As hard to believe as it may be, we are nearly at the end of the train wreck of the year that has been 2020, and while 2021 won’t suddenly reset the clock, as it were, the good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. With any luck, by spring, we’ll be approaching the end of the global pandemic and we will be able to get back to living life the way we want it to be lived.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’d like to talk to you about travel. Despite loving the winter, I sometimes suffer from the winter blues and I find myself longing for the feel of warm sunshine on my skin, blue skies instead of grey, and more than a few hours of daylight.
Travel is a touchy subject at the moment, I know that, but if you are able to travel, there are numerous options available to you. Me, personally? I love Europe in the winter as it is warm, without being unbearably hot, and it’s also quieter.
Right now, as well as our physical health, we also need to look at our mental health too, which is why it’s so important to get away safely and do the things which lift us.
With that said, here’s a look at se7en Covid-safe European countries and destinations for you to visit this winter.
Greece was once one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, not just in Europe. Thanks to economic and political uncertainty, however, it dropped out of favour and became much quieter.
As the years have ticked by, the country has rebounded and is slowly starting to gain favour amongst holidaymakers once more.
If you’re worried about the pandemic, Greece has nearly 10 times less severe cases of Covid-19 than other European countries and is therefore considered a safer option for travel.
If you’re missing a holiday in the sun, Corfu is the perfect destination as it has beaches, sand, sun, sea, tourism, and plenty of eateries, bars, and entertainment options available.
Personally, I recommend the “secret” beaches of Corfu such as the ‘Canal of Love’. Alternatively, if you want some history and culture, check out the Vlacherna Monastery or Corfu’s Old Fortress.
Portugal isn’t just home to delicious fortified wine and arguably the world’s best footballer (soccer player) in Cristiano Ronaldo, it is also home to the stunning Madeira Islands.
Madeira has recently been classed as one of the safest winter destinations in all of Europe as far as the pandemic is concerned, with cases much, much lower than other parts of the continent.
Once you’ve undergone a routine test to ensure you’re Covid-free, your holiday can begin.
I love Madeira as it has the perfect combination of beaches, wildlife, nature, and lush green countryside without being too far away from civilisation.
To further set your mind at ease, Portugal is one of the only countries in Europe to develop health insurance specifically for Covid-19.
Austria is home to many wonderful imports, including a certain Austrian Oak by the name of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Austria has around 7 times fewer severe cases of Covid-19 than other major countries in Europe, making Vienna one of the safest around.
Now, if you’re seeking a winter beach holiday in the sun, Vienna probably isn’t for you. If however, you want a city full of culture, forests, ancient architecture, parks, and gastronomic delights, Vienna is the perfect destination for you.
Vienna at Christmas is one of the most magical places in the world, and with Covid-safe Christmas markets going ahead as things stand, your winter break will be better than ever.
As you know, I’m a big foodie, so be sure to sample some delicious Austrian food including Frankfurter Wurstchen, which is a unique take on the German classic sausage, but with added beef along with pork.
Hungary, in my humble opinion, is one of the most underappreciated countries in all of Europe, and considering Budapest is its capital, I don’t quite understand why that is.
Hungary is one of the safest European countries in terms of Covid, and the nation’s capital is well worth a visit in winter.
Normally, from the 20th of November, the Advent Basilica Christmas market and fair take place, which is one of the best in the world. Sadly, the market has been cancelled because of the pandemic, but they have gone wild with the lights and decorations, and at night time it is still well worth a visit.
Yep, this time it’s just Cyprus, as in, anywhere in Cyprus because it really is that special and that safe.
Early on in the pandemic, as more and more countries were brought to their knees, Cyprus was deemed one of the safest, and that is truer than ever right now. Currently, Cyprus is reporting up to 25 times fewer severe cases of Covid per million people than other European counties.
The legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, Cyprus encompasses everything that people know and love about the Mediterranean. Home to breathtaking panoramic vistas, golden sandy beaches, clear blue seas, blue skies, and hot sunshine, it’s a stunning part of the world at any time of the year.
I love the orange groves here, along with the ancient ruins and tranquil coves, plus the food and drink are exquisite, and the locals are incredibly friendly.
Venture further inland and you’ll find cosmopolitan towns, stunning bars and restaurants, and quirky shops and cafes.
The good news is that social distancing at this time of year is easier than the summer because there are fewer people out and about, despite it being so warm.
Romania, as you may or may not know, is one of my favourite European countries. Despite it not being a typical sunshine destination, Romania is still pleasantly warm and is also one of the safest.
The officials of Oradea acted fast when Covid cases were rising, and they were quick to get the virus under control. One of the first things they did was contain the virus by designating one hospital purely to Covid patients, and that strategy paid dividends.
Oradea also happens to be one of the most picturesque locations in Romania, as it is home to stunning art nouveau buildings, medieval architecture, and plenty of art galleries and museums. Because of this, the town is ideal for tourists looking to get some culture in their lives.
Finally, last, but certainly not least, I present to you Cavtat, Croatia.
Croatia has 4 times fewer severe Covid-19 cases than other countries in Europe, making it a safe destination for people looking to escape the winter blues.
Cavtat is a small and peaceful town in Croatia, located 20km from the much busier, but equally as beautiful city of Dubrovnik.
Here you’ll find hotels, art galleries, museums, shops, cafes, restaurants, gorgeous sandy beaches, rolling hills, panoramic vistas, and heaps more besides.
If you want a quiet and relaxing break in a town by the sea, Cavtat is the perfect place for you this winter.
Hope this list will give you some inspiration for your future adventures!
Until next time stay safe, stay curious and don’t stop wandering!