While the pandemic is far from over, many of us are hopeful that 2022 is the year we’ll finally be able to broaden our travel horizons again.
For its 2022 list, National Geographic’s editorial teams around the world have selected 25 “must-see” destinations.
These are spread across five categories — nature, adventure, culture, sustainability, and family — with a focus on national parks and wildlife, outdoor activities and experience, green travel, and multigenerational trips.
“In many ways, the pandemic provided a moment for travelers and communities around the world to reflect and regroup on how we explore the world. With this year’s list, Nat Geo takes a look at what’s different, new, and inspiring — from the new Seine River bike trail in France to Chimanimani National Park, a new national park in Mozambique that signals the country’s environmental commitment,” said George Stone, executive editor of National Geographic Travel.
Explore the highlights of Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan and a paradise for nature lovers.
In the culture category, Procida, a little island off the coast of Naples, is an Italian Capital of Culture for 2022, while London’s legendary music hub Tin Pan Alley has had a recent resurgence, with the opening of three new music venues.
Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, is renowned for its natural beauty, stunning waterfalls, and rich wildlife, but also for the unique heritage of its indigenous Ainu people.
For Sustainability, National Geographic’s picks include Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park, a biosphere reserve in the Amazon that is currently under threat — just last week parts of the forest were cleared for an oil road and pipelines.
The ancient waters of Lake Baikal, known as Russia’s “Sacred Sea,” are bigger than all the Great Lakes of North American combined, and it makes up close to a quarter of our planet’s freshwater reserves.
Tourism here is not without controversy: It’s currently the stage for a fierce battle between the state, a local population dependent on tourist income, and environmentalists concerned about mass development damaging its delicate ecosystem.
Russia’s Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest lake in the world, holding about 20% of the world’s fresh water.
Adventure seekers are recommended to try the new 420-kilometer-long La Seine à Vélo bike route which runs from Paris to the Normandy sea. Or if hiking is more your thing, there’s the 147-kilometer-long Sentier Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq wilderness trail in New Brunswick, Canada. It follows the Nepisiguit River from Daly Point’s Nature Reserve to Mount Carleton Provincial Park.
Skiers and snowboarders should make their way instead to Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin, a high-elevation resort with runs for experts as well as beginners.
For family trips with loved ones, National Geographic’s picks include Turkey’s sweeping southwest coastline, a lesser-known Mediterranean delight that was known in ancient times as Lycia. Sailing is the perfect way to explore its secluded bays and coves.
Another sun-seeking option is Bonaire — known, along with Aruba and Curaçao, as one of the ABC islands — which is close to South America and a little outside of what’s considered the hurricane belt.
The snorkeling and diving are particularly good in its pristine waters, where underwater visibility can exceed 30 meters, allowing wonderful views of coral reefs and forgotten shipwrecks.
For more of National Geographic’s Best of the World list, visit NatGeo.com/BestoftheWorld.
National Geographic’s ‘Best of the World 2022’ list:
Jingmai Mountain, Yunnan, China
Tin Pan Alley, London
Ruhr Valley, Germany
Parque Nacional Yasuni, Ecuador
National Columbia Gorge Scenic Area, Oregon/Washington
Chimanimani National Park, Mozambique
Caprivi Strip, Namibia
Lake Baikal, Russia
Belize Maya Forest Reserve
Seine River Bike Trail, France
Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail, New Brunswick, Canada
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Danube River Cruise
Eastern Shore, Maryland