New ways to see the world in 2021: some of the best experiences across Europe

Image: Engadin – Source: Jacques Bopp

Want to see the world in 2021? You’re not alone. With travel having been off the cards this year, many of us have been dreaming of what we’ll do when we can explore again – diving into the best of what Europe has to offer through various activities, attractions and cultural and historic experiences.

If you’re not sure where to start, we can help. We’ve put together a list of some of the most exciting things you can do across the continent in 2021. Get a notebook at the ready – the possibilities are endless…


Wellbeing treatments and National Parks in Wales

Did you know that Wales is home to the UK’s only coastal National Park? Named Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, it’s the perfect setting for Wholegevity – providers of health and fitness adventures – to host their wellness activities. Embark on a Wellbeing Weekend Workshop to nurture your connection to the natural world, and try field craft techniques, some gentle sports and more.

Alternatively, head to the UK’s smallest city – St David’s – and enjoy Wholegevity’s Healthy Living Experience. Based at Penrhiw Priory, this experience has been designed to help you reconnect with your body and mind: the perfect way to unwind.

On the same note, Twr Y Felin Hotel offers a meditation retreat that’s ideal for unlocking your inner zen – the Qi Gong Experience. Focusing on balancing your “yin and yang”, these guided, holistic meditations are said to have several positive physical and mental benefits.

You can also try a Reiki Holistic Treatment at this hotel. Emerging in Japan in the 1800s, this type of alternative therapy is often referred to as “energy healing”, and is thought to transfer energy from the practitioner’s palms to their patient. If you’ve been feeling stressed or out of sorts, it’s something you may want to try.

Where to stay

If Wholegevity’s suite of wellbeing adventures appeal to you, make sure to book yourself a stay at their partner hotel, Penrhiw Priory. Not only will this put you in close proximity to the activity of your choice, you’ll love the other perks this establishment offers: from the fact that it neighbours gorgeous areas like Whitesands Beach to its beautifully-furnished bedrooms.

Alternatively, Twr Y Felin Hotel is an excellent option. This contemporary hotel was once a working windmill, and is jam-packed with both modern art and traditional features. An especially standout area is its room, “Tyddewi”, which is built in the original windmill tower. The views from here are ones you’ll never forget.


Street art and jousting in Italy

In the middle of the dense and fairytale-esque Chianti woodlands, embark on an experience unlike any other – a Truffle Treasure Hunt! Join local truffle hunters and their dogs as you search for natural truffles throughout the seasons: a truly quirky event for food and wine lovers.

Nearby, in Certaldo, celebrate contemporary art culture at Mercantia. This festival has been dubbed “one of the most beautiful street art festivals” in all of Italy. Explore market stalls as you head into Piazza Boccaccio, where – across its various courtyards and gardens – you can enjoy a range of exciting shows. Typically, there are over 80 shows each day, so there’s tons to choose from!

If modernity isn’t your thing, you’ll find tons of historic fun at Saracen’s Joust. During this festival, the whole city dresses up in medieval costumes to recreate Arezzo from times gone by, as each of the city’s quarters compete with each other to win the Golden Lance. It’s quite the memorable affair, and something we highly recommend for those of you making plans to see the world in 2021!

Where to stay

A couple of properties are sure to meet all your accommodation needs during your Italian escapade. Firstly, Villa Le Barone – based in the heart of the Chianti countryside – is a serene slice of rural life, and ideal for those truly looking to get away from it all. Oppositely, if you’d prefer to be closer to Arezzo, Castello di Gargonza is a winning choice. This Tuscan castle is several hundred years old and bursting with historic charm, from its original architecture to carefully restored traditional features.


Goats and sunsets in Greece

Any schedule to see the world in 2021 shouldn’t miss Santorini. The island is home to world-famous sunsets that make for the most magical backdrop to your evenings abroad. Dip your toes into the white sands of its coastline and keep your eyes to the sky – the colours will mesmerise you.

A completely unique event that’s sure to interest all sorts of intrepid types is The Skyros Goat Festival – a celebration that started many years ago, to release Persephone and bring on the springtime. Locals absolutely adore this experience, and parties often go on for several days. Make sure you stick around for a while to soak up the atmosphere!

If you’re less about drinking and dancing (and goats) and more about diving into nature, head for the wild and beautiful Mani region. This fairly untouched corner of the Peloponnese has somehow managed to avoid tons of attention from tourists, making it best-suited for those whose perfect day involves getting lost in the remote countryside.

Back on Santorini, sporty types will revel at the events allotted to the Santorini Experience. Known as “the ultimate sports experience”, you can enjoy open water swimming in the Aegean Sea, running in the Caldera and more. Now that’s sure to spice up your morning workout…

Where to stay

The winner of the Historic Hotel Gourmet Award in 2018, Kyrimai is the perfect place to stay after days of wandering through Mani’s rugged regions. Their menu is inspired by Mani’s ingredients, flavours and aromas – a culinary complement to your Greek escape.

Alternatively, head to the ultra-romantic Aigialos Hotel for a spot of Santorini living. Fully-renovated in 2009 using local volcanic stone, this building is extraordinary both in its architecture and the stunning island views it offers. Make sure to get a room with a private terrace for the most “wow” factor.


Carriage rides and snow sports Switzerland

There’s arguably no better place to unleash your inner athlete than Switzerland. Hike from hut to hut in Graubünden – a gorgeous mountain tour between Flüela Pass and Albula Pass, which ends in Bergün. Or, if lounging on the shores of astonishing azure lakes is more your thing, definitely check out Lai da Palpuogna – once named the “most beautiful spot in Switzerland”.

Elsewhere, in stunning Sils-Maria, equestrian perfection awaits. Horse-drawn carriages into the Val Fex are one of the area’s most coveted activities – particularly on a winter’s night, when you can travel under a blanket of stars while admiring the snow-capped mountains all around.

In Engadin – based in South East Switzerland – you can even have a go at snowkiting. This breathtaking activity will allow you to glide across shimmering lakes on skis or a board, drawn along by a large kite. It feels like flying.

Where to stay

Located in the sublime landscape of the Albula valley, you’ll find Kurhaus Bergün. Within are 70 simple but stylish Art Nouveau rooms, a delicious restaurant and spa, catering to all your needs.

For your more intense snow-based activities, check out Hotel Waldhaus Sils. This five-star property is right at the foot of the Swiss alps, and defines cosiness through its lodge-like atmosphere and comfort-focused furnishings. You’ll adore it.


Music and whale-spotting in Ireland

Dubbed the European Capital of Culture 2020, a visit to Galway is well worth your time if you’re planning to see the world in 2021. Bookmark the Galway International Arts Festival, where you can enjoy everything from music to theatre and literature. There’s something for everyone.

If you’re a coast-lover, make haste to the Wild Atlantic Way. Here, you can spot dolphins, whales and other astonishing aquatic life. Make sure to book a boat ride to head right out into the sea – it’s your best chance of seeing the wonderful creatures that reside there.

Those with more musical inklings have some awesome activities to sink their teeth into. Cork International Choral Festival attracts choirs from all over the world for five days of competitions and concerts. With over 5,000 participants each year, it’s an unmissable event that’s beloved by all who value the art of singing. Alternatively, the Jim Dowling Festival in Glengarriff celebrates Ireland’s musical history with performances put on by pipers, harp players and more. Bring your dancing shoes!

Where to stay

Built in 1927, nowhere is better situated to enjoy the wilds of Connemara than Renvyle House Hotel & Resort. Based on 150 acres of land – which includes a private lake, beach, woodlands and orchards – this historic property is a particularly poignant pick for fans of the outdoors.

Close to Glengarriff, Eccles Hotel promises a delightful stay that’ll attend to your every need. With rooms bursting with amenities and friendly, attentive staff, you’ll love every minute at this hospitable hotel.

Those with cosmopolitan tastes should step quickly to The Metropole in Cork. Located in the Victorian Quarter, it’s close to some of the city’s best bars, restaurants and attractions. Ensure your busy days are closed off with tranquil nights at this exciting, yet comfortable, accommodation.


Fireworks and festivals in Germany

Love Bach? Then you mustn’t miss Bachwoche – Ansbach’s Bach Week – a festival dedicated to the famous classical musician. This historical event has been going on for more than seventy years, and is the oldest music festival in Germany: a true must-visit for classical music and culture lovers.

Those who seek a historic element to every holiday (hear, hear) should also make sure to pencil in Ansbach Rococo Festival. This vibrant event includes the most flamboyant rococo fashion and colourful and energetic displays of Baroque fireworks, classical music, juggling, dancing and more. It’s a truly immersive experience.

It’s also worth noting that it’s Ansbach’s 800th birthday in 2021! The city is set to celebrate with tons of different festivals, events and so on throughout the year: make sure to check out their official anniversary programme to discover all the wonderful ways you can celebrate this captivating city.

Where to stay

Modernity and medieval influence meet at Hotel & Restaurant Schwarzer Bock: a family-run hotel that’s a haven for all. Sitting in the heart of the city, this personal establishment the ideal place from which to explore all the wonderful things Ansbach has to offer.


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