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Posts Tagged ‘EBD’

Europe Travel: The 15 Coronavirus-Safest Christmas Trips According To European Best Destinations

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Snow Ball With Christmas Tree In It

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Every year around this time, the European Best Destinations (EBD) organization, which is part of the European Commission’s EDEN Network (“European Destinations of Excellence”) working to promote sustainable tourism on the continent, releases its approved list of beautiful European cities that host the best Christmas markets.

It’s no exaggeration to say that practically every European city and town carries on its own traditional end-of-the-year holiday festivities, many of which have been occurring for centuries.

Although the process and the criteria for the selection this year had to be adjusted to account for Covid-19 measures and circumstances according to each country, EBD has unveiled a carefully-chosen list of destinations where it will be possible to enjoy the magic of Christmas while still following strict health and sanitary rules.

MORE FROM FORBES18 Gorgeous Hidden Gems To Visit In Europe When Travel Bans Lift, According To European Best DestinationsBy Cecilia Rodriguez

“Find out which are the safest Christmas markets in Europe for Covid-19,” EBD announced. “Since the start of this worldwide “Covid-19” crisis, we have kept you informed of the situation day after day by following the recommendations of the World Health Organization.” 

The Safest Christmas Markets/Destinations in Europe were chosen on the basis of the following criteria: number of Covid-19 cases per million inhabitants, number of hospital beds per inhabitant, proximity of airports, establishment of sanitary measures, hygiene charts in hotels, shops, restaurants, public transport and public places, provision of hydroalcoholic gels, masks and, last but not least, circulation routes inside the Christmas markets. 

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They’re all located in destinations less affected by the coronavirus, up to 80 times fewer cases of Covid-19 and sometimes even no deaths linked to Covid-19 (such as the Madeira Islands, which tops the 2020 list). 

In the safest Christmas Markets in Europe, contactless payment methods are the norm, merchants have protective masks or visors and a signposted route stops visitors from crossing paths.

Among other recommendations, EBD advises travelers to remain vigilant and to remember the gestures, social distancing and mask if possible and necessary and to avoid traveling in case of poor health.

“People over 70, overweight or with respiratory problems should be particularly vigilant,” the organization warns.

Christmas decorations in Madeira, Portugal

Madeira, Portugal, Best and Safest European Christmas destination 2020

Photo: European Best Destinations

Madeira is the safest European destination this winter. With up to 12 times fewer cases of Covid-19 per million inhabitants than other European destinations and no deaths, the Portuguese island has been selected as the best destination for the Christmas holidays.

In addition to the “Safe and Clean” label established by the Portuguese National Tourist Office, Madeira officials have set up very rigorous health charters to welcome travelers in the best safety conditions while guaranteeing holidays for leisure, discovery and relaxation. 

They impose no quarantine on arrival for travelers that have taken the Covid-19 test before the trip (maximum 72 hours before departure). Scanning at the airport reinforces these security measures and various devices are in place, including hydroalcoholic gels and masks in crowded streets.

Everything is simply and well explained on the Madeira Safe to Discover site. Masks are compulsory in some places but not on the beaches.

Madeira’s Christmas market has been awarded the title of ‘Best Sunny Christmas Markets in Europe’ for its breathtaking tropical scenery, shiny illuminations, exotic fruits and flowers, local crafts and wines.

On several occasions, the market was previously awarded the title of “Best New Year’s Eve Destination in Europe.”

Christmas market dates:  December 1, 2020 to January 10, 2021. (Market Night is held on December 23.)  

Sanitary measures: Passengers flying to the Madeira archipelago must present a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to departure or they can perform it upon arrival. Masks are not required for beaches, sports activities or nature walks. Here is the form to be completed before travel.

Christmas market in Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia: Best and Safest European Christmas Destination 2020

Photo: European Best Destinations

Awarded the title of Best Christmas Market in Europe in 2019, Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is second on the list of favorite destination for winter holidays in Europe, with its family atmosphere, magical illuminations, traditional and artisanal products and delicious local delicacies.

To date, Estonia has recorded 18 times fewer severe cases of Covid-19 per million inhabitants than the most affected European countries. Hospitals have never been overcrowded and the virus has done much less harm than elsewhere in Europe. More quickly than other countries, Estonia was able to resume “normal” life while applying measures of social distancing, protection (masks) and the provision of hydroalcoholic gels in public spaces.

Christmas market dates: November 15, 2020, to January 5, 2021. 

Travelling to Estonia: An updated list of countries for which entry to Estonia is subject to limitations is available at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Latest info here.

Christmas market in Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria: Best and Safest European Christmas destination 2020

Photo: European Best Destinations

Vienna, third on the list of safest places to visit for the Christmas holidays, has also been recognized as one of the safest destinations in Europe. By reacting quickly to the pandemia and by taking a series of sanitary measures, Austria was up to 10 times less affected than other European countries. The number of serious cases of Covid-19 has remained far below the capacity of Austrian hospitals.

During the winter, Vienna has a multitude of Christmas market all around the city to suit every taste for family, food lovers, whether sustainable, vegan or terribly romantic.

From mid-November to Christmas, Vienna’s prettiest squares are transformed into magical spaces full of the Christmas atmosphere. The markets will be organized to ensure Covid-19 safety to make it possible for guests to enjoy a pleasant visit with enough space for everyone.

Christmas market dates: November 18 to December 26. 

Travelling to Austria: Entry from a country with a stable Covid-19 situation is possible without restrictions. The corresponding countries are listed in the Entry Ordinance.

 Sanitary measures: An entry and transit declaration are required. 

Luminous Christmas market in Craiova, Romania

Craiova, Romania: Best and Safest European Christmas destination 2020

Photo: European Best Destinations

Off the beaten track, the city of Craiova, Romania’s sixth-largest city and capital of the Dolj Countyin region, offers luminous Christmas markets that are both safe and authentic. If Craiova has experienced significantly fewer cases of Covid-19 than other European destinations, it’s thanks to the preventive measures put in place early by national and local authorities.

“This destination, which brings together internationally-renowned cultural institutions as well as world-renowned artistic events, was able to put its tourist offers on hold in order to be well prepared this winter and welcome you in the best conditions of health and security,” reports EBD.

Romania has more hospital beds per capita than Norway, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Christmas market dates: November, 28, 2020 to January 1, 2021.

Travelling to Romania: Entry from EU+ countries is allowed without restrictions, with the exception of Luxembourg, Malta and some regions in Spain (Aragon, Catalonia, Navarra, Community of Madrid, Balearic Islands, Basque Country).

Sanitary measures: Travelers coming from countries with an incidence rate of new cases of Covid-19 in the last 14 days less than or equal to that registered in Romania are allowed to enter without restrictions.

Citizens coming from countries with a high incidence of COVID-19 infection should self-isolate at home or quarantine for 14 days.

Latest information here.

Christmas market in Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic: Best and Safest European Christmas destination 2020

Photo: European Best Destinations

Prague, Czech Republic 

With 15 times fewer severe cases of Covid-19 per million inhabitants than the most affected countries in Europe, the Czech Republic has made it to the list of the safest destinations for this winter holiday.

Recognized as one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe, the Prague Christmas market will also be one of the safest this year. 

Strict health measures have been taken by the organizers to ensure the safety of visitors, such as signposted routes to respect social distancing, dispensers of hydroalcoholic gel, availability of masks and protective gloves for merchants, plexiglass protection and specific protocols for stalls that sell food and drink. 

Set in the heart of the city is a traditional Czech marketplace where in dozens of wooden stalls merchants offer typical Christmas goods and items such as traditional Czech blown glass balls, products made of glass pearls or straw, hand-embroidered tablecloths, wooden toys, biscuit cutters and many other traditional Czech products. Both young and adult gourmets can enjoy typical Czech Christmas biscuits, hot roasted chestnuts, gingerbread and typical Czech grilled sausages.

Christmas market dates: November 28, 2020, to January 6, 2021.  

Travelling to Czech Republic: Entry from EU+ countries is allowed without restrictions, with the exception of countries defined as “high risk” from an epidemiological point of view.

Sanitary measures: A Passenger Locator Form is mandatory for people traveling from countries that are not on the list of those with a low risk of infection

Latest information here.

Christmas in Gdansk, Poland

Gdansk, Poland: Best and Safest European Christmas destination 2020

Photo: European Best Destinations

With 13 times fewer severe cases of Covid-19 than the most affected European countries, Poland is among the safest countries in Europe.

“As a result of the pandemic, we all want to travel less and make the trips we want unforgettable by discovering exceptional places and a unique atmosphere,” says EBD. “Gdansk is the perfect mix of safety and leisure, relaxation and discovery for this winter holiday.”

Situated in the historical centre of Gdansk, the Christmas Fair is like a fairytale “thank you” to the unique atmosphere and beautiful scenery. Here you will find streets marked out only for this special time of year: Chocolate, Cinnamon, Angel or Christmas Eve Street.

Christmas market dates: November 23, 2020, to January 1, 2021. 

Travelling to Poland: Citizens of EU+ countries are allowed to enter Poland without restrictions.

Sanitary measures: A Passenger Locator Form and a Public Health Self Declaration are requested on flights.

Latest information here

Christmas market in Dresden, Germany

Dresden, Germany: Best and Safest European Christmas destination 2020

Photo: European Best Destinations

Considered one of the most beautiful and authentic Christmas markets in Germany, the Dresden Christmas market will also number among the safest in Europe this year, with Saxony, at up to 15 times fewer Covid-19 deaths than other European regions, one of the continent’s least affected by the coronavirus.

Given the pandemic, there is a particularly strong focus to make the Striezelmarkt, Germany’s oldest Christmas market, safe for everybody. 

With glittering lights, twinkling stars, the scent of gingerbread and Christmas carols, Dresden’s Striezelmarkt will boast a unique character for its 586th year. Regional specialties, such as Ore Mountain wood crafts, Lusatian blue-printed fabrics and Moravian stars, are particularly popular.

Christmas market dates: November 26 to December 24. 

Traveling to Germany: According to the Federal Ministry of Health’s Testing Obligation Ordinance, anyone having spent time in a risk area up to 14 days before their entry into Germany must either provide proof of having tested negative or get tested within 14 days of their entry into Germany. A country or an area is defined as “high-risk” when there are more than 50 new infections per 100,000 people over the last period of seven days.

Sanitary measures: No special documentation is required.

Latest information here.  

Best Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb, Croatia: Best and Safest European Christmas destination 2020

Photo: European Best Destinations

With 13 times fewer Covid-19 deaths per million inhabitants than other European countries, Croatia appears as a safe destination for the winter holidays.

Beyond the early sanitary measures put in place by the authorities, Croatia has a rich offer of tourist apartments, private villas, boutique hotels and small accommodations.

One of Croatia’s secrets was that her capital city Zagreb has one of the best Advent scenes in Europe. The secret is out now: Against strong competition, Zagreb was voted “Best Christmas Market in Europe” by European Best Destinations online polls for three consecutive years. 

Known worldwide as one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, along with ViennaBudapest and StrasbourgZagreb will welcome travelers this year with special sanitary standards adapted to the situation — dispensers of hydroalcoholic gel throughout the markets, disinfection of rides and ice skates, masks for vendors and protective plastic for those offering food. “The market is very large throughout the city and you will find the atmosphere that suits you for a safe and relaxed holiday,” according to EBD.

Christmas market dates: November 27, 2020, to January 3, 2021. 

Sanitary measures: Masks required on public transport, taxis, shops and other commercial premises. There are currently no requirements for travelers to produce a negative Covid test or self-isolate on arrival in Croatia. Screening on arrival. 

 Travelling to Croatia: Citizens of EU+ countries are allowed to enter Croatia without restrictions. Before entering the country, all travelers must complete the Enter Croatia form.

Latest information here.  

Christmas. Baden Baden. Baden Wurttemberg. Germany

Baden Baden, Germany: Best and Safest European Christmas destination 2020

REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

With a population equivalent to Belgium but five times fewer deaths linked to Covid- 19, the Baden-Württemberg region is one of the safest destinations for winter holidays.

Renowned as one of the best Christmas markets in Germany, the Baden-Baden Christmas market is implementing a series of health measures this year to combine safety and leisure.

Situated at the entrance of Baden-Baden’s splendid parks and gardens at the “Lichtentaler Allee,” the Christmas Market draws visitors into a romantic winter fairy tale with entertaining live-music programs and small streets of festive huts, where thousands of shimmering Christmas lights create a festive atmosphere.

“We are currently working into transforming our Christmas Market 2020 into a Corona-compatible market concept,” the organizers said. 

Christmas market dates:  November 26, 2020, to January 6, 2021.

Travelling to Germany: According to the Federal Ministry of Health’s Testing Obligation Ordinance, anyone having spent time in a risk area up to 14 days before their entry into Germany, if requested by the designated health office or other authority, must either provide proof of having tested negative or get tested within 14 days of entry into Germany. A country or an area is defined as “high-risk” when there are more than 50 new infections per 100,000 people over the last period of seven days.

Sanitary measures: No special documentation is required.

Latest information here

Best Christmas 2020: Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava, Slovakia: Best and Safest European Christmas destination 2020

Photo: European Best Destinations

Slovakia, along with Hungary, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic, are destinations seen as safe, with far fewer cases of Covid-19 than elsewhere in Europe. Slovakia has so far recorded 75 times fewer deaths linked to Covid-19 per million inhabitants than the most-affected European countries. 

Thanks to these figures and stringent sanitary measures, Slovakia is seen as a safe destination for this winter.

Christmas time in Bratislava, the Capital of Slovakia on the Danube river and uniquely situated on the border of three countries, is connected with glowing streets, Christmas trees and stands full of goodies and craft products.

The Bratislava Christmas Market is located at the Main Square and Hviezdoslav Square in the city centre until December 23. In recent years, the Christmas Market has migrated to other locations of the city center as well, such as Bratislava castle.

Christmas market dates: November 23 to December 23. 

Traveling to Slovakia: Entry from EU+ countries is allowed without restrictions from countries classified as “low risk” from the epidemiological point of view.

Sanitary measures: No mandatory Travel Documentation

Latest information here.

Best Christmas 2020: Dusseldorf, Germany

Dusseldorf, Germany: Best and Safest European Christmas destination 2020

Photo: European Best Destinations

Not only is Düsseldorf’s one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany, but one of the safest this year. The capital of the North Rhine-Westphalia region and the second largest city in this region after Cologne has had 10 times fewer severe cases of Covid-19 per million inhabitants than other European regions.

The city offers different Christmas markets to suit families, lovers and foodies.

Christmas market dates: November 23 to December 30. 

Traveling to Germany: According to the Federal Ministry of Health’s Testing Obligation Ordinance, anyone having spent time in a risk area up to 14 days before their entry into Germany, if requested by the designated health office or official, must either provide proof of having tested negative for Covid-19 or get tested within 14 days of their entry into Germany. A country or an area is defined as “high-risk” when there are more than 50 new infections per 100,000 people over the last period of seven days.

Sanitary measures: No special documentation is required.

Latest information here.

Best Christmas 2020: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia: Best and Safest European Christmas destination 2020

Photo: European Best Destinations

With 12 times fewer severe cases of Covid-19 per million inhabitants than the most affected countries in Europe, Slovenia is positioned as one of the safest destinations this winter. Perfect for a break, far from stress in the middle of nature, Slovenia is the European destination most awarded by the European Commission for its commitment to sustainable tourism. 

“Treat yourself to unforgettable memories in Slovenia,” EBD recommends. “You can rent a car and discover other places in the country such as Bohinj, voted best hidden gem in Europe or Soca ValleyRadolca, awarded by the European Commission. 

 You can also treat yourself to a moment of pure relaxation and wonder as you walk through the illuminated streets of Ljubljana.”

This romantic destination, is one of the smallest European capitals and home to a Christmas market considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe.

Christmas market dates: November 29, 2020, to January 5, 2021.

Travelling to Slovenia: Entry from EU+ countries is generally allowed without restrictions. Depending on their epidemiological situation, Slovenia divides countries in three categories (green, yellow and red). For each category, a different set of entry rules applies.

Sanitary measures: Face masks are required in indoor public spaces and public transport vehicles. Travelers from the red and yellow list must quarantine. No quarantine is required for travelers from the green list. No additional documentation is required.

Latest information here

Best Christmas 2020: Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw, Poland: Best and Safest European Christmas destination 2020

Photo: European Best Destinations

Poland is one of the European countries least affected by the coronavirus, along with Portugal and Greece. There are up to 13 times less deaths linked to Covid-19 per million inhabitants in Poland than in the most affected countries of Western Europe. No hospital has ever been overloaded and Poland has more hospital beds per inhabitant than the Netherlands or Switzerland.

Warsaw, the capital, with a historic center that has been declared a Unesco World Heritage, impresses with its resilience, respect for history and contemporary style. Its history is that of a people capable of facing any situation, of recovering and moving forward.

Facing Coronavirus, the Polish capital’s message has been: “Warsaw survived two world wars. We will get through this one too. See you very soon!” 

Warsaw will have two main, safe Christmas markets thanks to measures taken by local officials such as dispensed hydroalcoholic gel, signposted routes to ensure social distancing in the market and contactless payments.

Christmas market dates: November 29 to December 24. 

Travelling to Poland: Citizens of EU+ countries are allowed to enter Poland without restrictions.

Sanitary measures: A Passenger Locator Form and a Public Health Self Declaration are requested on flights.

Latest information here.

The streets illuminated for Christmas in Rothenburg, Germany

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, southern Germany: Best and Safest European Christmas destination 2020

DPA/AFP via Getty Images

With nearly five times fewer severe cases of Covid-19 per million inhabitants than in other parts of Europe, Bavaria is among the safest destinations in Europe. 

“Rothenburg ob der Tauber is probably the most magical destination at Christmas,” EBD writes. “The city appears to have been built to serve as the backdrop for one of Germany’s finest Christmas markets.”

With preventive measures but also many well-equipped hospitals, Germany has not experienced a critical situation during the pandemic. While measures are still in place for now, Germany is more open to travelers than many other European countries. Social distancing and wearing a mask are mandatory but not the Covid-19 test (except for travelers from countries at risk).  

Christmas market dates: November 23 to December 23. 

Traveling to Germany: According to the Federal Ministry of Health’s Testing Obligation Ordinance, anyone having spent time in a risk area up to 14 days before their entry into Germany, if requested by the designated health office or official, must either provide proof of having tested negative for Covid-19 or get tested within 14 days of their entry into Germany. A country or an area is defined as “high-risk” when there are more than 50 new infections per 100,000 people over the last period of seven days.

Sanitary measures: No special documentation is required.

Latest information here.

Best Christmas markets 2020: Graz, Austria

Graz, Austria: Best and Safest European Christmas destination 2020

Photo: European Best Destinations

Graz, Austria

Austria has remained a safe destination throughout the pandemic thanks to preventive and health measures taken early by the authorities. With up to 10 times fewer deaths per million inhabitants than the most other countries, Austria appears among the safest destination for the winter holidays in Europe.

Austria is welcoming travelers this winter with “the highest health and safety standards while doing everything to guarantee you wonderful moments for the winter holidays,” according to EBD.

 Graz, the capital of Styria and Austria’s second city, is a renaissance gem with a safe and unforgettable Christmas season. Numerous Christmas markets are located within walking distance, the oldest taking place around the Franciscan church. Close by is the Christmas market in front of City Hall with a giant Christmas tree and an old-fashioned merry-go-round for children.

The Eiserne Tor market is run exclusively by local charity organizations and the proceeds go to charity projects.

Christmas market dates: November 20 to December 24. 

Travelling to Austria: Entry from a country with a stable Covid-19 situation is possible without restrictions. The corresponding countries are listed in the Entry Ordinance.

Sanitary measures: An entry and transit declaration is required.

Latest information here.

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Summer In Europe: The 20 Safest Places For Travel And Tourism Post-Coronavirus, According To European Best Destinations

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City of Tbilisi, Best European Destination

#1: Tbilisi

Photo: Boris Stroujko, European Safest Destinations

With countries around Europe reducing coronavirus restrictions, opening borders and creating new ways to ensure safe travel for visitors, summer holidays to Europe are becoming a realistic possibility for relief-seeking travelers.

Along with creative concepts such as ‘air bridges,’ ‘travel bubbles’ and ‘holiday corridors’ between countries that have officially come out of the coronavirus crisis (and do not require quarantine for visitors), governments, international institutions and specialized tourism organizations are surging with new initiatives and protocols first to permit the resumption of cross-border vacation travel and then, in a few weeks, of international travel in time for the peak summer season.

Summer holidays to Europe could be back on next month via “air bridges,” reports The Sun.

MORE FROM FORBESEurope Summer Travel? The 10 Safest, Longest, Socially-Distancing European Beaches To Visit Post-LockdownBy Cecilia Rodriguez

“Many European countries are opening their borders and flights and hotels are also reopening now,” explains the European Best Destinations Organization (EBD) which falls under the European Commission’s EDEN Network (“European Destinations of Excellence”), working to promote sustainable tourism on the continent.

To help travelers who “after weeks of confinement want to travel to Europe but do not know where to travel and what safety measures are being taken in countries and regions,” EBD has unveiled a list of 20 destinations least affected by Covid-19 (defined as up to 600 times fewer Covid-19 cases).

These destinations benefit from proximity to hospitals and have a higher number of hospital beds per inhabitant than the majority of European countries, have implemented very specific protocols concerning hygiene in accommodations, restaurants and shops, and imposed measures such as the changing of air conditioning filters between each traveller stay, availability of masks and social distancing.

Before traveling to any of the beautiful places that made it to the list, EBD recommends:

  • Remain vigilant and do not forget the barrier gestures, social distancing, wearing masks when possible and necessary;
  • Avoid traveling if your health is poor;
  • People over 70, those overweight or who have respiratory problems should be particularly vigilant;
  • It is travelers’ responsibility to protect their most fragile loved ones and residents of host countries.

Modern Bridge in Tbilisi, Georgia

#1: Tbilisi

Photo: Vyaseleva Elena, European Best Destinations

Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia, one of the world’s least affected by coronavirus countries. Georgia reacted very quickly with measures that kept the epidemic at an extremely low level. There are up to 260 times fewer cases of Covid-19 in Georgia than in the most-affected European countries. 

The country is reopening its borders on July 1 and implementing health measures to protect travelers and its citizens for a safe and relaxing holiday.

Tbilisi is an open-minded destination, mixing past, present and future, culture and leisure. More trendy than ever, the city is an ideal destination for culture, gastronomy, diversity and architecture. “Wow” effect is guaranteed.

Magnificent Haussmannian buildings mingle with architecture dating from the Middle Ages, neo-classical, Soviet and extremely modern.  

Georgia has more hospital beds per thousand inhabitants than Sweden and Denmark, and Tbilisi is up to five times safer (criminality rate) than Paris or London.

The city has a large offer of tourist apartments, much sought after by travelers now, as well as small, boutique hotels and guesthouses.

“Need an additional argument? A stay in a 5-star hotel or in a private villa in Tbilisi will cost you up to four times less than in the same hotel of the same group in another European capital,” informs EBD.

Blue sea in Corfu, Greece

#2: Corfu

Photo: Marcin Krzyzak, European Best Destinations

2. Corfu, Greece

“This paradisiacal Greek island is a perfect destination to recharge your batteries after this stressful period,” writes EBD.

Greece is one of the European countries least affected by coronavirus (up to 50 times fewer people infected than in the most affected European countries). The Greek healthcare system has never been overloaded during this health crisis. Moreover, the country has more hospital beds per capita than many European countries.

Corfu combines relaxation, sun and nature.

Reopening to travelers on July 1.

Blue sea panoramic, Cavtat, Croatia

#3: Cavtat

European Best Destinations

Popular with celebrities, families, lovers and fans of gastronomy, culture, nature and water sports, Cavtat is the destination.

Croatia is among the European countries least affected by coronavirus with up to 20 times fewer infected people per million inhabitants than in other European countries.

Croatia is also one of the European countries with the highest number of hospital beds per inhabitant. The hospital in Dubrovnik is a 20-minute drive from Cavtat while the airport is only 10 minutes away.

 Cavtat has a large selection of private villas, tourist apartments and small family hotels (selected as travelers’ favorites this summer). In addition, Croatia has implemented hygienic and sanitary measures in larger hotels.

Reopening to travelers on July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Azores Islands, Portugal

#4: Azores Islands, Portugal

Photo: RavenEye, European Best Destinations

If Portugal was less affected by coronavirus, the Azores Islands — like Portugal’s Algarve region — were even further spared.

The Azores, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, is an archipelago of nine islands showing off nature in its purest state and one of the largest whale sanctuaries.

“A perfect destination if you need to reconnect with nature,” writes EBD. “If you like hiking, flora and fauna, dolphin- and whale-watching, tasting local products, living real experiences, the Azores are perfect for a holiday.”

The Azores have an ample offer of  private villas, tourist apartments and small family hotels.  

Reopening to travelers on July 1. No quarantine requested. 

The pier in Preveza, Greece

#5: Preveza

European Best Destinations

Sun, countless beaches (including one of the longest in Europe), Mediterranean cuisine, a yacht-filled marina, Preveza appears fifth on the list of Europe’s safest vacation spots.

Situated at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf, with the Ionian Sea at the other side, Preveza is “an island on the mainland” in Epiruswill, northwestern Greece.

Greece is one of the European countries least affected by coronavirus (up to 50 times fewer infected people than in the most affected European countries). Sanitary measures were taken early to welcome travelers to Preveza (four meters between beach umbrellas, air conditioning filters changed between each stay in hotel rooms that are constantly disinfected).

Preveza is surrounded by three hospitals (one of them at a university) and is located just 10 minutes by car from Aktion Airport. Greece has more hospital beds per capita than the United Kingdom or Canada.

Reopening to travelers from July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Flowers in a beach in Alentejo, Portugal

#6: The Alentejo

Photo: Vitaly Fedotov, European Best Destinations

Portugal has been relatively spared from coronavirus with up to 40 times fewer people infected than anywhere else in Europe. Some regions such as the Alentejo have been almost ‘Covid-19 free’ so far with only one death linked to coronavirus.

The Alentejo, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in southern Portugal and 1 1/2 hours by car from Lisbon, attracts travelers in search of simplicity in an unspoiled nature.

“Don’t miss a visit to Evora, share a wine tasting (they are among the most famous ones in Europe) and treat yourself to a road trip along the coast from Comporta to Odeceixe,” advises EBD.

Reopening to travelers on July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Pier Panoramic in Batumi, Georgia

#7: Batumi

Photo: Grisha Bruev, European Best Destinations

7. Batumi, Adjara, Georgia

Georgia is by far one of the countries least affected by coronavirus. The country reacted very quickly with measures that kept the epidemic at an extremely low level. There are up to 260 times fewer cases of Covid-19 in Georgia than in the most-affected European countries.

Batumi, located on the coast of the Black Sea, at the foot of the Caucasus in southwestern Georgia, is the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara and the second-largest city in the country.

Nicknamed “Las Vegas of the Black Sea,” Batumi, according to EBD “is a splendid mix of beautiful scenery, vibrant culture and legendary hospitality. This beautiful city invites you to experience the contrast of historic ancient sites as well as its modern lifestyle.”

Not only one of the safest destinations in Europe for coronavirus, Batumi is one of the most secure, with a crime rate up to five times lower than most European capitals.

“The Adjara region has breathtaking diversity: the sea with long beaches, high mountains, cultural monuments, monasteries, arch bridges, beautiful lakes and authentic villages. Here, you will taste local wines and undiscovered cuisine, feel the power of ecotourism, become a guest of open-hearted hosts. Their mountains, that stand close to the sky will make you feel in harmony with nature.

Batumi is also perfect in autumn: Temperatures in September and October are very pleasant.” 

Batumi has more than 30 hospitals, including university hospitals, which have not been overcrowded since the start of the health crisis.

Reopening to travelersfrom July 1. No quarantine requested.

Panoramic view of Zagreb, Croatia

#8: Zagreb, Croatia

European Best Destinations

Zagreb is among the favorite places to visit on EBD’s lists: a “travelers’ favorite destination” in Croatia, a “must-see destination for a city break,” the starting point for a road trip in Croatia, “a romantic destination” throughout the year, and a destination recognized for its Christmas market.

With a rich history dating from Roman times, it is the capital and the largest city in the country, located in the northwest along the Sava river, at the foot of the southern slopes of Medvednica Mountain. 

Croatia has been rather spared from coronavirus, with up to 20 times fewer infected people than in any other European country. Well-equipped in healthcare, it also has more hospital beds per inhabitant than most European countries.

“Come enjoy its thousands of terraces in summer, read the newspaper or watch a football match (the Croats are passionate about football), visit its many beautiful parks, architectural wonders and historical monuments. It’s very Instagrammable, too,” says EBD.

Reopening to travelers on July 1. No quarantine requested. 

The blue sea and a beach in The Algarve, Portugal

#9: The Algarve

European Best Destinations

Portugal is one of the countries least affected by coronavirus, with up to 40 times fewer infected people than the other European countries. Some regions have been almost entirely spared, including the Algarve and the Alentejo for example, and some of the most popular destinations for travelers, such as Lagos, have not recorded any coronavirus deaths.

The Algarve is the southernmost region of continental Portugal and particularly appreciated by families. Sandy long stretches of beaches framed by golden cliffs, small coves sheltered by the rocks, the ocean in every shade of blue and mostly calm and warm.

In the mountains, people maintain traditions they love to share and towns and cities each have their own special charm: Silves preserves traces of its Arab past; Lagos from the time of the discoveries; Tavira is a showcase for traditional architecture; and Faro, the gateway to the region, has a beautiful historic center.

Unlike other tourist destinations in Europe, 60% of Algarve tourist accommodations consist of private villas with swimming pools, apartments, guesthouses or small hotels. A “Safe and Clean” label to give travelers a guarantee of sanitary and cleanliness standards has been instituted by tourist officials for larger Portuguese hotels.

Portuguese officials reacted quickly and the country’s large clothing industry was able to produce masks early and even export them abroad. “With its hundreds of kilometers of beaches, Portugal is a perfect destination for the summer,” advises EBD.

Reopening to travellers July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Colorful street in Sibiu, Romania

#10: Sibiu, Romania

Photo: Balate Dorin, European Best Destinations

10. Sibiu, Romania

Sibiu is a beautiful, historical city in Transylvania, northwest of Bucharest, the capital of Romania.

Straddling the Cibin River and nicknamed The City with Eyes, Sibiu is a well-known tourist destination for both domestic and foreign visitors.

Known for its culture, history, gastronomy, diverse architecture (including its iconic houses with eyes that gave the city its nickname) and its natural wonders,  the city has become a coveted tourist destination.

In 2004, the historical center became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2007, it was designated the European Capital of Culture. A year later, it was ranked “Europe’s 8th-most idyllic place to live” by Forbes. In 2019, it was named the European Region of Gastronomy. And in 2020, it was designated “Europe’s sixth-best tourist destination” by EBD.

Sibiu has developed many green spaces in the city but also soft mobility, leisure spaces and parks, and is regarded as one of the Europe’s destinations with the best quality of life.

Along with other regions including Portugal’s Azores Islands, Sibiu follows strict policies to fight global warming and to protect the environment.

It’s also committed to sustainable tourism development based on respect for nature and human beings.

There were 15 times fewer Covid-19 cases in Romania than in the most affected European countries. Some destinations like Sibiu County have had no deaths linked to the pandemic.

Romania has more available hospital beds per inhabitant than Belgium, Switzerland or the Netherlands.

Reopening to travelers July 1.

Panoramic view in coastal Kotor, Montenegrp

#11: Kotor, Montenegro

European Best Destinations

11. Kotor, Montenegro

Secluded in the Gulf of Kotor, this coastal town in Montenegro is defined by EBD as “one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe for travelers in love, for foodies, for nature lovers and a haven of peace for nature, trekking, walking or cycling.”

The old Mediterranean port of Kotor is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period in what’s considered one of the most indented parts of the Adriatic Sea. Some have called it the southernmost fjord in Europe, but it’s a submerged river canyon.

Together with the nearly overhanging limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovćen, Kotor and its surrounding area form an impressive landscape.

Kotor has seen a recent increase in tourists attracted by the natural environment of the Gulf and by the old town. Kotor is part of the World Heritage Site dubbed the Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor and the fortified city is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list as part of Venetian Works of Defense between the 15th and 17th centuries.

While there have been very few cases of coronavirus in Montenegro (60 times fewer than in the most-affected countries), Kotor has remained a green zone during the crisis with no case of coronavirus detected.

Montenegro has more available hospital beds per capita than Norway, Ireland and Canada.

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested.  

Panoramic view of Rijeka, coastal city in Croatia

#12: Rijeka, Croatia

European Best Destinations

12. Rijeka, Croatia

The principal seaport and the third-largest city in Croatia after Zagreb and Split, it’s located in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea.

Historically, because of its strategic position and deep-water port, the city was fiercely contested, especially among Italy, Hungary and Croatia, changing hands many times over the centuries.

Selected as the European capital of culture and named among the Best European Destinations 2020 by EBD, Rijeka is a perfect destination for a safe European trip. It likely will be one of the top destinations this summer. “Croatians love the coffee terraces and the many beaches with crystal clear waters around Rijeka.”

Croatia has been spared the worst of the coronavirus, with up to 20 times fewer infected people than in any other European country. Well-equipped in healthcare, it also has more hospital beds per inhabitant than most European countries.

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Colorful Plaza in Warsaw, Poland

#13: Warsaw

Photo: Roman Babakin, European Best Destinations

13. Warsaw, Poland

“Warsaw is one of the most incredible cities in Europe,” writes EBD.

Its history is that of a people capable of facing any situation, of recovering and moving forward. Facing coronavirus, the Polish message has always been very clear: “Warsaw survived two world wars. We will get through this one, too. See you very soon !” 

The capital and largest city of Poland, Warsaw is an alpha-global city, a major international tourist destination, a significant cultural, political and economic hub with a historical Old Town designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“Warsaw is very rich and human, as are many Polish cities; its people show great respect for traditions but also for the youth, with trendy cafes and bars, open-air concerts in summer, ephemeral shops, incredible museums, an old town renovated after the Second World War and many places to discover for lovers of classical music and Chopin, in particular,” reads EBD’s recommendation.

Poland is one of the European countries least affected by coronavirus, along with Portugal and Greece. There are up to 20 times less contamination than in the most-affected countries of Western Europe. No hospital has ever been overwhelmed and Poland has more hospital beds per inhabitant than the Netherlands or Switzerland.

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Panoramic view of Viena, Austria

#14: Vienna

European Best Destinations

14. Vienna, Austria

Vienna is visited by history buffs, lovers and families looking for a safe and peaceful destination throughout the year.

“Vienna is often selected for this reason, which is not only a feeling but a reality: The rate of criminal offenses is three times lower in this capital than in any other European capitals,” according to EBD.

With many parks and environmentally-friendly means of transport, Vienna is one of the cities with the best quality of life in Europe. It’s a good compromise for city breakers and nature lovers.

Austria has been less affected than other European countries, with up to 10 times fewer infected people. 

You’d rather take your time and not hurry to book your holiday right now? No problem. Discover Vienna at Christmas: Its Christmas markets are ranked among the best Christmas markets in Europe.

Reopening to travelers from July 1. Before that date, a health certificate is required on entry, stating that the traveller is not infected.

Beautiful scene of lake and mountains in Bohini, Slovenia

#15: Bohinj, Slovenia

Photo: Tomas Kodydek, European Best Destinations

15. Bohinj, Slovenia

Recognized by the European Commission as one of the best sustainable tourism destinations in EuropeBohinj is a haven of peace for lovers of nature, outdoor sports, trekking, local products, crafts and real experiences.

Located in a basin in the Julian Alps in the Upper Carniola region of northwestern  Slovenia, it’s known as one of the “green paradises of Europe” and the green lung of Slovenia (a highly nature-oriented country).

Slovenia has been little affected by coronavirus (10 times less contaminated than the most-affected countries) and it has more hospital beds per inhabitant than the majority of European countries. 

Bohinj is only 40 minutes from Ljubljana’s airport and hospitals.

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Panoramic View of Malta

#16: Malta

European Best Destinations

Tourism on the island of Malta represents 15% of the nation’s gross domestic product.

In addition to the turquoise water of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta has a rich history and culture heritage.

“Discover the treasures and riches of one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe,” EBD writes. “Lay your beach towel on Riviera Bay Beach or on one of the many other beaches in Malta. If you really want to distance yourself from the crowd this summer you can also book your stay in Gozo. The island is smaller than the main island and ideal for nature lovers, hikers or scuba divers.”

 There have been up to 55 times fewer cases of coronavirus in Malta than in the most-affected European countries. Malta has more hospital beds per resident than Finland, Ireland or the United Kingdom and its hospitals haven’t been overcrowded and can accommodate travelers, if necessary. 

Hotels reopen on June 1, while the tourist season restarts on July 1st.

Panoramic view of Gdansk, Poland

#17: Gdansk, Poland

European Best Destinations

Poland is one of the most fashionable European countries and Gdansk, located on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay on the Baltic Sea, is one its tourist pearls. This coastal city also bears the pretty nickname of “Pearl of the Baltic.”

With its 1,000-year-old historic district, the city is a rare beauty. Once you know this, all you have to do is ask yourself: “’Is it worth a city break?’ The answer is ‘yes!’” writes EBD.

Poland was 20 times less affected than other European countries, and has more hospital beds per inhabitant than the majority. Moreover, sanitary measures have been implemented to welcome travelers in hotels, restaurants and shops.

You can also visit Gdansk during the winter holidays: The Gdansk Christmas Market is ranked among the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe.

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Panoramic View of Vilnius, Lithuania

#18: Vilnius, Lithuania

European Best Destinatios

18. Vilnius, Lithuania

Located in southeastern Lithuania, Vilnius is the capital and the largest city in the country. The architecture of its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Before World War II, Vilnius was one of the largest Jewish centers in Europe, which led to its nickname as “the Jerusalem of Lithuania.”  

Vilnius is a perfect destination for families, lovers or solo travelers, according to EBD, which has found it to be “twice as safe as most European capitals.”

“Vilnius has many faces: It’s labyrinthine old town, its sleek business district, its elegant center, its many open squares and parks, its historic suburbs – all of which blend together in harmonious sense of unity – it just feels right whichever way you look at it.”

The renowned Old Town is nestled in a picturesque valley between the Vilnia and Neris rivers, next to the fort, which was guarded by Vilnius castle in the past.

Not daring to travel yet? Think about Vilnius at Christmas. Its Christmas market is one of the most beautiful in Europe and its Christmas tree is ranked first place of the most beautiful Christmas trees in Europe.

With 20 times fewer people infected by coronavirus than in the most-affected European countries, Lithuania also has a high average of hospital beds per inhabitant. (Only Germany and Austria do better in Europe).

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Colorful houses in Riga, Latvia

#19: Riga, capital of Latvia

Photo: Ross Helen, European Best Destinations

19. Riga, Latvia

The biggest metropolis in the Baltic, Riga blends timeless tradition and cutting-edge modernity. “A Nordic blonde with a fiery heart,” Riga has 800-years of turbulent history, from German knights to Swedish kings and Soviet commissars, who have left their footprints in the cultural heritage of the city.

Today, Latvia’s capital is an exciting European metropolis at the crossroads of eastern and northern Europe.

“With the Daugava River and the Gulf of Riga, the city has always lived in close cooperation with nature,” explains EBD. “Riga has many public parks, forests, squares, lakes, city canals, hills, islands and beaches.”

With 50 times fewer infected people than in some European countries, Latvia is one of the destinations least affected by this pandemic. Their hospitals have not been overwhelmed due to the coronavirus.

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Brown bear and cubs among flowers in Wild Taiga

#20: Wild Taiga

Photo: Sergey Uryadnikov, European Best Destinations

The ultimate escape: In the heart of Finland’s eastern Kainuu nature reserve, Wild Taiga with its woods, untouched land, clear lakes and rapids is an invitation to authentic natural experiences and a rare opportunity to hike in unspoiled nature, watch and photograph wild life and enjoy cultural activities.

Wild Taiga, awarded the “EDEN” label by the European Commission, is the perfect destination for sustainable tourism. “There‘s so much to do: walking, canoeing, swimming in a lake, watching birds, flowers, but also bears in their natural environment. Wild Taiga is the best gift you can treat yourself and your children,” writes EBD.

With 15 times fewer Covid-19 cases than in some European countries, Finland is one of the destinations least affected by this pandemic.

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested.

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