from Canada to the Azores

Alison Rombough


Autumn colours

North America begins to reopen next week, when Canada opens to fully vaccinated travellers from the UK on Tuesday. The nation offers endless opportunities for adventure throughout the seasons, a new offering is the Parc National d’Opémican, which “opened” to visitors in 2019 in Québec. This vast national park of forests, lakes, rivers and islands, close to the border with Ontario, will enter its golden phase in September. Adventures include white water rafting, hiking and kayaking, with thousands of years of Algonquin history to engage with, its name meaning “along the path followed by the Amerindians”. The park is around five hours’ drive from Ottawa and Toronto. Purchase daily access to the park in advance for C$9/£5.

Canadian Affair sells packages to Toronto, with three-night city breaks available from £626pp in September, which can be extended for exploration further afield,;

Entry requirements: Canada is on the green list. Visitors need an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA, C$7), proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test (no older than 72 hours). Children under five are exempt from testing and proof of vaccination. Children under 12 are exempt from proof of vaccination. There is currently no exemption for unvaccinated 12-15 year-olds who wish to enter Canada.


A Grand Depart

The third stage of the Tour de France Grand Depart will set off from Vejle on the Jutland peninsula next year, making the town a sound choice for a September cycling trip. The new Vejle Bike Friends’ network scheme includes hotels, cafes, attractions and shops that welcome two-wheeled arrivals, while a new mountain bike park opened on the outskirts of town in the forest of Sonderskoven last year, with tracks and obstacles for all abilities. Pros can challenge themselves on the country’s toughest bike route, 230km with 3,000m of total ascent in the valley of Vejle Adal.

Vejle can be accessed in half an hour from Billund, which is served by Ryanair; or from Copenhagen where British Airways offers flights with five days’ car hire from £160pp from 15 September,;

Entry requirements: Denmark is on the green list and requires proof of full vaccination.


Olive harvest

Quarantine is no longer a requirement for fully vaccinated arrivals from the UK and this month is the ideal time for an Italian escapade. In the deep south, Puglia will be preparing for the annual olive harvest, while temperatures keep beaches balmy in the day – but bring a jumper for the evenings. Inghams offers stays at several farm properties, including Tenuta Monacelle, just outside Fasano and a short drive from the Adriatic coast. The hotel is a collection of traditional trulli dry stone buildings and masseria farmhouses, surrounded by olive groves, where cookery lessons and oil tastings are offered.

A week’s B&B from 19 September costs £728pp with flights from Stansted,

Entry requirements: Italy is on the amber list and requires proof of full vaccination plus negative Covid test (no older than 48 hours). Children under the age of six do not need to test.

Children under the age of 18 are exempt from isolation when accompanied by an adult.

Monsaraz fortified village, Alto Alentejo, Portugal (Photo: Getty)


A taste of Spain

The country’s Capital of Gastronomy this year is the south-eastern region of Murcia. Claiming “1,001 flavours” from field to ocean, the region’s culinary credentials were built on Roman foundations (salted and canned fish) and developed through the influence of the Arabs (rice and spices) to contemporary interpretation. There are events throughout the autumn and region, including cookery demonstrations and tastings,

From Murcia, it’s easy to enjoy beach time on the Costa Calida, the appealingly-named “warm coast”. EasyJet offers flights from Luton to Alicante on 18 September and three days’ car hire from £210 for two

Entry requirements: Spain is on the amber list and requires proof of full vaccination or a negative Covid test.


Late summer sun

The largest and most southerly of the Greek islands is the location of a new tourism experience, which has been designed to benefit the Cretan communities it visits, away from the busier tourist magnets, as well as supporting the conservation of natural landscapes and national parks. Intrepid Travel’s week-long Highlights of Crete trip explores the west of the island between Chania and Heraklion. There is time in the fishing village of Sougia, archeaological ruins of Knossos, hiking in the Agia Irini gorge and a winery visit near Chania.

One week departing 18 September costs £995pp excluding flights,

Entry requirements: Greece is on the amber list and requires proof of full vaccination or a negative Covid test.

Read More

Green list countries: Full list of UK quarantine-free destinations and what changed in the last travel update


Delve deep

Portugal has relaxed its entry requirements, allowing UK arrivals that aren’t fully vaccinated with a negative Covid test. The seemingly endless plains of the country’s agrarian Alentejo region are punctuated by surprises, such as the World Heritage Sites of Evora and Elvas. The latter is a hill town wrapped with 17th-century, star-shaped fortifications, while the city of Evora – midway between the Atlantic coast and Spanish border, just over 90 minutes east of Lisbon – is a living museum replete with a Roman temple and Gothic cathedral. On its eastern outskirts is the newly opened Evora Farm Hotel and Spa, with far-reaching views of the countryside. There are swimming pools and gardens, an olive grove and orchard.

The hotel offers stargazing, hot air balloon rides, walks, food and wine tastings and farm experiences. Doubles start at €123 in September,;

Entry requirements: Portugal is on the amber list and requires proof of full vaccination and/or negative PCR or antigen test (72/48 hours).


Changing colours

“Ruska”, or autumn, is a great time to see the colours in Finland’s tree – and water-laced central lakeland, as well as the autumn aurora borealis (if you’re lucky) reflected further north, where they tend to be more active than during the winter months. Tour operator Wild Hikes Finland offers a Gold Rush Autumn guided hike in the country’s northernmost national park, Lemmenjoki. This solitude in this remote part of the country means you’ll be able to imagine yourself in a landscape that once experienced the biggest gold rush in Europe in the 1940s but is now the preserve of wolverines and delicate flora.

The week-long trip costs €1,250pp full board, staying in mobile camps and a log cabin, with transfers from Ivalo but not flights,

Entry requirements: Finland is on the green list and requires proof of full vaccination or proof of recovery within the past six months.

Kayaking in Croatia (Photo: Much Better Adventures)



The crenelated Croatian coast is undeniably appealing, with its azure Adriatic waters and honey-hued islands. However, a thrilling way to experience the quieter interior is on a wild camping trip along the limestone canyons of the Zrmanja River. The small group adventure follows this turquoise river, stopping at waterfalls and freshwater pools for swimming, before setting up camp each evening, where dinner is eaten around the campfire.

The two-night trip costs from £304pp excluding flights, with departures on 10 and 24 September,

Entry requirements: Croatia is on the green watchlist and requires proof of full vaccination or negative Covid test.


Get into hot water

September is a benign time to visit this Atlantic archipelago, when temperatures are still warm and rainfall low. It’s prime hiking territory, with a green, mountainous interior across the nine volcanic islands and an abundance of footpaths to explore. The natural choice at the end of a day on foot is the thermal hot springs on Sao Miguel. Following the PRC43 from Pico das Camarinhas showcases the island’s seismic history. It ends at Ponta da Ferraria, a natural pool on the island’s west coast fed by hot thermal water on one side and cool Atlantic water on the other. The Furnas Boutique Hotel sits within this volcanic landscape and has a spa that harnesses the thermal waters in its indoor and outdoor pools.

Thomas Cook offers a week’s B&B at the hotel from 18 September for £682pp with Stansted flights,;

Entry requirements: the Azores are on the green list and require proof of full vaccination and/or a negative Covid test.


Food and foliage

The harvest season produces an abundance of goods to enjoy at the end of a strenuous hike in the Alps, either through vineyards (the Terraces de Lavaux or Via Valtellina for example) or chestnut forests of the Calanca Valley. Inntravel offers a self-guided walking holiday in the Engadine valley, Graubunden between the historic villages of Guarda and Sils. Following the rivers Clozza and Inn, walkers will be surrounded by autumn colours, Alpine peaks, stone churches and the wildlife of the Swiss National Park, which includes chamoix, golden eagles and ibex.

Six nights’ half board costs £1,095pp from 21 September, with route notes and luggage transfers, but not travel,

Entry requirements: Switzerland is on the green list and requires proof of full vaccination and negative PCR test
(no older than 72 hours).

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