Our Expert Guide to the 25 Best Holiday Destinations 2021

A Plum Guide look at the best spots for this year's holidays

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Cycling along the shore in Tel Aviv, Israel

As we consign the year 2020 to the dustbin (garbage can for you US readers) of history, with its lockdowns and isolation an anathema to the travel industry, it’s time to think forwards and consider the best holiday destinations for 2021. Despite all the horror of the previous year, we at Plum Guide find ourselves in the fortunate position of having homes available for rent in some of the world’s most sought-after areas. With continued uncertainty around lockdowns, we decided to focus on the great outdoors: the one thing that can’t be shut down (yet). So, whether you’re getting away from it all in the Cotswolds or stargazing (the solar kind) in the Joshua Tree National Park, you’ll likely be doing so in total luxury, comfort and serenity (providing you stay with us). We have a great range of coastal delights in the Hamptons and cottages in the mountains of Colorado. Buckle up and get ready to explore the world once more, as 2021 makes for a new dawn.

1) Visit the Joshua Tree National Park

Collection of photos of Joshua Tree, California, USA

Joshua Tree, California, USA

Take on some of the paths in spring and autumn. The Barker Dam Nature Trail is a loop that goes for 1.3 miles (2.1 kilometres), and don't be surprised if you spot coyotes and Bighorn sheep among the wildlife on this route. The Hidden Valley Trail makes for another moderate 1-mile (1.6-kilometre) circle with spectacular vistas of the peaks and troughs, where you can catch the wildflowers in bloom in spring. Take shelter in one of our hand-picked, air-conditioned homes in summer, which is the best time of the year for looking up at the stars. Watch the Perseid Meteor Shower in August, and in Fall, attend the Joshua Tree Music Festival and the Bhakti Festival. In an afternoon, embark on myriad trails, from the Cholla Cactus Garden and the Cottonwood Spring to the Discovery Trail and the Hidden Valley. Watch the rock climbers in winter, when the days are pleasant and the nights cool. Maybe even brave yourself to follow in their footsteps...maybe not.

Joshua Tree, California, USA

Joshua Tree, California, USA

The Mirrored House, Plum Guide home in Joshua Tree

The Mirrored House, Plum Guide home in Joshua Tree

2) Enjoy the countryside in The Cotswolds

Collection of photos of The Cotswolds, England

The Cotswolds, England

‘Olds’ being the operative part of the name, because The Cotswolds is a trip back to an old-world antiquated England, and is definitely one of the best holiday destinations for 2021. Its green, unspoiled countryside is broken up by quaint towns replete with cottages with thatched roofs. Embark on a hike through the Jurassic bedrock of the area, passing through the towns of Bibury, Castle Combe and Tetbury. Get a sense of the local culture through the various markets and visit some of the top attractions, from the spas of Cheltenham and the distillery of Stourton to the railway museum of Cheltenham and the Royal Gardens at Highgrove. Bring the family to the Cotswold Wildlife Park and threaten to leave your little ones there in their natural environment. That’ll keep them quiet.

Castle Combe, The Cotswolds, England

Castle Combe, The Cotswolds, England

Oeil de Boeuf, Plum Guide home in the Cotswolds

Oeil de Boeuf, Plum Guide home in the Cotswolds

3) Live like a star in The Hamptons

Collection of photos of The Hamptons, New York

The Hamptons, New York

We couldn’t tell you what a Hampton is any more than we could a Cotswold. But whatever they are, they’re here, and they’re numerous. This strip at the end of New York is simply one of the most beautiful and exclusive parts of the US, and it’s where all the Hollywood stars go, so you’ll fit right in…probably. With its beaches and coastal walking paths, the area makes for an ideal getaway from the city, and an escape from the oppression of lockdown. Visit the Montauk Lighthouse, the Long Island Aquarium and the Cooper’s Beach among the other highlights. Head to the Ocean Road Beach in Bridgehampton, study the displays in the East Hampton Historical Society and see the animals at the Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge.

Ocean Spray, Plum Guide home in East Hampton, New York

Ocean Spray, Plum Guide home in East Hampton, New York

4) Book a skiing holiday to Colorado

Collection of photos of Colorado, USA

Colorado, USA

You’re spoilt for choice in this large state, with the dramatic backdrop of the Rockies helping make this one of the best holiday destinations for 2021. Go skiing with the movie stars (yes, the same ones we talked about in the Hamptons) at the Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort. Vail, Steamboat Springs and Breckenridge also light up the sky with their resorts and beautiful village centres. Bring your family to Telluride, which has something for everyone, from shopping and top restaurants to ski slopes and spas. In summer, hike up and down the green hills and do that dance from the Sound of Music to feel free and pretty, forgetting everything about the virus-laden preceding year. For a bit of culture (so you can tell your friends back home), head to the Denver Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival and the Boulder International Film Festival.

Winter in Aspen, Colorado

Winter in Aspen, Colorado

Next Level, Plum Guide home in Colorado

Next Level, Plum Guide home in Colorado

5) Stay in a villa in the Canary Islands

Collection of photos of Canary Islands, Spain

Canary Islands, Spain

You're certainly not alone if you still feel slightly anxious about being around large numbers of people, but don't let that stop you from flying. Book a trip out to the Canary Islands and stay in one of our luxury Plum Guide villas, such as Far Out. Embrace your own exotic world as you discover true peace in the infinity pool, and marvel at the views of Lanzarote's not too distant mountains. Everyone is craving a bit of sun in 2021, so get out into the Atlantic and find your home away from home. Work on your tan without having to join hordes of tourists at the beach, and make your friends jealous that they didn't have the same idea.

Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain

Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain

Far Out, Plum Guide home in Spain

Far Out, Plum Guide home in Spain

6) Discover the history of Greece

Collection of photos of Greece

Greece

Attracting 31.3 million tourists in 2019, Greece was one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe before the world came to a stop. And despite a significant Covid-induced decline, welcoming just 6.1 million tourists between January and September in 2020, the Hellenic Republic will undoubtedly thrive again in 2021. Athens alone has enough to keep you busy for days, with the capital city boasting historic monuments such as the Acropolis, the Olympieion, and the Roman Agora, so there really aren’t many better destinations for your 2021 holiday. And with events such as the Feast of St. George, Orthodox Easter, Holy Week and May Day just around the corner, the coming months are among the most important to the majority of the 10.4 million people who populate Greece, so the memories will be truly unforgettable. As well as being a fascinating country however, Greece is also perfect if you’re looking for a quieter holiday, with plenty of beaches available for sun-soaking. Admire the Aegean while working on your tan, and put the stresses of the past year well and truly behind you.

View of the Gods, Plum Guide home in Greece

View of the Gods, Plum Guide home in Greece

7) Book a relaxing trip to Croatia

Collection of photos of Croatia

Croatia

Not only does Croatia have the famous beaches and the unforgettable views, but it also boasts a wide range of luxury Plum Guide homes, so your 2021 holiday will be something seriously special. 7.4 million tourists even thought it was the perfect holiday destination in 2020, despite the pandemic, so with life now beginning to return to normal, Croatia has to be high on your list of potential locations. Whether you plan on putting your feet up at Zlatni Rat Beach, or travelling to the capital Zagreb for a day out, Croatia (the home of the world’s biggest truffle by the way) has you covered. Visit Amphitheatre de Pula or Plitvice Lakes National Park, and discover photo opportunities that you simply will not find anywhere else. Look out to the Adriatic and find yourself wondering if, actually, you might take Croatia up on their new digital nomad visa. Visit in late spring/early summer to celebrate holidays with the 4 million locals, with Labour Day, Statehood Day and Independence Day all between May 1st and June 25th.

Aquaria, Plum Guide home in Croatia

Aquaria, Plum Guide home in Croatia

8) Put the pandemic behind you in Portugal

Collection of photos of Portugal

Portugal

Another European destination, and another one that boasts a huge range of exclusive Plum Guide vacation homes. We really do spoil you, don’t we? Relax in your luxury Portuguese home overlooking the Atlantic with a glass of Port (it would be rude not to) and contemplate staying forever, before remembering you have responsibilities back home (yuck). In 2020, Portugal welcomed 12.4 million tourists despite all the restrictions, and with 2021 looking up, it’s staking a strong claim as the ideal spot for your maiden post-pandemic holiday. Put your feet up at the beaches of Portinho da Arrabida Beach or Praia do Carvalhal, and lose yourself in the sound of the waves crashing to shore. Or, discover the history and impressive architecture of the capital Lisbon, exploring the neighbourhood of Alfama or the historic site of Mosteiro dos Jeronimos. If you travel soon, you’ll also experience the 10.1 million locals celebrating their culture, with Freedom Day (April 25th), Labour Day (May 1st) and Portugal National Day (June 10th) all fast approaching.

Concrete Kingdom, Plum Guide home in Lisbon

Concrete Kingdom, Plum Guide home in Lisbon

9) Explore the countryside in Ireland

Collection of photos of Ireland

Ireland

After welcoming 11.2 million tourists in 2019, Ireland suffered a drop of roughly 50% in 2020, but that doesn’t mean the views and experiences are any less impressive. If you’re travelling to Ireland, you’re not travelling for a beach (presumably), but rather for the incredible views of Killarney National Park, Giant’s Causeway and Skellig Michael (Star Wars fans should recognise that one). Or maybe you’re going to learn about the fascinating history of the country’s troubled past, with attractions such as King John’s Castle and The General Post Office on your list of things to see. Or, maybe you’re just visiting for the whiskey, and there’s no shame in that, as long as you go to the right places. The Irish Whiskey Museum and the Jameson Distillery, both in the capital city Dublin, are two unmissable stops for whiskey lovers, guaranteed to make you irrationally jealous of the 4.9 million people who actually get to call this amazing country home. The national holiday May Day is nearly upon us too, so if you happen to be in Ireland on May 3rd, make sure you have some flowers handy.

Buttercup Hill, Plum Guide home in Ireland

Buttercup Hill, Plum Guide home in Ireland

10) Admire impressive architecture in Germany

Collection of photos of Germany

Germany

With 83.9 million people living in Germany, the home of the bratwurst sausage is the third most populated country in Europe. Quite something, don’t you think? Well that just sets the tone for any holiday to Germany, a country with history and culture coming out of its ears. Admire the remarkable architecture of Munich’s Marienplatz, Neuschwanstein Castle and the Cologne Cathedral, or visit the Signal Iduna Park (one for the football fans), the stadium with the largest grandstand in Europe. Head to the capital city Berlin for a mixture of both fascinating history and enviable photo opportunities, visiting points of interest such as the Reichstag Building, Brandenburg Gate, the Jews of Europe monument and of course what remains of the Berlin Wall. Follow the example of 12.4 million tourists who visited Germany in 2020, and put the pandemic behind you in this bustling location. To experience some traditional German celebrations, travel in spring, with German Beer Day (April 23rd), May Day (May 1st) and Ascension Day (May 13th) all capable of making your trip even more memorable.

Berlin Blues, Plum Guide home in Berlin

Berlin Blues, Plum Guide home in Berlin

11) Take in the traditions of Turkey

Collection of photos of Turkey

Turkey

Turkey recently overtook Germany to become the second most populated country in Europe, behind Russia, with 85 million people now calling it home. We know only 3% of Turkey is actually in Europe, but it still counts (their national football team does also play in the European Championships). Anyway, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s an ideal holiday destination for your 2021 travels regardless of the technicalities. As the 12.7 million tourists who visited in 2020 found, there is for something for everyone in this picturesque country, whether you’re hoping to visit structures such as Dolmabahce Palace, Galata Tower and Anitkabir, or work on your tan at the beaches in Alanya and Oludeniz. Head to the capital city, Ankara, where you can find memorable points of interest such as the Ulucanlar Prison Museum, Ankara Castle and Genclik Park. Visit in spring to experience Turkey’s true culture, with significant traditions such as National Sovereignty & Children’s Day (April 23rd), Labour Day (May 1st) and the Ramadan Feast (May 13th) all falling within a month of each other.

Tempted By The Morning Sun, Plum Guide home in Turkey

Tempted By The Morning Sun, Plum Guide home in Turkey

12) Book a 2021 trip to sunny Cyprus

Collection of photos of Cyprus

Cyprus

With a population of just 1.2 million people, Cyprus is one of the least populated countries featured in our list of top destinations for your 2021 holiday, but that just means more sun for you. Having welcomed just 512,000 tourists between January and September in 2020, Cyprus could be the place for a slightly quieter trip too, with many holidayers still uncertain about travelling abroad. If you want beaches though, you need to get out of the country, and where better to land than Cyprus? The Mediterranean makes for some eye-catching views at 160 different beaches across the island, including Fig Tree Bay, Coral Bay, and Makronissos Beach, all of which have been awarded the blue flag. Cyprus doesn’t just stop at beaches though, offering interesting day trips to places such as Kato Paphos Archaeological Park and Kourion. You can also visit the capital city Nicosia to get your fair share of historical days out, with points of interest such as Buyuk Han, the Cyprus Museum and the A.G. Leventis Gallery all well worth your time. And if you do opt for a holiday to Cyprus in 2021 (which, if you hadn’t gathered already, we definitely recommend), then consider travelling in May to experience the festivities of both Labour Day and Easter Sunday, or travel slightly later if Independence Day celebrations (October 1st) are piquing your interest.

Unlatched, Plum Guide home in Cyprus

Unlatched, Plum Guide home in Cyprus

13) Discover the religious culture of Israel

Collection of photos of Israel

Israel

Home of arguably the holiest city in the world, Israel offers the perfect mixture of culture and climate, but only welcomed 850,000 tourists in 2020, an 81% drop from the previous year. In full flow, Israel is without a doubt one of the top holiday destinations for 2021, with bustling markets dotting the fascinating neighbourhoods and enviable weather making every day the perfect beach day. Speaking of beaches, there’s plenty to choose from if you do fancy a day staring aimlessly out into the Mediterranean, such as Caesarea Beach and Herzliya, both of which are popular with both locals and tourists. And if you’re not already jealous of the 8.7 million people who call Israel home, a trip to Jerusalem will leave you wondering if you do actually ever want to get back on the plane. Widely considered the holiest city in the world, the capital city is bursting with history and culture, with sites such as The Old City of Jerusalem, The Western Wall, Monte das Oliveiras and The Garden Tomb telling more stories than you could ever consume. And if you visit Israel in spring, you can experience the cultural traditions first hand, with Yom Ha'atzmaut (April 14th), Jerusalem Day (May 9th) and Shavuot (May 16th) all among key upcoming dates.

Fishing for Compliments, Plum Guide home in Tel Aviv

Fishing for Compliments, Plum Guide home in Tel Aviv

Relax on the beaches of Tel Aviv

For a 2021 trip full of sun, sand and serenity, you want Tel Aviv. The coastline stretches for more than 14 kilometres along the Mediterranean, and is home to a number of beaches, so take your pick. If you're travelling with a bit of extra baggage (yes, that means the kids), then head down to Frishman Beach where they can have fun in the safer, netted swimming areas. Or really get in and amongst it all at Bograshov Beach, probably the city's most popular, where you'll share the sand with both locals and tourists. As long as you don't forget your matkot equipment, you'll have everything you need. And if you want some evening entertainment, get yourself down to Dolphinarium Beach on a Friday night, where a spontaneous music festival offers the perfect soundtrack to accompany the Tel Aviv sunset.

Anthology, Plum Guide home in Tel Aviv

Anthology, Plum Guide home in Tel Aviv

14) Find fun for all the family in Denmark

Collection of photos of Denmark

Denmark

A 2021 holiday to Denmark is the perfect way to rediscover the world after a year of staring at the same four walls. Unleash your starved social side in the bustling capital city of Copenhagen, where you can fill your boots with trips to places such as Nyhavn, Tivoli Gardens, Rosenborg Castle and the Copenhagen Opera House. Treat the little ones with trips to Legoland in Billund and Universe Adventure Park in Sonderborg, or travel back in time with visits to Hammershus Castle Ruins and the Lindholm Hoeje Museum. More than 7 million tourists visited Denmark in 2020, and we certainly recommend following their lead, with the Nordic country offering enjoyment for the whole family. With a population of 5.8 million people, Denmark is the most densely populated country in Scandinavia, so if you’re hoping for a holiday of mingling with locals, browsing lively markets and just generally forgetting the pandemic ever happened, then this is the destination for you. You will also experience key dates in the Danish calendar such as Great Prayer Day (April 30th), Liberation Day (May 5th) and Ascension Day (May 13th) if you travel soon, so heed our expert advice and book that ticket.

An Apple For The Teacher, Plum Guide home in Copenhagen

An Apple For The Teacher, Plum Guide home in Copenhagen

15) Target your bucket list with a trip to France

Collection of photos of France

France

France is arguably the single best place to visit as a tourist, with 90 million internationals doing so in 2019 before the world was brought to an abrupt stop. In 2020, France lost approximately €61billion, suffering a huge drop in tourism numbers as you’d expect, but with the literal and metaphorical stature of the country’s famous monuments, its streets will once again be buzzing before we know it. In Paris, France has a capital city to rival all capital cities, boasting a number of renowned monuments that populate the bucket lists of people all over the world. From the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the River Seine, to the Louvre, Cathedral Notre-Dame and Saint-Chappelle, Paris is absolutely teeming with unforgettable days out. That being said, Paris isn’t all that France has to offer, with sites like Marseille’s Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, Bordeaux’s Place de la Bourse and Annecy’s Lake Annecy all places that we would recommend a trip too. With a population of 65.3 million people, the country is actually pretty big, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking Paris is the only place you can visit. And don’t forget to completely embrace the food and the culture, with important days such as WWII Victory Day (May 8th), Ascension Day (May 13th) and Bastille Day (July 14th) all fast approaching.

Marble Diva, Plum Guide home in France

Marble Diva, Plum Guide home in France

16) Book an unforgettable trip to Utah

Collection of photos of Utah

Utah

After a record-breaking 2019 in which tourists generated just under $10billion, Utah suffered a drop of approximately 85% in the volume of international visitors in 2020, while the attendance at National Parks also dropped 25%. They will be hoping for a big resurgence in 2021, and with the experiences on offer, Utah should definitely be in your holiday destination considerations for this coming year. Head to the Grand Staircase-Escalante, where not only can you see some remarkable views of Earth at its best, but you can also book a tent for the night with the luxury glamping operator ‘Under Canvas’. Or for some added adventure, head to Park City, the state’s greatest ski town. Rent a bike for a cycling tour of the area, peruse the stalls at the Park Silly Sunday Market, and dine at the Savor The Summit dinner party, where one table sits 2,500 hungry mouths. And if you happen to be in Park City on 4th of July, you’ll have one hell of a day full of music, food, beer, and general celebrations, so make sure you’re not busy. Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City, also offers a range of very recommendable sites, where the photo opportunities will be too good to turn down. Travel out to Big Cottonwood Canyon, Temple Square, Ensign Peak Park and Great Salt Lake, and be the envy of everybody back home. Even the 3.3 million Utah locals will be jealous of your itinerary, and if you time your trip to coincide with significant dates like Thomas Jefferson’s birthday (April 13th), Loyalty Day (May 1st), D-Day (June 6th) and Pioneer Day (July 24th), the holiday will go from memorable to simply unforgettable.

Sunnyside Up, Plum Guide home in Park City

Sunnyside Up, Plum Guide home in Park City

17) Sunbathe with penguins in South Africa

Collection of photos of South Africa

South Africa

Like many countries, South Africa suffered a huge drop in the number of incoming tourists in 2020, with the pandemic preventing the country from welcoming anywhere close to the 10.2 million visitors from 2019. Having said that, with the pandemic now finally drifting away, South Africa should be high on your list of locations for a 2021 holiday. A unique place with 3 capital cities, the southernmost country in Africa (suitably named, right?) is a hub of adventure, and is a great destination for your post-pandemic travels. In Cape Town, explore the imperious Table Mountain, or head to one of the many beaches for a more relaxing stay. Boulder’s Beach is always a good option, not only because of the fun that you and the family can have there, but also because you will share the beach with groups of African penguins. If that’s not the perfect photo opportunity, then what is? In Pretoria, visit the statue of Nelson Mandela, or head to Bloemfontein to visit the Anglo-Boer War Museum. Whichever of the three capital cities you visit, you won’t be disappointed. And if you travel in the next few months, you can experience the 59.8 million South Africans celebrating major national holidays, such as Freedom Day (April 27th), Workers’ Day (May 1st), and Nelson Mandela Day (July 18th).

18) Marvel at the views of Guyana

Collection of photos of Guyana

Guyana

Guyana was another country whose tourism numbers declined dramatically following a rather successful 2019. The small South American country welcomed 315,000 tourists in 2019, but the number of visitors arriving from January to November of 2020 decreased by 98% in comparison to the previous year. With border closures and travel restrictions now gradually disappearing however, Guyana is definitely worth a visit in 2021. The only English-speaking country in South America, Guyana has a population of just over 789,000, despite being almost the same size as the UK. This sparse population means the country remains home to some of the most captivating views and landscapes you are likely to see, whether that’s out in the Iwokrama Rainforest or even just roaming the wild. Visit Kaieteur Falls, watch the sunset from the Essequibo River, and walk up the Awarmie Mountain. Or visit the historic capital city of Georgetown, with St. George’s Cathedral, Stabroek Market and the Guyana National Museum all well worthy of your time. Also, key dates in the Guyanese calendar including Labour Day (May 1st), Independence Day (May 26th) and Caricom Day (July 4th) are approaching, so if you’re able to travel soon, don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the celebrations.

19) Enjoy national celebrations in Mexico

Collection of photos of Mexico

Mexico

For traditional foods and elaborate festivities, there is no better place to visit in 2021 than Mexico. Home to around 130 million people, Mexico welcomed over 23 million tourists in 2020, so if it’s good enough for that many people during a pandemic, imagine how enjoyable it’ll be when Covid is a thing of the past. And if you time your trip to experience the upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebrations, you’ll be left wondering why you’ve never done this before, especially if you spend the day in the city of Puebla. As well as Cinco de Mayo, Holy Week, San Marcos National Fair and Dia del Trabajo are all celebrated in April or May, so visiting in the spring months will ensure you always have an excuse to sip a margarita or two. Mexico isn’t just a big party though, as it is also home to some impressive attractions, especially in the capital Mexico City. Visit Chichen Itza, the Chapultepec Castle, or the Catedral Metropolitana to get your culture-fix, before finding a local bar or restaurant to end the day in style.

20) Leave it all behind in The Caribbean

Collection of photos of The Caribbean

The Caribbean

Discover the Dominican Republic

Rather than going through all 26 Caribbean islands, we thought we’d make it easy for you (as we love to do here at Plum Guide) and narrow it down to three, starting with the Dominican Republic. The biggest of our three choices, the Dominican Republic is home to just shy of 11 million people, as well as plenty of those famous white-sand beaches. Despite the pandemic, the Caribbean nation welcomed 1.8 million tourists between January and October in 2020, which is no surprise really when considering the beauty of the spots it has on offer. Be careful if you’re visiting the capital Santo Domingo though, as although it’s home to beaches like Boca Chica and Juan Dolio, you can also expect a bit of rain. However, that won’t affect the views of The 3 Eyes National Park or 27 Charcos’s waterfalls, so whatever the weather, the Dominican Republic will serve you well. They also celebrate Labour Day on May 1st like many other countries, so you can travel then to be a part of the festivities.

See the sights of Saint Lucia

The second of our chosen Caribbean islands also celebrates Labour Day, but Saint Lucia can’t celebrate the tourism numbers of the Dominican. With a population of around 184,000, Saint Lucia is a much smaller destination for your 2021 holiday, but still has plenty of sandy beaches and views to admire. The Caribbean island welcomed around 451,000 tourists in 2020, and with days out such as Sulphur Springs and the Pigeon Island National Park on offer, that number will surely rise dramatically now the pandemic is fading. You can visit the capital Castries whatever the intention of your trip, with the option to work on your tan at Malabar Beach, or discover traditional carving art at Eudovic’s Art Studio. Stay for Whit Monday (May 24th) and experience the true culture of Saint Lucia.

Book a trip to the British Virgin Islands

You’ll also experience the Whit Monday celebrations in the British Virgin Islands, the third Caribbean nation on our list, as well as Sovereign's Day if you visit in June. With only 30,000 inhabitants, the British Virgin Islands even makes Saint Lucia look big, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great spot for a post-pandemic holiday. Approximately 82,600 tourists deemed it a great spot in 2020 even with the pandemic, and it will only be more enjoyable with the world returning to ‘normal’. As you’d expect from a Caribbean island, the beaches in the British Virgin Islands are as picturesque as you’ll ever find, and the food could easily encourage you to extend your stay. Whether you’re avoiding the crowds at Anegada or meeting the locals in the capital Road Town, there’s no doubt that you’ll encounter both excellent seafood and unmissable photo opportunities. If the Caribbean Sea isn’t the perfect backdrop for a new Facebook picture, then what is?

21) Soak up the sun in the United Arab Emirates

Collection of photos of United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates, or UAE, is on the bucket list for a lot of people, so why not tick it off this year. After a year of sitting at home, your first post-pandemic holiday should be one to remember, and good luck forgetting a trip to Dubai. Whether you’re exploring the Burj Khalifa (the actual tallest building in the world), the Dubai Mall or the Lost Chambers Aquarium, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Or, if Dubai is a bit too mainstream, head to the UAE’s capital city of Abu Dhabi. Boasting the likes of Saadiyat Beach, Corniche Beach and Al Bateen Beach, the hardest decision you’ll have to make will be choosing which sandy strip will be most beneficial for your tan. You might even choose the sandiest strip of them all, and opt for a camel ride in the Al Khatim Desert. After only welcoming 5.5 million tourists in 2020, the UAE is desperate for visitors to return in 2021, so go on. You’re doing it for them (or at least that can be your excuse). Join the 9.9 million locals who populate the third richest country in the world, and experience their religious traditions by travelling for Ramadan (April 13th - May 12th) or the beginning of Hajj (July 17th).

22) Experience unforgettable views in Slovenia

Collection of photos of Slovenia

Slovenia

In 2020, Slovenia welcomed 3.1 million tourists to the country, but only 1.2 million of them were international. That was a huge drop from the 4.7 million international tourists they greeted in 2019, so that number is sure to rise again this coming year. And why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that? Slovenia may not be one of the first destinations that comes to mind when choosing a holiday, but some of the views and trips that you can experience really are up there with the best. Discover Lake Bled and trek the Julian Alps for the photo opportunity of a lifetime, or explore the famous Predjama Castle, the largest cave castle on the planet. Stay in Ljubljana, the capital city, and mingle with the locals at Central Market or Preseren Square, before eating at a local restaurant and penciling in your return for the same time next year. Home to 2 million people, Slovenia is a great location for your 2021 holiday. And travelling in early summer will mean you’re present for national celebrations, with Primoz Trubar Day (June 8th) and Statehood Day (June 25th) just over two weeks apart.

23) Explore the famous deserts of Egypt

Collection of photos of Egypt

Egypt

As just about everyone knows, Egypt is absolutely teeming with history and culture, as well as remarkable sites, so this has to be on our list of the best 2021 holiday destinations. And if you go to Egypt, it’s almost obligatory to go to the Pyramids of Giza. The monument really is a sight to behold, not only for the sheer size of the structures, but for the fascination they evoke as well. There’s not many places in the world that can truly take your breath away, but you could stand staring at these giant blocks of rock for hours, and still leave wanting more. Only 3.5 million tourists visited Egypt in 2020 due to the pandemic, but with normality on its way back, the pyramids will once again be ticked off millions of bucket lists in 2021, including yours. The Egyptian desert is also home to the Great Sphinx and the Valley of the Kings, so if you’re looking for a historical holiday this time around, there’s no better place.

The desert isn’t all that Egypt has to offer though, with the capital city Cairo being home to many a day out. You can visit the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, cruise on the River Nile, discover the culture of Coptic Cairo, or empty your wallet at Cairo Festival City Mall. Or head to the coast and put your feet up at Naama Bay, El Gouna Beach, Soma Bay, or one of the many other sandy hotspots. Whatever it is you hope to get out of your first post-pandemic holiday, Egypt can be the destination for you, and if you’re looking to experience the culture of the 103.7 million locals first hand, time your trip to coincide with upcoming national holidays. Spring dates of significance include Sinai Liberation Day (April 25th), Labour Day (May 1st) and Eid al-Fitr (May 12th).

24) Embark on a cruise to Alaska’s Coast

Collection of photos of Alaska's Coast

Alaska's Coast

In 2019, the state of Alaska welcomed around 2.2 million tourists, 60% of whom arrived via cruises from the Canadian Pacific Coast (just over 1.3 million people). Ironically, this is the same number of people that were left unable to travel to Alaska between May and September of 2020 when the entire cruise season was cancelled. This meant Alaska suffered the same fate as everybody else during the pandemic, experiencing a significant decline in tourist visits and ultimately income. It is likely to be a slow year for tourism in 2021 too, but that definitely doesn’t mean you should disregard the state’s coast when planning your 2021 holiday. In fact, that’s even more reason to opt for this trip, with cruise ships likely to accept a smaller capacity and the coastal towns sure to be much less crowded.

The capital city Juneau sets the tone for great day trips in Alaska, with sites such as Tracy Arm Fjord and the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Centre showcasing the very best of the state’s fascinating coast. Or visit one of the many National Parks that Alaska’s coast has to offer, with Glacier Bay, Misty Fjords, Kenai Fjords and Hubbard Glacier all providing you with unforgettable views. Cruise among the Inian Islands, or explore the less frequently visited outer bays of Dundas Bay or Fern Harbor. And take a trip to Prince William Sound, where you’ll see more active tidewater glaciers than you can find anywhere else on the planet. Experience the traditions of significant dates on the Alaskan calendar by travelling in May, where you’ll time your trip to celebrate Victory in Europe Day (May 8th) and Armed Forces Day (May 15th). Or embark on your trip slightly later in the year (October 18th) to celebrate Alaska Day with the 724,000 locals.

25) Discover rare species in the Amazon Rainforest

Collection of photos of the Amazon Rainforest

Amazon Rainforest

Stretching over 9 different countries, the Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world, said to be home to around 30 million people. The Amazon river contains about 20% of the world’s flowing fresh water, and with at least 10% of the world’s known wildlife population calling the rainforest home, there is no shortage of remarkable sights to see. Most of the Amazon is in Brazil, with its capital city being Manaus, and this is an essential stop on your 2021 holiday to the rainforest. Explore the Teatro Amazonas, or discover the eye-catching Meeting of Waters (the point at which the Amazon river and Rio Negro collide). Take a trip to the Manaus Botanical Garden, or visit CIGS Zoo, the most popular zoo in the city.

Deeper in the rainforest, stay in one of the local houseboats, and visit some of the many indigenous villages that the Amazon houses. Photograph some of the area’s rare endangered species, like the South American Tapir, the Golden Lion Tamarin, the Pink Amazon Dolphin, the Hyacinth Macaw and the White-Cheeked Spider Monkey. You probably won’t find these knocking about at your local zoo. Significant dates in the Brazilian calendar are approaching too, such as Tiradentes Day (April 21st) and Independence Day (September 7th), and with the majority of the rainforest falling on Brazilian turf, you can combine your adventure with celebrations by timing the holiday right. The number of tourists visiting Brazil between January and August in 2020 was 33.6% lower than in 2019, when they welcomed 6.35 million tourists across the entire year, and the Amazon’s tourist count understandably dropped as well. So your 2021 holiday here won’t only make you the envy of all your friends, but it will also provide the area with some greatly appreciated income. Not that you should need much persuading. Just think of all the incredible photos you’ll snap.

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