2021’s top travel destinations
- Credit: Archant
Travel experts at South Woodford’s Abbotts Travel look forward to a year of more mindful, meaningful and memorable travel
As we welcomed in 2020, many of us will have been eagerly anticipating our travel plans for the year ahead, blissfully unaware that within a matter of weeks we would be in the midst of a global pandemic that would change everything. With trips initially cut short and subsequently cancelled, travel was well and truly off the radar as the world locked down.
With the vaccine roll out well under way and jobs and communities dependending on travel taking off again, it’s time to start thinking about your next break. Hopefully, post-Covid, we will all be more mindful about where we travel to and how this impacts the environment. Travellers are also more likely to seek out lesser-known and less-populated locales to avoid crowds.
One of the most challenging aspects of the pandemic has been being unable to see loved ones in person as much as we like, which is why we won’t be taking any time spent with them for granted in 2021. So as bubbles begin to expand, time with family and friends will be even more important to us once this period of separation is over and we will be wanting to reconnect on multi-generational trips making new and lasting memories.
The prediction is that small, close-knit groups travelling to more remote destinations will become the new norm, in addition to private celebratory gatherings in exclusive destinations around the world.
So, whether you’re looking to reconnect with loved ones somewhere exotic or tick off that bucket list item, the destinations featured here have convinced us of their merit, safety and appeal for post-pandemic travel in 2021.
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With low client volumes and plenty of social-distancing space, island destinations are going to be in demand, especially closer to home. Corsica, for example can still feel like something of a hidden gem. An island abundant in natural beauty and fascinating tradition, it’s blessed with an incredible diversity of beaches from intimate hidden coves to magnificent bays and 1000km of coastline, it’s a beach lover’s dream.
Similarly with Sicily, which is a wonderful island influenced not just by Italy but the rich civilisations of the Greeks and Moors, all of whom left their mark on its culture. It offers a highly favourable climate, delicious food and wine, stunning beaches, beautiful and diverse landscapes, and an intoxicating mix of fascinating attractions.
Among the 3,000 inhabited islands of Greece, there is a small group of seven, known as the Eptianissa or Ionian Islands, located just off the western seaboard. One of the world’s most enduring and romantic epic stories, Homer’s Iliad, is centred on these captivating landscapes of rugged mountains, green hills, and the ever-present turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea. Over the centuries these islands have developed their own culture and identity, partly through their periodic occupation by foreign powers but also as a result of their rich natural environment and the intimate association of their inhabitants to the land and the surrounding sea.
The experience of lockdown for families, particularly through the warmer months of 2020, opened many eyes to the opportunities for outdoor fun and trying things together they may not have previously considered. There are some brilliant adventure and outdoor based holiday options that will tick boxes for those who have become inspired by the great outdoors.
Take the Adriatic gem Montenegro, for example, which is smaller than Northern Ireland, cheaper and less visited than neighbouring Croatia, yet bursting with snow-capped mountains, jewel-box lakes, flowing rivers, quaint beach towns and amiable locals. It is nigh on perfect for bikes, hikes, zip-wire adventures and mountain-based holidays for all ages with some excellent itineraries from top activity holiday specialists.
A little further afield, Canada is the epitome of the great outdoor family adventure, especially in a campervan or motorhome. From the coastal scenery of Alberta to the Prairie Provinces with their wheat-filled fields and from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, this country is extravagant in its diversity.
Finally, with some people fortunate to have unused holiday days accrued and carried over, what about those tempting long-haul destinations where having a little extra time to explore can be put to good use.
From river rafting through the jungle and spying sloths in the leafy trees, to zip wiring through the canopy, the abundance of activities makes Costa Rica a family playground. Coined the happiest nation on earth, it’s not hard to see why - dense rainforests, hundreds of colourful bird species and the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans lapping on its shores. The warm climate and beautiful beaches produce the perfect cocktail for a superb year-round destination.
Pristine beaches, a dazzling array of activities, an abundance of wildlife and some of the world’s friendliest people are also what makes Sri Lanka an exciting destination to visit year-round. A string of exciting new hotels alongside the blissful tropical climate, laid-back vibe, fantastic surf, and scenic landscapes makes touring this small island irresistible.
Africa, meanwhile, can boast the world’s greatest safari destinations with South Africa providing options for both independent and group travel. If trying to socially distance in a tour group is a concern, then self-drives around the Big Five in wild sanctuary’s such as Kruger and Addo Elephant National Park are safe options. The Samara Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape has introduced fly-camping experiences for guests travelling in groups of one to six, where a guide and wildlife tracker cook dinner over the fire.
For travel advice, contact Abbotts Travel (based at 134 George Lane, South Woodford E18 1BA) on 020 8989 9445 or via abbottstravel.com