It might feel like a million years since you last stressed over what to pack, woke up ludicrously early to go to the airport or wore a swimsuit on the beach, but we can now, tentatively, look forward to holidays again.
Of course, one thing we’ve learned over the course of this pandemic is anything and everything could change in the blink of an eye, but many of us are feeling positive about finally getting out of the country.
A travel green list is set to be announced on May 7, highlighting which countries you’ll be able to return from without having to quarantine. If all goes to plan, this will come into place when foreign holidays are permitted for people in England from May 17. Devolved administrations have not set dates for the restart of foreign holidays, yet.
While we don’t know for sure which destinations will be on the list, it’s rumoured Portugal, Malta, Gibraltar, Israel and Iceland will feature. So where should you go for what? Here’s our guide…
For phenomenal food and drink… Portugal
If you’ve been worn down by the constant grind of cooking your own food and doing the dishes, a foodie tour around Portugal could be just the thing. Focus your energies on coastal city Porto where you’ll find food markets and an incredible hole in the wall restaurants. Local specialities include francesinha – a ham sandwich smothered in cheese and a spicy tomato sauce – and Portuguese tarts.
To wash it all down, it would be rude not to try the city’s top tipple: port.
For stunning nature and wildlife… Gibraltar
Ask anyone for their highlight of Gibraltar and we’d put good money on them saying one thing: the monkeys. After all, how many destinations are less than three hours away by plane, and promise wild Barbary macaque sightings? Be wary though, and don’t touch – sometimes they can get a bit too friendly, and might even nick your wallet.
As charming as the monkeys are, they’re by no means the only reason to visit Gibraltar. Travelling to the top of the Rock gives you sweeping views of two continents – Europe and Asia – and the Gibraltar Nature Reserve is perfect for hikers.
For electric nightlife… Israel
Anyone who loves dancing until the sun comes up has had a rough year of it – and a trip to Israel could be the perfect way to make up for lost time. From beach clubs to rooftop bars, Tel Aviv is particularly known for its all-night party scene – and thanks to the country’s high vaccination rate, things feel fairly normal there, and nightclubs are beginning to reopen.
And if you’re not desperate to get back to the clubs, there’s plenty to enjoy still: from jaw-dropping historic sites to pristine beaches.
For adventures… Iceland
You might mainly associate Iceland with the Northern Lights (generally visible in winter), but there are still plenty of adventures to be had in summer. Whether it’s whale watching, hiking through stunning landscapes or boating through glaciers.
If you’re looking for a more traditional experience, head to Iceland on June 21, when the country will be celebrating the summer solstice.
For beautiful beaches… Malta
It’s easy to pack way too much into a holiday, and sometimes you feel as though you need another break when you get home. If you’re looking for a slower-paced vacation, Malta could be a good option. With gorgeous architecture and rich history, there’s plenty to do, but many stunning beaches to relax on too.
Mellieha Bay is particularly family-friendly, with wide stretches of sand and plenty of watersports to keep you entertained – not to mention lots of sunshine hours.