Germany on Friday claimed victory in the perennial battle for Europe’s sun loungers as coronavirus restrictions left Britons stranded at home.
“Brits envy our summer holidays,” Bild, the country’s highest-selling newspaper, taunted the UK as Germans sunned themselves on Mallorca.
The newspaper had not forgotten the headlines predicting British tourists would have Mediterranean beaches to themselves this summer when the UK was far ahead in the vaccine race over the winter.
In what Bild gleefully described as a “twist in the towel war”, Britain’s continuing travel restrictions mean it has squandered this lead even as Germany has reopened travel to most of Europe.
More than 400,000 Germans landed in Mallorca last month, compared to just 6,000 Britons.
To add insult to injury, Germans have been allowed to travel to Mallorca without the need to self-isolate on return since March, when it was still illegal for Brits to holiday abroad.
Germany has since opened travel to most of Europe, adding Greece, France and most of mainland Spain to its Green List on Friday, where they join Portugal and Italy.
While Britons contemplating a trip to any of these destinations facing forking out for a PCR test kit and self-isolating for ten days, all Germans need is a single negative PCR test before boarding their flight home.
And if they travel by land — the Italian coast is just six hours’ drive from Munich — they don’t even need a test to get home.
Even for those few European destinations that make Germany’s Amber List, the rules still aren’t as tough as Britain’s.
The German system has an intermediate Low Risk category for destinations such as Andalucia, which allows returning holidaymakers to end their self-isolation at any time with a negative PCR test.
In fact, just about the only place in Europe Germans can’t travel easily is the UK, which is currently on the country’s Red List over fears of the Indian variant.
Helge Braun, Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, on Friday urged Germans not to risk travelling to London for any Euro football championship matches.