Which European Countries Are Open For Restriction-Free Travel?

Spain just dropped its vaccine requirement to enter the country, now allowing unvaccinated travelers to enjoy visiting Spain, too, though all travelers will be required to test negative prior to arrival.

This prompts the question in many minds: which countries in Europe don’t have any pandemic-related entry requirements right now?


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The list may surprise you – some countries in this list are beloved European destinations, while others are more underrated destinations.

Either way, they’re the easiest countries in Europe to enter right now, since they don’t require any testing, proof of vaccination or other pandemic-related entry requirements.

Be aware, though, that some of these countries still abide by quarantine rules when travelers test positive for COVID-19 during their stay.

The United States also requires residents traveling abroad to test negative prior to returning to the U.S., so travelers should make necessary preparations and take precautions while in Europe to ensure they don’t test positive and are disallowed from returning from their trip until they test negative.

Highlights of Norway
Highlights of Norway

Countries in Europe without any entry restrictions:




United Kingdom



Czech Republic

– Hungary



– Bulgaria

– Latvia

– Lichtenstein

– Moldova

– Montenegro

– North Macedonia

– Poland

– Romania

– Slovakia

Germany (June 1)

For information on current entry requirements in Europe and around the world, check out our interactive guide.

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How to Keep an Open Bottle of Wine Fresh, According to the Experts

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QuikTrip set to open second location in Alabama, third travel center coming in fall

QuikTrip, a national chain of convenience stores and gas stations, plans to open its second location in Alabama in late May.

Construction on the travel center is underway in Calera, off Shelby County 84 about 30 miles south of Birmingham. It’s near Interstate 65 and Alabama 31, south of the Walmart Supercenter.

Aisha Jefferson-Smith, a spokeswoman for the company, confirmed the target date for the opening and said another QuikTrip location is set for Opelika in the fall.

QuikTrip opened its first Alabama location in February, off Interstate 20 in Cottondale, near Tuscaloosa. It includes 20 gas pumps and diesel bays for trucks. One of the main attractions for travelers is the QT Kitchen, with a menu that includes barbecue sandwiches, breakfast tacos, pizza and soft pretzels. QuikTrip also sells grab-and-go snacks such as salads, wraps and doughnuts, plus coffee, tea and other beverages.

QuikTrip Corporation, founded in 1958 in Oklahoma, has more than 900 stores in 15 states, according to its website. That includes more than 100 stores in the Atlanta metro area. QuikTrip has a strong fan base — some have called it a cult following — and is touted for its made-to-order food, customer service and clean restrooms.

The chain’s motto, “More than a gas station,” was showcased in a series of 2021 ads that paid homage to classic sitcoms such as “Seinfeld” and “Saved by the Bell.” The ads focused on characters eating “snackles,” the company’s word for a satisfying food item that “bridges the gap between snacks and meals.”

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D.C. embassy tours: 7 open houses to visit this month

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After a two-year pandemic hiatus, Passport DC returns this month, along with its beloved Around the World Embassy Tour. On May 7 and 14, you can get a microdose of travel as D.C. embassies and cultural centers from three continents open their doors for history lessons, food and entertainment.

There will be pisco sours at the embassy of Peru, and bachata and merengue dance classes at the Dominican Republic’s, among other programming from the more than 30 countries participating in the first weekend alone.

European embassies will make their debut with the EU Open House on May 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Find more information on participating countries through the event website.

Steven Shulman, executive director of Cultural Tourism DC, recommends making the most out of the weekends by visiting embassies that are near one another.

The summer of revenge travel is coming. No one can afford it.

Jade Womack, who runs events site Clockout DC, created helpful maps with itineraries to visit embassies near each other. The EU Open House also made a Google Map for visitors. Womack warns that countries popular with American travelers, such as Costa Rica or Greece, draw crowds and smaller embassies may have longer lines because they can accommodate fewer guests at a time.

Womack suggests exploring less familiar embassies that should have shorter lines, plus more access to food and freebies.

Sorry our baby might ruin your flight. Please accept this goodie bag.

Austin Graff, By The Way’s local D.C. guide writer, suggests either going as early as possible or waiting until later in the afternoon after many families have finished tours. He also recommends starting with embassies that are farther from Metro stops. Embassies close to the Dupont Circle Metro may be swamped, while those by Observatory Circle and Van Ness Street should be less so.

Here are seven embassies to visit and tips to keep in mind as you tour “the world” this month.

Tickets or reservations are not required for tours, but you should expect to wait in line. In the past, waits have hovered around 20 to 30 minutes, but they can be double that at popular embassies, Womack said.

Bring a government-issued ID, as well as a mask since each embassy sets its own mask requirements. It’s a good idea to bring your vaccination card, too, since embassies might have mandates. Embassies are generally open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with some exceptions, so check ahead as you plan your visits.

For those with accessibility concerns, Shulman says the embassies along International Court have more contemporary buildings with ramps for wheelchairs and strollers.

Womack likes touring embassies that don’t often host public events, like the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq. Visitors can expect to see photography exhibits, sample Iraqi cuisine and watch musical performances with Dabka dancing.

1801 P Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

One of Graff’s favorite visits in past years was to Eritrea, which he called a hidden gem. Womack has a one-mile itinerary that starts with a visit to the Eritrean Embassy — where you’ll see cultural displays and learn about the history of the African country — followed by a walk south to stop by Iraq, Trinidad and Tobago, and Tunisia, ending at the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center to learn about Oman.

1708 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 7, the Royal Thai Embassy’s open house is covering all the cultural bases, from showcasing Muay Thai (Thai boxing), traditional music, Thai dancing and cooking demonstrations with samples promised afterward. For more information on the Royal Thai Embassy’s open house, visit its website.

1024 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20007

Why you should dress up for your next flight

Graff recommends stopping by the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, located near embassies of Nepal, Iraq, South Africa and Bolivia. Visitors can expect cultural activities, live music and dancing, a photo booth, activities for kids and tastes of Azerbaijani cuisine.

2741 34th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

Graff suggests putting the Embassy of Latvia on your list for May 14. Guests have the chance to tour the Alice Pike Barney Studio House, a historic building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Fitting as the building was often used for musical performances in the early 20th century, the embassy will have Latvian folk dancers perform for the occasion.

2306 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

This year, the open house at the Mexican Cultural Institute will highlight the state of Puebla in honor of Cinco de Mayo, which celebrates Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Ix-Nic Iruegas, the center’s executive director, says visitors can expect a “full day of Mexican joy” with music, mezcal, storytellers, traditional food, lotería (a traditional Mexican card game) and a pop-up shop selling goods from Puebla including textiles, honey and Talavera pottery. Mexico’s open house runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 7, and 12 to 4 p.m. on May 14.

2829 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

On May 14, the Embassy of the Czech Republic (one of Womack’s recs) will be hosting a dog show among other activities. The theme of the weekend is the 1930s, with entertainment from a jazz band and Lindy Hop dancers. If that’s not enough, there will also be a bounce house and folk fashion show.

3900 Spring of Freedom St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

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When will Crossrail open? Elizabeth Line route map in full | Travel News | Travel

will finally open this month after two decades since the railway plan was developed. The long-awaited rail expansion will provide a much-needed boost to the capital’s travel infrastructure, cutting some journey times considerably and opening a number of new stations.

Crossrail has been under development since 2002 and originally due to open in 2018.

But the rail link has been mired by setbacks and no shortage of controversies throughout its development, having cost £18.9 billion to date – £4.1 billion over the budget set in 2010.

Still, the scheme is the biggest boost to transport for London in decades, creating ten new stations and 26 miles of new tunnels.

Opening just ahead of the Platinum Jubilee weekend, the Queen is expected to attending the grand opening in the coming weeks.

READ MORE: London Crossrail opening date confirmed after delays

“We are using these final few weeks to continue to build up reliability on the railway and get the Elizabeth line ready to welcome customers.

“The opening day is set to be a truly historic moment for the capital and the UK, and we look forward to showcasing a simply stunning addition to our network.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “This is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades, and will revolutionise travel across the capital and the South East – as well as delivering a £42 billion boost to the whole UK economy and hundreds of thousands of new homes and jobs.

“Green public transport is the future, and the opening of the Elizabeth line is a landmark moment for our capital and our whole country, particularly in this special Platinum Jubilee year.”

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Lynbottom tip remains open during tree cutting work

The Isle of Wight Council will be closing the road near Lynnbottom recycling centre to do works to trees, and the recycling centre will remain open and fully accessible.  

The council has been doing work to trees in many locations, including public parks and roadsides. 

New trees planted
As well as cutting back or removing trees that might pose a hazard in the future, new trees have recently been planted by contractors and volunteers in locations including Appley Park and Big Meade. 

Road closures
Next month (May 2022) tree work is to be carried out in the area of road between Lynnbottom recycling centre and the Robin Hill roundabout to trim back or remove some potentially dangerous trees. 

The road will be closed between Wednesday 4th and Friday 6th May inclusive. 

Full access remains
Full access for domestic and commercial users of the Lynnbottom recycling centre and Biffa’s Standen Heath landfill site will be maintained throughout, with diversion routes signed.

Traffic will be able to approach the Lynnbottom recycling centre from the north, from the Wootton direction.

To avoid queuing the council is requesting that users do not arrive before their booking slot.

Matthews: Vehicle access to Lynnbottom is maintained throughout
Lee Matthews, the council’s public spaces manager, said,

“We’re conscious that this is a very important route so we will be ensuring that vehicle access to Lynnbottom is maintained throughout the works.

“Because this work needs doing urgently, we’re not going to wait until next winter.

“This means that we will be doing a full check for nesting birds and other protected species such as bats and squirrels.  

“If it turns out there are protected species that might be adversely affected by the work of course we will not proceed.

“The overall aims of this programme of tree works across the Island are to ensure that we have a safe and sustainable tree stock, and to support the council’s climate and environment strategy.

“We aim to finish up with many more trees growing safely on public land for future generations.”

News shared by Isle of Wight council press office, in their own words. Ed

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Power Rankings: Mexico Open at Vidanta

Patrick Reed, Davis Riley and Kevin Streelman will be among the notables reviewed in Tuesday’s Draws and Fades.

Since confirmation of the addition of the Mexico Open at Vidanta, the field was increased by a dozen to 144. Because it’s a stand-alone tournament, the winner will receive 500 FedExCup points and an exemption into the 2023 Masters. Spots in the 2022 PGA Championship as well as the 2023 editions of the Sentry Tournament of Champions and THE PLAYERS Championship also will be secured on top of a membership exemption through at least 2023-24.

Vidanta Vallarta’s Greg Norman Signature Course is the stage. It’s about a mile northeast to the nearest point of the shoreline of Banderas Bay against which Puerto Vallarta is situated. It’s tucked into a triangular piece of land framed by the Ameca River to the north and the border of Nayarit and Jalisco around its eastern and southern perimeter. (Although the two Mexican states once were separated by time zones – Central and Mountain – all of the area has adhered to the Central since 2010. The course opened in 2015.)

Unlike Chapultepec, which is over 7,000 feet above sea level in the mountains of Mexico City, Vidanta Vallarta is just high enough not to be underwater. It can stretch to 7,456 yards and it plays to a par of 71.

Like Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course, Vidanta Vallarta also boasts five par 3s to go with the full complement of four par 5s, three of the latter of which are on the inward nine, including the 548-yard finisher.

Four of the par 3s – Nos. 5, 9, 11 and 17 – are played over water, which is one of the three most menacing hazards on the course. However, while omnipresent across the property and adjacent to many holes, including the tee box at No. 7, it’s not in play there. The reason why it’s worth the mention is because it’s a drivable par 4 measuring just 297 yards.

Another problem totals 106 in number. Those are the bunkers and many are sizable. All have been renovated in advance of the tournament. The frequent combination of water and sand supports why many Norman designs require precision tee to green. It’s how The Great White Shark succeeded inside the ropes himself.

Platinum paspalum blankets the course, the longest of which around the edges is topped off at an inch and a half. Greens are prepped to 12 feet on the Stimpmeter, standard for PGA TOUR competition, but it’s still the maximum depending on the third pillar among the hazards – the wind.

Warm and dry conditions are forecast but prevailing breezes off the coast will be moderate and steady throughout. The ability to play target golf at its best is rewarded even more so with unfamiliar greens. In situations like this, ball-strikers tend to thrive, but particularly on a track designed by a guy who rode that skill set to the World Golf Hall of Fame.


PGATOUR.com’s Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous perspectives. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.

MONDAY: Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Draws and Fades
WEDNESDAY: Pick ’Em Preview
SUNDAY: Medical Extensions, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Rookie Ranking

* – Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.

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The NBA Playoffs tip off this week and the road to the championship is wide open

The NBA postseason tips off Tuesday, and the race for the title is wide open with star-studded teams like the Los Angeles Lakers having already been eliminated and big-name injuries making it unclear who this year’s favorites might be.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What are play-in games?

The top teams in each of the Eastern and Western Conferences are ranked from 1-10 based off of their regular season records.

It used to be the top eight teams from each conference were guaranteed to play a playoff series, but last year the NBA shook the old format up by introducing a play-in tournament which has teams 7-10 complete in a series of single-elimination games for the final two playoff spots in their respective conferences.

For the 7th and 8th ranked teams it’s “win and you’re in,” with the loser of that game playing the winner of a game between teams ranked 9 and 10.

Although it can sound a little complicated, the league’s new format gives more teams a shot at making it into the playoffs while also giving fans exciting elimination games to kick off the tournament.

The first play-in games will be Tuesday and Wednesday with Friday being the last opportunity for four teams to make it in.

The Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics won’t know their first-round opponents until the conclusion of Friday’s games.

Still confused? Here’s a brief overview of who plays who.

What teams are playing in in the Eastern Conference and who could they face?

The Cleveland Cavaliers will play the Brooklyn Nets in New York City in the first game of the tournament on Tuesday night, with the winner moving on to face the Boston Celtics in the first round.

Cleveland has struggled with injuries this season, with Ricky Rubio tearing his ACL before being traded to the Indiana Pacers and Collin Sexton looking to be out for the rest of the season regardless of how deep the Cavs go in. All-Star Jarrett Allen has also been sidelined for the past month with a finger fracture with head coach J.B. Bickerstaff unsure of when the star center could return.

They’ll face a formidable Brooklyn Nets team that already beat them less than a week ago and features superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

The Nets have been hamstrung most of the season with star-player Kyrie Irving only recently allowed to play games at home after refusing to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Irving was arguably the highest-profile athlete to be affected by vaccine mandates.

If the Nets are able to make it through the week’s play-in games, there’s optimism that guard Ben Simmons, who was traded from Philadelphia but has been out injured, could also make an appearance in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

The loser of Tuesday’s game will face the winner of Wednesday’s do-or-die game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Charlotte Hornets for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.

Atlanta will hope to repeat last season’s surprising playoff run where they advanced to the Eastern Conference finals. They were later defeated by the eventual NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Wednesday’s matchup will feature two of the league’s young stars, with Atlanta’s 23-year-old Trae Young becoming one of only two players to lead the league in total points and total assists.

Charlotte will hope second-year star LaMelo Ball will play a key role in the matchup, with this year having become the fourth-youngest player to make the All-Star game in history, behind Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Magic Johnson.

The number-one seeded Miami Heat will play the winner of Friday’s game.

What’s up with the Western Conference play-in games?

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The Los Angeles Clippers look like a team that could make a run in this year’s NBA playoffs after having lost star player Paul George for most of the season with a torn ligament in his shooting elbow. But George is back and will face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday night at 9:30 p.m. ET.

George hasn’t been the only Clippers star to miss playing time due to injury.

The team will hope that two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard will be healthy enough to play for the first time since tearing his ACL in June.

Although it doesn’t appear he will feature in this week’s play-in matchup, there’s hope that if the team makes a run he could be back. And with both George and Leonard healthy the Clippers could make other teams nervous.

The winner between LA and Minnesota will move on to play the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round this weekend.

The West’s single elimination game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the San Antonio Spurs tips off at 9:30 p.m. ET Wednesday. The Spurs have missed the playoffs the past two seasons after appearing every year between 1998 and 2019. The team won five NBA championships during that stretch.

The winner will face the loser of Tuesday night’s LA vs Minnesota matchup.

What about the other teams in the West?

Of all the teams already guaranteed a playoff berth, one of the hottest in the West must be the Devin Booker and Chris Paul-led Phoenix Suns who posted the league’s best regular season record of 64-18.

Paul, who turns 37 next month, will hope to return to the NBA Finals for only the second time in his career. Largely regarded as one of the greatest point guards in the game, last year’s Finals was Paul’s first shot at a championship before being defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks. Paul missed 15 games at the end of the regular season with a fractured thumb.

It won’t be easy for Phoenix to return to the NBA Finals even if Paul comes back healthy. The Western Conference features a slew of tough opponents looking for their own shot at the title.

The Dallas Mavericks will lean on their star player Luka Dončić, who left Sunday’s game early with a left calf strain, as they face the Utah Jazz. While the Golden State Warriors, who return to the playoffs for the first time since losing to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals, will take on Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets.

Last season’s MVP, Jokić looks to be the front-runner for the award again this season after becoming the first player in NBA history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a season.

Another team to keep an eye on are the Memphis Grizzlies and their electric young star Ja Morant. The Grizzlies will face the winner of LA and Minnesota.

Who is leading in the East?

The NBA’s Eastern Conference looks wide open, with all of the top-10 teams finishing the season within 10 games of each other.

The Miami Heat locked up the number one seed with Boston, Milwaukee and Philadelphia hot on their heels with each finishing the regular season with a record of 51-31.

The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks will take on the Chicago Bulls in the first round, with star player Giannis Antetokounmpo in consideration for a possible third league MVP.

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid is another name regularly brought up with Antetokounmpo and Jokić as a possible MVP candidate. Born in Cameroon, Embiid recently became the first international player to clinch an NBA scoring title with an average of 30.6 points per game this season.

Philadelphia will face the Toronto Raptors and possible rookie of the year Scottie Barnes in the first round of the Playoffs. The Sixers will be at a bit of a disadvantage during their road games since Matisse Thybulle does not meet Canada’s vaccination requirements and won’t be allowed to play.

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