Status of Travel to Europe

As of April 30, 2021, the prospects look hopeful for U.S. travelers, wishing to travel to Europe once more, or the countries that comprise the European Union. Currently, travel is not restricted to the countries of UK and Serbia.

Requirements for Unrestricted Travel to Europe for Americans

The Serbian government, in December 2020, said passengers from the U.S. could enter the country by presenting a negative antigen test or negative PCR test for the coronavirus. 

If you wish to travel to the U.K., or England, Wales, or Northern Island, you must fill out a passenger locator form and show proof of a negative Covid-19 test that you took in the previous 3 days.

Before you go, you must pay around $290 for a test that has to be taken in a mandatory quarantine of 10 days, on or before the second day or on and after the eighth day. You can pay a hefty fine if you violate these measures (up to $13,860) or face 10 years in prison.

If you plan to travel to Scotland, you must follow the above mandates, but you must spend your 10-day self-isolation period in a quarantine in a hotel, approved by the government, at your own expense. This rule also applies to anyone who has received a vaccination.

The latest report about travel to Europe (April 30, 2021), indicates that travel may pick up for Americans who have received full vaccination for Covid-19. After a shut-down of non-essential travel for over a year, Americans who show proof of immunity may be able to travel again in Europe. What happens next hinges on policy changes for vaccine certificates. 

The European Union will accept travelers vaccinated with approved vaccines, so the future appears brighter for Americans who wish to enjoy the culture and history of major European countries, such as Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy. However, the current travel bans make it imperative that travelers remain realistic – waiting it out while measures fall into place to prevent future outbreaks.

In the meantime, your travel planning is subject to change. While vaccination remains an obstacle in travel planning, so does the switching of hot spots where the virus prevails globally. Therefore, in the current environment, nothing is set in stone.

EU countries have agreed to coordinate on the restriction of free movement in response to Covid-19. The EU has created a color code to classify regions – green, orange, yellow, and gray, based on the epidemiological situation in the color-coded region.

While green denotes the fewest number of cases involving Covid-19, red areas define danger zones where self-quarantine and testing must be followed.

The Czech Republic: The Hardest Hit Country

The Czech Republic is considered a high-incidence area in Europe. Therefore, travel is prohibited and hotels have closed. Museums, theaters, and recreational facilities remain closed as well. Most restaurants only serve take-out food.

The Traffic Light System

The above color coding in place is based on a traffic light system that the EU has imposed to determine the level of the disease outbreak. Most of the countries are in the dangerous red zone. 

At this time (April 30, 2021), several EU nations plan to extend or re-impose lockdown measures, as a third wave of the pandemic sweeps over Europe, triggered by new variants of the coronavirus, one of which is a B17 mutation, first discovered in Britain in the UK.

This new wave is affecting Germany, Denmark, Italy, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. To combat the current virulent UK strain, the EU is blocking travel entry with exception of essential travel and freight shipments.

The Digital Green Certificate

On March 17, 2021, the European Commission proposed the creation of a Digital Green Certificate to promote safe and free movements of citizens inside the EU during the pandemic. Digital Green Certificates are valid in all EU member states.

The Digital Green Certificate offers proof that a person has received a Covid-19 vaccination, they received a negative test result, or they recovered from the virus. Officials plan to issue the certificate through hospitals, health authorities, or similar facilities. The digital version may be stored in a mobile device, or a paper version, with a QR code, containing essential information, may be obtained. A digital seal will be added to authenticate the document.

The Digital Green Certificate is designed so restrictions now in place can be lifted gradually and in an organized manner. When traveling, each EU citizen or third-country national residing or temporarily staying in the EU can be exempted from restrictions imposed on free movement. If one of the EU member states requires a holder of a Digital Green Certificate to test or quarantine, it must notify the European Commission and the other EU member states, justifying the decision.

The Digital Green Certificate’s QR codes contain a digital signature to prevent falsification. The Certificate is mainly designed to prove testing results, which are frequently required when public health restrictions are in place. By implementing the Certificate in the EU, European Commission members can adjust any current restrictions to promote future travel. Vaccination certificates will be issued to vaccinated persons for any Covid-19 vaccine.

To waive free movement restrictions, member states in the EU must accept vaccination certificates for vaccines that have received marketing authorization by the EU. The Digital Green Certificate contains required key details, such as the holder’s name, date of birth, issuance date, and info about a vaccine, testing, or recovery. The Certificates will only feature the necessary data. All health information will remain with the member state that issued the Certificate.

According to the European Commission, it will establish a digital infrastructure that will enable it to authenticate the Digital Green Certificates. In response, member states in the EU will introduce changes in their nation’s health records network

The European Commission is currently working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to make sure the Digital Certificates issued in the EU can be recognized in other places of the world. 

The European Commission has also contacted the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) about the Certificates. The ICAO creates the specifications needed to support machine-readable travel documents, including visas and passports.

More about Color-Coding and Mapping for Travelers 

Based on information from member states in the EU, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control plans to publish a map of EU member states categorized by regions, showing the risk levels of the pandemic. This traffic light system will show regions in the colors of green, orange, red, dark red, and gray. The map will also provide data from Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland. 

Each color is signified as follows:

Green indicates that the notification rate of the disease is less than 25, and the test positivity rating is less than 4%.

Orange areas are regions where the notification rate is less than 50 but the test positivity rating is over 4%. The notification rate may span from 25 to 150 as well, but the test positivity score is under 4%.

Red is shown in places where the notification rate is 50 or over, and the test positivity rate is at least 4%, or the notification rate is over 150.

Dark red reveals an area where the notification rate is 500.

A map with gray areas indicates that sufficient information has not been obtained, or the testing rate is 300 or less.

From the map, travelers can determine pandemic risk in the area where they travel. In turn, travelers should be able to see if they will have to follow certain measures if they travel to certain EU destinations. The mapping will be supported by the information contained on the Re-open EU website.

Referring to color-coding and mapping details, member states should discourage non-essential travel to and from dark red areas and red areas. The mapping will enable member states to decide on the introduction of certain travel restrictions, such as tests or quarantines on travelers coming from other areas. Member states have agreed not to place restrictions, such as testing or quarantine, on travelers coming from low-risk green regions.

Member states that consider it mandatory to introduce free movement restrictions may require persons traveling from an area, other than a green area, to undergo self-quarantine or quarantine or to take a Covid-19 test before or after arrival.

Each member state must decide what measures it wishes to apply to travelers coming from risk areas to specific locales, and whether to require a rapid antigen or RT-PCR test. 

Member states may also require travelers who enter their territory to submit a passenger locator form. As previously noted, this form is required by the UK for anyone traveling from the U.S.

Travelers Travelling Because of an Essential Function

Any traveler who is traveling because of an essential function typically will not undergo quarantine if they arrive from an orange, red, or gray area. These individuals include:

  • Persons in critical occupations, including health care employees, or anyone referred to in the guidelines issued for the free movement of workers during the pandemic.
  • Transport workers, including people who drive freight vehicles.
  • Patients traveling for important medical reasons.
  • Students who travel abroad daily.
  • People having to travel for business or family reasons.
  • Diplomats and people whose presence is required on behalf of certain international organizations.
  • Military personnel, police officers or workers who provide humanitarian aid in the exercise of their duties.
  • Journalists who must cover stories.

Because dark red areas increase the risk of the pandemic spreading, member states are advised to require travelers from the areas to take part in a pre-departure test and undergo self-isolation and quarantine.

Will Vaccinations Make Travel, Once Again, Possible?

On February 25, the EU said it planned to introduce a vaccination certificate for trip-goers by summer 2021. Traditional countries, such as Greece, pin high hopes on the vaccination certificates. The Greek government has made a bilateral agreement with Israel that allows Israeli nationals to enter Greece with a green pass – proof that the holder has received the required vaccination.

In addition, Denmark and Sweden announced the creation of electronic vaccination certificates used for traveling abroad. In Estonia, entrants do not have to follow the country’s quarantine requirement if they show proof of vaccination. The same applies in Poland, where an app is being developed to show vaccination proof.

Europe’s 5 Most-Visited Countries

The 5 most visited countries in Europe include Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the UK. Of these countries, traveling to France, Italy, Spain, and the UK continues to carry heavy restrictions.

1. German Travel Restrictions

In Germany, nationwide measures have been facilitated to keep citizens from traveling for nonessential reasons inside and outside the country. If you enter Germany by plane, you need to take an advanced coronavirus test. Only travelers with a negative test can fly into the country. This rule applies, regardless of the pandemic status in a departure country. The country announced tighter controls at the borders as well. Anyone crossing a border will be checked.

Tourism, as of April 30, 2021, in Germany remains prohibited, Hotels cannot offer overnight stays for tourists and visas are not granted except in special cases. Distance and hygiene rules must be followed, and masks must be medical. 

The country has outlined a new classification system that divides geographical areas as high risk, high-incidence, and virus-variant. A Covid-19 test must be completed within 48 hours and a 10-day quarantine must immediately take place, regardless of the test result.

Since January 24, 2021, countries in Europe that have been classified as high-incidence areas include the Netherlands, France, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, and Montenegro.

2. The Pandemic and Travel in France

France represents the top travel destination in the world with regards to arrivals. At this time (April 30, 2021), the country has banned travel with countries outside the EU due to a high infection rate and mutation of Covid-19. Travelers over 11 years old from European countries must show proof of a negative PCR test, taken within 72 hours. 

3. Travel in the UK

Anyone traveling to the UK must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test (LAMP, antigen, or PCR). The test must be taken up to 3 days before travel begins. The regulation applies to England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Anyone entering the country, regardless of where they come from, must fill out a passenger locator form. 

Great Britain has begun easing lockdown restrictions with the aim of ending all the measures by June 21, 2021. Since March 31, 2021, Britons have been able to go outside in groups of no more than 6 people.

While the stay-at-home rule has been relaxed, the government still advises citizens to work at home, if possible. Since April 12, 2021, stores, beauty salons, and outdoor catering services in restaurants and pubs began to resume activities.

People in the country wear masks on public transport, in cabs, and in groceries. Travel abroad or within the UK remains restricted unless the reason for travel is imperative.

4. Italy’s Travel Restrictions

Italy extended its state of emergency until April 30, 2021, with entry from abroad heavily prohibited. You can learn more about travel restrictions by accessing the country’s Foreign Ministry website.

While entry into Italy from most European countries is allowed, travelers must still provide a Covid-19 test result taken within 48 hours of entry. They must also undergo a 5-day quarantine, and show another negative test result after 5 days. 

Visitors must report to local health authorities upon arrival as well and complete a self-declaration form. Travelers from the UK, other than Italian citizens, have been banned entry indefinitely. Flights to and from Brazil are banned as well. No one, other than an Italian citizen, who has transited through Brazil within the last 14 days. can enter Italy.

Italy has implemented the traffic light system for lockdown. Sardinia sits in the red zone, which has the highest infection risk. Residents must stay home except for work, to run essential errands or to seek medical treatment.

Basilicata, Valle Aosta, Puglia, Calabria, and Sicily fall inside the orange zone – a classification for medium risk infection. Other areas in the country are yellow zones, with low risks of infection. At this time (April 30, 2021), only outdoor dining is permitted. Italians must abide by a 10 pm to 5 am curfew.

5. Travel in Spain

Spain allows unrestricted entry from the EU, the Schengen Area and some third countries. The country, on February 4, 2021, noted restrictions on inbound flights from South Africa and Brazil. This was done to stop the spread of the coronavirus from those countries. 

The country, which has been struck hard by the virus, has issued a state of alert and overnight curfew until May 9, 2021. Restrictions regarding travel vary in each of Spain’s autonomous regions. Therefore, different rules apply in the country, depending on the locale’s regulations. Restaurants may only serve or sell outdoors. Health clubs remain closed and concert halls and movie theaters only allow patrons to use a small percentage of their seats. Some separate coronavirus hotspots have been sealed off.

A Major Slump in Travel

Because of the bans on travel in Europe, worldwide tourism slumped drastically in 2020. Travel experts reported almost a 75% decline in global travel. Forecasts for 2021 continue to remain cautious as some bans on travel relax a bit. Emerging trends focus on home-based holidays and vacations that are nature-based or sustainable.

Review: Delights Of London And Paris With Trafalgar

London and Paris with Trafalgar

By: Ana Pitiranggon, Employee Development Team Specialist

Visiting Europe especially during the Holidays has always been on my bucket list.  After checking what they had to offer; Delights of London and Paris with Trafalgar was the best option for my husband and me.  Since the tour was at leisure, we only need to unpack twice.  This fabulous tour consisted of 4 nights in London and 4 nights in Paris.

Continue reading

France Travel Guide



  • Try to learn basic French, like hello, goodbye, please, and thank you, the locals will appreciate it and you’ll be treated noticeably better
  • Practice basics like greeting a shopkeep with a “bonjour” when entering and an “au revoire” when leaving
  • Get your euros from an ATM instead of usual exchange booths
  • Don’t visit only Paris – France is incredible beautiful and you would be missing out if you don’t leave the capital city
  • Walk, walk, walk. Put on your most comfortable shoes and walk to take in your surroundings and see the most incredible things
  • If you like wine, you’re in the right place – make sure to sample the local wines and visit a vineyard or two
  • If you’re walking the cities and towns, chances are you’ll run into an outdoor market and they’re always worth checking out


France is luxurious, edgy, and diverse. Paris has captivated the world with its fashion, gastronomy, and art. The chateaus and rolling vineyards in the countryside and the elegant cities and medieval towns, there is something beautiful in every corner of this country. From Normandy, Loire Valley, Bordeaux and French Rivera, you could spend weeks in France and still not experience everything.



This is the largest museum in the world, and home to famous paintings and sculptures like the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. In 1546, Francis I converted as a residence for the kings of France but after the fall of the empire, the beautiful building became a museum. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles as his residence, which left the Louvre as a place to display the royal collection. Inside are about 38,000 objects, dating from prehistoric up into the 21st century.  Located on the Right Bank of the Seine, this is a must visit when going to Paris.


Find a France itinerary that visits the Louvre! All of our travel partners have VIP access allowing you to skip the super long lines and waltz right in. If you’re visiting the Louvre on your own, we recommend going to the Louvre at night on Wednesday and Friday as they close at 9:45pm and crowds will be thin. Also, on the first Saturday of every month, the Louvre opens from 6pm to 9:45pm and admission is free!


  • You need to buy tickets to enter the exhibitions but the architecture of the palace and the iconic glass pyramid outside are enough to take your breath away.
  • On the first Saturday of every month, the Louvre opens from 6pm to 9:45pm and admission is free!



Although this street is usually always bustling, who can resist shopping in France? Along the avenue you can find small cafes, restaurants, and even fast food. Among the variety of stores you can find here, there is Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Sephora, Hermes, Valentino and many more. Visit Laduree, where you can find the best macarons in over 100 different flavors.


Most stores close around 10pm, so be sure to check the hours of any places you want to go shopping. The tree lined street is outside, so this is the perfect place to stroll when the weather is nice.


  • The Arc de Triomphe is located on the west end of the Champs-Elysees, while the Luxor Obelisk, the 3000+ year old Egyptian relic, is at the other end.
  • Champs-Elysees means “Elysian Fields”, because the person who named it through the street was heaven on earth.



Located on the west end of the Champs-Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe is a memorial for all who fought for France especially in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. The French Emperor, Napoleon, ordered the construction of the Arc de Triomphe in 1806. In 1920, the remains of an unknown soldier where placed underneath the Arc and an eternal flame is lit every evening to commemorate the soldiers that died in both World Wars. You can climb to the top of the monument for the best view of many French landmarks.


  • The first Sunday of most months, the Arc offers free admission.
  • At 6:30pm its flame is rekindled for the Tomb of the Unknown Solider under the arch.
  • Bring your walking shoes, it is 284 steps to the top!



No trip to France would be complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower. It took two years to build, and since then the historic landmark became a visual representation of Paris. You can walk the multiple levels of the tower, but they also offer an elevator that takes you straight to the different viewing platforms and to the very top. Whether you choose to visit during the day or night, it’s a memorable view.


Just like the Louvre, it’s best to visit the Eiffel tower with one of our travel partners. There are lines to get in and then more lines to get up the tower. On a guided tour with one of our partners, you’ll be able to skip that! July to August are considered off season so crowds during this time are less than high season. The viewing platforms are outdoors, so dress appropriately for the weather.



This world known cabaret is best enjoyed while sipping on a glass of champagne. Dancers perform every night on the brightly lit stage with fabulous costumes. The red carpet at the entrance will make you feel like a celebrity, and you’ll be entertained from the moment the red curtains draw back.


  • There are two showings every night and there is a dress code. Black tie, formal wear is not mandatory, but you should “dress smart” when going.
  • No photography is allowed at all while enjoying a dinner show at the Mouline Rouge! If you’re caught taking photos or recording, you will be asked to leave. And yes, they’re strict about this.



Chateau de Chambord in Chambord is known for its distinctive French Renaissance architecture and it one of the most recognizable chateaus in the world. It was built by Francis I as his hunting lodge, even though he rarely visited.  Its grandiose architecture rivals the Palace of Versailles and is the largest and most majestic chateau in the Loire Valley.


  • 60 rooms can be visited that hold over 4,500 objects, as well at the famous double helix stair case inspired by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • The park at the Chateau is as big as inner Paris and is home to an exceptional range of flora and fauna.
  • The French gardens are also huge and are mirrored after the gardens created in the rule of Louis XIV.



Pont du Gard was built by the Romans in southern France in the 1st century. This aqueduct bridge used to carry water over 50 km away. It is said that the aqueduct supplied the city with 8,800,000 gallons of water a day! It is one of the most week preserved and the highest of all Roman aqueduct bridges. Some of the stone bricks used to construct it can weigh up to six tons and were cut to fit together without mortar.


  • Building this was a masterpiece of ancient architecture, archaeologists have uncovered evidence that points to the use of hoists and scaffolding.
  • The site is accessible 7 days a week, year round, with hours that vary according to the seasons.
  • At the Pont du Gard, there is a museum tracing the history of the Roman aqueduct with models, virtual reconstructions.



This medieval Catholic cathedral located in Paris is on the best examples of French Gothic architecture. It is most well-known for the enormous and colorful stained glass windows. It also houses on the with world’s largest organs and huge church bells. Construction began in 1160 and much of the religious imagery was destroyed during the French Revolution.


  • The cathedral was the site of the coronation of Napoleon I.
  • The South Rose Window was a gift from King Louis IX.



Located on an inland right off of Normandy, it has held strategic fortifications since ancient times and since the 8th century it has been the seat of the monastery, from which it draws its name. With such a fascinating past, the high tides turn this mountain into an island and during the low tides, you can barely see any surrounding water.


Since it is located right on the water, during the winter months the wind can make it quite chilly. It will be the busiest during the summer and the rainiest during November. Even though it might be cold, it will be beautiful during Christmas time.


  • Wander around the stone storefronts and hidden alleys, the island is its own little world.
  • Beware of the tides before you visit, there can be a difference of 50 feet between tides.
  • While there are a few restaurants on the island, this is the perfect place to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the view.



This playground and vacation spot for elites around the world, this Mediterranean coastline is on the beautiful southeast corner of France. Known for its beauty and glamorous surroundings, this is the perfect place to relax, enjoy food and wine combined with fascinating history and culture.


The climate is moderate nearly year-round. During the day, the temperatures are warm and sunny, and they get a bit cooler in the evening when the sun goes down. When the weather is the warmest is when the area sees the most crowds.


  • Queen Victoria, Tsar Alexander II King Edward VII Pablo Picasso, and Francis Bacon, were known to have vacation in the French Rivera.
  • The French Riviera hosts the Cannes film festival, Monaco Yacht Show and the Monaco Grand Prix.


Like the famous line goes, “Paris is always a good idea”, it doesn’t matter much when you are there, as long as you are there. However, if weather is something on your mind, Spring or Fall are typically the best times to go. The weather is pretty temperate all year long but with less crowds, it means less stress on the country. Servers are nicer, public transportation is easier, lines are not as long, and locals are not as high-strung.

Quick Facts:

  • Summer is the most popular time to visit
  • During the Spring and Fall, the crowds start to thin out
  • It’s easier to find cheaper airfare during Winter but this is when the weather is its wettest

Summer – June to August – High Season

During the summer, the average high is 77F and the average low is 60F. This is when France – especially Paris – is the most crowded. Local Parisians will even leave the city for long periods for their own vacations during this time and leave it all for the tourists

Spring – March to May & Fall – September to November – Good Season

During Spring & Fall time, temperatures are similar with the average high of 54F and the average low of 42F. France is most enjoyable during the Spring and Fall as the crowds thin out and local Parisians are not as stressed or high-strung. Make sure to pack layers!

Winter – December to February – Low Season

During the winter, the average high is 76F and the average low is 38F. This is cold, rainy season and if you’re looking for the least amount of tourists as possible, this is the time to visit France. However, winter tour dates are starting to gain some traction so traveling to France may be considered an inside secret for now.