Asian woman, holding a globe. Photo of Clara Wang Photography by MikiFoto + Co. Where to Go in 2021 – Must-Visit Destinations of the Year

Photo of Clara Wang Photography by MikiFoto + Co

Published on Jan 5, 2021 / Updated on Jan 23, 2021

The world awaits, and we are all excited for a brighter 2021 ahead. If you’re like many of us who can’t wait to book a trip someplace, we’ve got a growing list of must-see, must-visit places. I can speak for my family and some of my clients when I say that at any given moment, we have at least 3-4 trips planned. I am always ready to book that flight and reserve that next hotel room (but my husband is the voice of reason who keeps me grounded). 

While we wait for the destinations we want to visit to reopen, we can take the time and enjoy the other exciting aspect of travel – learning about the places and cultures we want to visit, get insights from locals on hidden gems, and enjoy the thrill of watching it all come together. Of course, if you hate the planning aspect of travel, I can help by taking that off your plate entirely.

There are a lot of ideas and lists for 2021 and posts about “revenge travel,” the hottest, most Instagram-worthy destinations (if you’re into that sort of thing). I want to give you some great ideas on where to go in 2021 – our must-visit destinations list.

Please note that as of Jan 26, 2021 this new requirement is going into effect – Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States. Click here for more info from CDC.

A boy on the beach in Anguilla, blue water, pristine beach for kids, family vacation beach.

My son on the beach in Anguilla

Where to Go in 2021 – Must-Visit Destinations of the Year Blue waters, white sand, and tropical breezes 

How about Anguilla, Antigua or St. Lucia? Brilliantly white sand beaches, pristine tropical landscapes, and incredibly turquoise waters beckon. My team and I have had the pleasure of visiting all of these islands and can recommend a great resort within your budget for a beach-friendly family adventure or a romantic getaway. 

Hot springs pool in a hotel at the base of Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica

Hot springs pool in a hotel at the base of Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica

Sea lion swimming underwater in San Cristobal Island, Galapagos Islands

Sea lion swimming underwater in San Cristobal Island, Galapagos Islands

Where to Go in 2021 – Must-Visit Destinations of the Year – Making the whole family happy with an eco-adventure

Costa Rica is a fantastic, family-friendly destination that’s a short flight from the mainland US. Lush rainforests, jungle trekking, wildlife watching, volcano views and hot springs offer so much fun and excitement for the whole family. Costa Rica tourism has always been known as a pioneer in sustainability, preserving natural habitats, wildlife, and flora. 

If you’re feeling even more adventurous, head to the Galapagos Islands to experience snorkeling with sea lions, sharks, and rays. Summit a volcano, admire giant tortoises in their natural habitat, see the lava tunnels, or simply enjoy taking in incredible views – face-to-face with penguins or other incredible wildlife. Enjoy a visit to Tortuga Bay, one of the largest and most beautiful white sand beaches that you can visit on the Galapagos Islands.

 

Santorini view over Caldera in Oia

Santorini view over Caldera in Oia

Napali Coast, Kauai

Napali Coast, Kauai

Where to Go in 2021 – Must-Visit Destinations of the Year – Sunsets and dazzling views

Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Island of Hawaii (also known as the Big Island), which happens to contain two active volcanoes—Mauna Loa and Kīlauea. Tackle more than 100 miles of hiking trails through the park and take an epic road trip around the whole island to visit a black sand beach and some of the world’s top snorkeling destinations. For a romantic dinner, enjoy a private luau with incredible sunset views and delicious local fare. 

I can tell you from personal experience that sunsets on Hawaii are unrivaled, perhaps only matched by those of Oia, on Santorini, Greece. The main island of Santorini is split into picturesque villages, masterly painted in dazzling blue and white hues, outlining the island’s multi-faceted personality and its extraordinary variety of landscapes. On Santorini, you can take a scenic coast cruise, opt for a tour to visit the volcano and the hot springs, or just enjoy the famous sunset in Oia. 

Northern lights in Iceland, Aurora Borealis

Northern lights in Iceland, Aurora Borealis

Norway, View of Fjords

Norway, View of Fjords

Train Flam to Myrdal through Norway Fjords

Train Flam to Myrdal through Norway Fjords

Where to Go in 2021 – Must-Visit Destinations of the Year – Northern Lights and winter activities

If you love the idea of trekking through the snow, polar expeditions and reindeer sleigh rides, Iceland may be just what you need. With a snowy landscape, relatively high probability of seeing the Northern Lights, and charming winter festivals, you are certainly in for a treat in Iceland. Reykjavík sits at the termination of the Atlantic Current, making the city’s climate much more temperate than expected. Enjoy snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) tours, and a visit to a traditional Icelandic village. Or, visit Norway‘s most beautiful fjord scenery, experience the picturesque Flåm Railway among steep mountains or take a fjord cruise in Oslo. Bergen is a European City of Culture and its many museums and art galleries are well worth a visit. Dog sledding and winter kayaking are a fun experience in the winter, as well. 

A couple in a fancy restaurant, holding champagne glasses, Michelin star restaurant, fancy romantic dinner.

San Marino at sunset

San Marino at sunset, captured by me on my last trip to Italy

Medieval streets of San Marino

Medieval streets of San Marino, captured by me on my last trip to Italy

Luxury sports car in front of a fancy house, chateau in Italy, Motor Valley

Motor Valley, Italy

Where to Go in 2021 – Must-Visit Destinations of the Year – Culinary adventures, Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury cars

For a really off-the-beaten-path destination, check out the tiny Republic of San Marino, the world’s oldest republic nestled in and surrounded by the northeastern part of Italy. Walk around the heart of San Marino’s historic center, shop at some of the boutiques and artisanal shops, and dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant that boasts one of the most breathtaking terraces in all of Italy. 

Venture into Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, which is a cultural and culinary center of Italy, popular for cities like Bologna, Parma and Modena, and is also the home of premier automotive companies such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Pagani, De Tomaso, Dallara, and Ducati. 

Romantic dinner in a restaurant in Paris, view of Eiffel tower, candles, flowers, Paris vacation, anniversary dinner.

Romantic dinner in a restaurant in Paris with a view of the Eiffel tower

Bernina Express, Scenic Train Experience in Switzerland

Bernina Express, Scenic Train Experience in Switzerland

Where to Go in 2021 – Must-Visit Destinations of the Year – Romantic getaways for couples 

Few places are as romantic as Paris for a quick getaway, engagement destination or a wedding anniversary. Stroll along the Seine, take a dinner cruise or enjoy a romantic candle-lit meal with views of the Eiffel Tower. Fall in love with the small Parisian streets, local cafes and artsy, bohemian culture. 

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of metropolitan European cities for a romantic getaway, you can enjoy private accommodations in Switzerland, a mountainous Central European country, home to numerous lakes, villages, and the high peaks of the Alps. Take the Mount Pilatus cogwheel railway, from Lucerne to the Pilatus summit for truly breathtaking mountain views. Enjoy delicious Swiss chocolate, try the famous cheese fondue, and surprise your partner with a vast selection of Swiss-made luxury watches and jewelry. 

No matter where in the world we plan to travel to in 2021 and beyond, we do so with a renewed sense of gratitude, appreciation, and hope. 2020 has taught us to be more patient, kinder to one another, and to take a moment to enjoy all of life’s luxuries to the fullest. Travel is the greatest luxury of all, it allows us to get closer to one another through new, shared experiences and to build memories that will last a lifetime. That’s something that we can all agree on.  

Image of a family at the airport looking at a plane through the window

Where to Go in 2021 - Must-Visit Destinations of the Year