After a year or more of COVID stressful time, I bet you feel like travelling solo soon again. If you want to travel in 2021 to safe destinations and are open to short-term decisions and spontaneously choose what to do without the pressure of sticking to long-term plans, here are my top suggestions.
By visualising a place, we allow our minds to wander, spark our wanderlust, and shape our traves in our imagination. Anticipation is the best incubator of all my solo travel adventures at 50 plus. And probably travel wouldn’t be fun without it.
As this definition of anticipation from Alan De Botton says:
“The anticipatory and artistic imaginations omit and compress; they cut away the periods of boredom and direct our attention to critical moments, and thus, without either lying or embellishing, they lend to life a vividness and a coherence that it may lack in the distracting woolliness of the present.” from The Art of Travel Book.
How to resume travel and choose destinations in 2021
It’s more our mindset to select our destinations that lend the feelings, pleasure and colours to a place rather than the destination itself. This mindset creates anticipation, which we shall nurture with our energy and positive emotions.
Let’s resume travel in 2021, after COVD, first in our imagination, and let’s start travel again.
I have picked seven universal cities for their flair, for their rich heritage, for their beauty. Some of them have undergone horrendous attacks in the past years. They have been hurt in their dignity with the loss of many lives from terrorist attacks to severe impact during the COVID pandemic.
While it’s natural to feel apprehensive, we must not dwell on the past and move our attention to the memories that distinguish these places for what they are. Wonderful places that have rewarded travellers and residents alike with great emotions and will never disappoint.
Seven safe and smart cities that will never disappoint
Venice Italy: A place for reflection
I could not start from Venice, of course not. Although it’s right in my backyard, Venice is a place I am very fond of and always rewards me emotionally. After hundreds of visits – from a local perspective – I feel like I am on holiday every time I take the train and arrive at the most incredible city in the world.
Besides being in my “home country” and close to where I live in Italy, Venice is one of those unique places that never tire and disappoint. There is always something new to discover and cherish. Indeed an extraordinary place we all shall treasure.
With nearly 30 million visitors per year, Venice is one of those top cities that suffered the impact of travel restrictions during COVID the most. So while I encourage you to travel to Venice when the pandemic is over, I’ll also ask you to be very mindful when you visit the city and respect the local rules and its fragile environment.
The best busy, busy time to visit Venice is spring and autumn, trying to avoid peak season and public holidays like Christmas, Easter, Carnival (Feb) and the Redeemer’s Festival (July). I have found June-August less visited than other months due to the hot months, so if you don’t mind touring in summer, I’d probably plan a June-July visit to Venice.
Because we don’t know yet if travel will be open fully within the EU this summer 2021, so maybe planning a trip to Venice for October or November 2021 is a good idea.
In this post, I take you to the best places of Venice offbeat.
Related Post: the all less-visited places in North-East Italy
Paris, France: the city of lights and amazing contrasts
Paris’ beautiful contrasts make it a unique capital city of Europe. There is nothing better than walking across Paris’ fantastic street cafe, its hidden corners and welcoming squares. The southern European vibe is well mixed with the grand buildings typical of Northern Europe.
I visited in 2014 on the occasion of my 50th birthday and loved it. I highly recommend visiting Paris in the summer, if you can make it in June, la fète de la music is a fantastic event not to miss out on.
Berlin: the top multicultural capital city of Europe
I have been back to Berlin twice in the past two years. With ongoing development projects, Berlin is the no. 1 capital city in Europe for its distinctive multicultural flair that you can breathe in everywhere. It’s a hub for cultural events, from film festivals to concerts and art exhibitions. It’s not my favourite German city, but I love the excellent vibe, and Berliners are friendly and open-minded.
If you love festivals, you must check out this page with all Berlin Festivals.
Prague, Rep Czech: the most beautiful city in Europe
Prague is probably the most beautiful and affordable city in Europe from the architectural perspective, with a very scenic landscape and another fast cosmopolitan-growing city in Eastern Europe. I visited Prague for the first time in 2019 with my niece after her exam from High School. We spent 3 days there, and I loved it. Check out this post for quirky things to see in Prague.
Singapore: the perfect stop-over city in South East Asia
I visited Singapore in 2016 for the first time. It’s an amazingly safe city for solo travellers with a good combination of European vibe and Asian culture. Good food, a spectacular marina, and the bay’s gardens are the jewel on Singapore’s crown.
I would recommend it to anyone travelling further to Australia or New Zealand. It’s the best city for both a long layover and stopovers ever if you are looking for an invigorating break from the long haul flight.
Ubud Bali: a top-notch place for a “remise en forme”
Bali had never been on my list. I had to plan it because my travel visa in Australia was about to expire, I had to leave the country for a few days. So it just fit into my 5-month travel in 2015. I left Perth in July 2015 I finally managed to visit Bali.
July and August are hectic months for a trip. After first disorientation, I liked my stay, and despite the roosters’ madness and the thousands of motorbikes on the streets, I found those good places where to hide from the crowds—a great place to treat yourself to a remise-en-form at the best price ever. Ubud is definitely a great place for women travelling alone in South East Asia.
Albany Western Australia: The Pearl of the Southern Ocean
This list would not be complete without an Australian City. Albany in Western Australia s a place that stole my heart. I recently discovered it on a solo road trip and loved it.
I only had three days to spend, which is way too short to do justice to this place. If you plan a trip to Perth, I recommend checking it out, although it is difficult to design a spontaneous trip unless you live in Perth. Lucky enough, in 2019, I could travel to Albany again and spent 6 days hiking and exploring the National Parks around Albany.
To explore South Western Australia and see it all, I’d recommend at least one week or 10 days to see the dramatic landscapes and experience amazing Albany properly.
These are only seven smart destinations that will not disappoint and are a good match for starting travelling again both emotionally and physically and first and foremost with peace of mind.
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First published in 2017, last updated in March 2021
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