Here is my list of this summer’s Top 10 hottest international destinations
Many Americans, post-COVID, are traveling closer to home this year. However, seasoned travelers want to fly the coop and find international destinations OPEN for business this summer. With Memorial Day announcing the start of the summer travel season this weekend, I thought it might be interesting to look at where I see excited Americans plan to travel during their summer and fall vacations. Here are my top ten international summer travel destinations for 2021. You may want to use this as you build your travel “bucket list.”
10. Norway – Norway is beloved for its fjords and friendly people. These are some of the nicest people in the world. Norway is for nature lovers and people who enjoy walking, hiking, and biking. If you want to enjoy the great outdoors, Norway is the ultimate in the great outdoors. This is a great country to rent a car or jump on the extensive, affordable rail system. It is safe and allows you to enjoy stunning views throughout the entire journey. One of my favorite areas is in and around the Unesco world heritage City of Bergan. Once in Norway, you can also easily jump over to Copenhagen and Stockholm, two of my favorite cities in Europe, to connect with all the Baltic States.
9. Croatia – This is one of the fastest rising tourist destinations in the last five years, and it is also one of the best values in Europe this year. People who have visited say it is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world with crystal blue waters, waterfalls, and the magnificent Adriatic sea. Both United and Delta Air Lines are adding direct service from the U.S. to Dubrovnik, Croatia in July as they think Americans will suddenly discover this European gem.
8. Africa – Tanzania – Photo safaris in Africa are often on people’s “bucket-list” of destinations. 2021 may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to safari before the crowds return in full force and turn the “Great Migration,” which many call the “greatest show on earth,” into what feels like a ride at Disneyworld. Now is the year to experience the great migration all around the Serengeti, visit in style Ngorongoro crater and even climb the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. Once you have conquered Europe, then Africa is a logical next travel step. The next-door neighbor of Kenya is amazing and also famous for its safaris. One of my favorite all-time lodges in Kenya is Elsas Kopji the site of the movie Born Free.
7. Peru – This one may surprise you, but if you have Machu Picchu on your bucket list and want to visit without the massive hordes of people, this might be the year to get up and go to Peru. Everything starts and stops in Lima, but the action of exploring and hiking is centered in Cusco. If you want to really go first class, you can board the new Belmond Andean Explorer train, or those in great shape can trek the Sacred Valley via Explora Valle Sagrado.
6. Mexico – Mexico has been open for sun and fun seekers even during much of the COVID travel shut down. Cancun has lots of flights, amazing water, and beaches, plus great prices. Cabo San Lucas is an easy destination for those on the west coast. Puerto Vallarta is my favorite of the three as it seems to not be so “party-centric.” Although Mexico is not my favorite destination, it gives you a good bang-for-the-buck.
5. Caribbean Islands – Many Americans snuck away to the Caribbean islands that were open this past winter. The islands normally slow down when the heat of July and August hit but not this year as travelers want to make up for the lost time. The hot destinations in the Caribbean include Turks & Caicos, for white-sand beaches and crystal blue sea. St. Barth’s (opening soon) for a feel of the French Riviera, and Anguilla (opening in July), for great beaches and great restaurants.
4. Ireland – Ireland is always one of our favorite destinations. Its legendary visual drama, whitewashed lighthouses perched high above the Atlantic, paint-box colorful villages, prehistoric stone-age ruins, and fairytale castles are all accented by the music of Celtic generations. You have never lived until you taste a pint of Guinness in the homeland. It is almost like a milkshake. My favorite place to stay is Dromoland Castle in County Clare. Driving the Dingle peninsula is the best way to see the real Ireland.
3. Italy – Italy is cautiously opening up for Americans. Italy is magical and is always near the top of my list for Americans. Start in Rome, and then add Florence, Venice, Milan, and you already have hit a home run. Then you keep adding the amazing places of Capri, the Amalfi Coast, Lake Como, Pisa, Naples, Cinque Terre, and Portofino along the Italian Riviera, and the list goes on and on. Italy is the one place on earth that once you visit you will always want to come back. My favorite places to stay in Tuscany are Castello del Nero Hotel & Spa, Villa Bordoni, and Villa Le Barone, all just outside of Florence in the Tuscan countryside.
2. Iceland – Before COVID hit, Iceland was almost overrun with tourists. Iceland was one of the first countries to reopen to American visitors. As the summer heat hits Americans, they have quickly started booking travel to Iceland to get out of the summer heat. Many have Iceland on their bucket list to see the northern lights. Some are shocked when they find out that the sun does not set from May to July. Reykjavik is the center of everything in Iceland. One of my favorite places is the Blue Lagoon, which is home to one of the 25 wonders of the world and is a magical place where the powers of geothermal seawater soothe the soul.
1. Greece – Greece is back baby! After 13 long years of suffering through the economic crisis, tourists are now returning to one of the most historic areas in the world. Greece did a great job in holding COVID cases down and is one of the first European countries to green light Americans. Athens is the hub, but the islands of Santorini and Mykonos are hot, hot, hot. If you only have time to visit one island, then be sure to hit Santorini. I have traveled the world and never seen water as clear and blue as in Greece. Being a proud member of Virtuoso, CLICK HERE to find a selection of some of my favorite places to stay in Santorini.
Please call one of our friendly travel advisors at 402-435-8888 to help you find the perfect vacation in 2021.