As tentative signs start to emerge of a revival for the travel industry, our minds are turning to potential holiday destinations for this summer.
With excellent surfing, outstanding city break destinations and the world’s favourite custard tarts (pasteis de nata), Portugal has long been a favourite holiday destination for Brits.
But can British holidaymakers even get there? And will we be welcome?
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Here’s everything you need to know.
Am I allowed to travel to Portugal from the UK?
At the moment, the Foreign Office is advising against all non-essential international travel – including to Portugal.
The ban was initially put in place to avoid Britons getting stuck abroad as flight routes shut down; now that airlines are looking to restart summer flying programmes, this could change.
The FCO says its advice is under “constant review”.
Its advice doesn’t make travel abroad “illegal” as such – but it does invalidate your travel insurance and means you may find it tricky to get help from the embassy or consulate if things go wrong.
How could I get there?
Flights are still operating between the UK and Portugal.
Tap Air Portugal is flying twice weekly between Heathrow and Lisbon throughout June, going up to 14 weekly flights in July.
Ryanair is currently operating one return flight a day between London Stansted and Lisbon for the rest of June – outbound journeys can be pricey, whereas the return leg can be picked up from just £19.92.
EasyJet’s earliest departure to Lisbon appears to be on 7 July from London Luton.
Will they let me in when I arrive?
Yes – border restrictions have been lifted on mainland Portugal and its territories of the Azores and Madeira archipelagos (though the latter two have their own rules on mandatory testing and quarantine) for certain countries, including the UK.
Will I have to quarantine when I arrive?
In continental Portugal, there’s no quarantine or self-isolation period required – although there are temperature checks in place at the airport.
However, in its rules about which nationalities can enter, Portugal has said it will allow them in “provided that reciprocity of treatment in these countries is ensured for Portuguese citizens”.
As the UK is currently implementing a blanket two-week quarantine on all incoming arrivals, Portugal could potentially demand a reciprocal measure for visiting Brits unless an “air bridge” (a quarantine-free agreement between two countries) is agreed upon.
If you’re heading for the Azores, you’ll have to either show proof of a negative Covid-19 test carried out 72 hours prior to arrival or take a test upon arrival and remain in quarantine for a maximum of 48 hours while you wait for the results. Those staying longer than seven days will have to repeat the test locally, six days after the original test was done.
Madeira and Porto Santo have the strictest rules, requiring visitors to undergo a health screening on arrival and spend 14 days in mandatory quarantine at a hotel.
Can I travel within Portugal?
Yes, there are no specific restrictions on moving around within Portugal. Public transport remains in operation, but capacity has been reduced to two thirds to enable social distancing, and masks are required at all times. It is currently prohibited for cruise passengers to disembark in Portugal.
Are hotels open?
Campsites and motorhome parks are allowed to reopen to visitors provided capacity and hygiene measures are met, and hotels have been able to open for tourists throughout June.
A “Clean and Safe” stamp created by Turismo de Portugal (the tourist board) certifies which hotels have implemented enhanced hygiene and safety measures.
Airbnb properties are also up and running.
Are restaurants, shops and attractions open?
Since 4 May, bookshops, hairdressers, beauty salons, libraries, sailing clubs and golf courses have been open in Portugal, with social distancing measures in place.
This was followed on 18 May with the reopening of museums and other tourist attractions such as monuments, art galleries, palaces and churches, plus restaurants, bars, cafés, patisseries, terraces, promenades and shops of up to 400 square metres.
Zoos and aquariums are open, and beaches reopened on 6 June with “supervision” in place and access denied if there’s a risk of overcrowding.
Cinemas, theatres and concert halls have been permitted to open since 1 June.
The Portuguese tourist board has developed a “Clean and Safe” stamp to identify travel companies and services, such as hotels, tour operators, restaurants and other activity providers, that are complying with certain hygiene and cleaning standards.
What rules are in place?
The use of non-surgical masks is mandatory in enclosed spaces, such as supermarkets, shops, beauty salons, schools, public services, at the airport, in taxis and on public transport.
You’re also required to remain two metres apart from other people when in public, respect the rules on maximum capacity on public transport, in shops and other establishments, and practise good hand hygiene.
Contactless payment is also being encouraged wherever possible.
Will I have to quarantine when I come home?
Yes. When you arrive back on UK soil, you’ll currently have two weeks of mandatory quarantine to look forward to.
The policy was implemented on 8 June and is in place indefinitely, but subject to regular review.
The UK quarantine is “compulsory”, which means you could be contacted at random to ensure you understand the requirements and are self-isolating.
Officials can telephone or call at the nominated address at any time during the 14 days and fine you £1,000 (in England and Wales) if you’re out without a valid excuse.
Quarantinees cannot go to work, school or to any public areas, or use public transport or taxis. They can’t have visitors, should not go out to buy food or other essentials “where you can rely on others,” and should also avoid contact with the people they’re staying with.
It’s a high price to pay for a Portuguese getaway.
This is the best time to go on a staycation in the UAE. All hotels and resorts listed here should be following physical distancing standards by ensuring that guests are standing at least 2 metres away from each other throughout all areas of the property.
*Please note that these rates are subject to change, so contact hotel directly
Here are some hotel deals that you can get all across the UAE.
Anantara The Palm Dubai
Anantara The Palm Dubai has launched an UAE Residents Staycation Special. Located on the Palm Jumeirah the deal gives you access to the resort’s private 400 metre beach and on-site restaurants including Mekong, The Lotus Lounge and Revo Café. This summer, UAE residents can enjoy a premier lagoon view room for Dh585 a night. For direct beach access you can choose one pf the Beach Pool Villas or for the ultimate island living.
Cost: Starting from Dh585 per night for two
Sofitel Dubai The Palm
With views of Palm Jumeriah and Dubai Marina Skyline as your backdrop and take advantage of the exclusive summer offer, which starts from Dh450 including a 1-night stay in a Luxury Sea View Room with Breakfast, 30 per cent discount on food and beverage orders including in room dining, and late check-out up to 3pm. Or you can benefit from an all-inclusive beverage staycation at Dh995 for 2 guests includes a 1-night stay in a Luxury Sea View Room with breakfast, all-inclusive beverages and 30 per cent discount on food and beverages.
Cost: Starting from Dh450 with breakfast and Dh995 all inclusive
Five Jumeirah Village
Check into a luxury room from Dh400 per night and enjoy your choice of food and drinks with our fully redeemable offer! Soul Street, One For The Road or In-Room Dining – you choose. If you wanted a two-bedroom sky villa with a private pool, this will start at Dh2,700 without any F&B offers.
Cost: Starting from Dh400 per night
Five Palm Jumeirah
Luxury rooms are available for Dh500 per night, fully redeemable against F&B Gourmet Chinese at Maiden Shanghai, authentic Italian at Cinque, The Penthouse, Praia, Beach by FIVE, The Delisserie or In-Room Dining – you choose.
Cost: Starting from Dh500 per night
Cost: Starting from Dh585 per night for two
Address Downtown Dubai
The Address Downtown Dubai is offering a Family Room Staycation offer, where families can book a room and get the second one at 50 per cent off. They are guaranteed to be interconnecting rooms. This offer accommodates up to 3 adults and 2 children and is valid from June 1 until September 30.
Cost: Starting from Dh773 per night including breakfast/iftar and Dh100 gift card per person.
Atlantis the Palm
Atlantis, The Palm just got cooler. The Royal Pool is open and ready to welcome guests for a refreshing dip when they stay. Our staycation offer starts at Dh549 on weekdays and Dh649 on weekends and includes breakfast, daily entry into The Lost Chambers Aquarium and Dh200 credit to spend in-resort. (excluding retail).
Cost: Dh549 for two including breakfast
Palazzo Versace Dubai
Palazzo Versace Dubai has recently launched its own e-gift platform, where buyers can choose to ‘gift an experience’ whether as a treat for themselves or as a gesture to a loved one. To launch the platform, Palazzo Versace Dubai has run an introductory offer where guests can purchase a stay at a discounted rate of Dh499, which is a pretty amazing deal for usually quite an expensive hotel. The offer does not include F&B.
Cost: Starting from Dh499 per night
Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates
Take your family for a quick break at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates and enjoy the following benefits; Dh899 inclusive of breakfast for 2 adults and 2 children. If you have more kids, you can book the second room at 50 per cent off or enjoy two complimentary tickets to Ski Dubai Snow Park or a dining credit of Dh200 at their restaurants. Additionally you get 20 per cent saving on the restaurants, early check-in of 10am and a late check out at 4pm.
Cost: Starting from Dh899 per night
Jumeirah Al Naseem
The hotel has made a special offer available so that guests can take advantage of a range of special experiences. Its current package includes savings of up to 40 per cent when booking a staycation at the hotel, starting from Dh750 per night, including complimentary breakfast, 15 per cent off beverages and includes unlimited access to Wild Wadi Waterpark (once it re-opens) as well as complimentary access to non-motorized water sports (from 10am to 12 noon, subject to availability)
Cost: Starting from Dh1,080 per night
Caesars Palace Bluewaters
With two staycation offerings this summer, guests can live the fine life and choose from the Stay #LikeACaesar package or the UAE residents offer. Starting from Dh756 per room per night, the Stay #LikeACaesar package comprises a 20 per cent discount on room rates with complimentary breakfast and 20 per cent discount off all F&B across Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai.
UAE Residents can also get their hands on a staycation offer starting from Dh614 per room per night which includes 35 per cent off room rates, as well as complimentary breakfast and dinner for two.
Cost: Starting from Dh614 per night
Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
Take a day trip to the beach, move your office out for the day for a change of scenery or make a weekend of it with a good old-fashioned Staycation. Book to avail different dining options (free breakfast, half board or full board) starting from Dh399 for up to 2 adults and 2 kids below 12 years as well as 25 per cent discount on beverages and other spend during your stay.
Cost: Starting from Dh399 per night
The Radisson Blu in Ajman is offering a great stay package which includes breakfast in Larder Restaurant. The deal also gives guests access to the pool and gym, free internet and rewards points.
Cost: Starting from Dh356 per night
Ajman Saray, a Luxury Collection Resort
Boasting a location near the Ajman Museum, the Ajman Saray resort is located at a quiet beachfront area. At the moment, their packages involve a one-night stay in their Deluxe Sea View Room for Dh546 a night.
Cost: Starting from Dh546 a night
Ras Al Khaimah
This is one of the favourites in RAK. A quiet and lovely hotel, also offering private pools for those who want them. A night stay there in a classic room will set you back Dh408, while the private villa costs Dh1,242 including breakfast.
Cost: Starting from Dh405 per night
DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island
Spend the day at this massive resort for a steal. The night at this hotel will cost you Dh399 per room. If you want to add breakfast to this staycation it will set you back Dh479 per night per room. Stay in a spacious room and enjoy watching TV on the 42-inch screen and take in the view from your private balcony.
Cost: Starting at Dh399 per night
Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah
This beautiful hotel is usually a treat and a splurge, but at the moment you can enjoy a night stay excluding breakfast for Dh945.
Cost: Dh945 per night
Pools and beaches in Fujairah are accessible to guests from May 7 onwards
Le Meridien Al Aqah
The family friendly hotel on the coast of Fujairah is offering a cool family deal that you can take advantage of right now. Book your stay at Le Meridien Al Aqah and enjoy unlimited family fun with rates starting from Dh498 per room on double occupancy. The deal includes complimentary breakfast and an additional 20 per cent off on F&B, Spa or any activities in the hotel.
Cost: Starting from Dh498 per night
Starting from Dh999 for 2 guests per night, including all taxes and fees, you can enjoy a staycation including breakfast set menu at Canvas restaurant, lunch set menu at Canvas restaurant or Dh100 dining credit per adult for a la carte consumption at the Lava Beach Club, or at IAMMAI adults-only pool lounge. This staycation deal also includes a dinner set menu at Canvas restaurant or Dh100 dining credit per adult for a la carte consumption at the Lava Beach Club, or at IAMMAI adults-only pool lounge, or at Copper Lobster (prior reservations are required only at Copper Lobster). Unlimited service of select soft- and house beverages is available throughout the day from 11am to 10pm at Canvas, Iammai poolside lounge and Lava Beach Club pool (both poolside areas have a designated section, where guests can pick up beverages.
Cost: Starting from Dh999 per night
InterContinental Fujairah Resort
InterContinental Fujairah Resort welcomes UAE resident staycationers with a limitless Summer’ guest experience. This special deal is an all-inclusive guest experience, which includes a room with a view of the Indian Ocean and a balcony as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner on an à la carte basis at NAMA Global Dining, along with unlimited soft and house beverages.
Cost: Starting from Dh695 per night
Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa
The East Coast hotel located just by the Hajjar Mountains have recently redesigned and renovated their Deluxe, Premium Rooms and Suites, just in time for the beaches opening up in Fujairah. Rotana’s staycation offer involves a minimum stay of two nights and you can then benefit from 50 per cent off on room rates. This offer is until October 4, 2020
Cost: Dh495 per night if you stay for a minimum of 2 nights or Dh750 including breakfast per night
At this point in time pools and beaches in Sharjah are not accessible to guests.
Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort
Stay at this five star resort for a steal. A night in their Deluxe room is priced at Dh275. A great way to enjoy a luxury social isolation for less. If you want to add an open buffet breakfast to the package, you’ll be charged Dh325 per night.
Cost: Starting from Dh212 per night
The Chedi Al Bait
The Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah, has been named one of the most remarkable new hotels in the world. And they have introduced their home away from home package, which includes a three-course breakfast served in the room, three-course set lunch and dinner menus, three pieces of laundry (excluding dry cleaning), a minibar stocked with fresh juices, complimentary Wi-Fi access in the suite, sweet-of-the-day and mineral water.
Cost: Starting from Dh900 per night
Jumeirah Etihad Towers
The Ultimate Staycation offer provides guests with up to 40 per cent off the best available rate (with prices starting from just Dh420), plus complimentary breakfast in the hotel or delivered in the privacy of their own room. It doesn’t stop there – guests will also be able to enjoy 20 per cent off food and beverage throughout their stay, plus guaranteed early check-in and late check-out to ensure they make the most out of their stay.
The Ultimate Staycation with Half-Board option is also available to guests, where they’ll be able to make the most of 30 per cent off the best available rate and enjoy a complimentary lunch or dinner included within their package. Prices start from Dh540.
Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi
Dusit Thani in Abu Dhabi has generally always been an affordable five star hotel. You can currently book an overnight stay there for Dh329 a night. An extra Dh77 at Dh406 per night will get you breakfast for two.
Cost: Starting from Dh307 per night
Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi
Enjoy 30 per cent off on food and beverage, a complimentary room upgrade to the next room category and late check-out until 4pm when you book your staycation at Anantara. Additionally UAE & GCC residents can take advantage of an exclusive 30 per cent discount when booking luxury rooms and suites. The hotel has increased their offering on their room dine-in menu for those looking to self-isolate in their hotel rooms.
Cost: Starting from Dh450 per night
Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi Al Maryah Island
This beautiful five star hotel currently has pretty low rates at the moment. You can take advantage of their staycation offer, which gives you 20 per cent off room rates if your stay is longer than one night. In this case the standard room will cost you Dh476 per night. If you choose to just stay one night, rates will start at Dh575 per night. Which is pretty great for the Four Seasons.
Cost: Starting from Dh575 per night
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