While most of us can’t travel right now, we can still dream!
The pandemic has brought the travel industry to its knees almost overnight. However, this is temporary and we will be able to travel again.
With lockdown restrictions starting to ease around the world, hopefully, we can explore again sooner rather than later.
It’s been a tough time for travellers for the last few months.
So to keep you inspired and excited about the future here are 7 of the best places you can travel to when international borders open again.
1. Himara, Albania
Ever heard of Himara? Most likely not!
If you are craving a European summer destination that is off the beaten path then this is it!
Himara is a small beachside holiday town on the Southern Albanian Coast. Himara has a greek vibe and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. The cotton candy coloured sunsets in Himara will have you mesmerised.
Himara is frequented by Albanian holidaymakers. This means there are plenty of accommodation and dining options in the small town.
In particular, you must visit Gjiri i Filikurit beach. This is a secret beach which is completely inaccessible by road. You either have to walk through an area of bush and climb down a steep cliff or go via boat from the main beach in Himara.
This beach has crystal clear water and dramatic rock, cave and cliff formations.
Livadhi Beach and Himara Beach are also amazing spots to hang out with more amenities.
2. Spot Wildlife in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is an incredible place to visit after lockdown is over. It is full of beautiful tropical landscapes, beaches, mountains, Buddhist culture, incredible cuisine and is home to some of the best wildlife in the world.
On top of this Sri Lanka is small, easy to travel through and is very budget-friendly! The Ella to Kandy train ride is one of the most famous in the world, and will only set you back a couple of dollars. In recent years Sri Lanka has been gaining popularity among travellers, meaning there is no shortage of incredible accommodation and food.
Best Places to see wildlife
The best places to spot wildlife in Sri Lanka are by the ocean or on a safari in one of their National Parks. Hikkaduwa is an incredible beach on the west coast where you can swim with turtles. You can spot blue whales in Mirissa. Mirissa is on the south coast and is close to a migration route for blue whales making it one of the best places in the world to see them.
Thought you had to go to Africa to go on a safari? Think again! Yala National Park and Udawalawe National Park are both incredible places to go on a wildlife safari. You are almost guaranteed to see elephants in Sri Lanka. If you are lucky you might even get to see a leopard!
The national parks are home to many other amazing species like water buffalo, monkeys, birds and many other species. These safaris won’t set you back thousands of dollars either.
Other must-see places in Sri Lanka
The Southern coastline from the west to east is dotted with incredible tropical beaches. Some of the best beaches include Unawatuna, Madiha, Talalla, Tangelle, Hiriketiya, Dikwella, Arugam Bay and more.
You can go inland to the mountains for hiking, tea plantations and endless waterfalls. Aarons Peak, Ella Rock, Diyaluma Falls and Sigiriya Rock are all incredible places for hiking.
Don’t forget to indulge at a local curry pot restaurant for an all you can eat a feast of delicious Sri Lankan food for a couple of bucks.
3. Siargao, Philippines
Siargao is a tiny tropical island in the Philippines most known for its world-class surf breaks.
This gem in the Pacific Ocean has remained mostly untouched.
The landscape is bursting with lush tropical jungle, the sand is white and the ocean is crystal clear. The island of Siargao is a true tropical paradise, making it the perfect escape post lockdown.
There are many amazing hostels, resorts, cafes and bars popping up in the thriving tourist hub of General Luna.
Siargao has so much to offer on top of surfing. Popular activities include day trips to the surrounding islands and Sugba Lagoon, coconut tree forest excursions, beautiful rivers, awe-inspiring sunsets, beautiful rock pools and countless tropical beaches.
One of the best things to do in Siargao is to hire a scooter and explore paradise!
4. Kotor, Montenegro
Kotor is a small Medieval town in the Balkan country of Montenegro. Just off the Adriatic sea, on a calm bay nestled between mountains lies Kotor.
The charming old town of Kotor is fully walled, complete with a water mote. It is an emerging destination that is becoming increasingly popular with travellers, and it’s easy to see why.
It is easy to reach Kotor by car or bus from the popular tourist destination of Dubrovnik in Croatia in a couple of hours. There are many buses that come to Kotor from all of the surrounding towns and countries.
Climbing to the Castle of San Giovani is the highlight of Kotor. Just behind the old town, there is a steep climb up to the castle, where you follow the old castle walls. When you reach the top you are treated to the most spectacular views of the mountains and Kotor Bay. It is worth going up just in time for sunset.
There are other hikes around these mountains for those of you with an adventurous spirit. Otherwise, you can waste the day away walking from gate to gate, exploring the utterly charming old town, visiting churches, dining alfresco and soaking in all of the amazing vibes.
5. Hampi, India
Hampi is one of those places that just feels out of this world. It is located in South India in the state of Karnataka. It is a bit out of the way and will take a while to reach but this magical place is so worth visiting once we can travel to India again.
Hampi is a land of temples, both in ruins and actively in use to this day. It is most famously known as the birthplace of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman. You can feel Hanuman’s presence everywhere as there is no shortage of monkeys!
Not only does Hampi have some of the most incredible temples and ancient ruins in India, but it also has a landscape that will blow your mind. Hampi has mountains of giant boulders everywhere with lakes, luscious green rice fields and coconut trees in between.
Climbing up to the Anjanadri Hill Temple for sunset will have you completely blown away. Not only is the view of the landscape mind-boggling but the energy of the temple is potent. Other temples in Hampi like the Hanuman Temple, Durga Temple and Lakshmi temple offer beautiful views and are all incredible places where you can see an ancient religion alive.
Other famous temples and sites in Hampi include the Elephant Stables, Virupaksha Temple, Ganesha Temple, one of the biggest Shiva Linga in India, Pushkarani Stepwell and so much more. All of these sites are close together and can easily be visited on a fun bicycle tour.
Other awesome things to do in Hampi include bouldering, going for a basket boat ride, hanging out in the traveller area of Hampi Island, waterfalls, scooter rides and finding the best spots for sunset each night.
6. Explore Turkey
Turkey is truly one of the most magical countries in the world. If you haven’t thought to go then you need to change your thinking and make visiting Turkey a priority.
Not only is it home to the friendliest people in the world, the most incredible food and some of the most impressive ancient history it is also full of natural wonders that will completely blow you away.
The best places to go in Turkey are Cappadocia, Pammukale, The Turquoise Coast and Istanbul.
Cappadocia is in the desert and has an incredibly unique landscape. It is most famous for sunrise hot air ballooning as well as amazing history, incredible cave accommodation and shopping. Cappadocia is a firm bucket list destination for many people.
Pamukkale, also known as Cotton Castle, looks like it comes straight out of a fantasy movie. It is a hill made up of white limestone terraces which cascade down and form natural pools of bright blue water. Perched on top of the terraces is the ancient Roman city of Hierapolis, with beautifully preserved ruins. You can even swim in the same pool that Cleopatra herself used to frequent.
The Turquoise Coastis the beautiful coastline that runs from Fethiye to Antalya on the South Eastern Coast of Turkey. The scenery is stunning, with mountains and deep blue water. You can take a multi-day sailing trip around the coast, stopping off in beautiful bays and old towns like Kas and Kekova. You can even spot a sunken city, go paragliding, sea biscuiting and diving while on this all-inclusive sailing trip. It will be an experience to remember!
Istanbulis also a must-visit when you are in Turkey. Soak up the culture by visiting the famous Blue Mosque, gorging on Turkish delight at the food market, puffing on some sheesha and browsing for lamps and Turkish rugs. There is a hip art and cafe scene in the suburbs of Galata and Karakoy which is well worth a visit.
7. Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina
This is the third destination on this list that is in the Balkans, and that is because the Balkans are simply one of the best places to go in Europe.
Mostar is located in the Balkan country of Bosnia-Herzegovina and is easily accessible by bus from Split in Croatia. It is home to one of the most incredible old towns in Europe. If you are sick of visiting old towns in Europe then Mostar is for you because it comes with a difference.
Mostar has a distinct Turkish vibe, complete with Bosnian coffee, lanterns, sheesha, Turkish style food and tiled lanterns. You will feel like you are in a fairy tale walking through the winding cobbled streets, crossing bridges and streams.
Mostar, however, is most famous for its 24m bridge that connects the two sides of the town over the Neretva River. The members from the local diving club are always on hand to jump into the river to entertain tourists (for tips of course).
If you are brave enough the divers will even train you so you can do the jump yourself. Each person who does the jump gets a certificate and becomes a lifetime member of the diving club.
It is also a fascinating place to visit if you are interested in history as the country was involved in a war only 25 years ago.
Mostar is a beautiful place full of character and charm and should be very high on your list of places to visit once borders open again.
BONUS: Your Home Country!
Wherever you are from (or wherever you are stuck) you will have amazing places to travel right on your front doorstep.
Every country in the world is unique and has something spectacular to offer. Many travellers are guilty of overlooking what their own countries have to offer.
The best part is you might even be able to do this right now, depending on the lockdown restrictions in your area!
So start researching the best spots for travellers in your home country, join some traveller Facebook communities and become a tourist at home!
It might feel weird at first but exploring the place you are from is such a special thing to do and right now you have been handed the perfect opportunity to do just that.