Borders reopen hesitantly; mountains of paperwork and new varieties visas have supplanted the once-simpler visa on arrival. The world brushes up on their Greek alphabet. However, there are some places you can’t miss to pay a visit to in 2022.
Despite all the darkness that has characterized the pandemic, there are still rays of light.
Perhaps the most important lesson for visitors to remember in 2022 is that seeing the world is a privilege, not a right. Mindfulness and respect for the world are part of the journey in this year’s crop of dream locations to visit, which range from national parks to secluded Islands to lesser-visited destinations.
When Orville and Wilbur Wright first took their little plane to the air in 1903, it’s unlikely they could have anticipated a world where hundreds of jetliners fly daily between the globe’s major cities or where an eyeball scan would replace a paper passport.
Looking back on how far we’ve come makes us appreciate where we are now.
If and when we can travel in 2022 and beyond, let us all attempt to maintain a sense of awe.
BARBUDA AND ANTIGUA
The twin-island nation is blessed with miles and miles of pure white and pink sands (Antigua is known for having a beach for every day of the year). Still, it also has the Caribbean’s longest-running Sunday celebration, held at rebuilt military lookout Shirley Heights.
Princess Diana’s favorite holiday site was Barbuda, the smaller of the two islands, and veteran actor Robert De Niro co-owns a resort in the vicinity with Australian tycoon James Packer.
Because cricket is such a big affair in this country, the England Tests in Antigua in 2022 are one of the most anticipated events of the year. In March, England and the West Indies will play an official test match at the stadium named after Antiguan cricket icon Vivian Richards.
A number of effective green initiatives have helped Antigua and Barbuda garner acclaim for its sustainability efforts in recent years. Single-use plastics are prohibited, and a “Green Corridor” of environmentally friendly hotels, resorts, and businesses has been formed along Antigua’s southwest coast.
This magnificent archipelago, located 48 kilometers off the Guinea coast of western Africa and consists of 88 islands, just 23 of which are inhabited, is as unusual as it gets.
The Bissagos Islands are governed by a matriarchal society in which women have complete control. Women choose their husbands, propose marriage, construct their own homes, and manage their households here.
Immaculate beaches, wide natural parks, and tranquil blue waters await the rare people who can visit the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The group of islands, which may be reached by boat, ferry, or light aircraft, is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including endangered or uncommon species such as the Nile crocodile, common bottlenose dolphin, and African manatee, as well as over 500 bird species.
Hurtigruten Expeditions, the firm that pioneered expedition cruising in 1896, has announced the addition of its first-ever African adventure to their 2022/23 schedule, which includes the Bissagos Islands.
CAPE BRETON, NEW SOUTH CAROLINA
Cape Breton Island, connected to the Canadian mainland by a mile-long causeway, is known for its picturesque landscapes and historic sites.
It’s also not a small dot in the water, with a surface area of 10,311 square kilometers.
Cabot Trail, a scenic two-lane byway that snakes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, where lush green hills and rusty red cliffs tower over rugged beaches; the impressive 18th-century Fortress of Louisbourg, once the capital of a French colony and now a living history museum; and culinary offerings ranging from modern fine dining to traditional community lobster suppers are just a few of the island’s highlights.
Why are you leaving now? Canada has taken significant steps to develop and promote indigenous tourism in recent years, and Cape Breton is no exception. Through a range of offerings from the island’s five First Nations communities, visitors can immerse themselves in the traditions of Cape Breton’s Mi’kmaq — a First Nations people who have resided in Canada’s eastern Maritime region for over 10,000 years.
Chile is a world leader in ecotourism and an outdoor adventurer’s paradise, with a long, thin strip of land between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains.
The Atacama Desert is located in northern Chile. Otherworldly scenery, rock formations, and strange, vivid sunsets may be found in Valle de la Luna. At Chaxa Lagoon, you can witness vibrant pink flamingos. Los Flamencos National Reserve encompasses both.
Do you want something even crazier? Then continue south into Patagonian wilderness. Torres del Paine National Park is widely regarded as one of Chile’s crown jewels. It is known for its glaciers, waterfalls, and animals.
Two Chilean locations were chosen to the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s list of “Best Tourism Villages” in 2021, supporting sustainable development. Pica is noted for its citrus fruits and hot springs, and Puerto Williams, the world’s most southern city, are the two.
The Dutch arrived on the South Pacific island of Rapa Nui 300 years ago in 2022. (AKA Easter Island). This unique Chilean area, known for its massive stone faces, was closed to visitors during the pandemic. However, it is expected to reopen to the public in February.
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Colombo is frequently misconstrued from the start.
Despite being Sri Lanka’s largest city, it is not the country’s capital (that honor goes to Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, which is a fun fact to share at your next pub quiz), and many visitors avoid it in favor of the island’s beautiful beaches and tea plantations.
However, in 2022, it’s time to focus on the city’s lesser-known design gems, such as late architect Geoffrey Bawa’s home, which is now a little museum and guest house known as Number Eleven. In addition, the city will welcome a slew of new hotels in the coming year, including Amari, Grand Hyatt, Marriott, Sheraton, and ITC complexes.
Although Sri Lanka has its share of delectable curries, don’t expect the cuisine to be identical to neighboring India.
Start the day with egg hoppers heaped with coconut sambal at the Palmyrah’s lavish breakfast banquet, then head to the Pettah Floating Market to stock up on bananas in nearly every color of the rainbow, and end the day with a grapefruit-infused take on a Negroni at the aptly named Traveller’s Bar while watching the beach sunset at the Galle Face Hotel. Of course, everything tastes better when coupled with Ceylon teas grown on the island.
Along with the food, tour provider Urban Adventures provides historical information on Sinhalese, Tamil, and Malay cultures.
Did you know Lyon was the culinary capital of France? Not so fast, Dijon has always been a major gourmet destination. The Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region’s capital is a gorgeous assortment of timber-framed buildings, majestic 18th-century palaces, and a soaring Gothic cathedral, but it’s also one of France’s gastronomic capitals.
The Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin in Dijon, which opened in May 2022, is a 70,000 square meter reconstruction of historic buildings from the 16th to the 18th centuries that has been transformed into a complex devoted solely to French food and wine.
Aside from the new opening, there are many other reasons to visit Dijon. First, explore the Burgundy region’s surrounding vineyards; half an hour south, Beaune is a top-tier wine town. Then, to sample the best ingredients from the region, visit the Les Halles food market, which Gustave Eiffel designed (yep, the same man who designed the Eiffel Tower). Next, try the gingerbread from Mulot et Petitjean, cooked here since the 18th century, and go mustard tasting at La Moutarderie Edmond Fallot, which is still going strong after 180 years.
Aside from the food and drink, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon has over 130,000 items of art in the neoclassical Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy.
GREENLAND’S DISKO BAY
On Greenland’s western coast, Disko Bay is defined by whales, massive icebergs, a fast-moving glacier, and a slew of dog sleds.
With its colorful homes, Ilulissat is an excellent base for exploration, not least because it is close to the Ilulissat Icefjord. This stunning fjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, partly because of its breathtaking beauty and partly because of the scientific research conducted here over the last 250 years, which have helped scientists better understand the effects of climate change.
The Sermeq Kujalleq glacier produces the massive icebergs that occupy Ilulissat Icefjord; local boat cruises offered in Disko Bay allow visitors to marvel at the frozen vistas and reflect why this region is frequently referred to as climate change’s “Ground Zero.”
Another boat excursion will take you to Disko Island, which has stunning black sand beaches, while the newly opened Ilulissat Icefjord Centre is worth visiting on the mainland.
This new attraction aims to teach visitors about the importance of ice in the Disko Bay area, tell the stories of the Inuit people, who have survived off the land and water in the area for thousands of years, and investigate the growing impact of the climate issue. The building, created by Danish architect Dorte Mandrup as a riot of glass, steel, and curves that meld into the stunning environment, is an attraction in itself.
As Greenland’s tourism industry increases, many airport projects are in the works, including a new air hub in Ilulissat. In the future, the goal is to make it easy for international travelers to visit the lovely country while simultaneously spreading visitors across the country to minimize over-tourism.
NATIONAL PARKS OF GABON
The Amazon receives more attention, but the Congo Basin, dubbed “Africa’s lung,” is the world’s second-largest rainforest and a valuable resource threatened by deforestation. Gabon’s 13 national parks cover more than 10% of the country’s Atlantic coast, and they’re all commemorating their 20th birthdays in 2022.
Ivindo, the tropical country’s newest UNESCO World Heritage site, comprises approximately 300,000 hectares of parkland crisscrossed by blackwater rivers, boasting tremendous rapids and glorious waterfalls. Unfortunately, it is only accessible by the Trans-Gabon railway or private jet. Because of its remoteness, areas of the site have yet to be explored, but gorillas, leopards, mandrills, and pangolins, as well as the highly endangered forest elephant, call it home.
Loango National Park offers big-game fishing in the estuary and at sea, while Minkébé is the country’s largest 7,000 square meters. Between November and March, leatherback turtles lay their eggs on the beaches of Pongara National Park, while dolphins and humpback whales can be seen during the dry season, which runs from July to October.
Petra, Jordan’s magnificent rock-carved ancient city, was in danger of becoming a victim of its success a few years ago when the tourism industry damaged its delicate architecture and enticed Bedouin people away from their traditional lifestyle. However, after years of regional turmoil and the pandemic, Petra is in desperate need of visitors.
Visitors will undoubtedly return to this treasure, but there are other ways to discover Jordan in a more sustainable manner. Other archaeological gems, such as the remains of Jerash and Umm Qais, are worth visiting.
There’s also the Wadi Rum desert, which is best experienced with Bedouin guides who can impart their wisdom of coexisting with the spectacular scenery. Finally, one needs to journey to the Dead Sea for a salty float is nevertheless worthwhile, not least to see another peaceful environment under threat from modern life, this time from uncontrolled water extraction.
Give the crowded streets of Barcelona a break this year and travel a few hours south along Spain’s southeastern coast to Valencia, the World Design Capital for 2022.
It is Spain’s third-largest city, with a population of over 800,000 people, and it wants to be an emission-free destination by 2025.
The City of Arts and Sciences is a gigantic futuristic complex with a planetarium, scientific museum, and Europe’s largest aquarium, created by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava. From there, you may cycle or walk across Valencia in the nine-kilometer-long Turia Garden, which was developed on the former Turia River bed.
Paella was invented in Valencia, and the famous Spanish dish is sold all across the city. Local chef Ricard Camarena’s eponymous restaurant has received two Michelin stars for fine dining. One of them is a green star for sustainability, making it the first restaurant in the city to get the honor.
Finally, if you visit in March, you’ll be able to attend the annual Las Fallas Festival, which is a five-day street fiesta that includes fireworks and the burning of wooden and cardboard sculptures when Covid permits it.