For millions of Brits, their wish of a summer holiday may now come true thanks to the Government scrapping quarantine rules for travellers returning from Amber List countries after 19th July – and many are in the EU.
COVID-19 travel disruption has hit many European countries hard, so Stasher is urging double-jabbed Brits to take a moment to consider how their trip abroad can make a difference to local economies. And, at the same time, where is off the tourist trail as anxieties about being in large crowds linger.
To help, global luggage storage network Stasher has shortlisted the EU destinations that relied the most on tourism as a % of GDP before COVID-19 hit, but importantly, are still largely undiscovered on social media, meaning you’ll have the time and space to explore them for yourself. The perfect combination for a trip that makes a difference – to you and your host.
Albania may be Europe’s enigma, but with over 27% of its GDP coming from tourism pre-pandemic, your visit will have a positive impact.
The country boasts rugged mountain scenery, sparkling Ionian and Adriatic coastlines, fortress towns and ancient Greek and Roman sites. All of which you can explore without the crowds you’d expect in tourist hotspots like Greece, Italy or Turkey.
The most widely spoken foreign language in Albania is English, so you shouldn’t have a problem getting to know the local people and their culture.
It also boasts a warmer summer climate than the UK, with an average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius.
For the perfect day in the sun, explore ‘The Blue Eye’. This infamous deep water spring pool is filled with perfectly clear, turquoise water, making it impossible to resist taking a dip.
A Mediterranean gem, rich in culture and history, Cyprus is a great alternative to other popular European islands this summer like the Balearic, Canary and Greek Islands.
Travellers can enjoy unspoiled green landscapes dotted with wineries and rugged coastlines with crystal clear waters.
For the adventurous tourist, you can try your hand at a new water sport, off-road cycling and scuba diving.
Although much favoured for its relaxing beach holidays, don’t underestimate Cyprus’s rich history. Visit The Tomb of Kings, dating back to the 4th century, for a day of culture. Only two kilometres away you’ll find the Paphos harbour and Castle. Wind down here with the gorgeous views of the sun setting over the boats.
The island boasts glorious weather all summer long, with the average temperature around 35 degrees Celsius and minimum rainfall.
Montenegro, nestled in the Balkans, is famed for its wild beauty, rugged mountains, medieval villages and a narrow strip of beaches along its Adriatic coastline.
As a small nation boasting a big personality, Montenegro is the perfect summer holiday spot for couples or families looking to get outdoors and explore.
It’s home to breath-taking national parks, lakes, canyons and coastlines which rival the best in Europe. For those looking to explore the natural landscape, head to Durmitor. This mountain range encases beautiful natural pools with crystal clear waters.
For the culture vulture, it’s steeped in rich heritage too. Ostrog Monastery – Montenegro’s holiest site – with its cave chapels covered in centuries-old frescos is a highlight. This religious landmark is cleverly built into its surrounding rocks – something you don’t see every holiday.
In summer, tourists can enjoy a Mediterranean climate with an average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius in coastal locations.
Estonia, in Northern Europe, is one of the least discovered short-haul destinations on the list, according to social media tags.
The perfect location for some R&R thanks to its thriving spa and cafe culture, Estonia could be the escape you crave this summer.
For those looking for an action-packed trip, you can explore Estonia’s vast woodlands and island-hop on a yacht during its ice-free summer. Unknown to most, Estonia has over 1,500 islands.
The country also boasts a rich history to uncover. Head up the Tallinn TV Tower – this gives you a panoramic landscape view of the capital, with rolling fields and views of the old town.
Although Estonia has very cold winters, its summers are on par with the UK and you can expect a temperature of 20-30 degrees Celsius.
Always remember to check the latest guidelines and COVID-19 restrictions when booking a holiday abroad, issued by both the UK Government and the host country. You can view a full list of European destinations here and how they compare.
And finally, consider the most eco-friendly way of getting to your chosen destination. If you have no option but to fly, why not sign up to a carbon reduction platform, like Treepoints. This can help offset your flight’s carbon footprint by donating to certified eco projects on your behalf.