If you’re planning an Easter getaway and want to avoid the hassle of taking a COVID test, then visiting a country with no restrictions might be the answer.
After the Omicron variant proved to be milder than feared, many European countries have started to ease their restrictions. While some nations have removed testing before travel, or changed the rules on mask wearing in public spaces, others have decided to scrap COVID-19 measures altogether.
So if you want a restriction-free break this spring these are the European countries that have waved goodbye to their travel rules.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a great threat to the health of most of us,”Norway’s Prime Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre said back in February.
Highlighting his wish for the country to “return to normal everyday life,” Støre dropped face mask laws, scrapped the need to isolate and removed Norway’s one metre social distancing requirement.
Travel restrictions were eased too, meaning tourists are no longer required to provide proof of a negative test or their vaccination status when entering the country.
Testing requirements for visitors to Svalbard were also scrapped at the beginning of March, meaning you no longer have to test negative to visit the remote Norwegian archipelago.
Like Norway, this Nordic island nation dropped all of its COVID-19 restrictions in February, meaning travel here is as simple as in pre-pandemic times.
“All COVID-19 measures at the Icelandic border have now ended,” said Icelandic authorities in a statement last month.
“Thereby no COVID-19 prevention measures will be in place at the border, regardless of whether individuals are vaccinated or unvaccinated.”
This means there’s no need to carry a vaccination certificate or provide a negative covid test when you visit Iceland.
The country has also scrapped covid restrictions within its borders too. Masks are no longer mandatory and social distancing has been abolished.
Famed for its glorious lakes, mountain ranges and ski resorts, this central European nation also dropped its COVID-19 restrictions in February.
“As of February 19, 2022, restrictions due to Covid-19 no longer apply when entering Slovenia,” Slovenian authorities announced.
“This means that the RVT (recovered/vaccinated/tested) condition no longer has to be met at the border, and travellers will no longer be ordered to quarantine at home.”
Visitors don’t have to test or provide information about their vaccination status. But unlike Norway and Iceland, a passenger locator form is still required to visit Slovenia.
The nation has scrapped all of its domestic restrictions too, so masks don’t need to be worn unless you want to.
The Emerald Isle is the latest country to scrap all of its COVID-19 travel restrictions after it removed remaining rules on Sunday.
The moves means travellers will no longer have to fill in a passenger locator form, show proof of vaccination or recovery, or provide a negative covid test.
The island nation has also scrapped the requirement to wear face mask indoors, although people with COVID-19 symptoms are still asked to self-isolate.
"There are no post-arrival testing or quarantine requirements for travellers to Ireland," Irish authorities announced in a statement.
"Any individual that develops Covid-19 symptoms while in Ireland should follow the HSE (Health Service Executive) guidance in relation to isolation and undertaking antigen or PCR testing as appropriate,” they continued.
While face masks are no longer mandatory in the country, they are still recommended on public transport.
Which countries might be next?
While all other European nations still have some travel restrictions in place, many are easing their rules.
Germany, for example, has recently abolished its high-risk list, meaning you can visit from any country. Austria has lifted all its domestic COVID-19 restrictions, except for the requirement to wear masks in shops and on public transport.
The gradual easing of restrictions comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) called for countries to lift international travel bans back in January, stating that “they do not provide added value and continue to contribute to the economic and social stress experienced by States Parties.”
And as Europe seeks to recover from the financial losses of the last two years, it is likely that more countries will follow suit and remove their restrictions altogether.