Your ultimate hot list of ’22 destinations to visit in 2022′ is finally here. Dive right in!
Nothing beats the thrill of adding fresh destinations to your New Year’s bucket list and then, ticking them all off, one memorable experience at a time. More so, when lockdowns and restrictions have had dampen the spirits of even the most avid travellers. So, whenever you feel ready, create that long-awaited bucket list and bookmark each of these 22 destinations in the world to visit in 2022 to make it a memorable one!
Known to the world for its Viking history, lofty Noble Peace Centre, and sheer dedication to a greener future, Oslo is a treat to both travellers and philanthropists alike. Tucked away to the north of the Oslofjord on the southern coast, Norway’s capital city is encircled with bristling swathes of virgin forests perfect for going on a hiking trail or enjoying cross-country ski trips during winter. Spend time in its untouched wilderness, tip your toes in the crystal clear fjord waters, practice ‘bilfritt byliv‘ or car-free city living by cycling around, and marvel at over 5,000 treasured items at soon-to-launch National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design.
Namibia, South Africa
Vast deserts, immense dunes, parched mountains, and a green wildlife-rich territory in the middle of it all — the Caprivi Strip is Namibia’s best-kept secret. A narrow finger of land cropping out in the extreme north of the South African country, the strip is home to Okavango, Kwando, Chobe, and Zambezi rivers. Nkasa Rupara National Park here has a ranger station, a recently-launched tented lodge, crocodile-infested swamps, and lagoons. It is Namibia’s largest protected wetland, home to lions, leopards, hyenas, hippos, and the largest population of buffalo in the country. For a cluster of wetlands and secluded mopane forests, visit Mahango Game Park in the west, where large herds of giant elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and different species of antelope roam freely.
Antigua & Barbuda, The Caribbean
The islands of Antigua and Barbuda are the Caribbean archipelago’s shiny twin wonderlands! With miles and miles of pristine white and pink sands, Antigua is said to have a beach for every day of the year and is home to the longest running Sunday party in the Caribbean! Smaller of the two, Barbuda has been a forever favourite among the who’s who (think Princess Diana and cricket legend Vivian Richards). The islands are also gaining popularity for their sustainability efforts and green initiatives over the years, like the ban on single-use plastics and eco-friendly resorts.
Visiting the ‘happiest place in the world’ this year? Make some time for the beautiful lakeside city of Lahti. Located 100 kilometers northeast of Helsinki, this green destination is Finland’s eighth-largest city, packed with thick forests, lush parks and reserves with breathtaking hiking trails, and surreal lookout points. Lahti is where locals receive free tickets and food for being eco-friendly, and an innovative groundwater system offers, if UNESCO is to be believed, ‘the world’s best drinking water’. Visit the pristine Lake Haransilma, chug down the famous Lahti beer at Teerenpeli Brewery & Distillery, the oldest whiskey distillery in Finland, and marvel at the stunning Sibelius Hall in the heart of the city. In the spring of 2022, the brand new Lahti Museum of Visual Arts Malva will launch its first exhibits, so plan your trip accordingly.
Ollantaytambo falls along the route leading to Machu Picchu in Peru’s Sacred Valley. Boasting its very own impressive Inca ruins and an imposing 15th-century fortress, the well-preserved town has recently been named one of the UNWTO’s ‘best tourism villages’, thanks to its sustainable developments, natural beauty, and cultural diversity. Pay a visit to the best surviving examples of Inca buildings here — storehouses of Pinkuylluna overlooking Ollantaytambo, a nearby quarry, the mysterious circular ruins at Moray, and of course, the terraced Maras salt mines.
Lake Baikal, Russia
Lake Baikal is a natural wonder in true sense. One of the world’s oldest geographical features (formed 25 to 30 million years ago), the massive UNESCO-listed lake offers astonishing vistas across waters of the deepest blue to soaring mountain ranges on the opposite shore. Come winter, it turns into a powder-white landscape, frozen like steel and scored with ice roads ideal for ski trips and rides on husky sledges. Fed by 300 rivers, Lake Baikal is home to tundras, steppes, boreal forests, virgin beaches, and over 1,200 species of plants and animals that are found nowhere else in the world, including the exclusive freshwater seal.
Although Kingston has been overlooked by tourists finding their way to the region for years, Jamaican’s beating heart is slowly coming through as a potential spirited cultural hub. The city brims with multicultural restaurants, amazing galleries, and vibrant carnivals that flood its cobbled streets with feather headdresses, giant floats, and steelpan drums. Other than the busy Hellshire Beach and forever swamped Bull Bay, Kingston is full of lesser-known surf beaches like Runaway Bay ideal for average surfers and Makka beach if you wish to navigate through pesky corals and urchins along with steep waves.
Tucked far away from Honshū’s well-beaten tourist circuit in Japan, Kyushu island is largely untouched, blessed with subtropical balmy weather and long, golden beaches. Go snorkelling to explore the island’s extensive marine life. Later, visit Mount Aso, the country’s most active volcano that feeds Kyushu’s countless hot springs. Base yourself at one of the hot spring resorts and take a steamy dip while enjoying some amazing sea views.
Santa Ynez Valley, California
Unassuming and charmingly rustic, the Santa Ynez Valley is a two-hour drive from the bustling LA. Surrounded by rolling hills and orderly rows of grape vines, the picture-perfect region offers a hot mix of scenic beauty, history, and culinary delights for visitors. When in Santa Ynez town next, stroll the streets of downtown, feast on the sight of its 1880s-era facades, get a taste of country-style feasts, discover connection to the county’s early Spanish settlers, and experience art at local galleries. Don’t forget to make some time to savour the delicious wines in its dreamy vineyard settings as well as go for a private olive oil trail at Global Gardens!
Korcula Island, Croatia
Forget Dubrovnik, Split, or Hvar. One of the largest and most popular Dalmatian islands, Korčula is your calling if you wish to explore the untouched side of Croatia. Carrying a Dubrovnik-like charm in its atmosphere, architecture, and aesthetic, the island holds it all in with the stern medieval walls centrepieced by the slim belltower of St Mark’s Cathedral, outlined by turquoise waters from all sides. Visit the famous Marco Polo Museum, watch an authentic moreksha show, a traditional sword dance. Do not come back without taking a vineyard tour and sipping on the region’s unique wine made of the local grk grapes.
Simply put, the extraordinary white sand strips and turquoise lagoons of Ksamil in Albania deserve to be on any list that talks about the top offbeat beach destinations in Europe! The abundant natural beauty paired with breathtaking views of the Ionian coast and warm, welcoming Albanian folks make this quaint village a paradise still waiting to be discovered. Row a canoe to an uninhabited island, spend your day sunbathing on the Ksamil Beach, and relish fresh sea food of Albanian cuisine which is a good mix of Mediterranean, Greek and Turkish culinary influences. The UNESCO-listed historical city of Gjirokastra and the nearby Blue Eye Spring make for good day-long excursions.
Ditch Sydney and Melbourne, to arrive at Victoria, where the Wildlife Wonders sanctuary in the Otways region is playing a huge role in wildlife conversation and rejuvenation efforts post the infamous 2019-20 bushfires. Nestled amid lush ancient forest and waterfalls off the Great Ocean Road, the sanctuary is crafted by expert botanists, scientists, zoologists, and enviornmental specialists in a way that it seamlessly blends into the landscape. Take guided forest tour of the sylvan site, wander through thickets of eucalyptus groves, and spot shy koalas, wallabies, long-nosed potoroos, and bandicoots in their natural home.
Trang archipelago, Thailand
The laidback Trang archipelago is home to landmasses of all sizes scattered along the sleepy tropical southern coast of Thailand. Come here to travel slow, when your heart desires someplace else than bustling Phi Phi or Koh Samui. Quiet beaches here ideal for long, idle strolls while bamboo huts make a great alternative to swanky hotels. Visit Koh Libong to spot rare dugong in deep seagrasses and monitor lizards lazying it out in nooks of tranquil fishing villages. Or take a boat ride to Koh Muk where aromatic whiff is always coming out of shaded food shacks, paddling a kayak takes you through island’s dramatic cave system full of gothic stalactites, and the jungle beach of Haad Sai Yao is full of crab-eating macaques.
The constantly evolving city of Kaunas has been tagged as the ‘European Capital of Culture for 2022’ for all the right reasons. For the second largest city in Lithuania is a keeper of Art Deco buildings, high modernists structures, fascinating street art, galleries showcasing classic works, and diverse cultural offerings, from the Devil’s Museum with over 3,000 sculptures and artworks, to the Museum of Blind, where one can experience the world as someone who lost their sight. In 2022, expect a series of events from interactive art installations, exhibitions, vibrant festivals, and throbbing concerts. ss
Sustainable living is etched into everything that Palau has to offer. The precarious paradise expects guests to sign a pledge (written by Palauan school kids!) that talks about behaving responsibly while they travel and explore. After remaining closed for years to let titular jellyfish population grow to acceptable numbers, the famous Jellyfish Lake is now open to visitors. Also visit Rock Islands Souther Lagoon — the island’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site with an expanse of over 400 islands and some of the world’s rarest corals!ss
Yasuní National Park, Ecuador
Straddling the equator on South America’s west coast, Ecuador is a tiny country that has squeezed inside itself an array of wonders. Amazonian rainforest, postcard-pretty sceneries, waves crashing on white-sand beaches, Kichwa villages, and the breathtaking Andes, the list is quite endless. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Yasuní National Park here is home to mahogany trees, sweet guabas, anthuriums, palms, and green ferns. The park also shelters a wide variety of wild animal including anteaters, capybaras, sloth bears, spider monkeys, and over 600 species of colourful birds. Spot the endangered river dolphins backflipping in the waters of Napo and Curaray rivers, and meet up with the indigenous and voluntarily isolated tribes of Tagaeri and Taromenane.
Known for its rich cinematic culture, Łódź is Poland’s UNESCO gem, striving hard to secure itself a greener future through eco-friendly technologies, biomass energy in households, and electric car charging stations. Take a trip to the 2,977-acre Łagiewnicki Forest and visit age-old industrial areas that are now reformed as cultural centres, retail spaces, and parks. However, OFF Piotrkowska is definitely the trendiest address in town, being a buzzing art, design, dining, and club district. The annual Corpus Christi procession here is quite a spectacle with cultural dances and routes decorated with intricately assembled floral carpets.
Jingmai Mountain, China
Usually off the touristy radar, Jingmai Mountain in China’s Pu’er is all set to get global recognition in 2022 as it queues up to be added in UNESCO World Heritage list next. One of the oldest cultural landscape in the country, it is home to ancient tea plantations that collectively form the world’s largest artificially cultivated tea estate, with over 1,13 million tea plants! It is here where the epic Ancient Tea Horse Road, a network of routes for trading Chinese tea for Tibetan horses, had first initiated in the 11th century. When you are done sampling tea and strolling through lush estates, learn about the local ethnic minorities of the Blanc, Dai, Hani, and Wa here, who have successfully retained their original languages, traditions, and celebrations.
The feisty capital of Serbia, Belgrade is an electric mix of Greek, Turkish, Hungarian and Balkan influences, which makes it rank high on the 2022 must-visit list. While Michelin is planning on launching its first guide here in 2022, the zestful destination continues to be a mix of old and new experiences. Opulent wine bars, trendy cafes dishing out delectable local cuisine, NATO-era buildings, and old stone houses coexist here to offer guests memories of a lifetime. Just outside of the city, rolling hills and fertile plains together grow a variety of grapes, hence the region also brims with tour-worthy wineries.
Quite oblivion to the outside influence, Siquijor has long been associated with spooky incidents and called as ‘The Island of Witches’. But all that is changing now that curious and intrepid travellers are heading to the secluded island for its pristine rivers, cascading falls, vast lagoons, hidden snorkel spots, and thick jungles with adventures aplenty. Plan your trip during the Holy Week when the island is busy with the ‘Folk Healing Festival’, an annual celebration of Christianity, shamanism, and other ancient mystic practices.
When it comes to ecotourism and exceptional outdoor adventures, nothing beats Chile. Atacama in its northern end proves why. The desert land of Valle de la Luna (aka Valley of the Moon) here is home to surreal sunsets, otherworldly landscapes, and gigantic rock formations. If you wish to see flamingoes wading through vast swamps against an ethereal backdrop, arrive at the salt flats and Chaxa Lagoon in Los Flamencos National Reserve. The glaciers, falls, and wilds in Torres del Paine National Park are ideal for a brush-up with the Patagonian wilderness. Pica, known for its fruits and hot springs, has been listed as one of the ‘Best Tourism Villages in 2021’ by UNWTO for actively promoting sustainable development.
The ancient city of Petra is Jordan’s rock-carved gem, offering a glimpse into its delicate archaeological treasures and the traditional lives of Bedouin locals here. The mystical corridors of Siq, a hike to the top of Al-Deir Monastery, a shopping spree at Colonnaded Street, and a night tour to the famous Al Khazneh or ‘The Treasury’ are must.