Should I cancel my holiday to Corfu and Rhodes? What wildfires mean for your trip

Evacuations are underway as wildfires continue to ravage the Greek islands. But what should you do if you have a holiday booked?

Grace Beard
Written by
Grace Beard
Travel Editor
Tourists are evacuated as huge wildfire rages across Greece's Rhodes island on July 22, 2023
Photograph: Lefty Damian/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

As the European heatwave continues to scorch its way across parts of Europe, extreme temperatures are having catastrophic effects on holiday hotspots in Greece. The heatwave has caused wildfires to ravage the Greek islands of RhodesCorfu and Evia. Over the past week, thousands of holidaymakers are being evacuated from the Greek islands. But what does that mean for those who have an upcoming holiday booked?

Where in Greece islands are the fires?


Corfu began evacuations over the weekend after wildfires hit the island. Fires are predominantly located on the northeast of the island. 


After fires broke out in Rhodesthe Greek government has said that 19,000 people have been evacuated from the island. There are two large wildfires near the inland villages of Eleousa and Laerma.


Four villages in the south of Evia, the second-largest Greek island, were evacuated on Sunday. There are reports of thick smoke and the air being hard to breathe.


There have also been wildfires on the outskirts of the capital, Athens.

Are airlines still flying to Rhodes and Corfu?

UK holiday companies Jet2 and TUI have announced that all upcoming flights and holidays to Rhodes and Corfu have been cancelled. Travel agent Thomas Cook has said its customers with flights booked from Sunday will be able to fly out. Airlines easyJet and British Airways still have flights available to the affected areas but are offering flexibility to customers with existing bookings. Ryanair says its flights are running as normal.

Can I cancel my trip and get a refund?

Those with package holidays should be able to arrange refunds with their holiday providers. It might be more difficult for those who have booked flights and hotels separately, as they would need to check the refund policy with each place they’ve booked with. That being said, here is what we know about the airlines offering refunds or cancellations so far…

Corfu flights

TUI has said that customers can still travel to Corfu, stating that their hotels and resorts are unaffected by the wildfires. However, customers who have flights booked to the island up until Sunday (July 30) can reschedule their trip free of charge. 

British Airways say those with flights booked to Corfu in the next week – until Sunday, July 30 – can change their booking to a later date free of charge.

Ryanair’s flights to Corfu are running as normal and the airline has not released a statement on refunds or cancellations for those travelling to the island/

EasyJet have confirmed that customers with flights booked up to July 29 will be able to change their flights. 

Jet2 has said flights to Corfu will resume as normal from Wednesday (July 26). 

Rhodes flights

TUI has released a statement saying that they have cancelled all flights to Rhodes up to and including Friday (July 28). They have also cancelled holidays for customers whose hotels have been impacted by the fires up to Sunday (July 30). Those with flight-only bookings will be fully refunded. All customers with flights booked up until July 30 will have the option to rebook their trip free of charge.

Jet2 have cancelled all flights to Rhodes until next Sunday (July 30), saying ‘we will be contacting affected customers with regards to their refund and rebooking options’.

Until next Saturday (July 29), easyJet are offering those who have travel booked to or from Rhodes the option to change their booking to a later date or request a flight voucher.

Though Ryanair flights are running as normal to Rhodes, the airline has stated that those with flights booked between July 25-27 can rebook flights on the app free of charge.

Thomas Cook has cancelled holidays to Kiotari and Lardos – the areas of Rhodes most affected by wildfires – until next Monday (July 31), saying it is offering ‘swift refunds’ to those due to travel today. The agency has said it will be in touch with customers booked on flights from Tuesday (July 25).

What is the UK Foreign Office saying?

The UK Foreign Office is urging travellers to follow advice from the Greek emergency services. They also advise British nationals to contact their airline or travel operator to assist with return travel to the UK. They have not yet advised people to avoid travel to Rhodes.

Am I covered by travel insurance?

Most travel insurance policies will pay out once the UK foreign office has officially advised against all travel to the region, and if that advice has come into effect after the time of booking. It can also depend on whether your flight or package is cancelled. If it isn’t cancelled but you decide not to travel, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to claim. Some policies might cover you in certain circumstances – travellers are advised to check with their insurance providers.  

Are there fires anywhere else in Europe?

As well as Greece, the holiday destinations of Corsica, La Palma in the Canary Islands, Sicily, Switzerland and Türkiye have all been impacted by wildfires as a result of the heatwave. Read more about what you should do if you have a trip booked to Sicily.

How long do wildfires usually last in Greece?

The heat is set to peak at 39C by Wednesday (July 26), with temperatures expected to settle again to Greece’s average of 30C later in the week. Despite the drop in temperature, windy conditions could continue to aggravate wildfires, and climate change has led to fires being more unpredictable in recent years. In short, there’s no official answer yet. The Greek Prime Minister on Wednesday (July 26) warned of at least 48 hours of wildfires to come.

Did you see that Acropolis staff are striking after being forced to work in 45C heat?

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