Portugal holidays: Might they ban Brits again? When will the wider EU ban lift?

The Portuguese government has now – as predicted here yesterdayconfirmed that it is lifting the ban on tourists from the UK on Monday. 

I’ve just spoken to the country’s tourism minister about how this is all going to work, and these are the headlines: The situation will be reviewed every two weeks, and its continuation will depend on the Covid and vaccination situation both in Britain and Portugal. 

London also keeps its 'green list’ under three weekly review, so don’t assume when making holiday bookings that the travel situation will necessarily remain the same for the whole summer.

Europe Editor James Mates on how the Portugal and UK travel situation will work

As things stand, fans travelling from Britain to watch the Champions’ League Final in Porto on May 29 are expected to come on charter flights, and to remain in a “bubble” throughout. They will fly home the day after the match, with no opportunity to stay on and play some golf or go to the beach. 

However, these plans were made before the travel ban was lifted, and may change between now and the match. There are still two weeks to go, and plenty of time for the Portuguese authorities to relax those rules. But the message for the moment is: don’t book a trip to Porto expecting to be able to watch the match then make a holiday of it. At least not yet.

I asked why it was that Portugal, despite holding the rotating Presidency of the EU, had gone against the decision taken in Brussels this week to extend the ban on visits by British holidaymakers. 

The answer is that the EU ban is up for discussion again next Wednesday (May 19), and is widely expected to be lifted then. So Lisbon felt comfortable anticipating that move by Brussels by just a couple of days.

So hopefully some good news for those hoping to travel elsewhere in Europe, although, of course, the other 26 EU countries remain on the UK's amber list, so quarantine at home would still be necessary on return. But these are all important steps towards a more normal summer for holidaymakers.

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