21 places to go in 2021

With that in mind, we’ve assembled a collection of mostly blockbuster destinations that we think are going to be high on your travel wish lists. The 21 places YOU want to go.

These are not the obscure, or undiscovered gems that often populate places-to-go rundowns (although we did throw in a couple of unexpected spots). These are the solid-gold vacation hits that everyone needs right now. Antarctica Antarctica: Making the planet’s southern reaches even more enticing in 2021 is a December 4 solar eclipse that will darken the seventh continent, creating a major event for Antarctic cruise lines to trumpet.

Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images Ponant’s offering also departs on November 30, but for 15 days aboard the first luxury hybrid electric polar-class vessel, Le Commandant-Charcot, starting from $17,790.

For those who are trepidatious about cruising, there are other options, including one from UK-based Red Savannah that transports passengers across the continent via private jet over nine days, for about $100,000. — Brekke Fletcher Canada Canada has a swoon-worthy landscape for every traveler. Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images Disney parks Dubai Dubai is still open for most visitors. Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images The long-awaited Expo 2020 Dubai has been rescheduled for October 2021 through March 2022 and the lavish mega-event is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East. Visitors can expect world-class architecture, spectacular displays and a festival of food.

Also expected next year is the opening of the grandly named Museum of the Future, the calligraphy-adorned facade of which is already an impressive new landmark in a city known for its buildings with wow factor. — Maureen O’Hare Egypt France Rolling fields of lavender or grape vineyards are among highlights of a trip to France.

Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images Ghana Greece Sunset over Greece’s rugged Mani region.

Barry Neild/CNN The charming port of Nafplio, in the Peloponnese region southwest of Athens, is as good a place as any to join in the celebrations — it was modern Greece’s first capital. As well as beaches and nearby ancient sites like the remarkable Epidaurus amphitheater and the imposing ruins of Mycenae, Nafplio has its own attractions, including the hilltop Palamidi fortress, a secluded beach and, especially apt for these times, a museum of worry beads.

Beyond Nafplio, the Peloponnese are worth exploring. Grenada Measuring just 18 kilometers wide and 34 kilometers long, the eastern Caribbean island is made up of sandy beaches, lush rainforests and spectacular waterfalls, but it’s Grenada’s rich character that sets it apart from more well-known tropical destinations.

Although each of its seven parishes has its own very distinct charm and appeal, Grenada’s capital St. George’s, known for its horseshoe-shaped harbor and colorful houses, is undoubtedly the most vibrant and picturesque. Hawaii Hawaii is home to truly extraordinary beaches — and a whole lot more.

Shutterstock Hawaii is underrated. This in spite of its unceasing popularity among travelers.

To be sure, it is a gorgeous place, with breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, and every beach seemingly prettier than the next, but its beauty goes much deeper than its preternatural appearance. But nothing can dim Italy’s attraction, and as restrictions ease, this will be a time to see it at its best. Pre-pandemic, Italy’s art cities were notorious epicenters of overtourism.

But with visitor numbers not expected to return to 2019 levels for several years, for those who can make it safely, 2021 will afford the chance to see the Bel Paese in a way that hasn’t been possible for decades. Japan is hoping to host the rescheduled Summer Olympics in 2021.

Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images Maldives Mexico Travel between the United States and Mexico never really stopped during the pandemic.

Donald Miralle/Getty Images This US neighbor to the south was a respite for many in 2020, in spite of the closure of land borders between the US and Mexico and multiple surges in coronavirus cases.

Air travel into and out of Mexico never really stopped, owing to the country’s limited Covid-related travel requirements, plus its natural beauty, breathtaking coastlines and a wide swath of relatively under-touristed locations beyond hotspots like Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and Cabo San Lucas. Looking into fall 2021, which hopefully will be a much less complicated time to visit, Mexico

City will be celebrating its quincentennial, commemorating its founding 500 years ago, with most festivities planned in September to coincide with Mexican Independence Day.

Later in the fall, Formula 1 racing fans can attend the 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix on New Zealand “Otherworldly” — a term often applied to New Zealand’s eye-popping, Hobbit-friendly landscapes — has taken on new meaning when it comes to this South Pacific jewel.

Unlike vast swaths of the rest of the world, many of life’s normal activities have resumed in New Zealand, thanks to one of the globe’s most successful pandemic responses New York City It’s a good time to explore New York’s fascinating neighborhoods on foot.

C. Taylor Crothers/Getty Images One of the best views of lower Manhattan can be seen while strolling across the Brooklyn Bridge, and New York City’s waterfront and parks are always there for you to explore.

Some seminal cultural institutions, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, can be experienced with timed-ticketing — and without the usual crowds. To add to the excitement, there are two highly anticipated luxury hotel openings.

Luxury brand Aman will make its New York debut in the Crown Building on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, with 83 rooms, a 65-foot swimming pool, Japanese and Italian restaurants, cigar bar and rooftop terrace with views of Central Park, which is just a short stroll away. Singapore Spain Barcelona has taken time out to reevaluate its tourism offering.

Shutterstock Thailand United Kingdom The UK has plenty of beautiful scenery, including the Lake District.

OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images “Plague Island” isn’t likely to be top of anyone’s travel hot list, but let’s try to see past the unfortunate sobriquet applied to Great Britain by The New York Times after a new strain of virus led to many countries severing travel connections with the UK.

The first place in the world to approve the coronavirus vaccine will hopefully, by the coming summer, have shaken off its notoriety. What should emerge is one of the world’s top tourism offerings, but very different. Uruguay New to Uruguay this year? You’ll be blown away by its Atlantic coastline, with some of the most pristine beaches you’ll ever have seen — and a superb variety of accommodation, from beachside glamping to lagoon-floating cabins, chi-chi country retreats and architecturally cutting edge bungalows, plonked in the middle of a vineyard.

Punta del Este is one of the Americas’ buzziest beach resorts, while Jose Ignacio, an hour up the coast, is a boho (but exclusive) resort. Carmelo, near the Argentinian border on the River Plate, is a laid-back weekend destination for Argentinians. Much of the buzz is around Jose Ignacio and Garzón, just inland, which is seeing a crop of vineyards opening up, like Bodega Garzón — owned by billionaire Alejandro Bulgheroni — Bodega Oceánica José Ignacio, plus Viña Edén and Sacromonte, both in nearby Pueblo Edén (tour the vineyards or try their wares at Solera, Jose Ignacio’s superb wine bar).

New for 2021 will be Costa Garzón, linked to the Bodega — a new coastal development with a restaurant by celeb chef Francis Mallmann, beach club, hotel and private lots — and pretty hotel Posada Ayana, which, in November, will unveil a Skyspace by James Turrell — the renowned artist’s first freestanding work in South America. — Julia Buckley

2021-01-06 | Features/Interviews, 2021, CNN | English |