Great destinations in 2021 for Europeans

Slowly but surely travel is returning.

In fact, you can travel rather freely already now, by taking all precautions, subjecting to screening, taking COVID-19 tests and being ready to changes. Things look even better if you have already received a full course of COVID-19 vaccination. As in more and more countries around the world fully vaccinated travellers don’t even need to provide a negative COVID-19 test in order to travel.

Are you planning to travel abroad this year?

Check out our list of great destinations for 2021.

Please check the current situation and requirements, and do not rely on the information in this article alone!

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Great destinations in 2021

1. Turkey

Antalya beach

Open to tourists: since June 2020

Turkey is known as an affordable all-inclusive beach destination.

Turkey indeed is a great place for sun and sea, as it boasts 2nd-largest number of Blue Flag beaches. But still there is so much more to Turkey than affordable seaside resorts and sun baking. Impressive architecture, a surprising number of archeological sites, well-preserved Greco-Roman ruins, cosmopolitan cities, rich cultural heritage and mouthwatering dishes.

Here are some highlights you shouldn’t miss:

  • The Turkish Riviera — a stunning part of Turkey's Mediterranean and Aegean coasts
  • Antalya — a beautiful Turkish resort city, considered the hub on the Turkish Riviera
  • Greco-Roman ruins such as Perge, Aspendos and Ephesus
  • Istanbul — the largest city in Turkey, historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople
  • Rock valleys and unique rock formations of Goreme and Cappadocia
  • White travertine terraces of Pamukkale 
  • Mardin with its hilltop Old City full of sandstone buildings

Turkey has been open to tourists throughout the pandemic.

All you need to do is to:

  • Provide a negative PCR test on arrival carried out not no more than 72 hours before departure;
  • Submit an online Ministry Of Health Of Turkey Traveler Entry Form and obtain a HES code within last 72 hours prior to their flights.

Citizens of select countries do not require to provide a negative COVID-19 test result in order to be allowed in Turkey.

You don’t need to self-isolate upon arrival.

2. Georgia

Medieval church on a hill

Open to tourists: since spring 2021

The country sits at the crossroads between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

Home to extremely friendly people, Black Sea beaches, pristine nature and the soaring Caucasus Mountain Range, Georgia has always been a popular tourist destination in the region.

Many of you probably have heard about the great wine Georgia produces. Georgian wines are among the most unique in the world. In fact, Georgia is considered to be the “Cradle of Wine” or the “Birthplace of Wine," and its wine — the oldest in the world. There’s evidence of ancient wine production in Georgia from 8000 BC.

Here are some highlights you shouldn’t miss:

  • Tbilisi — the capital of Georgia; set in a valley and home to picturesque Old Town
  • Mtskheta — former capital of Georgia and one of the oldest cities of the country
  • Stepantsminda — a village in the Caucasus known for its scenic location and hiking
  • Svaneti — remote region in the Caucasus, known for its landscapes of high snow-capped peaks
  • Batumi — the second largest city in Georgia; located on the coast of the Black Sea
  • Vardzia — ancient cave city which sits on the slopes of the Erusheti Mountain

Now, since spring 2021, Georgia is open to tourists from the EU and several other countries.

To enter Georgia you have to provide a negative PCR test carried out no more than 72 hours before departure. Also you will need to complete a special online application form before arrival in Georgia. On the 3rd day of your stay, you may have to undergo a PCR test at your own expense.

You don’t need to self-isolate upon arrival.

3. Cyprus

Beach on Cyprus

Open to tourists: since March 2021

With some 300 sunny days a year, and an average temperature of 30°C in summer, Cyprus is a very popular destination for sun seekers. The climate in Cyprus is considered to be one of the best in the world. Spring in Cyprus often arrives as early as February, and it is still warm in October and November, when it is already cold in Northern, Eastern and Central Europe.

What to see in Cyprus?

Do not miss:

  • Paphos Archaeological Park — important remains of an ancient Greek and Roman city 
  • Larnaca Salt Lake — a network of four salt lakes of different sizes. During the winter it's home to migrating birds, including thousands of flamingos
  • Limassol — the second largest city in Cyprus
  • Aya Napa — the party capital of Cyprus
  • The Tombs of the Kings — a large necropolis, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Nissi Beach — a beautiful beach with clear waters
  • Coral Bay — a beautiful sandy beach
  • Aphrodite’s Rock — legendary rock; according to some legend, Aphrodite’s Rock is a birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite.

Since March 2021, Cyprus is open for tourists.

The country is following a colour-coded system: the countries of origin are divided into four categories — Green, Orange, Red and Grey. If you are coming from a “Green country," the only thing you have to do is to complete Cyprus Flight Pass 24 h prior to departure.

If you are coming from an “Orange country," you also have to provide a negative PCR test which is taken 72 h prior to departure. If you are coming from a “Red country," in addition to the flight pass and a negative PCR test, you have to undergo a PCR test upon arrival to Cyprus. If you are travelling from a “Grey country," you’ll have to complete the flight pass, provide a negative PCR test and self-isolate upon arrival.

Vaccinated travellers don’t need to show a proof of a negative PCR and self-isolate.

4. Maldives

Beach resort in Maldives

Open to tourists: since July 2020

Known for its pristine white sand beaches and clear waters, Maldives is a paradise-like vacation destination. The country is a paradise for divers and snorkelers. There are so many amazing diving and snorkeling spots in the country! Banana Reef, Maaya Thila, Sun Island, Vadhoo Caves, HP Reef and Naifaru Island, just to name a few. Tour operators in Maldives offer unforgettable experiences such as dolphin safari, swimming with whale sharks and manta rays, shipwreck diving, and diving with the hammerhead sharks.

Maldives is open for tourism since July 2020. Now there are over 100 resorts and some 300 guesthouses open for international visitors.

To travel to Maldives, you must have a proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Also you must fill out an online Traveler Health Declaration 24 hours prior to arrival. If you re staying in the Greater Male area, you have to do another COVID-19 test before moving to another hotel. You will also need to download the national contact tracing app, TraceEkee, and use it during your trip to Maldives.

If you are fully vaccinated, you are not required to submit a negative PCR test on arrival.

5. Tanzania

Savanna in Tanzania

Open to tourists: since June 2020

Tanzania is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Africa.

Known for its game parks, stunning beaches, rich heritage and indigenous tribes, it has always attracted tourists from all around the world.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Zanzibar — a very popular beach destination in Africa, as well as in the whole world
  • The Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Crater — protected area named after a large volcanic caldera, Ngorongoro Crater; a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Serengeti National Park — one of the best safari destinations in Africa
  • Mount Kilimanjaro — the highest peak in Africa
  • Maasai village tour — indigenous tribe known for their distinctive dress and customs

The country has been open for tourism since June 2020.

There is no mandatory quarantine upon arrival. As with most countries at the moment, you are required to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate upon arrival. The test must be conducted within 72 hours before arrival in Tanzania. You must also fill out an online Health Surveillance Form 24 hours prior to arrival — you will receive a Unique Health Code (UHC), which you have to show upon arrival. Also you are subject to health screening on arrival, as well as you will have to undergo a rapid test (at your own expense).

6. Sri Lanka

Railway in Sri Lanka

Open to tourists: since February 2021

Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, boasts one of the richest cultures in the world.

Described as “Southern India meets Buddhist Asia” or “India Lite," Sri Lanka is often seen as a microcosm of India. The country boasts fabulous wildlife, beautiful palm-fringed beaches, balmy rainforests, mountains and a diverse range of cultures. It is also home to multiple ancient ruins and religious relics.

Here are a few places you shouldn’t miss when visiting Sri Lanka:

  • Arugam Bay — one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka, also one of the most popular surf spots in the country
  • Weligama — a beautiful beach, popular with surfers
  • Galle — a well-preserved colonial city
  • Sigiriya — a unusual rock formation and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; considered by locals as the eighth wonder of the word
  • Kandy — a town surrounded by The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka; home to the Temple of the Tooth Relic
  • Nuwara Eliya — a hill station surrounded by green hills, known for its tea plantations
  • Nine Arch bridge — one of the most famous landmarks in the country
  • Ella Rock — a famous hiking destination with dramatic views of the area
  • Adam’s Peak — 2243 m-tall conical mountain with a temple over the Sacred Footprint on its summit

Since February 2021, Sri Lanka has reopened the borders.

All travellers (including vaccinated travellers) must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result and should undergo a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival. Unvaccinated travellers must also stay in a government-approved hotel or resort for 14 days upon arrival. The good news is that you don’t have to spend all these 14 days in your hotel room. You are free to use the facilities on the hotel’s premises, such as the pool, gym and restaurants. Also travellers are allowed to leave their hotels to visit special “bio bubble” attractions.

Vaccinated travellers do not need to quarantine if a COVID-19 PCR test carried out on arrival is negative.

Happy travels! And remember — double check this information before making any bookings! Rules and regulations change much more frequently nowadays.