When the UK government announced that it would soon be announcing a list of 'air bridges' - countries that were deemed safe enough for tourists to visit and return home from without the need for a 2 week quarantine either end -we started researching our first trip abroad since lock down began.
Our tick list of requirements included:
No quarantine upon arrival or back in the UK when we get home
Short haul flight
Beautiful destination that isn't reliant on inside attractions like galleries/museums, so if everything is closed/feels unsafe then we can walk around outside and look at beautiful buildings/scenery.
Warm weather and a beach (means we're not reliant on wet weather plans/inside activities, and we can relax outside - much needed after 4 months of night shifts at Tesco!)
We immediately discounted countries that were too popular/likely to be busy like Spain (thank goodness we didn't book Spain!!) and Greece, Portugal was a no go as it hadn't made the air bridge lift, so we looked at a destination that had been on our bucketlist for a long time - Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Dubrovnik ticked every box on our list. With a low count of COVID-19 cases and only 2 short hops with Lufthansa (less than 2 hours in each leg with a change in Frankfurt), most of what makes this beautiful city special is outside - you can stroll the narrow streets of the Old Town, admiring the architecture (and Game of Thrones filming locations) and there are several postcard perfect beaches a short walk from the main drag. This meant that, worst case scenario, if all the tourist attractions were still closed, it wouldn't matter.
As it turned out, the 2020 tourist season has begun, and apart from wearing masks in shops and on public transport, things felt remarkably normal. With no cruise ships running, there has never been a better time to visit this gorgeous Medieval Walled City. It's quiet, restaurants are open but not crowded, beaches have plenty of space to spread out while still socially distancing and there is no requirement to pre book a time slot on the sand like in Spain. Boat trips are running again, from the ferry across to Lokrum island to Elaphite Island tours, museums and art galleries are open, restaurants seemed to be taking walk ins with out pre-booking, and we saw plenty of small guided tour groups.
If you're looking for a relaxing sunny break (we averaged 30 degrees every day during our July week) to tentatively try out travel, we truly think that Dubrovnik is the perfect destination in 2020. It's quiet enough that we never felt unsafe - we walked the City Walls at 8am to avoid the mid day heat and virtually had them to ourselves for most of the morning, and museums and galleries were very empty. Masks and hand sanitiser are required in all shops and visitor centres, and we also were required to wear them on the Lokrum ferry, the public bus and in Ubers. Everything felt very calm and organised.
During our trip, we were also delighted to collaborate with the Dubrovnik Tourism Board, we'll post about our trip itinerary very soon!
Do you have any upcoming travel? Let us know below.