With the vaccine already being rolled out and a few countries tentatively reopening their borders (sorry UK), it’s almost safe to say that we can dream of travel again! Though it may not be until the later part of 2021, planning for an end-of-summer vacation may very well be on the cards – and does it ever hurt to get planning? Here are the hottest destinations for 2021 that we are loving:
Spain – Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage
We’ve all been stuck in the house all year, so why not get back to fitness with this gruelling month-long Spanish walking pilgrimage. No? Fair enough, but how about tackling a section of it, such as from Sarria to Camino Frances. Stretching 100km and taking between 5-7 days depending on your fitness level, this cut-down version of the pilgrimage perfectly captures its natural beauty and open countryside. As a traditionally solitary journey, this trip works perfectly in a social-distancing world, yet there is still plenty of opportunity to rub shoulders (figuratively) with other travellers, and swap stories on the road. Plus, this stretch still qualifies you for your official ‘pilgrim’s certificate’!
Brazil – Rio de Janeiro
Brazil reopened its borders to all in the Spring and is seeing no indications of reversal. Provided tourists receive a negative PCR test, the country is open to all international tourists and free to explore once again, without quarantine. For those craving a return to bustling city life, where better than Rio? With its turquoise beaches and buzzing seaside bars in areas such as Copacabana and Ipanema, Rio is the place to rediscover the rhythm for life and escape the grim monotony of 2020. Get dancing to some samba, shake off your blues at Carnival and get lost in this vibrant South American city.
Turkey – Cappadocia
Turkey is another country with fairly relaxed entry requirements. As a country that was already experiencing a surge in tourism over the past few years, now might be the perfect chance to explore whilst general tourist levels remain low. Regions such as the Cappadocia Scenic Area are full of once booked-out luxury hotels waiting to be booked again, located within a picture-perfect region of stunning natural beauty. Enjoy a lavish sunrise breakfast on a roof terrace, go up in a hot air balloon and discover local history of cave-dwelling in this unique “moonlike” landscape.
Peru – Machu Picchu
Following the thought process of places-once-too-crowded-to-enjoy, perhaps this is the year you finally make that trip to Machu Picchu? As one of the modern wonders of the world, this is an absolute must on anyone’s bucket list and now available at a fraction of the crowds! Shake off a bad year with a renewing mountain trek, reflect on the genius of those who lived so many centuries ago and drink in some of the world’s most magnificent natural beauty.
Iceland – Westfjord Way
After a year to reflect on the impact of our behaviour in the world, why not make your 2021 resolution to travel sustainably from now on? From strict fines for those who damage the natural environment, to electric car charging stations built all over the country, Iceland is pioneering innovative sustainable tourism strategies and working to conserve its bountiful natural resources. Explore the snow-capped mountains, striking black sand beaches and invigorating thermal baths in this spectacular country, while supporting environmental conservation, and feel good about your adventures in the great outdoors.
Your Own Country
This final one may seem a little dull, but it can also be an opportunity. No doubt our relationship with the deadly rona is anything but over as we move into 2021, much as we wish it was. For that reason, it is vital we don’t start to slack on our collective effort and continue to control our movement worldwide. From staycations to those local landmarks that we never got round to ticking off, there is likely plenty we can still enjoy inside our own borders. Sometimes an adventure comes not from where you go but what you do and who with. A road trip to the next city might not seem as exciting as traversing the Icelandic fjords, but the right company (and road trip playlist) can be just as memorable. Sometimes it just takes a little creativity, and an unexpected adventure, to find gold.