Covid & Travel: Latest Update from Across Europe

Our experts keep you updated on the travel restrictions of each country and tests you may need to travel in 2021.

8 min read

Following the discovery of a new, highly contagious strain of the Coronavirus, most EU countries announced new measures - from banning UK travellers to travel to the Continent to mandatory tests for those allowed to travel.

The rapid shutdown of travel between the UK and the Continent has created havoc and is making it difficult for travellers to keep their finger on the pulse.

To help you navigte the situation, the BRB team has summarised the different types of tests you may required to take, as well as what is required in each country and what to do if your trip is cancelled.

This post will be updated as and when travel requirements change for a specific country, so be sure to add it to your bookmark and come back to it before planning your next trip to Europe.

Mandatory Covid Testing

Since coronavirus arrived in Europe in early 2020, many EU countries increased their testing capacity. But with so many different testing options available from the NHS, GP practices, pharmacies or private testing centres, it can be quite confusing to know which test is right for you.

So what is the difference between the PCR, TMA or Antigen tests, what do they tell us and how much do they cost?

This ultimate Covid testing guide will tell you all about the major tests available as well as which ones you will need to take depending on the country you are visiting.

PCR tests: These are very accurate as the are looking to see the genetic code of the virus. The test lets you know if you currently have the virus. These currently cost £110-150, you can get them in Boots for £120.

Antigen Or Antibody tests: These tests look to see if you carry any antibodies that show that you have had the virus before and have developed an immunity. These cost between £50-100 and can be bought online, and results sent back to you within 24 hrs.

Lateral Flow tests: These are known as rapid tests, they use a swab and a small reader (much like a pregnancy test) and you get a response in 15 mins. These are what you will see at airports etc. you can get them online from around £35.

TMA or LAMP tests: These are required for entry to Spain but are actually quite hard to get hold of at the moment. The best place to get these are at the airports such as Heathrow and cost about £79.

Travel Requirements by Country

Our team of travel experts are constantly monitoring the government advice and information on our destination country embassy pages and will keep this up to date (last updated on 18/01/2021).

The tests required for each country have been referenced below:

Name Abbreviation
PCR PCR
Antigen AT
Lateral Flow LF
TMA or LAMP TMA
On Arrival AV
Day D
24 Hours 24
48 Hours 48
72 Hours 72

How to read the below table?

▪ If a cell has the reference "PCR/LF-48", it means that you will need to take either a PCR or Lateral Flow test 48 hours before departure.

▪ If a cell has the reference "AT-24", it simply means that you will need to take an Antigen test 24 hours before departure.

▪ When it comes to testing on arrival or quarantine, a cell referencing "AV+D5" means that you will need to take a test On Arrival (AV) at destination as well as another test after Day 5.

Tests & Quarantine by EU Country

At the time of writing, all UK travellers returning from a trip to the EU will be subject to a 10-day quarantine.

Country Travel Allowed? Test (Departure)? Test (Arrival) Quarantine (Arrival)
Austria No No No 10 Days
Belgium No PCR-72 D7 No
Bulgaria No PCR-72 No No
Czech No PCR/AT-72 D5 5 Days
Denmark No PCR/LF-24 D4 10 Days
France No PCR/AT-72 No No
Germany No Any-48 D5 10 Days
Greece No PCR-72 AV 10 Days
Hungary No No D5 10 Days
Iceland No No AV+D5 No
Italy No PCR/AT-72 AV 14 Days
Latvia No No AV+D9 10 Days
Lithuania No PCR-48 No 10 Days
Luxembourg No PCR/AT-48 AV 10 Days
Malta No PCR-72 No 14 Days
Netherlands No PCR No 10 Days
Norway No PCR/AT-72 D1+D7 10 Days
Poland No No No 10 Days
Portugal No PCR-72 No No
Romania No PCR/AT-48 No 14 Days
Slovakia No No D5 14 Days
Spain No TMA-72 No No
Sweden No PCR-72 AV+D5 7 Days
Switzerland No No No 10 Days

What Happens if I Cannot Travel?

What if I have a positive test before I travel?

If you test positive before you travel, then you should not travel. It is for situations such at this that appropriate travel insurance is a must have! We will not be able to cancel or refund travel in this situation.

Obviously, we will do everything we can to help move trips to other dates, this may involve further costs etc. The most important part of this process is to keep us in the loop so that we can help with next steps.

What if I start showing symptoms on my trip?

If you show symptoms while traveling you must immediately self-isolate and follow local guidelines. In most cases this will require you to self-isolate abroad and you should not travel back to the UK. Again, ensure that you have travel insurance that provides adequate cover.

If this does occur, please speak to the BRB team as soon as possible so that we can help with any requirements.

What if travel restrictions have been put in place?

We will never book travel to a country that has restrictions in place, however we know that where we are able to travel to will be quite fluid initially.

If the advice changes to prevent travel then we will be in touch with you straight away to talk through the different options with you, in most cases we are able to move the dates or destination of travel.

What if quarantine rules change for my return to the UK?

Travel corridors have been quick to change, if you choose to not travel because you will have to quarantine on return to the UK trips they what happens to your trip depends very much on a case by case basis, it all depends on the guidance from the UK government, how long it is until your travel date and when the rules come into effect.

Do not worry, we will be in touch with lots of time to provide you with the different options

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