Travel Destinations for 2021
By Shafiya Nawzer
There is no doubt that 2020 has gone by. With the year 2020 all but ruled out for international travel, it is time to start looking ahead to the future. This year the world took a breath and travel had to reinvent itself. After the colossal earth-shake of the pandemic, what’s certain is that we’re going to be travelling more thoughtfully from here on.
It is time to start considering where to travel in 2021; perhaps more gleefully. We will think harder about how our journeys affect local communities and do more research into where our money is best spent. And while the way we travel might change, what we want from our precious holidays is, and will always remain, the same.
Travel is going to look at different post-corona virus, but this may not be a bad thing. Cities that were once crowded will suddenly are enjoyable again, though it is likely many travellers will opt for more isolated escapes. But no matter what, we will be back in the skies next year. So the question becomes, where should you travel in 2021?
The land of the long white cloud has plenty to offer, from great outdoor adventures like road-cycling, mountain-biking, hiking and skiing. With great people, a good range of accommodation options and peace of mind in terms of medical care and coronavirus caseload.
Later in 2021 when country borders open up for all, New Zealand holds plenty of appeal for its isolated escapes where crowds aren’t an issue. New Zealand’s upper isle is an underrated delight of contrasting landscapes and urban adventures. The scenery varies widely from geothermal geysers and bubbling mud pools, to luxurious white-sand beaches, to bustling cities and vibrant towns.
Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in Tongariro National Park. Consistently voted one of the best day hikes in the world, you won’t be disappointed by the unique volcanic alpine landscape.
Australians are already allowed to travel intrastate, and within the next few months the entire nation is very likely to be open to residents. There’s much to love about spending your time in Australia; supporting hard-hit businesses, cutting down on unnecessary travel, and getting to know and appreciate the beautiful place.
One of the most sparsely populated regions on the planet, the wild, rugged beauty of Kimberley, Australia feels like a completely different world than you’ll find in cities like Melbourne and Sydney. Located in the country’s North-western region, this was among the first areas of Australia to be settled some 40,000 years ago.
Around 70 per cent of the area is still considered native title land, which was a huge success story for Australia’s indigenous peoples. The region is also jam-packed with natural attractions, including El Questro Wilderness Park, Horizontal Falls, King George River Falls, Mitchell River National Park, Purnululu National Park, and Windjana Gorge National Park. It also includes numerous surrounding islands, including the Buccaneer Archipelago and the Lacepede Islands (a birdwatchers haven).
Santorini in the Greek Islands is one of the first tourist hot spots in Europe to announce they will be opening to travellers on 15 June. If you can reach Santorini by ferry or yacht, this might be a golden opportunity to experience the once populated island almost entirely to yourself. And for 2021, there will be some great specials to be had, resulting in a once expensive holiday suddenly becoming affordable.
With colourful urban centres, sprawling markets, delicious cuisine, and historical Silk Road stops, this hidden gem should be visited soon before the secret’s out! Exploring the impressive turquoise-topped spires and intricate tile work of the Registan in Samarkand, a monument of dazzling architecture. The country remains dotted with spectacular terra cotta domes, mosques dating back centuries and many historic monuments.
The likes of Fiji, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands have been almost entirely spared from the coronavirus pandemic, and these nations, which depend so heavily on the tourism industry.
Warm sun, clear ocean, beaches, culture; what’s not to love? The Pacific Islands have always been popular with Australians, particularly families, and with coronavirus being practically non-existent in these countries; you can expect that attractiveness to remain.
Beloved for its unspoiled natural beauty, Hokkaido is the second-largest and least developed island in Japan. The island is relatively uncrowded by Japanese standards, with around 5.4 million residents in a 32,221 square mile area.
Hokkaido offers an impressive array of untouched wilderness, from alpine fields and primeval forests to brilliant blue caldera lakes and volcano-fed hot springs. So the island naturally attracts its share of outdoor recreation enthusiasts. In warm summers the region’s 11 national and quasi-national parks offer exceptional hiking, cycling, and watching for wildlife (including Asia’s second-largest brown bear population). When winter brings snow from Siberia, Hokkaido becomes a haven for skiers and snowboarders. Its waters are also reputed to produce some of the world’s best seafood.
The Caucasus has been on the up for the past couple of years, with visitor numbers to diverse Georgia booming. This charming country has a huge amount to offer. Its food scene, heaving panoply of honey-drenched baklava, pillowy manti dumplings and wheelbarrow loads of lavash – is up there with Tbilisi’s, and pretty Yerevan is bursting with bookshop cafés and traditional restaurants that look like Old Master paintings.
Sri Lanka may be a small island in the Indian Ocean but that’s the only thing small about it. Formerly known as Ceylon, the island boasts an ancient civilisation, golden sandy beaches with their swaying coconut palms, mountains, and rubber and tea plantations.
While visiting the island, you’ll see colonial architecture from the days when the Portuguese, Dutch, and English ruled. You’ll see lots of elephants, some of which participate in local festivals and, if you’re lucky, perhaps a leopard or two at a wildlife sanctuary.
Full of romantic landscapes, stirring mountains, lush green tea gardens and golden beaches, the island nation of Sri Lanka is nothing short of magnificent. The country has no shortage of beautiful awe-inspiring spots, natural, historic and cultural, each more picture-perfect than the next. From soulful Buddhist monasteries and temples to exotic and impeccable spots rarely explored, Sri Lanka offers everything that makes your escape a memorable one!