As much of the world emerges from lockdown, would-be travellers are starting to look for the ideal post-coronavirus holiday destinations.
While travel is unlikely to return to normal for some time - the Foreign Office still advises against all but essential trips, and British quarantine rules will apply on return - a few destinations are preparing to welcome visitors from the UK.
A remote location and tiny population shielded Iceland from the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and swift government action brought the country’s small outbreak under control. From 15 June, it is hoping to kick-start its tourism-dependent economy by offering visitors exemption from a two-week quarantine if they take a coronavirus test on arrival.
Sample itinerary: The Luxury Arctic Travel Company offers tailor-made trips combining five-star accommodation and a taste of Iceland’s wild side. Itineraries can include 4x4 and snowmobile adventures, helicopter tours, glacier trekking and horseriding - or a more genteel sojourn at the Blue Lagoon.
Visitors to the Portuguese island of Madeira can avoid quarantine by presenting a negative Covid-19 test certificate issued no more than 72 hours before arrival - and from 1 July, tests will be offered free to all arrivals.
Sample itinerary: At the far western fringe of Europe, Madeira could easily pass for Brazil with its densely forests, dramatic beaches and subtropical climate. The year-round balmy climate made it a traditional destination for those seeking a sedate place to winter, but a thriving adventure sports scene is attracting a younger crowd. The brand new Savoy Palace hotel, with its five restaurants and 360-degree rooftop bar, is an opulent base.
Despite the seriousness of its Covid-19 outbreak, Italy opened its border to visitors from the UK and EU on Wednesday, becoming the first European country to do so. It does not require tests or time in quarantine for incoming visitors. Most attractions, including the Colosseum, the Vatican and the Leaning Tower of Pisa are open and restrictions on travel between regions have been lifted.
Sample itinerary: For those who might be anxious about crowded budget airlines, Air Charter Service can arrange private flights from London Biggin Hill, Luton, Stansted or Farnborough to a range of Italian cities. Return flights to the VIP terminal at Milan Linate on a six-seater Citation CJ2, plus three nights at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como is available from £4269pp, based on six people travelling
It’s hard to think of a better post-pandemic destination than a cluster sun-drenched islands, many hundreds of miles from the nearest city. And, after this week’s government U-turn, they’re looking considerably more attractive.
Plans to impose visa fees, charge for testing on entry and require a minimum two-week stay have been scrapped, in favour of a system in which visitors will have to present a negative Covid-19 test certificate issued in the fortnight before travel. A handful of resorts have remained open during the outbreak, offering a luxury lockdown experience for a lucky few - the rest are expected to start reopening on 1 July.
Sample itinerary: The Raffles Maldives, on Meradhoo private island (pictured, top), is offering 10% off its best room rate, as well as daily breakfasts, a spa treatment and guided snorkelling tour to guests staying for at least three nights before the end of September.
Full-size cruise ships are unlikely to ply their trade for some time yet, but for those with deep pockets - and a desire to holiday with only their closest friends and family - Aqua Expeditions offers a very different sort of voyage. Its small, super-luxurious river cruisers and expedition vessels, with 15 to 20 cabins, are available for private charter for tours of the Amazon, Mekong and Indonesian Spice Islands. A four-night cruise through Cambodia and Vietnam costs £2,825 per person, based on 32 sharing, including fine-dining, premium wines, excursions and private guides (a saving of 10% on the usual price for individual travel).