This year’s been one hell of a #coronacoaster ride. Undoubtedly, one of the most frustrating elements has been our inability to travel. When will this be over (we cry)??
Although there’s lots of uncertainty right now what we are certain of is the fact travel isn’t going anywhere. Our thirst for adventure, our curiosity for what’s new and unknown, our love of people, places and culture – it’s still bubbling away inside, with greater temerity than ever.
We’ve pulled together a list of some of the best places to travel in 2021, with destinations from all corners of the globe, so you can immerse yourself into the excitement of dreaming big and booking your next epic adventure. You’ve well and truly earned it.
10. Greek Island Hopping
There’s not much to dislike about Greece so that’s why it makes perfect sense to hop around and see as much of it as you can. With its charming villages, turquoise waters and stark-white sandy beaches, the only thing you’ll wish is that you had more time here. This trip combines the best of it all with sunning, socialising and explorations of the Greek ruins and its history. With Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Ios and Athens in the mix, it’s got some of the country’s best places to visit – plus, with our brilliant cruise add-ons, you get to see even more of the Islands. Prepare to leave sated, sun-kissed and salty.
9. Highlands Hiking in Scotland
Our epic new Highlands Hiking trip brings you six days of activity and adventure, set against the backdrop of Scotland’s rugged landscape. Your phone signal might be limited but your itinerary will be jam-packed. Enjoy guided hikes through the Scottish Highlands, a cruise along the Loch Ness, and evenings rounded off with revelry, dance and music in the old towns. Similarly, you’ll get a flavour for all its local delicacies – from the legendary haggis (do you dare?), to neeps and tatties, washed down with a wee dram of Scotland’s finest whiskey. You’ll leave this trip windswept, refreshed and ready for more, which is what makes this place on the best places to travel in 2021.
8. Iceland Fire & Ice
If you’re looking to escape to the wilderness next year this trip might just be it. Fire & Ice guides you through the striking city of Reykjavik, introducing you to the dramatic Nordic landscape with its hot springs, volcanoes, waterfalls and gigantic glaciers. You can also enjoy add-ons like the Blue Lagoon dip, a geothermal mineral wonder, and see film locations from the epic Game of Thrones. Finally, you’ll get the chance to take part in our deforestation program and leave your own positive print by planting five new trees before you leave. It’s one of Europe’s best places to travel for its scenery alone.
7. Ayurvedic Wellness Retreat, Sri Lanka
This is one of Contiki’s newest Detour trips and will offer you a truly unique and local experience. What better place to re-centre yourself than in the dreamy coastal town of Anghulla, Sri Lanka? Our Ayurvedic Wellness Retreat introduces you to an ancient form of medicine practice established in India over 3000 years ago. You’ll discover Ayurveda with a local doctor, enjoy healing treatments and therapies over the course of the retreat, then further relax with yoga, massage and meditation each day. You’ll even get the chance to witness baby turtles being released back into the wild. It’s one of the best places to visit if you’re looking to unplug and discover something special.
6. Spain, Morocco & Portugal
We love the colour, charisma and splendour you’ll find in this vibrant triad of countries. Experience two continents in two weeks, enjoying the liveliness of Spain, the magic of Morocco, and the warmth and charm of Portugal. This trip gives you the chance to really get under the skin of each country. There’s flamenco dancing, art and tapas in Madrid. The tagines, historic buildings, and bustle of markets in Marrakech… And the quaint plazas, cobblestone streets and sticky sweet Pastel de Nata in Lisbon. It’s a guide through your senses, an in-depth cultural exploration of new places, with seven incredible world heritage sights to experience along the way. These are some of the best places to travel in 2021.
5. Sail & Cycling in Croatia
Our brand new Sail & Cycling excursion through Croatia is the perfect blend of both activity and relaxation. Weave through ancient olive groves and wine regions on wheels, then soak up the spectacular scenes of the old towns and rocky coast. Additionally, you’ll enjoy morning yoga sessions, lush forest hikes and refreshing swims. Croatia’s well-known for its maritime treats so there’ll be plenty of sailing and cruise-lunches as you explore the islands. After that, with appetites fired up, expect Croatian specialties like fresh seafood and local wine to round off each day. In summary, a total rejuvenation for the mind, body and soul.
4. Cape, Safari & Falls in Africa
The best part about Cape, Safari & Falls is that you don’t have to pick and choose – from seaside to mountains, waterfalls to wilderness, it’s the trip that has it all. You’ll drink in the rugged coastline of Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain, then go off-grid to experience a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife Safari (a major tick off the bucket-list). Sleep under the stars then rise at sunset and, if you’re lucky, maybe catch all the Big Five. After an unforgettable game drive, you’ll head over to Johannasburg to witness the staggering enormity of Victoria Falls up close. No photo will ever quite capture the lived-experience of seeing Africa this way but that doesn’t mean you can’t try!
3. Canada & the Rockies
With its dramatic landscapes and laid-back city vibes, this trip offers some of the best places to visit in Canada (which we also rave about here). You’ll experience North America’s unparalleled mountain range, stay in famous national parks, and see so many majestic lakes and glaciers it’ll make your eyes sore. Nothing provides tonic for the soul quite like being eclipsed by the great expanse of nature and there’ll be no shortage of that on this trip. Similarly, if you’re into thrills, there’s the chance to experience white water rafting along the Fraser River, then mountain climbing and horseback riding. Your alpine adventure winds down in Vancouver, where you’ll have chance to explore the multicultural city and top it off afterwards with an extravagant cruise dinner.
2. North Island Off Grid, New Zealand
Calling all intrepid explorers, this one’s for you. We recently wrote about how much we love New Zealand – now, this trip combines some of our favourite spots, all rolled into one. North Island Off Grid brings you seven solid days of fun and a whole heap of incredible experiences. Surf, stargaze, paddle board, then learn about the Māori tribe and wild conservation projects – and that’s still just scratching the surface. For the foodies there’s also the chance to sample the Chef’s Table dining experience at Blue Duck Station, a 10 course degustation menu, with every ingredient sourced from local land. It’s the ideal place to reset and connect with nature.
1. Southern Soul, USA
There’s nowhere quite like the soulful deep south of America. So, if you’re looking for an authentic, immersive experience, get ready. You’ll begin by diving straight into Dallas, Texas, then visit Austin, Antonio and Houston before the final section of the trip zips you over to the romantic metropolis of New Orleans, with its French and Caribbean influence. The south is famed for its hospitality so expect warm welcomes, before throwing yourself into southern jazz, street jams, riverside strolls and low ‘n’ slow Texan BBQs. It’s a lively celebration of culture, cuisine, music and history in this richly diverse section of the USA. These really are some of the best places to travel in 2021, so grab your calendar and start planning!
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