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Traveling to Europe? What to know about requirements for 5 countries.

Some countries want proof of vaccination, some want a negative test, and some want both.

Through both the delta and omicron variant surges, European countries put restrictions in place to contain the virus while allowing in coronavirus -free travelers. Now, some countries are beginning to ease some rules.

Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given a Level 4 warning to much of Europe because of high levels of coronavirus transmission, and it recommends Americans avoid travel to top destinations such as Italy, France and the United Kingdom.

The omicron variant hit the European travel industry, which had just begun to recover from the pandemic. However, leaders in the industry are confident that Europe will again be able to offer a safe experience for travelers.

“We have clear rules — people, hotels and restaurants are clearly complying in order for you as an American to not only have the best experience, but the safest one,” said Luís Araújo, the president of the European Travel Commission and Tourism ​​Portugal.

So what kinds of restrictions will Americans encounter when traveling to Europe? Entry requirements can vary widely, from what type of mask to wear on the flight to vaccination proof. We looked at how five major European destinations are handling international visitors.

CDC warning: Level 4

Entry requirements: Fully vaccinated Americans, which now includes being boosted if eligible, need to show proof of vaccination and a signed declaration stating that they do not have symptoms of covid-19.

Unvaccinated travelers may only enter the country for compelling reasons. Unvaccinated people must show proof of a negative test taken 48 hours before departure, take a test once they arrive and then quarantine for 10 days at a location disclosed to the French government.

Restrictions once you’re there: To access most services and businesses in France — including restaurants, museums, concert halls, trains, domestic flights, shopping malls and tourist attractions — people over the age of 12 are required to show a pass sanitaire (health pass).

While some tourist attractions may allow Americans to show the CDC vaccination card for entry, it is generally not accepted. However, travelers can apply for a French health pass at a designated pharmacy; it costs about $41.

Unvaccinated people can obtain a 24-hour health pass with proof of a negative coronavirus test. However, the French Parliament recently approved plans for health pass legislation that, if passed by the Senate and the National Assembly, would require all people over 16 to be vaccinated to receive a health pass.

Starting Jan. 15, adults who received their last vaccination dose more than seven months ago, or people vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine more than two months ago, must have a booster shot to obtain a health pass.

Entry requirements: Only vaccinated Americans can enter Spain for nonessential purposes. Starting Feb. 1, a booster will be required if your last vaccination was more than 270 days before arrival.

Americans will need to download a QR code through the Spain Travel Health portal to prove their vaccination status before arrival. If travelers arrive by air or sea , Spanish border agents will take their temperature and do a visual assessment of their health.

Spain is not mandating a quarantine for anyone entering the country. However, if border authorities suspect travelers of having the coronavirus because of an elevated temperature or visible symptoms, they can require those individuals to take a test.

Restrictions once you’re there: Once in Spain, make sure to check the regional restrictions in the areas you’re looking to visit.

The most common restrictions in Spain include masking in public spaces including outdoors, limited capacity in indoor businesses and restaurants, and proof of vaccination to enter restaurants and other public services.

Entry requirements: Travelers coming from the United States, or who have been in the United States within the past 10 days , must provide proof they are fully vaccinated.

Those who have stayed in a risk area have to fill out a digital entry registration form and present it upon entry. Germany has designated the United States a “high risk area.”

Restrictions once you are there: Within Germany, there are tight restrictions in many regions, allowing only vaccinated or recovered people to enter nonessential businesses and services. Check requirements of the regions you plan to visit because restrictions may change based on the hospitalization rate.

Germany has a widely used open-source app for tracking transmission and cases. The free Corona-Warn-App lets people know anonymously and quickly if they have been near someone infected with the coronavirus.

Entry requirements: Anyone flying to Italy needs to wear an FFP2 mask , not a surgical or cloth mask. Upon arrival, Americans have to fill out a passenger locator form , provide proof of a negative molecular coronavirus test from the past 72 hours or a negative antigen test from within the past 24 hours, and proof of full vaccination or recovery from the coronavirus.

For those without proof of vaccination or recovery, prepare to travel by a private vehicle from your point of entry to a place to quarantine for five days . These travelers must notify the local health authority of their arrival in Italy and test negative at the end of the quarantine.

Children under 6 years old don’t have to take pre-departure tests or prove their vaccination status, as long as they are with a vaccinated parent. Kids over 6 have to take a test, but they don’t have to quarantine unless their parent needs to.

Restrictions once you’re there: Be prepared to wear an FFP2 mask while riding public transportation and in performance venues, whether indoors or outdoors.

Italy uses a “Green Pass” as a vaccination card, but U.S. vaccination cards and documents proving recovery are widely recognized as an equivalent . You will need to carry this documentation for most public attractions and restaurants, as well as for riding local transportation.

Again, restrictions are different depending on the region you are in, so be sure to check local guidance.

United Kingdom

Entry requirements: Fully vaccinated travelers no longer have to take a coronavirus test before entering the U.K. Regardless of vaccination status, all U.K. arrivals will need to complete a passenger locator form.

For England, Wales and Northern Ireland, travelers who are not fully vaccinated need to take a test before departing and a PCR test on or before their second day in the country. Scotland requires unvaccinated travelers to present a negative test taken no more than two days before departure.

Restrictions once you’re there: Vaccine pass rules vary across the United Kingdom , but CDC vaccine certificates are accepted . Scotland, England and Wales all have vaccine and testing requirements for nightclubs and large events. Be sure to check on specifics.

travel to europe italy

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Italy Travel Restrictions

Traveler's COVID-19 vaccination status

Traveling from the United States to Italy

Open for vaccinated visitors

COVID-19 testing

Not required

Not required for vaccinated visitors


Not required in public spaces and public transportation.

Italy entry details and exceptions

Ready to travel, find flights to italy, find stays in italy, explore more countries on travel restrictions map, destinations you can travel to now, dominican republic, netherlands, philippines, puerto rico, switzerland, united arab emirates, united kingdom, know when to go.

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Can I travel to Italy from the United States?

Most visitors from the United States, regardless of vaccination status, can enter Italy.

Can I travel to Italy if I am vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated visitors from the United States can enter Italy without restrictions.

Can I travel to Italy without being vaccinated?

Unvaccinated visitors from the United States can enter Italy without restrictions.

Do I need a COVID test to enter Italy?

Visitors from the United States are not required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test or antigen result upon entering Italy.

Can I travel to Italy without quarantine?

Travelers from the United States are not required to quarantine.

Do I need to wear a mask in Italy?

Mask usage in Italy is not required in public spaces and public transportation.

Are the restaurants and bars open in Italy?

Restaurants in Italy are open. Bars in Italy are .

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A Country-by-Country Guide to Reopened Europe

Members of the European Union are welcoming Americans. But there are still rules and restrictions to abide by. Here’s how to navigate them and what to expect.

travel to europe italy

New destinations are no longer being added to this list , as many European countries are now open to American travelers. See an up-to-date list of countries open to U.S. travelers here .

On June 18, the European Union recommended lifting the ban on nonessential travel for visitors from the United States just in time for the summer season, which is crucial to the E.U.’s economy.

While the bloc aims to take a coordinated approach to travel this summer, the recommendation is nonbinding and member states are allowed to set their own requirements for travelers from individual countries based on their own epidemiological criteria.

Visitors from outside the bloc who can show documentation of having received E.U.-approved vaccines — including those from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — will, for many E.U. countries, be allowed to enter without having to take a test or quarantine upon arrival. The bloc will also allow people to travel from countries it considers epidemiologically safe, regardless of their vaccination status. (Any passengers transiting through some areas where there has been a spike in cases involving the highly contagious Delta variant , including Britain, on their way to other European countries should check with the authorities in their final destination to determine whether they may be subject to additional rules.)

The European Union’s “safe list” also applies to Europe ’s border-free Schengen Zone, which includes non-E.U. countries such as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Here is a guide to some of the continent’s most popular tourist destinations, explaining what is required for entry and what to expect if you do visit. Ceylan Yeginsu

Jump to : Croatia , Denmark, France , Germany , Greece , Iceland , Italy , Netherlands , Portugal , Spain , Switzerland , Turkey and the United Kingdom .

State of the virus

Like other countries in Europe, Croatia has seen daily cases on a constant decline after it experienced a third wave that appears to have peaked in April. According to World Health Organization data, daily deaths are now in the single digit range. Almost 30 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

Entry requirements

Unlike some other European countries, Croatia makes no distinction between tourists and other travelers, applying the same conditions for leisure travel, essential family and business. Visitors from the European countries on the E.C.D.C.’s so-called green list (which varies constantly) can travel without restrictions . Those coming from European countries not on the green list must provide one of the following: a negative Covid test, proof of vaccination, or a certificate of recovery. Finally, visitors from outside Europe must provide the same evidence (either a negative Covid test, a vaccination certificate or a certificate of recovery), along with evidence of accommodations paid in advance or proof that they own property in Croatia, according to the government website . Travelers are advised to fill out the Enter Croatia form to speed up the process.

On June 1, Croatia and six other E.U. states began issuing vaccination certificate s to citizens to better streamline travel within the bloc. The free certificate, featuring a QR code, is available in digital or paper form, and indicates if a traveler is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, recovered from the disease or has received a negative virus test result. The rollout of the certificate program for the entire bloc (27 countries) was July 1. It is not yet available to travelers from the United States.

Currently, no direct flights operate between Croatia and the United States, but United Airlines and Delta Air Lines will launch seasonal direct flights from Newark Liberty International Airport and Kennedy International Airport in July, said Ina Rodin, an official with the Croatian National Tourist Office.

Medical facilities

Croatia has universal health care and the quality of medical facilities are in line with European standards. Rapid antigen and PCR tests are widely available, with contact information listed on Croatia’s Institute of Public Health website. Those who develop symptoms of Covid-19 while in Croatia should contact a Covid-dedicated call center by dialing 113 or one of the designated medical facilities .

Bars and cafes can operate, but customers must be seated outside. Indoor and outdoor dining is allowed in restaurants and hotels. While beaches, thermal spas, parks, zoos and most museums are open, nightclubs are closed.

The general mood seems relaxed, and people seem eager to return to quasi-normal life and welcome tourists. Croatia’s economy heavily relies on tourism, accounting for almost 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to 2018 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“Most people have a normal social life,” said Kresimira Kruslin, 30, a lawyer in Zagreb. “The general feeling is very optimistic. Young people feel comfortable going out for drinks and things like that,” she said. “Some people are more cautious than others, but I don’t know anyone who is scared.” Anna Momigliano

This country of 5.8 million was averaging 659 virus cases per day as of June 10, down from just over 1,000 per day in mid-May and well below last year’s peak of around 3,500. Testing is widespread and the positivity rate is holding steady at below 1 percent. Vaccinations are also picking up, with nearly half of the population having received at least one dose as of June 8.

Since June 5, fully vaccinated travelers from the United States, Canada and several other countries have been allowed to enter Denmark , including for tourism, with no requirements for testing or quarantine. Fourteen days must have passed since your last shot before entry. Any visitors who transit through Britain will need to comply with Denmark’s entry rules for Britain. More information (in English) is available from the Danish government, as well as on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Denmark. Travelers who cannot find the information they need online can call Denmark’s official arrivals hotline, +45 7020 6044.

Denmark’s hospitals are under little strain because of the pandemic. Testing is widespread and, at many testing centers, visitors can obtain a test free of charge. Check this list provided by the government to find the testing sites that serve foreigners.

Covid-related restrictions in Denmark have eased considerably over the past two months. Museums, amusement parks, movie theaters, stores, bars and restaurants are now open, although guests may be asked to provide either proof of vaccination or a recent negative test to gain entry. Restaurants and bars are now allowed to remain open until midnight, but clubs and other nightlife will remain shut until Sept. 1. Mask requirements are also being phased out: As of June 14, masks are required only while standing up on public transportation. Check here for the latest English-language updates on Denmark’s Covid-related regulations.

Karen Nedergaard, general manager of the Absalon Hotel and the Andersen Hotel , both in Copenhagen, said that she was happy to read the recent news about Denmark’s opening to vaccinated tourists from the United States and elsewhere. Normally, both of her hotels would be full for most of the summer, she said, but their current occupancy is around 35 percent. “I think we are going to see a pickup over the summer,” she said.

Anyone who makes the trip will have plenty of attractions to choose from. An immersive museum dedicated to Hans Christian Andersen — author of “The Little Mermaid” and “The Princess and the Pea,” among many other fairy tales and other works — opened on June 30 in the writer’s hometown, Odense. The capital city’s Tivoli Gardens amusement park will host Michelin-star pop-up restaurants throughout the summer. And in August, Copenhagen and nearby Malmo, Sweden, will co-host WorldPride and EuroGames , an LGBTI inclusive sporting event. Paige McClanahan

France’s positivity rate and case numbers have dropped steadily, thanks to the country’s accelerating vaccination campaign and a national lockdown that was announced at the end of March. As of July 7, 52 percent of the French population had received at least one dose of vaccine, and about 34 percent were fully vaccinated. Universal adult eligibility for vaccination opened up on May 31.

As of June 9, France is once again welcoming visitors from outside Europe. Passengers arriving from the United States and other countries on France’s “ green list ” are required to show either proof of vaccination or a negative PCR or antigen test performed within 72 hours of entering France. Americans wishing to travel to France can check the website of the U.S. embassy for more information.

Pressure on France’s health system has eased considerably, with the number of patients in the country’s intensive care units dropping from a high of more than 6,000 on April 26 to just over 1,100 on July 2. Covid-19 tests are now available to foreign visitors at a cost of 49 euros for a PCR test or 29 euros for an antigen test. Anyone who tests positive should isolate and call a local doctor’s office if needed; for medical emergencies, dial 15.

Nonessential stores are open, indoor and outdoor dining has resumed, masks are no longer required in most outdoor settings, and the monthslong national curfew has been done away with. Museums like the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay have reopened their doors, as have theaters, movie theaters and cultural sites across the country, including the Château de Versailles and the Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey . Disneyland Paris reopened on June 17. Nightclubs are reopening in July. But visitors to France should still expect to encounter mask requirements and social distancing measures, including limited capacity at museums, restaurants, stores and other establishments.

The prospect of travel is as important to the national economy as it is to the French spirit. The tourism industry accounts for nearly 8 percent of France’s gross domestic product and supports some two million jobs. “We need, we want, in good health conditions, to remain the top tourist destination in Europe and the world,” said Clément Beaune, France’s minister of state for European affairs. “This is an economic issue for us.” Paige McClanahan

After a scary third wave that peaked in mid-April, infections in Germany have been plummeting. In Berlin — a city of 3.6 million people — there were only a couple of dozen new infections recorded on the July 4 weekend. Across the country, about 500 Covid patients were occupying I.C.U . beds. But there are clouds on the horizon: The Delta variant is thought to account for half of the new infections, and authorities say it’s not a matter of if the more contagious variant eventually dominates new infections, but when .

As of early July, nearly 60 percent of the population had received at least one vaccination shot, and nearly 40 percent were fully vaccinated. Within the European Union, Germany has one of the highest rates of vaccination.

Germany opened its border to U.S. tourists on June 20. Passengers arriving by plane must present a negative PCR test or proof of vaccination before boarding. Once on German ground, no quarantine is required. If you are not flying in directly, check the website of the Robert Koch Institute , the German version of the C.D.C., for arrivals from “at risk countries.”

During the pandemic a lot of resources were put into expanding coronavirus wards, so care is efficient and professional in Germany’s mostly state-of-the-art hospitals. Finding a good doctor who speaks English should not be a problem. However, currently, private doctor’s offices are inundated with people looking to get vaccinated, so if you have any kind of emergency, it is best to go to the emergency department of the local hospital. The phone number for medical emergencies is 112, or to find a doctor, call 116-117.

Covid-related restrictions are set by Germany’s 16 individual states, so rules will be a bit different in Berlin (which is its own state) and Munich (which is the capital of Bavaria). Expect to see plenty of outdoor dining, beer gardens, outdoor events and no curfews (unless infections in a particular district flare up). For certain activities, like museum visits or cultural events, you may need to make a reservation. The biggest asset in making your stay in Germany comfortable is your proof of vaccination (which you’ll want to keep with you at all times), because it allows you to skip any tests that might be required. If you are not yet fully vaccinated, you’ll have to make use of Germany’s network of quick test centers. Certain activities, like dining indoors may require a negative test result for those without proof of vaccination.

Germany’s international tourist board runs a handy website in English that provides an up-to-date overview of local rules in individual states.

Medical masks or even FFP2 (similar to N95) masks are generally required on all public transport, national train lines, stores and indoor public spaces. Children under 6 generally don’t require masks.

After what seemed like endless months of lockdowns, Germans are ready to get out and enjoy social and cultural life again. This could be one of the great seasons for travel in Germany. Christopher F. Schuetze

Greece recovered from its spring wave of Covid infections, but case numbers were on the rise again in early July. As of July 4, the average daily case count was just over 700, up from a low of around 360 a week earlier. Similarly, the share of coronavirus tests that are positive has remained low, at around 1.3 percent.

About 47 percent of the Greek population had received at least one dose of vaccine as of July 7, while about 38 percent were fully vaccinated. Those who work in the country’s tourism industry have been prioritized in the vaccine rollout, as have a number of the islands. The country’s health minister announced in May that residents of tourist-heavy islands such as Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu were next in line to receive their doses.

On arrival in Athens, travelers will need to present a certificate of vaccination, a negative coronavirus test no more than 72 hours old, or proof of recovery from Covid-19 within the past nine months. Passengers may also be subject to random rapid testing at the airport; anyone who tests positive will be put up at a local hotel for at least 10 days, along with their traveling companions, at the expense of the Greek government. Details on the rules of entry can be found here . Anyone planning to fly within the country will be subject to the same requirements as those arriving from abroad.

Greece, like Croatia and five other members of the European Union , began offering vaccination certificates to its citizens on June 1. The certificate program is not yet available to travelers from the United States.

Greece’s medical facilities, which have struggled from years of underfunding, were severely strained during the recent spring Covid-19 wave, but the pressures have eased. Any visitor who tests positive while in Greece should self isolate and contact a local doctor’s office if needed; in a medical emergency, dial 166.

Life in Greece is feeling closer to normal as the government has done away with many of the restrictions imposed during the country’s monthslong lockdown. Outdoor archaeological sites reopened in early spring, while restaurants and cafes once again began offering outdoor service (with a maximum of six people per table) on May 3. Greece’s museums have been open to all — with masks required and social distancing measures in place — since May 14. Open-air cinemas, spas, wellness centers and outdoor theaters are all welcoming guests, while ferry services to the islands are up and running, with limited capacity and mask requirements.

Greece jumped ahead of many of its European neighbors in opening up to vaccinated or Covid-negative tourists from the United States and a handful of other countries. The tourism industry accounts for roughly a quarter of total employment and more than a fifth of Greece’s gross domestic product, so restarting the industry is critical to helping the country recover from 2020, when the economy shrank by 8.2 percent.

“Unfortunately, after more than 10 years of economic hardship, tourism and food is our only industry,” Kostas Tzilialis, who works at a cafe and bookshop in central Athens, said recently . “We don’t produce cars or machines. So we have to open our industry right now. Let’s hope that people will be careful and the vaccines will protect us.” Paige McClanahan

Since January, Iceland has had only several hundred confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The daily count is currently in the single digits, after a relatively sharp rise in mid-April (peaking at 27 cases). As of July 6, about 75 percent of adult Icelanders had been fully vaccinated. Unlike some of its Nordic neighbors, Iceland has not suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, putting its efforts ahead of the European curve.

People with documentation of vaccination or previous infection do not have to undergo a test upon, or before, arrival. They just need to show their vaccine “passport” and 14 days have to have passed from the second dose (or 14 days from a Janssen/Johnson & Johnson dose) for a certificate to be valid.

Tourists who are not vaccinated need to quarantine for five days at a government-provided quarantine hotel (the stay is free of charge). Before arrival, they need to register and provide a negative PCR test that is no more than 72 hours old. More details on the rules of entry can be found here .

With one of the highest life expectancies in Europe, Iceland has an advanced health care system. As of July 6, the country’s hospital had no Covid patients.

In case of symptoms, visitors can call 1700 (on an Icelandic line) or +354 544 4113 (from any phone) to get tested. The local emergency number is 112.

Iceland has weathered the pandemic without ever resorting to the near-total social and economic shutdowns enforced in many other European countries. The success is partly a testament to its tiny population — about 360,000 people — but is also the result of decisive action by authorities, with rapid testing available early in the crisis. The country’s strict requirements still make it hard for everyone but vaccinated people to visit.

Gyms, pubs, restaurants, museums — just about everything — remain open. Tourism is the island’s largest job sector and the economic pain has been felt particularly by the thousands of migrants who came to Iceland during the previous boom years. While the unemployment rate is expected to remain high this year, local business leaders claim traffic is improving by the week.

On a chilly morning in the northern town of Husavik, two American tourists, Kevin Campbell and Susan Montgomery, from Oregon, were on their sixth — “or seventh” — trip to Iceland. “Locals value the presence of tourists these days,” Mr. Campbell, 69, said. Earlier that morning they had tried to enter Husavik’s iconic wooden church, but the door was locked. “Then a lady from a nearby store came running with a key this big,” Mr. Campbell said — indicating with his hands something that was the size of a milk carton — “and showed us inside.”

On Husavik’s harbor — made famous when the town was featured in the Netflix film “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” — two rival whale-watching companies were competing for business. Nearby, restaurants offered multiple versions of fish, with one chalkboard highlighting the word “fresh.” Egill Bjarnason

In Italy the pandemic has been in steady remission for months, after the country exited a third wave that peaked in March. New cases and deaths have been in decline. In this country of almost 60 million, daily deaths are in the two-digit range according to W.H.O. data. Hospitalizations have also gone down, according to the Italian research foundation, Gimbe. More than 55 percent of Italians are at least partially vaccinated.

Visitors from the United States and other non-European countries that are considered low risk (Japan, Canada, Australia and Singapore) need both a coronavirus test and a 10-day-quarantine. But Americans can avoid the quarantine if they take special “ Covid-tested flights ” that require taking a test both before and after the flight, and submit an E.U. digital passenger locator form . These Covid-tested flights are already available from New York and Atlanta to Milan and Rome, and will soon be offered to Venice and Naples. From countries considered high risk , only travel for essential reasons (such as business, study or medical care) is allowed, and no travel is allowed from India and Brazil.

Italy has one of Europe’s best health care systems. When northern Italy was severely hit in March and April 2020, hospitals were overwhelmed, but that is no longer the case. The percentage of intensive care units taken over by Covid patients is declining and is now at 23 percent, according to statistics compiled by Gimbe , the research foundation.

Italy regulates restrictions with a system that places each of its 20 regions on a white-yellow-orange-red scale, which can at times result in significant differences across the country. Currently most of Italy is listed as “yellow,” with minor restrictions. Bars and restaurants are open for indoor and outdoor service. Museums and theaters are open, but at a reduced capacity.

The mood is mixed with optimism, pandemic fatigue and excitement. On May 4 Prime Minister Mario Draghi gave a speech that energized the climate: “It’s time to book your vacations in Italy, we can’t wait to welcome you again,” he said, referring to international tourists.

Those working in the tourism industry say it worked. “Draghi’s announcement energized the bookings, we saw an increase just the day after,” said Giuseppe Artolli, 62, who manages COMO Castello del Nero, a castle-turned-hotel in Chianti.

Carlo Dalla Chiesa, 43, manages Milan’s youth hostel Ostello Bello, a popular destination for young international travelers, but also a place where locals go for their aperitif. Even though the hostel lost 97 percent of revenue during the pandemic, he said the owners feel very optimistic and now are expanding their business in Rome, Florence, Genoa and Palermo. He is convinced that youth tourism is going to boom more than “adult” tourism.

“It feels like 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and suddenly all the young folks from East Berlin started to travel,” he said. “Just think of the kids who are 20 right now, and have spent two years in lockdowns, now they’re going to want to travel a lot, and on a budget.” Anna Momigliano


Although infections are diminishing, they remain relatively high in the Netherlands when compared to its neighbors. The weekly infection rate is nearly 50 per 100,000 people, a slight uptick from previous weeks. While the worst is over for now, more than half of the country’s 25 regions, including the regions of Rotterdam, The Hague and Amsterdam, are rated as having a “concerning’ risk level.” As of July 5, about 60 percent of the population had received at least one vaccine dose; 36 percent are fully vaccinated.

On June 24, restrictions for visitors coming from the United States were lifted. Whether vaccinated or not, anyone coming from the United States can enter without a test. Once in the Netherlands, testing is unlikely to be required, but the Dutch have set up a good national PCR testing network if it should be required.

Like the rest of the country’s infrastructure, Dutch hospitals are modern and professional. Finding English-speaking doctors in the Netherlands, especially in the major cities, is not difficult. The phone number for medical emergencies is 112.

The country has begun reopening, with evening curfew, mask and crowd-size rules relaxing. Restaurants, bars, theaters, cinemas and museums are all open again, even though distancing rules will continue to be in force. Masks will still be required on public transportation, national train lines, train stations and other places, so keep one handy in your bag. Like much of the rest of Europe, the Netherlands suffered badly during the pandemic. But despite some areas of concern, the news that the country will finally shed most of its pandemic rules will make the Netherlands a joyous place to visit. Christopher F. Schuetze

In this country of 10 million people, the Covid-19 situation has fluctuated dramatically this year, forcing the authorities to adjust lockdown restrictions on a monthly, if not weekly, basis. As of July 7, 133 patients were being treated for Covid-19 in intensive care units, almost double the amount in mid-June. In a sign of how quickly things can change, a recent surge of new cases around Lisbon resulted in authorities ordering a weekend lockdown on June 18. Nighttime curfews have also been reintroduced in Lisbon, Porto and many other parts of the country. The health authorities said in early July that almost 90 percent of the new Covid-19 cases in Portugal were of the Delta variant, which is considered more contagious.

As of July 7, over half of Portugal’s population had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine — that includes 3.5 million residents who had already been fully vaccinated. The rollout was accelerated in June in Lisbon to counter another increase in the infection rate in the capital region. People from the age of 40 started getting shots on June 6, and those aged 30 on June 20.

Americans may now travel to Portugal with proof of a negative Covid-19 test, according to the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Portugal. The tests, also mandatory for visitors from almost all other countries, must be done before landing in Portugal. But people who drive across the land border between Spain and Portugal, which was reopened in May, are not required to have undergone a test, independent of their nationality.

Quarantine obligations only remain in place for visitors from countries that have an infection rate of more than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Portugal has a modern public health-care system, including good access to emergency services. Still, hospitals in Lisbon were overwhelmed in early 2021 by a sudden wave of Covid-19 that was much stronger than what Portugal had experienced the previous year. German military doctors flew to Portugal to help overcome staff shortages, while some patients were also flown from Lisbon to Austria to reduce the burden on local hospitals. The website of the Portuguese health ministry can help visitors locate the nearest Covid-19 testing center. For any medical emergency, dial 112, a toll-free number.

Portugal has gradually been lifting its lockdown restrictions since mid-March, when schools reopened. But with the emergence of infections traced to the Delta variant, some areas are imposing new restrictions. As of July 2, a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. in Lisbon, Porto and other popular tourism spots will be in place.

In May, Portugal became one of the first European countries to reopen to British tourists, which form its largest set of foreign visitors. On May 29, the northern city of Porto welcomed thousands of English fans for the final of the European Champions League, without any quarantine requirement — even as Germany, France and some other European countries reintroduced quarantine for British visitors amid concerns that they could also spread the highly contagious Delta variant of the disease. But in early June, the British government made a U-turn and reintroduced a quarantine for people returning from Portugal, creating chaos for British tourists who had hoped to stay longer on vacation in the country. Raphael Minder

Spain’s virus numbers have been worsening since June, despite an acceleration of its vaccination program. As of July 7, almost 20 million residents had been fully vaccinated, equivalent to 41 percent of Spain’s population of 47 million. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez recently forecast that 70 percent of Spaniards would be vaccinated by Aug. 17.

Spain reopened to vaccinated American tourists — as well as visitors from other countries deemed to have a low risk of Covid-19 infection — on June 7. Travelers on a list of countries with a higher risk will have to show the negative results of an antigen test before flying to Spain. But visitors who drive across the land border between Portugal and Spain, which reopened in May, are not required to have undergone a test.

Spain prides itself on having one of Europe’s most extensive and modern public health care systems, and access to emergency services is very efficient. But the system was seriously strained in the spring of 2020, particularly in Madrid, where hospitals overflowed with Covid-19 patients. In recent months, the situation has improved significantly, albeit with some important differences between the regions.

For any medical emergency, visitors can dial 112, a toll-free number that works 24/7 across the country and can connect callers to the nearest hospital or health facility. Specific information about health services in the Madrid capital region is also readily available.

Travel across Spain has resumed since the government lifted a national state of emergency on May 9. While wearing a face mask in public spaces continues to be a nationwide obligation, whatever other restrictions remain in place are in the hands of regional administrations. These restrictions have been tweaked almost on a weekly basis, which means that Spain has turned into a mosaic of regulations that visitors should review carefully. On June 8, Valencia became the last region of Spain to remove its nighttime curfew. Some regions, however, continue to maintain other specific restrictions, and have, for instance, adopted different closing hours for restaurants and bars.

For many months, Madrid has been one of Europe’s most bustling cities, with bars and shops kept open, as well as art museums, cinemas, theaters and an opera house that was one of the few in the world to stage a full season, including a new production in May of Benjamin Britten’s “Peter Grimes.” Already, the restaurant scene and cultural life of Madrid is attracting tourists from Paris and many other places that had imposed far stricter lockdown restrictions. In fact, “Freedom” was the campaign slogan that is believed to have helped Madrid region’s leader, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, win a landslide re-election victory in early May.

But since the start of July, several regions in Spain have made U-turns and reintroduced lockdown restrictions, particularly to discourage young people from partying at night. As of July 9, all indoor nightclubs will close again in Catalonia, the northeastern region whose capital is Barcelona. The central government is also reviewing demands from some regional politicians to reimpose rules such as the compulsory wearing of face masks outdoors, which stopped being mandatory on June 26. Raphael Minder


Infections have dropped steadily since mid-April, while vaccinations are also picking up pace, with about 52 percent of the population having received at least one dose as of July 7.

As of June 26, travelers arriving from the United States and other countries that are no longer deemed “high risk” are allowed to enter Switzerland provided that they can show proof of full vaccination, proof of recovery from a Covid-19 infection, or a recent negative virus test. More information on the entry requirements is available from the Swiss government .

Switzerland’s superb health care system is currently under little strain because of the pandemic. The Swiss government has a list of testing centers that travelers can consult. Anyone who tests positive while in the country should follow the government’s instructions for isolation . In a medical emergency, dial 144.

Switzerland’s latest round of lockdown easing took effect on May 31, when indoor dining was once again permitted with a limit of four people per table. (Outdoor dining has been allowed since April.) Thermal baths, indoor swimming pools and spas were also given a May 31 reopening date, while limits on attendance at public spectator events were raised to 100 people indoors and 300 people outdoors. Large-scale events are now permitted, though still with some upper limits on attendance. That leaves open the possibility that the Swiss summer festival season could go ahead, though on a smaller scale than normal, in some cases. The two-week Montreux Jazz Festival kicked off on July 2, while the Locarno Film Festival will run from Aug. 4 to 14, and the Zurich Food Festival is scheduled for Sept. 16 to 26. For the latest information on what’s open in Switzerland, the MySwitzerland website has all of the details .

The Swiss tourism industry is hoping that the country’s image as a stable and hygienic destination will help it to win back visitors. “Before the pandemic, you would have said, ‘Well, this is absolutely not sexy and not a huge asset in tourism promotion — that you are clean, that you are safe, that you are well organized,’” said Mr. Aschwanden, the Switzerland Tourism spokesman. “But now we realize that this is one of the best images that you can have.” Paige McClanahan

Infections and deaths in Turkey from the coronavirus have been declining steadily. Turkey so far has fully vaccinated about 19 percent of its population of 83 million people; about 44 percent have received their first dose.

Turkey has remained open to tourists, including Americans, throughout the pandemic. Most international arrivals are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Passengers arriving from Brazil, South Africa, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are required to quarantine in government-assigned accommodations and will be released if they test negative for the virus after day 10.

Turkey offers health insurance packages starting at as little as $15 that cover foreign visitors for Covid-19 treatment and hospitalization for up to 30 days. The country treats coronavirus patients in both public and private hospitals and opened 17 new hospitals last year to provide more intensive-care capacity for Covid treatment.

Turkey’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism, and its response to the pandemic has been defined, in large part, by not cutting off its flow. The country has had a two-tiered system in place throughout the pandemic that exempts visitors from the strictest lockdown measures, including a curfew at night and on weekends that requires residents to stay at home.

Tourists are free to visit museums, beaches and other sites across the country. Hotels and resorts are open with capacity restrictions, and Turkey is prioritizing vaccinations for tourism workers.

On June 1, restaurants and cafes reopened for indoor and outdoor dining. All the restrictions are expected to be lifted at the start of the all-important tourist season in July. Ceylan Yeginsu

The United Kingdom

More than 68 percent of Britain’s population has received one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and the government aims to offer the rest of the adult population its first shot by the end of July. So far, 50 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.

Entry Requirements

England has devised a “traffic light” system for foreign visitors, which determines quarantine and testing requirements depending on case numbers and the prevalence of coronavirus variants in their home countries.

Only British and Irish nationals and those with residence rights in the United Kingdom are permitted to enter England from destinations on the red list , which includes India and Brazil. Anyone who has visited or passed through a red country within 10 days of arrival is required to get a coronavirus test 72 hours before their departure and must quarantine for 10 days in a government-designated hotel, which costs about $2,400 per person traveling alone.

The United States and most European countries are currently on England’s amber list , which requires travelers to show proof of a negative virus test taken 72 hours before departure and then self-isolate at home or at a suitable hotel for 10 days after arriving in the United Kingdom.

On day two and day eight of quarantining, travelers must take PCR tests, which cost about $300 and must be purchased in advance from British authorities. Those who want to be released from self-isolation early can take an additional test through a private provider on Day 5, at a cost of about $200, but they still must take the final test on Day 8. (The cost of tests may vary when entering Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.)

Visitors from countries or territories on England’s green list — there are currently 27, including Australia and New Zealand — are exempt from quarantine but are required to take a PCR test before departure and two days after arrival. (Some of the listed destinations are on a “green watchlist,” meaning they could abruptly switch to amber.)

The National Health Service contact tracing department carries out regular spot checks by phone and in person to ensure that passengers are complying with quarantine rules. Those found breaking them could face fines of up to $14,000 and jail time.

The traffic light system will be reviewed every three weeks with the possibility for countries to move up or down depending on how well they are containing the pandemic.

Medical Facilities

Foreign citizens visiting Britain have free access to National Health Service coronavirus testing and treatment, including hospitalization if it is required.

Pubs, restaurants, theaters, museums, stores and hotels have reopened, although capacity restrictions and social distancing measures still apply. While outside, most people do not wear masks, but indoors they are still expected to do so unless eating or drinking in a restaurant.

Across major cities such as London, Manchester, Brighton and Edinburgh, restaurants and bars are buzzing with people reuniting with friends and family and enjoying their newfound freedom after months of lockdown. Demand in coastal destinations like Cornwall and Dorset has soared in recent weeks as the weather warms and Britons book domestic beach vacations.

The government planned to lift remaining coronavirus restrictions by June 21, including those on nightclubs and large events such as festivals, but a spike in cases of a highly transmissible new variant pushed the date back to July 19 . Ceylan Yeginsu

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram , Twitter and Facebook . And sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to receive expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places list for 2021 .

An earlier version of this article misstated Clément Beaune's role in the French government. He is the European affairs minister, not the foreign minister.

How we handle corrections

New requirements for Americans traveling to Europe postponed until 2025

Visitors who now travel visa-free will need to get approval prior to departure.

Americans eyed upcoming travel to European destinations slightly differently due to news of a requirement that was set to start in 2024 for U.S. passport holders. But now, EU officials have postponed the European Travel Information and Authorisation System ( ETIAS ) launch until spring of 2025., a website dedicated to the world's largest visa-free zone where 27 European countries abolished their internal borders known as the Schengen Area, first reported that an EU official confirmed ETIAS won't go live until May 2025, "due to continued delays with the introduction of the related Entry-Exit System (EES), which needs to be operational before ETIAS can be implemented."

An official for the European Union did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

What to know about ETIAS for US travelers

If you previously traveled to Europe without a visa, you will now need to apply for authorization through the ETIAS , before visiting.

PHOTO: Tourists with umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun at Colosseo area (Colosseum), during the ongoing heat wave with temperatures reaching 40 degrees, on July 19, 2023, in Rome.

Today, American travelers have visa-free access to 184 global destinations, according to the Henley Passport Index . And while the U.S. passport is currently ranked eighth-most powerful passport to own, that could be set to shift when the European Union adds its new documentation requirements for U.S. visitors.

The application form, which will be available on the official ETIAS website as well as a mobile application, has a fee of 7 euros or $7.79 U.S. dollars. All communication is done by email.

Once you are approved for travel, the authorization entitles visitors to stay in European countries that require ETIAS for up to 90 days within any 180-day period and travelers must be in possession of a valid ETIAS during their entire stay.

MORE: New warning issued for rebooking air travel after delays, cancellations

According to ETIAS, most applications should be processed within minutes, but in case an application takes longer, decisions will be sent within four days or up to 14 days if the applicant is asked to provide additional documentation.

The European Union encourages travelers to apply for an ETIAS authorization "well in advance of your planned journey."

Confirmation of application submission will be sent on email with a unique number that is needed for future reference.

PHOTO: In this undated file photo, a tourist visa is stamped on a passport.

Upon receiving ETIAS travel authorization, travelers are to ensure that their name, passport number and other information is correct because any mistake will prevent them from crossing the border.

If an application is refused, the email will include the reasons for the decision along with information about how to appeal.

ETIAS travel authorization is valid for three years, according to the EU, or until the travel document you used in your application expires, whichever comes first.

MORE: European heat wave breaking records with little relief in sight

The ETIAS authorization is linked to a person's travel document -- such as a U.S. passport -- and both documents will be needed to board a flight, bus or ship to enter any of the European countries that require ETIAS.

Similar to international border requirements with a passport, the ETIAS authorization doesn't guarantee automatic right of entry. "Border guards will verify that you meet the entry conditions" and anyone who does not meet the conditions "will be refused entry," according to the EU.

Click here to learn more about the process from the European Union.

An earlier version of this story was originally published on July 21, 2023.

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Traveling in Europe

If you are planning to travel through Europe, you should be familiar with the requirements of the Schengen Borders Agreement. The Schengen Borders Agreement created Europe's border-free Schengen area, where anyone legally present in the European Union (such as tourists, exchange students, or individuals visiting for business purposes) are guaranteed free movement within the Schengen area without being subject to internal border checks. The Schengen Borders Agreement permits citizens from certain countries - including the United States - to travel freely within the Schengen area for up to 90 days for tourism or business. Today, the Schengen area encompasses most countries in Europe, and also includes four non-EU states: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. We recommend the following:

  • Have at least six-month’s validity remaining on your passport book at the time of entry into the Schengen area.
  • Check the expiration date on your passport book carefully before traveling to Europe – especially minors’ passports, which are valid for five years, not 10 years like those issued to U.S. citizen adults age 16 and older.
  • Carry your passport book when traveling to another country in the Schengen area. Even if there is no border check at that time, officials may reinstate border controls without notice.

You can find passport validity requirements for your destination country, along with other important information, on our  country pages . If your passport does not meet the Schengen requirements, you may be:

  • Refused boarding by the airline at your point of origin or while transferring planes. 
  • Denied entry when you arrive in the Schengen area, regardless of how long you will stay.

An immigration official will determine if you qualify for visa-free entry to the Schengen area when you first cross any external Schengen border and present your passport. The officer may bar your entry if you do not qualify.

You should also check passport validity requirements if traveling onward from the Schengen area to a country outside the Schengen area in our country pages .

  • With a valid U.S. passport book, you can stay up to 90 days for tourism or business during any 180-day period. You must wait an additional 90 days before applying to re-enter the Schengen area.
  • If you plan to stay in the Schengen area longer than three months, contact the embassy of the country where you plan to spend the majority of your time to apply for a visa. 

Schengen area countries may reinstate temporary internal or external border control without advanced notice. U.S. citizens should carry their U.S. passport book at all times when entering or leaving the Schengen area and when traveling between Schengen countries. For additional information on traveling to and within the Schengen area, see our FAQ below.

What is the Schengen Borders Agreement?

The  Schengen Borders Agreement  permits citizens from certain countries - including the United States - to travel freely within the Schengen area for up to 90 days for tourism or business.  

As a U.S. citizen, how long can I stay in the Schengen area without a visa?

With a valid U.S. passport, you can stay up to 90 days for tourism or business during any 180-day period. Do not overstay!  You must wait an additional 90 days before applying to re-enter the Schengen area.

To stay longer than 90 days, you must have a visa. Apply for a visa through the  embassy  of the country where you will spend most of your time.

What do I need to enter the Schengen area?

  • A U.S. passport book (with applicable visas, if needed), with at least six-month’s validity remaining at the time of entry into the Schengen area.  
  • Sufficient passport validity for each  country  you will visit. 
  • Justifiable purpose of travel.
  • Proof of sufficient financial resources for the visit.
  • Compliance with other  entry requirements  for each country you will visit or transit. 

What do I need when traveling to Schengen countries?

  • Make sure your passport has sufficient validity or  renew it  before traveling.
  • Carry your passport book with you when traveling to other countries in the Schengen area in case officials reinstate internal borders without notice.

Does the Schengen Borders Agreement apply to students, interns, or workers?

  • Check with the  embassy  of the country before you travel to determine if it requires a visa for the type of activity you wish to pursue.
  • If you DO need a visa, wait until you receive it before traveling to any country in the Schengen area. 

How can the U.S. government help me if border officials do not let me enter?

  • We can give you the contact information of  foreign embassies  of the countries you wish to visit.
  • We can provide information about hiring an  English-speaking foreign attorney  overseas if you choose to do so.
  • Note: We cannot influence a foreign government’s decision about allowing you to enter, and we cannot intervene in another country’s criminal or administrative procedures. 

What countries are members of the Schengen Borders Agreement?

Click on the country name for more information.

Czech Republic




Additional Resources

The European Commission’s  Schengen Area website

The European Parliament’s  Regulation 562/2006

The European Union  website

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travel to europe italy

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Entry requirements

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Italy set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how Italy’s entry requirements apply to you, contact Italy’s embassy, consulates in the UK .

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Italy.

Public spaces and travel within Italy

If you are visiting a hospital intensive care ward or care home, you must wear a FFP2 mask.

Passport validity requirements

To travel to Italy, you must follow Schengen area passport requirements . 

To enter Italy (and all Schengen countries) your passport must: 

  • have a ‘date of issue’ less than 10 years before the date you arrive. Passports issued after 1 October 2018 are now valid for only 10 years, but for passports issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added if you renewed a passport early  
  • have an ‘expiry date’ at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave  

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to. 

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

You can travel to countries in the Schengen area (including Italy) for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel:

  • as a tourist
  • to visit family or friends
  • to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events
  • for short-term studies or training

If you are travelling to Italy and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days.

To stay longer (to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons), you must meet the Italian government’s entry requirements. Check which type of visa or work permit you may need with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Italian Consulates in London, Manchester or Edinburgh before booking an appointment .

If you are travelling to Italy for work , read the guidance on visas and permits.

If you stay in Italy with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

British citizens who cannot return to the UK before the expiry of their visa or permit, or the end of their visa-free limit should contact their local immigration office (‘questura’) .

Checks at border control 

Temporary border checks have been introduced at Italy’s border with Slovenia, allow extra time for crossing the land border. Be ready to show your passport or residency card if you are asked to do so by the border police.

Make sure you get your passport stamped.

If you’re a visitor, your passport must be stamped when you enter or leave the Schengen area (which includes Italy). Border guards will use passport stamps to check you have not overstayed the 90-day visa-free limit for stays in the Schengen area. If your passport was not stamped, border guards will presume you have overstayed the visa-free limit.  

If your passport is missing a stamp, show evidence of when and where you entered or left the Schengen area (for example, boarding passes or tickets) and ask the border guards to add the date and location in your passport.  

Read about passport stamping if you live in Italy . 

At Italian border control, you may need to: 

  • show proof of your accommodation, for example, a hotel booking confirmation or proof of address if visiting your own property (for example, a second home) 
  • show proof of insurance for your trip – check FCDO ’s travel insurance guidance 
  • show a return or onward ticket 
  • prove that you have enough money for your stay. The minimum amount required depends on your accommodation 
  • follow procedures if you are hosting a guest at your property in Italy

Registering with the authorities 

Unless you are staying in a hotel or B&B, if you are entering from a Schengen area country (for example, France) you must declare your presence (‘dichiarazione di presenza’) to the local immigration authority (‘questura’) within 8 days of arriving. The ‘questura’ will provide a form to complete. 

You can find more information on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Italian police force websites.

Accommodation and those aged 17 and under

Under Italian law, if you are aged 17 and under you cannot check into hotels or holiday accommodation without an accompanying adult.

Vaccination requirements (other than COVID-19)

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and vaccination certificates you may need on TravelHealthPro’s Italy guide .

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods that can be brought into and taken out of Italy. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Taking food into Italy

You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries . There are some exceptions such as powdered baby milk, baby food, and special food or pet feed required for medical reasons.

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Intentional Travelers

Italy travel requirements 2024: What travelers need to know

We aim to keep this post updated about Italy travel in 2024 with official Italy travel restrictions, requirements, and health and safety guidance. Our goal is to help you make informed decisions so you can travel confidently, safely, and responsibly in this new post-pandemic world of ours.

Italy has a special place in our hearts, and we finally returned in Fall 2022.

As restrictions vary based on the traveler’s citizenship, we will focus primarily on rules affecting U.S. citizens.

Last update: January 28, 2024. Originally published: July 2020.

* Get our free Post-Pandemic Travel Checklist *  

Photo credit: Annalisa, Rome January 2024: “Tourism in Italy right now is flourishing, and although it is low season, there is a considerable amount of travelers both in art cities such as Rome, Florence, and Venice, and in small villages. In tourist spots such as museums and archaeological areas there are no restrictions of any kind, except in cases of overbooking such as for the Colosseum in Rome, so I recommend booking tickets at least two months in advance. The business of restaurants, hotels, and vacation homes is normal and busy. Access to health care takes place as usual, with regular and free access to checkups and treatment through hospital emergency rooms for Italian residents and nonresidents. As for Covid tests, although they are not required by any tourist facility, they can be done in all Italian pharmacies for a cost of €10-15.” -Annalisa of Rome Travelogues , Resident of Italy

At the end of the post, we share on-the-ground perspectives from local residents and travelers to Italy so you’ll get a true sense of what to expect.

Table of Contents

Can US citizens travel to Italy? Can I travel to Italy right now?

Italy is open to all travelers, including US citizens who are traveling for tourism.

As of June 2022 , all travelers, including US citizens are no longer required to show a vaccination, recovery, or test certificate upon arrival to Italy. All travelers can enter Italy without quarantine.

Most Italy travel restrictions have been lifted as of May 1 for activities inside the country. See regional restrictions here and regional zone classifications  here .

Visitors from over 60  visa-exempt countries , including the U.S., will soon be required to have a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) travel authorization to enter Italy and other European countries . The start date has been delayed from 2024 to 2025. 

See details about ETIAS here

Quarantine rules in Italy: What happens if I get Covid?

Travelers are not required to quarantine upon arrival in Italy.

For those who test positive for Covid while in Italy, self-isolation for five days or until testing negative, followed by masking up to 10 days, was the latest requirement. More recently, locals report that quarantine is no longer being enforced.

Italy Green Pass Requirements to Enter Restaurants, Attractions and Large Events 

You might be wondering: Do I need a vaccine certificate or Covid test to enter restaurants and attractions in Italy?

Italy’s green pass (basic or super green pass) is no longer required to access restaurants, businesses, public transport, or participate in certain activities.

However, the Super Green Pass is still temporarily required for anyone age 12 and older to access hospitals or care homes.

Can Americans travel to Italy in January 2024? Can US citizens travel to Italy this Winter?

Travel to Italy in January is open . Read on for details and check back for updates.

What is it like to fly to Italy FCO or CIA Rome International Airport right now? In Rome, body temperature checks through thermo scanners may be taken at the entrance of the airports. The airports sanitize their spaces daily. 

For travelers entering Italy from other countries, check with your airline about current mask requirements on board.

Do Americans have to quarantine when traveling to Italy?  Quarantine is not required upon arrival.

See details above.

Does Italy check COVID-19 symptoms of incoming travelers? Body temperature may be scanned in the airports for inbound and outbound travelers. 

Does Italy require a negative Covid 19 test for American travelers? A negative Covid test is no longer required to enter Italy.

Does Italy require a proof of Coronavirus vaccine for American travelers? Proof of Coronavirus vaccine is no longer required to enter Italy.

Do I still need to provide a negative Covid test or quarantine if I have been vaccinated? Neither proof of vaccination, negative test, nor quarantine are required to travel to Italy. 

Is a booster shot required for travel to Italy? A booster shot is no longer required to enter Italy.

However, a booster shot is needed for the US vaccination card to be considered a valid Green Pass to enter healthcare settings while in Italy. See Green Pass Requirements above.

What Covid testing options are available for travelers in Italy? PCR and antigen tests are available for U.S. citizens and visitors in Italy. Antigen tests cost approximately 20-30 euros while PCR tests can cost around 70.

Individuals in Italy can get a Covid test from the following:

  • Government-approved testing labs
  • Testing facilities with English-speaking doctors in Italy
  • On-site testing facilities at international airports in Italy, such as Milan, Rome Fiumicino, Cagliari, Florence, Malpensa, Bari, Venice,  Pisa, and others.
  • Private testing labs and pharmacies in Italy

What healthcare options are available to travelers in Italy who get the virus? Tourists and visitors may access Italian health care and emergency services by paying out of pocket or with privately purchased travelers’ insurance. Tourists can also contact the Italian Covid hotline at 1500 (free toll number).

For travel insurance that covers Covid, check out Nomad Insurance by Safety Wing >

What service businesses and restaurants are open in Italy? Bars, restaurants and all other establishments are open. Both indoor and outdoor dining are allowed.

Are face masks required in Italy? As of October 2022, wearing of masks in Italy is no longer mandatory except in healthcare settings. 

Are buses and trains running in Italy? Public transportation is available throughout Italy at normal capacity. Masks are no longer required on buses, trains, etc.

Will Italy impose new Covid restrictions? What’s next is difficult to predict. Historically, most countries impose COVID-19 restrictions when strains on the health care system might become unsustainable.

How has the Coronavirus impacted Italy?

Italy was the first country in Europe affected by COVID-19 and was hit hard by the outbreak, requiring strict lock downs. Another large spike in cases occurred at the end of October 2020. A nationwide state of emergency continued through 2022. 

Italy’s economy, which includes a large tourism sector, has faced its deepest recession in history. More than 200,000 tourism-related jobs were discontinued in Italy by the end of 2021– accounting for a massive shortage of workers in the country. 

In May 2021, Italy formally opened its borders to international travelers from select countries to revive tourism. In June, Italy eased its restrictions for international travelers, then tightened somewhat due to the Delta variant and Omicron variant.

Italy’s state of emergency ended on March 31, 2022. 

Italy obtains its vaccines via an EU procurement program. On December 27, 2020, Italy vaccinated the first residents against COVID-19. Currently, three quarters of Italians are fully vaccinated.

For the current situation in Italy – including how bad is covid in Italy today, total COVID-19 positive cases; daily number of cases in Italy; and COVID-19 recovery rates in Italy, please see the statistics here .

What should you pack for safely traveling in Italy?

😷 Face Masks – Face coverings are recommended in public spaces and required in healthcare settings. Find N95 masks at Bona Fide > or designer options at Vida >

💊 Medicine – Bring enough prescription and over-the-counter medication for your entire trip to avoid trips to the clinic.

💳 Vaccine Card Holder – Protect that paper CDC card when traveling abroad (if your country doesn’t offer a digital version). Get a simple plastic protector > or Vegan leather clippable > or Leather passport + card combo holder >

👃 Covid self-test – The most studied rapid antigen self-test with FDA emergency authorization.  NOT valid to enter countries. Use for your own peace of mind. Order from CVS > or Walmart >

💧 Sealed water bottle – Make sure your reusable water bottle has a lid that’s not exposed to the air. We use one of each of the following: Shop insulated water bottles with protective lid > Shop water bottles with purification filter and protective lid >

✈️ Travel insurance that covers Covid – We’ve started using Nomad Insurance by Safety Wing for affordable evacuation, international medical, and trip coverage.

What do Italian locals and recent travelers say about visiting Italy now?

What is it like to visit Italy right now? It’s our goal to provide regular updates here from real people on the ground, to help potential visitors know what to expect.

The following are subjective opinions only. Official travel guidance can be found above.

October 2023 – Louisa Loring of EatingAroundItaly , resident of Italy:  “Expect to come to Italy and travel as freely as before the COVID pandemic. Currently, there are no laws or recommendations for masking, social distancing or public gatherings. Today, all historic monuments are open as usual without restrictions.

There is no requirement for those who show symptoms. The Italian public healthcare system has removed its state of emergency and it’s easy to access the emergency room.. Private healthcare facilities are free to test patients if they choose too.

Since COVID, there has been an enormous increase in pre-bookings for museums in Italy. Although not all museums require that you pre-book, most people do and it can save you a lot of time waiting in line. Most museums have an easy and hassle free online booking system with paperless tickets.”

September 2023 – Linda of , resident of Italy:  “Italy has, especially in summer, many crowded places. However, beautiful Piedmont, in the northwest of the country, remains a hidden gem: cheap, hospitable and visited by Italians at most in high season.

At the moment, Covid is no longer an issue. There are no restrictions or protective measures. During the pandemic, however, very strict rules prevailed throughout the country, including house arrest for several weeks.”

Turin market

June 2023 – Natalie Deduck of Best of Turin , visitor: “My husband and I come to Turin to stay a month and later travel to other destinations in Italy.  

The main tourist destinations such as Rome, Amalfi Coast, Florence, and Milan are receiving a tremendous influx of tourists this Spring and Summer. We are glad that we choose Turin for our longer stay. It is an incredible destination but not as famous as the other places, so here we can enjoy all the best of Italy without hassling with crowds.

Since I landed in Italy, I didn’t see any advice or signals about Covid measures or how to behave in public spaces. No one wears masks, and businesses are open as usual, including bars, restaurants, clubs, museums, and open-air markets.

Everything is pretty much back to normal. My husband and I lived in Turin in 2019 and 2020 during the pandemic. We experienced Italy in its worst moment, and it’s so good and heartwarming to see life back to what it was before the pandemic.”

January 2023 – Zoe of Together In Switzerland, EU visitor: “For our visit to Como, Italy for 2023, the location was pretty busy and lively. All shops and restaurants are open and seemed like a good mix of locals and tourists.

It’s not mandatory, but many do choose to wear a mask such as on the local bus or when in the main shopping area. There were absolutely no checks during our whole visit in Como, however you do see that local stores do still have a those plastic protection areas at the cashier tills and hand sanitizers is available at entrances. We personally didn’t see many people using these and no minimum space was needed. The only crowded area we encountered was for a busy local restaurant that everyone wanted to eat at.”

October 18 2022 -Michelle, Intentional Travelers: “Italy’s tourism feels back in full force and daily life has resumed as normal. Some people wear masks in grocery stores, trains, or other public areas but not many. On the train back to Rome airport, we saw staff sanitizing handrails in all the train cars. Lines at FCO airport seemed typical, and we passed through check-in, security and customs relatively quickly (25 minutes) on a weekday morning. We didn’t have to show any Covid documents, only passports.”

travel to europe italy

September 2022 – Michelle, Intentional Travelers:  “We flew into Florence, Italy and took trains through Tuscany in September. To enter Italy, we only needed our passports. Air Dolomiti airlines required masks on the flight.

The Florence airport tram into town had signs that masks were required but maybe 50% of people were masked. Around Florence, it is as busy as ever and highly recommended to make reservations for big attractions in advance. Masks were still required on the regional trains in Italy, enforced by staff and audio announcements. Otherwise, tourism does seem back to normal.”

June 3, 2022 – S.M, American digital nomad – “I flew today to Rome from Croatia. They didn’t ask for anything covid related. No test or vax cards. But we had to wear N95 mask on the plane, that’s it.”

May 2022 – Lyndsay at : “I’ve been living in Italy and exploring the country for six months now, and the past few days were the busiest I’ve seen the cities! As the weather gets warmer, we’re expecting an uptick in tourism, which is definitely what I’ve encountered so far. Tourists are eager to experience la dolce vita again!

Although you don’t need to wear a mask walking around outside, masks are still required on public transportation like busses, metros, and trains, and highly encouraged for all inside spaces like restaurants and shops. You’ll even find a mix of people wearing masks at public outdoor events.”

March 24, 2022 – Heather American/Italian dual citizen:  “I flew into Rome and then proceeded to take several trains and a bus to get to a tiny village in Abruzzo where I will be living for the next five months. Masks are required inside all buildings, and most buildings have signs indicating you need to show a Super Green Pass for entrance. Trains and buses did check for my Super Green Pass and my CDC card showing my booster was accepted readily.

Italians are still taking things pretty serious, regarding masks, etc.”

March 2, 2022 – Sarah Wilson of Life Part 2 and Beyond , British visitor:  “I’m in Florence for 10 days learning Italian. I was surprised how many tourists were here over the weekend. Queues were long to many of the major sites. They do check your Green Pass every time you enter a tourist attraction, and restaurant. Some shops also insist on seeing your Green Pass but not all. Masks are being worn inside but not needed outdoors. 

There are plenty of pharmacies, many offer COVID testing or the rapid antigen tests. All the pharmacists in a city like Florence speak great English. To reduce waiting in line, I recommend booking attraction tickets online in advance.”

Candice of Mom in Italy , Permanent Resident: “It’s a nice time to visit because you can visit places like the center of Florence and its museums without any crowds.

We’ve also been visiting smaller villages like Pienza, Montepulciano, and San Gimignano, but they’re a little too empty. Almost all shops and restaurants are closed, due to the lack of local visitors. For anyone thinking of coming to Italy right now, I’d stick to the bigger cities, where you’re guaranteed to find things open and still full of Italian ‘vita.’

Throughout the entire pandemic, I’ve been impressed by the cooperation of Italians. People here wear masks when/where required and for the most part, respect the rules. Visitors need to follow the rules too – for example, if you don’t have the Green Pass here, you can’t sit down in an indoor restaurant. Owners don’t distinguish between locals and tourists – everyone has to have their Green Pass scanned or checked.

It’s easy to get tested in Italy – there are private clinics and you can also get tested in pharmacies. You can also get English translations easily. It’s not a great time to come to Italy if you aren’t vaccinated (or have proof of recovery from COVID within the last 6 months). Pretty much anything you’d want to do as a tourist right now requires the Green Pass.

We haven’t found any long lines or crowds, although I expect there will be an influx of visitors in the spring because Italy’s precautions help make it a less risky destination and people are ready to come back to Italia!”

January 2022 – Claudia of Strictly Rome , Italian resident:  “All attractions and places of interest for tourists are currently open in Italy. Visits to restaurants typically start with the staff coming to the table to check your “green pass” (the Italian vaccination card). Much like locals, tourists are required to show proof of vaccination or of having recovered from Covid to access attractions, restaurants, hotels and transport – including trains and local / city buses. Everyone in Italy follows the rules, wearing masks wherever required and showing their vaccination card to access public places, restaurants, attractions, transportation and the like. Antigen tests are available at any pharmacy, best if upon booking and depending on the city and region in Italy there may be a line to get tested. Access to health care remains free for everyone on Italian territory, including visitors. You will be significantly better off making restaurant reservations as with Covid restrictions and social distancing availability for tables in popular tourist destinations may be limited.”

December 2021 – Or of My Path in the World , Israeli traveler:   “I flew to Turin for a one week leisure trip in December 2021. I felt very safe in Turin as everything was well organized and it seemed like the locals were determined to live “normally” again. Everyone follows the current restrictions, and some people even wear masks outdoors though it’s not mandatory. You can’t enter a museum or a restaurant without your Green Pass being scanned (unless you’re sitting outside), and some attractions require a reservation in advance because you need to pick a specific timeslot for your visit. There are quite a few places for covid tests, and a PCR test for your flight back home will cost you about 70 Euros.”

November 30, 2021 – Morgan Fielder, Crave the Planet , E.U. expat: “It’s so great and easy to get reservations at awesome restaurants with fewer tourists. The airports in Italy have gotten more efficient and travel has been extremely easy since August if you are vaccinated and keeping your mask on appropriately. Yes, people follow the rules. Access is good to hospitals and if there’s any hint of problems, then businesses and events have gone to only letting in vaccinated or recovered people. Contract tracing is done via app when you go inside a venue or restaurant.”

September 20, 2021 – Sarah Wilson , British expat in Malta:  “I was in northern Italy at the beginning of September for two weeks and now I’m in Sicily until the end of the month. The locals are very welcoming. It’s been a tough time for many businesses in Italy, so they are very happy to receive tourists. I literally had Rome to myself, so if you enjoy travelling without the crowds, now is the time to visit. To enter any restaurant, museum or tourist site, you do have to show your vaccine certificate. Some places like the restaurants in Lake Como also asked for your name and phone number. Masks are worn on all public transport and indoors and majority comply. Sicily has recently turned yellow which means masks are supposed to be worn indoors and outdoors – very few wear them outdoors – it’s too hot.”

travel to europe italy

August 2021 – Abigail, American traveler : “I went to Italy for a weekend. I felt safe and all of the stores were open. There was a green pass that people used to dine indoors, however since I’m a US Citizen I did not have one. Instead I showed my vaccination card, and it was asked for at every establishment. They did not ask for the Covid pass for public transport for Venice or Milan during my stay. For sit down restaurants, they wouldn’t let you in the door if you could not show vaccination. I did see a lot of seats for outdoor dining everywhere I went though.”

August 2021 – Caroline A., South African/Italian visitor: “My husband, 7 year old son, 4 year old daughter and I are in Rome for three months for an adventure as we have dual citizenship. Tourists are very much welcome in Rome at the moment although museums are requiring the green pass to enter. Since we are not vaccinated, we have been getting tested for entering museums, which lasts 48 hours. Testing is widely accessible. Most attractions are open for visits with covid protocols in place. There is a festive mood in the air as many people take their vacation over this time. It is wonderful not to have to wear a mask outside.”

travel to europe italy

July 2021 – Kathryn, American Traveler: “I flew from Spain to Naples, Italy and stayed 2 days in Positano, 2 days in Sorrento, and 4 days in Rome. The locals were happy to have patrons in their cafes and restaurants. We had several people tell us how happy they are to see return of tourism. All public transportation was running as it would pre-pandemic (masks always required). We took planes, trains, taxis, boats and buses with no restrictions. Some restaurants required you to write down name, phone number, country of origin for contact tracing. Otherwise, no restrictions for outdoor dining and tables were quite close to each other as you would typically experience in Europe. Indoor dining often had more space between tables to allow for social distancing. In Rome, there were quite a few walk-up COVID testing tents throughout the city to use if needed. Rome sights were much less crowded than what I’ve experienced past summers. All major tourist sites were open. They offered both advance tickets and walk-up (usually wouldn’t be possible due to large numbers of tourists in the summer, but with less tourists this year it was possible to purchase day-of tickets). They had temperature checks at most major sites and required masks if indoors.”

June 2021 – Alexander and Cynthia, Travel your Memories , Dutch visitors: “We flew to Rome and visited for 4 days. After Rome we travelled to Florence for 2 days. Because you can do many activities outside, Italy is prefect to travel to at the moment. The population pays very close attention to the guidelines of COVID. All sights have been adjusted accordingly. Only a maximum number of people are allowed in the shops (depending on the size). If you get cold symptoms, you can go to a test street. For major sights it is important to book your ticket in advance because you have to fix a time slot.”

May 2021 – Sarah, Benvenuti Arts, American: “I have a visa as I’m here to teach at a University, and traveling into Italy felt joyful! The crew on the flight were so happy to see us all, and there were only about 30 passengers on the plane. The customs officials were very nice and the people doing COVID-testing in the airport were very friendly.  While the rules, as read, seemed more strict than the US, I’m noticing people’s interpretation of those rules is just as scattered as in my country. I happened to arrive right when they reopened after the Easter lockdown, and people seem to be thrilled to be outside. We wear masks in all public areas, and there is no indoor dining, so in general it feels safe. But I am finding myself a bit overwhelmed by crowded areas, like places where students hang out. That’ll take some time to get used to again! I would say, if someone is traveling soon, be respectful and be overprepared. Rules were changing weekly in the lead up to my visit, so I have so much documentation printed that I haven’t needed. Everything takes a bit more preparation than you might be used to in Italy, too. Some restaurants require reservations. Museums are open, but with timed, pre-reserved tickets. There is no indoor dining. There’s a curfew. I am usually loose with my planning when I travel, but am doing more of it just because it’s required. But the food is amazing, the people are lovely, and the city is beautiful, so even with some adaptations, it’s amazing to be here!”

April 2021 – Chicca, Cooking in Tuscany , Italian resident: “We have been living a lockdown life since October – I have to say we’ve got so use to it. But just these days our prime minister has announced to relax some of the strict coronavirus measures starting April 26. The vaccination plans are rolling out quite consistently to have the majority of the population vaccinated by this summer. I read here and there that maybe borders will be opening first to Europeans and then to Americans. We don’t know when but, yes, I start dreaming of having visitors again.”

travel to europe italy

January 2021 – Clotilde, A Princess Travelling with Twins , Italian living abroad:  “I flew to Rome, with my husband and our twins over the Christmas period for 10 days to visit family.  People working in the tourist sector are really welcoming and try their best to respect, and make customer respect, the rules and regulations. They have been suffering a lot from the lack of tourists and all the imposed restrictions, so they are happy to see tourists coming back but other people are more cautious. News of the new variants of the virus have particularly made people more alert. The biggest issue when travelling to Italy right now is the rules change really quickly, the country can ban specific countries without warning as happened over Christmas with people coming from the UK. On top of that, each Italian region is defined by a colour depending on the level of the infection rate. This reflects also in services opening times that change unexpectedly and often forget to update their websites or search engines. For example you could be stranded at the airport wondering what to do as the rental car office where you booked your vehicle has closed and the curfew time is approaching, as happened to us! “

September 2020. Rebecca Ann Hughes, journalist – permanent resident of Venice:  “Tourist numbers in Italy have been low all summer. For those who come to visit, they are seeing popular tourist destinations as never before, but many businesses are struggling. Locals whose work is fed by tourism are eager to welcome back visitors but many of them, along with those who do not work in the tourism sector, are pushing for a change in tourism. Particularly in Venice, they want visitors who travel “slow”, who are respectful, and who interact with the community. This includes following COVID regulations imposed by local councils and the government. Recently, a tourist on a vaporetto (waterbus) in Venice refused to wear a mask, angering locals and causing a fight to break out. Visitors should be well prepared to follow the regulations in Italy, even if they differ from their home country.

Most tourist attractions, public transport, restaurants, bars and other amenities are open and functioning as normal, albeit with social distancing rules and the obligation to wear a mask. It is possible that some tourist attractions will require advanced booking and may have longer queues if the venue is taking temperatures upon entry. Visitors may often have their temperature taken when entering a restaurant. When entering a building or getting on public transport, use hand sanitiser if it is provided. Testing booths have been set up in many airports and visitors can download a contact tracing app for Italy.”

tuscany gelateria during covid

Planning a trip to Italy?

Check out our other Italy travel resources: – Self Guided Walking Tour of Florence – Lucca Day Trip Guide & Walking Tour – A Guide to Tuscany’s Etruscan Coast – Cooking in Tuscany Classes – Hiking Cinque Terre Itinerary – Packing List for Europe in Fall/Winter – 7 Hidden Gem Towns on Tuscany’s Coast – Best Beaches in Tuscany Italy – Tuscany Castles to Rent or Visit – Why Visit Italy in September

If you have questions or updates about travel to Italy during the Coronavirus crisis or post-pandemic, please let us know in the comments below.

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What travelers need to know about current Italy travel restrictions, health and safety, and recent trip reports, updated regularly | Intentional Travelers

Disclaimer: Please note, travel restrictions change frequently. Readers must take responsibility for verifying information through official sources like the State Department and CDC, in respect to their specific situations. No responsibility can be accepted by Intentional Travelers for action or inaction as a result of information provided through Any information provided here is issued as general information only.

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Very useful information, thank you, I will be staying in Sicily for 10 days this July!

Hi! Great info! Is it safe traveling to Italy now from the US because of Ukrania- Russia conflict? Thanks!

Thanks, Wilda. We have a good friend in Tuscany who tells us there is no concern about safety in Italy currently, however, prices and availability of some products/delivery is being significantly affected. We recently sent out a Europe update to newsletter subscribers with the following: “If you have plans to travel to Europe, you may be wondering if it’s still safe. Right now airspace over Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova are on the EASA risk list [CNN]. But most of Western Europe is hundreds of miles from the conflict, and experts are saying there’s no need to cancel trips [AFAR].” We are planning to travel to Italy ourselves in September-October. Of course, as with Covid, each of us have to make our own assessment based on the level of risk we’re willing to accept when we travel.

Is there a current ban on US citizens (vaccinated or not) traveling to Italy?

Why are US citizens not allowed to travel to Italy at this time as you stated below. I copied and pasted from your article…. Can Americans travel to Italy in January 2022? Can US citizens travel to Italy this Winter? Travel to Italy in January is now allowed for US citizens visiting for any reason, including tourism. Read on for details and check back for updates.

Hi Jamie. I think perhaps you have misread “is NOW” as “is not”? I’ll reword it to prevent future confusion. As you’ll find throughout the rest of our post, Italy IS open to Americans under certain protocols. Thanks for visiting.

Hi Michelle, thank you for making this information easy to digest. I’m unclear on the “green pass” and “super green pass”.

– Green pass: proof of vaccination – so our white vaccination cards work – correct? And no proof of booster is required?

– Super Green Pass: unclear here.

Also, is the “health declaration form” and the “dPLF” form the same? If not, are both needed?

I plan to visit Italy starting late Feb – Mar ‘22 and am now wondering if I should push this to June. With it all changing so fast, maybe I’m being overly-cautious?

Kate, I’m glad you’ve found our post helpful. Whether pushing the trip back to June will make much difference is hard to say. I’ve shared a bit about my philosophy on canceling/rescheduling trips here .

Some of the green pass rules are quite new and it is admittedly confusing. Also it may change again by March! Firstly, yes, your white CDC vaccination card will work as your pass, as long as the latest vaccination date qualifies.

There is now a time limit on vaccination for the Green Passes (though not for entry into the country). At the moment, this means that if your last Covid shot was more than 9 months ago, you would need a Covid test within 48 hours before checking into accommodations or taking public transit. Starting February 1st, a booster shot will be needed for persons who have been fully vaccinated for more than 6 months. As I read it, if your last Covid shot is more than 9 months old, then you would not be allowed to do the activities under the Super Green Pass like indoor dining, museums, or spas without a booster. Again, there is not a lot of detail available about how this works practically yet.

Sorry for the confusion about the forms – the self-certification health form I think might be an old term so I’ll update that in our post. The dPLF digital Passenger Locator Form is what is now required before travel.

Hi there and thank you for your lovely blog. I am traveling to Italy in February, and my second vaccine dose would be older than 6 months, and not able to get a third dose before arrival. Does than mean that I won’t have a green pass and need to undergo a pcr to enter some places?

Auba, thank you for your question. We were surprised by this restriction. It’s all quite new so how this works out practically may change, but I read it as you do. To confirm, I also found this: “All arrivals to Italy with vaccinations considered as expired by Italian standards (see line above) are required to do Rapid COVID-19 tests (available in local pharmacies and test centres) to obtain a Green Pass, which will be valid for 48 hours. The test provider will print your test results and will email you a unique code. You will then need to access the Government website (in Italian) and enter your details. Select the option ‘Utente senza tessera sanitaria’ (‘User without a health card’). You will be prompted to enter the type and number of the ID you showed when you got your test, as well as the code on your test certificate. Click ‘Ricupera certificazione’ (‘Get certificate’) to download your digital test result. You will need to continue with this process for the duration of your stay to enable travel within Italy and to access hospitality and leisure venues including bars, restaurants, museums, exhibitions, sporting events, fairs, civil or religious ceremonies and large events.”

Nice post! I recently applied for an Italy Visa but was sceptical about the travel restrictions imposed by Italian authorities. So, I started searching for some answers and that is how I came across your informative article. It talks about all the important details that a first-time Italian traveller like me should know. Do share such informative blogs about other countries and any possible restrictions that they are imposing. It might come in handy for a lot of tourists who want to get out of their homes after a long season of the pandemic.

Thanks for a great info. Did they ask the covid pass in the public transport? I read that in intercity trains require at least but would like to know the reality. And if Unvaccinated customers can enter an establishment to buy food, but they are not allowed to eat indoors, are there many restaurants with outdoor areas that can be used without the passport? Thanks a lot

Thanks for your questions. The green pass is required in Italy for domestic planes, ferries, inter-regional trains and long-distance buses. For public transit within a city like buses and metros, there are capacity controls and masks required but not the green pass. Taxi drivers do not check for the green pass. Yes, many restaurants in Italy have outdoor seating. We’ll do our best to gather more testimonials about what this looks like on the ground to update our post in the future.

Trying very hard to find out exactly what happens and what options are available to you should you happen to test COVID positive before your flight back to USA. Especially now that fully vaccinated folks are testing positive. Please advise as soon as possible. Thank you!!

Hi and thanks for visiting our blog. According to the CDC website , “People should self-isolate and delay their travel if symptoms develop or a pre-departure test result is positive until they have recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must refuse to board anyone who does not present a negative test result for COVID-19 or documentation of recovery.” So options are pretty limited at the moment if you test positive before returning to the U.S., and I haven’t heard whether that will be reevaluated any time soon.

Hi Michelle! I am a US citizen and I planned for an Italian trip Sept 3-15. Today is the first day i see about the quarantine requirement lift being ended on August 30. Does this mean August 30 they may decide to implement the quarantine period again? Do you think I will be able to do my trip or will it depend on how the Italian government reacts to this upcoming month? Thank you!

Kim, thanks for visiting our blog. The requirements may not necessarily be lifted but rather *reevaluated* at the end of August. It’s not possible to predict what the decision will be at this time. I’m sure Italy wants to keep tourism open and has new protocols like the Green Pass in place to do so more safely, but each country has to weigh that against health and hospitalization risks. For vaccinated travelers, being able to travel is more likely this Fall but nothing’s guaranteed as things continue to change quickly with this delta variant. I know the uncertainty is difficult, which I wrote about in our recent post here:

Hi Michelle! Thank you so much for the reply, we knew there would be a risk to canceling the trip and we are very understanding and flexible. I just hope that we know in advance enough to not give our hopes up. We are vaccinated so hopefully if they restrict anything it’s unvaccinated folks. I’ll keep an eye out for updates!

We are having a lay over at Heathrow Airport. My interpretation of the Covid rules say we will have to quarantine in Venice for 5 days. Is there a “safe zone” in Heathrow that will allow us to enter Venice when we arrive. We are both vaccinated and have digital copies of our CDC vaccine card.

Thanks for visiting our blog, David. It is my understanding that a layover in the UK would mean you’d need to quarantine for five days in Italy, even if you’re only transiting through the airport unfortunately. I have seen reports of recent travelers rerouting flights to avoid the UK for this reason. It appears the requirement is to be in place through August 30, so if you travel after that, it’s possible the rule could change but there are no guarantees.

Hi. I am traveling to Italy in 3 weeks. Where can i get a negative covid test for my re entry to the US. Pharmacy?? Thanks.

Ciao Gianna. Please see the section in our post labeled “What Covid testing options are available for travelers returning to the U.S.?” for these details.

Great blog We’re travelling to Northern Italy in September and supposed to go to a outdoor concert in Marostica. Do you know if there is any plans to cancel outdoor gatherings? Thanks

Hello and thanks for visiting our blog. It’s still too early to know what restrictions might be in place in which regions come September, but we will be sure to update this post as the situation changes. If the concert takes place as scheduled, you’ll likely need a “green certificate” to attend.

How as an American travelers do I obtain a Green Pass?

Thanks for your question. We were actually just in process of updating this post with new information! More details may be forthcoming but it appears that Americans will be able to show a hard copy of their vaccination card, official proof of recovery, or a negative test result taken within 48 hours in place of the digital pass. We’ll be sure to update our information here as more details become available.

Is colosseum ticket free on the first Sunday of every month after pandemic?

That is a good question. We have covered the free first Sunday opportunity previously on our blog, however, the colosseum now follows a different schedule. Entrance is free on select dates throughout the year, however, I have not been able to find a list of those dates for 2021. I would expect that might be published in a bit further in the future.

News all say US travelers can present CDC vaccination card to skip testing. Not true? June 30 2021

Hi Jiang. Thank you for visiting our blog. That information is correct. A CDC vaccination card can be used by US travelers to obtain a “Green Pass”. US travelers with a “Green Pass” are no longer required to undergo testing or quarantine in Italy.

Excellent info!

Thank you for visiting the blog. Safe travels.

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Italy: a first-timer’s guide

Duncan Garwood

Sep 4, 2023 • 8 min read

travel to europe italy

Yep. The food in Italy is as good as you've heard © Vladimir Vladimirov / Getty Images

With its iconic monuments, timeless landscapes and irresistible food, Italy is one of Europe’s most alluring destinations. Its historic cities promise thrilling art and architecture at every turn while its varied coastlines and Alpine heights provide a stunning outdoor playground.

In fact, the country is so packed with possibilities that it can seem almost overwhelming. Where should I go? How do I get there? How much will it cost? This planning guide tackles these questions and provides clear practical advice on how to get the most out of your first Italian trip.

Cloud swirl round craggy Peaks of the dolomites in Italy as forests run down the hillside turning from green into yellows reds and oranges in the autumnal glow with a Russian-style church, Church St. Johann in Ranui, stood at the bottom of the field

When should I go to Italy?

The short answer is anytime. Spring and fall are best for sightseeing , touring, and seasonal food. It’s warm without being stifling and nature is in full color. But with the glorious blue-sky weather come crowds and high-season prices in the main cities.

Summer sees cities empty as holidaymakers head to the coast. Prices skyrocket in popular areas, peaking in mid-August when beaches are packed and resorts full. Meanwhile, the festival season swings into gear with high-profile events such as Il Palio di Siena , featuring a wild bareback horse race around Siena 's Piazza del Campo , and Spoleto’s Festival dei Due Mondi , with musicians, artists and actors performing to passionate throngs.

Winter is generally quiet – except in ski resorts – and it can be wet and cold. But low season rates and empty museums make it a decent option for a city break.

How much time do I need to visit Italy?

Realistically, you’ll need at least two or three days in top cities such as Rome , Florence and Venice . That won’t give you enough time to cover everything but it will allow you to get a feel for the place and explore some of the headline attractions.

If you’re happy to move fast, you could cover Italy’s highlights on a whistle-stop 10-day tour. That would give you a couple of days each in Venice and Florence, a day in Bologna , Pisa and Naples , and three days in Rome. Alternatively, you could focus on a particular area. For example, with a week you could explore southern Tuscany and parts of neighboring Umbria , or cut a swathe through Sicily’s baroque southeast .

Train station on the coast in the small village of Manarola with colorful houses on cliff overlooking sea.

Is it easy to get in and around Italy?

Italy is well served by air with flights from across the world. Major airports include Rome Fiumicino (officially Leonardo da Vinci) and Milan Malpensa , the two main intercontinental gateways, Venice Marco Polo , Pisa International (for Florence and Tuscany), Naples International , and Catania (Sicily’s busiest airport). There are also excellent rail and bus links, especially to northern Italy, and ferries to Italian ports from across the Mediterranean.

Once in Italy, trains are best between major cities and along the coasts, while buses are better for the mountains and hilly inland areas . For more remote parts you’ll really need your own wheels. Most major cities have decent public transport, though you can often cover their historic centers on foot.

Young woman tourist fashion white dress with spritz cocktail in front of panoramic view of Rome cityscape from campidoglio terrace at sunset. Landmarks, domes of Rome, Italy.

Top things to do in Italy

Tour rome’s greatest hits.

First port of call for many travelers is Rome, Italy’s charismatic capital. You’ll never be able to cover all of its monuments and masterpieces but there are some you won’t want to miss. The Colosseum and Pantheon are obvious highlights, along with the Roman Forum and Palatino . Then there’s the Vatican where you’ll find St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel (in the Vatican Museums ). And, of course, you’ll want to toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain to ensure you return to the Eternal City.

For a taste of authentic Roman cuisine, try a slice of pizza from Forno Roscioli or a pasta carbonara at Flavio al Velavevodetto in the Testaccio neighborhood.

Marvel at masterpieces in Florence

One and a half hours north of Rome by train, Florence is the second of Italy’s ‘big three’ (Venice completes the trio). Visitors have been rhapsodizing about the city for centuries and still today it thrills with its Renaissance palazzi (palaces), frescoed churches and artworks such as Michelangelo's David at the Galleria dell'Accademia , Botticelli’s Birth of Venus at the Galleria degli Uffizi , and Brunelleschi’s red dome atop the landmark Duomo . Art apart, there are markets and boutiques to explore and Negroni cocktails to be sampled, including at the historic Caffè Rivoire .

With more time, you could add a day-trip to Siena or a tour of the Chianti wine country .

Several gondolas offer their tourist services very early in a new day of the beautiful city of Venice as they punt beneath the Bridge of Sighs

Get lost in Venice’s backstreets

As soon as you set foot in Venice you know it’s special. And confusing. To get your bearings take vaporetto (water bus) No 1 along the Grand Canal to Piazza San Marco where you’ll find several landmark sights. Chief among these are the Basilica di San Marco and the Gothic Palazzo Ducale , former residence of the ruling Doge. Elsewhere, you can catch modern art at the world-class Peggy Guggenheim Collection and browse colorful produce at the centuries-old Rialto Market .

To fuel your wanderings, Venice is famous for its cicchetti (bar snacks). A top spot for these is the canal-side Bracaro ae Bricoe bar in the Cannaregio sestiere (neighborhood).

Feast on pizza, art and street life in Naples

With Mt Vesuvius brooding on the horizon, Naples is sprawling, loud, sometimes edgy, and often magnificent. Its Dickensian backstreets are a joy to explore and its regal palaces showcase world-class collections of Greco-Roman antiquities and baroque art – check out the Museo Nazionale Archeologico and Cappella Sansevero for a glimpse. Then, of course, there’s the city’s revered pizza, served at historic pizzerias such as Da Michele .

Beyond the city, Pompeii is an easy day trip and the Amalfi Coast is within striking distance via the sunny resort town of Sorrento .

A woman in a flowery dress admiring sunset over Lake Como and Bellagio old town in Italy

Cruise the Italian Lakes

Ringed by brooding Alpine summits and steep wooded slopes, the Italian Lakes have been a popular holiday spot since ancient times. At Lake Maggiore , you can explore the Isole Borromee with their ornate palaces and lavish gardens, while further east you can go celeb-hunting on Lake Como , cruising around its exquisite villas and villages.

To reach the lakes you’ll often have to pass through Milan , Italy’s northern powerhouse. A day here would be enough to take in some of its signature sights: Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper , the fairy-tale Duomo , the Quadrilatero d’Oro shopping district.

My favorite thing to do in Italy

As much as Italy’s obvious beauty and blockbuster sights, what I love are its simple pleasures: a leisurely lunch in a favorite trattoria, the sight of pine trees towering over Roman ruins, a glass of prosecco on a Venetian canal-side.

I also love wandering around Rome and seeing how its life plays out against a backdrop of ancient monuments and historic palazzi . There’s always something going on and even without trying I usually come across something special, an amazing baroque fountain or a teeming market in a medieval square. The city’s streets really are an experience in themselves. I mean where else can you wait for a tram just yards from where Julius Caesar was stabbed?

Diverse young women friends eating italian take away pizza in city street - Multiracial female having fun together on summer vacation

How much money do I need for Italy?

Italy isn’t cheap. Accommodation rates vary enormously between places and seasons but prices are universally high in popular destinations. That said, you can still find deals if you book early and avoid peak periods. Sightseeing can also add up with top sites charging top dollar. On the plus side, eating out doesn’t have to cost the earth, especially if you stick to pizza and gelato.

Some average daily costs:

  • Double room in an agriturismo (farm stay) €40-80
  • B&B room €60-140
  • Coffee (standing at a bar) €1.10
  • Midrange meal €25-35
  • Glass of wine €5-8
  • Museum admission €10-20
  • Public transport ticket (Rome) €1.50 for 100 minutes unlimited travel (but only one metro ride)
  • High-speed train ticket Rome to Florence €55

A waiter in sharp white suit stirs a Sbagliato cocktail at the Camparino cocktail bar in Galleria, Milan

Frequently asked questions

This is italy, so do i have to dress up all the time.

In a word, no. When sightseeing go for comfort, especially when it comes to shoes – you’ll be walking a lot and cobbled streets can be murder on the feet. Note also that major religious sights often enforce dress codes, so make sure you can cover your shoulders, torso and thighs. For going out in the evening, smart casual is the way to go.

What’s the score with tipping?

Tipping is not strictly necessary in restaurants as most places add servizio (service) to the bill. If they don’t or if you want to leave something, a few euros is fine in pizzerias and trattorias; 5% to 10% in smarter restaurants.

What’s this about not drinking a cappuccino after 11am?

Italy has a whole (unwritten) rule book on the dos and don’ts of drinking. As a foreign visitor you’ll get a pass if you order the wrong drink at the wrong time, but it helps to know that Italians regard cappuccinos as breakfast drinks, call an espresso un caffè , and drink beer with pizza.

What’s the card vs cash situation?

Businesses are legally obliged to accept digital payments but it’s always best to have some cash on you. You probably won’t have any problems but it’s not unheard of for payment machines to be mysteriously broken in smaller bars, shops, museums or restaurants. Major credit cards are widely accepted (Amex less so).

This article was first published May 2019 and updated September 2023

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Wait, do you need a visa to go to Europe now? The new ETIAS requirements, explained

Emily Olson

travel to europe italy

St. Mark's basilica in Venice is one place U.S. passport holders may not be able to get to without approval under the new ETIAS requirements Andrea Pattaro/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

St. Mark's basilica in Venice is one place U.S. passport holders may not be able to get to without approval under the new ETIAS requirements

Already thinking about next summer's vacation plans? If Europe is on your short list, there could be one extra step to take before boarding that plane.

Starting in 2024, American passport holders traveling to 30 European countries will need authorization via the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).

Though it may sound complicated, the ETIAS and the reasoning behind it are quite similar to existing travel requirements and reflect increasing fear of terrorism in the U.S., Europe and around the world.

Here's what you need to know.

What is ETIAS? Is it a visa?

While some media outlets are taking a cue from the European Union's travel site and calling this a visa, in truth, ETIAS is more like a travel authorization form.

Summer air travel could be expensive and chaotic. Here's how to avoid trouble

Summer air travel could be expensive and chaotic. Here's how to avoid trouble

"It's definitely not a visa," said Dan Hamilton, a senior non-resident fellow for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. "It's an electronic entry-point, an authorization for countries that are currently visa-free."

Even the European Commission has said as much (and in bold letters) , writing this is "not a visa" but rather an "automated IT system" in a press release on the discussions around it back in 2018.

Whatever you want to call it, the ETIAS form is not what you'd seek if you're trying to work or live in Europe, but rather what you'll need for short-term trips — up to 90 days within any 180-day period.

Why is it being implemented?

These new requirements have been years in the making, stemming back to a rise in terrorism fears following 9/11. It's very similar to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization — or ESTA — program that the U.S. implemented in 2008 .

At the heart of ETIAS is an electronic database system to better track who's coming and going. According to the EU's latest report on terrorism data , EU law enforcement authorities arrested about 388 suspects for terror-related offenses in 2021, more than half of whom were accused of being associated with Jihadist groups based abroad.

The European Commission says ETIAS may have the added impact of cutting down on "irregular migration" (i.e. illegal immigration), but one thing the form is definitely not aimed to do is deter tourism in general.

'Revenge travel' is surging. Here's what you need to know

'Revenge travel' is surging. Here's what you need to know

Crowded cities, inflated airfare and extreme heat disasters may all be making headlines this summer, but many of these European countries are still depending on tourism revenue to help them bounce back from pandemic slumps, Hamilton said.

And the pandemic is another one of the many reasons this new requirement has been delayed by decades — there was no need for ETIAS when countries closed their borders to all travel amid fears of spreading COVID-19.

"Another part of it is simply the pace of the way this parliament and European commission works," Hamilton explained in an interview with NPR. "They're ending their term and pushing through a lot of these directives because parliamentary elections happen next June."

"And getting 30 countries to agree on anything takes a long time," he added.

When does it take effect?

The European Union's website says the new authorization will start in 2024 but hasn't clarified a specific date. A press spokesperson for the union's travel arm did not respond to NPR's request for information.

And, similarly, a spokesperson for the State Department told NPR that the U.S. government website for international travel ( would be updated "once the regulation goes into effect," but didn't specify when that would be.

"Frankly, I'd be surprised if this starts on time," Hamilton said. The rollout of ETIAS has already been delayed at least once.

But it couldn't hurt to plan ahead for any 2024 travel just to be safe.

Who needs to apply for ETIAS approval?

Basically, all passport holders from 60 countries who can currently travel to most European destinations without a visa — and that includes American passport holders — will now need to get ETIAS authorization for the same trip. That's about 1.4 billion people, by the European Union's estimation.

There are 30 European countries in total on the impacted destination list , including those in the "Schengen Area" — 27 European countries, many that are part of the European Union, that agreed to ease border restrictions to facilitate the movement of people within Europe.

Planning a trip? Here's how to pack like a pro

Planning a trip? Here's how to pack like a pro

Those Schengen countries include top vacation spots like France, Italy and Spain.

The other three countries on the list are Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus, which are all trying to become a part of the Schengen Area soon.

You can check the full list of both impacted passport holders and affected European destinations here.

How can you apply for ETIAS approval (and does it cost money)?

The application isn't open yet, but the European Union says that when it is, all necessary forms can be filled out via a web portal or mobile phone application.

You'll be asked to share personal information such as your date of birth, parents' names and details about your current occupation and previous criminal convictions. You'll also need to share a passport that is not set to expire in less than three months.

Oh, and you'll have to pay a fee of 7 euros (about $8).

When is the right time to apply?

If you want to play it safe, apply well in advance of your trip — no later than a month out.

ETIAS says most applications "are processed within minutes" and decisions are delivered within four days. But that wait could take up to 14 days if you are requested to supply additional information and up to 30 days if you're invited to interview.

Presenting 'Life Kit': Making the most of travel and your time off

It's Been a Minute

Presenting 'life kit': making the most of travel and your time off.

Those denied an application can appeal, but that process could be even lengthier.

The European Union says ETIAS approval will stay valid for three years or until the passport you used in your application expires.

Naturally, you'll also need to follow the ETIAS rules to stay in good standing.

Those with ETIAS approval can stay in the European countries on the list for up to 90 days within any 180-day period. So you can leave and come back, but you can't stay in the confines of the countries on the list for 91 days or more non-stop.

What happens if I don't apply for this and try to travel to Europe?

Your ETIAS approval will be linked to your passport. So without it, airport security (or cruise, bus or train line staff) won't let you board.

In other words, you can kiss that dream vacation goodbye.

  • European Commission
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More From Forbes

7 best places to visit in italy this year.

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Majestic touristic village on the hill with colorful mediterranean buildings. Fantastic travel and ... [+] photography place at sunset, Vernazza, Cinque Terre National Park, Liguria, Italy, Europe

La dolce vita awaits in one of the most visited countries of the world: Italy. But when it comes to the best places to visit in Italy, travelers should know there is a lot more than just the typical tourist hot spots of Rome, Venice and the Amalfi Coast. Going beyond the traditional city limits can reveal plenty of exciting places to visit in Italy in 2024. Here are some top favorites of the best places to visit in Italy and add to your travel bucket list.

Cernobbio, Italy

Villa d'Este in Cernobbio during the evening hours

On the banks of Lake Como, this town is one of many that lines this famous lake. A summer paradise (when rates soar), the shoulder seasons of late spring and early fall are ideal times to visit for the calming views or zigzagging ferry routes that take visitors to other famous towns like Bellagio and Como, ideal for shopping and charming cafes.

While there are several famous hotels on Lake Como, including some where you can earn and redeem hotel loyalty points , nothing beats the traditional Villa d’Este resort. With recently renovated accommodations, glamorous gardens, a floating swimming pool and doting service, this is a real palace worth visiting for a taste of luxury.

Be sure to book a motor boat ride along the lake to explore many of the famous palaces and villas that line the shore. Best of all, the hotel is part of The Leading Hotels of the World , and members of its free loyalty program are eligible for free breakfast, potential room upgrades and early check-in or late checkout considerations.

Best High-Yield Savings Accounts Of September 2023

Best 5% interest savings accounts of september 2023, cinque terre, italy.

Cinque Terre, Italy - Scenic view of marina In colorful fishermen village Vernazza, Liguria

Since this region of the Ligurian Sea coastline consists of five small towns (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore), the crowds tend to be more spread out between them. But, these towns are small, and the summer months see them packed to the gills. Instead, opt for late spring or early fall when the weather is not as hot as it gets and there are more deals to enjoy.

Wander between the towns by hiking, taking the panoramic trains, driving the winding roads or even by sea. If you want to visit some of the other famous towns in the region, this can be a good home base. Portofino is a short drive away and home to the famous Hotel Splendido, A Belmond Hotel . Just take note that this hotel does not open until early June. It is part of the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program, and when booking through American Express with an eligible card, guests can enjoy free breakfast, room upgrades, welcome gifts and late checkout.

Other day trips include a visit to Pisa, home to its famous leaning tower, and an Italian city worth exploring on foot.

Florence, Italy

Florence rooftops and cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore or Duomo view, Tuscany region of Italy

This is not a surprising addition, but instead of the traditional in-town hotel, try something on the outskirts. A free shuttle runs from Villa La Massa , a luxury resort that is in the surrounding hills of Florence. After exploring the city’s famous Uffizi Gallery or Galleria dell'Accademia, both of which are home to famous sculptures (like Michelangelo’s David) and artwork. Be sure to make reservations online for tickets in advance.

The best time to visit is in spring and fall when the weather is not as scorching as summertime when the tourist crowds descend upon the city. Besides great dining in the city, try a boat ride ride along the Arno River. This may not be as dramatic as a gondola ride in Venice, but it provides a unique perspective of the city from the water. Back at Villa La Massa, a new swimming pool, cooking classes and an impressive spa provide ample relaxation after a day of exploring.

Varignana, Italy

The resort pools at Palazzo di Varignana

On the outskirts of Bologna and within a stone’s throw of the foodie city center, Varignana is a world unto its own. After you have unpacked in some of Italy’s more famous destinations, come here for a spa break. Known for lush vineyards and olive groves, this is a respite away from the bustle of town. Visit Palazzo di Varignana , a luxurious wellness resort where guests can wander through garden labyrinths, dine in Michelin-quality venues (some in a historic palazzo, another in a vintage train car), pick grapes and olives in the vineyards, and relax in one of the region’s largest spas (using products fresh from the vineyards.

Locals are drawn here thanks to the teachings of the resort’s wellness specialist and author Dr. Annamaria Acquaviva, who developed her own scientific method to help guests live longer based on how they live and eat. Guests can watch the staff press olive oil, attend weddings in the chapel or swim in one of the many pools.

The best times to visit are spring and fall when the weather is temperate, and guests can spend time wandering the gardens for exercise.

Rome, Italy

The pool views of Rome at Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Many families can only travel with the kids during the summer months, but Rome in summer is an inferno of both temperature and crowds. If this is your only vacation time, you don’t have to slip out on the famous Colosseum, the Vatican and other famous landmarks. Spend time in the city exploring, and then escape the crowds via free shuttle to the hillside Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel .

Nestled within gardens with towering trees, this historic, luxury hotel has unbeatable views of the city from its resort-style pool and spa facilities. Its art collection is as swoon-worthy as what you will see in the Borghese Gallery in town. This is a great option, even for those not visiting Rome, but using it as an arrival or departure airport in connection with visits to other Italian cities. Guests can even earn and redeem Hilton Honors points during their stay.

Taormina, Italy

Taormina theater, amphitheater, arena is a town on the island of Sicily, Italy. Aerial view from ... [+] above in the evening sunset

It would be difficult to include a must-visit list of Italy without mentioning Sicily. Following a massive influx of travelers that arrived after seeing the second season of HBO’s The White Lotus, the island expects to see record numbers continue. United Airlines launched new flights from New York to Palermo last year, which is a short drive to Taormina.

An absolute highlight for starstruck visitors is the stunning San Domenico Palace - a Four Seasons Hotel, Taormina , but reservations go quickly. From this home base, travelers can explore the charming towns of the island, its famous vineyards for wine tastings, the historic amphitheater that dates back centuries and even climb parts of Mt. Etna. Like in the hit series, many travelers also come to Sicily to trace their family roots, and the hotel can help organize all of these experiences.

The Dolomites

Lago di Carezza in the Dolomites

If you are looking to explore the Italian Alps, the beauty of this outdoors destination stuns year-round. During the winter months, skiing is a favorite activity while during warmer months, hiking, biking and camping are favorite pastimes.

COMO Alpina Dolomites is the newest luxury resort in these famous mountains having opened in December 2023. This year-round, ski-in, ski-out resort is in the South Tyrol region and is part of the largest UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the Dolomite Mountains.

Not a sports person? Scenic drives between small villages to sample the region’s famous wines and cuisine are a great alternative. If you have been to the Swiss Alps, exploring the Italian version is worth a trip in 2024.

Ramsey Qubein

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Best places to visit in italy.

Tourists and travel experts have long agreed that Italy is a special place, so much so that the country has become a de facto bucket list destination for just about everyone. Famous for its incredible food, rich historical sites, highly regarded art, charming small towns and picturesque cities, countrysides and coastlines, it's safe to say Italy's offerings are unmatched. U.S. News rounded up the best places to visit in Italy considering a number of factors, from affordability and seasonality to sights and crowds, to help you decide exactly where to go. Have a favorite destination in Italy? Cast your vote below to influence next year's ranking.

Amalfi Coast

Cinque terre, tuscany, italy.

travel to europe italy

A standard stop on many European vacation itineraries , Rome is not to be missed. Italy’s capital city is a globally renowned cultural and historical powerhouse, boasting everything from ancient ruins and tranquil parks to Michelin-starred restaurants. Here, you'll find the most important relic from the Roman Empire (the Colosseum), some of Michelangelo's greatest works (in the Sistine Chapel), an 18th century Baroque-style fountain (the Trevi Fountain) and, of course, the center of Catholicism (Vatican City). Other can’t-miss tourist attractions in the Eternal City include the Pantheon, the Roman Forum and St. Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest church.

travel to europe italy

Situated in the scenic Tuscan valley, Florence woos travelers with old-world avenues leading to picturesque piazzas big and small. While you're soaking up the city's splendor, make sure to stop by the Piazza del Duomo, where the breathtaking Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral is located, and the romantic Ponte Vecchio, a 14th century bridge overlooking the Arno River. Once central to the Renaissance movement, Florence also offers art aficionados the opportunity to see famous pieces by Michelangelo and other iconic artists of that period. As an added bonus, Florence is ideal for a daytrip to the Chianti wine region.

travel to europe italy

The journey to the cliff-side Amalfi Coast involves heart-stopping, hairpin turns on narrow roads, but travelers agree this is part of the fun. The region covers more than 30 miles of coastline and is home to 13 colorful seaside towns, each with its own story. Positano and Amalfi are the most popular, housing numerous hotels and sights. While here, hike, relax on the beach and eat to your heart's content (there are multiple Michelin-starred restaurants along the Amalfi Coast). For something more off-the-beaten-path, set your sights on Atrani. This humble fishing village boasts medieval whitewashed architecture, winding alleys and authentic Italian charm.

travel to europe italy

There are few destinations in the world that are quite like Venice. Its uniqueness can largely be attributed to the canals that run through this northern Italian city like roads, carrying water taxis and buses in addition to its fleet of famous gondolas. As such, there is a palpable bustle here that may surprise some first-timers. For a relaxing Venice vacation, seek out the smaller streets and canals away from the busy Grand Canal and St. Mark's Square. Just be sure to stroll across Rialto Bridge and tour the grand St. Mark’s Basilica at least once.

travel to europe italy

Cinque Terre, located on Italy's northern Ligurian coast, is made up of five picturesque towns – Manarola, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia and Riomaggiore. Manarola, the region’s oldest town, boasts scenic vineyards, olive groves and a centuries-old bell tower. Meanwhile, Vernazza, often considered one of Italy’s most beautiful villages, is well-known for its picture-perfect houses and grand medieval castle. The Cinque Terre offers an abundance of exciting activities, from boat tours and hiking to cooking classes and wine tastings. While here, don’t forget to save time for exploring the cliff-side Footpath Monterosso trail, a beautiful hiking path connecting Vernazza and Monterosso.

travel to europe italy

For centuries, this small island off the coast of southern Italy has attracted plenty of famous faces, from emperors to movie stars, due to its gorgeous scenery. Some of Capri's most amazing sights are best seen by boat, including the Faraglioni rock formations and the Blue Grotto, where sunlight turns the water into an unbelievably vivid shade of blue. On land, the Gardens of Augustus and Villa Jovis, an imperial palace, also provide spectacular views. Meanwhile, in the town center, visitors will find high-end shops and restaurants where they can relax after a long day of sightseeing.

travel to europe italy

Considered the land of the sirens in Greek mythology, Sorrento continues to lure people with its charm and stunning views. Here, vacationers can explore enchanting piazzas or relax near the water before watching the sun set behind the cliffs. Plus, lemons are big in Sorrento – both in size and in popularity – and the area is known as one of the best places in the world to taste authentic limoncello, a lemon-flavored liquor. It's also the perfect base for daytrips and boat tours to nearby Capri, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii and other popular Italian locales.

travel to europe italy

Italy's second-largest city is best known for its high fashion, playing host to Milan Fashion Week each winter and home to iconic fashion houses including Giorgio Armani, Prada and Versace. Visitors can peruse such high-end brands at the dazzling Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade. But Milan's architecture (including the Gothic Milan Cathedral and grand Teatro alla Scala opera house) and sites like Castello Sforzesco (which holds nearly 10 museums and exhibitions) are worth a visit on their own. What's more, the city is incredibly walkable, so feel free to explore on foot – with or without designer stilettos.   

travel to europe italy

Located about 30 miles from Verona, Lake Garda tends to be more approachable and wallet-friendly (if a bit more touristy) than Lake Como. Activities in this recreational hot spot include swimming and windsurfing, as well as hiking and taking a funicular to Mount Baldo. Lake Garda also attracts families with Gardaland Resort, which includes themed hotels as well as an amusement park, water park and aquarium. If you're looking to get away from the crowds, go beyond the main tourist sites to the quieter northern side of the lake, where you'll find the highest mountains and tucked-away towns.

travel to europe italy

If you're looking for Italy without the crowds, Tuscany is really all it's cracked up to be. Italy's famous countryside offers travelers spectacular landscapes dotted with romantic villas and castles equipped with wineries and superb restaurants. Don’t miss out on a visit to the walled city of San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its medieval towers. What's more, Tuscan locales like Pisa (which offers much more than its leaning tower) and Siena are an easy drive from top destinations such as Bologna and Cinque Terre, perfect for daytrippers who don't want to stay in one place for too long.

travel to europe italy

Assisi, a medieval town with religious connections, sits on a hilltop in the lush landscapes of Umbria, just more than 100 miles north of Rome. This peaceful town's biggest draws are its sights dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi, one of Italy's patron saints, including the Basilica of San Francesco, which houses his tomb as well as colorful frescos, and The Woods of San Francesco. Beyond its religious heritage, Assisi is worth a visit for its picturesque streets and sweeping views, while its location also makes it ideal for a truffle hunting excursion or wine tasting tour.

travel to europe italy

As the location of several ancient Greek legends, Sicily has an almost mythical quality. Once you visit for yourself, you'll see why so many writers were inspired by this island, which happens to be the largest in the Mediterranean. Be enchanted by Sicily's crystal-clear waters and golden beaches. Marvel at Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, or try hiking up it in summer or skiing down it in winter. Also save time for taking in the many cultures that have called this island home at its various cathedrals and archaeological sites.

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This former Roman city in southern Italy is equal parts chilling and impressive. Pompeii was left almost completely intact after it was buried in ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Its astonishingly well-preserved ruins now provide present-day visitors a glimpse into what life was like during ancient times. True history buffs might also enjoy a trip to nearby Herculaneum, another city that was preserved by the same eruption, while more adventurous explorers should consider hiking to the top of Mount Vesuvius for jaw-dropping panoramas of the Bay of Naples and the Sorrento Peninsula.

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Best known for its Shakespeare ties, Verona appeals to fans of "Romeo and Juliet" with themed tours of the sights that allegedly inspired the play. But there is more to this city than its literary link. Verona, located about 15 miles east of Lake Garda, is also home to several impressive attractions and historic buildings (the whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, after all). Travelers won't want to miss the Arena di Verona, a first-century Roman amphitheater that is still in use, and Giardino Giusti, a beautifully sculpted Renaissance garden.

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Sardinia provides the best of both worlds. Costa Smeralda is all about luxury, with its lush beaches and coves overlooking yacht-filled waters. And away from all of the glitz and glamour of Costa Smeralda, you'll find a more laid-back side of the island, including small medieval towns where Sardinians still practice sheepherding and wear traditional clothing. What's more, Sardinia features several ancient ruins, such as UNESCO World Heritage-listed Su Nuraxi di Barumini.

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If you really want to treat yourself on your next vacation, Lake Como is where you want to be. Here, opulent villas and hotels line the shores and sandy beaches beckon to sun seekers. You'll see sleek sailboats and speedboats coasting in the middle of the lake, which is the perfect place to admire the region's surrounding hills. Meanwhile, for a lesson in luxury, tour one of the region’s grand villas; top picks among travelers include Villa Melzi d’Eril, Villa Carlotta and Villa Balbianello. Later, check out the Como Cathedral, a magnificent structure boasting Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectural styles.

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The small, crescent-shaped village of Portofino is known as a vacation hot spot for the rich and famous. The water surrounding Portofino is often filled with yachts and is great for swimming and diving. Plus, the area's beauty and tranquil atmosphere make it an excellent place to unwind. When travelers need a break from relaxing, they can venture just outside of Portofino to check out historical sites like Castello Brown, an ancient military fortress with incredible views of the Marina di Portofino, and Abbazia di San Fruttuoso, a 10th century monastery that can only be reached by foot or ferry.

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Thought to have been inhabited 12,000 years ago, Matera is one of the world's oldest continually occupied towns. Located in the Basilicata region in southern Italy, just west of Puglia, Matera's distinguishing features are its sassi (cave dwellings), which were inhabited until the 1950s. While here, look out for the many viewpoints, called belvederes, for a glimpse of the breathtaking cliffside. Visit Sasso Caveoso for the Casa Grotta cave house (inhabited until 1957) and the Santa Maria de Idris, a rupestrian church carved from the rocky landscape. Meanwhile, in Sasso Barisano – the oldest part of the city – you'll find modern comforts like hotels, restaurants and shops.

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There are several reasons why Bologna, the capital of northern Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, is often called "la dotta, la grassa e la rossa" ("the learned, the fat and the red"). For one, it's home to the oldest university in Europe, the University of Bologna. The city is also a food lover's dream thanks to its world-renowned cuisine, which includes Italian staples like tortellini and lasagna Bolognese. Bologna even features a gelato university and the food-themed amusement park, FICO Eataly World. Plus, the city boasts an array of terra cotta-roofed medieval buildings, including a pair of leaning towers.

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Located in the northwest corner of Italy, Turin is the perfect city break brimming with grand architecture, museums and delightful cuisine. Must-visit attractions include Mole Antonelliana (a former synagogue turned into a cinema museum), the 16th-century Royal Palace of Turin and the Museo Egizio (Egyptian Museum). Once you've toured the top sights, settle into local life by enjoying the city's riverside parks, street markets, football games and historic cafes. At the latter, you'll find unique coffee blends and decadent chocolate, as well as elaborate aperitif hours. On the long list of things Turin does right, you can find these three items at the top.   

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New requirements for Americans traveling to Europe postponed until 2025

VIDEO: 3 expert travel tips to save money on your summer vacation with friends

Americans eyed upcoming travel to European destinations slightly differently due to news of a requirement that was set to start in 2024 for U.S. passport holders. But now, EU officials have postponed the European Travel Information and Authorisation System ( ETIAS ) launch until spring of 2025., a website dedicated to the world's largest visa-free zone where 27 European countries abolished their internal borders known as the Schengen Area, first reported that an EU official confirmed ETIAS won't go live until May 2025, "due to continued delays with the introduction of the related Entry-Exit System (EES), which needs to be operational before ETIAS can be implemented."

An official for the European Union did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

What to know about ETIAS for US travelers

If you previously traveled to Europe without a visa, you will now need to apply for authorization through the ETIAS , before visiting.

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Today, American travelers have visa-free access to 184 global destinations, according to the Henley Passport Index . And while the U.S. passport is currently ranked eighth-most powerful passport to own, that could be set to shift when the European Union adds its new documentation requirements for U.S. visitors.

The application form, which will be available on the official ETIAS website as well as a mobile application, has a fee of 7 euros or $7.79 U.S. dollars. All communication is done by email.

Once you are approved for travel, the authorization entitles visitors to stay in European countries that require ETIAS for up to 90 days within any 180-day period and travelers must be in possession of a valid ETIAS during their entire stay.

MORE: New warning issued for rebooking air travel after delays, cancellations

According to ETIAS, most applications should be processed within minutes, but in case an application takes longer, decisions will be sent within four days or up to 14 days if the applicant is asked to provide additional documentation.

The European Union encourages travelers to apply for an ETIAS authorization "well in advance of your planned journey."

Confirmation of application submission will be sent on email with a unique number that is needed for future reference.

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Upon receiving ETIAS travel authorization, travelers are to ensure that their name, passport number and other information is correct because any mistake will prevent them from crossing the border.

If an application is refused, the email will include the reasons for the decision along with information about how to appeal.

ETIAS travel authorization is valid for three years, according to the EU, or until the travel document you used in your application expires, whichever comes first.

MORE: European heat wave breaking records with little relief in sight

The ETIAS authorization is linked to a person's travel document -- such as a U.S. passport -- and both documents will be needed to board a flight, bus or ship to enter any of the European countries that require ETIAS.

Similar to international border requirements with a passport, the ETIAS authorization doesn't guarantee automatic right of entry. "Border guards will verify that you meet the entry conditions" and anyone who does not meet the conditions "will be refused entry," according to the EU.

Click here to learn more about the process from the European Union.

An earlier version of this story was originally published on July 21, 2023.

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Seychelles beach on Ikaria island, Greece.

Breathtaking: 24 secret beaches in southern Europe

Dreaming of warm seas and quiet, sunny shores? Our travel writers pick their favourite beaches in Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy and Portgual

Seychelles, Ikaria One of Lonely Planet’s best-value destinations for 2024, the Blue Zone island of Ikaria is renowned for the longevity of its inhabitants. On an island dotted with spectacular coves, Seychelles beach, 15 miles west of the capital, Agios Kirikos, is still a major lure. It’s a steep scramble to reach the sand, which is indicated by a roughly painted arrow in the middle of the road near the remote port of Magganitis (itself famed for a taverna where they serve seafood fresh from the boat).

Naming a Greek beach after an archipelago in the Indian Ocean could be considered hubris to match the flight of the island’s legendary Icarus, but with its white sand, pale pebbles and brilliant turquoise waters hemmed in by hunks of weathered rock, Ikaria’s version of the Seychelles doesn’t disappoint.

The perfect base for exploring the island, Erofili Beach hotel (doubles from €95 B&B) in the seaside resort of Armenistis has a small spa and a saltwater pool.

Skala Eressos, Les bos

Scala Eressos beach is clean and rarely crowded.

Lesbos’s southern coast is lined with breathtaking beaches, but Skala Eressos, a two-mile curve of dusky sand fringed by sea the colour of a jay’s wing, is definitely the best. Several hours’ drive from the island’s capital, Mytilene, via a mountain road that corkscrews through lunar landscapes dotted with bizarre rock formations, Eressos was the birthplace of the poet Sappho in the seventh century BC. The resort itself is a magnet for those seeking alternative lifestyles: vegan cafes and yoga and meditation centres line the pedestrianised seafront, alongside traditional tavernas with wobbly blue tables where they serve ouzo with just about everything. The beach is clean and rarely crowded, and there’s plenty of budget accommodation. Comfortable self-catering flats at Heliotropos (studio for two from €59 in June) are steps away from Skala Eressos beach.

Saria, Karpathos

Saria boasts incredibly clear waters.

Karpathos is a four-hour ferry ride from Rhodes and a whopping 20-hour trip from Piraeus (the port of Athens), so it’s hardly surprising that this Dodecanese island has remained one of the country’s best-kept secrets. Topped by the mountain hamlet of Olympus, where women still dress in traditional costume, this rugged island is a favourite holiday destination for Greeks, who come here to laze on near-deserted beaches and eat the wild greens called tsimeta , kopelies (vegetable pies) and other specialities.

A real Robinson Crusoe experience is available a five-minute boat ride off Karpathos’s northern tip on the island of Saria. This deserted island is dotted with the barrel-roofed ruins of the homes of pirates who lived here in medieval times and its water is so clear that starfish can clearly be seen on the bottom. One of Karpathos’s newer boutique hotels, Afoti Beach ( doubles from €65 B&B ) has its own pool and restaurant near the main town, Pigadia, from where boats leave for Saria.

Xerokambos, Crete

Xerokambos is in the Lassithi area of eastern Crete.

Home to one of Greece’s newest Unesco geoparks, the Sitia region on Crete’s remote eastern tip abounds in beautiful beaches, including Vai, the palm tree-studded beauty that starred in the 1980s Bounty adverts .

Reached via a narrow road that spins dizzily down through barren landscapes spiked with twisted thyme plants above a glittering sea, Xerocambos is definitely the most dramatic. Its coves are carpeted with golden sands and bathed by seas as blue as any in the Caribbean. Apart from half a dozen guesthouses and a handful of tavernas serving meze snacks, there aren’t many facilities; the only petrol stations are in Sitia, an hour’s drive away. There are no luxury hotels, but self-catering flats at Akti Rooms (sleeping two from €289 a week) are clean and comfortable. Heidi Fuller-Love

El Rompido, Huelva, Andalucía

El Rompido beach … ‘charming, affordable and a little old-fashioned’.

The eastern stretch of Huelva’s coast is wild and isolated, populated by a few campervans and people hang-gliding from the dunes. To the west, (towards the Portuguese border)the beaches are backed by condos, hotels and traditional fish restaurants, and packed with Spanish holidaymakers in summer. About half an hour west of Huelva city, El Rompido offers the best of both worlds: it’s a small, perfectly formed seaside resort with plenty of ice-cream kiosks, bars, boat trips, pine-shaded beach spots and affordable restaurants. As a bonus, La Flecha, an eight-mile spit of land parallel to the coast and accessible only by boat, offers spectacular virgin beaches of powder sand.

If El Rompido had a boutique hotel and a star chef, it would have topped Spain’s best beach lists year ago. It doesn’t, so thankfully it has remained charming, affordable and a little old-fashioned. Hotel Nuevo Portil (doubles from €74 room-only) is a modern four-star on the edge of town, minutes from the beach.

Playa de la Barrosa, Chiclana de la Frontera, C ádiz, Andalucía

El Cuartel del Mar restaurant in Spain

It’s a source of great wonder that La Barrosa isn’t better known outside Spain. True, the access road through the back end of Chiclana isn’t alluring, but the old town and seafront are pretty and the mighty beach in front of it – five miles of fine pale sand, 100 metres wide in parts, lapped by gentle waves – frequently features on Spain’s own best beach lists. While by no means a new destination, it now has added allure thanks to the recent addition of beach clubs, modern restaurants from cheap ( El Arbol Tapas ) to Michelin-starred ( Alevante ) along with venues such as El Cuartel del Mar combining wellbeing, fine-dining and art space in a former military base.

There’s no stopping the poshing up of La Barrosa, but for now it remains a top beach and not fundamentally changed. There are still family-run hotels right on the beach, such as El Campanario (doubles from €130 room-only). And even on the busiest days there are still quiet spaces among the dunes beyond Torre del Puerco. Sorrel Downer

Oleiros, Galicia

Noa Boutique Hotel.

Spain has finally remembered the city of A Coruña, over there on its north-westerly tip, and visitors are staying on to explore its maritime hinterland. While the city has plenty of seafront, the best beaches, inlets and tiny coves lie east across the estuary around the town of Oleiros. This is where locals escape for laid-back, bucket-and-spade summer fun.

Santa Cristina beach in the mouth of the Mero river is the longest and closest; further north, As Margaridas, tiny with turquoise water, is among the most exquisite. The 2019 opening of Noa Boutique Hotel (cool, glass-fronted and virtually on the water) consolidated Oleiros’s position as a stylish beach destination (doubles a steal at €85 B&B in winter, €183 in summer). The town’s foodie fame adds to its allure: for classic gallego seafood there’s El Refugio , long popular with millionaires, fishers and politicos, while La Panaderia By Sarah seats just 20 in a converted bakery.

Calblanque, Murcia

Beaches in Calblanque regional park are linked by coast paths.

For decades, tourists have flocked to Murcia to enjoy the resorts along the Costa Cálida and Mar Menor lagoon. Now the buzz in Murcia is around destinations with nothing: no Irish pubs, no nightclubs – not even car access or mobile phone coverage. Hottest, in every respect, are the coves and coastal trails of the arid, rocky Calblanque regional park, south of the main road leading east from Cartagena. The best and wildest beaches are in the south-west, after the dirt road peters out close to Playa Larga.

Hiking through silence, cypress and pine, with spectacular views of the sea is part of the escape-from-the-modern-world experience. And for those who need to sustain the vibe, there’s now a scattering of simple but ultra-stylish, white-walled, outside-is-the-new-inside, wooden-beamed holiday lets. Lovely Las Moonas en Calblanque (sleeps two from €120, minimum two nights) is a 15-minute walk from the most westerly of the western beaches, Punta Parreño.

Plage des Sabias, Île d’Yeu

Plage des Sabias

While crowds descend on the Île de Ré, those in the know head for one of France’s lesser-known western islands, the Île d’Yeu. Only six miles long and 2½ wide, it is reached by passenger ferry from Saint-Gilles Croix de Vie or Fromentine on the Vendée coast. Its beaches are quiet coves of golden sand, and none is more idyllic than Plage des Sabias, which is backed by shabby-chic whitewashed fishers’ cabins, with blue shutters and doors.

The beach is ideal for kayaking or paddleboarding, and is a short stroll from Le Vieux Chateau, a partly ruined fort that dates from the 14th century. The island is perfect for exploring by bikes, which can be hired in the main town of Port-Joinville. The idyllic town of Saint-Sauveur, with its whitewashed cottages and primary-coloured shutters, will welcome a new hotel-restaurant from April 2024. La Mission will have 22 rooms and suites, and a pool, spa, bar and restaurant (doubles from €290 room-only in June and €150 off season). For a cheaper billet, the Atlantic Hotel in Port-Joinville has doubles from €95 room-only.

Plage du Penon, Landes

Beach house at Plage du Penon

With wide stretches of golden sand and rolling waves, the southern stretches of the Atlantic coast are perfect for active beach lovers, particularly those wanting to surf or body-board. At Plage du Penon and Plage des Casernes surfers can brush up their skills at one of several surf schools, such as Enjoy École de Surf (1½ hours from €40) or École Surf Côte Française (1½ hours is €45).

A mile inland at Seignosse, Les Maritimes is a revamped camping village on a site previously called Camping Les Chevreuils. Its accommodation options range from smart beach houses with Nordic hot tubs to more traditional mobile homes. There are also camping pitches beneath the towering pines. There is a restaurant and bar, which offers evening entertainment, as well as a pool and spa, with massages and yoga available. Beach houses sleeping four start at €760 a week in June.

Plage de Ciboure, Basque Country

Fort de Socoa is a short walk from Plage de Ciboure.

On the other side of the bay from Saint-Jean-de-Luz’s crescent of golden sand at La Grande Plage is the equally alluring but smaller Plage de Ciboure. The bay is sheltered from mighty Atlantic waves by two coastal barrages, which makes both beaches good for small children.

Bigger kids in search of an adrenaline high might try the Jet Surf experience, a motor-powered surf-board that users can stand, kneel or lie on as it zips back and forth (€60 for 25 minutes). The experience can be booked at Socoa, where a long breakwater juts out from the 17th-century fort – a 10-minute walk away. For a more sedate experience there is wine tasting at Egiategia , a sustainable winery that overlooks the beach.

The wines are matured in containers under the sea to make the most of the cooler temperatures, with a much lower carbon footprint than artificially cooled cellars. A visit with tasting costs from €10 (45 minutes). La Reserve in Saint-Jean-de-Luz has doubles from €192 room-only; Hotel La Caravelle on the Ciboure side of the Nivelle River has doubles from €159 room-only.

Plage de la Figueirette, Côte d’Azur

Villa Les Camélias is a beautiful place to stay close to Plage de la Figueirette.

Near Théoule-sur-Mer, south-west of Cannes and near the border with the quieter Var department, Plage de la Figueirette is a 300-metre stretch of white sand near a small harbour. There are good facilities, such as toilets and nearby parking, as well as two restaurants. It makes a good spot for a cooling swim after a hike among the rugged red rocks of the Esterel Massif.

It is also a good pit stop for those driving or cycling the spectacular coastal route called La Corniche d’Or, from Saint-Raphael to Cannes. The route loops between red rocks dotted with green shrubs, overlooking the blue Mediterranean. Villa Les Camélias is a beautiful belle époque Villa at Le Trayas, up a winding road less than a mile from the beach.

It’s a new addition to the Sawday’s collection, sleeps 10 (six adults and four children) and has spectacular sea views, from €537 a night in June. Carolyn Boyd

Sveta Katarina, Istria

Pines and pebbly beaches proliferate on tiny Sveta Katarina.

Salsa fans descend on Rovinj every June for the Croatia Summer Salsa festival , which in 2024 celebrates 20 years of filling the harbour with open-air stages and dancing. But about 10 minutes away by shuttle boat is the tiny island of Sveta Katarina, so close yet a world away. There’s no permanent settlement and only one hotel, the three-star Maistra Select Island Hotel Katarina (doubles from €141 room-only), behind which is a pebbly beach with sunbeds, a few cafes and a relaxed, family-friendly vibe.

A path through the woods leads to more secluded stretches of rocky coast, with sunbeds beneath the pines. It feels like an island hideaway far from the crowds, but without the high price tag. And the views of Rovinj from here are superb.

Šimuni, Pag

Šimuni beach and its neighbours offer a gentle buzz with laid-back beach bars.

Pag’s hedonistic beach nightclubs and all-night dance festivals seem to get bigger every year, and there’s no let-up in 2024. But those not into the nonstop parties of Novalja and Zrće Beach can escape to the west of this island of olive groves and grazing sheep to the village of Šimuni, with its pebbly beaches backed by pine and oak forest.

The village and marina surround a deep harbour, but the beaches to the north and south offer stupendous sunsets and just enough beach bars for a gentle buzz. It’s a favourite camping spot – mobile homes at Camping Village Šimuni are right on the beach and cost from €125. Šimuni is about eight miles from attractive Pag town, which often gets overlooked in favour of the party hotspots and is worth a visit.

Južna Luka, Ugljan

Dunatovi Dvori Heritage hotel Croatia

A 20-minute ferry ride from Zadar is the island of Ugljan, which hides in plain sight of tourists wandering along Zadar’s waterfront. Here chef and hotelier Stjepan Dunatov recently brought life back to his ancestral home by turning the 1912 townhouse into a 14-room boutique hotel in the ferry port of Preko ( Dunatovi Dvori Heritage hotel has doubles from €117 room-only).

At the northern end of this pretty, laid-back island is secluded Južna Luka, which has a cooling backdrop of pine trees round the U-shaped bay. Beyond the large boulders along the shore are vivid blue-green waters that cry out to be explored with a snorkel. A footpath circles a round peninsula west of the beach, and is magical at sunset. There are superb views from the top of Liburni hill, a 20-minute walk away.

Brbinjšćica Bay, Dugi Otok, Zadar

Brbinjšćica Bay on Dugi Otok is just inaccessible enough to keep it relatively quiet.

With each year, Dugi Otok’s popular Sakarun beach gets busier. But the beach at Brbinjšćica Bay remains quieter, thanks to the very narrow track that eventually leads to this sheltered pebbly cove surrounded by limestone hills. Here there’s nothing to do but swim, chill out and picnic. Kayaks can be rented from the beach’s little shack for exploring two wondrous sea caves, Dragon’s Eye and Gobulinka, just outside the bay. The gorgeous turquoise waters are also perfect for paddleboarding.

Dugi Otok (which, at 28 miles long, suits its name of “long island”) is part of the Zadar archipelago and easily reached by ferry from the city. About 20 minutes from Brbinjšćica Bay, Luka makes a good base, and Picić Guesthouse has doubles with sea views and balconies from €110 room-only. Mary Novakovich Author of My Family and Other Enemies: Life and Travels in Croatia’s Hinterland

Gallipoli, Puglia

Spiaggia della Purità on the seaward side of Gallipoli’s walled old town.

Puglia’s best beaches are on its Ionian coast: one idyllic stretch is even called the “Maldives”. North of there, the walled town of Gallipoli is less famous than its Turkish namesake but just as beautiful, with a sandy “free” beach in its island old town.

Getting there is simpler now: new Frecciarossa trains from Milan arrive at the baroque town of Lecce, 26 miles from Gallipoli, in under nine hours. Sleepers leaving Milan at 9.15pm take longer, but reach Lecce at a civilised 10.02am. There are onward trains from Lecce, but it’s fun – and not too taxing in this flat, rural region – to make for the coast by bike (rent from Salento Bici , minutes from Lecce station), perhaps stopping for a lunch of open friselle sandwiches in pretty Nardò.

Those without wheels might prefer a B&B in Gallipoli, such as Punta Cutieri (€107 B&B) with its sea-view terrace, but a 15-minute bike ride out of town is Tenuta Ferraro (€76 B&B), an agriturismo with spacious rooms, a large pool and home-cooked dinners. Punta della Suina, an area of wild sandy coves, is a half-hour pedal away.

Sperlonga, Lazio

The view from the old town, across the southern beach in Sperlonga, south of Rome.

Canny Romans like to keep this jewel of a whitewashed town, on its promontory between sandy beaches, to themselves. Italian resorts rarely escape the march of the beach concession, but Sperlonga has five miles of sand, and several “free” stretches, particularly south of 16th-century Torre Truglia.

Romans have long sought peace and beauty in Sperlonga: Emperor Tiberius had a villa here until AD26, when a rock fall in his grotto dining room sent him scurrying to Capri. The villa ruins can be seen from the beach, but the ancient sculptures in its museum (€7, entered off the coast road, Via Flacca) brought home to me what “Renaissance” really means. There’s spectacular but not-too-difficult rock climbing at the Avancorpo di Sinistra cliff south of the town.

Fondi-Sperlonga station is a few miles inland on the Rome-Naples line, and shuttle buses run to Sperlonga seafront. B&B Sperlonga (doubles €125 B&B) is run by friendly Pina and Enrico on a tree-lined street minutes from the beach. All rooms have balconies, and there’s a terrace for breakfast and bikes to hire.

Trapani, Sicily

San Vito lo Capo.

Taormina was famous before White Lotus , but Sicily’s wilder west has stayed under most foreigners’ radar. Trapani is one of Italy’s oldest cities, dating back 3,000 years, and Greek, Carthaginian, Byzantine, Arab, Norman and Spanish invaders left their mark on its old town. The name comes from Greek drepanon , meaning sickle, which perfectly describes its 2½ miles of sand, with gin-clear water. Piazza Vittorio Emanuele beach is central, sandy and free, as is Spiaggia Tipa, further east, and there’s a cable car to hilltop Erice. Trapani is linked by (slow) train to Palermo, 60-odd miles away, but those who come by hire car can also explore the beaches of San Vito lo Capo, Mozia’s ancient saltworks and Marsala.

Look out for trapanese pesto, made with almonds, garlic and cherry tomatoes. And if 2023’s heatwave put you off Sicily, think outside summer: Trapani winters can hit the high teens. Residence La Gancia has sea-view studios with kitchen and balcony (€124, including generous breakfast on a top-floor terrace).

Scilla, Calabria

The town of Scilla is on a plateau above the beach.

Some might remember from school how six-headed serpent Scylla scared sailors into the whirlpool of Charybdis across the Messina Strait. But today’s Scilla is anything but monstrous: the train arrives in Marina Grande, by a silvery beach whose water Italians often rate among the country’s best: clear, warm and multihued. The old town is on a plateau above, with stunning views. The harbour, lighthouse and Castello Ruffo (open to the public) sit on a narrow promontory, and to its east is the old fishing quarter of Chianalea, with its beach, Oliveto.

The joy of this area, the Costa Viola, is the railway that hugs most of the coast, and can be used for hikes on panoramic trails (see ). I know of SUPers who paddle out from Scilla then pack their inflatable boards and jump on a train back to town. The local speciality is swordfish ( pesce spada ), which makes a brilliant panino with mild pink onions from nearby Tropea. Again, this is a place for warm days in early summer or autumn, not sweltering August. On a narrow street under the castle, Il Porticciolo is a four-room B&B (from €72) with sea views and breakfasts on a cute balcony. Liz Boulter

Praia dos Coxos, near Lisbon

Praia dos Coxos is close to Lisbon and offers good swimming.

A small bay protected by cliffs, Coxos is a good swimming spot when the waves are not too big. Lagoons form around the rocks at low tide, so children can splash and play safely. The beach, which has a cute cafe in high season, is four miles north of Ericeira – a whitewashed former fishing town that is now one of Portugal’s top surf spots – and walking distance from Ribamar, with its excellent marisqueiras (seafood restaurants).

Nearby, atop a 40-metre cliff overlooking the Atlantic, is Aethos , a swish modernist hotel (doubles from €224.50 or four-bunk “surfers” rooms from €258). It has a heated saltwater pool and a wellness centre with meditation, yoga and hammam. Complimentary ebikes allow guests to explore the trails leading to beaches including Coxos, and Praia da Calada, which also has wheelchair access. The hotel provides surf coaching and a “surf concierge” to advise on the best spots and times.

Parque natural da Arrábida, near Lisbon

Parque natural da Arrábida remains little known to tourists.

This natural park between the fishing towns of Setúbal and Sesimbra is a 40-minute drive from Lisbon yet still largely undiscovered by tourists. The Serra de Arrábida mountains run down to a coast peppered with beaches such as Praia do Creiro, Praia dos Coelhos and stunning Praia dos Galapinhos. Horse riding along the shore, hiking in conservation areas, and winery visits are big draws in the park, along with the fine sands and Atlantic roar.

West of the park, Villa Epicurea (doubles from €225 including vegetarian breakfast) is a wellbeing focused, eco-friendly destination with suites and “tiny houses” with views over the Serra de Arrábida forest to the ocean. It also has a geodome for yoga sessions and a natural swimming pool, and is 15 minutes by bike from Praia do Inferno, a small beach which, in spite of its name, is completely calm.

Praia da Aguda, near Porto

Praia da Aguda is sheltered by a sea wall.

Aguda is one of a series of beaches strung like gems along the Costa Verde south of Porto. Golden sand, a harbour and a protective sea wall give a more sheltered feel than some nearby beaches, and the village has lovely old fishers’ houses.

A seven-mile wooden boardwalk takes in the fishing town of Espinho, which has fantastic seafood restaurants and – in November – a film animation festival, Cinanima. Brightly painted fishing boats land their catch directly on the Espinho beach using a method called xávega , where a fine net is pulled to shore by tractor.

Casa da Granja (doubles from €154 B&B) is a converted mansion two streets from the beach with five guest rooms. It has a pool, garden and library and is a 15-minute walk from Granja station, for trains to Porto Campanhã in less than half an hour.

Praia da Ponta da Areia, Algarve

Ponta da Areia is Portugal’s most easterly beach, a largely untouched place of tranquillity, very different from the high rises of Monte Gordo a couple of miles away. Between the two, Caramelo Beach Club sells drinks, grilled fish and snacks.

Praia da Ponta da Areia is on the Guadiana river, which forms the border with Spain. On its banks sits 818 Centro Náutico (bungalow for two from €130), with timber lodges, an infinity pool, a restaurant and a tiny beach. The main beach is a short cycle or 25-minute walk away through pine trees and dunes. Hire bikes can be arranged, and 818’s watersports facility, Nautitours, offers boat trips, canoeing and jetskiing.

The border town of Vila Real de Santo António is a short stroll from the door, and 15 minutes by ferry from the Spanish town of Ayamonte, where they have tapas instead of Portuguese petiscos . It’s also in a different time zone, so returning passengers feel they have gained an hour. Audrey Gillan

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The Independent

The most exciting new train journeys across Europe for 2024

I t’s getting increasingly easy to travel around Europe flight-free, thanks to a host of new train routes launching at a time when certain governments are going all out to reduce aviation-related emissions. France, for example, has banned domestic flights where rail journeys of less than two and a half hours are possible, and the EU plans to double its spending on high-speed rail by 2030.

New routes launching in 2024 range from inter-city services making twin-centre holidays in Europe a breeze to sleeper trains putting top ski resorts in easy reach of cities such as Amsterdam. On this occasion, our focus is on routes between destinations on the continent, although new rail connections will soon benefit those of us in the UK – Eurostar rival Evolyn recently announced plans to launch a high-speed Channel Tunnel rail service between London St Pancras and Paris Nord in 2025.

Here are the current hot tickets for anyone planning to ride the rails in 2024.

Read more on rail travel :

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Brussels to Prague with European Sleeper

Launch date: 25 march 2024.

European Sleeper’s night train service from Brussels launched in early 2023 but rail infrastructure work meant it could only reach Germany’s capital – until now. From March 2024 it will run from Brussels to Prague , with a journey time of around 15 hours and stops in Amsterdam and Berlin . Keep an eye out for more European Sleeper routes – including ones between the Netherlands and the French Alps, and Amsterdam and Barcelona – in 2025. A word of warning – don’t expect turndown services and chocolates on your pillow. There are three classes of cabin, and the trains are best described as pre-loved – European Sleeper has relied largely on decommissioned train carriages which have been given a quick spruce-up and brought back to life. On the plus side, the company has promised new trains – and perhaps even a chocolate on your pillow – in the near future.

Berlin to Paris with ÖBB Nightjet

Launch date: 11 december 2023.

If a decommissioned German train carriage doesn’t do it for you, this next option might sound more appealing. In early December 2023 ÖBB Nightjet launched its new Berlin to Paris route, which operates three times a week and stops in Strasbourg, eastern France . Cabin options range from a seat in a standard compartment to slick bunkbed couchettes with room for up to six people and, at the top end, mini cabins for solos and couples. It’s also worth noting that ÖBB Nightjet plans to turn the route into a daily one in late 2024.

Amsterdam to Austria via Germany with TUI’s Ski Express

Launch date: 23 december 2023.

Getting to Austria’s ski slopes will become even easier this winter, thanks to TUI’s new Ski Express service, which connects Amsterdam with Austria via Cologne and Frankfurt. Cabin options range from economy to comfort private – book one of these and perks include a sink (OK, not necessarily the most exciting of amenities, admittedly) and steward service. But a word of warning for those prone to missing their stop – if you’re Austria-bound, it’s worth remembering that the train splits in the Austrian city of Wörgl, before serving two different skiing hotspots: Austria’s Tyrol and Salzburger Land regions.

Liège to Maastricht via Aachen with Arriva, SNCB and NS

Launch date: december 2023.

This particular train, which will operate a tri-country route between Belgium , the Netherlands and Germany , and is a collaboration between three train companies, has been a long time coming. The route was unveiled in 2019 but Belgian authorities scuppered plans for it to pass through the country due to safety concerns – more specifically, the insistence that all trains would need a European safety system known as ETCS. It’s finally being rolled out in December 2023, and Liège and Aachen’s status as major hubs for high speed trains means the service will make it much easier for travellers to access a large number of additional cities, including Cologne, Frankfurt, Berlin, Brussels and Paris.

Brussels to Amsterdam with SNCB and NS

Launch date: december 2024.

Full disclosure – this one has been around for a while, but its status as one of Europe ’s most popular train routes is the reason train companies Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) and Belgian carrier SNCB have announced the number of services will be doubled this time next year. New trains have also been ordered for the route, and fewer stops on the additional services launching in December 2024 will mean shorter journey times. Passengers can expect to travel between the two cities in just under two hours, slashing 45 minutes off the current travel time.

Rome to Cortina d’Ampezzo with FS Treni Turistici Italiani

Launch date: 15 december 2023.

Getting to Italy’s powder stashes is much easier from winter 2023, thanks to a new night train which connects Rome with Cortina d’Ampezzo, one of Italy’s most snow-sure ski resorts. Cabin options on this new route range from single-bed cabins to six-person sleepers, and the train has a dining car and bar. The 220-bed sleeper train will leave Rome at 9.40pm every Friday, arriving in Calalzo, a short bus ride from Cortina d’Ampezzo, at around 8am the next morning (this early start is why we suggest resisting grappa-fuelled all-nighters at the train’s bar).

Paris to Madrid with FS Italiane Group

Launch date: late 2024.

The exact launch date of this new service is yet to be confirmed, although we know it’s currently due to launch in late 2024 and will be run by Italy’s national state-owned railway, Trenitalia – a subsidiary of FS Italiane Group. Trenitalia’s high-speed Frecciarossa (meaning red arrow) trains will be used for the route and with a top speed of 249mph, it’s thought journey times will come in at just under seven hours. Brioche for breakfast and torrijas at tea time? Sounds like a no-brainer.

Northern and southern Italy with Orient Express

First, to clear things up: this particular Orient Express isn’t the Orient Express company which became Belmond in 2014 but a separate entity (owned by hotel behemoths Accor) which specialises in luxury trains and will soon branch out into hotels.  Confused? Us too. But back to the important stuff. Orient Express will launch a new seriously luxurious train, La Dolce Vita , in 2024. The exact dates are yet to be confirmed, but there will be six routes on offer and this luxury train line won’t be about high-speed train travel , but about carefully curated itineraries which meander between destinations in northern and southern Italy, including Rome and Venice , where the Orient Express group will unveil its first hotels in 2024.

Read more on our selection of rail trips

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