Our 12 most-read travel features of 2022

As travel returned in full force this year, our readers continued to be inspired by destinations near and far. From pubs and sandwiches to train travel and secret isles, these 12 features excited the most in 2022.

View of Ben Stack mountain in Lairg, northern Highlands, Scotland.

Photograph by Getty Images
By National Geographic Traveller UK Editors
Published 22 Dec 2022, 10:42 GMT

It was a year when travel returned in full swing, and National Geographic Traveller (UK) and Food by National Geographic Traveller (UK) continued to inspire readers through travel, food and adventure.

This year, our readers sought out crowd-free experiences, lesser-known destinations and more environmentally friendly ways to travel. More people became aware of the impact our travel habits have on the world and the destinations we visit, whether it was making sense of the scandal of ‘ghost’ flights, discovering alternative ways to travel or learning about voluntourism in far-flung destinations. We captured the flavours of the Azores, took our readers on a journey high in the Austrian Alps and looked to the future and what 2023 has in store for travel. Browse through our most-read features of 2022 below.

Whether it’s the most historic pubs or top spots for enjoying a pint outdoors, roundups of the country’s best watering holes have been a perennial favourite. This year our readers were looking for cosy hideouts to spend a wintry evening in, from a moorland hideaway to a former sailors’ favourite on the shores of Essex.

Norway has long been a favourite for polar adventures, hunting Northern Lights and cruising through its frozen fjords, but it was the country’s more remote corners that resonated with readers in 2022. In a bid to find paths less travelled, people looked to the scenic Sunnmøre Alps. Dramatic even by Norwegian standards, it’s an area where fjords plummet to deep-sea depths and mountain ranges rise so high they threaten to block out the sun.

The Sunnmøre Alps, situated in Norway’s western Fjordlands, are a new travel hotspot.

The Sunnmøre Alps, situated in Norway’s western Fjordlands, are a new travel hotspot.

Photograph by Getty Images

From lemon sole in Fife to mackerel goujons in Porthmadog, our readers were hungry for the country’s best fish and chips. Narrowing down the list was no mean feat, but these harbourside fish and chip shops and pubs are sure to offer exquisite meals of the highest order.

This year it seemed people were particularly keen to discover destinations previously overlooked. And when it comes to the Deep South, a glorious coastline of salt marshes, barrier islands and vast sand beaches is not the first thing that springs to mind. The unique geology funnels a huge diversity of plant and marine life towards its shores, from loggerhead sea turtles, which lay their eggs here every summer, to right whales — among the most critically endangered animals on the planet — which use the warm, mineral-rich waters as a calving ground in winter.

Istanbul Grand Suite on board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.

Photograph by Martin Scott Powell

As environmentally friendly travel continues to grow in popularity and more travellers are looking at ways to cut their carbon footprint, train travel is enjoying renewed popularity and its golden age might yet be ahead of us. The romance of train travel is best captured on board these seven sleeper routes. Connecting alluring destinations like Paris, Rome and Istanbul, they’re a more memorable — and sustainable — way of exploring the continent.

Continuing the theme of impactful travel that gives back to the destination, this feature focuses on rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty, whether it’s beach clean-ups, bat patrols or giant tortoise sightings. The central Seychelles isle is a lot less all-inclusive and a lot more all about nature, with some 93% of it designated a national park and encircled by a protected marine reserve.

Left: Top:

Jaymee Jumeau-Clarisse (left), Vanessa Dufrene (standing) and Nazreen Khan examine a wild Aldabra giant tortoise, near Grand Barbe beach.

Right: Bottom:

ICS conservation ranger Vanessa Dufrene scours the sands of Grand Barbe beach, GPS device in hand, looking for signs of turtle nesting.

photographs by Amelia Duggan

When the story of ‘ghost flights’ hit the news, our readers were keen to learn more — what are they, how many are there and who’s operating them. As the travel industry pledged net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, we summarised why ‘ghost flights’ matter and looked to the possible solutions in the future.

Combining our readers’ passion for food and love for adventure, this feature follows a hike up to an almhütte, a mountain hut high in the Austria’s Alpine Tyrol region. A series of challenging hikes across the Paznaun Valley lead to these rustic cabins where, every summer, highly regarded chefs transform the usually simple gastronomy served here into something closer to haute cuisine.

 Martin gathers fresh herbs on the mountain.

Photograph by Clara Tuma

This Portuguese archipelago — a lush chain of volcanic islands in the Atlantic — is shaped by the elements and so, too, is its cuisine. Tickling our readers’ taste buds was the promise of matured cheeses, spiced beef stews and wines made from grapes grown on ancient lava flows, plus our suggestion for three unmissable restaurants to visit in the Azores.

In a post-pandemic world, many still looked to escape the crowds in much-loved destinations like Italy’s storied coast and the tiny island of Procida, which was named the Italian Capital of Culture. In the search of twisty roads chiselled into cliffs, villages spilling down the rockface and an unhurried dolce vita vibe, we narrowed down five road trips, from Como to Calabria.

Caramelised white chocolate soft serve in between two Biscoff cookies and topped with pistachios, from Moo Pie.

Photograph by @aponcehardy

The humble sandwich is also one of the hardest to get right, with many failing at achieving that perfect comforting balance of textures and flavours. From a five-cheese Texan special to corned beef Filipino-style, we’ve scoured the globe to whet our readers’ appetites with eight truly remarkable sandos, dips and toasties.

As we’re looking to the future and what’s next for the world of travel, our readers are doing the same. Our annual Best of the World lists destinations in five categories — adventure, culture, nature, family and community — highlighting some of the most exciting and exceptional experiences on the planet. So whether it’s a new museum in Cairo or a rewilding movement in the Scottish Highlands, an epic trail in Bhutan or a new high-speed train in Laos, here’s where should be on your radar for 2023.

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