Original article from Kent Live
Last week the government announced its traffic light system for travel abroad as lockdown restrictions begin to lift.
From Monday (May 17), international travel will be made legal again and we can begin to think about potential summer holidays.
For now, options remain limited with green lighted countries limited to Portugal, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Iceland, amongst a few other niche options.
As the global vaccine rollout continues, more and more destinations are expected to be added to the green list.
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It means that Brits may be able to look further than staycations on the country's shores for their getaways this summer.
That said, over the last 16 months, many Kent locals have fostered a newfound appreciation for what they can find on their doorstep.
Seeing that every town in the county is twinned with another across the continent, KentLive casts an eye over the siblings in question to see if they live up to what we have back at home.
Most towns do have multiple twins, in which cases we have just explored one.
Ashford – Bad Munstereifel, Germany
On paper, the fact that Ashford is twinned with somewhere which starts with 'Bad' doesn't seem the most complimentary.
The town has been twinned with Bad Munstereifel since 1964, although unofficial connections are said to have been made much earlier.
Despite its name, Bad tends to be a very good place for tourists.
The historical spa town is found in the North-West of Germany and is one of only a few historical towns in its region.
Bad is in the Eifel mountain range and has medieval history running through it.
Today, you can explore the 13th-century city walls, there's a castle with a restaurant inside and some picturesque old architecture too.
Canterbury – Vladimir, Russia
Kent's historic Canterbury is twinned with the lesser-known city of Vladimir in Russia.
It's 180 km north-east of Moscow and is known for its architecture and ancient buildings.
In the same way that Canterbury has a history stretching a long way into the past – think The Canterbury Tales – Vladimir was founded all the way back in 990 by Prince Vladimir.
Tourists visit the city of Vladimir for its temples, cathedrals and monasteries.
It also has a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including its two Russian Orthodox cathedrals and a monastery.
Chatham – Valenciennes, France
You can actually drive from Kent's Chatham to its twinned city of Valenciennes in France in three and a half hours.
The French city is located in the North-East of the country, a short trip over the channel.
Valenciennes is a great place to visit for art lovers.
It's nicknamed the Athens of the North and is the birthplace of artists Antoine Watteau, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux and Henri Harpignies.
Much of their work can be seen in the city's Museum of Fine Arts.
Dartford – Hanau, Germany
Dartford and twinned town Hanau became a pair as they are both transport centres.
Dartford is known for the Dartford Crossing over the River Thames and Hanau in Germany is a major railway junction that sits on the port of the River Main.
The town lost much of its architectural heritage in World War II when it was targeted by air raids.
Today it offers a fantastic wildlife park and a respected local market.
Dover – Calais, France
Some siblings stay closer than others growing up and these two twins are as close as can be.
Kent's Dover is very unsurprisingly twinned with Calais.
The two look over at each other across the English Channel and can even be visible from one coast to the other on a clear day.
Both are known for their ports, but there's plenty of other activities to do in Calais too.
There are fantastic walks along the coast to take in and some big retail outlets targeted at shoppers coming across the Channel.
Folkestone – Middelburg, Netherlands
Both Folkestone and Middelburg share a fishing heritage.
The Dutch city is also famous for its role in the Golden Age of Dutch science and technology progress, becoming a centre for lens crafting.
Middelburg is said to be very charming and is revered for its longstanding traditions.
There are canalside houses to visit with winding alleyways and a gothic town hall.
Maidstone – Beauvais, France
Beauvais, the twin of Maidstone, is another French city that was hit hard during the war.
Situated just 75 kilometres north of Paris, much of the old city was destroyed during the conflict.
Nonetheless, there's still plenty for tourists to do today.
Art history museum MUDO was one an episcopal palace, the city's grand cathedral still stands with a grand Gothic facade and there's plenty to be learnt about Beauvais' tapestry-making history.
Margate – Yalta, Ukraine
You might not find any of Margate's top tier fish and chip shops in Yalta, but what the two do have in common is a popular seafront.
Yalta is also known as a resort city which was founded by Greek settlers looking for a safe shore way back when.
The Ukrainian city is loved for its fresh air which comes from its landscape of seaside and forests.
As well as the beach, there are museums, wineries and old churches to visit in Yalta.
Ramsgate – Frederikssund, Denmark
Seaside town Ramsgate has a twin who is a bit of a mouthful.
Frederikssund in Denmark is less than half the size of Ramsgate when it comes to population, with just 16,000 inhabitants compared to Ramsgate's 40,000.
The Danish town has become famous for its annual Viking Games, which look just as bizarre as they sound.
There's also the J.F. Willumsen art museum and a large outdoor theatre.
Royal Tunbridge Wells – Wiesbaden, Germany
The picturesque Royal Tunbridge Wells is twinned with the equally picturesque Wiesbaden in Germany.
Wiesbaden is one of the oldest spa towns in Europe and its name translates to 'meadow baths' in English – a nod to its famous hot springs.
It's also known globally for its architecture and climate.
The Wiesbaden Casino is one particular grand structure which is thought to rival that of Monaco in France.