The best hassle-free holiday destinations this summer


Gone are the days of mandatory travmin (travel admin); for those looking for a fuss-free break, there’s a wealth of options this summer, after numerous destinations decided to scrap all Covid restrictions.

There’s now a growing list of countries where travellers can simply rock up, no testing, forms, masks, quarantine or proof of vaccination required.

So for the easiest, breeziest trip, here’s our pick of holiday destinations where the only potential headache will be whether the UK’s beleaguered travel industry can get you there as planned…

Vipava Valley, Slovenia

Slovenia dropped all of its remaining travel restrictions – bar a passenger locator form – at the end of February. This small but perfectly formed nation tucked between Austria, Italy, Hungary and Croatia was having a real tourism moment before the pandemic struck; go now while its charm and landscapes remain unspoilt. The whole country has plenty to offer, from the splendour of Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj to the easy, laidback city break vibes of capital Ljubljana. But make a beeline for the Vipava Valley, where verdant rolling hills, begging to be hiked, and a Mediterranean-esque microclimate are complemented by vineyards (wine tasting is a must) and Italianate tasting plates.

Vipava Valley’s Otlica window

(Marijan Mocivnik)

Lefkada and Zakynthos, Greece

Greece scrapped all entry and border requirements related to Covid on 1 May, following that up with an end to its mask requirement (in most settings) on 1 June. Head to the Ionians for some chilled out island hopping; Kefalonia may have lured Captain Corelli’s Mandolin fans with its rustic beauty for decades, but Lefkada and Zakynthos have some of the nation’s most dazzling unspoiled beaches. You can get between islands pretty easily spring to autumn, with some ferries from as little as £8 one-way. Tiny isle Ithaka, a ferry from flights-connected Kefalonia, is a tranquil beauty with swathes of unspoilt nature and lively little ports for an evening out.


This autonomous Portuguese archipelago was quick off the mark when it came to shedding restrictions, binning them in early March (compared to mainland Portugal, which waited till July). With the Spain’s Canaries still insisting on proof of vaccination or a negative test, sun-seekers after a scorching island with dramatic, volcanic scenery could consider swapping Tenerife for Madeira’s four islands this summer. Here, you’ll find rugged cliffs, honey-coloured sand beaches, lush greenery and warm, glass-clear sea for lazy swims, as well as a bustling harbour in capital Funchal.

Madeira offers rugged terrain and warm seas

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

In May, Vietnam became the first country in Asia to scrap all Covid-19 travel and entry guidelines for travellers arriving by air – regardless of vaccination status. Combine a city and sea break by heading to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, where you’ll find great-value, super-tasty street food, complex history and plenty of culture to soak up in a hot, noisy, dynamic city that rarely sleeps. Feeling overwhelmed? A short hop (1hr flight) will get you to the island of Phú Quốc, known for its white-sand beaches and fabulous, palm-lined resorts.

Venice, Italy

Italy ended all border and entry requirements related to Covid on 1 June – this means that, regardless of vaccination status, you no longer have to show proof of vaccination or a test result when entering the country. This summer sees the perennially popular Venice host the 59th iteration of Venice Biennale, an international contemporary art exhibition held between April and November every two years. It is a glorious event, packing in work from some of the most exciting artists from all over the world; to see it with fewer crowds, wait until the peak summer period is over and opt for an early autumn visit. Going this year also means you can visit without having to pay the soon-to-be-introduced tourist tax (although this will only effect daytrippers – and we’d advise staying for at least a few nights).

The Venice Biennale is on until November


Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa ended all travel restrictions on 22 June. Holidaymakers and visitors no longer need to show proof of a Covid vaccination at the border, nor take any tests before travel or quarantine once in the country, regardless of vaccine status. Head for tourist darling Cape Town to clamber up Table Mountain, go penguin spotting on Boulders Beach, and take enviable snaps of the jewel-coloured houses of Bo-Kaap. An hour’s drive will get you to the winelands, where a plethora of vineyards await, ready to host tours and tastings.

Rijeka, Croatia

Nearby beaches offer the chance to take a dip in the Adriatic

(Helen Coffey)

Croatia did away with its remaining Covid rules on 1 May. For a mix of city and sea, head for Rijeka, the country’s third city, which combines a fascinating architectural mix with a vibrant market, great-value seafood and cultural big hitters like its Sugar Palace museum, courtesy of a 2020 stint as European Capital of Culture. This industrial melting pot next to the Adriatic also boasts nearby beaches lapped by pristine waters away from the hustle of the city centre, plus the “molo longo”, a lengthy harbour arm running parallel to the city that’s just begging to be strolled.



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