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

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

Croatia

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

Ireland


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.


Kyushu

Japan

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.


Antiparos

Greece

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

Mexico

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

Tanzania

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

Russia

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

Slovenia

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
.


Galle

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.


Zug

Switzerland

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.


Socotra

Yemen

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

Uganda

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.


Valencia

Spain

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.


Stirling

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.


Brisbane

Australia

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


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

Austria


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

Italy

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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