22 Exceptional Destinations to Travel to in 2022 (Plus, What to Do While You’re There)

Two years of next to no travel have left plenty of space for our wanderlust to run wild. Whether you’re craving an Eden-like island to go off-grid, under-touristed towns to explore in peace, or transcendently beautiful valleys to sip and sample your way through, we’ve got travel (restrictions permitting) in 2022 covered.

After a long two years of little to no travel, we can't help but be optimistic for the year ahead. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and in this period of lockdowns and last-minute cancellations that sentiment rings true. This coming year, gone is the tick-the-box itinerary. Instead, we hope to travel slower, for longer and to see more while we're there. Below are the destinations we're dreaming of wandering, swimming, skiing, and (of course) eating in come 2022. Some are cities, while others are idyllic islands where the desert sands meet the sea. All are wildly beautiful and rich in culture. We're quietly hopeful that this year, we just might get there.

Top trips on our radar for 2022

Dugi Otok


Shimmering turquoise water. Dense forests of emerald pines. White pebbles that glisten like pearls on the beach… The colours of Dugi Otok, an island of the Zadar Archipelago, off the Dalmatian coast, are intense. But the intensity ends there; this little-known gem is all about delighting in deep chill. Translating to "long island", this skinny sliver of green in the Adriatic is a beach lover's paradise. We're partial to pristine Sakarun Beach for its hidden coves, and the fertile spaces of the island, taken up with olive groves and plenty of scraggly wild rosemary and fennel. Fly into Zadar, hop on a ferry to the island, and be sure to rent a car.



Cork bottles the best of Ireland's outrageous natural beauty, ancient culture, and hearty food into one relatively small county with spirit in spades. So, where to go once you're there? Fly into Cork city and hit the English Market for a taster of the gastronomic variety this county has to offer. Think fresher-than-fresh shellfish, locally produced cheeses, cold cuts and vegetables in every shape and size. From there, your food odyssey should continue to the iconic Ballymaloe House hotel, where the Allen family - essentially the first family of Irish food - operate a legendary hotel and cookery school. Pastry chef JR Lyall's dessert trolley is as famous as the lazy, courses-long Sunday lunches. A walk (and a swim, if you're brave) on Ballycotton Beach is a bracing remedy to the inevitable carb coma that follows. Further west lie the storied beach towns of Schull and Ballydehob. Stop the car, settle into a local pub for the best Guinness of your life, and let the storytelling and live music ensue.



While Tokyo might be the typical first stop on a Japan itinerary; we're trading the bright lights of that famously too-big city for Kyushu. This subtropical island, renowned for its volcanoes, natural hot springs, beautiful beaches, and onsens, is two hours from Tokyo. (For the inside scoop on this slice of Japanese paradise, listen to our interview with Walk Japan CEO Paul Christie, a Kyushu resident, on The Upgrade podcast.) The beauty of this southwestern island lies in its four-seasons suitability for visiting tourists. In winter, hiking, skiing, and skating are abundant, while summertime brings the opportunity to scuba dive and snorkel off the island's many pristine beaches. Stay at one of the many authentic little inns that pepper Kyushu's mountain towns, explore pottery culture in Saga, and don't miss the numerous historical sites in Nagasaki.



Consider Antiparos, the quieter, more charming Cycladic Island sister to nearby Paros. The island, reached by flying into Paros and hopping on a seven-minute ferry across a glassy blue bay, is small enough to cover by car in a day. But ideally you should stay at Athanasia Comninos's idyllic new boutique hotel, The Rooster, overlooking Livadia Bay and where the flamingo-pink sunsets are otherworldly. Each of the 16 villas comes with a pool, and the views are as outstanding as the food. The pace is slow here, and the people are refreshingly warm. Charter one of the local boats for an affordable spin around Antiparos's rocky coastline, snack on freshly caught octopus, and snooze an afternoon away on a secret black sand beach only the fishermen know of. Don't miss a tour of archaeological site Despotiko (beware of the goats) and platters of fried anchovies at local favourite Captain Pipinos. Lastly, Greek rosé? A revelation.

Todos Santos


Los Cabos is considered the Baja Peninsula's centre of gravity, but we would argue that laid-back surfer haven Todos Santos - an hour's drive north - is where it's at. This little town, designated a Pueblo Mágico in recognition of its immense natural beauty, has grown in popularity over the last few years for its authentic Mexican feel and roster of unique hotels. The bougainvillaea-strewn streets straddle the old and the new with aplomb-sip a flat white at Taller 17 and watch pick-up trucks packed with goats, locals selling handmade pottery and crafts, and crowds of surfers roll by. Hotel San Cristobal, with its psychedelic textiles, quirky-cool interiors, and spicy margaritas, is our easy favourite for supper by the sea. The newer brutalist-inspired Paradero, nestled in a palm grove, is a wellness destination in and of itself, though the hotel's positioning near the beach, the town, and surrounding desert lands doesn't hurt.

Chumbe Island


Disclaimer: Chumbe Island is not the easiest to get to. However, it's more than worth it for those willing to catch the boat from Mbweni, (or hotfoot it to Zanzibar's old Stone Town neighbourhood and find a willing fisherman). The island and coral park are a conservation success story, thanks to the privately protected marine area that surrounds it. A shore-to-reef fishing ban, formalised 1998, has spurred significant regeneration here. (And, yes, the snorkelling is stunning.) A few steps inland, sand gives way to a thick canopy of rare coral rug jungle, an ecosystem that survives on waterless ground and feeds on dew. But before the sand merges into the jungle, you'll find seven rustic beach cottages - their roofs shaped like billowing sails - along the shoreline. These plastic-free dwellings are the only tourist accommodation on Chumbe. Days on the island drift by in a haze of swimming, fragrant curries and daydreaming on the beach, before the boat takes you back to mainland Tanzania.

Lake Baikal


Being the deepest and oldest lake in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage listing, the fact it's under threat from pollution and nearby industrial development are reasons enough to go and marvel at this wonder now. Lake Baikal is home to 20 per cent of the globe's unfrozen freshwater supply, the world's only freshwater seals, and more than 2,000 species of flora and fauna. Additionally, the lake's glassy waters freeze to the point that it becomes a highway for sleighs and skaters throughout the long winter months. While you can reach the lake and the islands held within it (we recommend Olkhon) via the Trans-Siberian express, it's also possible to fly into Ulan-Ude and jump on a ferry, weather permitting.

São Tomé and Príncipe

Central African Republic

We first got wind of these Eden-like islands a few years ago when two intrepid friends made the pilgrimage to the Gulf of Guinea on Africa's western coast. Rumoured to produce some of the best chocolate and coffee in the world, the islands are bursting with dense rainforest, lush cocoa and coffee plantations alongside powder-white beaches and crystalline waters. Rich volcanic soil fuels the biodiversity unique to the islands, while the untamed landscape adds to the otherworldly atmosphere. But enough of geography; where to stay and what to do while you're there? South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth has invested heavily in the island, including in two beautiful hotels: Sundy Praia, a tented camp on the island's northwest coast, and Roça Sundy, a restored plantation home. And while slow days reading on the beach, eyes peeled for the four rare turtle species local to the island, might feel like doing nothing, the profound peace that descends is really something.

bridge soca valley slovenia

Soča Valley


The most captivating episode of Netflix smash hit Chef's Table sits within season two. Slovenian chef Ana Roš and her sommelier husband Valter shepherd us through the versatility of local Tolmin cheese, the harsh realities of running a restaurant, and the dramatic splendour of the Soča Valley in which they live. The valley hugs around the thrashing, rippling emerald river that gives the area its name. The water is filled with Soča trout, a famous fish that draws anglers from all over the world. A trip here is all about embracing the great outdoors. Hike the green hills, raft down the river, swim among the waterfalls, sample Slovenia's crisp natural wines, and, if you can, eat a meal at Ana's restaurant, Hiša Franko.


Sri Lanka

Port cities have a distinct brand of whimsy. Times gone by are as etched into the street names as they are in the cuisine, while hints of the times to come can be found in the vessels that fill the harbour and in the people that occupy them. We featured Galle, a former Dutch trading port in southwestern Sri Lanka, in our latest SUITCASE issue, Celebration, for this very reason. The architecture alone of this UNESCO World Heritage site astounds. We fell hard for the clean lines, pressed-tin ceilings and mango-laden courtyard of the Fort Bazaar hotel in the old town. To shop and eat, head to Pedlar Street and don't miss the textiles at Barefoot and smooth espresso at Dumplings Café. Order our December issue now for more intel on this fortified port city.



Switzerland is synonymous with skiing, but there's just as much fun and fabulous food to be had in her many tidy towns and function-forward cities. Zug, a lakeside city in central Switzerland, looks like a Christmas card. Gothic spires and narrow cobbled lanes sit alongside the headquarters of global conglomerates, lending an international air to this traditional-looking town. We love sampling Swiss treats at the Saturday market in Landsgemeindeplatz, soaking up the splendour of the stalactites in Höllgrotten Baar, and easy zips across the lake to visit nearby villages. If you're a great outdoors-loving traveller, this outrageously gorgeous area - bursting with great hikes and viewpoints - is for you.

Santa Ynez Valley

United States

Napa might be North America's best-known wine region, but areas like Oregon and Vermont are catching up. Within the Golden State, we're gasping to get to the lesser-known wineries tucked inside the Santa Ynez Valley. Consider Los Alamos - soon to be the next Marfa, for anyone asking - your home base. Check into the Alamo Motel (the revamped boutique motel of road-trip dreams) and be sure to sample the sourdough at Bob's Well Bread Bakery and sandwiches at Bell Street Farm. For those heading to nearby Los Olivos, make a beeline to Hotel Ynez and do dinner at Bar Le Côté. Back to the wine: book tastings at Sonja Magdevski's Casa Dumetz Wines, Frequency Wines, and hit the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail to start. As for the rest, ditch your itinerary, listen to the locals, and figure out new finds perfect for you as you go.



Images of Socotra have us spellbound. This little island, 250 miles off the coast of Yemen, is one where the powdery desert sands meet the Arabian sea. There's a Jurassic Park quality to the spindly dragon blood trees and prehistoric rock formations that articulate Socotra's hilly surface. It's rumoured that the fragrant frankincense that perfumed the temples of ancient Greece and Egypt grew here. The biodiversity is staggering. Due to minimal tourist infrastructure, we recommend contracting the services of experienced operators who know the island, like Mercedes Bailey of Frankly Bailey, or getting in touch with Welcome to Socotra to plan a trip. Be prepared to camp by sapphire lagoons, swim in iridescent waters, snorkel, hike, and feast on the freshest fish you'll ever taste.

Lake Victoria


The cultural scene that quietly simmers along the banks of Uganda's Lake Victoria is something of a hidden gem. An annual music and arts festival hits the shores of Bulago Island every Easter. Workshops, live performances, and installations fill event space and hotel One Minute South-named for its proximity to the equator. The hiking, fishing, swimming and watersports are first rate. And the flavours… Ripe mangoes pulled off nearby trees, crunchy cassava chips doused in punchy chili sauce, slow-cooked bananas and, of course, grilled fish stay with you long after you leave.



Closer to home, Valencia provides the sunny weekend getaway we all crave after Christmas. This southeastern Spanish city is all about ease, hot all summer and delightfully warm for most of the winter. Check into One Shot Mercat 09 or hunt down one of the many affordable rentals that line the beach promenade like Barracart Apartments. And then spend your days alternating between perfect pans of seafood paella, biking around the city, and spending next-to-no time in line at Valencia's many museums. To eat, we recommend running to La Sastrería for shellfish, Canalla Bistro for Galician specialities, and Navarro - a place so renowned for its paella you need to book a day in advance to guarantee the freshest ingredients straight from the Central Market.

Los Angeles

United States

Most out-of-towners beeline straight to the City of Angels' famed west side neighbourhoods of Santa Monica, Malibu and Venice Beach. We're going to go rogue here and suggest trading west for east and planting yourself in the creative communities of Echo Park, Silver Lake, and Highland Park. Check into the Cara Hotel or, for walkability unknown to this car-obsessed city, the Silver Lake Pool & Inn. From there, it really is all swaying palm trees, outrageously good tacos, and crystals aplenty. Get lost in the hills - filled with mid-century modern homes - that dip and soar around the reservoir before digging into bivalves and small-grower champagne at L + E Oyster Bar. Walk the length of Sunset Boulevard, starting with brunch at Café Stella and finishing with natural wine and grilled cheeses at Echo Park's Bar Bandini. Hike Griffith Park. Drive 20 minutes further east to Highland Park for pizza at Triple Beam and supplies at Cookbook Market. We could go on… But we won't. You're an east sider now.


United Kingdom

Stirling, the city coined "the gateway to the Highlands" has us hooked. The city's medieval castle - and the site of much of Scotland's turbulent history - sits atop a craggy basalt hill visible for what feels like miles. And while any visit to Stirling should start here, there is so much more to see and do both in the city and in the surrounding lochs and lush countryside. Check into one of the many outrageously cosy country hotels just outside the city. We like low-key Powis House or, for a splurge, Cromlix (recently refurbished by none other than tennis pro Andy Murray). From there you could try foraging in Tay Forest Park, whisky tasting at one of the many renowned distilleries that dot the area, and even freediving in one the nearby lochs. Within the city, we love the vegan spreads at Friend of Mine. For properly pulled pints and stellar fish and chips try The Birds and the Bees, followed by a long walk through Stirling's streets.



Long considered a stopover city on your way to the white sandy beaches that hug the city's northern and southern extremities, Brisbane is ready to step into the spotlight. This smaller sibling to Melbourne and Sydney is brimming with subtropical architecture and flat whites worth flying for. Laneways like Ada Lane, Fish Lane (don't miss a meal at Maker), and Bakery Lane are lined with restaurants, moody bars, cafés and galleries. Architecturally, Brisbane's glass-and-steel skyline is an exciting one. Stop by the State Library of Queensland designed by Donovan Hill and Peddle Thorpe Architects, the A W N Pugin-designed St Stephen's Chapel and the Queensland Cultural Precinct. To stay, we love the rooftop pool and art deco lines at the Crystalbrook Vincent and the bar at the Calile. After a few days exploring the urban regeneration defining Brisbane today by bike - and sipping those flat whites at Florence café in Camp Hill - catch a water taxi to Stradbroke. This near-untouched island lies 30 kilometres off the Brisbane coast and is the perfect beachy antidote to a city stay. For an insider's look at this magnificent city, order a copy of our latest issue, Celebration.

Okavango Delta


Botswana boasts the best game-viewing in the world. However, thanks to the government's high spend low-footprint tourism model, experiencing this conservation success story can cost a pretty penny. And it's worth it. The industry's most experienced operators like Wilderness Safaris, Desert & Delta and Roar Africa operate throughout this carefully protected region. You'll fly into Maun, a dusty bush town bustling with tour operators, guides and wildlife photographers and from there, hop on a Cessna and zip north to Qorokwe, Moremi or perhaps Vumbura Plains. Despite all being part of one gigantic inland delta, each conservation area feels entirely distinct. Qorokwe, permeated by the earthy scent of wild sagebrush, looks exactly as you would expect with sweeping plains of swaying grasses, gnarled acacia trees heaving with monkeys, and a seemingly endless horizon. Further north, Linyanti is drier and as dense with trees as it is narrow waterways packed with hippos and - beneath the surface - crocodiles. Get planning now; these in-demand lodges fill fast, many with a year-long waitlist. But, like we said, it's worth it.

Bad Gastein


Bad Gastein, a Belle Époque wonderland that wouldn't look amiss in a Wes Anderson film, lies south of Salzburg. A spa-and-ski town beloved by Europe's royals way back when, nowadays Bad Gastein is known for its steep slopes, magnificent waterfall, and, come summer, stellar hiking. To stay, Alpenlofts, with its minimalist wall-to-wall wood and expansive terraces, is solid for a crowd. The 1920s-era Haus Hirt is similarly low key but comfortable with an Aveda spa to unwind in after a day of long runs. Food-wise, the tastiest dining spots are mostly inside Bad Gastein's hotels, and we would add the restaurant and terrace at Hotel Miramonte to that list. Don't leave without gliding up, up and up higher on a gondola to Europe's highest suspension bridge, Stubnerkogel, or, for those who can't bear heights, a snowy sleigh ride delivers.



Tuscany is heavily touristed. Yet beyond cities like Florence and Siena, much of Italy's most famous region is little known - from Lunigiana's dense, truffle-filled forests to Maremma's medieval hill towns and the countless agriturismi (working vineyards and farms with low-key accommodation) speckled everywhere in between. We heartily recommend Querceto di Castellina to sip organic, natural wine and sleep in 15th-century accommodation with dreamy views to boot. In the Val d'Orcia, don't miss the lemon tagliatelle at La Bandita Townhouse or the views of the area's patchwork mustard and emerald hills at Podere il Casale. Under-the radar wineries like Ampeleia, just below Roccatederighi (an ancient stone village built atop a cliff), tiny Podere Casaccia, just outside Florence, and even tinier Castel del Piano, just beyond Pisa, vinify grapes with as little intervention as possible. We suggest reserving five days, renting a car, and hitting the road with our recommendations as your loose guide.

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