Wanderlust is in the air as vaccines make their way around the world. While the days of carefree travel have not yet returned, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. While you’re waiting, why not research and plan some amazing trips for later in the year. If you’re looking for fresh ideas for your travel wish list, here are our top destinations for 2021.
If you need a bit of Zen in your life, charter a hot balloon ride over the ancient temples of Bagan. A surreal view of thousands of Buddhist temples and pagodas accompanied by treetops and a beautiful sky. Afterward, check out 7 Sisters. The restaurant is modeled after an authentic Tazaung, and is actually run by seven sisters as the name suggests. Wrap the day up with a scenic view of the Irrawaddy River at the Bagan Thiripyistaya Sanctuary Resort.
“The Great Blue Hole,” Belize
For an otherworldly adventure, check out the Great Blue Hole in Belize. The world’s largest sinkhole is also a scuba hotspot and has been largely unexplored due to its depth. The Huracan Diving Lodge offers all-inclusive packages for diving, lodging, and dining. Deep dive experience and certification is recommended, although not necessarily required for exploring the Great Blue Hole.
The Sea of Stars (Vaadhoo, Maldives)
The beaches in the Maldives are absolutely glowing come later summer. Thanks to bioluminescent phytoplankton, that is. Aptly named the “Sea of Stars”, the tide glows bright blue with these microorganisms. Of course, this is a natural phenomenon, so it can occur in other places throughout the Maldives and the world. It is also not guaranteed to happen during your trip. That’s okay, as there are still gorgeous beaches and luxury resorts such as the Seaside Finolhu. Or check out fine dining under the sea and at Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, part of the Conrad.
Famous for its nightlife, summer parties, and electronic music, Ibiza is the perfect way to give social distancing the heave-ho when things finally return to normal. It is also home to Sublimotion, a fine dining experience combined with futuristic performance art. In keeping with the electronic theme, check out Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel. This hotel takes all the things Ibiza is known for and brings them together in style.
Suites overlook the outdoor dance party, and there is even an option to book DJ’s directly to your private room.
Turkey is a gorgeous break from the mundane, so much so it was difficult to choose just one location. Start your journey in Pamukkale, hailed an 8th wonder of the world for its extensive natural thermal spas. It is certainly worth the trip. The pools are believed to have healing properties. It is also home to the ancient runes of Hierapolis. Stay at Doga or Richmond Hotel nearby, so you don’t have to rush your journey through the vast and stunning landscape.
Finish your trip with a stay at the Mardan Palace. Voted one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the Titanic Mardan Palace has a Lake House Suite that comes with a private pool and tanning deck, for the moments you’d rather relax in peace. Or check out the Presidential Suite with ocean views, jacuzzi, cabana, and your own butler. They have a huge selection of restaurants, bars, and spa treatments on-premises, so you don’t have to leave the hotel, the perfect respite after trekking through Pamukkale.
For a breathtaking vacation stateside, look no further than Utah. Nestled amongst the canyons and heralded the “last remnant of the truly wild West”, Amingiri has everything you need for a perfect desert retreat. They host a variety of retreats, wellness programs, events, and activities. Adventures include horseback riding, hiking, paddle boarding, and private helicopter rides. There are also a variety of dining experiences, from the Fireside Pavillion, to private dinners out on the trail or under the stars.
If you’re longing for historic castles and rolling green fields, check out Limerick. Adare Manor is the perfect place to stay. It has gorgeous grounds, luxury suites, and Harry Potter vibes. It’s also on the Conde Nast Gold List, and dubbed “One of the top resorts in Europe”. Start your sightseeing locally at King John’s Castle or St. Mary’s Cathedral. Oh, and make sure you save time for a day trip to the famous Cliffs of Moher, one of the most beloved destinations in Ireland.
Vibrant colors, bustling markets, and stunning architecture will welcome you in Marrakech. The Riad provides a calming oasis for travelers staying in the city. Marrakech is also considered the best hub to leave from if you want to explore the Atlas Mountains, with only a two-hour drive between the city and the highest portion of the mountain range. The Riad also has guided tours of the mountains available, which leave directly from the hotel. If you prefer to seek adventure without leaving the Marrakech area, bone up on your bargaining skills and learn to navigate the souks.
No list is complete without a tropical surf spot, and Kuai is one of the best for beginners and seasoned surfers alike. Need to brush up on your surfing skills? Check out Hanalei Bay Surf School.
If you’re planning your trip far in advance, keep 1 Hotels Hanalei Bay on your radar. They are taking over space formerly occupied by Princeville Resort. Unfortunately, they aren’t scheduled to open until some time in 2022. In the meantime, check out the villas at the Westin Resort nearby. Up early for those gorgeous sunrises? Start your day with Holey Grail Donuts. They are fried in organic coconut oil and have seasonally rotating flavors that capture the flavors of Hawaii, as well as a steady menu of fan favorites like Prosperity (kumquat and poppy seed).
Meet the Writer!
Desiree Mulkey is a freelance writer and storyteller with a passion for food, health and wellness, and the great outdoors. She is also a proud rescue dog mom to her hiking companion, Louie.