From Cyprus to Sweden, see our selection of convenient last-minute breaks to ‘green list’ destinations
Cyprus seems a safe bet for avoiding quarantine complications as case numbers have tumbled in the past few weeks. Crucially, if you are after a blast of sun, the island stays reliably warm throughout autumn with temperatures hovering in the mid twenties. The catch? To visit you will have to show on arrival evidence of a recent (no more than 72 hours previously) negative PCR test. Still, your efforts will be rewarded if you book a week’s stay at contemporary waterfront hotel Almyra. Set in the southern resort of Paphos, the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, ancient attractions close by include the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park, with its open-air Roman ruins. Not that you have to leave the hotel – the eight acres of manicured gardens and five freshwater pools make social distancing a cinch, while the seven restaurants (from Japanese to traditional Greek) mean culinary boredom is unlikely.
A clutch of Greek islands may have been knocked off the travel corridor list, but Corfu remains quarantine-free for travellers from England and Wales (Scotland has removed all of Greece from its safe list). The Ionian island has always gone its own way, set apart from the rest and curving round the coast of Albania, and while temperatures don’t hold quite as strongly as its more southerly siblings, you can still expect warm and sunny days. The recently relaunched online-only Thomas Cook has a host of Corfu holidays, including a stay at Kontokali Bay Resort & Spa, a five-star option set on a peninsula and surrounded by olive groves. The large, elevated salt-water infinity pool, which overlooks the bay, sets the tone, while down on the essentially private beach, you’ll find plenty of loungers and the hotel’s taverna. Whitewashed rooms are minimalist in style and the best have plunge pools.
Seven nights departing September 29, from £614 per person, including Easyjet flights available through Thomas Cook (Thomascook.com).
Lake Como, Italy
Whether it’s due to the calm-inducing waters, misty mountains or even the Clooney connection, the Italian Lakes will never lose their lustre and they make a great choice for a last-chance European holiday. Although cases have recently risen in Italy, rates remain lower than the UK and it seems unlikely to be struck off the safe list in the near future. Lying at the foot of the pretty town of Moltrasio on Lake Como’s western shore, the four-star Grand Hotel Imperiale has exactly what you want from a hotel in these parts: an attractive lakefront swimming pool. Add to this a smart restaurant serving fresh fish dishes with views over the water and a well-equipped spa. Public boats dock just yards from the hotel, making it convenient to zip off to the nearby town of Como or to explore the rest of the lake.
Seven nights departing on selected October dates from £1,190 per person, including private transfers and BA flights, available through Expressions Holidays (expressionsholidays.co.uk).
It didn’t seem likely a few months ago, but a holiday to Sweden is now back on the cards after the country was added to the travel ‘green list’. A city break to Stockholm is a good bet for those who want a little action after this slow-motion year. British Airways has a long weekend trip to the capital, staying at Miss Clara, a suitably Scandi-chic hotel set in a former girls’ school. Rooms have huge white windows, parquet floors and come stocked with swish Byredo bath products. Head to the bar for a punchy ‘Penicillin’ cocktail and soothe any sore heads the next day with waffles and open club sandwiches at the hotel’s popular brunch. Stockholm Palace and the Nobel Museum are within walking distance, as is ABBA The Museum, which promises visitors the chance to be the band’s fifth member.
Four nights departing October 1, from £265.50 per person, including flights available through British Airways (britishairways.com).
As we know, things can change fast, but currently Turkey is one of the safer bets for a holiday in the coming weeks. Those in the know have been taking autumn trips to the Bodrum peninsula for years, when the summer crowds have evaporated but there’s still eight hours of sunshine a day. After this tumultuous year, package holidays are experiencing something of a revival, with travellers seeking comforting and unchallenging breaks. Book a week’s stay at Voyage Bodrum, an airy, adults-only resort set on a Blue Flag beach. Easyjet Holidays’ all-inclusive offers mean that all you have to think about is whether to lounge by the pool or on the beach, or perhaps, if feeling energetic, a stroll to the nearby Bodrum windmills.
Seven nights departing on September 30, from £1,330 per person on an all-inclusive basis with flights available through Easyjet Holidays (easyjet.com).