If there’s one thing people are looking forward to in 2022, it’s international travel. And with airlines back on the runway and countries slowly but surely opening up to tourists, and overseas getaway is finally becoming a very real possibility for those of us who are eager to travel.
But of course, after so much time being restricted to “exploring our backyard”, it can be overwhelming to think of which cities and regions you want to visit on your next big trip. Fortunately, travel authority Lonely Planet has recently released its official best travel lists for 2022.
Listing the top regions, cities and countries, Lonely Planet has directed a well-deserved spotlight on lesser-known regions as well as much-loved vibrant cities that could inspire your post-pandemic bucket list.
Crowned the number one country to visit in 2022, the Cook Islands is a lesser-known tropical tourist destination worth visiting. Known as the “jewel in the crown of the South Pacific Islands group”, the Cook Islands consists of 15 major islands and countless picture-perfect beaches.
Stand-out attractions includes the Aitutaki Lagoon which is surrounded by 15 motu or islets. With thriving marine life and home to the wreck of a cargo freighter, Aitutaki is prime snorkelling territory. The Cook Islands is also home to Motuanga, a water cave on Ma’uke which once contained 100 rooms and has an underground pool.
If you’re looking to travel off the beaten track and take in diverse landscapes then the Westfjords is for you. In fact, around just 10 per cent of Iceland’s tourists explore the Westfjords making it a truly understated travel destination.
Located on the Denmark Strait, this Icelandic peninsula was named the best region to visit in 2022 by Lonely Planet and with all of its natural attractions, it’s not hard to see why. From the cascading waterfall of Dynjandi to one of Europe’s biggest bird cliffs, Látrabjarg, the Westfjords offers plenty of incredible scenery. To get a sense of the history and culture of this remote part of the world, tourists can stop in at Westfjords Heritage Museum or learn of the region’s magical history at Sorcerer’s Cottage.
Described by Lonely Planet as a “sun-washed medley of Spanish and American influences”, Puerto Rico took the fifth spot for the top regions of 2022. Along with incredible coral reefs and beautiful beaches, Puerto Rico is also home to rainforests, waterfalls, rich history and one of the largest cave systems in the world.
El Yunque National Rainforest is one of Puerto Rico’s must-visit attractions, offering nature-lovers mountainous terrain, clear rivers and waterfalls. In terms of exploring Puerto Rico’s rich history, visitors can stroll through the World Heritage-listed colourful streets of Old San Juan; the region’s oldest settlement filled with Spanish colonial buildings.
Taking out Lonely Planet’s top spot for its cities category, Auckland offers stunning harbours, more than 50 volcanoes, pristine beaches and a horizon filled with islands. Frequently listed as one of the world’s most liveable cities, visitors to Auckland and New Zealand, in general, find the people to be friendly and the landscapes to be incredibly beautiful.
Also known by its Maori name, Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland is the ultimate playground for adventure-seeking travellers with whale safaris, kayaking from island to island, nature hikes and sky diving all on offer in this naturally blessed city. For those who prefer to take in a city’s cuisine and culture, Auckland is also a great destination for wine, art and dining thanks to its stunning vineyards, galleries and culinary scene.
Characterised by its strange mix of themed dining spots (including a toilet-themed restaurant), quirky museums and Taoist temples, Taiwan’s capital city is anything but boring, rightfully earning its place among the top cities to visit for 2022. Described as a modern metropolis, Taipei’s skyline is crowned by the bamboo stalk-inspired Taipei 101 building which stands at 508 metres tall and offers unparalleled views of the city.
Other top attractions include the city’s heritage temples, including the Buddhist Longshan Temple which dates back to 1738, as well as the Taoist Bao’an Temple. Taipei also offers a bustling night market scene where locals and tourists enjoy shopping, tasty street food and games. Tourists can also immerse themselves in the city’s history at its National Human Rights Museum or the grand Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
Kent’s Heritage Coast
Also known as the garden of England, Kent is home to rolling hills, historic castles and picturesque coastlines and is rightfully listed as one of the top regions to visit next year. Along the coast, tourists can stop in at the quaint coastal town of Broadstairs and the picturesque white cliffs of Dover as well as heading inland to Canterbury, Kent’s historic heart.
Boasting more than 1400 years of history, the World Heritage-listed Canterbury Cathedral is one of Kent’s top attractions, where visitors marvel at the cathedral’s incredible architecture and learn of its rich history. Another top landmark is Leeds Castle. Situated east of Maidstone, Leeds Castle is surrounded by a moat and holds more than 900 years of history within its walls.
This article originally appeared on Fancy