The best holiday destinations for 2021

The cities, countries, and cultures we can’t wait to see

Remember travel? That instant rush of arriving in a new place, getting lost in unknown streets, and indulging in new cuisines. Whatever it is that broadens your horizons, surely you’re as ready to hit the road again as we are. Departure dates have yet to be confirmed, but if 2020 – and the realities of grounded planes, closed borders, and obligatory quarantines – has taught us anything, it is that to travel is to champion human connections.

Looking forward to 2021 with cautious optimism, we are eagerly awaiting to regain our privilege to travel, to discover – and rediscover – places with a renewed sense of what truly matters. For those future adventures, we’re thinking sensory overload: from the bright lights of Seoul to the thumping beats of Tbilisi and culinary infusions in northern Italy.

South Korea

South Korea was one of the first countries to show success in flattening the curve in 2020, and continues to pay great attention to keeping its population – and visitors – safe. Seoul, the country’s capital, is not for the fainthearted, and navigating its sprawl asks for an inherent sense for adventure. We’re longing to see the towering and gleaming skyscrapers of Gangnam, thanks to which the city shines bright 24/7, to uncover hidden cafes and restaurants in the district of Itaewon, and to wander the streets of post-industrial areas such as Euljiro where old and new uniquely collide.

Scandinavia

We’ll always remember our visits to Stockholm’s SoFo district: not only for its eclectic vibe that ultimately inspired our SoFo collection of bags and backpacks but for a street style that unequivocally shapes contemporary fashion, the comfort of warm cinnamon buns, and for venturing out into Sweden’s countryside to indulge in balmy summer nights by the sea. This year, we strive to finally visit Oslo, another Scandi capital of cool, and to see the grandeur of Norway and Sweden’s fjords.

The United Kingdom

From London’s myriad of subcultures influencing the city’s creative scenes, to England’s chocolate-box villages, and Scotland’s dramatic views, the UK offer travel inspiration galore. With the vaccine rollout in full swing, the country is hoping to regain visitors as soon as possible. For us, apart from its most popular destinations, it’s the shores of Cornwall and its picturesque seaside towns, the often overlooked landscapes of the Peak and Lake Districts, and the world’s best curry – outside of India, naturally – on Brick Lane that we’ll happily return for at any time.

Georgia

Georgia’s capital city of Tbilisi is a youthful fusion of heady rhythms played underground, mostly, a savoury cuisine unrivalled in the region, and emerging talent sprucing up fashion and art scenes. As we’re dreaming up our next itinerary – hikes in Georgia’s stunning countryside, followed by orange wine tastings, anyone? – we’re listening to one of our recent playlists, a mix inspired by the sonic palette of Tbilisi’s fervent spirit.

Japan

The cancellation of the 2020 Olympic games hit Japan hard: Hotel launches and the use of new train routes were put on hold as tourists stayed put in their home countries. While this year’s edition of the competition will take place in a new light, we’re anticipating to sample flavourful ramen dishes and to add Tokyo’s bright lights and the snow-capped peaks of Mount Fuji to our agenda. Plus, no visit to Japan, goes without a stop in Kyoto’s Gion district that inspired the design for our Gion series.

New York City

For New York City to bounce back and flourish, the hospitality and creative sectors, among other industries, are eagerly waiting for travellers to return. The big apple will always hold a place at the top part of our travel list – this year, we’re going back for the jazz and soul food scene in Harlem (think Red Rooster), water-taxi commutes for skyline vistas, and the Soul Summit at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn.

Italy

Italy’s perennial staples of la dolce vita will always lure travellers. Once the epicentre of the pandemic, stunning towns like Parma have us return this year. Located in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna, close to Bologna, Milan, and Lake Garda, it has just been named Italy’s Capital of Culture 2020-21 – namely for its precious works of art (Parma’s main art exports include Giuseppe Verdi and Correggio) and unique culinary traditions. The heart of the so-called Food Valley – think Parmesan cheese and Parma ham – boasts traditional family-owned food shops and “trattorie”, such as "I Tri Siochett". We’re also craving Sicily’s infinite number of local treasures, from the island’s northern beaches to Catania’s eclectic array of bars and restaurants.

Israel

Over the past few years, travellers from all over have flocked to Israel for homemade hummus, the vast deserts of the West Bank, and Jerusalem’s historic landmarks, among many other attractions. While the pandemic has temporarily halted the stream of people descending on the Middle Eastern country, we are keenly awaiting to explore the insider tips of photographers Annael and Lauren Tolila for Tel Aviv: culinary fusions in sleek hospitality establishments, the heady smell of local food markets, and where to catch the best waves along the city’s glorious coastline.

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