If you dream of going abroad this summer, the countries of the European Union will gradually open their borders to residents of selected countries around the world.
From July 10, for example, people from England can visit popular destinations such as France, Spain and Italy without having to quarantine on arrival or when they return.
The transmission of the corona virus is still a problem for many visitors. One way to avoid crowds is to visit some of Europe's smaller destinations. Here are five tips.
Important tip: Check the updates of the individual countries before booking, as the travel regulations can change quickly.
Try Syros instead of Santorini
Santorini's famous blue-washed, white-washed buildings that tower down the island's hills to the sea have made it a magnet for travelers for decades. For a quieter (and cheaper) piece of Greek life, Syros Island offers a mix of beautiful beaches and small towns.
A narrow alley of Ano Syros, a town on the island of Syros in Greece.
"It's completely different (than on Santorini). It looks like Italy … because of the colors of the island," Zina Bencheikh, managing director of the travel company Intrepid Group, told CNBC over the phone.
In fact, the mountain town of Ano Syros was built by the Venetians directly above the capital Ermoupolis in the 13th century and mixes narrow streets with courtyards. Ermoupolis itself has pastel-colored buildings, marble squares and a bandstand where performances take place.
In terms of the beach, finikas and galissas are good, sandy options, but if you're looking for glamor, high-end Mykonos is just half an hour away by ferry.
Try Suffolk instead of Cornwall
Cornwall in south west England is a British favorite for its cobbled villages and surfing beaches. Newquay hosts a Boardmasters Festival every year. The next edition is planned for August 2021.
But the less-visited Suffolk in the east of the country also has hilly landscapes and pretty towns – and it's possible to surf the waves on more popular beaches like Lowestoft and Walberswick.
Travelers can stay in yurts for a glamping holiday in Suffolk, UK.
The region could be a less crowded option this summer, Bencheikh said.
"When we do our customer surveys, people think of going to Cornwall or to (other) famous English (places) like the Peak District … but not necessarily to Suffolk," she told CNBC on the phone.
Intrepid has added Suffolk as a travel destination to offer people an alternative to the more well-known English places where guests can stay in a yurt on a sustainable farm, visit a local vineyard, and go nature hiking at night.
Colorful beach huts in Southwold, a small coastal town in Suffolk, UK.
George W. Johnson
Southwold is one of the most picturesque coastal towns in the county, with a number of colorful beach huts, the Victorian Pier and the Adnams Brewery, which has been in operation since 1872. Adnams also operates the Swan Hotel in Southwold, which also serves formal restaurants as afternoon tea and reopened on July 4th with reduced capacity. Reservations are required.
Try Porto instead of Lisbon
Last month, Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva told Observador newspaper that "tourists are welcome in Portugal" and that people flying there do not need to be quarantined, although travelers should check the rules of their home country when they return.
Porto is a more laid-back alternative to Lisbon, though both share winding cobbled streets, colorful Azulejo-tiled buildings, and a coastal location. The Douro River flows through Porto and separates it from the twin town of Vila Nova de Gaia, where the country's famous port wine can be tasted on various café terraces.
The Arrabida Bridge at dusk in Porto, Portugal.
For a different view of the city, visitors can climb the Arrabida Bridge, which towers high above the Douro River and offers a view of the old town and the sea. Climbers must book in advance and should check opening hours that have been restricted during the pandemic.
For a day trip, visit the Douro Valley, where the port is made. It's about 60 miles from town, a short drive, but day guests can also take a slow, leisurely river cruise on the Douro River to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the valley.
Instead of Paris, explore the area around Bordeaux
Geoffrey Kent, founder and co-chair of the luxury travel agency Abercrombie and Kent, recommends Bordeaux as an alternative to the French capital.
"The location further south means that the weather is better and there is a lot on the doorstep, from wine tasting to the surfing paradise of Biarritz," he told CNBC via email.
Kent highlights St. Andrew's Cathedral in Bordeaux as a must, where visitors can enjoy panoramic views from the bell tower (check restrictions before visiting).
The medieval city of St. Emilion in southwestern France.
About an hour's drive from Bordeaux is the fortified medieval town of St. Emilion, which is surrounded by more than 900 wine producers. The city itself is worth a visit for its 1,000-year-old subterranean church, while Chateau La Dominique is a winery and restaurant designed by Jean Nouvel that is a short drive away.
If you drive about 120 miles south, you'll find Biarritz right on the Atlantic coast, which Kent recommends for its mix of French chic and laid-back atmosphere in Byron Bay, Australia.
Try Brda, Slovenia instead of Tuscany
Tuscany is rightly popular – it is home to Florence, Siena and the Chianti wine region. For the less busy road, the Brda region in Slovenia is a quiet break between the Mediterranean and the Alps.
"Known as the & # 39; Tuscany of Slovenia & # 39;, this relatively unknown part of the world has spectacular views … and offers incredible medieval architecture," Kent told CNBC.
Kozana, a village in the municipality of Brda, lies next to the Italian border.
Visitors can stay at local homesteads and enjoy homemade food, house wine, and spectacular walks. There are also 170 miles of bike trails that run through wine country as well as small villages.
The Slovenian capital Ljubljana with its 900 year old castle, the baroque cathedral and the Zmajski Most (dragon bridge) is about 120 km away. The center is car-free.