After two years of complete closures, stay at home orders, and limited travel, countries around the world are quickly opening up their borders to eager travellers.
India has also been following suit: at the end of March 2022, the country’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation reinstated international passenger flights, and routes have almost been restored to pre-pandemic levels.
With so many countries opening their borders and airline routes being renewed, now is the perfect time to consider traveling abroad once again. The only question remains — Where can Indian citizens travel now?
The answer is quite surprising: more than 150 countries await!
If you’ve been dreaming about jet setting off to an exotic locale, this guide will go over some of the best countries that are open to Indian tourists, what to do there, and much more.
The Caucasus: Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia
For a complete change of scenery — sprinkled with delicious gastronomy, awe-inspiring landscapes, and thousands of years of history — look no further than the Caucasus.
The three countries that make up the Caucasus region — Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia — all have an electronic visa scheme for Indian nationals. In fact, filling out the form (such as the ASAN eVisa application from India) should only take 15 minutes, and the processing time is usually instantaneous.
Some of the most popular attractions in the Caucasus include exploring traditional ruins (such as Vardiza in Georgia, a complex network of caves and cellars); hiking along legendary routes (Mount Aragats in Armenia); and relaxing along Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea coast.
Europe: A Classic Destination
Indians who have a valid tourist visa can finally use it to explore the classic art museums of Italy, charming cobblestone streets of France, or marvel at the futuristic cities in Germany.
Best of all, the majority of European countries have lifted most (or all) coronavirus restrictions! For example, Italy no longer requires travellers, regardless of their country of origin, to hold a valid vaccination record or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
In fact, there are only a few countries that still have coronavirus restrictions. For example, Malta requires visitors to have proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test result. Other countries with entry restrictions include France, the Netherlands, and Luxemburg, but mainly for unvaccinated travellers.
No visa? No problem!
There are two countries in Europe, Serbia and Albania, that allow visa-free access for Indian citizens. Serbia is famed for its unspoiled nature and metropolitan-like capital (Belgrade), while Albania has more than 120 kilometres of pristine coastline and Communist-era museums.
Asia: Plenty of Restriction-Free Options
Southeast Asia, which is one of the most popular regions for travel and tourism, had many countries that recently opened to international tourism.
Some of the latest developments include Indonesia (reopened in January 2022), Thailand (April 1), and Laos (May 2022).
For something a little closer, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, India’s nearby neighbours, have also reopened. In fact, the Maldives were one of the first countries to reopen to international tourism all the way back in summer 2020!
Tourists are allowed to enter the Maldives without the need for quarantine or COVID-19 tests, although the Ministry of Health recommends that travellers undertake a PCR test within 3 to 5 days of arrival just in case.
Sri Lanka was also a leader in reopening its borders during the pandemic, and required a slew of requirements before arrival, including two COVID-19 tests (pre- and post-arrival), a minimum number of days in the country, and only staying at accommodations that were pre-approved by the government.
However, there are no entry requirements for Sri Lanka any more, and travellers may freely enter the country without any worries.