The arrival of a new year is always joyfully anticipated, but 2021 is even more keenly awaited than usual as we hope it'll be the year we put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us. Here are some of the places, attractions and new experiences that will enhance the worldwide travel scene in 2021, all waiting to be enjoyed when travel restrictions lift.
1. See Colorado and Utah from a glass-domed train
Train company Rocky Mountaineer has announced its plans to introduce a new Colorado to Utah route to its luxury train journeys in 2021. The "Rockies to the Red Rocks" route will be a two-day rail journey between Denver and Moab, with an overnight stay in Glenwood Springs. Between Denver and Glenwood Springs, the trains will journey alongside the Colorado River and through a series of canyons with steep, rugged rock walls. Guests on the new multi-day, daytime route will enjoy onboard storytelling, regional cuisine and beautiful scenery in the trains' glass-dome coaches.
2. Dive to the wreckage of the Titanic
If you fancy visiting the wreck of the Titanic, a series of six dives has been organised to the historic passenger ship, which is located about 600km south of Newfoundland. The dives will begin at the end of May 2021 and will collect images, video, laser scans and sonar data to provide an objective baseline of the current condition of the wreck. They will give citizen scientists the opportunity to participate as active members of the team, known as "mission specialists," for which they will receive hands-on training and continued instruction.
3. Revel in this multi-sensory Vincent van Gogh exhibition
A multi-sensory Vincent Van Gogh exhibition is coming to the US for the first time at the Salvador Dalí Museum, Florida, the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, and the Germania Club Building in Chicago. Through ceiling digital projection, close to 3000 moving images illuminate the colorful brushstrokes of Vincent van Gogh in larger-than-life scenes, giving visitors the opportunity to effectively step inside the Dutch artist's famous paintings. A musical soundscape will accompany the projections to add to the dream-like state of the exhibition, while aromas will be infused throughout the auditorium so that museum-goers can literally stop and smell the Sunflowers.
4. Enjoy unlimited stays in the Maldives
A luxury resort in the Maldives is offering unlimited stays for two people in its overwater bungalows throughout 2021. The new package from Anantara Veli Maldives Resort is called ‘Unlimited Stays in Paradise,' and although the price tag of US$30,000 might seem eye-wateringly steep, it works out to just over $84 a night. It includes free breakfast every morning, and use of the resort’s fitness center and pool.
5. Visit the Italian town named the City of Wine for 2021
Wine is something that’s taken very seriously in Italy, and those who like to imbibe should head to the village of Barolo, which has been declared the official Città del Vino, or City of Wine, for 2021. Barolo is located in the Piedmontese province of Cuneo and and while it counts no more than 700 citizens, it’s the birthplace of the homonymous Barolo red wine. It also has an enviable location since it’s sitting right in the middle of the Langhe hills, which were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014.
6. Check out this Paris art museum
Head to Paris where a former stock exchange will reopen as a museum dedicated to the collection of businessman and art collector François Pinault. The Bourse de Commerce is set to open on 23 January, and will house contemporary art seen through the prism of the Pinault collection. Pinault has assembled a collection of more than 5000 works from the 20th and 21st centuries, and the museum will offer educational programs, conferences, meetings, screenings, concerts and performances.
7. Take a bus across 18 countries in 70 days
An epic new hop-on-hop-off bus service from Adventures Overland will set off on a 20,000km journey from India to England, crossing 18 countries over 70 days and allowing passengers to stop off in cities along the way. The adventure is made more comfortable with mod-cons such as reclining ‘business class’ seats with plenty of legroom, wifi, in-seat phone charging points, private lockers and individual entertainment systems with AUX and USB ports.
8. Cycle the trail around Italy's Lake Garda
A brand new way to explore Italy’s largest lake by bike is coming in 2021, and it's a 140km-long trail that circles Lake Garda in the north of the country. The project, called Garda by Bike, has been constructed from both existing cycling tracks and newly built paths that will take you from Lombardy through Trento and the Veneto and back. Garda by Bike will also link up to the continent-spanning European cycle routes Eurovelo Route 7 and Eurovelo Route 8.
9. Be mesmerised by a kaleidoscopic Japanese exhibition
Digital art collective teamLab has unveiled an incredible new exhibition that sees Kairakuen Garden in Mito, Japan, being transformed into a psychedelic, kaleidoscopic open-air art exhibition. The interactive display features 3000 plum blossom trees, all of which are transformed into living artwork, thanks to ground-breaking technology. Running from 13 February to 21 March 2021, the interactive show responds to the presence of people, and is being held in conjunction with the 120-year-old Mitu Ume (plum) Festival.
10. Get cultured in Romania’s Timişoara
Romania’s western city of Timişoara has been chosen as the European Capital of Culture for 2021 by an EU-nominated international jury. Its campaign was carried out under the slogan ‘Shine your light. Light up your city.’ As the European Capital of Culture, Romania's third-largest city will have a special programme promoting the diversity and richness of its culture.
11. Experience the 2021 total solar eclipse from an Antarctic cruise
On 4 December 2021, cruise passengers will go from blinding white conditions to a complete blackout thanks to a voyage that coincides with a total solar eclipse that will take place in Antarctica. On 20 November 2021, the 114-guest ship M/v Sea Spirit will depart the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia in Argentina, and return there after visiting South Georgia, the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and the Antarctic Peninsula. On day 14 of the 23-day voyage, the captain will navigate the vessel to the small path of totality that will experience the total solar eclipse.
12. Take in a major Picasso exhibition
A major Picasso exhibition is coming to the US next year. Organized in partnership with Musée National Picasso-Paris, Picasso. Figures will make its sole US appearance in the Frist Art Museum in Nashville to celebrate the institution's 20th anniversary. The landmark show will run in the Frist's Ingram Gallery from 5 February until 2 May, before traveling to the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec in Canada in June 2021.
13. Voyage on the world's biggest square-rigged ship
Two celebrity-led cruises are taking place on a mighty cruise ship that takes 70% of its power from natural sources. As the world's biggest square-rigged ship, Golden Horizon is a sustainable vessel with great on-board facilities. The first trip sets off from Scotland in May 2021 and travels to Iceland, where passengers can learn about volcanoes with wildlife presenter Kate Humble. The second trip takes in Belfast, the Giant's Causeway and dramatic Antrim coast, as well as the Isle of Man, where passengers can board a vintage train to the top of Snaefell mountain. It also sails to Dublin to see Malahide Castle and Dublin Bay.
14. Hike the stunning villages and vistas of Southern Italy
Several initiatives aim to make the South of Italy more accessible and popular, like the Cammino Materano and its newest hiking route. The project centers on the city of Matera and consists of six routes connecting it to other locations in Southern Italy across the regions of Basilicata, Puglia and Campania. The project is promoted by local volunteers and businesses and it’s an excellent way to enjoy slow traveling in the heart of what used to be Magna Graecia and discover all its histories and peculiarities. Travelers can rely on guides and info points to help them on their trip and they can also receive a certificate, called testimonium, that testifies they have walked at least 100 kilometers on the route.
15. Take to the seas on a 136-day world cruise
The Viking Star cruise ship is scheduled to set sail on a 136-day trip on 24 December, 2021, from Fort Lauderdale. The 2021-2022 itinerary is expected to include visits to 27 countries and 56 ports, with overnight stays in 11 cities. It will explore ports of call in Central America, transit through the Panama Canal and journey up the west coast of North America before crossing the Pacific Ocean and calling upon Hawaii. It will then traverse New Zealand and Australia, and sail through Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean before concluding in London.
16. Visit the Grand Eyptian Museum
This epic museum was originally slated to open in 2020, and has since been pushed back to mid-2021. But with its treasure-trove of artefacts dating back thousands of years, this epic museum is likely well worth the wait.
17. Take a trip to Nashville's new National Museum of African American music
Music lovers have yet another reason to visit Nashville as the National Museum of African American Music is preparing to launch in January 2021. It's no overstatement to say that African American music changed the world. From gospel to jazz, R&B to hip-hop, funk to rap, house to techno and soul and more, its influence stretches worldwide, bends genres and transcends cultures. It's the backbone of our music landscape. And given its particular significance in American history and culture, it's fitting that there's now a place to honor the music and the musicians who shaped it.