Holiday hotspots: Which European countries are safer for travel?

Holiday Hotspots: Which European Countries Are Safer For Travel? Holiday Hotspots: Which European Countries Are Safer For Travel?
The Delta variant of coronavirus is now dominant across Europe. Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP via Getty
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Tomas Doherty

Irish tourists are travelling again to popular holiday destinations in Europe but the coronavirus situation varies between countries and regions.

Cyprus, Spain, France and Portugal are among the countries with the highest Covid infection rates in the EU and Schengen zone, according to the latest update from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The ECDC figures show that Cyprus has a 14-day infection rate of 1,242 cases per 100,000 people, by far the highest recorded. Spain is next with a rate of 721, followed by France with 414.

Italy and Croatia have lower rates, recording 114 and 54 respectively. Central and Eastern European countries have relatively little spread of coronavirus, according to the ECDC data.


The Delta variant became dominant across Europe last month and surged in many countries, but infections are now receding in Cyprus, Spain and Portugal.

As of August 11th, Corsica and the French Riviera are among the regions with the highest Covid rates in Europe, according to official data collated by the World Health Organisation.

Crete and the South Aegean region of Greece, which includes several well-known islands such as Mykonos, Santorini and Rhodes, also have high infection rates.

Many Italian regions have relatively low coronavirus rates – Lombardy, Venice, Piemonte and Puglia all have rates below 100 cases per 100,000, as of August 11th.

Varna and Burgas in the Black Sea region of Bulgaria also have rates at or below 100.

Europe-wide, the Isle of Man has the highest Covid rate currently, while Jersey and Northern Ireland are also seeing the virus spread more widely.

The introduction of the EU Digital Covid Certificate in July has allowed holiday travel to resume across Europe over the last month. However, the ECDC still recommends that European citizens avoid non-essential travel.

Irish residents who are fully vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months, or who present a negative Covid-19 test taken during a set period prior to departure can travel within the EU, as well as to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, without having to quarantine.

All passengers arriving back to Ireland following a trip abroad are required to complete a passenger locator form, and have proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus, or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

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