Condé Nast Traveller: The 21 best places to travel in 2021

Condé Nast Traveller recently released its annual list for the 21 best places to travel in 2021. Of course, for next year, they had to consider the possibility of grounded planes, closed borders, and mandatory quarantines, as it felt key to have a 2021 list that is equal parts realistic and inspirational. 

“Without knowing how much freedom we’ll have to move around in the upcoming year, we sought out destinations that are close to home with new reasons to visit,” the editors of Condé Nast writes.

“At the same time, we’re aware that many big trips were put off this year, and fervent travellers are looking to scratch that itch in a major way in the months to come. No matter where you’re dreaming of, one thing’s for sure: We may not have jetted around much in 2020, but our appetite for travel – and eagerness to get back on the road – hasn’t waned a bit.”

21 Best Places to Go in 2021

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Visiting Addis Ababa also means passing through the world’s first contactless terminal at Bole International Airport, designed with an eye toward biosafety, and exploring Ethiopia’s rich Muslim heritage at Bilal Habashi Community Museum, which opened in May. The city’s momentum is set to continue, with additional parks under way.

Angola

Angola’s nascent tourism industry belies its many treasures, including a 500,000-acre reserve that’s home to the world’s largest remaining elephant herd and sub-Saharan wetlands where researchers from the Okavango Wilderness Project have identified dozens of new species.

Bermuda

The British Empire’s colonization of Bermuda in 1612 still lingers today, from the sherbet-coloured Bermuda shorts and knee-length socks to passionate conversations about cricket over rum swizzle.

Chiapas, Mexico

Just across the border from Guatemala, the Mexican state of Chiapas is full of lush, mountainous highlands, which house nearly a dozen significant Mayan archaeological sites.

Coastal England

Craggy cliffs, fossil-strewn beaches, and picturesque port towns have long lured artists, writers, and explorers to England’s shores.

Ghana

In 2019, heritage travellers streamed into Ghana during the Year of Return initiative, which featured large music and art festivals like Afrochella, meant to inspire the diaspora to reconnect with the West African country and their ancestors by planning a trip.

Healdsburg, California

After another season of destructive wildfires, California’s wine country could use some support as it rebounds.

Hokianga, New Zealand

New Zealand has done a phenomenal job convincing travelers that its natural beauty and outdoor adventures are worth an ultra-long-haul plane ride.

Indianapolis

In June, Indianapolis began its yearlong bicentennial celebration, a series of festivities that will continue through Memorial Day weekend, coinciding with the 105th running of the Indy 500 on 30 May.

Italy

Italy, once the European epicenter of the virus, is expected to lose 100 billion euros in travel in 2020 – and already the country is gearing up for a rebound in 2021.

Kyoto, Japan

The Japanese government expected 40 million travellers to flood across its islands for the 2020 Olympics, and its tourism industry responded accordingly. The Games’ postponement led to a lot of shiny new hotel rooms and train routes going underused, but that investment means there has never been more reason to visit Japan in 2021, whether you have tickets to the Games or not. 

Maine

At a time when many of us are seeking some solitude and natural wonder, Maine, with its rugged coastline and charming port towns, is an easy sell.

New York City

The 750-mile Empire State Trail is set for completion in 2021 and will be the longest multiuse state trail in the country, meaning you can hike or bike (or snowshoe) all the way up to Canada.

Nova Scotia, Canada

Sea stacks, volcanic headlands, and the world’s biggest tides give this compact Atlantic province a mythic feel, as do Mi’kmaq legends about Kluscap, a hero who is said to have created Nova Scotia’s rocky coastline.

Oslo

In Norway’s oil-rich capital, the skyline is changing so rapidly that you might suspect Frozen’s ice-castle-raising Nordic queen, Elsa, is behind the construction boom.

The Pantanal

A visit to the Pantanal has never felt more urgent. The world’s largest floodplain, which stretches across parts of southeastern Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia, was home to land-clearing fires this summer, an annual occurrence in recent years. 

Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

“Many of the resort towns in Mexico were designed as tourism destinations,” says Zachary Rabinor of Journey Mexico. But that’s not the case with the Riviera Nayarit, on Mexico’s Pacific coast, where new resorts coexist with, and incorporate, a thriving local culture and population.

Southern Vietnam

The Southeast Asian nation is slowly reopening to international travelers, with the same degree of care and planning as it put into its closing, and revealing a few new reasons to visit.

Tasmania, Australia

After closing its borders early on in the pandemic, the island of Tasmania will reopen to international travellers in 2021—and there are plenty of compelling reasons to visit this lesser-known Australian destination.

Tulsa

It’s been 100 years since the Tulsa Race Massacre, and much of America is only now learning about this dark chapter of American history, through recent depictions in the HBO series Watchmen and Lovecraft Country

Winnipeg, Canada

When Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Qaumajuq opens in February, it will create a bridge between Southern Manitoba and Inuit communities across the Arctic. The sinuous building will hold the world’s largest collection of Inuit art—around 12,000 pieces ranging from carvings and prints to textiles. More than a museum, it’s a new, vital space where Inuit voices take centre stage.