I fed myself with a huge portion of optimism when I made this list of 10 places to visit in 2021. The current situation allows us at most to dream of such a generous year in terms of travel. But since it doesn’t hurt to plan and we are free to dream …

 

I didn’t want to let the first part of 2021 pass without making 10 recommendations of places that I know for sure you would love to see. Of course, if you haven’t seen them already.

 

These are places where I have been and which I would revisit at any time with great pleasure and with the same enthusiasm that I had the first time I visited them.

 

Will it be safe to travel in 2021? We don’t know yet, but nothing can stop us from adding new destinations to the list and making plans for them, for when it will be possible to travel again.

 

I chose destinations known for their spectacular beaches, fairytale cities, and also lesser-known places.

 

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10 places to visit in 2021

 

Places to visit in 2021: beach destinations

 

1. Algarve, Portugal

 

On the first place in the top places to visit in 2021, I put the Algarve, Portugal, a sunny and affordable destination. But the main reason you should come here is the beaches. In my opinion, here you will find the most beautiful beaches in Europe, and very similar to those in California.

 

The Algarve is the southernmost region in Portugal and has a mild climate at almost any time of year. However, I recommend that you come here in spring and early summer or late summer. The middle of summer can be quite crowded and too hot to handle.

 

Go on boat trips, sunbathe on the white sandy beaches, and admire the spectacular cliffs. The most popular destinations in the Algarve and the places where you will find accommodation, fun, relaxation, and also nightlife to your taste are Albufeira, Portimão, Faro, or Lagos.

 

You can do Algarve without a car, but if you want to explore the areas in detail and enjoy all the scenery on a road trip, it is best to rent a car.

 

The most popular beaches in the Algarve are Benagil, with its amazing dome, and Marinha declared one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Europe but there are still many other gorgeous beaches in the Algarve.

 

Where to stay in Algarve:

 

 

Best activities in Algarve:

 

boat tour to the most spectacular beaches (including Benagil)

half-day safari

Dolphin watching cruise in the Atlantic Ocean

 


READ ALSO: 7 most beautiful beaches in Portugal 


 

2. Key West, USA

 

Nowhere in the continental United States will you feel a holiday vibe like you will in Key West. The last island of the Florida Keys archipelago and the southernmost city in the US is the perfect destination to visit in 2021.

 

Here you will enjoy beaches similar to those in the Caribbean, you will taste the delicious lemon pie, you will walk the streets with pastel houses on foot, and you will dance in the cool pubs on Duval Street.

 

Also, Key West is the home of the famous writer Ernest Hemingway. His home was transformed into a museum and can be visited.

 

Don’t leave Key West before taking a picture of the famous landmark, and especially not before going on a short sunset cruise.

 

Where to stay in Key West:

 

 

Best things to do in Key West:

 

sunset cruise

snorkeling tour and dolphin watching

train ride through the city

parasailing 

3-hour bike tour; key lime dessert included

 


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Named for several years in a row the most beautiful island on earth, Palawan could not miss the list of destinations you should visit in 2021. Although it has enjoyed rising popularity in recent years, the island still retains its naturalness.

 

The most beautiful places to visit in Palawan are El Nido and Coron, with their exotic beaches and lush vegetation, rocky relief, and turquoise lagoons. Spend a few days in each of them and go on the tours arranged locally, which will take you to the most beautiful islands.

 

The cost of these tours is low, but the experience is one that will remain imprinted in your soul and mind forever because Palawan truly deserves the title of the most beautiful island in the world. If you have more time, add Puerto Princesa, Honda Bay, and San Vicente to your itinerary for Palawan.

 

Where to stay in Palawan:

 

 

Best activities in Palawan:

 

visit the Underground River

→ tours of Coron and El Nido

→ visit on the longest beach in Palawan, in San Vicente

→ zip line from El Nido

→ road trip by scooter to the waterfalls in Coron

 


READ ALSO: The best itinerary for a perfect 3 weeks in Palawan, Philippines

 


 

 

4. Mirissa, Sri Lanka

 

One of my beautiful discoveries of 2020 was Sri Lanka, an island country, beautiful in every way and very accessible. I have traveled enough inside it to make a list of the most beautiful places, and I must say that Mirissa is my top.

 

Mirissa is located in the southern part of the country, about two and a half hours from the capital Colombo. So, it is quite easy to reach it, either by bus, train or rented car.

 

In Mirissa you have to spend a few days discovering the paradisiacal beaches. Some famous, others hidden and accessible after a few hours of hiking through the palm groves, with playful monkeys and households with chickens in the wild.

 

My favorites are Secret Beach and Coconut tree spot. Mirissa is a real paradise for surfers; the Indian Ocean forms here perfect waves for practicing this sport.

 

If you have several days to spend in the area, maybe you should also visit Galle Fort, an old town with a European vibe, built by Portuguese explorers in 1588.

 

And for extra adrenaline, go on a safari to Yala National Park. 7 days in Sri Lanka are enough to tick all these experiences.

 

Where to stay in Mirissa, Sri Lanka:

 

Best things to do in Mirissa, Sri Lanka:

whale watching

→ Mirissa Beach, Polhena Beach, Weligama Beach

→ visit the snake farm

 


READ ALSO: One week in Sri Lanka itinerary


 

 

5. Costa Brava, Spania

 

Costa Brava seems to be an underestimated destination when it comes to places to visit in Europe. Located in the northeast of Catalonia, just one hour from Barcelona, Costa Brava has a lot to offer.

 

From beautiful beaches, turquoise bays, rugged terrain, and colorful fishing towns with cobbled streets, to nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, terraces, street parties, and shows. In a word, Costa Brava means life.

 

Where to stay in Costa Brava:

 

 

Must-do in Costa Brava:

 

scuba diving in Tossa de Mar

4 hours cruise – lunch included

exploring the hidden beaches of the Costa Brava, departing from Barcelona

 


READ ALSO: 3 gorgeous towns to visit in Costa Brava, Spania


 

 

Less known places to visit in 2021

 

6. Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia

 

I visited Saudi Arabia in 2020. Unfortunately, I only managed to visit a small portion of the Eastern Province.

 

This is the largest province in KSA, covering the entire coast along the Arabian Gulf and including several large cities, deserts, and oases. Al-Sharqiyyah, as it is also called, has many neighbors. So, from North to South, the Eastern Province borders Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.

 

The largest oil reserves in Saudi Arabia are in the Eastern Province. Therefore, the cities here have developed a lot and created business opportunities and jobs for residents and ex-pats.

 

Dammam is the capital of the Eastern Province and the place where you should establish your base if you want to explore the area. It’s a huge city, with many hotels, restaurants, parks, and beaches.

 

The most popular places to visit in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia are the oasis of Al Hasa, a huge territory full of dates trees, in the middle of the desert, Dammam and Al Khobar Corniche, Jawatha Park, Half Moon Bay, Al Jubail, King Abdullah Environmental Park and more.

 

Where to stay in Dammam and Al Khobar, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia:

 

 

Best activities in the Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia:

 

→ visit the Qaisariah souq in Hofuf

→ walk through King Abdullah Environmental Park

→ Half Moon beach

→ oasis Al Hasa

→ shopping in Dammam

→ Arabic dinner in Al Khobar

 

 

Places to visit in 2021: mountain resorts

 

7. Sinaia, Romania

 

I might have been a little subjective when I chose to include Sinaia in the top of places to visit in 2021. It’ is a beautiful mountain resort, with fairytale landscapes, a place where you will admire one of the most beautiful castles in the world: Peles Castle.

 

The resort is quite close to the capital, and the train takes about 2 hours to Sinaia. So, you can easily visit the city in one day, as I have done so many times. In fact, it seems to be the best getaway from Bucharest.

 

The town is in full development, unlike other mountain resorts in the country. The streets, hotels, and chalets built in recent years look very good, and this contributes significantly to the popularity of Sinaia among tourists lately.

 

There are two gondolas in Sinaia, but for a better experience, I recommend the new gondola. You can even find chalets quite close to the altitude of 1400 meters, and you can take the gondola up to an altitude of 2000 meters. It’s well worth it, the experience is fantastic!

 

Where to stay in Sinaia:

 

 

Best things to do in Sinaia:

 

guided tour of Peles Castle

→ the train exhibition 

→ Sinaia Monastery

→ The casino in Sinaia

→ George Enescu museum

 

 


READ ALSO: A quick guide to Sinaia, Romania


 

 

 

Places to visit in 2021: Cities

 

8. Rio de Janeiro

 

Although Rio de Janeiro is considered a dangerous city, my experience in the Brazilian metropolis was everything but dangerous.

 

Of course, this does not mean that the rumors are completely unfounded, but you may have a pleasant and safe journey in Rio.

 

Besides the charming relief, with high ridges, the Tijuca forest in the middle of the city, and its fascinating wilderness, Rio de Janeiro has some tourist attractions that you should not miss.

 

The Botanical Garden and the alleys bordered by the most beautiful palm trees, the statue of Jesus on top of Mount Corcovado, the panorama from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, the Selaron steps, and the Royal Portuguese Reading Room library are just a few of them.

 

Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro:

 

 

Best things to do in Rio de Janeiro:

 

visit Sugarloaf Mountain

half-day tour in favela Rocinha

hike to Pedra do Gavea

helicopter tour

 


READ ALSO:

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9. Fes, Morocco

 

As I said in the article dedicated to this city, if you are looking for some of the most authentic places in Morocco, then you must visit Fes.

 

Imperial city and former capital of the country, Fes will offer you labyrinthine bazaars to get lost in, strong aromas, color, dances, hookah smoke, donkeys, narrow dusty streets, and many spices.

 

It was founded in the 8th century, and its medina, which is still very well preserved, is the largest in the world. It is said to have over 10,000 streets. WOW!

 

One thing I appreciate is that cars do not have access inside, so the view and pictures you will take here will not be blocked by these elements of the modern world and will keep their old, authentic air.

 

The most famous and Instagramable place in Fes is the Choura tannery. I recommend that you stock up on plenty of mints leaves to deal with the smell. I also think it’s a must to stay in a riad when you visit Fes. Thus, you will have a complete experience.

 

Where to stay in Fes, Maroc:

 

 

Best things to do in Fes, Maroc:

 

guided tour in the Medina of Fes

cooking class 

crafting tour

one day trip to Sefrou and Bhalil

 


READ ALSO: 14 things to do in Fes, Maroc


 

 

10. Florence, Italy

 

Florence is an open-air museum, a city located in the heart of Tuscany, thousands of years old. Florence or Firenze is recognized as the city with the highest concentration of art in the world.

 

The Medici family had a huge contribution to this, collecting thousands of pieces of art. Therefore, Florence had been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 and is often described as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

 

A perfect day in Florence would look something like this: a visit to the Uffizi Gallery, a pizza and gelato break in Piazza Della Signoria, climbing to the top of the Santa Maria del Fiore dome, and crossing the bridge over the river Arno at sunset.

 

Where to stay in Florenta:

 

 

Must-do in Florence:

 

visit Uffizi Gallery

Santa Maria del Fiore

food walking tour

 


READ ALSO: One day in Florence, Italy


 

 

 

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