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Ones-to-watch: the top 10 destinations to visit in 2022

By Dana Ter on November 25, 2021 in Inspiration

Fancy a trek through a remote hilltop village in Southeast Asia? Diving with whale sharks in the Middle East? Check and check. From the fjords of Norway to the surf beaches of Uruguay, the world is our oyster once again. Well, almost – as always, check with local government restrictions and book flights and accommodation with flexible cancellation policies.

1. Thailand

One of the most diverse destinations, Thailand has high mountains in the north and world-class beaches in the south. Trek through the mist-covered forests of the ancient trade route from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, or the waterfalls and caves of Chaeson National Park. Chiang Rai is home to remote hill tribe villages and the Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet. Ready for sun and sea? Krabi's Railay Beach with its white-sand coast backed by green foliage awaits and the best part is that it's accessible only through boat. Similarly, Freedom Beach, with its clear waters and lush jungles, can be reached by boat from Phuket.

2. Cook Islands

Speaking of remote island paradises, visitors to the Cook Islands can choose from 15 different islands. The waters in the lagoon of One Foot Island, or Tapuaetai, as it's known in Maori language, is full of diverse, colorful marine life. There's only one cabin available for rent so most people come for a day to snorkel. Another snorkel spot is Aroa Beach, where the waters teem with butterfly fish, moray eels and sea breams. For swimming, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, check out Ootu Beach.

3. Norway

Synonymous with majestic fjords and elusive arctic foxes, Norway conjures in the minds of many a wintry fairytale land. Preikestolen or Pulpit Rock is one of Norway's most iconic hikes but just as atmospheric is Romsdalseggen ridge with its views of swooping valleys and sky-high peaks. For a cycling challenge, take on the Atlantic Road and cut through glaciers, frozen seas and icy peaks. Head north to Lyngenfjord to hike under the midnight sun during summer and the Northern Lights in winter. Fly across the sea to the Svalbard archipelago, home to more polar bears than human inhabitants. And also arctic foxes, musk ox, reindeers and whales, all of which can be seen on an arctic safari.

4. Oman

Unbeknown to many, this Middle Eastern country is a haven for nature lovers, particularly its northern coast. Nestled in between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and sealed off from the rest of Oman, Musandam has some of the Sultanate's most dramatic landscapes, from 2,000m-high fjords to stunning, deep turquoise waters perfect for diving. Go on a cruise of the peninsula to see dolphins, rent a four-wheel drive and explore the jagged cliffs of Khawr Najd, and take a boat out to snorkel or dive with eagle rays and whale sharks on the island of Lima Rock.

5. Slovenia

The compact country ticks all the boxes: nature, architecture and gastronomy. In the summer, swim in lakes Bled and Bohinj, and come winter, snowshoe across the Pokljuka Plateau in the Julian Alps. Closer to Ljubljana is the Ljubljana Marshes, where it's possible to kayak from the marshes to the city center. The capital is also home to interesting Socialist-era buildings and an 11th-century hilltop castle. Sample typical Slovenian dishes at Ljubljana Central Market, and for a more traditional setting, go north-east to Prekmurje to have Prekmurska gibanica or layered caked stuffed with cheese, walnuts and apples. Then head south-west to the Karst Region for the finest Slovenian wine.

6. Egypt

The land of sphinxes and pharaohs is experiencing a tourism revival, and while a cruise down the Nile and a wander about the Pyramids of Giza never gets old, Egypt will have a new addition – the Grand Egyptian Museum. Opening soon in Giza, the museum is slated to be the biggest archeological complex in the world and will house 100,000 artifacts. This includes treasures from King Tut's tomb, such as ornaments, necklaces and the iconic golden funeral mask. The 3,200-year-old statue of Ramesses II will also be transferred to the museum.

7. Tanzania

The vast orange plains and porcelain-white sands of Tanzania beckons. Kick off 2022 with a luxury safari– adventurers are spoiled for choice, as the country is home to many national parks, including Tarangire National Park and Serengeti National Park, where leopards, zebras and lions roam. The beaches are just as varied. The popular Mbezi Beach is the postcard-perfect resort town, whereas the more secluded Paje Beach with its amazingly white sand and light turquoise waters attracts kitesurfers. For a real escapade, sail to Mafia Island Beach to dive with turtles and spot humpback whales.

8. USA

A mammoth country stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic, the United States has 63 national parks to choose from, all with varying terrains to suit every nature lover's taste. In commemoration of Yellowstone's 150th anniversary, the park – the oldest national park in the US – is organizing the Yellowstone 150 Challenge. Participants explore its hot springs and geysers and log 150 miles of walking, jogging or hiking. Washington's Olympic National Park has one of the country's most diverse ecosystem that covers temperate rainforests to alpine peaks. And New River George in West Virginia, the country's newest national park established in 2020, has a 53-mile-long river suitable for kayaking.

9. Uruguay

South America's smallest country has a thriving arts scene and laid-back beaches to offer. Opened in 1911, the National Museum of Visual Arts in Montevideo exhibits the works of Uruguay's most famed artists including Pedro Figari's colorful and dreamy Post-Impressionist paintings. Opening in early 2022, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Atchugarry in the popular seaside town of Punta del Este will be a new addition to the contemporary arts scene. Also look out for street art inspired by sun and sea in Montevideo and Punta del Este. Don't forget to save a few days for the beach. Surfers should check out Playa del Rivero, and for something truly remote, Cabo Polonio is accessible only via a 7km hike through sand dunes.

10. Majorca

With sundrenched summers and mild winters, this island is good to visit year-round and is a family favorite for its cultural and gastronomic offerings. Surrounded by wetlands and sand dunes, Es Trenc is the ideal beach for utter relaxation. A little more upscale, Alcúdia is a peaceful beach resort with an enchanting old town. Feeling adventurous? Explore the hundreds of years old Drach Caves which boasts one of the largest underground lakes in the world. Come Semana Santa, or the Holy Week, and indulge in panades, or meat pie, sold in bakeries around Majorca.

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