Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Ксения Брагинская via Wikimedia Commons CC4.0)
With the drop in Covid cases in parts of India, some of us are once again packing our bags to head out of the country for a much-needed holiday. Though several countries have yet to open their doors for Indian travellers, you can still visit the following countries:
Russia is the world’s largest country. You might not be able to cover the entire 17 million square kilometres, but Moscow and St Petersburg are must-sees.
St Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square, Lenin’s Mausoleum, and Kremlin are among the biggest attractions in Moscow. While the Hermitage Museum, Catherine Palace, and Winter Palace are an absolute must-visit in St Petersburg.
Covid requirements: Passengers entering the Federation must have a printed negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued at most 72 hours before arrival.
Cost: Delhi-Moscow return flight (Economy) costs upwards of Rs 36,000 per person.
Though Serbia is open to Indian travellers, there are very few flight options between Mumbai and Belgrade (KLM and Lufthansa).
Must-see/do in Serbia includes Kalemegdan, often described as Belgrade’s most romantic spot; Church of St Sava; House on the Drina; Studenica Monastery; Subotica City Hall.
Covid requirements: Visitors must provide a negative RT-PCR test taken up to 48 hours before departure. Not applicable to passengers below the age of 12 years.
Cost: Mumbai-Belgrade return flight (Economy) costs upwards of Rs 46,000 per person.
Pure Luxe by KFT, a travel company, is offering luxury charters from Mumbai to Reykjavik to fully vaccinated Indians. A valid Schengen visa is mandatory. The package options include an 11-night Work from Hotel package for Rs 58,000 (single occupancy) and Rs 98,000 (double occupancy) + 5% GST. The 11-night Luxe Explorer package costs upwards of Rs 2.4 lakh + 5% (double occupancy).
Covid requirements: A valid vaccination certificate and a negative PCR test upon arrival is mandatory. On arrival, travellers will have to undergo COVID-19 screening test at the border but are exempt from quarantine if the test is negative.
Cost: Mumbai-Reykjavik one-way flight costs upwards of Rs 1.1 lakh
Any Indian national destined for any country in Africa and holding a valid visa can travel to Rwanda. Go on safari in Akagera National Park; gorilla trekking at Volcanoes National Park; visit Kigali Genocide Memorial; spend a day in Nyungwe Forest National Park, one of the most important forest conservation areas in all of Africa; see King’s Palace Museum (Nyanza District).
Covid requirements: All travellers arriving in Rwanda must complete the passenger locator form and upload their negative COVID-19 test certificate prior to arrival. On arrival, every traveller must proceed to a government-designated hotel for a second COVID-19 test. Find passenger locator form and list of designated transit hotels on www.rbc.gov.rw.
Cost: Delhi-Kigali return flight (Economy) costs upwards of Rs 70,000 per person.
Any Indian national destined for and holding a valid visa for CIS countries (excluding Russia) is eligible to travel to Uzbekistan. Must-see/do includes Ark and Chor Minor (Bukhara); Registan and Gur-e-Amir (Samarkand); Amir Timur Museum and Chorsu Bazaar (Tashkent); the Walled City of Khiva; Palace Of Khudayar Khan (Kokand); Aydarkul Lake.
Covid requirements: Travellers must present a negative PCR test taken no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival in the country. Quarantine or self-isolation for 14 days is required.
Cost: Delhi-Tashkent return flight (Economy) costs upwards of Rs 33,000 per person.
Though the number of flights has been reduced, Indians can travel to Egypt. There are currently restrictions for tourists arriving in the coastal governorates of the Red Sea, South Sinai and Matrouh, to travel to other governorates in Egypt.
Covid requirements: Health screenings will take place upon arrival in Egypt, and all arrivals are required to fill in a health declaration. From August 15, all arrivals will be required to present a negative RT-PCR test, no older than 72 hours.
Cost: Delhi-Cairo return flight (Economy) costs upwards of Rs 36,000 per person.
Any Indian national destined for any country in Africa and holding a valid visa can travel to Ethiopia. Must-see/do includes rock-hewn churches of Lalibela; feel the heat at the Danakil Depression; visit Semien Mountains National Park; feed hyenas at the historic town of Harar Jegol; visit ancient island monasteries around Lake Tana; visit Gondar castles.
Covid requirements: A negative RT-PCR test certificate is mandatory. The certificate validity shouldn’t exceed 120 hours on arrival from the date sample is given. Self-declaration form to be filled at airport at exit.
Cost: Delhi-Addis Ababa return flight (Economy) costs upwards of Rs 41,000 per person; non-stop flight start at Rs 96,700.
(Photo: Jrheinlaender via Wikimedia Commons)
Travel is currently open for any Indian national holding any type of valid visa from Afghanistan and destined for Afghanistan only. When there, you must visit Buddha Niches, Gazar Gah, Herat Citadel, Babur’ Gardens, Shrine of Hazrat Ali, Bala Hissar and City Walls.
Covid requirements: Arriving passengers do not need to carry an RT-PCR test certificate. However, they are urged to self-quarantine at home for 14 days upon arrival.
Cost: Delhi-Kabul return flight (Economy) costs upwards of Rs 15,900 per person.
Mauritius will open to international travellers from July 15, 2021. During the first phase (July 15-September 30, 2021), vaccinated travellers will be permitted a resort holiday; a list of pre-approved Covid-19 safe resorts will be available from June 20, 2021, at www.mauritiusnow.com.
For Phase 2 (starting October 1, 2021), vaccinated travellers will be allowed entry without restrictions upon presentation of a negative RT-PCR test taken up to 72 hours before departure.
Covid requirements: Travellers aged 18 and above must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. They must undergo an RT-PCR test between five and seven days before departure - only those with a negative result can enter the island nation. Travellers will also have to take an RT-PCR test on arrival at the airport in Mauritius and on day 7 and 14 of their resort holiday, as applicable. Unvaccinated travellers will be subject to 14 days in-room quarantine for both Phases 1 and 2 until further notice.
Cost: Delhi-Mauritius return flight (Economy) costs upwards of Rs 35,000 per person.(Important: Before booking flights/accommodation, check with your travel agent/airline about the vaccine and quarantine norms of your destination country)