Bulgaria and Croatia: discover the new additions to the UK’s green list
Bulgaria and Croatia are the last European countries to have join the UK’s green list of destinations without quarantine this summer.
Starting at 4 a.m. BST on July 19, people traveling to either country will need to be tested for COVID-19 before departure and after arrival, where quarantine will only be required if one of the tests is positive.
They join the 29 destinations in total that have green status in the UK, including Barbados, Gibraltar and Iceland.
It’s not all bad news for those appalled at the government’s turnaround in the Balearic Islands – those appalled at its reclassification as an Orange List destination now have two more European holiday destinations to choose from.
Here’s what you need to know to visit the latest two additions to the UK Green List.
Bulgaria: cheap food, secret ski resorts, ancient towns
Located in the Eastern Balkans, Bulgaria offers a diverse assortment of trips for vacationers of all tastes. The number of people wanting to explore its bustling cities and quiet beaches before COVID peaked at 13 million individual visitors in 2019.
Travelers are likely to fly to the airport in its beautiful capital, Sofia, or arrive in Burgas and Varna, on the Black Sea, for the more beach-loving.
One of the first things any seasoned Balkan explorer will point out to you is that food and drink in Bulgaria is ridiculously cheap no matter where you go. Pints of beer and glasses of wine can be found in the popular, bustling resort town of Sunny Beach for as little as the equivalent of € 1, while a three-course meal for two at one of the dazzling restaurants of the city of Sofia is barely 30 €.
Those who are already used to visiting the capital may want to try Plovdiv, the country’s second destination for city living. Plovidiv is home to Bulgaria’s own Roman city, with monuments and amphitheatres dating back to the first century.
Numerous museums, cultural events and patches of historic architecture come together to create a hub of activity for those who enjoy a busy stay.
Bulgaria is also a little-known treasure of some of Europe’s best ski resorts. Everyone from beginners to experienced piste freaks are welcomed to Bansko, Borovets, Pamporovo between December and March of each year.
Flights for a two-week round trip from London to Sofia start at £ 62 (€ 72).
Croatia: sun, Game of Thrones, water sports on the Dalmatian coast
A haven of peace on the Adriatic, Croatia is an exceptional choice to enjoy the best of the sun in Europe. Don’t believe us? Just ask the nearly 20 million people who visit each year.
Tourists can expect 12 to 13 hours of pure sunshine during the summer months, surpassing that of many of the best Mediterranean locations in Italy and Greece.
Naturally, this leads people to the country’s unspoiled beaches and, by extension, to one of the 79 islands (and around 500 islets) dotted along the Dalmatian coast. Hvar, Brač and Korčula are all big winners on this front, with delicious amounts of local food and wine to be tasted while admiring the crystal-clear waters.
Beautiful coasts of more than 1000 km also attract water sports enthusiasts from all over the continent, a privileged stretch of sea for sailing, scuba diving and even bungee jumping.
More inclined to explore on earth? Much of HBO’s crown jewel, Game of Thrones, was filmed in the city of Dubrovnik in southern Croatia, which served as the backdrop for King’s Landing and Qarth. Producers of the fantastic megahit were drawn to the impressive stone structures of the walled city that survived a severe earthquake in the 17th century.
It is home to a long list of other movie and TV shooting locations for the same reason.
Flights for a two-week round trip from London to Split start at £ 106 (€ 124).