10 Tips For City Trips in Europe During A Pandemic

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City trips in Europe are still possible even during this time of the corona virus pandemic. Traveling to European cities is an adventure since it allows you to walk through living history, see world-class attractions, explore European culture, and take part in thrilling street shopping in iconic destinations such as Barcelona, London, Paris or Rome. With corona virus being pervasive though, it may be the time to discover small European cities, such as Treviso in Italy or Cork in Ireland, that still deliver excellent travel experiences.

City Trips in Europe During A Pandemic

European city travel means navigating through the country-to-country travel restrictions, which currently exist around most European countries.

For example, some European cities demand travelers to quarantine, while others explicitly ban travellers. Before planning a journey, check for advice from your own government tourism authority.

5 Pre-trip Preparations For A City Trip to Europe

Even the shortest trips require several careful planning to keep you safe while being mindful of others.

Consider Country Specific Entry Requirements.

While non-essential travel restrictions still depend on the visitor’s location, the visa requirements vary according to their nationality.

When a traveler lives in a restricted country but is also a citizen of a visa-based country, he/she must make the application in his/her country of residency at the Consulate of the Member State to which they need to travel.

bag, laptop and camera
Planning city tours in Europe is essential to be safe while travelling.

Some countries require you to complete personal contact forms, request valid health certificates, or take compulsory COVID testing.

It’s essential to check the travel restrictions and requirements details in place on the respective national agencies (e.g., ministries of the interior and foreign affairs) websites.

Be Aware of Regulations for Possible Quarantine on Return.

The bottom line is that there are areas within Europe that are labeled “high risk.” Some localities will typically ask you to quarantine for at least 14 days when you come from these regions. You will need to make sure you have enough vacation days from work to include the quarantine period.

Plan Your Trip Carefully.

You should identify the least affected areas before you decide on a city trip to Europe.

Empty Grand Plaza in Trieste Italy
A nearly empty Grand Piazza in Trieste, one of the charming small European cities off the usual tourist route.

Remember to check if destinations have already introduced very particular hygiene protocols in accommodations, restaurants, bars, shops, and more. For instance, you need to know what the rules are for the wearing of masks and social distancing.

Before booking your accommodation, we recommend checking if the hospitality facility has a cancelation policy that you can live with.

Have Travel Insurance for Coronavirus.

You will want to make sure that you have adequate travel insurance for Coronavirus if you get sick in a foreign country. Make sure you take any necessary paper work with you as you travel.

Water canal and bridge in Brugge, Belgium
Small European cities like Brugges in Belgium are charming to visit.

Identify Applicable Specific Hygiene Regulations.

The E.U. has several directives for minimizing Covid-19 spread and protecting the general populations. All Members have adopted standard measures, which include wearing masks and adopting social distancing.

Additional rules include:

  • Transport service suppliers and operators should include information on occupancy rates
  • Use of personal protection equipment by road staff and passengers (masks, gloves, etc.)
  • Maintenance or addition of hubs and protective vehicle barriers
  • Passenger density cap in waiting areas
  • Appropriate measures to minimize stops and security checks contact
  • Social distance or additional protection guaranteed to protect people who can’t achieve the suitable physical distancing
  • Prioritize E-ticket purchases, and early seat reservations

5 Tips During Your City Trip in Europe

During your city trip to Europe, an abundance of caution will ensure that neither you nor any of the locals you meet will be affected by Covid 19.

Use public transport wisely.

In European cities, public transport is the easiest and cheapest way to explore the inner cities. Information on suitable connections can be found at Omio. Even in pandemic times, public transport is a relatively safe means of transport, as masks are compulsory almost everywhere and distance rules should be observed.

mask wearing on a vaporetto in Venice
We joined everyone else in wearing masks on public transport in Venice Italy.

Observe Mask-Wearing Rules.

If you must wear a mask, it’s crucial to observe best practices for wearing, removal, and disposal of masks and for sanitation after disposal

Remember vigilant hygiene is your best friend. 

Please wash your hands and sanitize them after touching surfaces. Hand sanitizers are amazing. Antiseptic hand wipes are also available, and if you dine, you can use them to wipe tabletops and remote controls.

Avoid crowds.

Stay away from crowds – in closed spaces in particular. Small European cities tend to be less crowded and less well known to mass tourism.

Limited amount of people in St Marks Square in Venice
The usual throngs are missing (but not missed) in St Marks Square in Venice.

Make reservations.

Make reservations as needed for places you are going to visit. For example, many museums require timed entry. A reservation at a restaurant will ensure you have a table. Such precautions will help the establishments you visit prepare for your visit as well as ensure you aren’t milling around in public.

A Bonus To European City Tours During Covid

Yes, there is a bonus for a travel lover.

We were in Venice for the summer and I can say truthfully that it is the first time I’ve enjoyed it. Sure Venice is always beautiful and we love visiting.  We have visited Venice several times and the crowds are atrocious no matter what time of year you go. This summer with less tourists, we saw how beautiful the city really can be when it is allowed to breathe.

pinterest image of a coffee cup with a plane as latte art on a map of europe with the words: “Top 5 tips for travelling in Europe during Covid"
Would you consider travelling in Europe during a pandemic? Europe still has safe places to travel during a pandemic some of which are actually crowd-free bucket list places. Our European travel tips during a pandemic helped us have an epic trip to Venice and they can help you too! Travel during a pandemic can be totally worth it – especially if you are sensible and plan and prepare. E.g., travel essentials during a pandemic include knowing the rules and having travel insurance.

We hope that one silver lining of the pandemic is that it encourages us to adopt a form of travel that is more thoughtful, more conscious and generally slower. The 5-countries-in-10 days type of trips are not sustainable in this environment.

All in all, take care of yourself and the locals at the places you visit. Enjoy your city trips in Europe responsibly.

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