Best bucket list destinations for life after lockdown, as picked by our Travel Editor

Travel has been on hold for most of 2020, but as the world begins to look to the future it's time to start dreaming again. Country Life’s Travel Editor, Rosie Paterson, reveals where is on her bucket list for 2021.

Last summer — even a month or two ago, indeed — we were all dreaming of beginning to get away once more when 2021 began.

Sadly, it hasn’t worked out that way — and while our hearts and minds are with those affected by the pandemic and the latest lockdown rules, there’s still a space to dream about what we  might do once we’re truly over the other side of the coronavirus.

But where to go next? For years I’ve been keeping a list — a long, ever-growing list — of places I’m desperate to get to. Here are the destinations currently taking up the first few spots.

Corsica, France

August 2021 marks the 250th anniversary of Napoleon’s birth on the French island of Corsica. 

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History aside, the island boasts more sunshine than any other part of France and beaches that rival the Caribbean. Away from the coastline, the mountainous interior is excellent for hiking through forest and forgotten hilltop villages. 

Florence, Italy

In the middle of Florence you’ll find Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori, a tiny restaurant with white paper menus written out in biro. If there’s a queue — which there undoubtedly will be — don’t be disheartened. You’ll be glad you waited it out. 

Sadly, I’ve never spent more than a day in the Italian city and evidently, I spent most of that time eating. In 2021, I’m determined to stay for longer and visit the Bargello Museum, Palazzo Strozzi and Medici Chapels. The dream trip would include an extra few days at Borgo Santo Pietro, in the Tuscan countryside. 

Milos, Greece

Many moons ago, my Grandmother gave me a book on Greek Mythology to read while I was recovering from chicken pox — and I’ve been fascinated by the myths ever since. 

Somewhat shamefully, I’ve never been to Greece, but when I finally make it, Milos is at the top of my list. 

The Venus de Milo and the Asclepius of Milos were both discovered on the island — among other treasures — but the Cycladic island is also famed for its beaches of varying geology, some of which were shaped by flowing lava. The lunar-like landscape of Sarakiniko is the most recognisable.

Air BnB lists several converted fisherman and boat houses (above), that surely beat any hotel or B&B.

Namibia, Africa

Namibia is associated with space: it’s the second least densely populated country on Earth; the name of its coastal desert — believed to be the oldest in the world — translates to ‘vast place’; its dunes are the highest on record. 

The enormity and emptiness of it all has always appealed, as has the utterly unique wildlife, including the rare desert elephant (main image) and elusive pangolin. In the winter, the Skeleton Coast National Park — which our digital editor Toby Keel wrote about a couple of years ago — attracts around 100,000 seals

Unlike other safari destinations, it’s normal for tourists to hire a car and breach the huge distances between reserves, parks and places of interest on their own. Careful planning is required, so an experienced tour operator who offers self-drive safaris is recommended. 

Uruguay, South America

This year, Uruguay — another country best explored by car and ideally at your own pace — looks set to step out of its better-known neighbour’s shadow. 

South America as a whole is the place my well-travelled Mum always talks about with the most amount of reverence; Uruguay itself stands out thanks to articles I’ve read about a progressively bohemian and chic country, characterised by colonial-style towns, wide beaches and a blossoming wine industry.