COVID-19 has sent the whole world packing home. If you’ve been dreaming about travel while sitting at home, you can be sure that you aren’t the only one. It’s also safe to say that the pandemic has changed the way we will travel in the future. The million-dollar question right now undoubtedly is – when and where can we travel next? While it isn’t clear exactly when countries will open up, it’s clear that some destinations are a relatively safer bet. So, which ones are they, and do they match with your future travel dreams and plans? Or will you make new ones? Check out the top 10 places to travel after Coronavirus.
Brilliant-blue coastlines, gorgeously green villages, ancient, labyrinthine temples, Buddhist pagodas, and lip-smacking cuisine – Vietnam is dazzling, to say the least.
Despite sharing a long border with China, the country has recorded just over 300 Coronavirus cases and has had no fatalities. A series of sensibly extreme measures led to it shutting down very early into the pandemic. Today, Vietnam has opened up tourist attractions, hotels, transportation, and flights as well. There is also a set of health measures in place once the country opens up so that visitors can enjoy a safe and relaxing holiday.
Vietnam is just the kind of back-to-the-lap-of-nature destination you need once this pandemic is over. It is also one of the best places to travel on a budget. It is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage sites and is also known for its breath-taking natural beauty. One such spectacular sight is Vietnam’s last paradise, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. It houses massive underground rivers and caves, including the world’s largest. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is where are the lively activity and nightlife is. Historic riverside towns like Hoi Ann are great for some laidback time. Outdoorsmen will love the phenomenal Central Highlands for its trekking opportunities and outdoor adventures. The mountain towns of Da Lat, Kon Tum, and Pleiku make for excellent bases while you’re here. Finally, head to the postcard-esque Mekong Delta with its emerald landscape and the striking limestone-encrusted Ha Long Bay.
If you have the time, Vietnam is best explored via road. Within cities, tourists jetting around on motorbikes is a common sight. Plus, the advent of luxury open-tour buses makes it more comfortable to be zipping around the country via road.
One of the only few countries to have kept Coronavirus completely at bay is the tiny island nation of Vanuatu. The South Pacific country has a population of just 300,000, remote islands, and deserted beaches. All this makes it perhaps the best place to unwind post the pandemic.
It might sound cliched, but Vanuatu is a country of contrasts. Life outside its capital Port Vila the complete opposite of traditional village life in the outer islands. While most of the bigger islands can be flown to, the rest can only be accessed via boats.
Start with Vanuatu’s most populous island Efate, and go on walking tours around the colonially historic yet tiny Port Vila. Adventure seekers will love the hike up to the magma-filled active volcano Mt. Yasur on Tanna island. It’s also famous for its fascinating tribal villages and black sand beaches. Expect astounding tribal village experiences and waterfalls on Pentecost, Malekula, and Ambrym islands. Deserted beaches and a bevy of water adventures await you on Espiritu Santo, the country’s largest island. It also features what probably is Vanuatu’s biggest draw – the world’s largest wreck diving experience on the sunken SS ‘President Coolidge’. Ultimately, enjoy the quiet and laidback island life on the quaint Mystery island.
Middle Earth, ‘Godzone’, the land of the ancient Māori tribe – majestic New Zealand is an epic adventure waiting to happen.
New Zealand has shown great ingenuity in tackling the novel Coronavirus. With less than 1,200 cases, the country has already begun its ‘new normal’ life. Apart from strict measures, a small population density makes New Zealand an attractive destination post-COVID-19.
If you’re a fan of road trips, New Zealand is perhaps the best place to be at. On North Island, begin with harbor city Auckland, the stunning Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga’s fabled 90-mile beach. Right in the middle is the nucleus of Māori culture, the Whakarewarewa Valley. Indulge in a natural geothermal bathing experience and marvel at the erupting geysers and bubbling mud pools. Just south of it lies the legendary Mt. Tongariro National Park, which offers a plethora of hiking adventures. On the southern tip of North Island sits ‘Windy Wellington,’ New Zealand’s lovely and vibrant capital.
South Island is an entirely different mood. Don’t miss whale watching in Kaikoura before heading to the island’s largest city Christchurch, which is famous for its rich English heritage. Drive on the famed alpine highway to get to the glacier region of Franz Josef and Fox glaciers. If you’re an experience junkie, you’ll be spoilt for choice with Queenstown’s riot of adventure activities. The zenith of South Island’s beauty is Milford Sound, which lies in the jewel that is Fiordland National Park.
Clearly, the equal parts mellow and action-central New Zealand is a must-visit destination post the COVID-19 scenario.
With less than 50 COVID-19 cases and no fatalities, the great Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is one of the best offbeat countries to travel to after the pandemic.
The deeply Buddhist country boasts a picture-perfect landscape with majestic monasteries, fabulous festivals, and flavourful food. Fly into Paro, which houses Bhutan’s only international airport, or drive in through the main crossing at Jaigaon-Phuentsholing from India. Explore the many monasteries, museums, and palaces of historic Paro and the capital Thimphu. Paro is also the site of one of Bhutan’s most photographed monasteries, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Indulge in thrilling river rafting adventures in serene Punakha. If you’re going in spring, you can also experience the colors and sounds of the religious festival of Punakha Tsechu. Central Bhutan’s natural beauty is evident in places like Jigme Dorji National Park and the enchanting, glacial Phobjikha Valley. If you want to go off the beaten path, remote eastern Bhutan offers lots of exciting opportunities and a breath-taking landscape.
Bhutan is also known for a gamut of eco-friendly and yet thrilling outdoor adventures. Trek Mt. Jomolhari, the country’s most popular trekking route. Go mountain biking, rock climbing, and even engage in a bit of archery, Bhutan’s national sport!
P.S.: Independent travel is uncommon in the country. Once the country opens up, everyone must travel on a guided, prepaid, and preplanned customized travel program or tour.
Exciting urban culture, clear cerulean Adriatic waters, unexplored landscapes, and fewer tourists make Croatia one of the most interesting destinations. What’s more, the country responded fast to the growing Coronavirus pandemic and today is amongst the least-affected European countries.
This unspoiled slice of Europe is gaining prominence due to its gastronomy, quaint islands, and the stunning Dalmatian coastline. History and culture buffs will find solace in the grandeur of towns like Pula, Rovinj, Split, Zadar, and Dubrovnik. The island of Hvar and the capital city Zagreb are frontrunners for edgy bustle, complete with a glamourous vibe. Furthermore, Croatia does beautifully with its great outdoors too. Spy blue lakes and jade forests in the incredible Plitvice Lakes National Park or go trekking in the utopia that is Northern Velebit. However, don’t forget to spend time on Croatian beaches and islands like Brac and Kolcep.
Flights are the quickest way of getting around. However, the bus and train network will allow you to explore Croatia beyond its main cities and attractions.
The relatively lesser-known Georgia is becoming a coveted travel destination due to its astonishingly rich culture and diverse, jaw-dropping landscapes. A former backpackers’ secret, Georgia has moved up the ranks to become one of the topmost travel destinations in Europe. It is also one of the least affected European countries due to Coronavirus. In fact, it has been working in tandem with WTO to farm out strict travel guidelines for the future. And, it aims to become one of the first countries to welcome international tourists.
Begin with its groovy capital Tbilisi, whose sights and architecture are a nod to the country’s past, present, and future. Hike and spy old-world churches and fortresses in the Caucasus mountains. If you’re a skiing enthusiast, Gudauri makes for a transcendent, winter-wonderland-like setting for all kinds of skiing activities. Gudauri is also paragliding central year-round. Raft and kayak on the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers and go horse-riding in Tusheti National Park. Explore the magical Black Sea Coast region with the cities of Ureki and Batumi. And of course, don’t forget to dig into Georgia’s delish cuisine!
Lush countrysides, ribbon-like lakes, and culturally rich cities make Slovenia a destination to reckon with. With one of Europe’s lowest COVID-19 rates, Slovenia was also the first European country to officially call an end to the pandemic.
It’s hard to not fall in love with the chic-rustic Slovene capital of Ljubljana, complete with Habsburg and Baroque architecture. The stunning Julian Alps lie just northwest of the capital. It houses the majestic Soča Valley and the stunning mountain lakes of Bohinj and Bled. For thrill-seekers, the alpine towns of Bovec and Kobarid are great outposts for adventure sports and hiking pursuits. The undulating landscapes of Eastern Slovenia is an oenophile’s dream and house the country’s lovely wine region.
History and culture lovers are promised a thrilling time too. The striking Škocjan and Postojna caves and the imposing Predjama castle-fortress will take your breath away. Wind up your trip by exploring the charming Adriatic coastline and its village-towns like Portorož and Piran.
Slovenia happens to be a great destination for cyling around. It is also a driver’s dream, and reaching far-off places can be made easier by renting a car. Apart from that, you always have the country’s efficient train network and buses.
Crna Gora, better known as Montenegro, packs in some of the most beautiful coastlines of Europe within its tiny borders. Lego-like vibrant houses, turquoise-azure coasts, and shades of green dominate the landscape of Montenegro. Plus, with just over 300 Coronavirus cases, it makes for an excellent destination to head to after the pandemic.
The country’s small size makes it easy to get around, whether you take buses or rent a car. Montenegro’s whitewashed old towns are like postcards. Towns like Budva, Kotor, and Herceg Novi are Insta-worthy destinations, to say the least. The Adriatic coast also makes for the background of a lifetime for the splendid ruins of Stari Bar. The country’s interiors are somewhat less explore, which is what makes them so alluring. Explore the magnificent forests and mountains of Prokletije, Durmitor, and the ancient Biogradska Gora. Also, both of Montenegro’s capitals, the present Podgorica and the former Cetinje, certainly warrant a visit.
You can expect the unexpected from the avant-garde and vintage Cuba. The country is a magical mishmash of colonial cities, cultural magic, white-sand beaches, and lush green forests. All this thrives even as modernization slowly seeps into the country.
It might come as a surprise to many that Cuba has everything from positive health indicators to free universal healthcare. So, it’s no wonder that it is one of the countries to have battled COVID-19 more successfully than others.
It’s hard to tear your eyes away in the dynamic capital Havana, where age-old architectural splendor clashes with brightly-colored cars. Water junkies have lots of opportunities on the coastline, right from María La Gorda to Varadero to Playa Guardalavaca. Lush landscapes like the Yumurí valley, Las Terrazas, and Viñales valley make for great laidback getaways. History comes alive in Trinidad and the UNESCO Heritage town of Camagüey, one of Cuba’s oldest towns. Finally, a trip to Cuba is incomplete without laidback beach time in the charming Cienfuegos, Cayo Coco, and Cayo Sabinal.
Getting around the country is the cheapest in buses, followed by shared taxis. You can also rent cars, and even cycling tours are becoming popular.
Smack dab in the middle of the Indian Ocean lies the slice of heaven that is Seychelles. The African island is one of the world’s least affected countries due to Coronavirus and hasn’t had any fatalities.
Long, sandy beaches, lush nature reserves, adventure, and luxury rule the roost in Seychelles. Water babies can go scuba diving in Bay Ternay on the islands of Mahé, Praslin, and St. Pierre. Thrill-seeking vacationers can do zip-lining and rock climbing at Mahé and the serene island of La Digue. All islands also offer some absolutely stunning trekking and hiking trails. The most spectacular of them all is the Vallee de Mai which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Foodies will love digging into succulent seafood in the bustling, vibrant capital city of Victoria. And, of course, a trip to Seychelles is incomplete without visiting its pristine beaches like Petite Anse on Mahé and Anse Georgette on Praslin.
Getting around Mahé and Praslin is easy via bus, and you can rent your own car too. You’ll need a cycle to get around the remote La Digue. Ferries and boats are the only way of traveling between the islands.
Meanwhile, until there will be flights and borders will be open for tourists again – lean back and enjoy these great 100 best virtual tours around the world from the comfort of your sofa.