Our top 20 places in 2021 – how & to where we were able to travel during the second year of Covid-19…

This article is the second chapter of our review about travelling during the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic. Travelling was not easy in the beginning of 2021 either. The question and even the opportunity to travel during a pandemic was kind of impossible for the majority. Most of the countries were still in complete lockdown. Borders were closed, therefore we also focused on in-land travelling and kept exploring beautiful Spain. Later, during the year, when some of the borders opened, and the Covid passport finally appeared, we managed to have some very nice travels out of Spain & out of Europe as well. So let’s see the top 20 places that we were able to visit in 2021 during the second year of Covid-19.

Read here the first chapter – Travel during a pandemic & our top 20 places from 2020:

To be honest we have been able to travel to much more places in 2021 than in the previous year. And we felt extremely lucky because of that. Regardless all the regulations and non-sense, illogical limitations travelling is still possible and it’s still amazing. Yes, we need more research before a trip, we need more preparation, understanding of the requirements how to enter a country & how to return. But the feeling of being on the road again is priceless. Let’s do not forget that.

Vall de Boí, Spain

Starting our travelling season this year we have been still locked down in Catalonia, so we have decided to visit a UNESCO World Heritage route in Vall de Boí, along the Catalan Romanesque Churches. According to UNESCO’s criteria, this set of churches of the Catalan Pyrenees shows significant developments in Romanesque art and architecture and testifies to profound cultural interchange across medieval Europe, and in particular across the mountain barrier of the Pyrenees.

In addition, these churches of Vall de Boí are an especially pure and consistent example of Romanesque art in a virtually untouched rural setting. We invite you to follow us on a visit you will never regret.  We have done a 33 km route, within 8 villages and 10 churches, 9 of those declared World Heritage by UNESCO. Even if it is true that the whole route can be done in one hour by car, you may need at least two complete days to visit all the churches, enjoy nature and the local gastronomy.

Read the complete article about Vall de Boí here!

Segovia, Spain

Once they announced that we would be allowed to leave Catalonia again, after 6 months of municipal, county-wise, provincial, regional and whatever completely non-sense territorial lockdowns – exactly as of the day of 12th of May, 2021, which in my opinion should be a public holiday as of now, when people again could have access to one of their fundamental personal rights of free mobility within a country – we immediately decided that on the upcoming weekend, we go for a “Vueltita a España“. The plan was to visit 3 bigger historical towns in the region of Castile and León: Salamanca, Ávila & Segovia! This article below is to convince you with 10 reasons why to visit Segovia, besides the obvious worldwide famous Aqueduct of Segovia.

Read the complete article about Segovia here!

Ávila, Spain

Have you ever got the feeling of admiring the best ramparts of the world? This is exactly what Ávila is providing. The a panoramic view of Ávila from a strategic point offers a complete view of a Medieval city all surrounded by amazing walls. That is to admire not just a piece of an awesome construction but to spot a complete episode of history itself. Nevertheless, Ávila is much more than walls. It is a small capital of province in Castilla, inner Spain, with a wonderful set of Medieval heritage buildings, excellent gastronomy and a strong unique character. In Ávila everything is within walking distance, so you won’t need public transport to move around or to bring your own electric scooter as we did. 🙂

Read the complete article about Ávila here!

Salamanca, Spain

Probably you have heard about this old Spanish city before, but if you are reading further maybe you are looking for reasons to go to Salamanca. Below you can click on our comprehensive review to understand the 10 main reasons to go to the most famous University City in Spain. Salamanca is a historical town, with an incredible heritage and a vivid university life. This ancient Spanish city has an urban ensemble full of harmony and beauty, in which art and culture can shine out.

Read the complete article about Salamanca here!

Huesca, Spain

Huesca is a city in north-eastern Spain, within the autonomous community of Aragon. It is also the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and of the comarca of Hoya de Huesca. In 2009 it had a population of 52,059, almost a quarter of the total population of the province. The city is one of the smallest provincial capitals in Spain, but you would be surprised how pleasant is life there. Click below and we will list to you 10 reasons to visit the city of Huesca, who knows, maybe you will be convinced to go there one day or immediately! 😉

Read the complete article about Huesca here!

Teruel, Spain


Travel during a pandemic is not easy, you always need to be aware of the latest regulations and limitations. But this is also the perfect occasion to discover places nearby, where normally you would say, “ah we can go anytime“, but in reality you never do. And exactly this is what we have done with Teruel. Teruel is indeed such a nice, friendly, culturally important, and architecture-wise super interesting and picturesque town, and the capital of a province in Aragon. Our below article will help you to understand all the treasures that the capital of Teruel province can provide us with, as well as present you a short intro to Albarracín and Ojos Negros Greenway, because indeed Teruel exists!

Read the complete article about Teruel here!

Alquézar, Spain

Alquézar with its breathtaking views is one of the bests tourist destinations in the north of Spain. The town is cute and small. It is very worth walking around and getting lost in its cobblestone streets. Alquézar is located in the Somontano wine region of Huesca, close to the city of Huesca, and a mountain range parallel to the Pyrenees. The town lays into an impressive limestone landscape which the Vero river is still shaping. The river created over time an incredible canyon for canyoning, impressive cliffs, rock art caves which is perfect for sport activities or just to hike around in nature. 

Read the complete article about Alquézar here!

Albarracín, Spain

To discover Albarracín can be one of the best experiences in a Spanish tour. Albarracín is a walled town of just over a thousand inhabitants, but is probably the greatest example of a Mudejar town in Spain. Since the popular art and style is the most interesting thing about visiting Albarracín, just taking a stroll will make you happy. The reddish plaster of the houses sets up the harmony of the perfect muslim old town and the heraldic shields of the facades remind you to be in the middle of the Medieval Spain.

Read the complete article about Albarracín here!

Mallorca, Spain

Mallorca, the Balearic dream, the idyllic island of everyone’s bucket list, the Mediterranean treasure. We could continue saying nice things about this pearl on the sea, as the list is kind of endless. Regardless of all the over-crowded, and spoiled holiday resorts, Mallorca is still breathtakingly beautiful! We tried to summarise the must-see sites and the unmissable spots for you, so let’s see the perfect weekend itinerary on the island of Mallorca.

Read the complete article about Mallorca here!

México

Finally the summer arrived when some of the countries started to open, this was our chance as well to leave the continent and explore a bit farther. We decided to travel to México and spend there and unforgettable month. We have spent July 2021 there and this travel series narrates all our experiences, stories, happy and funny moments, as well as the things that we found a bit disappointing…¡Órale!

Read the complete ONE MONTH IN MEXICO travel series here!

Quintana Roo

You can love or hate Quintana Roo, but for sure it’s hard to be neutral with it. You can face the Sargassum problem, you can get enough of tourists, fake luxury resorts, the insane humidity, the never-ending jungle all around, or the mosquitos, but undoubtedly there are also many reasons to admire this territory of Mexico. Here comes our top 10 reasons why we love Riviera Maya.

Read the complete article about Quintana Roo here!

Click here to read why we don’t like Riviera Maya!

Yucatán

The land of the uncountable number of cenotes, the state that gives home to one of the modern world’s seven wonder: Chichén-Itzá, this is Yucatán. Chichén-Itzá is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the most famous of the Mayan ruins in the world, and undoubtedly it is one of the most visited archeological sites in México. There is a lot to explore in the state of Yucatán, and we did a decent amount of research trying to plan out just a few days of travel, including the cities of Valladolid and Mérida too. Read below for more information.

Read the complete article about Yucatán here!

Campeche

Campeche – officially the Free and Sovereign State of Campeche – is one of the 32 states of Mexico. Located in southeast Mexico, it is bordered by the states of Tabasco to the southwest, Yucatán to the northeast, and Quintana Roo to the east; to the southeast by the Orange Walk district of Belize, and by the Petén department of Guatemala to the south. We have arrived here from Yucatán, and were very surprised how much wonders Campeche could offer. Let’s review now together the 10 best things to do in Campeche state!

Read the complete article about Campeche here!

Veracruz

From Campeche we decided to go directly to Veracruz state, via Tabasco. We didn’t plan to spend a long time in Veracruz as we were determined to arrive to Mexico City – read our Mexico City Bucket List here – but the distances are crazy big in Mexico, so it was definitely a wise idea to spend two nights in Veracruz. This is how we discovered our 2 favourite towns, and spent 1-1 nights in Tlacotalpan & Orizaba. If you are looking for the best experiences in Mexico and also interested to explore around, and visit Veracruz state, read below our recommendations.

Read the complete article about Veracruz here!

México City

Mexico City is huge, great, messy and exhausting. It can be many things but for sure is not how you have imagined before you go. Probably, because of its dimensions and your lack of time, even for the large number of odds and possible choices of things to do… you will need proper information once you are in the capital of Mexico. Here you are a list of must-do in Ciudad de México, our Mexico City bucket list. 

Read here our Mexico City Bucket List! 

Puebla

Puebla also known in Spanish as Puebla de Zaragoza, formally Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza and in colonial times as Puebla de Los Ángeles is the capital and largest city of the state of Puebla. We have arrived here after spending 3 days in Ciudad de Mexico with listening Mariachis on Plaza Garibaldi. We were a bit tired, we have seen a lot and couldn’t wait to relax and wander around the city of Puebla. Here’s our guide to Puebla City with the best things and activities.

Read the complete article about Puebla here!

Oaxaca

In Oaxaca we wanted to stay for a bit longer, and not just rushing through the state. Hence we decided to make the crossing trip within 5 days. If you check the map, you will realise, this is still insane, not to mention the driving conditions, that also made our road trip longer than expected. Oaxaca is bordered by the states of Guerrero to the west, Puebla to the northwest, Veracruz to the north, and Chiapas to the east. To the south, Oaxaca has a significant coastline on the Pacific Ocean. Our goal was definitely to reach the Ocean coast after diving in the diverse culture that the capital could offer us. So let’s see the best of Oaxaca, what we experienced during our trip!

Read the complete article about Oaxaca here!

Chiapas

Chiapas was administered by the Spanish as part of Guatemala until 1824, when then it joined the newly independent Mexico. The state is now second only to Oaxaca in Indian population: about 25% of its four million-plus inhabitants are thought to be indígenas. Regardless of how nice the surroundings could seem, the villagers often live at the barest subsistence level, with their lands and livelihoods in precarious balance. These troubles resulted in the 1994 Zapatista rebellion, and although that conflict has long passed, many of the core issues concerning land use remain unresolved. This shouldn’t limit you to visit Chiapas, rather it requires a bit of more preparation. But don’t forget that this land is presenting us some unforgettable sites of México, and it would be a huge miss not to visit them.

Read the complete article about Chiapas here!

Tapolca, Hungary

To visit Tapolca is a great idea since it is a cozy, welcoming, cheap and cute town. It is an unspoiled and beautiful place in Hungary. Just because of that nobody should miss it. In this article you will find what to expect of this town and how you can enjoy the nearby spots. A lot of interesting things are waiting for you there! 

Read the complete article about Tapolca here!

Szigliget, Hungary

Szigligeti Vár, the Balaton Castle, as many locals and tourists call it, is an impressive medieval fortress with awesome lake views. Actually, it is the only castle of its type visitable on the shore of Lake Balaton. The castle dates back to the 13th century. Under the Ottomans the castle became neglected, with no funds for its maintenance. It has suffered natural calamities and multiple attacks in its history but fortunately the walls were reinforced during the 20th century and the recent reconstruction made able to show one of the best faces for a medieval fortress.

Read the complete article about Szigliget here!

Veszprém, Hungary

If you wonder what to do in Veszprém, you have arrived at the right site. The first thing you need to know is that Veszprém is a handball capital. Indeed, Veszprém is a very important town for worldwide handball but is much more than handball. Probably, you have planned to visit the town as a regular tourist and you can take the occasion to enjoy a handball match. Moreover, since Veszprém is a city that attracts many visitors out of the international handball competitions, maybe you are one of those that came to town with no idea about what to do in Veszprém. No worries, here you will get some solutions. 

Read the complete article about Veszprém here!

Szentendre, Hungary

Szentendre is a riverside town in Pest CountyHungary, between the capital city Budapest and Pilis-Visegrád Mountains. The town is known for its museums (most notably the Open-Air Ethnographic Museum), galleries, and artists. Due to its historic architecture and easy rail and river access, it has become a destination for tourists staying in Budapest. There are many facilities, including souvenir shops and restaurants, catering to these visitors. The place has a very unique artistic vibe, that represents in the colourful cobblestones streets, little artistic solutions almost on every corner. And the Danube promenade is one of the most romantic ones to take a never-ending walk hand in hand.

Read the complete article about Szentendre here!

Visegrád, Hungary

Maybe the most emblematic building of Visegrád which is commonly just referred as the medieval castle of Visegrád, and with this emphasising the cultural value of the respect-demanding complex peaking on the top of the Várhegy. In every year, thousands of visitors goes to the medieval castle, the highest sight of Visegrád, which has an extraordinary view on the Danube Bend from its terrace and which hosts many exciting exhibitions – mainly about the Middle Ages. Visegrád was once a Roman stronghold and a popular haunt for Hungarian royalty in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Roman Citadel is still formidably well-preserved and the ruins of what was once Hungary’s most magnificent palace are now the site of the open air King Matthias Museum.

Read the complete article about Visegrád here!

Pézenas, France

Pézenas captivates visitors with its history, culture, ancient architecture and great craftsmanship. Sculptors, potters, cabinetmakers, glassblowers and many others contribute to the rich heritage of the region. Nevertheless, the character who stands out in the history of the town is Molière. Pézenas has as well an excellent gastronomy and it is also a starting point to discover the terroir wines Pézenas-Languedoc, Picpoul de Pinet and Faugères. This wealth is the legacy of the city’s glorious past. The town was the Capital of the States General of Languedoc in the 16th century.

Read the complete article about Pézenas here!

Carcassonne, France

What a fabulous place, it looks like a perfect medieval town coming right out from a fairy-tale. Carcassonne is best known for La Cité, a double walled old castle, with massive ramparts and strong fortifications. We had the chance to visit the medieval town of Carcassonne in November 2021, on a long weekend, among a lot of other tourists. Here we are going to share our experiences and recommendations if you are up to get there.

Read the complete article about Carcassonne here!

Toulouse, France

We have spent couple days in Carcassone, a place 100% done for tourists, and after it, it was great to see Toulouse, a vivid and real city, so likeable and mixed of cultures, with many imprints of history. Let’s see how we spent Toulouse in 1 day! We need to admit that Toulouse is not really a touristy place. There are no world-class monuments or major sites. Nevertheless, it is exactly the reason why we decided to visit the city. Seeking for the less-known, forgotten but still authentic places. To see a city that is not set up for tourists, but only for locals. Needless to mention, but as you know we are Besides the Obvious.

Read the complete article about Toulouse here!

Venezia, Italy

It’s hard to name any more romantic city in the world than Venice. So it’s not surprising that it’s also hard to name one more crowded by tourists. But what to do if you have only a limited time in Venezia and would like to bring the most out of your time? How to visit the main attractions and sites of Venice in 1 single day? This article will help you on that!

So, if you only have 24 hours in Venice, these are our recommendations. We arrived in Venice in the afternoon and the next day afternoon we already had to leave. So we tried to squeeze in the most interesting sites of the place within 24 hours. Since both of us have visited Venice before, we knew exactly where to go. So now you can learn from our experience what the best way is for a rapid visit around Venice.

Read the complete article about Venezia here!

Click here to read about Venice post-pandemic!

Hallstatt, Austria

Visiting Hallstatt is always a good idea! Yes, it is, as depending on which part of the year we are travelling to the village, it shows us a different side. More vibrant colours during summer. With an emerald green shade on the lake, while in winter all the roofs are covered by snow. This time we decided to visit Hallstatt on an autumn day. With falling leaves on the streets, already enough chilly to enjoy an over-priced hot chocolate while wondering around.

Read the complete article about Hallstatt here!

Dear Traveller, hope you liked the latest article from Besides the Obvious! If you would not like to miss any of our travel stories, destination ideas, vacation plans, holiday inspirations, do not forget to subscribe here!

4 Replies to “Our top 20 places in 2021 – how & to where we were able to travel during the second year of Covid-19…”

  1. You are putting Rick Steves to shame with your impressive coverage of European travel. Hungary would definitely be on my travels list bit rarely have I read about any city there but Budapest. My blog’s pretty extensive on travel places as well.

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