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Covid-19. Easter holidays: here are the rules for traveling to Italy, Spain, Portugal and England

During the Easter holidays, many French people want to get away from it all, especially in Europe.(©Lille news/Archives)

It starts again and it comes back: barely a month after the last ones, Easter holidays point the tip of their nose. The first zone to open the ball this Saturday, April 9, 2022 is zone B, i.e. the academies of Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Reims, Orléans-Tours, from Rouen, Strasbourg and Rennes.

And with the end of the vaccine pass and the mask almost everywhere since March 14, many French people want escape to Europe during their holidays. If you are planning to travel, beware: depending on where you are going, there are still sanitary rules to respect.

The dates of the Easter holidays by zone

In accordance with the calendar established by the government for the year 2021-2022, here are the dates of the spring school holidays according to the zones:
– From Saturday April 9 to Monday April 25, 2022 for Zone B (Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Reims, Orléans-Tours, Rouen, Strasbourg and Rennes);
– From Saturday April 16 to Monday May 2, 2022 for Zone A (Besançon, Bordeaux, Dijon, Clermont-Ferrand, Limoges, Grenoble, Poitiers and Lyon);
– From Saturday April 23 to Monday May 9, 2022 for the last zone, zone C (Paris, Créteil, Versailles, Toulouse and Montpellier).

All of Europe classified as “green”

Since June 9, 2021, the French authorities have decided to classify the countries of the world according to a color code, according to the circulation of Covid-19. Each color has restrictions on departure and on arrival, depending on whether one is vaccinated or not.

Four colors have been defined, ranging from green (the weakest circulation of the virus) to red (the strongest circulation), passing through orange. The red called “scarlet” appeared in this classification on December 4 to designate the countries most at risk and to which any travel for tourist purposes is prohibited.

Since the beginning of March, all the countries of the European Union (EU) have been classified in green. “There is currently no need to justify the reason for his tripbut prior testing and quarantine obligations may apply, ”underlines the government site.

The classification of the countries of the world according to health indicators, as of March 31, 2022.
The classification of the countries of the world according to health indicators, as of March 31, 2022. (©Ministry of the Interior)

Overview of the main destinations of the French in Europe, namely Spain, Portugal, Italy and the United Kingdomand the restrictions they apply.

To go to Italy

The monument to Victor Emmanuel II, in Rome, in 2015.
The monument to Victor Emmanuel II, in Rome, in 2015. (©AS /
  • Entry requirements

A country bordering France, recognized in particular for its gastronomy and its historical monuments, Italy has more than one string to its bow to seduce tourists.

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If you have chosen this country as your destination for the Easter holidays, you will first have to fill in online on this site a European traceability form (“Passenger Locator Form digitali” or “dPLF”).

Also note that all travelers from the age of six must present a valid health pass to enter Italy, namely:

  • Either a complete vaccination schedule;
  • Either the negative result of a negative antigen or PCR test dated less than 48 hours for the first and less than 72 hours for the second;
  • Either a Covid recovery certificate (a positive PCR or antigen test dating back at least 11 days and less than six months).

Of the random drug tests can be carried out at airports, in ports as well as at land borders (if you come by car), “including for travelers already vaccinated and tested before boarding”, notes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the event of a positive test, it is compulsory isolation in a Covid hotel or hostel.

Cross-border workers, transit in Italy of less than 36 hours via a “private means of transport”… In some cases, tests and quarantines may not be applied. The full list of exceptions is available online.

In all public transport, wearing a mask is compulsory. Only FFP2 type masks are accepted on planes.

You have over 12 years old ? Be vigilant, some activities require the sanitary passsuch as indoor bars and restaurants, air, train or boat traffic, but also access to outdoor sporting events.

To go to a discotheque, to the cinema, to play sports indoors or to attend a concert, you will even need the “reinforced health pass” or vaccination pass (i.e. only proof of full vaccination or certificate of recovery). Since February 5, this “reinforced” pass has been valid for six months from the date of the last injection.

Activities subject to the reinforced health pass are also accessible to people whose vaccination schedule has been complete for more than 6 months and less than 9 months, provided that they present the negative result of an antigen test less than 48 hours old or PCR less than 72 hours.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

No mask required outdoors. But as with public transport, wearing the FFP2 mask is compulsory in cinemas, theaters, concert halls and to attend indoor sporting events.

Find more information here.

Have you planned a visit to the Puglia region during your stay? Please note that you must complete a second form from this site.

To go to Spain

The village of Cadaqués, located on the Costa Brava, in the region of Girona.
The village of Cadaqués, located on the Costa Brava, in the region of Girona. (©AS /
  • Entry requirements

Another border country, Spain welcomes many French tourists every year eager for sunny holidays. But with the health context, circulation on Spanish territory is regulated. Especially if you come from France (including overseas), area classified as “at risk” by the Spanish Ministry of Health.

Whether you come by plane, by boat or by car, you must present at least one of the following four documentsin paper or digital version:

  • The EU’s digital Covid certificate (the vaccination pass in “border” mode via the TousAntiCovid application);
  • Proof of full vaccination against Covid-19 “for at least 14 days. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs specifies that this certificate must “in particular mention the date of vaccination carried out, the vaccine administered and the country of vaccination”;
  • The negative result of an antigen or PCR test carried out within 24 hours (for the antigen) or within 72 hours (PCR) before arrival in the territory;
  • A certificate of recovery after a Covid-19 infection, “valid from 11e day after 1er positive diagnostic test, for a total period of 180 days”.

If you are unable to present the EU Covid certificate, you will additionally need to complete an SpTH health check form. For it, appointment on this site and follow the directions.

Children under the age of 12, travelers in air transit, “crews of international means of transport within the framework of their activity”, truckers traveling to Spain within the framework of their work, or even workers or certain residents cross-border workers are part of exempted of the presentation of these precious sesame.

the Wearing a mask is compulsory from the age of six in public transport, health establishments and socio-sanitary centers (such as nursing homes), but “in indoor spaces open to the public or open to the public” and “outdoors during mass events”, underlines the Embassy of France in Spain.

Health rules may also change if you go to the different autonomous communities (Madrid, Catalonia, Andalusia, Aragon, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Navarre, etc.) In this case, do not hesitate to inquire in advance via the Spanish Tourist Office.

To go to Portugal

A street in Lisbon, Portugal.
A street in Lisbon, Portugal. (©franky1st /+ Pixabay)

Here too, it is a destination that smells of sunshine and relaxation: the Portugal. And there too, entry into the territory is strictly supervised by the national authorities.

All travelers over 12 years old arriving by plane, train or road in Portugal must show credentials. They must therefore present the EU’s digital Covid certificate (a complete vaccination schedule, a negative antigen or PCR test less than 24 hours (antigenic) or 72 hours (PCR) or proof of recovery dated less than six months) or “any other vaccination certificate recognized by Portugal (non-EU)”.

If you come by plane or boat, you will also need to complete the Passenger Locator Form (PLF).

  • The rules in force on site

If some of the restrictions have been lifted in Portugal, such as the gauges in places open to the public or the obligation of a negative screening test to go to bars or nightclubs, once there, you must still respect some rules.

Thus, wearing a mask is always required in stadiums, public transport, “spaces, equipment and commercial or service establishments” and public buildings or establishments open to the public.

A negative test is also necessary “except for holders of a certificate of recovery or a certificate of complete vaccination with a booster dose” to visit people in retirement homes and hospitalized patients in health establishments.

If you want to extend your trip to the Azores Islands or Madeira, you will finally have to respect additional rules. More details can be found by clicking here.

To go to England

View of the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the British Parliament, in London. (©Pixabay)

Good news if you were planning to take advantage of the Easter holidays to an English getaway : “the latest health restrictions on travel to the United Kingdom have been lifted”, explains the web page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dedicated to the country.

As of March 18, 2022, it is no longer necessary to provide proof of a complete vaccination schedule or to present the result of a negative test, nor to complete the “passenger locator form” [le “dPLF” déjà évoqué plus haut dans l’article, ndlr.]

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On the other hand, Brexit obliges, since 1er October 2021, you absolutely must own a valid passport to enter the territory. The identity card is therefore “no longer accepted as a travel document”, specifies the French Embassy in the United Kingdom.

Same thing as for the entry conditions: on site, the health restrictions have been lifted.

The British authorities, however, call for “maintaining, as far as necessary, cautious behavior”, avoiding the mixing of populations, wearing a mask in transport or respecting the rules of social distance.

If you are planning to go to Wales, visit Northern Ireland or (re)discover Scotland during the holidays, check the authorities’ websites in advance to find out about the restrictions in force. Go here for Wales, here for Northern Ireland and here for Scotland.

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