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’?

You may have heard that, from the19 July, the UK government is treating ‘amber list’ countries in the same way as ‘green list’ countries, as long as you’ve been double vaccinated

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

Track down the melodious maestro of Vienna
A statue of Wolfgang Amadeus in Burggarten / Image: Getty Images

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.

Track Mozart's legacy in Vienna 

Keep waffling on in Brussels

Keep waffling on in Brussels
A classic Brussels waffle / Image: Gaufres & Waffles

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.

Scoff all kinds of waffles in Brussels

Set out to sea from the Bulgarian city of Varna

Set out to sea from the Bulgarian city of Varna
Columbus sailed the real version of the Pinta 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.

Set sail from Varna

Hop across Croatia’s iridescent islands

Hop across Croatia’s iridescent islands
Mountainous Lošinj is teeming with hiking paths / Image: Mónica R Goya

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.

Go island hopping out of Pula

Find beach bliss in Cyprus

Find beach bliss in Cyprus
Nissi beach from above / Image: Getty Images

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.

5 not-to-be-missed beaches in Cyprus

 

Visit a pioneering centre of inclusivity in the Czech Republic

Visit a pioneering centre of inclusivity in the Czech Republic
Neratov is located the rugged Hradec Králové region / All images: Dave Imms

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.

Welcome to Nerative: Europe's most utopian village? 

Take a dazzling day trip from Copenhagen

Take a dazzling day trip from Copenhagen
The chalky bluffs of Møns Klint / Image: Adobe Stock

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.

7 delightful day trips from Copenhagen 

 

Run with the devil in Helsinki

Run with the devil in Helsinki
Helsinki's The Riff / Image: Juha Hanhinen – John La Hanhi Productions

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.

Brave Helsinki's heavy metal hangouts

Find inner peace in a Nice church

Find inner peace in a Nice church
A natty nave at Église Sainte-Rita / Image: © Ville de Nice

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.

The most dramatic churches in Nice

 

Sup the spoils of Berlin’s dinky urban wine scene

Sup the spoils of Berlin’s dinky urban wine scene
Timo Bieber and Daniel Mayar are the men behind Kreuz-Neroberge / Image: Louise Haywood-Schiefer

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?

Discover Berlin's secret urban winery

 

Fill up on the Med’s finest food on Greece’s Aegean islands

Fill up on the Med’s finest food on Greece’s Aegean islands
Making stuffed vine leaves on Andros / Image : Nicole Franzen

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.

These are the most delicious islands in Greece

Peek behind the Iron Curtain in Budapest

Peek behind the Iron Curtain in Budapest
The Hungarian-Soviet Friendship Memorial in Memento Park / Credit: Getty Images

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.

Red faces: the park where Hungary's communist past is kept alive

Strike out from the brilliant bedlam of Naples for a day

Strike out from the brilliant bedlam of Naples for a day
Pompeii is swiftly accessible from Naples / Image: Getty Images

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.

The best day trips from Naples

See what the youth are up to in Pristina

See what the youth are up to in Pristina
Pristina's 'NEWBORN' monument, opposite the Palace of Youth and Sports / Image: Alamy

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.

Get down with the kids in Pristina

Take tea with Morocco’s answer to a Pop titan

Take tea with Morocco’s answer to a Pop titan
A perceptive work by Hassan Hajjaj / © Hassan Hajjaj, Chillin', 2000

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. 

Meet the Moroccan Andy Warhol in Marrakech

Smash a car to smithereens in Amsterdam

Smash a car to smithereens in Amsterdam
Deconstructing cars is all the rage in Amsterdam / Photo: Jordi Huisman

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.

You can take out your anger on a banger in Amsterdam

Wolf down the most righteous kebab in Norway

Wolf down the most righteous kebab in Norway
Oslo's Aleppo Bahebek serves Syrian food made by refugees / Image: Amjad Al Balkhi

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.

Find authentic shawarma in Oslo

 

 

Pay your respects to the King in Krakow

Pay your respects to the King in Krakow
Presley was inducted to Krakow's Avenue of Stars in 2018 / Image: Getty

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.

Find Elvis Presley in Krakow

 

Amble around one of Portugal’s beautiful lesser-known towns

Amble around one of Portugal’s beautiful lesser-known towns
Undulating rooftops in old Obidos / Image: 123rf

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.

The best secret towns to visit in Portugal

 

Discover Bucharest, Romania’s ‘Paris of the East’

Discover Bucharest, Romania’s ‘Paris of the East’
The Palace of Parliament is an enormous Communist-era relic / Image: Adobe Stock

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.

Here's why you need to make Bucharest your next city-break

Get down by the water in Belgrade

Get down by the water in Belgrade
Daska  &  Vesla on the river Danube / Image: Magid Bailla

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.

Spend an evening on Belgrade's boat bars

Have a hairy time on a wheely good Slovenian cycle tour

Have a hairy time on a wheely good Slovenian cycle tour
A friendly, hairy tour guide in Ljubljana / Image: Tim E White

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.

Take a moustache tour of Ljubljana

Find the essence of Spain across its most underrated region

Find the essence of Spain across its most underrated region
The cosmos provides in Andalucia / Image: Getty Images

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.

5 cool and cultured reasons to plan a trip to Andalucia 

Feel (and taste) the burn in the wilds of Sweden

Feel (and taste) the burn in the wilds of Sweden
Niklas Ekstedt cooks up something something flaming tasty / Image: Ola Jacobsen

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.

Learning to cook like it's 12,000 BC with Sweden's hottest chef

Browse the hippest boutiques in Geneva

Browse the hippest boutiques in Geneva
The sleek interior of natural beauty store Archipel / Image: Nicole Hertel Photography

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.

Geneva's best independent shops for gifts