12 COVID-safe EU islands to vacation in
Islands have always been a magnet for tourists. The non-profit EDB has just ranked of the 12 safest European islands at the time of the coronavirus.
Cyprus (9,251 km2 , population almost 1.3 million) is divided in two: the southern two-thirds of the island is the Republic of Cyprus, a member state of the European Union. The northern third of the island—the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, not recognised by the UN—is under Turkish control.
EBD notes that as of 10 May, 'travellers from over 60 countries from all over the world will be able to stay in Cyprus, without being quarantined on arrival.' The travel site explains that its Tourism Minister, Savvas Perdios, has ensured that 'simple and understandable security measures and rules' are implemented to welcome tourists this summer.
Menorca (694 km2 , approx. 93,000 inhabitants) is one of the four Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. EBD claims that it is 'still untouched by mass tourism,' as the authorities have 'always taken care to preserve nature.'
Menorca is 'safer than the Spanish mainland and even safer than its neighbouring island Majorca,' according to EBD. However, a negative test for COVID-19 is required to stay there.
Korčula (279 km2, approx. 16,000 inhabitants), in the Adriatic Sea, is the most populated Croatian island.
EBD notes that the country has worked to position itself as 'a safe and welcoming destination for the summer of 2021,' including making its islands 'COVID-free zones.' A map posted online by the Croatian authorities shows that its islands have scarcely been affected by the epidemic.
A negative PCR or antigen test is required to enter Croatia. Travellers must take another test 10 days after arrival if they wish to stay longer, EBD reports.
La Gomera (372 km2, about 23,000 inhabitants) is one of the seven Canary Islands, off the coast of Morocco and Western Sahara. 'Less touristy than Tenerife or Gran Canaria,' according to EBD, it is rather wild and its 'biosphere reserve' is preserved.
As for the rest of Spain, a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours before entering the country is required, even for vaccinated people. A QR code is also required to fly there. Go to the Spanish Ministry of Health website within 48 hours before the flight to obtain it.
Corfu (585 km2 , about 110,000 inhabitants) is the capital of the Ionian Islands. The island is said to be, 'together with Madeira and the Azores, one of the European paradise destinations that has been relatively unaffected by COVID-19,' according to EBD. A negative COVID-19 test carried out 72 hours before entering the territory or a vaccination certificate are required to stay there.
In the centre of the Mediterranean, the Maltese island state (316 km2, nearly 460,000 inhabitants) has 'done everything possible to protect the local population and to welcome travellers in impeccable sanitary conditions,' according to EBD. Its tourism minister, Clayton Bartolo, also announced that he would offer a £170 grant to every foreign tourist who stays at least two nights in Malta.
A negative COVID test or a vaccination certificate is required to enter Malta.
The Isle of Flowers—Ilha das Flores, in Portuguese—has an area of 141 km2 and a population of about 4,000. An 'ideal destination for a safe holiday and digital detox,' notes EBD. A PCR test carried out within 72 hours before the flight is required to travel there.
Crete (8,336 km2 , population over 620,000), in the Aegean Sea, is the largest of the Greek islands.
EBD notes that the island has 'put in place simple and effective sanitary measures to welcome travellers this summer' which have allowed it to be 'less affected by COVID than many parts of Europe.'
The Island of the Raven—Ilha do Corvo, in Portuguese—is the smallest (17.13 km2, for less than 500 inhabitants) of the Azores archipelago, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is, according to EBD, the 'first 100% vaccinated island in the world.' Travellers must present a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old to stay there.
Antipaxos is a very small (5 km2 , no permanent inhabitants) wilderness island in the Ionian Sea. EBD claims to have 'used COVID-19 data to select the Greek islands that remained in the green zone throughout the pandemic.' Antipaxos is one of them.
As in the rest of Greece, visitors must present a certificate of vaccination or a negative test for coronavirus less than 72 hours old.
Porto Santo (42.17 km2, about 5,500 inhabitants) is a small island in the Madeira archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. Its eponymous beach is considered by EBD as the safest in Europe. A negative COVID-19 test or a vaccination certificate is required to stay there.
The volcanic island of Madeira (750.7 km2, approx. 260,000 inhabitants) represents 90% of the archipelago of the same name. EBD reports that by the end of May, 'all professionals in Madeira's tourism sector will have been vaccinated.'
A negative PCR test or a vaccination certificate is required, as well as a registration on the website www.madeirasafetodiscover.com. One thing that's good to know: Madeira offers a free test to all visitors, according to EBD, which can be useful before leaving the island.