Eid Al Adha holidays: 26 quarantine-free destinations within 7 hours of the UAE

Taking a trip to historic Rome, Greece's beaches or Georgia's mountains and many more are now travel options for residents looking for a change of scenery

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Eid Al Adha is around the corner and it is looking like there may be a five-day holiday to enjoy.

The exact dates of Eid Al Adha will depend on the sighting of the moon, but the holiday is expected to start on Monday, July 19, with a day off for Arafat Day.

There will be a further three days off for Eid, taking the holiday up to Thursday, July 22, and possibly giving UAE residents a six-day break for those lucky enough to have the weekend off.

With millions of people unable to travel for the past year, the long break could be a good time to escape the UAE summer and fly off for a change of scenery.

Anyone flying in or out of Abu Dhabi should keep an eye on the Abu Dhabi Green List. It currently includes 27 destinations where people can fly from quarantine free, but authorities previously announced that from July 1 this would change to allow people to return from any destination without self-isolation. Travellers arriving in Dubai do not need to quarantine, but everyone needs a PCR test to return to any destination in the UAE.

If you’re considering travelling over the coming holidays, here are 26 quarantine-free places you can get to within seven hours of the UAE.

1. Albania

Albania has both Adriatic and Ionian coastlines and welcomes travellers with no PCR testing required. Unsplash / Yves Alarie

Why? With both Adriatic and Ionian coastlines, stunning Albania is a treasure in south-eastern Europe's Balkan Peninsula that's well worth a visit. Explore archaeological sites and ancient castles, and hike in the Albanian Alps. Or spend time in the capital Tirana, sightseeing in Skanderbeg Square, riding the longest cable car in the region above the city and into the mountains, or take in nature at Dajti Mountain National Park, on the capital's outskirts.

How long does it take to get there? flydubai operates a route to Tirana and the journey takes less than six hours with fares from Dh2,475 ($673) over Eid.

What do I need to do before travelling? Albania is welcoming citizens and residents from the UAE, who can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 90 days. There are no PCR requirements to travel to Albania.

Anything else I need to know? It's not on the Abu Dhabi Green List so expect to quarantine upon return to the UAE capital.

2. Armenia

Armenia offers fresh air and rich history just three hours from Dubai. Unsplash / Mostafa Merej

Why? If you're craving fresh air, rich history and endless adventure, then landlocked Armenia is a good pick. Plus, the fact that it's a fairly wallet-friendly destination is an added bonus.

In Yerevan, wander around neoclassical squares lined with cafeterias and wide boulevards under the shadow of Mount Ararat. Take a cable-car tour, visit the national parks, go boating on Lake Sevan and spend time at the museums and memorials to learn more about the country’s haunting history.

How long does it take to get there? It's a short three-hour flight from Dubai to Yerevan and low-cost airline flydubai will get you there over Eid from Dh1,395.

What do I need to do before travelling? Travellers need to show a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate issued no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. Children also need to be tested unless they are younger than 11 months old. Vaccinated travellers are exempt from testing and can instead present proof of vaccination, so long as the second dose was taken at least 14 days before arrival.

Anything else I need to know? Shops, cafes and public attractions are open, but with social distancing and capacity limits in place. Abu Dhabi residents will have to self-isolate or spend some time in Dubai before returning home, as Armenia is currently not on the Green List.

3. Austria

Vaccinated travellers can visit Austria this Eid Al Adha. Unsplash

Why? Vaccinated travellers can consider spending Eid in Austria, but there is a catch. You'll also need an EU passport, or one from Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway. Students, business travellers and those visiting spouses or partners can also travel to Austria. If you're looking for an active holiday or want to escape to nature, have a cultural adventure or indulge in culinary experiences, Austria has you covered.

July brings out the best of the cities, with great weather and very few rainy days. And in the Alps, nature is in full summer bloom, ideal for hiking, trekking and flower-filled meadows.

How long does it take to get there? It depends where you're flying to, but you can go from Dubai to Vienna in six hours. Emirates flies direct to the capital with fares from Dh1,800 and flydubai will operate to Salzburg, the city of music, from Thursday, July 15, just in time for Eid. Etihad, the national airline of the UAE, will launch flights from Abu Dhabi to Vienna from Sunday, July 18 with fares from Dh1,995.

What do I need to do before travelling? Austria is accepting vaccinated travellers from the UAE without quarantine so long as they fit into one of the above categories. Five vaccines are accepted: Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Sinopharm. Travellers are considered vaccinated for six months after their second dose. Anyone who has recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months can also visit without quarantine, while all others must self-isolate upon arrival.

Travellers must complete a pre-departure form before flying to Austria and it can be found here.

Anything else I need to know? Travellers may need to show proof of vaccination or negative Covid test results to enter hotels, restaurants and events, and there's a two-metre social distancing rule in place. Austria is on the Abu Dhabi Green List.

4. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar Bridge in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Courtesy United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Why? From the Dinaric Alps and endless limestone lakes, to its Ottoman architecture and ancient hilltop villages, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a stunning holiday destination that counts Croatia and Montenegro as its closest neighbours. A visit in July means sunshine-filled days perfect for hiking, mountain biking and kayaking, and don't forget to explore the museums in Sarajevo, a touching tribute to this region's not-so-distant past.

How long does it take to get there? It's exactly a six-hour flight from Dubai to Sarajevo, with flydubai fares from Dh2,230.

What do I need to do before travelling? All passengers need a printed copy of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result certificate issued no more than 48 hours prior to arriving in Bosnia. Vaccinated travellers can show proof of full vaccination received no less than 14 days before arrival. Children under the age of 7 are exempt. More information is available on the Border Police's website.

Anything else I need to know? You'll have to wear a face mask and social distance in public and on public transport, and there are restrictions on movement from 11pm until 5am.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is not listed on the Abu Dhabi Green List.

5. Bulgaria

Cityscape of Sofia (Bulgaria) - Getty Images

Why? Arriving in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, it's very likely that the first thing travellers will spot is the soaring peak of Mount Vitosha. This is Sofia's very own mountain playground and in summer it's the place to go to enjoy the sunshine-filled days, amazing views of the city and picnics at altitude. Sofia has a surprisingly laid-back vibe for a capital city and plenty to see and do, including open-air markets, ancient ruins, golden-dome topped churches and Ottoman mosques.

How long does it take to get there? It's only five and a half hours from Dubai to Sofia. flydubai has return fares starting from Dh2,898 over Eid.

What do I need to do before travelling? Unvaccinated passengers must hold a printed copy of a negative Covid-19 test result taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. Vaccinated travellers who received their last dose of a Covid-19 jab at least 14 days before travelling, or those with proof of recovering from Covid-19 no more than six months ago, can also fly to Bulgaria. The Sinopharm vaccine is also accepted.

Anything else I need to know? Bulgaria is under an emergency epidemic status until at least Saturday, July 31, which means there are restrictions in place. As well as mandatory face masks and social-distancing measures, people cannot meet friends and family in groups of more than 15, and all restaurants and entertainment facilities must close by 11pm and operate at 50 per cent capacity.

There is no listing on Abu Dhabi's Green List for Bulgaria, so factor in quarantine on return.

6. Cyprus

Why? The Mediterranean island is welcoming tourists again. Brimming with timeless archaeological sites, glorious coastal cities and pristine beaches, an Eid escape to Cyprus could be the change of scenery you need.

How long does it take to get there? If flying from Dubai with Emirates, travellers are looking at a flight time of around four hours. Fares over Eid start from Dh1,968.

What do I need to do before travelling? The UAE is currently listed as red by Cypriot authorities, which means travellers need to take a Covid-19 test 72 hours before travelling, and another one on arrival. So long as your second test is negative, you won't need to quarantine.

Vaccinated travellers are exempt from testing and quarantine requirements, and Sinopharm is recognised.

All travellers must apply for permission to enter at least 24 hours before travelling, via the Cyprus Flight Pass.

Anything else I need to know? Travellers may be asked to show proof of negative Covid test results or their vaccination status before entering indoor leisure spaces, including restaurants, hotels, theatres, malls and more.

Cyprus is also not currently on Abu Dhabi’s Green List, so if you’re returning to the capital, you will have to factor in quarantine when you get home.

7. Egypt

The Pyramids, Giza, Cairo, Egypt. Pixabay

Why? Sand-covered tombs, ancient pyramids, the Nile River and bustling souqs await in Egypt, where Eid celebrations are not to be missed. The coastal cities offer a laid-back escape, with the marine life in Egypt's Red Sea well worth exploring.

How long does it take to get there? Several airlines operate between the UAE and Egypt, with direct options to Alexandria and Cairo. Go with Air Arabia from Sharjah, with Etihad from Abu Dhabi or from Dubai, via Emirates or EgyptAir. Flight times average about three and a half hours to the Egyptian capital.

What do I need to do before travelling? Travellers landing in Cairo need to show negative PCR test results issued no more than 72 hours before departure, however children under 6 are exempt. A printed result containing a QR code is required.

If you’re flying directly to Hurghada, Marsa Alam, Sharm El Sheikh or Taba you can take a test on arrival. It will cost you $30, but you’ll then need to quarantine in your hotel room until negative results are issued.

All travellers to Egypt must also fill in a health declaration form that will be distributed to passengers via the airlines.

Anything else I need to know? Hotels are open and operating, but many have reduced capacity during the pandemic and Eid is a busy time for travel, so book ahead. Face masks are mandatory with fines issued for non-compliance.

Under current travel rules, quarantine will apply if returning to Abu Dhabi from Egypt.

8. Georgia

Why? Just before the pandemic hit, Georgia was having something of a moment. People were flocking to the country for its mountain scenery, ancient cities and rich culture, not to mention delicious cuisine.

Now that it has reopened to tourists, an Eid escape to the Caucasus country could be on the cards. Summer is a lovely time to visit, allowing you to explore the mountains when the weather is at its best. In the capital Tbilisi, get set to wander narrow streets, visit sulphur bathhouses and lounge on distinctive carved wooden balconies.

How long does it take to get there? Your best bet for getting to Georgia is to fly from Dubai. flydubai has fares to Tbilisi from Dh2,135 and you can expect a flight time of three and a half hours, ideal for a short break.

What do I need to do before travelling? Georgia is only open to travellers from select destinations, which includes the UAE. All visitors need to either have a Covid-19 PCR test taken no later than 72 hours prior to arrival, or hold a Covid-19 vaccination certificate with both doses completed.

Visitors must also complete this application form.

Anything else I need to know? Travellers entering the country with a negative PCR test result instead of a Covid-19 vaccine certificate will need to take another test on the day, at their own expense.

Georgia has a nationwide curfew in place that also applies to travellers, meaning you cannot be out of your accommodation from 11pm until 4am, and it’s also not on Abu Dhabi’s Green List.

9. Greece

Santorini island,Greece

Why? Greece offers something for everyone, and has reopened with no quarantine. The country serves up archaeological wonders in ancient Athens, white sugar cube-style hotels on its famed and lesser-known islands, and culinary experiences loaded with the freshest seafood, flaky pastries, local cheeses and olive oils.

How long does it take to get there? From the UAE, you can fly direct to the Greek capital in under five hours. Etihad has flights to Athens, Mykonos and Santorini with fares from Dh995 return, while Wizz Air Abu Dhabi operates direct to Rhodes and Crete with fares from Dh778 over Eid. From Dubai, Emirates flies to several Greek destinations and flydubai operates to Athens, Santorini and Mykonos.

What do I need to do before travelling? You are required to take a Covid-19 PCR test and complete a Passenger Locator Form at least 24 hours before departing the UAE.

All travellers over the age of 5 must have a Covid-19 test result, except those who have a certificate of vaccination completed at least 14 days before their arrival in Greece.

Anything else I need to know? A curfew is in place from 12.30am until 5am, so late-night revelry is out.

Greece is not currently listed on Abu Dhabi's Green List, so travellers flying to the capital will have to factor in quarantine, unless they're vaccinated.

10. Germany

Germany has reopened to vaccinated travellers. Unsplash / Roman Kraft

Why? Germany's capital Berlin is the country's biggest city and is famed for its history, art, museums, architecture and nightlife. In the south, Munich takes the crown as the Bavarian capital, offering a quintessential city in the land of lederhosen and Oktoberfest.

Frankfurt is a major travel hub, and the gleaming financial centre of Germany, where you'll find skyscrapers, historic buildings and a lively art and culture scene. In Hamburg, expect to enjoy the waterways – the city is home to more bridges than Amsterdam and Venice combined.

Away from the big cities, explore the Rhine Valley, visit the country’s beaches, island-hop along the north-west coast, or trek over chalk cliffs and open heaths, then visit the Unesco-listed Wadden Sea.

How long does it take to get there? Flights from the UAE to Germany take around six and a half hours, depending on where you fly to and from. Etihad is operating flights to Munich and Frankfurt with fares from Dh1,989 this Eid. From Dubai, travellers can fly with Emirates to Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich.

What do I need to do before travelling? First up, you need to have your Covid-19 vaccine, not including Sinopharm. If you fit this category, the next step is to register online before travelling, and upload proof of your vaccination to the site.

Travellers should also print out and carry proof of their immunised status. Children who do not have a Covid-19 vaccination can enter with a negative PCR test result taken within the past 48 hours, and children under 6 are exempt.

Travellers should also check with individual German federal states they plan to visit, as there are different rules for visitors to follow prior to arrival. A list of resources linking to state regulations can be found here.

Anything else I need to know? Germany is listed on the Abu Dhabi Green List, meaning no quarantine is needed upon return.

11. Italy

Italy is reopening to travellers coming on Covid-tested flights. Unsplash

Why? As one of the world's most-visited countries, Italy has reopened to tourists, on "Covid-tested" flights, seeking ancient history, Mediterranean coastlines and culinary finesse. Its capital, Rome, packs in the Vatican and Michelangelo's famed ceiling, the towering Colosseum and the ornate Trevi Fountain, while the fashion capital of the country awaits in well-heeled Milan.

Italian countryside towns offer greenery and nature away from the bustle of the cities, and seaside holidays are there to be enjoyed in popular holiday spots such as Rimini and Sorrento.

How long does it take to get there? It's a six-hour flight from the UAE to Italy. Etihad has flights to Rome and Milan on sale from Dh1,995 when you book before Thursday, and from Dubai you can fly with Emirates from Dh2,225.

What do I need to do before travelling? Tourists can only fly from the UAE to Italy on what authorities are calling "Covid-tested" flights. These fly into Rome, Milan and Venice.

All travellers need a Covid-19 PCR test result taken no more than 48 hours before departure and will have to complete a digital passenger locator form to receive a QR code that will be needed when boarding flights. Infants up to two years old are exempt from Covid‑19 testing requirements.

Anything else I need to know? Travellers need to take another test on arrival in Italy. These rapid swab tests can be booked online and will be charged. For Milan, the cost is €36 ($43), in Rome it's €20 and in Venice it's €35.

Italy is on the Abu Dhabi Green List so there's no need for quarantine upon return.

12. Jordan

Why? Home to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Jordan boasts amazing natural landscapes and ancient archaeological sites, coupled with warm Bedouin hospitality. Spend a few days in the capital, Amman, a hub for arts and culture and a foodies' delight, and head to Petra – Jordan's gem and the ancient seat of the Nabataean kingdom.

Stay with locals in the desert of Wadi Rum, trekking across Mars-like landscapes, or go stargazing at the Dana Biosphere, then head to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, where floating in the water is effortless. In the south, explore Aqaba's new waterpark, the largest in the country.

How long does it take to get there? Emirates flies its A380 superjumbo daily to Amman from Dubai with fares from Dh2,355, and is adding a second A380 flight to cater to Eid travel demand. Etihad and Royal Jordanian fly from Abu Dhabi with fares from Dh2,161.

What do I need to do before travelling? All travellers flying to Jordan need to complete this declaration form. Tourists also need a negative PCR test, taken no more than 72 hours before arriving in Jordan. Unvaccinated passengers must be tested again upon landing in Amman. Jordan recognises all vaccines in use in the UAE.

Anything else I need to know? Some tourism facilities, including hotels, restaurants and some archaeological and diving sites, are operating at 50 per cent capacity, so be sure to book ahead of time and don't forget to factor in quarantine in the UAE capital.

13. Kenya

Kenya beckons for wildlife safaris this Eid. Courtesy The Safari Collection

Why? The UAE is on Kenya's quarantine exemption list, meaning that the country's national parks, coastlines and mountain ranges are open for visits. July is the dry season in Kenya, making it one of the best times to visit for safaris. It's a fantastic time to watch wildlife roam the savannah or soak up breathtaking views of Mount Kilimanjaro, while those seeking cooler climes will enjoy Nairobi's weather, which averages around 20°C.

How long does it take to get there? It's a little more than five hours from Dubai to Nairobi, and Air Kenya will get you there for Dh1,590 over Eid.

What do I need to do before travelling? All travellers must complete an online Covid-19 health form before arriving in Kenya. You can find it here. This will produce a QR code, which you'll have to show to airport officials.

Travellers also need a negative Covid-19 test result, taken no more than 96 hours before arriving in Kenya. Strict health checks are being carried out at the airport and anyone showing signs of Covid-19 may be required to quarantine.

No additional PCR tests or documents are needed to take internal flights to the national parks.

Anything else I need to know? There's a national curfew in place from 10pm to 4am, but if you're staying in a wildlife lodge in the middle of the Masai Mara, you wouldn't want to be out after dark anyway. You'll also need an approved negative test to leave Kenya, and quarantine exists for travellers flying into Abu Dhabi.

14. Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is open to tourists. Unsplash / Marek Brozca

Why? Central Asia's Kyrgyzstan offers beautiful summer weather, untouched nature and the chance to glimpse into the life of the country's nomadic people. The majority of Kyrgyzstan is a nature-filled wilderness with rolling hills, alpine peaks and glaciated valleys, perfect for hiking and trekking. In the capital of Bishkek, the bazaars and main Ala-Too square come alive in summertime and there's ancient Islamic monuments to discover.

How long does it take to get there? It's less than four hours from Dubai to Bishkek, and flydubai is operating daily flights, with fares over Eid starting from Dh1,565.

What do I need to do before travelling? Kyrgyzstan is open to travellers with a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arriving in the country, with children under 8 exempt. Visa on arrival services are not currently operating so tourists who require a visa must apply for this online before travelling, and can do so here.

Anything else I need to know? The country was removed from the Abu Dhabi Green List on June 23, so travellers returning to the UAE will need to isolate.

15. Lebanon

An Eid Al Adha holiday to Lebanon could be an option this July. Unsplash / Zheka Boychenco

Why? Summertime temperatures in Lebanon are delightful and travellers can explore 225 kilometres of western coastline with beaches, surfing, cliff diving and seaside eateries abundant.

Escape to the mountains to explore Lebanon's hiking trails that take you through old villages, wide-open pastures, rivers and waterfalls. And lest we forget Beirut packed with historical buildings, churches, mosques, museums and more, and well worth a few days' exploration.

How long does it take to get there? Etihad operates direct flights to Beirut from Abu Dhabi, however Middle East Airlines has cheaper fares this Eid. Emirates or flydubai both fly to Beirut from Dubai.

What do I need to do before travelling? A PCR test is required, taken no more than 96 hours before landing in the country. Travellers must also fill out a registration form, and download the CovidLebTrack app.

All travellers will take another PCR test in Lebanon, at a cost of $50. Children under 12 do not need to be tested. Vaccinated travellers are exempt from pre-testing, but must take the on-arrival tests.

Unvaccinated travellers must quarantine at their place of accommodation for the first 72 hours in the country.

Anything else I need to know? Travellers need to take a PCR test in Lebanon before departure; a list of available places to do so can be found here, and you'll have to quarantine upon return if you're flying back to Abu Dhabi.

16. Maldives

Why? Tropical islands, swaying palm trees, clear waters and pristine shorelines – the Maldives ticks pretty much every bucket-list requirement when it comes to holidays. It also has near year-round perfect weather and a one-resort-per-island set-up which makes it a good pick for a socially distanced stay.

How long does it take to get there? It's four hours to Male, the capital of the Maldives, from the UAE. From there, your journey time depends on where you are staying – some resorts are accessible via a short speedboat ride, others involve longer seaplane trips.

Most resorts will arrange transfers for you, although these will often be at an additional cost.

flydubai has flights from Dubai to Male from D3,424 over Eid, and from Abu Dhabi you can fly with Etihad.

What do I need to do before travelling? All tourists flying to the Maldives need a negative PCR test result, taken no more than 96 hours before travel (for travellers coming from India the time frame is 72 hours and there are also restrictions on where Indian tourists can check in).

All travellers, including those who have had one or both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, must show PCR test results, and only babies less than one year old are exempt.

Travellers must submit their test result and a Travellers Health Declaration form has to be completed 24 hours before travel. If you want to split your stay between more than one resort, you need to apply for permission from the Ministry of Tourism, at least 48 hours in advance.

Anything else I need to know? Most of the islands are open for tourism, but visitors are not allowed to explore Male – the capital is the site of the highest number of Covid-19 cases and remains largely off-limits.

Some resorts are testing travellers on arrival, with guests then being asked to quarantine inside their villa or hotel suite until the results come through, and many resorts also offer PCR testing so that you can easily take a test to return to the UAE.

The Maldives isn’t on the Abu Dhabi Green List, so quarantine applies for residents returning to the capital.

17. Montenegro

Why go? This tiny country is filled with ancient cities, gorgeous coastlines and mountainous landscapes, and is easy to navigate thanks to its small size, meaning you're never too far from beaches or craggy peaks. Head to Europe's southernmost fjord, the Bay of Kotor, to explore towns and villages such as Herceg Novi, Morinj and Kotor Old Town.

The Budva Riviera is home to Jaz Beach, named one of the best in Europe by the Lonely Planet, while ancient palaces await in Perast and Dobrota, and that's before you even begin to consider the country's numerous national parks.

How long does it take to get there? flydubai is launching direct flights to Tivat from Friday, June 25, with fares from Dh1,570. The flight time is less than six hours.

What do I need to do before travelling? Travellers from the UAE are welcome in Montenegro, with visas available on arrival. A negative PCR test no older than 72 hours, or proof of full vaccination status, is accepted for entry.

Anything else I need to know? There are health and safety measures in place across the country, with face masks and social distancing a must.

Beaches, swimming pools, national parks and other leisure spaces have restrictions on capacity. The nationwide curfew has been lifted, but live music is only allowed until 11pm.

The country is currently not on Abu Dhabi's Green List.

18. Phuket, Thailand

Phuket has reopened to tourists in time for Eid. Unsplash / Deepain Jindail

Why? While most of Thailand remains closed to tourists, the country's largest island is reopening for vaccinated visitors. Surrounded by the blue waters of the Andaman Sea and with endless sandy beaches, excellent diving and fantastic Thai cuisine, this island paradise is ready to welcome holidaymakers.

How long does it take to get there? The UAE's national airline will resume direct flights to Phuket on Thursday, July 1. With a flight time of six and a half hours, fares with Etihad start from Dh1,600 return over Eid. From Dubai, Emirates will restart four weekly flight services to the resort island from Friday, July 2, and fares start from Dh2,375 over the holiday.

What do I need to do before travelling? Travellers need to have received a full dose of a Covid-19 vaccination at least 14 days before arrival and must submit a Certificate of Entry form. The process for this can be found here. PCR tests are compulsory and need to be taken no more than 72 hours before departing for Phuket. Children under 6 do not need to undergo testing.

Anything else I need to know? If you want to explore any other parts of Thailand, you'll have to spend a minimum of 14 days in Phuket first. There's also quarantine in Abu Dhabi on return, if travel rules don't change regarding the Green List.

19. Seychelles

The Seychelles is a four-hour flight from the UAE and welcomes tourists. Unsplash / Christian Caccamani

Why? Some of the world's most beautiful beaches, boulder-strewn landscapes, giant tortoises and Unesco heritage sites are only a few reasons to travel to the Seychelles. Not to mention pristine marine life for snorkelling and scuba enthusiasts.

How long does it take to get there? There are good connections from the UAE to the Seychellois capital of Mahe, with a flight time of four and a half hours. From Abu Dhabi, go with Etihad with fares over Eid from Dh3,383. From Dubai, Emirates will get you there for Dh3,439.

What do I need to do before travelling? Negative PCR tests taken a maximum of 72 hours before departure are necessary for all visitors, including infants and children, and travellers must have valid health insurance to cover potential Covid-19 related costs (isolation, quarantine and treatment).

No visa is required for entry into the Seychelles, but all travellers must apply for permission to visit through the Health Travel Authorisation platform at seychelles.govtas.com. Visitors will not be allowed to board a flight without this.

Travellers coming from South Africa, Brazil, India, Pakistan or Bangladesh cannot enter the Seychelles at this time.

Anything else I need to know? Vaccination isn't mandatory, but authorities are strongly advising travellers to receive a Covid-19 jab before visiting. The Seychelles has a vaccination corridor with the UAE, meaning travellers will not face quarantine upon return.

20. Switzerland

Why? Known for its alpine mountains, pristine national parks, pretty lakeside villages and love of all things chocolate, Switzerland is ready to welcome vaccinated travellers again from Monday, June 28, just in time for an Eid escape.

The country offers a wealth of destinations from adventure travel on The Matterhorn to exploring history in Lucerne, embracing old-world charm in Gruyeres or marvelling at Geneva’s Jet d'eau.

How long does it take to get there? It is a little more than six hours from the UAE to most destinations in Switzerland. Etihad operates from Abu Dhabi to Geneva and Zurich, and Emirates will take travellers to the same cities from Dubai with fares from Dh2,144. Etihad's summer sale offers fares from Dh2,167, with promotional tickets open for booking until June 24.

What do I need to do before I go? Only vaccinated travellers can fly to Switzerland, and the second dose of any jab must have been delivered at least 14 days before travel. All tourists must also complete an online entry form before travelling.

Anything else I need to know? Switzerland is on the Abu Dhabi Green List so there's no quarantine upon return.

21. Serbia

Another bike ride up Avala mountain.  Wonderful view.

Why? This landlocked country in the middle of the Balkans remains relatively under the radar, making it ideal for those looking to avoid crowds this summer.

Nestled between the Danube and Sava rivers, capital Belgrade is one of Europe’s oldest cities and is famed for its floating nightlife. Dubbed the White City, Belgrade’s Socialist-era blocks jostle for space with Art Nouveau architecture, while Skadarska offers a taste of bohemian Belgrade, with cobbled streets, galleries and amazing eateries.

Those looking for a more active holiday should head to the south-east corner of the city, where, in the Avala Mountain and National Park, hiking trails and stunning views abound.

How long does it take to get there? It's a little less than six hours from Dubai to Belgrade and both Emirates and flydubai are operating routes with fares from Dh1,424. From Abu Dhabi, Wizz Air will take you to Belgrade and has one-way fares under Dh600.

What do I need to do before I go? A travel corridor between the UAE and Serbia means vaccinated travellers can fly between the two countries without having to quarantine, as long as they can show proof from a recognised authority that they have received their final shot of any Covid-19 vaccine. Serbia recognises Pfizer, Sputnik V, Sinopharm and AstraZeneca. Unvaccinated travellers must show a negative PCR test, taken in the 48 hours before arrival.

Anything else I need to know? If you're in search of Belgrade's famous nightlife, now may not be the best time to visit. The City That Never Sleeps currently has restrictions in place meaning that all bars need to close by 1am.

The UAE's vaccine corridor with Serbia means fully-vaccinated travellers won't have to quarantine on return to Abu Dhabi, but if you're not vaccinated you will have to isolate.

22. Turkey

Why? The land where East meets West has reopened to travellers, although some restrictions on movements remain in place. If you do decide to visit, expect a historically rich country packed with delicious cuisine, mountain peaks and stunning coastlines, not to mention the thriving metropolis of Istanbul – the world's only megacity straddling two continents.

How long does it take to get there? Four and a half hours travel time will get you to Istanbul's new airport from the UAE. Fly with Emirates from Dubai for Dh1,633 or go with the UAE's national airline – Etihad's return fares to Istanbul over Eid are from Dh1,262.

You can also fly direct to Bodrum, the gateway to the Turkish Riviera, with flydubai from Dh1,525, or to Trabzon on the Black Sea coast from Dh1,785.

What do I need to do before travelling? Travellers need to fill in an information form at least 72 hours before flying to Turkey. You can find it here.

Vaccinated travellers who have received their final dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in Turkey do not need to submit PCR test results. Unvaccinated travellers must show a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours or a rapid antigen test performed within 48 hours. Children under 6 are exempt.

At the moment, travellers flying to Turkey from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal, Pakistan or Sri Lanka will have to quarantine for 14 days.

Anything else I need to know? Until Wednesday June 30, a nationwide curfew is in place from 10pm until 5am, however this will not affect tourists. Foreign travellers will be able to move around freely, so long as they carry their passports.

Different provinces in the country are categorised by tiers in terms of Covid-19 risk. A map of the country illustrating the tiers is available here and travellers can use it to check the situation in the places they plan to visit.

Turkey is currently not on Abu Dhabi's Green List.

23. Tajikistan

Why? If it's outdoor scenery and mountain peaks you crave, then landlocked Tajikistan should be on your visit list. More than 90 per cent of the Central Asian country is mountainous, making it a trekker's paradise.

It’s also still very much off-the-beaten path, so avoiding crowds is easy. Azure blue lakes and age-old mountain towns filled with friendly villagers await, while the capital Dushanbe has a vibe all of its own.

How long does it take to get there? flydubai operates flights to Dushanbe from Dh1,865. Tajik airline Somon Air also flies to and from Dubai, with low-cost fares from Dh1,385.

What do I need to do before travelling? All international travellers arriving in Tajikistan must provide confirmation of a negative PCR test, issued within 72 hours of arrival, while children under 3 are exempt.

Travellers flying with flydubai need a rapid Covid-19 test, not a PCR test, before flying. Once a negative result is received, travellers will get a "fit to travel" sticker on their passport. The test is free of charge and must be taken no more than 96 hours before departure at Al Nasr Football Club in Dubai. It's not clear whether this test is required for those flying with Somon Air, and travellers should check with the airline.

Tourists must also apply for a Tajik visa before being able to enter the country.

Anything else I need to know? There are no local restrictions or lockdowns in place, however you must wear a face covering in public spaces, including in vehicles.

Tajikistan is no longer on the Abu Dhabi Green list, which means a quarantine period for anyone flying back into the UAE capital.

24. Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania is open for holidays. Courtesy Melia Zanzibar

Why? Picture-perfect Zanzibar is the ideal holiday escape for anyone seeking white beaches, Indian Ocean waters and a laid-back African paradise. With amazing diving, island-hopping safaris and a rich history spread across the archipelago, Zanzibar is a worthy contender when it comes to planning a change of scenery.

Many travellers also add a trip to the Tanzanian mainland during a Zanzibar itinerary – flights leave airstrips in the Serengeti every day, arriving back in Zanzibar before nighttime. In July, the country is dry and dusty meaning safari season is in full swing, and wildlife viewing is excellent.

How long does it take to get there? flydubai operates direct flights from Dubai to Zanzibar island with Eid fares from Dh1,805 for the five-and-a-half-hour flight.

What do I need to do before I travel? After a lax start to PCR testing, Tanzania has upped its regulations and all passengers above the age of 4 must now show negative Covid-19 PCR test results taken no more than 72 hours before flying. A Traveller Surveillance form must also be filled in at least 24 hours ahead of arrival.

Passengers will be retested for Covid-19 upon arrival at their own expense, with tests costing $35. All travellers must also have valid travel insurance covering Covid-19 treatment for the duration of their trip.

Anything else I need to know? The Tanzanian government last released numbers on Covid-19 cases or deaths in April, so be cautious if you decide to travel here. If you need a PCR test to return, the Ministry of Health Zanzibar has an online system on which you can register to take a test, with results delivered electronically within 72 hours.

Tanzania is not on Abu Dhabi's Green List meaning you will have to quarantine upon return.

25. Uganda

Uganda offers mountain trekking trips and so much more. Courtesy Unsplash/Keith Kasaija

Why? Uganda has built its tourism reputation on being the place to go to catch sight of mystical mountain gorillas that live in the country's dense forests. And it's true that this experience is well worth a trip, but that's not all the country has to offer. From abundant birdlife and serene savannahs to alpine lakes and rushing waterfalls, the country has a plethora of places to visit and things to see and do. For a taste of daily life, head to the capital Kampala, a thriving city that delights with restaurants, cafes, nightlife and more.

How long does it take to get there? Emirates has direct flights to Entebbe, with a flight time of five and a half hours. flydubai also operates to the Ugandan capital, with fares from Dh1,831 over Eid.

What do I need to do before travelling? Uganda is only open to non-citizens or residents who have a confirmed safari/tour activity with a registered tour operator, so you'll have to book everything before you go. All visitors must also have a confirmed return or onward flight ticket.

You'll need a negative Covid-19 test result taken no more than 120 hours before departure, although children under 3 are exempt. Another test will be issued upon arrival, at a cost of $65 per person, although anyone who has been double vaccinated is exempt. Travel is closed to anyone who has been to India two weeks before planned departure.

Anything else I need to know? There are several restrictions in place in Uganda, including a curfew from 7pm, mandatory closure of bars and nightclubs, and the closure of public transport until Friday, July 30.

Registered tourist vehicles are exempt but may be stopped at checkpoints. Travellers should also plan to be at Entebbe International Airport at least four hours before their flight and need a Covid-19 negative test to leave the country.

Quarantine will apply on return to Abu Dhabi.

26. Uzbekistan

Why? Perhaps the most-visited country in Central Asia, Uzbekistan appeals to tourists seeking a chance to see Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, and those who want to immerse themselves in the Silk Road history.

While summer can be hot, temperatures average around 30°C, so it is still a cooler option than staying in the UAE, but you'll want to try to book accommodation with air-conditioning.

The capital Tashkent boasts beautiful parks, ornate metro stations and the old town of Chorsu, which has a bustling market and some ancient mosques and mausoleums.

How long does it take to get there? Uzbekistan Airways operates from Tashkent to Dubai with fares from Dh1,155. It's also a nice, short journey, with flight times of a little more than three hours. flydubai also operates direct flights to Bishkek.

What do I need to do before travelling? Visa-free travel is available for UAE citizens and residents, but you will need a negative PCR test result in either English or Russian that's been issued no more than 72 hours before flying to Tashkent. Children under 2 do not need a test.

All visitors must also register with Uzbeki authorities on arrival in the country.

Anything else I need to know? The country's tourism ministry has been working to safely reopen travel and there's a list of approved hotels, attractions and landmarks deemed safe for visiting listed here.

Uzbekistan is on the Abu Dhabi Green list, so there’s no quarantine period for anyone flying back into the UAE.