Tag Archives: Madeira

Green list travel: Is a round-trip to Madeira worth the hassle?

Green list travel: Is a round-trip to Madeira worth the hassle?

It was one of eight TUI flights departing the UK on Momentous Monday – May 17 – the day it became legal for Brits to take a holiday abroad. TUI invited the press to try out a flight with the new rules, so, along with 128 other passengers, I would soon be landing in the balmy 25C warmth of sub-tropical Madeira.  As part of Portugal, this Atlantic Ocean island is one of only a dozen destinations to make it on to the Government’s Green List. It meant that thankfully we wouldn’t have to quarantine on our return to the UK.

Thrilling though it was to be flying again, it had been a bit of a long-haul to get holiday-ready. In these Covid times, preparation begins 72 hours before departure, taking a Fit to Fly PCR test – the first of a trio of tests required for my round-trip.

The hassle of arranging them – not to mention the expense – was a little off-putting, but TUI has teamed up with testing partner Chronomics to offer customers Covid test packages. For the affordable price of £60, the package includes a Fit to Fly PCR test, a Test to Return to the UK (lateral flow test) to be taken before the flight home and another PCR test, which will be sent to your home to be taken on day two after your return.

On receipt of my negative result, I registered on the Madeira Safe website to upload the result. I didn’t have to wait long for an email confirmation, and promptly logged back on to the site to find my QR code for presentation at check-in. Once I produced my passport and proof of the negative PCR result, I got my boarding pass.

On landing at Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport, after the novelty of having my passport stamped, I again called up the QR code and negative test result on my mobile for inspection before being allowed to leave the airport.

Once outside, I spotted a bust of the island’s most celebrated footballer, which made me smile – someone had cheekily added a face mask! It was a timely reminder that face coverings are mandatory in Madeira indoors, as well as outdoors where you’re not able to socially distance. But you don’t need to wear them when sitting down to eat or drink, or relaxing on the beach or by the pool.

At Hotel Riu Palace Madeira, in the south-east coastal town of Canico de Baixo, the staff greeted us warmly. That rare species, the British tourist, had been sorely missed.

There was an air of calm and security at the all-inclusive, four-star hotel. Our temperatures were taken as we stepped into the foyer. From behind screens, I was handed an envelope containing my room key.

Venturing outside the hotel, pandemic precautions were also much in evidence. In the village of Monte, masked boater-hatted carreiros (drivers) were eagerly waiting to take us for the twisting, mile-long downhill run in the famous wicker toboggans.

In the evening, we were treated to a sublime meal and glorious views of the harbour at renowned interior designer Nini Andrade Silva’s stylishly cool Design Centre Restaurant in Funchal.

Covid rules meant a maximum five people per table, and we had to abide by a 11pm curfew.

The buffet breakfast the following morning was a chance to sample the tropical fruits the island is known for, which included papayas and Madeira’s tasty miniature bananas.

Then we headed out to see the highest sea cliff in Europe, Cabo Girão, and stand hesitantly on the glass skywalk, 1,900ft above sea level for a giddy glimpse down. Lunch followed at Vila da Carne in charming Camara de Lobos. Espetada, a traditional dish of grilled beef on skewers was served up suspended from bars above our tables.

Then it was back to the hotel to take the lateral flow test, and upload a picture showing it was negative, along with my passport, to the Chronomics website for verification.

Finally, I filled in the UK Government’s Passenger Locator Form (PLF), with details of the negative test and a booking reference number for the Day 2 PCR test. Both had to be presented at check-in.

A late landing at Gatwick meant no queues, and it took Border Force staff just a couple of minutes to check my passport before waving me through.

Was it worth all the hassle? Well it’s travel – although not quite as we know it. But escaping the awful UK spring weather certainly did wonders for my soul.

Author: Marjorie Yue
Read more here >>> Daily Express

Jet2 boosts Portugal holidays to Algarve and Madeira amid 'significant' surge in 'demand'

Jet2 is set to boost its summer holiday offering with the addition of even more flight options to the Algarve and Madeira. The Leeds-based firm said the decision came following a “significant” surge in “demand” from holiday hungry Britons.
According to Jet2, in the 24 hours which followed the “green list” announcement, their website saw a 600 percent increase in searches for holidays to Portugal and its archipelagos.

Following a survey of customers, Jet2 found 52 percent of respondents “felt confident” to travel “this summer and beyond.”

This is “the highest reported level” since March.

A further 55 percent said they were “eager to get away as soon as they can.”

READ MORE: TUI to fly to 19 holiday destinations from May 17

In response, the airline has added even more flights from Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle and London Stansted Airports.

The company will operate to Faro from all ten of its UK bases this summer, with flights and holidays operating to Madeira from nine UK bases.

The boosted flights and holidays, which covers 10,000 additional seats, are now on sale.

Birmingham Airport will now see weekly Saturday services to Faro, in the Algarve, from July 3 to 17 boosting the airport’s offering to daily services.

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Bristol Airport will see its flying programme brought forward to commence on July 2 instead of late August, with Monday and Friday services to Faro available.

Glasgow Airport will now offer weekly Sunday services to Faro from June 27 through to August 8 meaning four weekly services throughout the summer.

Edinburgh airport will now offer weekly services to Faro added every Tuesday from June 29 to August 31.

This results in five weekly services from the Scottish hub.

Newcastle Airport will offer weekly services added every Tuesday from June 29 to July 29 giving a choice of daily services.

From Manchester Airport, weekly Saturday services to Madeira will be introduced from July 3 to August 28.

Meanwhile, London Stansted will also boost its Madeira flight offering with weekly Friday services added from July 2 through to September 24.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said: “We know that there is extraordinary demand out there for holidays to the sunshine, which is no surprise given the past year or so.

“As things open up again, combined with positive vaccination and infection rates, one of the very first things people want to do is get away to relax in the sunshine.

“We are pleased to see Governments reopening travel so that holidaymakers can do this, and the response to Portugal going on the green list from customers in England and Scotland has been exceptional.

“In response to that, we are delighted to be giving customers even more choice when it comes to booking and enjoying some sunshine in the Algarve and Madeira.”

He added: “We look forward to more positive news in the coming weeks, and we know that our customers feel the same.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Portugal holidays: Latest FCDO update as travel to Portugal and Madeira back on

Portugal is a popular holiday destination among many Britons. However, travel to Portugal, including Madeira, Porto Santo and the Azores, has been severely limited thus far. Today, the Iberian country lifted its ban on UK arrivals.
Until Monday, April 19, the following lockdown measures are in place.

– public gatherings are banned.

– supermarkets and grocery stores may open until 9pm on weekdays and 7pm at the weekend

– small high street shops may open until 9pm on weekdays and 1pm at the weekends

– restaurants and cafés may open their terraces until 10:30pm on weekdays and 1pm at the weekend. Gatherings are limited to 4 people per table.

– the sale of alcohol is prohibited between 8pm and 6am, except in restaurants and cafés

– museums, monuments, palaces and art galleries may open until 10:30pm on weekdays and 1pm on weekends.

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These will ease on Monday. The FCDO explains: “From 12.01am on 19 April, restrictions on movement and access to services will vary according to the level of risk in your municipality.

“For details of the measures that will be force in the municipalities of Moura, Odemira, Portimão and Rio Maior, see the Portuguese government’s website (in Portuguese).

“For details of the measures that will be force in the municipalities of Alandroal, Albufeira, Beja, Carregal do Sal, Figueira da Foz, Marinha Grande and Penela, see the Portuguese government’s website (in Portuguese)

“For details of the measures that will be in force in all other municipalities on mainland Portugal, see the Portuguese government’s website (in Portuguese).”

Stringent testing measures are still in place at the time of writing for Portugal arrivals.

“You will be required to show a negative RT-PCR test result for SARS/COVID-19 taken within 72 hours of departure (not required for children aged two or under), see the Portuguese Immigration Service website,” the FCDO states.

“Your airline is likely to deny boarding if you cannot provide evidence of a negative RT-PCR test at check-in. Check with your airline before you travel.”

“If you arrive in Madeira or Porto Santo without an RT-PCR test, you will be required to take one at the airport and await the result in government-provided accommodation.”

For Britons, it is still currently illegal to travel abroad but this rule is set to end on May 17.

Once holidays can go ahead Britons will be subject to a traffic light system.

The system will list countries as red, amber and green.

Green countries will have the least restrictions on return to the UK – and it is predicted by travel experts that Portugal will be among the green destinations.

This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed