A quick getaway: mid-term breaks without the need to take a Covid test | European holidays
Holiday bookings are surging ahead of the scrapping of Covid travel tests, making it a real possibility to go abroad without having to take a single test this February semester.
Last month, the UK government scrapped pre-departure testing, along with the need for travelers to self-isolate on arrival until they receive a negative PCR test result. With the requirement for the second day test also being scrapped from February 11, a test-free holiday for fully vaccinated Britons will soon, finally, be possible again.
On the Beach has predicted the biggest surge in holiday bookings the travel industry has seen in the past two years, with holiday sales already up 150% week over week since the start of the year.
Zoe Harris, Chief Client Officer at On the Beach, said: “Removing testing requirements will give people the peace of mind they need to book with confidence, and that extra boost to escape the cold. and to gray at home in favor of a sun lounger with their name on it.
There are 37 countries that welcome visitors with no requirement to take a test, but travel testing regulations change often, so check your designated country’s rules before departure. Below we list a selection of options that are still available for the February semester.
Andalusian heat, Spain
February is often hot in southern Spain, and Responsible Travel has a number of active family holidays available all year round. The bestseller is a seven-night multi-activity trip based in an off-grid eco-hotel in the Altiplano of Granada, Andalucia. The price includes a choice of three activities – horse riding, rock climbing and flamenco dancing (from £1,320 for five people half-board, responsivetravel.com). Those with older children can opt for a week-long self-guided cycling holiday in Murcia. Kids (and parents!) should be able to cycle an average of 35km a day on cycle paths and quiet country roads (from £695 B&B including bike hire and luggage transfer, explore.co.uk) . In the hilltop town of Vejer de la Frontera, Andalucia, the Califa Group offers 10 stylish homes for rent, including Casa Badillo, which sleeps 11 people, for a relaxing stay with extended family. Vejer is a few miles from the surf beaches of the Atlantic coast and close to two natural parks (from €1,300 for five nights, califacasas.com).
Forest Hikes, Cycling and Wine Tasting, Croatia
The stone villa at the Kameni Dvori family farm near Dubrovnik is only available for exclusive rental in the summer (sleeps 11), but in February small families can choose to book just one or two bedrooms. A recent restoration retained the original exposed stone walls, wooden beams and fireplaces, but updated the fixtures, decor and technology. Outside, the old barn is now an outdoor swimming pool, there is a games area with table football, badminton and darts, and a terrace with dining table and barbecue. Guests can rent bikes, take a cooking class, taste the owners’ house wines and explore the nearby forest to find a lookout point with views of the Adriatic. The agriturismo is 15 minutes by car from the airport and 30 minutes from the city center (double from €68 per night, village-de-vacances-konavle.com).
Cross-country skiing by train and skiing, Switzerland
Exodus has a new self-guided cross-country trip to Kandersteg, a village in the Bernese Oberland, suitable for ages eight and up. There are plenty of easy trails in the pine and beech forests surrounding the village, and guests have unlimited local bus rides if they want to venture further afield (cable car tickets are extra). Families stay in a traditional family-run hotel, which offers breakfast, packed lunches and four-course dinners, as well as a five-course meal of regional specialties. It has a small indoor swimming pool, a gym and sauna, a bar with a pool table and a lounge with an open fireplace and board games. The local ski school offers cross-country skiing lessons if required. From £879 for six nights, exodus.co.uk. Alternatively, Inntravel offers a winter journey combining stays in Lucerne and Chur with the Glacier Express, one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world. From £1,195 pp for seven nights, inntravel.co.uk.
Bright bucolic days, Malta
Malta is peaceful during the winter months but often has bright, sunny days – perfect for an adventurous hike or a bucolic stroll. Inntravel offers a self-guided walking tour of Gozo, the second largest island, which takes walkers through fertile farmland to dramatic cliffs and idyllic bays. It is also possible to visit Neolithic temples and the medieval citadel of the island. No car is necessary – traveling on local buses is easy, especially with Inntravel’s travel pass (included). From £665 for seven nights, excluding transport, inntravel.co.uk. For those who want to relax and unwind overlooking the sea, Responsible Travel still has availability in a self-catering holiday home in the village of Ghajnsielem in Gozo (from £958 per week, for six people, responsivetravel. com).
Alpine Solution, Germany
Get off the beaten track and head to the Bavarian Alps for your snow cure this semester, a region with glistening Alpine peaks, abundant wildlife, glacial lakes and thick fir forests. Snow Trex still has availability on a number of different accommodation options, including a stay at the family-run four-star Hotel Bayern Vital in Bad Reichenhall, a spa town in Upper Bavaria. From £1,954 for a family of four including lift pass, snowtrex.co.uk.
Arctic Wonder, Sweden
Sweden offers a winter playground in February, ideal for active families who love the outdoors. Brändön Lodge in the Luleå archipelago in Swedish Lapland is a real treat, offering everything from snowmobile safaris to Northern Lights tours and dog sledding. From £2,646 for four nights for a family of four sharing a cabin, full board and several activities, excluding travel, with Discover the World, discovery-the-world.com.