Portugal confirms holidays from UK can go ahead from 17 May

14 May 2021, 12:49 | Updated: 14 May 2021, 14:37

Brits can holiday in Portugal from 17 May, the country has confirmed
Brits can holiday in Portugal from 17 May, the country has confirmed. Picture: PA Images

By Kate Buck

Brits will be allowed to holiday in Portugal from 17 May, the country's Foreign Minister has confirmed.

It is currently the only southern European country to make Britain's green list of quarantine-free destinations.

The country was on the UK's 'Green List' of countries for international travel announced last week but Portugal said it would extend its Covid 'state of calamity' until the end of this month, leaving tens of thousands of holidaymakers uncertain over their bookings.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson to hold press conference as Indian variant kills four

EXPLAINED: Which countries are on the green list for quarantine-free travel?

But tourist body Visit Portugal said the minister of state for foreign affairs has confirmed that UK tourists who have had a negative PCR test within the previous 72 hours will be welcomed from Monday.

UK holiday firms have experienced huge demand for trips to Portugal since the UK Government confirmed Brits will not be required to self-isolate on their return from visits to the country.

Searches for Portugal holidays surged on Thursday afternoon
Searches for Portugal holidays surged on Thursday afternoon. Picture: PA Images

A statement from the body said: "The Portuguese minister of state for foreign affairs announced today that British tourists will be allowed to enter Portugal as of the 00:00 of 17th of May, next Monday.

"This decision will revoke the essential travel restrictions that is in place until the 16th of May.

"Any person entering Portugal will have, in any case, to have an RT-PCR test done 72 hours before departure."

It was announced earlier this week that the Champions League final would be moved to the Estádio do Dragão in Porto after Turkey was placed on the Red List.

READ MORE: UK firm On the Beach pulls summer holiday sales due to travel uncertainty

UEFA is selling 6,000 tickets on each side, meaning 12,000 people can attend the final match of the league on 29 May - one of the largest events for Brits since the pandemic began.

EasyJet has added 105,000 extra seat to its flights serving green-tier destinations, while Tui plans to use aircraft which normally operate long-haul routes to accommodate the surge of people booked to fly to Portugal.

Simon Calder gives Portugal update

Following the announcement, an EasyJet spokesperson said: "We welcome the decision from the Portuguese government meaning that those travelling from the UK will be allowed to travel safely to Portugal from Monday.

"We look forward to reuniting friends and family and taking customers on a long-awaited holiday this summer."

Portugal is among 12 countries and territories on the quarantine-free green travel list.

Many popular destinations, such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece, are on the amber list, meaning returning travellers will be required to self-isolate at home for 10 days.

READ MORE: UEFA Champions League final moved to Portugal so 12,000 can attend

Scotland will permit foreign holidays from May 24 while non-essential travel from Northern Ireland to the Common Travel Area - the UK, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man - will be allowed from the same date.

But Simon Cooper, chief executive of online travel agent On the Beach, said the situation "illustrates precisely why now is not the time to encourage new holiday bookings for this summer".

The company stopped selling summer holidays on Wednesday due to a lack of "certainty or clarity" in relation to travel rules.