The ‘green list’ of countries is swell and all – but aren’t we desperate to get back the huge glut of classic holiday destinations on the can-we-can’t-we ‘amber list’?
What does this mean for travellers? Essentially, if you’ve been jabbed twice, you can travel to an ‘amber’ country by taking a pre-departure test, and then a PCR test on or before arrival back into the UK, but you won’t need to quarantine unless the test result is positive.
Exciting stuff, but overwhelming. Here’s our round-up of holiday inspo for all the places that are opening up sooner than you imagined.
Flummoxed by what the green, amber and red classifications actually are? Then check out our primer on what the 'traffic light' system is and what it means.
And while you're feeling inspired, these are all the reasons it's safe to book your flights and holidays with easyJet right now.
Track down the melodious maestro of Vienna
Vienna and Mozart go together like Gilbert and George, pie and mash, Tik Tok and Gen Z-ers. Basically, they’re inseparable. The 18th-century composer was at his most productive when living in the Austrian capital, for generations the world’s ground zero for classical music. These are the essential spots to trace his sonorous legacy.
Keep waffling on in Brussels
When in Belgium, you gotta get your waffles right. There’s the classic Brussels waffle, rectangular in shape and airy, while the oval-shaped Liège waffle is made with a brioche-type dough filled with sugar lumps that caramelise when the batter hits the iron. Got that? Good – now go eat some.
Set out to sea from the Bulgarian city of Varna
The Black Sea city of Varna – Bulgaria’s third-biggest – is a hot hub for seafaring types (and an important centre of maritime trade since waaaay back in the Ancient Greek era). From pirate rigs to private yachts, these are the best ways to take to the water.
Hop across Croatia’s iridescent islands
The wicked coastal strip of country that comprises Croatia is fabbo for late-night hijinks – but it’s also home to some of the dreamiest islands this side of the Ionian. The city of Pula is a perfect jumping-off spot to explore some of the most serene – and here’s where to start.
Find beach bliss in Cyprus
Love beaches? Who doesn’t?? And if you love serene sands you’ll adore Cyprus, the Mediterranean island paradise that’s home to everything from hot party hubs to hyper-chill coves and turtle breeding hotspots.
Visit a pioneering centre of inclusivity in the Czech Republic
Prague, what with being one of Europe’s most radiantly beautiful and affordable capital cities, is blissful, sure. But have you heard of Neratov? It’s a teeny community that’s become a beacon of inclusivity, where people struggling with mental and physical adversity can thrive – and visitors are very welcome.
Take a dazzling day trip from Copenhagen
OK, we’d never suggest visiting Denmark’s dashing capital of Copenhagen simply to leave the moment you get there – but the city is also a fine zipping-off point for some dreamy day trips. Undulating chalk cliffs? The world’s most alluring art museum? Hamlet’s actual IRL castle (er, sort of)? All, and more, in close proximity.
Run with the devil in Helsinki
Apparently, Helsinki has 70 heavy metal bands for every 100,000 residents (who’s counting, we couldn’t say). That means that there’s a hella lot of rockin’ hangouts for fleet-fingered longhairs – and we’ve rounded up some of the coolest.
Find inner peace in a Nice church
After the years we’ve all had, a bit of spiritual quietude feels more than welcome. The French city of Nice – which is absolutely is – is full of ecclesiastical wonders, replete with nifty naves and fetching façades. Perfect for taking a reflective breather – and architecturally impressive enough for even the most ardent atheist.
Sup the spoils of Berlin’s dinky urban wine scene
Unlikely as it sounds, Berlin’s hip Kreuzberg district has been home to a dinky vineyard since the Cold War, producing up to 700 bottles of its inimitable organic Kreuz-Neroberger label each year. Question is: how do you get your mitts on some?
Fill up on the Med’s finest food on Greece’s Aegean islands
Many countries lay claim to their cuisines being the best in Europe – but Greece really might have the edge (sorry Italy). Its South Aegean islands are a European Region of Gastronomy, meaning their food is officially delicious. Here’s what you should snaffle – and which sun-kissed rocks you can do it on.
Peek behind the Iron Curtain in Budapest
Budapest’s Memento Park is a sculptural archive of the city’s Communist past – and it’s a fascinating place to start exploring its oppressive and fascinating history.
Strike out from the brilliant bedlam of Naples for a day
With its fantastic pizza fritta and a chaotic character like no other, the Campanian city of Naples might be Italy’s most thrilling. It’s also in striking distance of some other amazing places: from the archaeological marvels of Pompeii and Herculaneum to the dreamy Tyrrhenian islands of Ischia and Capri.
See what the youth are up to in Pristina
The Kosovan capital of Pristina is the most youthful in Europe, with the average age a fresh-faced 28. From the Palace of Youth to its banging club scene, here’s where to feel old in this Balkan beauty.
Take tea with Morocco’s answer to a Pop titan
Artist, film-maker and celeb photographer Hassan Hajjaj is known as the Andy Warhol of Morocco. He also happens to run Riad Yima – a delightful tea room, gallery and boutique in the inimitable city of Marrakech.
Smash a car to smithereens in Amsterdam
Feeling absolutely flippin’ furious? Yeah, us too. In otherwise laid-back Amsterdam you can do something about it: by paying to pummel an old banger into itty-bitty pieces with a giant hammer. We’re feeling more zen just thinking about it.
Wolf down the most righteous kebab in Norway
Oslo is awash with the clean, clever flavours of the New Nordic movement, but did you know that, thanks to the initiative of some Syrian refugees, it’s also an uhmazing place to find ace, authentic shawarma? Damn straight – and this is the kebab you mustn’t miss.
Pay your respects to the King in Krakow
Odd as it sounds, but Elvis has a weirdly fervent following in Krakow. Come for the architecture, history and pierogi, sure – but don’t leave without paying tribute to the King in his Eastern European home.
Amble around one of Portugal’s beautiful lesser-known towns
Lisbon, Porto, Faro… all delightful, but all done. What you want is a list of the best lesser-known Portuguese towns to make a beeline for this year. They’re just as beatific – but you’ll have more space to breath.
Discover Bucharest, Romania’s ‘Paris of the East’
From the fab food and enormous boulevards, to a provision of pretty parks and a whole lotta high quirk, Romania’s gloriously rough-around-the-edges capital is one of Eastern Europe’s unassuming best. Here are all the reasons you should visit.
Get down by the water in Belgrade
There’s nothing finer than messing about on boats – apart from when that boat is a bar and you’re in the natty Serbian capital of Belgrade. The Danube has become an unlikely centre for some of Eastern Europe’s coolest nightlife – here’s where to hit the deck.
Have a hairy time on a wheely good Slovenian cycle tour
Ljubljana is one of Europe’s best cycling cities. Take to the lanes with a happily hirsute bike tour following in the footsteps of three of its noteworthy residents – all of whom happened to have wonderful whiskers, just like your guides.
Find the essence of Spain across its most underrated region
Clued-up travellers know that Andalucia – flush with flamenco, stupendous Jerez sherry and Moorish masterpieces – holds the true essence of Spain. As will you, with this wicked guide to the southern region that Seville, Granada and the Costa del Sol call casa.
Feel (and taste) the burn in the wilds of Sweden
Scandi superchef Niklas Ekstedt is on fire. Almost literally, as he’s a pioneer in cooking over open flame. He’s also helped curate Sweden’s alfresco Edible Country scheme – so you can take to the wilds and follow in his flame-licked footsteps.
Browse the hippest boutiques in Geneva
The genteel Swiss city of Geneva is a highly stylish place, and its bitesize boutiques are perfect places to let the francs fly. From concept homeware to natural beauty products and, er, papier-mâché animal heads, here’s where to make all your coolest material dreams come true.