THE risk of quarantine now hangs over almost all our Mediterranean summer hot spots.
But what is like to travel in the age of Covid-19?
Kate Wickers and her family were crushed to learn, on arrival in Spain, that they would have to quarantine on their return.
For Saul Salmon, even the FCO ban on all but essential travel to Portugal AND the need to quarantine on his return could not put him off.
Below, the two writers tell their holiday tales.
The return of Brits to Spain is essential
I am sitting at Restaurante El Portet, in the Costa Blanca resort of Moraira, waiting for my lunch to arrive, when the sigh of relief I’d been holding in since arriving in Spain escapes.
I look out across the Mediterranean Sea to Penon de Ifach – an immense limestone rock – and I’m grateful to be here.
Wind back 24 hours and I hadn’t been feeling quite so stress-free.
Only minutes off the plane, my phone pinged with messages asking if I knew I would quarantine for 14 days on my return.
I would not have taken the trip if I’d known this and initially I was fuming.
I’ve been coming to this spot for over 30 years, ever since my boyfriend’s (now husband’s) parents got a villa here.
You’re always treated like an old friend, but this year, when the return of Brits is so vital to Spanish tourism, it is heartfelt.
Of Moraira’s beaches, L’Ampolla, located near the remains of an 18th Century castle, is the largest with ample amusements, but the shell-shaped cove of El Portet is the prettiest.
You are required by Spanish law to keep face masks on while walking around, but once settled on the beach, we rip them off and race into the sea.
Although Moraira has morphed from fishing village to holiday resort, it escaped the rampant building boom of the 1960s and retains its character.
The atmosphere is lively, never raucous.
We are staying in a traditional Spanish villa, El Molinete, which has been renovated with a modern interior, booked through HomeAway.
There’s a big pool, spacious gardens and an outside games area to keep my three sons occupied.
We opt to dine out most nights.
Waiting staff must wear visors or masks, and hygiene is a priority.
In town, stalwarts include Restaurante del Mar for fish and El Lloc de Poble for classic tapas.
Head along the Calpe Road to the cluster of bars and restaurants overlooking rocky Andrago beach and you’ll find a more contemporary scene.
For a change of scene, we head 22km inland to rural Jalon Valley, famous for its orange and lemon trees, flanked by the Sierra Bernia mountains.
Gata de Gorges is perhaps the most scenic of the small villages, with an ornate church dating from 1535.
We don’t dwell on the inconvenience of quarantine until we wave goodbye to our 18-year-old son at Valencia airport, who has chosen not to return to the UK but to fly to Athens via Milan.
“Hasta luego! (see you later!)” we shout, echoing the call from every local restauranteur, counting the days until we Brits return.
GETTING THERE: Easyjet has flights to Alicante from most UK airports. Returns from Gatwick start at £22.99. See easyjet.com.
STAYING THERE: For villa rentals see homeaway.co.uk.
Quarantine? The Algarve is so worth it
Portugal may not be on the Government’s air bridge list but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an amazing family holiday there.
If you can quarantine for two weeks afterwards and can risk travelling without insurance, then a holiday in Algarve is still feasible.
Stepping on the Ryanair plane, our Stansted to Faro flight was more like a private jet, with barely anyone on board.
I, my wife Gemma and our children Kenzi, 20, Layla, 13, Lexi, 11, and Frankie, nine, were visiting friends who have a place in the Algarve.
Landing at the airport, it was clear Portugal is taking hygiene more seriously than back home.
Wearing a mask and applying hand gel were compulsory everywhere and Frankie was told off by police for not using his mask in the arrivals lounge.
The only challenge occurred when our Uber arrived and could only take two people, leading to a costly bill for us six.
Our friends’ villa is in Vilamoura, where all the beach bars and restaurants were open and many had full reservations most evenings. Shops and supermarkets were operating their usual hours.
Julia’s, a popular celeb hangout frequented by Premier League footballers and A-listers, was busier than expected, with a mix of young Brits and families holidaying.
Maria’s, another well-known al fresco beach hangout offering fresh fish and an amazing beachside sunset, was also busy.
But our favourite is BJ’s Oceanside, where family-friendly staff, food and entertainment make it a must-visit. It’s not all about sea-view eats, and the area has top takeaway options.
Inland from Praia da Gaivota or Seagull Beach is Marufos 1, locally known as The Chicken Shack, serving the best woodfire-roasted chicken you will ever taste.
A great cheap-eats option for a hungry family is drive-thru Maxi Pizza, where 24in pizzas are great value from just £9.44 (€10.50).
In Vilamoura town, things are more high-end. The marina almost feels like Monaco, with its lime green Lamborghinis and mega-yachts.
Despite Covid-19, our Algarve holiday had it all, and we felt safe and welcomed.
The only safety worries weren’t in Portugal but in the UK on our return.
The lack of questioning of arrivals at the airport was shocking.
My wife and I are able to work from home – and besides the odd “I’m bored” from the kids, 14 days of quarantine was an easy price to pay for 14 days away.
GETTING THERE: Flights from London to Faro are from £10.55pp one-way. See ryanair.com.
STAYING THERE: One night’s B&B at Pestana Vila Sol in Vilamoura is from £31.50pp based on two sharing. See pestana.com.
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article