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Best of the World: 35 incredible places to discover in 2022 and beyond

Now is the time of year when many of us plan an adventure for the year ahead. And with countless trips put on hold in recent months, there’s plenty of pent-up desire to set out and explore again — but where to go?

Hollow rock is an iconic coastal formation on the north west of Lake Superior by the border of Minnesota.

Photograph by Getty Images
Published 18 Nov 2021, 12:36 GMT, Updated 5 Jan 2022, 11:16 GMT

If you’re looking for inspiration, editors from National Geographic Traveller titles around the world have picked the planet’s 35 most exciting destinations for travel in 2022. Five categories — Adventure, Culture and History, Nature, Family and Sustainability — frame unforgettable experiences that reveal the beauty and diversity of the world around us. The pandemic may have changed when, where, and how we travel, but there’s no doubt that we’re excited to pack our bags and hit the road again.

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon/Washington, is the US’s largest National Scenic Area. 

Photograph by Getty Images


1. Chimanimani National Park, Mozambique
Support conservation efforts in a biodiverse wonderland

Located on Mozambique’s mountainous border with Zimbabwe, Chimanimani National Park, established in October 2020, is home to Mozambique’s highest peak, the 7,992ft Mount Binga. It was once flush with elephants and lions, whose images appear in ancient rock art created by the ancestral San people.

Decades of poaching and civil unrest decimated wildlife populations, but small numbers of elephants remain, as do at least 42 other species of mammals and a dazzling array of plant and avian life. In two recent biodiversity surveys alone, 475 plant species and 260 bird species were identified, along with 67 amphibian and reptile species, including one frog and one lizard thought to be new to science.

From National Geographic Travel US (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

2. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon/Washington
Mindfully wine and dine in the US’s largest National Scenic Area

The US’s largest National Scenic Area is probably not where you think it is: it straddles the Oregon-Washington border and comprises 293,000 acres of public and private lands along the Columbia River Gorge. With Mount Hood nearby, the area attracts more than two million visitors annually. To help reduce tourist impact on local nature and culture, a nonprofit alliance has kick-started a collaborative movement that has morphed into a best-practice model for building a sustainable tourism economy.

Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance initiatives include the visitor education programme Ready, Set, Gorge, and the East Gorge Food Trail, a network of farms, historic hotels, wineries and other homegrown experiences.

From National Geographic Travel US (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

3. Ruhr Valley, Germany
Be surprised by art and nature in a former industrial zone

Mining and steel production once dominated the densely populated Ruhr Valley, in Germany’s western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Today, the region is repurposing former slag heaps and post-apocalyptic-looking industrial sites as parks and open-air cultural spaces. The most famous is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Zeche Zollverein (Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex), home to an outdoor swimming pool, ice rink and walking trails.

Zollverein is part of the wider Emscher Landscape Park, an east-west system of green spaces and corridors covering nearly 175 square miles. Rent a bike in Essen for a car-free Ruhr Valley trip along cycling routes, many of which follow former railway tracks, or explore on foot via the 96-mile-long Hohe Mark Steig, a trekking trail opened in 2021.

From National Geographic Traveler Germany (Franziska Haack)

4. Yasuní National Park, Ecuador
Learn what’s at stake in a threatened, biodiverse paradise

In recognition of the global importance of the Amazon, France is leading the fight against deforestation in eastern Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park, which was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1989. The 4,000sq-mile park — home to mahogany trees, sweet guabas, anthuriums, palms, and hypnotisingly green ferns — is the first of five pilot sites in the French-funded TerrAmaz programme. This four-year initiative, launched in late 2020, supports sustainable development and biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

Considered one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, Yasuní shelters an astonishing array of creatures, such as anteaters, capybaras, sloths, spider monkeys and about 600 species of bird.

From National Geographic Traveler Latin America (Karen Alfaro)

5. Łódź, Poland
Focus on a factory town turned sustainable-living leader

Named a UNESCO City of Film in 2017 for its rich cinematic culture, Łódź, a city with a population of around 700,000 in central Poland, was a major textile manufacturing hub in the 19th and 20th centuries. Now Poland’s Hollywood is flipping the script on its industrial past to create a greener future.

Łódź is a leader in sustainable living, embracing innovative ecological solutions, such as using pre-RDF (refuse-derived fuel) and biomass energy to heat homes. In 2021, the city partnered with the European e-commerce delivery platform InPost to significantly reduce CO₂ emissions and traffic in the city centre by installing 70 parcel locker locations and electric car-charging stations.

From National Geographic Traveler Poland (Martyna Szczepanik)

6. Adelaide, Australia
On track to become the world’s next National Park City

Following the lead of London, which became the world’s first National Park City in 2019, metropolitan Adelaide, Australia is vying to become the second. Already named the third-most-livable city on the planet in The Global Livability Index 2021, South Australia’s cosmopolitan, coastal capital is working to become cooler, greener, wilder and more climate-resilient through rewilding projects, such as creating more butterfly-friendly habitats (the city has some 30 threatened butterfly species), studying the possibility of bringing the platypus back to the River Torrens after a 140-year hiatus, and awarding community grants to plant tens of thousands of trees across South Australia.

From National Geographic Travel US (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

7. Grenoble, France
Green Capital of Europe for 2022

With two rivers running through it and magnificent mountain ranges on the doorstep, Grenoble — Europe’s Green Capital for 2022 — is a big draw for eco-conscious, all-action, outdoorsy types. If canyoning and paragliding are your thing, you’ll fit right in. But the Capital of the Alps has cultural depth, as well, embodied in the Museum of Grenoble, stuffed with works by masters such as Monet, Canaletto and Klee, as well as a dynamic contemporary art scene.

Thanks to its university — the third-largest in France, with a reputation for excellence in microelectronics, nuclear physics and political studies — Grenoble nurtures clear-thinking problem-solvers. Crammed into a valley, the city would suffer from overcrowding and pollution were it not for its sustainable urban plan, combining cycle lanes, pedestrian streets, speed limits and efficient public transport.

From National Geographic Traveller UK (Emma Gregg)

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Fishermen at the Saint George branch of the mighty Danube River, Dobruja, Romania.

Photograph by AWL Images


1. Danube River
Take a cruise through storybook land

Boating the Danube can seem like travelling through a realm of fairytales, with its scrolling views of castles, medieval towns and stately palaces that help to bring European history vividly to life. The river twists through 10 countries, and most Danube cruise itineraries include stops in at least four of those, with special family sailings featuring child-friendly onshore activities.

School lessons focusing on Middle Ages feudalism take on vivid dimensions when exploring Veste Oberhaus in Passau, Germany, one of the largest surviving castle complexes in Europe. Ages-old Hungarian equestrian traditions come alive on a southern Hungarian ranch, where fearless csikós, or mounted herdsmen, ride standing upright, balancing on the backs of two galloping horses.

From National Geographic Traveler Romania (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

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2. Eastern Shore, Maryland
Discover the marshlands that shaped Harriet Tubman

The history of the Underground Railroad flows through the waterways, wetlands, swamps and tidal marshes of Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. This is where the secret network’s most famous ‘conductor’, Harriet Tubman, was born enslaved, grew up and honed the skills — such as trapping, hunting and navigating by the stars — she used to escape to freedom in Pennsylvania. She then returned 13 times to rescue more than 70 enslaved friends and family. Her heroic story is told at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, one of the more than 30 stops along the 125-mile Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.

From National Geographic Travel US (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

3. Bonaire
Dive into one of the oldest marine reserves in the world

Dazzling sunlight, a turquoise sea, palm trees, white beaches and a laid-back atmosphere: Bonaire ticks all the boxes for an idyllic tropical destination. But compared to many other Caribbean islands, Bonaire (population 21,000) is quiet and still relatively wild and unspoiled. And off its coast lies one of the oldest marine reserves in the world.

The Bonaire National Marine Park was established in 1979 and has been on the provisional UNESCO World Heritage List since 2011. The reserve encompasses 6,672 acres of coral reef, seagrass and mangrove vegetation. Bonaire’s healthy reefs are a magnet for divers and snorkellers who can spot up to 57 species of coral and more than 350 different fish species.

From National Geographic Traveler Netherlands (Barbera Bosma)

4. Granada, Spain 
Marvel at the geometric beauty of the Alhambra

Built as a palace-city by 13th-century Nasrid sultans — rulers of the longest-lasting and last Muslim dynasty on the Iberian Peninsula — the Alhambra (‘red fort’) is considered the Moorish architectural jewel of Europe. The almond-shaped profile of this UNESCO World Heritage site rests on a hill above Granada, one of the most picturesque cities in Spain.

But it’s the mathematical wizardry on display here that’s particularly fascinating for families. Intricate mosaics, arabesques (a repetitive, stylised pattern based on a floral or vegetal design) and muqarnas (ornamental vaulting) make the Alhambra a masterpiece of geometric beauty — and a colourful classroom for age-appropriate exploration of maths concepts, such as shapes, symmetry, proportion and measurement.

From Viajes National Geographic Spain (Manuel Mateo Pérez)

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5. Lycia, Turkey
Learn about nomadic life in the sunny Mediterranean

The nomadic yörüks, originally from different Turkic groups that ranged from the Balkans to Iran, once roamed the plateaus of the Turkish riviera. Most of the yörüks (literally ‘walkers’) have now settled down — but many of their thousand-year-old customs are alive and well. Located in the historical Lycia region in southwestern Anatolia, Teke Peninsula is one of the spots where yörük culture remains strong. Teke yörüks live a semi-nomadic life with their tents, kilim rugs, herds, shepherd dogs, and transhumant traditions, set against a mountainous, Mediterranean backdrop full of olive trees. In recent years, tour companies have started to merge the marvels of Lycia with yörük life.

From National Geographic Traveler Turkey (Onur Uygun)

6. Nottinghamshire, UK
Robin Hood country gets a revamp

Fresh from an exciting £30 million revamp, the 400-year-old Nottingham Castle has thrown open its sturdy wooden gates again and is bigger than and better than ever. The highlight is a permanent new exhibition dedicated to Robin Hood and his fellow Nottingham rebels, with the focus on interactive fun including storytelling and ballads in a mocked-up forest clearing, as well as longbow-firing, digital archery competitions and sparring with Little John in the beautifully designed gaming spaces.

Throw in some caves to explore, along with vast grounds in which to run amok, with family trails, seasonal events and a fantastic new family adventure playground, and you have all the makings of brilliant day out combing fun and learning in equal measure.

From National Geographic Traveller UK (Rhonda Carrier)

7. Hadrian’s Wall, UK
The UK re-frames its ancient Roman frontier as its big attraction

A simultaneous celebration of the ancient and new, this UNESCO-listed structure — which was begun in AD 122 and formed the north-west frontier of the Roman empire for nearly 300 years — marks its 1,900th birthday in 2022 with a year-long festival of special events and activities. Think live outdoor performances, historic reenactments, sunset music sessions, an illuminated garden, thought-provoking outdoor art installations, compelling talks and even a Roman Big Birthday Bash. And all this spread across the entire 73-mile length of this coast-to-coast route, in all three counties that it crosses: Northumberland, Cumbria and Tyne & Wear. And, this year, the region gets a big injection of cash: £30m in government and charity funding to improve transport links and upgrade visitor centres.

From National Geographic Traveller UK (Rhonda Carrier)

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A golden-fronted woodpecker eats a papaya in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize.

Photograph by AWL Images


1. Belize
Get a front row seat to tropical wildlife

Nature scored a big win recently in the race to preserve one of the largest remaining tropical rainforests in the Americas. In April 2021, a coalition of conservation partners, led by the Nature Conservancy, purchased 236,000 acres of tropical forest in northwestern Belize to create the Belize Maya Forest Reserve. Along with saving some of the most biodiverse forest in the world from denuding and development, the new protected area, which is contiguous with the neighbouring Rio Bravo Conservation Management Area (RBCMA), closes a huge gap in a vital wildlife corridor that runs from southeast Mexico through Guatemala and into Belize.

From National Geographic Travel US (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

2. Northern Minnesota 
Turn off the lights in dark-sky country

Thousands upon thousands of stars dazzle above northern Minnesota. This remote region bordering the Canadian province of Ontario has little to no light pollution, and residents are determined to keep it that way.

The Heart of the Continent Dark Sky Initiative is a cross-border effort to create one of the largest dark-sky destinations on the planet. Two of its biggest pieces are in Minnesota: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), the world’s largest International Dark Sky Sanctuary at more than a million acres; and neighbouring Voyageurs National Park, the state’s first International Dark Sky Park. Both wild places received dark-sky certification in 2020 and Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park, which adjoins BWCAW, earned International Dark Sky Park status in early 2021.

From National Geographic Travel US (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

3. Namibia
Point yourself to the next great safari destination

Namibia evokes images of deserts, immense dunes and parched mountains. But the Caprivi Strip, a narrow finger of land that juts out toward the east in the extreme north of the country, is a green, wildlife-rich territory, thanks to the presence of the Okavango, Kwando, Chobe and Zambezi Rivers, which create the ideal habitat for numerous animal species.

During the second half of the 20th century, the area was the scene of intense military activity. Remote and difficult to access, it was the ideal corridor for various armed groups. After Namibia gained independence in 1990, peace — and wildlife driven away by fighting — gradually returned.

From National Geographic Traveler Italy (Marco Cattaneo)

4. Lake Baikal, Russia
Trail-build at the world’s biggest freshwater lake

Baikal is so vast and deep that locals regularly refer to it a sea. Covering around 12,200sq miles and with an average depth of 2,442ft, the massive lake is a natural wonder. It’s also in serious trouble. Despite being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, ongoing pollution, the recent weakening of government protections, and new threats, such as large-scale tourism development, caused the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) to deem the environmental World Heritage Outlook of Lake Baikal of ‘significant concern’ in 2020.

Visitors can help safeguard the lake and its wide array of landscapes — including tundra, steppe, boreal forest and virgin beaches — by volunteering with Great Baikal Trail (GBT), the nonprofit environmental group creating a hiking route around the lake.

From National Geographic Traveler Russia (Victoria Meleshko)

5. Victoria, Australia
Spot unique Australian wildlife along the Great Ocean Road

Green shoots of regeneration are appearing in Australia, where some 72,000sq miles were burned during the 2019-2020 bushfires, leading to the deaths of at least 34 people and more than a billion animals.

Playing its own role in these rejuvenation efforts, Wildlife Wonders, in Victoria’s Otways region, is a new wildlife sanctuary with a mission. Tucked away off the Great Ocean Road amid lush ancient forest and waterfalls, it’s the brainchild of Brian Massey — the landscape designer of New Zealand’s Hobbiton experience — who, alongside botanists, scientists, zoologists, and environmental specialists, has crafted a sinuous wooden path that winds through the refuge and blends seamlessly into the landscape.

From National Geographic Traveller UK (Connor McGovern)

6. Kent, UK
Bison in the Kent countryside and rewilding success stories nationwide

When Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wildwood Trust set out to hire the UK’s first bison rangers in early 2021, more than 1,000 applications flooded in. Successful candidates Tom Gibbs and Donovan Wright have an exciting task ahead: in spring 2022, they’re managing the reintroduction of four European bison, bred by the European Endangered Species Programme, to Blean Woods near Canterbury, an ancient reserve of coppiced chestnut, birch and oak.

Hunted to extinction in Britain thousands of years ago, bison are forest architects: by rubbing against trunks and eating bark, they cause weak trees to tumble, allowing multiple plant and animal species to thrive. Once the hefty foursome has settled in, Donovan — who previously led Big Five walking safaris in Africa — will use his skills to help visitors respectfully approach them on foot.

From National Geographic Traveller UK (Emma Gregg)

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Downtown Atlanta as seen from the city’s Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia, US.

Photograph by Getty Images


1. Atlanta, Georgia
Be inspired by a southern US city rising to meet the moment

At a time when voting rights are in contention in the United States, Atlanta is flexing its cultural and political muscle through two formidable voter empowerment organisations: The New Georgia Project and Fair Fight Action, both founded by Atlanta-based political leader and activist Stacey Abrams.

Being at the forefront of social change isn’t new, says city native Bem Joiner, co-founder of the creative agency Atlanta Influences Everything. “Atlanta’s ‘special sauce’ is its three Cs: civic, corporate and cultural. We’re the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement, the home of Coca-Cola and our hip-hop culture shapes global culture. There’s nowhere else quite like Atlanta.”

From National Geographic Travel US (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

2. Hokkaido, Japan
Find the flip side to anime-filled Japan

Marginalised since the late 1800s, the indigenous Ainu people from the northern region of the Japanese archipelago, were finally granted legal status in Japan in 2019. But while the country’s new Ainu Promotion Act recognises and bans discrimination against the Ainu — who now reside mainly on Hokkaido, Japan’s wildly scenic and northernmost main island — it does little to directly help them, indigenous activists say. That could change in the future, however, as more Japanese and international visitors travel to Hokkaido to learn about Ainu culture at Upopoy, the new National Ainu Museum and Park complex, opened in 2020.

From National Geographic Travel US (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

3. Procida, Italy
Connect with Italy’s Capital of Culture

Chosen pre-pandemic, the theme of Procida’s winning bid as the Italian Capital of Culture 2022 — La cultura non isola (Culture doesn’t isolate) — now seems particularly on point. The island city, located 40 minutes southwest of Naples via high-speed ferry, plans to use its year in the spotlight to illustrate the importance of culture, particularly in times of uncertainty.

Procida 2022 plans to spread cultural programming — such as contemporary art exhibitions, festivals and performances — over 300 days to encourage responsible travel throughout the year, and to avoid a mass influx of summer visitors. In the spotlight as a symbol of the inclusive theme is the island’s Palazzo d’Avalos, a Renaissance palace-turned-prison, built in 1500 and closed in 1988.

From National Geographic Travel US (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

4. Tin Pan Alley, London
Make some noise in the birthplace of British punk rock

Despite pushback from punk and rock purists, the remix of Denmark Street, former hub of the British music industry, promises to hit all the right notes. Once lined with music publishers, recording studios, rehearsal rooms and dimly lit clubs, the tiny street, nicknamed London’s Tin Pan Alley, helped launch the British punk rock movement and legends like David Bowie, Elton John and the Rolling Stones. In recent years, the music had all but died, save for Denmark Street’s surviving guitar shops. Now this iconic slice of music history is being revived as part of Outernet London, the West End’s new £1bn immersive entertainment district.

From National Geographic Travel US (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

5. Jingmai Mountain, Yunnan, China
Be transported by tea         

One of the oldest cultural landscapes in China is slated to become one of the country’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2022. The Ancient Tea Plantations of Jingmai Mountain in Pu’er, which collectively form the world’s largest ancient artificially cultivated tea plantation, features over one million tea trees, the oldest of which is 1,400 years old.

Located in the remote southwestern corner of China’s Yunnan Province, the region was a starting point of the legendary Ancient Tea Horse Road. This 11th-century network of routes was named for its primary purpose: trading Chinese tea for Tibetan horses (60kg of tea equalled one horse).

From National Geographic Traveler China (Yi Lu, and Regina Zhuoqing Li)

6. Oslo, Norway
Fjord City gets a marvellous make-over

Fjord City, an urban renewal project reimagining of Oslo’s waterfront, is making the city’s cultural sites and scenic, 62-mile-long Oslo Fjord more accessible to all. The massive transformation, slated to be finished by 2030, has so far moved highways underground and repurposed industrial sites to create a seamless transition between the city and the fjord. A pedestrian- and wheelchair-friendly promenade stretches nearly six miles along the new-look harbourside, which is bookended by the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art to the west and the Oslo Opera House to the east, where visitors can walk on the sloped roof to look out over the water.

From National Geographic Travel US (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

7. Rome, Italy
A hip new chapter for the Eternal City

They call it the Eternal City, but that doesn’t mean Rome is stuck in the past. For starters, a hit squad of cult international hotel chains has parachuted in post-pandemic, choosing to set up in residential areas where tourists rarely tread. Soho House opened in autumn 2021 behind the train station in the San Lorenzo district. On that same, eastern side of the city is The Hoxton, Rome, which has already brought London chic to the elegant Parioli district.

Closer to the centre, the W Rome opened in November just off Via Veneto, aiming for a dolce vita vibe. On the other side of the Tiber is perhaps the most exciting of all: Mama Shelter Roma, in the Prati district, which occupies two modernist former office blocks, both listed buildings.

From National Geographic Traveller UK (Julia Buckley)

8. Cairo, Egypt
A grand museum opening, a film launch, and more, put Cairo in the spotlight

Egypt’s capital will shine under a bright spotlight in 2022. Hollywood is releasing a much-anticipated adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, featuring an all-star cast that includes Kenneth Branagh and Gal Gadot. It also marks 100 years since Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb; Jean-François Champollion deciphered the Rosetta Stone, unlocking the meaning of hieroglyphs; and the country celebrated semi-independence from British Rule.

Linking them all is the hotly anticipated opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum. Slated to be the largest museum in the world dedicated to one civilisation, this mega-sized, £600m complex, located two miles from the Giza pyramids, will exhibit the complete contents — around 5,000 items — of King Tut’s tomb.

From National Geographic Traveller UK (Emma Thomson)

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New Brunswick, Canada. 

Photograph by Alamy


1. New Brunswick, Canada
Tackle the longest backcountry trail in the Canadian Maritimes

The Nepisiguit Falls, in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, are one of many stops along a millennia-old First Nations migration route, which has been developed into the longest backcountry hiking trail in the Canadian Maritimes. Running 93 miles along the Nepisiguit River, the rugged Sentier Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail follows ancient portage pathways used by the nomadic Mi’gmaq. The route begins at sea level at Daly Point Nature Reserve in Bathurst and ends at Bathurst Lake in Mount Carleton Provincial Park, home to 2,690ft Mount Carleton, the highest peak in the Maritimes. To promote respect for the relevance of the trail to the Mi’gmaq people, the route’s restoration, completed in 2018, incorporates Mi’gmaq language and culture.

From National Geographic Travel US (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

2. Costa Rica
Go on a coast-to-coast trek

Stretching across Costa Rica from the Caribbean to the Pacific, El Camino de Costa Rica is a 174 -mile window into life far off the well-trod tourist path. The 16-stage hiking route primarily follows public roads as it passes through remote villages and towns, Indigenous Cabecar lands, and protected natural areas. It’s designed to spark economic activity in rural districts. Local families, nonprofits, and a network of micro-entrepreneurs, provide most of the lodging, food, tours and other hiker amenities available on the trail, such as Ecomiel honey and La Cabaña sustainable coffee.

From National Geographic Traveler Korea (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

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3. River Seine, France  
Cycle a new scenic route from Paris to the English Channel

La Seine à Vélo is a new cycling trail picturesque enough for French painter Claude Monet himself, whose former house and famous water lilies in Giverny are on the route. But the 270-mile Paris-to-the-sea path, which opened in October 2020, offers lesser-known masterpieces too, such as the colourful street art that brightens the Canal Saint-Denis in Paris.

Along the trail’s 15 stages, bikers also pass through protected natural areas, including Normandy’s Grande Noé Bird Reserve, located along a major migratory flyway. While rolling across Normandy, they can visit the ruins of Jumièges Abbey, founded in 654, and take a Benedictine monk-led tour of Abbaye Saint-Wandrille, a centuries-old working abbey.

From National Geographic Traveler France (Gabriel Joseph-Dezaize)

4. Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Reach a Rocky Mountain high

For unparalleled views of the Continental Divide, one must climb hand over foot up North America’s highest via ferrata. A climbing route comprised of metal rungs and cables, Arapahoe Basin’s Iron Way begins at the base of granite Rocky Mountain cliffs and ascends nearly 1,200ft to a 13,000ft summit. A glance below reveals a weathered Colorado landscape dotted with green moss and pink and purple flora, and rock gardens created by the cliffs themselves, their fallen chunks varying from pebble- to car-sized. Climbers scale the cliffs using the metal rungs while also gripping the rock or wedging a foot into a crack for leverage.

From National Geographic Travel US (Shauna Farnell)

5. Palau  
Go shark diving in the Pacific

Step off the plane at Palau International Airport and the stamp in your passport will include the Palau Pledge, which all visitors must sign, promising that ‘the only footprints I shall leave are those that will wash away’. The 59-word eco-pledge was drafted by and for the children of this remote western Pacific archipelago to help protect Palau’s culture and environment from the negative impacts of tourism.

Some 80% of Palau’s waters is preserved as the Palau National Marine Sanctuary. At 193,000sq miles, the sanctuary is one of the world’s largest protected marine areas, safeguarding more than 700 species of coral and 1,300 species of fish, including a dazzling array of sharks.

From National Geographic Traveler India (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

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6. Taghazout, Morocco
Enjoy the ride in one of North Africa’s best surfing spots

With waves, dunes and ramps to ride and a traditional souk to explore, finding an active pursuit in Morocco’s surf capital, Taghazout, is no problem. A favourite of European backpackers and surfers, the former fishing village on the country’s southwestern Atlantic Coast isn’t under the radar anymore (there’s a Hyatt Place resort and the luxury Fairmont Taghazout Bay opened in July 2021), yet it remains charmingly laid-back and local. Surf season is October to April, when a consistent northwest swell creates quality waves at reef, point and beach breaks such as postcard pretty Panorama, a sheltered, sandy-bottom break ideal for beginners.

From National Geographic Travel US (Maryellen Kennedy Duckett)

7. Peru
A new UNESCO listing for Chankillo

Six hours north of Lima, in Peru’s largely undiscovered north, stand 13 time-worn mounds spread across a hillside like the ridged backbone of a dinosaur. More than 2,300 years old, these towers form the oldest astronomical observatory in the Americas and in July 2021 were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Thor Heyerdahl mentions them in his classic travelogue Kon-Tiki, but hypotheses about their use weren’t formalised until 2007. Located in the already-archaeological-rich Casma-Sechín river basin, this pre-Incan 300-metre-long chain of towers allowed the sun-worshipping inhabitants to observe the sunrise and sunset and calculate the exact date to within one or two days — staggering for the time — to plan their planting and harvesting seasons, as well as religious festivals.

From National Geographic Traveller UK (Emma Thomson)

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