countries that only require PCR tests from children of specific ages. This list does contain countries with quarantine rules, and those without – giving you the freedom to pick the spot that ticks all the right boxes.

Please note, this list is not exhaustive – these are our picks of countries that are open for visitors, or have more relaxed travel rules.

For children under the age of 10, check out our list here.

Don’t let PCR testing dampen the holiday spirit

PCR Testing Exemptions for the 15-18 Age Bracket


  • Sweden: Travellers under the age of 18 do not have to be tested to enter Sweden. The country is closed for leisure travel for those outside of the EU/EEA zones. Visitors over the age of 18 and from the EU must provide a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours. Find out more information on visiting Sweden here.


  • Iceland: Children born in, or later than 2005 are exempt from testing requirements. Currently there are no travel restrictions for citizens and residents from EU/EEA/EFTA countries. Some Third Party countries are also exempt from an entry ban. For specific regulations, please check Iceland’s official Covid-19 page.
  • Lithuania: Children under the age of 16 who arrive from a country on Lithuania’s Green list don’t need a PCR test. If the child is arriving from a country in another colour category then this only applies to children under the age of 12. Lithuania is currently open for tourism, and regulations are specific to the traveller’s port of origin. Find out more about Lithuania’s traffic light system here and here.
  • Denmark: Children under the age of 16 are exempt from testing and isolation requirements on arrival in Denmark. Travellers over this age must provide a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours when arriving from specific countries. Denmark is operating on a traffic light system – arrivals from Green and Yellow countries face more relaxed rules. Foreigners from higher risk countries can only travel with a ‘worthy purpose’.
  • Switzerland: Children under the age of 16 don’t need to provide a test result when entering Switzerland. Travellers who are older than this can either provide a negative PCR test (less than 72 hours) or Rapid Antigen test (less than 48 hours). Switzerland is open for tourism, but rules can vary according to the situation in your port of origin. For more information, please check the official Swiss website.


  • Slovenia: Slovenia is open for tourism and ready for visitors. Children under the age of 15 are exempt from testing when accompanied by an adult. For more information about planning your trip to Slovenia, consult the local website.
  • Finland: Children born in, or after 2006 are exempt from testing requirements. Finland is open to tourism, and has recently further relaxed restrictions for vaccinated EU/EEA travellers, and some Third Party countries.

Exemptions for the 11-12 Age Bracket


  • Antigua and Barbuda: Children under the age of 12 are exempt from PCR testing – those over 12 must be tested no more than 7 days before flying. Antigua and Barbuda is open for tourists, and provides a list of certified accommodation here. Restaurants, bars, and excursions are all operational.
  • Cyprus: Cyprus is operating on a traffic light system, but, in every category, children under 12 are exempt from testing. The country is open for tourists, with varied rules depending on the traveller’s origin.
  • Jamaica: Children under 12 don’t need to be tested before travelling to Jamaica. Those over 12 must submit a negative test result no older than 3 days. Jamaica is open for visitors, and has a wide range of hotels and guest accommodation which have been Covid-19 safety assured. Travel authorization is needed, more information can be found here.
  • Latvia: Latvia is open for leisure travel for arrivals from the EU/EEA/Schengen Zone/UK and specific Third countries. Not all arrivals need to provide test results, but where they do, children under 12 are exempt. Specific rules and accepted countries are found here.
  • UAE (Dubai): Children under 12 who travel to Dubai don’t need PCR testing. Travellers who are older than this must submit a negative test result no older than 72 hours. Dubai is open for tourism, however different rules apply for other areas of the UAE. Specific entry requirements can be checked here.


  • The Bahamas: Non-vaccinated travellers over the age of 11 will need to supply a PCR test result no older than 5 days prior to arrival. The Bahamas are open for tourism, travellers can check on specific regulations, and see what to expect on their holiday, via The Bahamas official tourism website.
  • France: Children under 11 don’t need PCR testing to enter France, but, other regulations may vary depending on their origin. France is operating on a traffic light system, and also has different regulations for vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers. All travellers over 11 and from orange and red countries need to provide a PCR test no older than 72 hours before their flight. Alternatively, a negative antigen test result no older than 48 hours is also accepted.
  • Morocco: Morocco has re-opened for tourists from specific countries. Arrivals must provide a PCR test no older than 72 hours if they are over the age of 11 and not vaccinated.
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Re-Open, Re-Charge, Relax – Our picks for your next escape

Hands up if you need a bit of R&R – we’re sitting here with both arms in the air. Sadly, the days of being able to book a cheap Easyjet flight for a few sunny days in Corsica are, for now, somewhat out of reach. Now, with great R&R comes a little bit of admin – PCR tests, and travel rules are a hassle, we agree. But, once over those hurdles, the escapism can begin. Wellness is key, but where can you go to find it? We’re here to help you relax.

We’ve brought together some of our favourite spots for a relaxed getaway with a spot of wellness. From heady rainforests, to cobbles streets dappled by bougainvillea branches, everyone’s decompression holiday comes in different packages. We’ve given you a bit of everything.


Decompress in style in Morocco
Relax in style in Morocco

Morocco has recently re-opened to visitors and has implemented strict Covid-19 protocols on accommodation and attractions. Morocco’s tourism portfolio allows you to sprinkle your holiday with a bit of adventure should you choose. Explore the souks, go dune bashing, or, just relax on your sun lounger. Whether your choice is reveling in luxury at the Mandarin Oriental‘s new spa in Marrakech, or a simple beachside escape on golden sands along the Atlantic, Morocco has R&R for every budget.

South Africa

Let nature restore balance along South Africa's Garden Route
Let nature hit the reset button in South Africa

South Africa is open to visitors, although leisure travel to Gauteng is currently not permitted. Driving along South Africa’s scenic coastal routes is an escape in itself, add in a few decadent stops and you’ll feel like a new person. Dine under the stars after an al fresco spa session at Bushman’s Kloof in Clanwilliam, in the Western Cape. When you’re not being massaged, take in the wildlife and rock art in the reserve. Up the eastern coast of the country is the famous Garden Route. Here you will find the luxury game reserve, Godwana, not far from Mossel Bay. Godwana is home to the Big 5, as well as world-class spa facilities, and fine dining.

For the more budget-conscious traveller, South Africa has a wide selection of accommodation, from hotels to AirBnB. For more information, check here.

Costa Rica

Tropical rainforests and gushing waterfalls in Costa Rica can relax any soul
Jungles and waterfalls wait for you in Costa Rica

If you’re looking for a relaxed retreat with a twist, then head to Costa Rica. Wild mountains, verdant rainforests and abundant flora and fauna will draw you in, and the accommodation will make you want to stay. As with all our holiday spots, Costa Rica has charming, and affordable accommodation, such as La Chosa del Manglar Nature Retreat, flanked by mangroves, and surrounded by birdlife, a hammock is the escapist’s ideal spot. If you want to top your Costa Rican adventure off with a bit of pampering, there are a number of luxury resorts to choose from. Kinkara is one of them, offering an all-inclusive experience with activities beyond your usual resort package. Swim in waterfalls, hike through the jungle, and practice yoga with vast views of the landscape – the place is designed to be restorative.


Relax and sip on cocktails while watching the sun set over the Mediterranean in Greece
Blue seas and blue skies are the perfect escapism in Greece

Greece is everything, to everyone; party islands, cultural trips, and languid yachting – one holiday could be multi-themed. You’ll find a wealth of smaller accommodation options dotted over Greece’s many islands, some off the beaten track (literally), some hugging the lapping waters of the Mediterranean. But, if you’re looking for somewhere truly awe-inspiring to relax, then go no further than Cavo Tagoo. This award-winning hotel is what Greek holiday dreams are made of. The hotel’s infinity pool has endless views over the seas, as do most rooms. Watch the sun disappear behind the horizon with your evening cocktail after a day spent in the spa – it doesn’t get much better than this!

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Finland Welcomes Leisure Travellers

Finland has re-opened its borders for leisure travellers from a number of countries.

Although its entry ban for arrivals from Third Party countries has been extended until the middle of August, some lower risk countries have been exempt.

Travellers from the following low incidence countries where there are fewer than 25 positive Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants are free to visit Finland as tourists. This applies to the following countries:

  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Italy
  • Switzerland
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • Malta
  • Iceland
  • the Vatican
  • Bulgaria
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Albania
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • North Macedonia
  • Serbia
  • Moldova
  • Azerbaijan
  • Lebanon
  • Israel
  • Brunei
  • Australia
  • South Korea
  • Hong Kong
  • Macao
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • New Zealand

Finland has further relaxed entry requirements for fully vaccinated travellers from the EU/Schengen Zone, as well as those who have fully recovered from Covid-19. The vaccinated traveller can enter Finland no sooner than 14 days after the second dose of the vaccine. For those who have recovered, the Covid-19 recovery certificate must be less than 6 months old

These vaccines are accepted for entry to Finland:

  • Pfizer-BioNtech
  • Spikexav, formerly Moderna
  • Vaxzevria, formerly AstraZeneca
  • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)
  • BIBP/Sinopharm
  • Coronavac (by Sinovac)
  • Covishield

Restrictions for Leisure Travellers in Finland

Pink and orange lakeside sunsets in Finland.
Lakeside sunsets in Finland

Restrictions vary across different regions of Finland, and depending on case numbers. Travellers are advised to double check requirements with local authorities for any changes. Since June, most restaurants, cafes, attractions and museums have re-opened, however regulations still apply. Restaurants, cafes and bars must follow social distancing rules, and, in the case of indoor venues, standing room is not allowed. Museums and tourists sites might be subject to local restrictions, so travellers should check individual websites in advance to avoid disappointment. Visitors should book everything in advance when possible as most venues are operating at a limited capacity.

Finland is known for its rich, artistic, landscape. With over 300 museums, the folklore and history of the country lives symbiotically with cutting edge art and architecture. For those wanting to escape to nature, the lakes, coastlines, mountains and deep forests of the country, envelop visitors and provide a sanctuary from the mayhem of the rest of the world. Whatever season you decide to cash-in those leave days for, Finland will have something to draw you in.

Find out more information on travelling to, and through Finland here.

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Ireland Re-Opens – What you should know

Ireland has had, for many months now, one of Europe’s lengthiest and strictest lockdowns. Now, as Ireland re-opens, we take a look at what travellers should know. So, whether you’ve been hankering for the rugged beauty of the Irish landscape, or, you’ve been in Ireland and now desperately need to top up your tan, don’t travel without these tips.

PCR Testing

Dublin International Airport has two private PCR testing facilities to cover your pre-departure or arrival testing needs. Both companies offer PCR and rapid antigen tests, and require booking in advance.

Rocdoc Health Check offers both drive-thru and walk-in options, and prices start at €49 for a rapid antigen test. PCR tests are more expensive at €95.

Randox Travel Centre offers tests in-clinic. A rapid antigen test is €45 and is ready in an hour. The PCR test is €69 and the results are ready by the following day.

Listed on Dublin Airport’s website are some reputable off-site testing facilities.

To Test, or not to Test?

Outside of the EU, Ireland has categorized countries according to their epidemiological status using an emergency brake mechanism. The government created the emergency brake mechanism in order to quickly implement restrictions on countries with virus variant risks. Travellers from these countries likely face stricter regulations. Vaccinated travellers can check the approve vaccine list and timeframe here.

Arrivals to Ireland from: EU, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland

Travellers who have valid proof of a full vaccination, or, full recovery from Covid-19 in the past 180 days will not face any entry restrictions to Ireland.

Non-vaccinated travellers need to provide a negative PCR test result less than 72 hours old.

Arrivals to Ireland from: Third party countries where the emergency brake system has not been applied

Fully vaccinated or recovered travellers won’t face any restrictions on entering Ireland, as above.

Non-vaccinated travellers must provide a PCR test, self-quarantine for 14 days, and test to release with a PCR test on day 5.

Arrivals to Ireland from: Third party countries where the emergency brake system has been applied

Vaccinated and recovered travellers need to:

  • provide a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours
  • Undergo self-quarantine for 14 days
  • Test to release on day 5

Non-vaccinated travellers need to:

Children over the age of 12 must also present a negative PCR test result.

Colourful houses along the harbour in Galway, Ireland
Galway, Ireland

Ireland Re-opens Restaurants and Attractions

Ireland’s restaurants, cafes, museums and attractions are open, with regulations in place. To avoid disappointment, visitors are advised to check each establishment’s website in advance. Nightclubs, casinos, and other indoor leisure venues are currently closed.

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