(CNN) — 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.
And now — in as much a year-end tradition as Thanksgiving turkey or putting up the tree — travel publishers are releasing their annual recommendations of where to travel in the year ahead.
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.
‘Reflect and regroup’
“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,” says George Stone, executive editor of National Geographic Travel.
“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.”
Explore the highlights of Hokkaido, the northern-most 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.
Getting the nature nod, Namibia’s Caprivi Strip is an up-and-coming safari destination. Once off limits due to the long border war that plagued this region, safari camps and lodges are now sprouting up. Visitors can enjoy several large national parks, plenty of navigable waterways, and an impressively high ratio of wildlife to human residents.
Sun and adventure
Russia’s Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest lake in the world, holding about 20% of the world’s fresh water and currently facing increasing environmental threats from climate change and mass tourism. As Russia continues to encourage visitors to the lake, even in the midst of the pandemic, some locals question whether the pristine environment is being sacrificed in favor of revenue. CNN’s Fred Pleitgen reports from a town in Russia, where some say their home simply can’t take on any more people.
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 which 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 is particularly good in its pristine waters, where underwater visibility can exceed 30 meters, allowing wonderful views of coral reef and forgotten shipwrecks.
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