The 25 best places in the world to travel in 2021

Source: National Geographic

best places in the world to travel in 2021


What are the best places to travel in 2021? Here's a list of the top 25 sites to visit next year, according to Traveler editors from around the world

Before a new year begins - and with the promise of exploring again - we can't wait to share these 25 stories of timeless places that will define our future itineraries. Presented by National Geographic Traveler editors around the world and framed in five categories:

a) Sustainability
b) Culture and History
c) Nature
d) Family 
e) Adventure

Now is the time to dream about your next ride. We hope that the list of the most important places for this new year inspires you. We want to see you around the planet soon!


Best places to travel in 2021

a) Sustainability

Denver, Colorado (US)

A green giant in a city in the western United States



Denver is advancing its goal of achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Among the most recent visionary initiatives are 200 kilometers of bike paths by 2023 and solar gardens that will be "planted" in municipal parking lots, rooftops, and vacant lots this 2021.


In addition to producing clean energy for public buildings, electric charging stations for vehicles, and nearby low-income neighborhoods, these gardens will generate jobs and a paid training program during his construction.


Linking climate action and sustainability with economic prosperity and social justice has helped Denver earn LEED for Cities Platinum certification. Thanks to this certification, today almost 2,000 entrepreneurs operate in a greener and more efficient way by using less water and energy, reducing air pollution and waste.



Alónnisos, Greece

A Mediterranean paradise for seals and a deep dive into ancient shipwrecks 



Called "The Parthenon of Shipwrecks," the Peristera remains were recently inaugurated as the first underwater museum accessible to recreational divers in Greece. Located beneath the surface of the Alónnisos National Marine Park, this site is believed to hold the cargo of a large Athenian barge that sank in the 5th century BC.


Limiting human activity in this 2,261-square-kilometer park, established in 1992 primarily to save the endangered Mediterranean monk seal, helped keep archaeological looters in check, preserving the wreck site and its abundance of jars intact with two handles for the wine.



To explore the submerged museum, you will have to know how to dive to depths of 20 meters or more on a guided tour (scheduled to resume during the summer of 2021). Or, visit the information center on the small island of Alónissos and go on a virtual reality tour of the wreck without diving in.


Gabon, Africa

Over 11% of this African paradise is a national park 



Elephants and hippos walk on the beaches of Gabon, “the last Eden of Africa”. where more than 11% of the country is protected. Not all of Gabon's 13 national parks are easily accessible, but Loango has landscapes, vegetation, and wildlife all its own. The park is notable for encounters with endangered western lowland gorillas. A group of four people a day is allowed to try to find them, with no guarantee of success.


In Pongara, the Pongara Lodge offers panoramic views of the seafront, with sightings of leatherback turtles spawning from November to March, and whales and migratory dolphins from June to August.


Thanks to investment in the national transport networks, visiting Gabon - where about 80% of the territory is covered in forests - is expected to be easier. In addition, a sustainable development strategy promises to expand ecotourism more responsibly.


New Caledonia, France

Where the marine life of the South Pacific frolics 



Humpback whales, green turtles, and dugongs swim in the welcoming waters of New Caledonia, a French territory that comprises a group of islands in the southwest Pacific, about 1,448 kilometers off the east coast of Australia.


Listed as a World Heritage Site in 2008, New Caledonia's lagoons are one of the most extensive reef systems in the world, with more than 9,000 marine species. In 2014, the government created the Coral Sea Natural Park, with about 1,300,000 square kilometers.


Fishing, water sports, and boats are forbidden in much of the park, and in some areas, any human activity except research is prohibited. Additionally, a new law seeks to ban all disposable plastic products by 2022.


Copenhagen, Denmark

Sustainable solutions that pay off 

The widespread inequalities that came to unmask the COVID-19 pandemic in the world have ignited international interest in making cities more equitable, resilient, and healthy. A good example is Copenhagen, which is on track to become the world's first zero-carbon capital by 2025.


In the Danish capital, all buses are in transition to being electric and the CopenHill waste conversion station, in addition to producing clean energy for 60,000 families and heating 120,000 homes, opened its outdoor playgrounds to the public: a green space in the rooftop that includes trails, a ski and snowboard slope, and a climbing wall on the facade. Likewise, urban planning has given as resulted in five times more bikes than cars in the city.


b) Culture and history

New Mexico, United States

Native voices rise in the American Southwest 

 


In New Mexico, monuments to Native American oppressors such as that of Spaniard Diego de Vargas crumble as Popé, who organized the Indian rebellion of 1680, is called to honor. The uprising drove out Europeans and,

Although Spain regained control in 1692, today the revolt has the merit of ensuring the survival of this culture.


A statue of Popé represents New Mexico at the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. At home, his legacy lives on in the state's 19 towns that include Taos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (IPCC) in Albuquerque is the starting point for exploring the towns, either through the virtual culture guide (indianpueblo.org) or in person, when it is safe to resume tours and group celebrations.


Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

This university city educates the world with the best ecological practices 



The historic region of Swabia, one of the five great root duchies of early medieval Germany, encompasses parts of southwestern Germany, eastern Switzerland, and northeastern France.


The Swabians have a reputation for being resourceful and creative; It's no wonder that residents of the university town in the Freiburg region easily embrace sustainable living.


Known for being the gateway to the Black Forest, Freiburg is remarkably green, both in appearance and in action: its forests cover more than 40% of the urban area and renewable energies such as solar, wind, and hydropower. A city ​​that also converts its garbage into biomass energy.


Walking, biking, electric buses, and trams are the main means of transportation; Freiburg's goals are to cut CO2 emissions by half or more by 2030 and achieve a zero carbon footprint by 2050. Cooperative housing with solar panels, urban gardens, and incentives to live without a car emerged in the Vauban district, recognized as one of the most sustainable in the world.


Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

A place to talk about racism 

Greenwood Rising, Tulsa's new Black Wall Street Massacre story center, perfectly describes the surge of support for socio-economic transformation in the Greenwood Historic District, site of one of the worst instances of racial violence in history. from the United States.


On May 31, 1921, white terrorists began to destroy the prosperous Greenwood district, known as “Black Wall Street,” in an 18-hour assault during which they murdered some 300 black residents and erased almost 35 blocks of

their homes and businesses. To commemorate the date, the 1921 Tulsa Racial Riots Centennial Commission builds Greenwood Rising (projected to open fall 2021), where speakers, concerts, and other events will be featured.


Downtown is designed to be a catalyst to revitalize historic Greenwood, as well as to confront and end systemic racism in the United States, details Phil Armstrong, project director for the Centennial Commission.

“Greenwood Rising will be a launching pad to continue the discussion on racial trauma and reconciliation; the historic district will be a place to learn, acknowledge underlying biases, and commit to real change. ”


Guam, United States

The legacy of Magellan in the Pacific 

The 500th anniversary of the world's first circumnavigation is not exactly a cause for celebration in Guam, the US territory and the largest of the Mariana Islands.


During a three-day stopover in March 1521, the Portuguese explorer Fernando de Magallanes murdered the native Chamorro and mistakenly labeled the Marianas as the "Islands of Thieves."

A ship of the Spanish navy will make a stopover in Guam in March 2021, as part of a commemorative voyage that follows the route around the world started by Magellan in 1519 and completed by the Spanish navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano in 1522. 

For contemporary Chamorro, the anniversary of the expedition is an opportunity to tell its story, which includes the encounter with Magellan, the colonial history of Guam, and the reality of living in what is now known as the US Army spearhead in the Pacific.


Gyeongju, South Korea

The ancient Korean kingdom that still shines 

Completed in 1350, Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains is the cornerstone of traditional Chinese san Shui or landscape painting: a visual journey down the Fuchun River and the mountains that stretch nearly seven meters.


Painter Huáng Gōngwàng, one of the four masters of the Yuan Dynasty, lived in seclusion by the Fuchun River for three years to complete this scroll masterpiece by hand. Since then, quiet Tonglu, hidden 270 kilometers southwest of Shanghai in the Zhejiang Mountains, has been a source of inspiration for Chinese artists and writers.


In 2021 Tonglu will once again be the focus of art. The first Tonglu Art Triennale, scheduled for fall 2020 but postponed until spring 2021, will showcase modern art installations in the fields and along the river to promote rural tourism.


Tonglu, China

The first art festival in a famous landscape 

Completed in 1350, Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains is the cornerstone of traditional Chinese san Shui or landscape painting: a visual journey up the Fuchun River and the mountains that stretch nearly seven meters.

Painter Huáng Gōngwàng, one of the four masters of the Yuan Dynasty, lived in seclusion by the Fuchun River for three years to complete this scroll masterpiece by hand. Since then, quiet Tonglu, hidden 270 kilometers southwest of Shanghai in the Zhejiang Mountains, has been a source of inspiration for Chinese artists and writers.


In 2021 Tonglu will once again be the focus of art. The first Tonglu Art Triennial, scheduled for fall 2020 but postponed until spring 2021, will showcase modern art installations in the fields and along the river to promote rural tourism.


Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain

Jazz and legends in the cultural capital of the Basque Country 

In the interior of the Basque Country, a city claims the cultural crown. Vitoria, also known as Gasteiz by its Basque name, was historically a commercial and cultural crossroads due to its privileged position on the shortest route connecting the medieval kingdom of Castile with northern Europe.


Today, the people of Vitoria continue the tradition of welcoming external influences by receiving jazz artists such as the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, whose Vitoria Suite pays tribute to the city during the Vitoria-Gasteiz International Jazz Festival that is celebrated every July. A bronze statue in honor of Marsalis decorates La Florida Park, Vitoria's green lung, and part of a ring of parks that provide residents with more square meters of green space per capita than any other Spanish metropolis.


The efforts to conserve urban nature added to the commitment to sustainable transport (a large part of the population travels by bicycle or tram), earned Vitoria-Gasteiz the title of European Green Capital in 2012.


The people of Vitoria who protect the planet preserve their traditions with the same passion, especially within the historic center. The Gothic majesty of the Cathedral of Santa María crowns a hill that dominates the centenary neighborhood. In the streets, named after medieval artisan guilds, locals crowd bars and restaurants to sample the Basque version of tapas known as pintxo.


Every August, a square at the southern end of the old town hosts an unusual celebration that honors the patron saint of the city and gives the esplanade its name: the Virgen Blanca. During the festival, the crowd gathers to admire the effigy of a Basque villager known as Celedón, whom they slide down a kind of zip line with an open umbrella to start the party. Upon reaching a balcony, Celedón magically "turns" into a real person who encourages the crowd to enjoy the celebration.


The Cerrado, Brazil

The closest thing to a Jurassic park 

Environmental victories in the Brazilian Amazon are not always positive for its lesser-known neighboring biome: El Cerrado.


The largest savanna in South America covers almost a quarter of the land area of ​​Brazil and sustains wonderful biodiversity; however, it is increasingly vulnerable to deforestation due to soy cultivation and cattle raising

expelled from the Amazon. More than 64,000 square kilometers have been lost in just the last decade. The National Campaign in Defense of El Cerrado (“No Closed, No Water, No Life”) raised the alarm about the imperative need to save the natural wonders that are in danger in the country.


Several of the main rivers of South America (such as the San Francisco, the Paraná-Paraguay, and the Araguaia-Tocantins hydrographic basin) are born here, in addition to being home to 5% of the plants and animals that exist on the planet.


Biodiversity in El Cerrado includes more than 10,000 plant species (of which almost half exist nowhere else) and dinosaur-sized creatures: wild boar-like tapirs that can weigh up to 295 kilograms, rare giant armadillos weighing up to 50 kilograms, and giant anteaters (a threatened species in Brazil) that can weigh more than 45 kilograms. Equally immense is a giant palm tree called buriti, which serves as a nesting site for some of the more than 850 species of birds and is the main source of food for much other wildlife that call El Cerrado home.


c) Nature

Royale Island, Michigan, United States

Wolves and moose roam a little-known park 

Nature becomes lush on Michigan's Royale Island, a national park's best-kept secret northwest of Lake Superior. The 45-mile-long wilderness island is just 18 miles from Minnesota, but its fog banks, violent storms, and choppy waters can make it seem as remote as the edge of nowhere.


In addition to causing numerous shipwrecks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the waters around Royale shaped this unique ecosystem on the island. The park only has 18 species of mammals (compared to more than 40 on land), many of which are descended from animals that we're able to swim here in summer or cross the frozen lake in winter.


Since 1958, scientists have observed the island's most famous residents - wolves and elk - in the world's largest study of predators and prey. In 2018, when only one pair of wolves remained, a multi-year relocation plan began to restore the population and increase the resilience of the entire ecosystem.


Lord Howe Island, Australia

The last paradise in the Tasman Sea 

Being out of the way to anywhere helped Lord Howe, a small island in the Tasman Sea, stay human-free until the 18th century. Today, only 400 visitors are allowed in (little more than the permanent population), which helps to protect one of the most isolated ecosystems that the locals well call "the last of the paradises."


Lord Howe is the largest of a chain of islands, the result of the eruption of an underwater volcano million of years ago. Surrounding the island is Lord Howe Marine Park, which is home to the southernmost coral reefs on the planet with more than 500 species of protected and threatened fish and marine animals, such as the hawksbill turtle.


The Protecting Paradise-program has the help of community volunteers, as well as technology to eliminate invasive species (rodents, recently) and protect endemics such as the stick insect of Lord Howe Island, a critically endangered "walking sausage" that was believed missing until 2001.


Yellowknife, Northeast Territories, Canada

Northern Lights that shine 240 nights of the year 

The history of Yellowknife, capital of the Northwest Territories of Canada, seems like an adventure novel. Located on the edge of the Arctic, on the shores of the Great Slave Lake and surrounded by wild taiga, this city of 20,000 people was born when gold was discovered in the area during the 1930s.


Mining was Yellowknife's biggest industry for decades, and when the last of the local mines closed in 2004, the city was already mining diamonds; In 1991, a group of geologists found here one of the deposits richest on Earth.


The Dene people have managed and traveled this land for thousands of years. Today, faced with global challenges such as COVID-19, climate change, and environmental degradation, this native nation finds its freedom on earth, according to writer dene Catherine Lafferty, whose most recent book Land-Water-Sky / Ndè -Tı-Yat'a signed for the first time with her indigenous name Katłıà. "Touring this land is a way to find peace and comfort, reconnect and heal," continues Lafferty, who grew up in Yellowknife and writes about indigenous injustices in northern Canada.


Future visitors can experience some of these gifts during the nights illuminated by the Northern Lights, which sparkle over the taiga and the countless small lakes just outside the city.


Space Coast, Florida, United States

A Launchpad to Marvel at - Ivan Vasin

With all systems ready for American astronauts to go into orbit thanks to NASA's new commercial crew program, Florida's Atlantic coast is once again at the center of space exploration.


At the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (open under COVID-19 restrictions), families can witness scheduled takeoffs of SpaceX and Boeing spacecraft, and walk among giant rockets soaring more than 100 feet high.


Florida Adventurer leads kayak trips through the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, with more than 566 million square kilometers. During the day, kayakers can observe manatees and dolphins; At night (June through September), the Indian River Lagoon harbors bioluminescence courtesy of millions of light-producing organisms.


British Columbia, Canada

Where Nature and First Nations Connect 

British Columbia, Canada's westernmost province, is home to more than 200 First Nations. In the midst of the global reckoning around racism, learning about the natives of this province is a lever to speak with children about current issues such as cultural appropriation and racial stereotypes.


With an indigenous history dating back some 10,000 years, this province is a perfect place to embark on authentic indigenous travel experiences organized by Inuit and Métis, two of the original communities.


Vancouver and its island are among the most family-friendly sites for learning about indigenous culture: the island alone has more than 45 First Nations, while the city offers some kid-friendly options like the

Talking Trees walk that Talaysay Tours runs in Stanley Park, the largest urban park in the country and one of the largest in North America.


On the 90-minute forest tour, cultural ambassadors from the Squamish and Shíshálh peoples share knowledge passed down through the generations to help visitors understand how First Nations people in southern British Columbia use the land to get food, medicine, and technology. "We are not separated from the earth," says Candace Campo, co-owner of Talaysay Tours and a member of the Shíshálh nation. She explains

that in the Shíshálh language they have a saying: “Nujutmulh, [which] means 'we are one' and we are connected with all living beings”.


England Coast Path, UK

An epic walk to remember 

A colossal mission comes to fruition in 2021 as England's Coastal Path, the world's longest waterfront path, stretching more than 4,500 kilometers, is fully revealed.


While the project was partly inspired by the 1,400-kilometer Welsh Coast Path, which opened in 2012, England has a long history of coastal hiking - the 1014-kilometer South West Coast Corridor was established as a

national trail in the seventies of the twentieth century. And England's Coastal Trail absorbs those sections to create dozens more from scratch for a total of 67 sections.


Each segment of coastline has a different character: some stretches offer unspoiled rural landscapes, others have been carefully selected. Opened in September 2020, “Cumbria's hidden coast” that winds from Whitehaven to Millom is dotted with art installations and energetic activities. While, in the south-east, a trail dubbed "England's creative coast" traces a geocaching route through Sussex, Kent and Essex.


Horobágy, Hungary

Cowboys and cranes on the European plains 

The wide spaces of the Hortobágy National Park are designed for social distancing by nature itself. This World Heritage site, which covers almost 810 square kilometers of the Great Plain in eastern Hungary, preserves, Europe's largest native grasslands and pastoral traditions dating back millennia.


The unfavorable soil for agriculture helped maintain the Hortobágy plant mosaic: alkaline swamps, meadows, pastures, and loess steppe. Free from the plow and great development, this barren land flourished. The resulting rich grassland ecosystem, protected since 1973, provides critical habitat for some 340 species of birds, such as gray geese and cranes.


Shepherds, cowboys called csikós, and racka sheep still roam the grass. In addition, in the Hortobágy mountain range, the Pentezug Wild Horse Reserve is home to a population of Przewalski horses, the last surviving subspecies of the wild equine.


Transylvania, Romania

Finding the real in a land famous for fantasy 

One of the side effects of Dracula, the gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker, was that it transformed perfectly real Transylvania into a mythical realm: a 'cursed place in this cursed place, where the devil and his son still walk with his worldly feet! ”, as the writer put it.


Since Stoker had never seen the place for himself, he cleverly compiled information in books written by British travelers for his 1897 novel. He got some of the details right, like the "thief steaks" (skewers with chunks of bacon,

onion and beef called frigărui), the national dish mămăligă (a cornmeal porridge), Golden Mediasch sweet wine, descriptions of popular clothing, road crossings, and the complicated cultural mix of Magyars, Saxons, Sicilians, and Wallachians.


What Stoker left out is what Transylvania should be known for: it's old-European pastoral setting. Cosmopolitan Cluj is the gateway to wildflower meadows, fairytale castles, and cobbled villages of

rural Transylvania. For families increasingly tied to technology, a future stay here, on a farm, would be an opportunity to disconnect, spend time traveling in a wagon, hike through the forested mountains of the Carpathians and help with tasks such as milking sheep, collect eggs and stack haystacks.


The bucolic charms of Transylvania have long captivated Charles, Prince of Wales, whose foundation finances various projects to preserve the local architectural heritage.


e) Adventure

Waitukubuli Trail, Dominica

Adventure tourism in the Caribbean

The eroded mountains that run up the spine of Dominica formed a natural shield that largely protected this eastern Caribbean island from colonial intrusions and overdevelopment; the native Kalinagos called her Waitukubuli ("tall is her body").


What the imposing volcanic terrain of Dominica could not block is global climate change, which increasingly aggravates the effects of hurricanes like María, which in September 2017 directly impacted the island, caused catastrophic landslides, and critically damaged almost all man-made structures.


Following the hurricane, residents rebuilt and the government decided to make Dominica the world's first climate-resilient nation. The Citizenship by Investment program, which grants foreigners legal citizenship through contributions to

Starting at $ 100,000, it funds transformative projects while adventure tourism boosts climate resilience, creating jobs and an economic incentive to restore and protect the wild side of Dominica.


Carian Trail, Turkey

Ancient roads in the mountains 

Turkey's longest network of hiking trails meanders between pristine beaches, ancient ruins, rugged mountains, quiet villages, and dense forests; At 853 kilometers, it covers an area larger and less well known than its famous brother, the path of Licia, which makes her perfect for a dose of nature and solitude.


The trail gets its name from Caria, the civilization that inhabited the southwestern corner of the Anatolian peninsula and rose to prominence under Persian, Greek, and Roman rule. The path follows some of the original trade routes, as well as the mule trails used by today's olive growers.


“What makes the Carian Trail stand out from other hiking trails is the way it combines its incredible nature with a wide range of ruins dating back to 6000 BC. 


Svanetia region, Georgia

A remote land with warm welcomes 

In the shadow of 4,500-meter peaks, the Svanetia region in Georgia's northwest Caucasus mountain range can seem quite inaccessible. The rugged landscape is lined with medieval stone towers that served as dwellings and defense posts. These fortresses attest to a time when the Esvans fought to take possession of their lands - small villages and elevated settlements like Ushguli.


Protected as part of the Upper Svaneti World Heritage, Ushguli is one of the highest populated communities in Europe. Due to its remoteness, the Esvan culture evolved in isolation from the rest of the Georgian lands over the centuries, so they developed a unique oral language and traditions such as ritual beard trimming and blood debts.


Once famous for its lawlessness, today the region is known for its welcoming spirit. “Georgia is famous for its hospitality, but Svanetia is more welcoming. Parties and alcohol are the order of the day, ”admits Michał Głombiowski, a Polish travel writer and photographer who visits Georgia frequently.


Although still far from any popular trail, Svanetia is accessible to adventurers thanks to the Upper Svaneti stretch of the Transcaucasus Trail, a network of roads aimed at connecting Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Hikers with sufficient lung capacity, they can enjoy panoramic views of the peaks during the day and warm welcomes in the Esvan guesthouses at nightfall.


Glacier National Park, Argentina

Along the turquoise shore of Lake Argentino, the town of El Calafate gets its name from the thorny plant whose berries are used to infuse cocktails and regional beers. But the town has been placed on the tourist map as the door, entrance to the kingdom of ice thanks to its proximity to Los Glaciares National Park, south of Argentine Patagonia.


Near the Chilean border, the 7,269-square-kilometer park encompasses subantarctic forests that preserve the habitat of species such as the huemul, the ñandú, the condor, the guanaco, and the Calafate bush. However, its main attractions are the nearly 300 glaciers that cover almost half of its surface. The Perito Moreno glacier, the most popular and accessible, with five kilometers wide, is located almost 60 meters above the surface of Lake Argentino.


There, huge masses of ice break off dramatically with roars thunderous. In addition, it is possible to walk with crampons on the glacier to find electric blue stripes between waterfalls, crevasses, ice caves, underground rivers, and extravagant frozen formations.


This frozen desert is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the third-largest continental ice area in the world after Antarctica and Greenland. After exploring the icy confines of the Earth, visitors return to a boat that awaits them on the lake to celebrate their adventures with a whiskey made from glacial ice chips.

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