After almost two years of uncertainty, rolling lockdowns and cancelled travel plans, we’re itching to get out and see the world again. While there’s still uncertainty about the year ahead, we’re dreaming about where we’ll go when it’s safe to travel (again). We’re exploring Canada first, like the Old World charm of Québec City, the raw beauty of Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park and the immersive cultural experiences at Alberta’s Métis Crossing. But, when you’re ready to go further afield, here are 22 destinations on our radar for 2022.
The Bold List
1. Burgundy, France
While we can’t wait to go anywhere in France, Burgundy is the place to be in 2022—and not just for its Burgundy wine. This spring, La Cité internationale de la gastronomie et du vin—a project that includes a new hotel, restaurants and wine cellar with 250 wines by the glass—is coming to Dijon, the region’s capital. Dijon is also the perfect starting point for the Route des Grand Crus, with 38 wine villages spread out over 60 kilometres.
Serengeti National Park in Tanzania may be one of Africa’s top safari parks—and for good reason—but those looking to get off the beaten path might want to consider Namibia. While this southwest African nation is often associated with deserts and dunes, Nkasa Rupara National Park is the country’s largest protected wetland where you can spot lions, leopards and hippos, while Mahango Game Park is home to large herds of elephants.
After pandemic vacations close to home, we’re ready for some fun in the sun—minus the crowds. Anguilla offers the best of the Caribbean without all the tourist trappings; in fact, there’s an embargo on cruise ships, casinos and high-rise hotels. So you can hang with the locals at 33 (uncrowded) beaches and return to your well-appointed beachside villa after al fresco dining at some of the Caribbean’s top restaurants.
4. Queensland, Australia
We’re looking forward to the day Australia fully reopens its borders to visitors—and there’s no better place to escape the crowds than a secluded island retreat on the Great Barrier Reef. Elysian Eco Retreat is the first solar-powered island resort in the Whitsundays where you can immerse yourself in nature. Or step into the Healing Waters Spa at luxury hideaway Silky Oaks Lodge—in the Daintree Rainforest UNESCO World Heritage Site—which is reopening after a $15-million makeover.
5. Russian River Valley, California
There’s no single reason to visit this American Viticultural Area (AVA) in Sonoma County, California—there are too many to mention. The Land of the Pinot is known for its vineyards, rolling hills and redwood groves. But it’s also linked by charming riverside towns filled with one-of-a-kind shops, art galleries, gourmet restaurants and tasting rooms, along with vintage luxury in restored Victorian B&Bs.
6. Bocas del Toro, Panamá
Just across the border from Costa Rica, the archipelago of Bocas del Toro in Panama sees far fewer tourists than its neighbour to the north, but offers all the same natural assets. With three main islands to choose from, there’s a beach for any mood, from isolated to adventurous—and they rarely feel crowded. And for divers and snorkelers, the surrounding waters are home to 95 per cent of the coral species in the Caribbean.
7. Kyushu, Japan
Kyushu is Japan’s southernmost island, known for its subtropical climate and food culture—and it’s easy to get there by bullet train from Tokyo, which only takes two-and-a-half hours (foreigners also get heavily discounted rates on rail passes around Kyushu). Let your stress melt away in remote onsen (hot spring) towns, including Kurokawa, a village devoted to hot-spring bathing with 24 rotemburos (open-air baths).
8. Istanbul, Turkey
Over the centuries Istanbul has constantly reinvented itself—and it’s doing it again in 2022, thanks to a number of urban renewal projects. The Beyoğlu Culture Road, a two-hour walking trail, will take you past the new Taksim Mosque and Atatürk Cultural Center, a restored 1960s architectural icon, and the Galataport, a on-the-up arts and culture hub in the trendy Karaköy neighborhood. And, at the end of the day, rest your feet at the just-opened Mandarin Oriental in Kurucesme or the soon-to-open Four Seasons in Sultanahmet.
There’s more to Bonaire than white-sand beaches, swaying palm trees and turquoise waters (though we’d be pretty happy with that). But with a population of only 21,000, it’s still relatively untouched by mass tourism, and hosts one of the oldest marine reserves—the Bonaire National Marine Park—in the world. With 6,672 acres of coral reef and mangroves, it’s a perfect spot for divers and snorkelers, and 54 of Bonaire’s 90 public dive sites are accessible from land.
Greenland offers an Arctic escape without the over-tourism of neighbouring Iceland. And, as one of the planet’s last great wildernesses, it has a lot to offer: otherworldly landscapes, Viking history, Inuit culture and outdoor adventure—like kayaking through glacial lagoons in Ilulissat or setting sail in Disko Bay to spot humpback, fin and minke whales.
11. Trondheim-Trøndelag, Norway
Located in central Norway, Trondheim-Trøndelag has emerged as a culinary destination in recent years, earning recognition as the European Region of Gastronomy 2022. Trondheim alone has four Michelin-starred restaurants, including Speilsalen, with its signature dish of scallops fried in organic butter and served with caviar. Time a trip with one of the region’s many food festivals, like the Trondheim Vinfest in March or Trøndelag Food Festival in July.
12. Chimanimani, Mozambique
Decades of civil unrest—combined with poaching—decimated the wildlife in the African nation. But since 1992, when its 16-year civil war ended, Mozambique has made good on its lofty conservation goals by protecting 17 per cent of its land—with a focus on sustainable tourism. Chimanimani National Park was established in 2020, on the country’s mountainous border with Zimbabwe, where conservationists are working to restore ecosystems and wildlife populations—and you might even spot the rare mountain elephant.
This island-nation in the Adriatic is well known to Europeans—it’s just an hour by plane from Sicily—but the secret is starting to get out. Surrounded by crystal-clear waters, Malta offers year-round diving with 80 wrecks to choose from (it even has an Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit). Plus, there’s ancient fortified cities and megalithic temples, along with Michelin-starred restaurants—two were added in 2021—and decadent new hotels, like the Iniala Harbour House.
The Kingdom of Jordan, with its ancient monuments, seaside resorts and nature reserves, is homing in on meaningful travel. The Ammarin Bedouin Camp—just a 10-minute walk from Little Petra—allows you to experience desert living in deluxe goat-haired tents equipped with hot showers. This is just one of more than a dozen new social enterprises throughout Jordan that are helping to build and support sustainable rural communities.
15. Mérida, Mexico
While Mérida is the capital of Yucatán—and not too far from the popular resorts of Cancun and the Mayan Riviera—the ‘White City’ has still managed to fly under the radar, at least for now. With historic haciendas converted into boutique hotels, Mérida is a perfect base to explore nearby beaches, Mayan archeological sites and the Yucatán’s famed cenotes. But Mérida itself is well worth a visit, with its colonial charm, lively restaurant scene and café culture along tree-lined Paseo de Montejo.
16. British Virgin Islands
After suffering the devastating effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria—followed shortly afterward by a global pandemic—the BVI is back, with several significant openings (and reopenings). A new addition is the 125-acre Moskito Island from Richard Branson’s Virgin Limited Edition (across from his other private island, Necker Island), where you can rent one of three secluded private estates. Saba Rock has reopened after a complete reconstruction, and soon to reopen are the hilltop suites at Long Bay Beach Resort and the BVI’s first over-the-water bungalows at Bitter End Yacht Club.
17. Finger Lakes, New York
After the trials and tribulations of the past two years, we could all use a little pampering, and Finger Lakes has us covered with a host of new wellness offerings. The Inns of Aurora, spread out over five historic mansions, opened a new holistic wellness facility with hydrotherapy pools and meditation areas, and destination Willowbrook Spa at The Lakehouse on Canandaigua incorporates the power of nature to boost your wellbeing with Nordic-inspired saunas overlooking the lake.
18. Galápagos Islands
The Galápagos just got bigger—60,000 square kilometres, in fact. During the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso announced a new marine reserve around the Galápagos Islands to combat illegal fishing and protect marine life, including endangered species such as sea turtles. And starting in 2022, travellers can cruise this UNESCO-protected area with outfitters such as Hurtigruten Expeditions, Aqua Expeditions and Quasar Expeditions.
With its high vaccination rate, Chile is well positioned to welcome visitors in 2022. And there’s plenty of adventure on tap for those itching to get outdoors after two years of rolling lockdowns—whether stargazing in the Atacama Desert, exploring the remote mountains of Patagonia or wine hopping in the Maipo, Colchagua and Maule valleys. Or simply relaxing on the beaches of Viña del Mar.
20. Kaunas, Lithuania
This UNESCO Creative City of Design is a European Capital of Culture for 2022 (alongside Novi Sad, Serbia), with thousands of festivities, concerts and exhibitions planned throughout the year. Kaunas was the temporary capital of Lithuania during the interwar period, when buildings were designed in the German Bauhaus style—a legacy that remains today. The city retains its cultural identity with some 60 museums and galleries, as well as design-driven creative hubs.
21. Chefchaouen, Morocco
Morocco’s Blue City—with its stunning Moorish architecture—is perfect for strolling, its narrow streets winding past houses built into the mountainside, everything bathed in blue. While there’s plenty of architectural treasures to discover, it’s also an ideal place for getting lost, particularly in Chefchaouen’s medina.
22. St. Moritz, Switzerland
While we’ve got lots of powder in Canada, St. Moritz has all the glamour of an Alpine ski town, with luxury shopping, wellness spas and Michelin-starred restaurants. While tourists have been coming here since 1864 to ski, these days you can also try your hand at skijoring or snowkiting—or take a private helicopter tour above the peaks of Piz Bernina and Piz Palü. And get the full immersion of iconic glamour at the historic Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, which has officially reopened.