11 Dream destinations after COVID-19 [part 2]

Where to go when the pandemic is over? 11 travel bloggers share their hints

By various authors

When we publish this, the world has more than 4 million official cases of COVID-19 confirmed. More than 278,000 lost their lives and 28% of that was in the United States. In Europe, where we are based, it’s not over yet, but we are starting to unconfine phase by phase and that makes our eyes sparkle again. So, where will we travel to when we can? We asked that question to travel bloggers. Spain, Sardinia, Israel, New York and so much more were included in the first part of this collab.  Now 11 bloggers share their wishes to visiting (or revisiting) other amazing destinations.

Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland, for adventure and Northern Lights

By Emer Walker, from Ireland, blog Let’s go Ireland

northern lights by michael gill
Photo by Michael Gill via Ireland’s Content Pool

After being cooped up for so long, there is nothing I’d like more than the feeling of freedom and the wild wind in my hair along the west coast of Ireland. The ruggedness of the breathtaking landscape is just so invigorating. 

It doesn’t matter what time you visit Ireland, each month has its own charm, particularly along the Wild Atlantic Way. Here you can soak up fabulous scenery, for example, walk along magnificent sandy beaches, enjoy unbelievable sunsets overlooking the wild Atlantic Ocean, surf, hike, and, if you’re lucky, even take part in the incredible spectacle of Northern Lights in Ireland. Sometimes it feels like being in a calendar image yourself and I cannot wait to go back there. 

I also love the wildlife there. One of the most unique things to do is to take a boat tour to see Fungi, the wild dolphin who has lived in Dingle harbor since the 1980s. Otherwise, if you are lucky enough, you might also observe whales and dolphins from the headlands around the coast. 

County Clare, home to the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, should definitely be included in your Wild Atlantic Way itinerary. The Burren is not only famed for its diversity of plant species and is a must for botanists and anyone interested in visiting a beautifully otherworldly, almost lunar-like rocky environment. While the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most stunning and popular tourist destinations. 

I also love the pace of life along the Wild Atlantic Way. In the little villages with their cute thatched cottages, the atmosphere always seems so relaxed and friendly to me…a perfect way to let go of any sense of stress! 

Probably the top reason why I can’t wait to go back onto the trail of the Wild Atlantic Way is to experience the pub culture again. There is nothing better than going to a traditional Irish pub, enjoying a pint and listening to a traditional Irish music session after a day admiring the fabulous landscapes of Ireland.

To revisit Varenna & Lake Como, in Northern Italy

By Emma Walker, from the UK, blog Travel on a Time Budget

Varenna Lake Como Italy

When it’s possible to travel again, I want to return to Varenna, a small town on the shores of Lake Como, one of the main lakes in the north of Italy.  

I visited three years ago and despite only staying for a few days, I was utterly captivated.  I promised myself at the time that I would return. This hasn’t yet happened, but given how hard Italy has been hit by the pandemic, it seems a reason enough to choose this destination as a place to visit as a tourist where I can spend my money.

Varenna is probably one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever stayed in.  And the views out to the lake from here are stunning.

The main part of the town is arranged around a small circular bay, where there are cafés, restaurants and small boutique shops.  Small boats are moored along the waterfront and people sit alongside the lake dangling their feet into the cool and pristine water.  

Lake Como is overlooked by beautiful rustic houses and large cypress trees that stand like sentries in the terraces above the water.  At sunset, it’s really quite magical and there are plenty of spots to sit and soak up the atmosphere and watch the sun go down.

It’s a place to relax and take on a slower pace of life.  But if you do want to get out and about, there’s plenty to do.  This includes a stroll around Villa Monastero, a former nunnery surrounded by beautiful gardens and with panoramic views across the lake. You can also walk to the small castle, Castello di Vezio, perched on the hill.  

If you actually want to get onto the water, there is a ferry service connecting four towns in the centre of Lake Como.  We hopped over to the glitzy and glamorous Bellagio, just 15 minutes away.  Or if you’re a bit more intrepid, you can swim in the lake – we didn’t, but there were many people doing this when we were there!

Finally, if you’re a lover of trains or of alpine scenery, then you could end your trip with a journey on the world-famous Bernina Express.  You connect to this from a nearby town and the train then takes you on an amazing 122km journey through some of Switzerland’s most breathtaking and spectacular scenery. If you like trains and wonderful alpine scenery, you’ll absolutely love this!

Varenna is definitely one to put on your list for a visit.  I’m hoping it’s not long before I get the opportunity to return.

Krakow, Poland, to feel home again

By Diana, expat in Germany, blog Travels in Poland

Family is the most important thing right now, and right after the pandemic is over, they will be the first I will visit when Poland opens its borders.  

Krakow, Poland’s second-biggest city, is an amazing city located in a country that is beginning to see the growth of tourism. Krakow’s allure is due to a variety of things the city is known for, including fantastic food and restaurants, the largest town square in Europe, deep history, and welcoming culture.

Krakow’s restaurants are among the country’s best, with an array of foods, featuring traditional Polish foods such as pierogi, kielbasa, zurek, nalesniki and lazanki z kapusta.  If you want to try more well-known foods such as Italian and Greek food, Krakow is the spot to have it.  Make sure to sit down at one of the cafes in the center and have an iced latte.

The city’s central town square also has an old cloth hall known as Sukiennice.  Today, hundreds of vendors are lined up along the inside selling traditional polish items such as amber and other artisan items as well as more mainstream tourist items.

One of the best things about the city is the fantastic access to history and culture.  The Wawel Royal Castle, as well as the nearby Smocza Jama (Dragon’s Lair), are some of the top destinations for visitors.  The gold plated dome of the Chapel at the castle is an iconic symbol of the city.  Inside the accompanying church are royal chambers and the underground Royal Tombs.  Krakow’s rich history of kings is thoroughly explained and enamors many tourists.

Not far from Krakow are two locations one of which is tied deeply to the history of the city as well as to Poland as a whole, Auschwitz.  The most well-known concentration camp is a mere minute away from Krakow.  Another well-known place that is worth visiting is Wieliczka salt mine, which still operates tours.

Krakow is relatively inexpensive and has 5-star hotels that are still affordable for many people.  The newly renovated airport has quick access to the center of the city and Krakow’s walkability to many sites and available tours makes this city a gem to visit in Europe.

Faroe Islands, in Denmark, for its raw beauty and virgin nature

By Anjali Chawla, from India, blog Travel Melodies 

Faroe Islands Denmark

I was supposed to tick the Faroe Islands (one of my dream destinations) off my bucket list this June if the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak didn’t happen. Alas! Here I am, locked in my tiny apartment looking at the dreamy pictures of the remote and stunningly gorgeous island set in the North Atlantic Ocean tucked between Norway, Scotland, and Iceland.

With a population of 50,000 humans and 80,000 sheep, the Faroe Islands is a tiny archipelago encompassing 18 islands. A self-governing region of the Kingdom of Denmark, it seems utterly secluded and far away from the rest of the world.

Why the Faroe Islands? Well, its wild and raw beauty, virgin nature, dramatic landscapes, offbeat character, friendly and welcoming people, and uncomplicated lifestyle pull me. There’s something so captivating about remote destinations where tourists are yet to set foot. I want to go there before social media ruins its peace and tranquility.

I plan to spend at least 10 days (because I’m a lover of slow travel) there with my family, drinking in the otherworldly vistas and indulging in hiking, a perfect mind-body workout. I wanted to visit the islands during June and July (long days and nice weather), but that can’t be an option now, so I’m targetting September or October (hoping corona thing settles down by then) as these months promise enough daylight to explore and a chance to spot puffins.

My Faroe Islands itinerary includes Tórshavn, Vágar Island, Mykines, Vestmanna,  Kalsoy, Nólsoy, Eysturoy, Saksun, and Klaksvik. Of course, we will rent a car to explore Faroes because it’s a shame to be in Faroes but not take the rugged buttercup roads! Isn’t it?

Faroe is unapologetically photogenic. I’m excited to capture its essence in my camera. Also, we do want to meet and interact with warm Faroese people and learn about their lifestyle, culture, and heritage. I love the way my daughter learns new things and grows as a global citizen with each trip. The best part of traveling is learning something new that changes you forever.

The Faroes, at a moment, is a bucket list destination I dream to visit. But I will be able to tick it off pretty soon. Amen!

Travel around Canada to experience wildlife and vibrant cities

By Jenna Rank, from Australia, blog I Know the Pilot and

Alberta Canada Lake Mountain

The beauty, natural wonders, and wildlife of Canada have been on our radar for quite a while, though sadly we have yet to make it there. 

Canada is huge – the second largest country in the world, covering almost ten million square kilometres! There is so much to do and see, and it can be quite the trek to see everything in one trip – most travelers opt to visit one coast or the other at a time. English is the main language, the Prime Minister is a bit of spunk and they drive on the right-hand side of the road. What more could you ask for in a country?

Seriously though, Canada is full of quirky cities, amazing adventure, stunning views, and really cool (though sometimes dangerous) wildlife. Our trip will be full of cuddles with bears, moose-riding, patting some wolves, and might swim with some Orca. Just kidding…But really, seeing all those animals (from a safe distance) is super high on my list. 

Fun fact: my nickname in High School was Moose (still getting over that one), so I have always wanted to see one in the wild. Hiking, being in nature, climbing mountains and swimming in blue lakes is also part of the plan.

A visit to Vancouver will give us a feel of cool city vibes before we sneak over to the pretty Vancouver Island. Off then up the Rockies, checking out Whistler, Banff, Lake Louise (where this being a dream trip, we will stay at the Fairmont) and through to Calgary, home of the famous Calgary Stampede. If we can work it in (or afford it!), we will jump on the Rocky Mountaineer somewhere, the amazing Canadian train journey with the most stunning views. 

Ideally, we will want to visit in Spring when the animals are waking up and the weather is mild (all that hiking makes a girl sweaty!). However, many people choose to visit in Winter, for the snowfields and stunning Northern Lights. Perhaps we will just stay for a few months, and experience the best of both worlds (still dreaming here). 

Canada has so many options for exploring, with guided tours, campervan hire, amazing train journeys, and stunning self-drive itineraries, so we may mix and match along the way to ensure we see everything but still make some new friends. The locals are friendly, the views are gorgeous, and we can’t wait to get to Canada as soon as we can! 
Want to follow I Know the Pilot on Instagram? Click here!

California, for a mix of adventure travel and culture

By Camille, from France, blog Everything Yoga Retreat 

Yosemite National Park California
Yosemite National Park

California is one of these destinations that sits at the top of most people’s travel bucket list. With stunning beaches, beautiful national parks, and top-notch weather, California is probably one of the best places to spend a memorable holiday.

I’ve never been to California, but I’ve wanted to go ever since I can remember. It would definitely be a dream come true. I mean, who wouldn’t want to visit the Golden State? There are stunning beaches, the weather is amazing and you can go to celebrity spotting.  More than that, the state is full of history, you can see the biggest trees in the world and the art scene is unique. The state of California literally has it all. 

Things I’d love to do in California include visiting the most famous theme parks, going on a yoga retreat in the middle of nature, and exploring Yosemite National Park. I think my trip to California would be a mix of both adventure and culture. Obviously, I’d also visit some of the most beautiful beaches like Santa Monica, for example. 

I’d really love to go on an epic road trip across the state. I would stop in famous cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco. I’d finish by visiting the most beautiful national parks including Joshua Tree, Sequoia, and Redwood National Park. In between, I’d set up camp in some of the most breathtaking spots along the coast. With more than 840 miles of coastline, California is definitely one of the best states for a road trip. 

Los Angeles is the most iconic city of the state, I’d spend a few days there. I’d get lost in Universal Studios, go to Disneyland and enjoy the endless list of rides and games. More than that, I’d love to visit Venice, walk down Hollywood Boulevard and go window shopping in Rodeo Drive.

Bali, Indonesia, for its people, vibe and nature

By Sam Oppenheimer, from the US, blog Find Love & Travel

Bali Indonesia

Find me on the first flight to Bali, Indonesia after this is all over! Back in 2018 my husband and I quit our jobs to travel through Europe and Southeast Asia. Out of all the places we visited, Bali really stole our hearts. We spent 10 days in Bali and traveled through Ubud, the Nusa Islands, and Seminyak. 

I could tell you that while 10 days is a good amount of time to see Bali, we could have easily stayed for months exploring all the island! 

There is just something so special about being in Bali, it’s hard to even describe. I believe it’s a combination of the people, the vibe, culture, and nature that makes Bali feel so welcoming. 

The city of Ubud was my favorite place to visit during my time there. Ubud became increasingly popular after the book and movie Eat Pray Love. Ubud has also been a hot spot among digital nomads for years.

Filled with tons of cute cafes, good Wifi, beautiful temples, waterfalls, shopping, and famous rice terraces, you won’t be bored!

At times, it is possible for Ubud to feel overwhelming and crowded with tourists, but it would never stop me from visiting. Maybe because I’ve lived in New York for over 11 years.

When I make it back to Bali, I would love to rent out a treehouse hut tucked away in the jungles of Ubud, away from the hustle and bustle.  

There are also quite a few places we didn’t get a chance to visit in Bali. Some places I am dreaming to explore when we make it back include Uluwatu (a surf town in the South of Bali), Canggu (a new trendy area considered to be a mini Ubud),  a couple of days on the island of Nusa Penida (we only got to visit for a couple of hours), and exploring Northern Bali to hike Mount Batur and visit some additional temples. 

I recommend everyone to make it to Bali once in their life. The experience, culture, people, and the sheer beauty of the island are not to be missed!

Singapore, for its food and nature activities in the city

By Clara, from Australia, blog Petite Capsule

Singapore botanic gardens
Singapore Botanic Gardens

I’m looking forward to visiting Singapore again because it is fantastic whether you are travelling with a baby and toddler, as a couple, or by yourself. One of my favourite things about Singapore is the food.

It is flavoursome, tasty, and extremely affordable. You can get Michelin soy sauce chicken rice for $5 SGD from Hawker Chan. Hawker Chan is a little food stall located in the Chinatown Complex hawker centre. You can find a lot of other delicious local dishes in the hawker centre including char kway teow, satay, laksa, hokkien mee, and chili crab. There are many hawker centres located around the city, such as Lau Pau Sat, Satay By The Bay, and Maxwell Road Hawker Centre. 

Being a city, you will be surprised by the number of nature activities. I loved the Treetop Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir. The main highlight is the free-standing suspension bridge, which connects the two highest points – Bukit Kalang and Bukit Peirce – in MacRitchie. The suspension bridge has a great view of the forest canopy. You will also spot monkeys on the walk. Another popular nature attraction is Gardens By The Bay. Gardens By The Bay is a spectacular nature park with a Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, as well as supertree structures and a skywalk. The Singapore Botanic Gardens are also on the list. It is a UNESCO Heritage Site. The National Orchid Garden within the Singapore Botanic Gardens is particularly special and beautiful.

Fort Canning Park is both a nature activity, but also for those interested in Singapore’s history. It is where Malay royalty once ruled, as well as where the British decided to surrender to the Japanese in World War II. You can see the Fort Gate, which remains from a 19th century fortress, and take tours of the Battle Box, an underground military complex used in World War II.

With so much to see and do, it’s easy to see why some see Singapore as the best place to travel with baby in Asia, as well as great for those travelling with friends, a partner or solo. 

Japan, for its culture and to visit Tokyo Disney Resort 

By Amy Smith, from the UK, blog The Travel Fairies

Shibuya Tokyo Japan
Shibuya district, Tokyo

My dream destination and where I hope to travel once this situation is all over is Japan. Since I was little, I had a fascination with far East Asia. This probably stems from my love of Disney’s Mulan, which prompted me to learn all I could about China and their culture, and so have always wanted to visit the area. 

As a bit of a nerd, growing up I started playing video games, watching anime, and reading manga. I started leaning more towards Japan than China and started to learn about that too, even teaching myself a bit of the language. It’s always been a bucket list destination for me. 

However, I just never got round to booking that trip, until this year. My sister and I decided we were going to Japan and booked everything for May 2020. We mainly wanted to visit Disney parks. I have a goal to visit every Disney theme park in the world and have so far only managed to visit Disneyland Paris, which is the closest to home. This would have been a chance to tick off both parks in the Tokyo Disney Resort. While we were there, I had so many other things I wanted to do too. 

We were also going to take part in some typical nerdy activities like visiting the Robot Cafe, the Pokemon Cafe, and Mario Karting through the streets of Tokyo, as well as some more cultural activities. I dream of admiring Shinto Shrines, attending a local festival wearing a kimono, taking a dip in an onsen, and taking part in a traditional tea ceremony. And, as someone who has climbed mountains all over the world, we would also pay a visit to Mount Fuji. Unfortunately, but for obvious reasons, our holiday has now been cancelled. This has just meant that I am now more determined than ever to make it happen once this is all over.

Hiking the Great Wall of China

By Hannah Golton, from the UK, blog Hannah’s Happy Adventures

Great Wall China

My ultimate dream destination after Covid-19 has to be going back to Beijing to hike the Great Wall. I first visited Beijing during the year I spent living in China. It stuck with me out of all of the places I visited during this time. Beijing is a vibrant city full of culture, colour, and great food.

My previous trip was a special visit. I went with my family and we saw many of the main sights in Beijing. We visited the forbidden city – the stunning complex of palaces with beautiful views over the city. We saw the summer palace. Another complex of palaces, temples, and beautiful lakes just outside of the city. The food was also to die for – Beijing duck is just as good as everyone says it is. They’ll carve a whole duck at your table – and it was incredible!

I did also have the opportunity to visit the Great Wall on this trip. However, as I was travelling with family we spent just a day at this beautiful place. We visited the Mutianyu section and arrived at 7 AM. The early morning paid off as we had the first hour on the wall all to ourselves.

However, while there I read about hiking and camping tours on the Great Wall. There are multi-day tours where you can camp overnight and witness the sunrise in the morning. This sounded like the ultimate adventure and ever since I heard of this I’ve been aching to return. I’m a big hiker normally and enjoy many walking trips when travelling. For me, China has become my dream destination after Covid-19 is done. I cannot wait to get to the Great Wall again and watch the sunrise.

Tiger Safari in India 

By Madhurima Chakraborty, from India, blog Orange Wayfarer 

Once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, I would love to make the first trip to the tiger kingdom of India. Tadoba national park in Madhya Pradesh, Panna National reserve, and Satpur (again in Madhya Pradesh) and Ranthambhore in Rajasthan is my first pick for India’s tiger trail. 

I would also make it a point to visit the Sundarbans, the original mangrove reserves where tigers are as elusive as Bonodebi, and dangerous too. They have mastered the art of swimming at the mouth of Ganga and Bay of Bengal. That is saying a lot! Unlike other parks, Sundorbon is open for tourists even during the tumultuous Monsoon season. 

I have already been to the Kaziranga National park, home to one-horned rhino population of the world, and only managed to see a glimpse of the yellow and black striped for a second. My heart leapt and bounced! 

Closer to home, Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka (the Indian state with the highest number of tigers) keeps me on the toe. However, tiger sighting is a challenge in the dense dark and old forests of the Indian peninsula. 

Once a thriving population of more than 100,000, Bengal Tigers in India have dwindled into a mere number of 1,400. This is tragic, to say the least, with rampant hunting during British colonists, poaching to fuel border insurgency and satiate Chinese black market, and human-animal conflict with the increasing trend on forest land grab. Tigers have got no place to live. Bengal tigers thrived in a larger area of the Indian subcontinent and their population stretched towards Russia (Siberian tigers) and Southeast Asia too. 

In-between a glimmer of hope arrived, with National Parks in India securing the last bit of jungle for these beautiful animals. National parks have been marked with the animal territory, brought under the rule of law that no human habitat is allowed, tourism infrastructures have been implemented and a number of ex-poachers have been employed as guides, who are bringing back the tiger population from the brink of extinction.

Where do you dream to travel to after COVID-19?