As 2020 has been the worst year for travel in living memory, it’s time to look ahead to 2021, and get dreaming about the incredible adventures and unique experiences to come that we all missed out on over the last twelve months.
With travel plans scuppered and bucket list trips put on hold, here at Not In The Guidebooks we’ve been working hard to discover the very best responsible, authentic and local experiences to help you get off the beaten track in 2021.
Here is a selection of our best new destinations to stoke up that wanderlust for the year ahead, and help you dream of your next adventure, for what will hopefully be the year we look back on as the year where the world opened back up.
Rising in a veil of mist and steam from the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores recall an almost prehistoric landscape. Lush, green forests climb the sides of dramatic mountains and rushing waterfalls cascade into deep, hidden lagoons.
Bubbling geothermally heated pools, secluded coves and magnificent cliff views make the Azores a truly exotic, exciting destination, and with all this natural wonder, come many immersive experiences.
Whether it’s hiking stunning trails leading to the ridges of a volcanic crater, floating in geothermally heated coastal pools, swimming with wild dolphins out in the majestic Atlantic Ocean, or kayaking on lakes suspended high above sea level by volcanic crater walls, the Azores is the perfect destination for anyone with a thirst for adventure.
Cambodia draws in every traveller it welcomes with a slow, laid back pace of life, particularly when you leave the manic Phnom Penh and head to the dreamy backwaters, where you’ll find technicolour sunsets, lazy rivers and quiet temples that hum to the sound of cicadas.
Throw in the incredibly good food, the magical wildlife, thick jungles and rolling hills, shimmering rice paddies and paradisiacal coast, and you’ve got country that will have you hooked from day one.
A world of exploration awaits, from unleashing your inner Indiana Jones whilst exploring creeper covered temples, drifting on huge inland lakes with an ice-cold beer in hand, to getting up close and personal with Cambodia’s gentle giants or exploring buzzing night markets.
But Cambodia’s main attraction is its people. There are few places on earth you’ll get a warmer welcome and more attentive hospitality, and with few to no tourists over the last year, it’s likely the locals will be happier than ever to see you.
Experiences in Our New Destination
For those looking to really get off the beaten track this year, nowhere is better than the country where it can often feel as if you’ve dropped off the edge of the earth.
In places like the eerie Skeleton Coast, it can feel as if you’ve arrived on an alien planet, where the dry, desolate Namib Desert collides with the Atlantic Ocean to create an otherworldly landscape. But dry, empty, beautiful deserts are not all Namibia has to boast, as it’s also a country that’s bursting with life.
There are few countries on earth that offer better safari, and Etosha National Park is the hub of all this life. One of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, you can spend your days spotting lion, elephant, giraffe, and countless other species, then in the evening, kick back next to a fire pit under the stars, truly off the beaten track.
Some of the most compelling travel destinations on earth are actually right on your doorstep. If 2020 has offered anything, it’s given us a chance to take notice of the incredible, offbeat experiences to be found in the UK.
Head to the stunning coastal landscape of Pembrokeshire and get back to nature on a foraging walk, before enjoying the fruits of your labour as a meal cooked by a Michelin starred chef. Or, explore the stunning trails that wind through the Brecon Beacons on guided mountain biking tour that gets you out of the trail centres and into the wild.
Of course, you could head north, to magical Snowdonia, and spend time immersed in ancient forests, rolling hillsides, beautiful mountain lakes and craggy peaks. Wherever you are in Wales, a day spent out in the stunning countryside rejuvenates and re-energises, and should always end in a sunny beer garden or a cosy traditional pub, where you can reflect on your adventures.
No matter what the new year brings, we’ll be scouring the earth to find you unique, authentic, and responsible experiences so that as soon as you’re ready to travel again, we’ll be ready to make it happen.