Grimsby Telegraph

Sun, sea and safety THE GREEK ISLANDS

GOOD VACCINATIO­N RATES SHOULD PUT THESE DESTINATIO­NS HIGH ON HOLIDAY LISTS, SAYS SARAH MARSHALL

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IT’S taken time, but finally there’s hope on the travel horizon, with news summer holidays might be more than a far-off dream. As confidence rebuilds, tour operators are receiving more enquiries, although plenty of question marks still hang in the air.

Boris Johnson’s traffic light system has sparked speculatio­n about which countries might be safe for travel, and both Scotland and Wales remain cautious about announcing any restart dates. Ireland, meanwhile, recently added 16 more countries to its mandatory hotel quarantine list, bringing the number of high risk destinatio­ns to 59.

But it’s highly likely vaccinatio­n rates will play a key role in determinin­g which destinatio­ns will open first to UK and Irish travellers. Worldwide, nations are storming ahead to safeguard their citizens and restore tourism economies. Of course, there’s no guarantee who will meet the Government’s criteria, but here are a few of the places leading the Covid-free travel charge.

Eager to welcome back foreign visitors, Greek authoritie­s have already announced borders will reopen to tourists from May 14. In anticipati­on of a busy summer, an ambitious vaccinatio­n programme codenamed ‘Freedom’ has been launched to ensure islands are Covid-free, shielding vulnerable residents from outside visitors and restoring foreign confidence. The government has vowed at least 69 islands will be vaccinated by the end of April – quite some feat.

One of those is Ios, close to popular islands Santorini and Mykonos. Built with stone excavated from a 1,000-acre site, sexy coastal resort Calilo has unveiled seven new suites with marble plunge pools, 10 private beachside ‘rock pools’ serviced by a butler and bookable for a day, and a waterlappe­d chapel for anyone whose wedding plans have been put on hold. Suites starts from £295 per night. Visit calilo.com.

Even as far back as February, the island of Halki announced its 300 permanent residents had all been vaccinated. The tiny Dodecanese island has few roads and is often praised for being ‘authentic Greece’. Antique windmills spin above Emborio, and the quayside is decorated with pastel-painted houses and inviting taverna tables. Olympic Holidays (020 8492 6868; olympichol­idays.com) offers seven nights self-catering at Villa Chrysodimi from £595 (two sharing), including flights from London Stansted on September 25.

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Remember holidays like this? A harboursid­e restaurant on the Greek island of Halki
Calilo Resort on Greek Island Ios Remember holidays like this? A harboursid­e restaurant on the Greek island of Halki

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