Now that the world is starting to open back up, CNN Travel is helping you make plans for 2021 and beyond through these weekly round-ups of travel news.
Come here to learn about the countries relaxing entry rules, the attractions reopening the doors, and the places that have sadly shuttered due to Covid.
We can almost smell the sunscreen.
After a year of closed borders, the European Union is set to allow entry to vaccinated travelers from countries with low infection rates, raising hopes for piazza espressos and Mediterranean dips this summer.
An approved list of “safe” destinations is due to be signed off this week, although there’s still no confirmation as to when these changes will be implemented.
Some EU bloc members have been announcing their own restriction-easing.
The Netherlands is welcoming tourists from “safe countries with a low Covid-19 risk,” Greece is allowing vaccinated travelers or those with a negative result from a Covid-19 PCR test taken more than 72 hours prior to arrival, while Iceland, a member state of the European Economic Area, opened its borders to vaccinated travelers back in April.
Croatia is also welcoming vaccinated travelers, as well as those who present a negative PCR test or proof that they’ve recovered from Covid-19 test within the past 180 days, and no less than 11 days before they arrive.
Earlier this month, Cyprus reopened to vaccinated travelers from 65 countries, including the US and the UK, while Portugal began allowing entry to visitors from England, Scotland and Wales after being added on to the UK‘s “green” list of countries where quarantine-free travel is permitted.
The EU Digital Covid Certificate — a “vaccine passport” that would facilitate internal travel within the bloc — is expected to come into effect on July 1.
Britain — famously no longer in the EU — lifted its ban on residents taking foreign vacations on Monday. However, its “amber list” of countries is already causing confusion among travelers and resentment in the travel industry.
In this traffic light system where green means “yes,” red means “no,” and amber means “hmm, maybe or maybe not,” there are around 170 destinations — including tourist hotspots like France and Greece — where you can legally travel, but the government advice is not to do so.
There are deterrents to travelers other than an officially sanctioned “tut tut.” Anyone who goes to a country on the amber list will have to take a Covid-19 test on their return, quarantine for 10 days, book and pay for two additional tests, and fill in a passenger locator form.
While most of the world still remains off limits to UK travelers, there was a ray of hope this week as the country’s first cruise in more than a year set sail.
MSC Cruises took off from the English port of Southampton on Thursday for a four-day jaunt around the British coastline.
In the United States, New Jersey reopened on May 17, with capacity restrictions mostly lifted but masks still required indoors.
In Washington DC, the American Art Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Holocaust Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture have all reopened, while the Smithsonian Zoo will welcome visitors from May 21.
The city plans to fully reopen by June 11, but with mask restrictions still in place.
New York‘s legendary Plaza hotel beside Central Park reopened May 20, while The Peninsula, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, will welcome guests on June 1.
The Circle Line will resume sightseeing cruises to the Statue of Liberty and other New York sites on May 22. The legendary Radio City Music Hall will reopen on June 19, offering full-capacity events to mask-free audiences.
Over on the west coast, LA‘s Broad Museum is back in business on May 26.
The Caribbean paradise island of Anguilla, studded with luxury resorts, is open to visitors again on May 25, following a month-long closure due to a Covid cluster.
In Asia-Pacific, a two-way travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Islands finally opened on May 17 after months of planning.
In another burst of neighborliness, the Cook Islands’ vaccination roll-out also began this week, with vaccines obtained from New Zealand.
Over in Hong Kong, Art Basel is on until May 23. The multi-day celebration of modern and contemporary art is the region’s first in-person event since the pandemic.
That might help make up for the disappointment this week when a travel bubble linking Hong Kong and Singapore was postponed from its upcoming start date of May 26 due to new Covid cases in Singapore. No date yet for rescheduling.
The boutique hotel chain NoMad opens its first ever international outpost on May 25, in London‘s Covent Garden. The 92-room hotel is housed in the former Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station.
Elsewhere in the UK capital, The Windmill strip club was once the jewel in Soho’s sleazy crown. The district has long been cleaned up and now the club has had a polish too — after a £10 million ($14 million) revamp, it’ll reopen as a glamorous drinking and dining venue in June. Nude dancers, however, are off the menu.
England’s Glastonbury Festival is one of the world’s longest-running and most-loved music festivals. The regular five-day in-person event has been canceled for the second year, but a license has just been granted for a one-day festival — called Equinox — to be held this September. Nude dancers hopefully off the menu here too, but at Glastonbury, you never know.
Over in Florida, Walt Disney World made masks “optional in outdoor common areas” last Saturday, and this week came the news that Disneyland Paris will reopen on June 17.
A few days later, Disney’s first hotel with Marvel Characters — Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel — will open June 21.
In the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi will end mandatory quarantine for international travelers on July 1.
In Paris, the Eiffel Tower — which in happier times welcomed 7 million visitors a year — will reopen on July 16. Visitor numbers will be limited to 10,000 a day.
Lockdown pastime of the week
Feel like you wasted 2020 bingeing on “Tiger King” and developing a beer and donuts habit? Prepare to feel that bit more regretful.
When English artist Tom Napper got stranded in New Zealand during lockdown, he used the time to make a series of artworks illustrating the places he visited on his bike tour around the country.
Says Napper, “I don’t think I’ve been bored once in the last 14 months.”
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