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The best places to travel in 2022 – Kiwi.com

If you’re looking for where to travel in 2022 — be it cheap vacation ideas, adventures, short trips, eco-friendly destinations, or the best weather — here’s our top 10

We’ve chosen our top ten destinations for 2022 with the help of our customers; five of these suggestions are where we think will be big this year, and five were suggested by our followers on Instagram @kiwicom247 as places they’re looking forward to visiting this year. 2022, here we come!

Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas Lagoon — Shutterstock

Lithuania’s second city takes up the mantle of European Capital of Culture in 2022, shining a light on its mix of traditional, old streets and squares with a youthful population (around 35,000 students attending seven universities), and a city that’s colorful, lively, artsy, techie and fun.

Stroll its tree-lined avenues, sit on one of the grand squares and soak up the atmosphere, or explore sights such as the Kaunas Fortress and the Folk Museum. Explore the city with a street art tour, or see the wonderful landscape on the Pažaislis ‘Cognitive Trail’, two kilometers of walks around the Pažaislis Monastery and the beautiful Kaunas Lagoon.

The Lagoon is another unusual feature of the city, sitting right on the eastern edge, and giving locals access to thickly-wooded parkland around calm, blue water. Head to one of the lakeside beaches like Lampėdžiai, where you can rent canoes, kayaks, wakeboards and such, as well as play basketball, volleyball, tennis, or simply sit at a beachside cafe and watch other people make the effort instead.

Turku, Finland

Turku Cathedral on a summer morning — ShutterstockTurku Cathedral — Shutterstock

Across the Baltic to Finland and a city with a similar vibe to Kaunas. Turku is a couple of hours from Helsinki and sits on the edge of an archipelago of thousands of islands; the surrounding countryside is vast, windswept and empty, but no less dramatic for it. The city is the oldest in Finland, and its riverside streets and promenades are lined with elegant restaurants and bars, perfect for those long, northern summer evenings. It’s a forward-looking city too, and prides itself on its environmentalism, winning awards for its renewable energy strategy and overall commitment to living green.

For a bit of time on the water, there are ferries packed with day-trippers that set off in the bracing morning air, navigate between the islands, and head out to Åland. This curio is a collection of 6,700 islands, an autonomous region of Finland where the inhabitants speak Swedish. If you’ve got time to jump off the ferry and explore, do so; otherwise simply board the boat preparing for the return trip and head back to Turku for the castle, the cathedral, and everything else that’s waiting for you.

Gabon

Forest elephants in Gabon — ShutterstockGabon is one of the most conservation-centered countries on the planet — Shutterstock

On the Atlantic coast of Central Africa, for the last 20 years, Gabon has quietly been going about its business making itself one of the most ecologically friendly and conservation-centered countries in the world. Over 70% of the country is heavily forested, and the government has secured 15% of its land as vitally protected areas while establishing 13 national parks, nine marine parks, and 11 aquatic reserves.

All of this, coupled with the 2021 launch of the African Ecotourism Safari project and the projected opening of Gabon’s first sustainable luxury lodge this year, and Gabon’s future is looking good. Tourism may not have made much of a mark before, but the nation’s gradual and carefully measured approach to making itself more accessible will hopefully become a lesson for other countries. Sharing its secrets with the world while doing everything in its power to make sure nature and humanity work together sustainably is Gabon’s ultimate aim. 

Perth, Australia

Cityfront beach in Perth at sunset — ShutterstockPerth’s cityfront beaches make it an urban paradise — Shutterstock

Combine a wonderful city with one of the great travel experiences of the world, and you’ve got everything that makes an unforgettable trip. Perth is a city whose glass and steel downtown gleams under the Western Australian sun while its inhabitants head to the cityfront beaches or the many parks to swim, relax, or sit in the (much-needed) shade for a while. Famously the most remote major city in the world, it’s closer geographically to Jakarta than its own nation’s capital. That doesn’t stop it being a wonderful place though: its residents have great pride in its vibrant culture, tidy streets and laid-back attitude (even by Aussie standards!)

Using Perth as either a starting or an end point, you can embark on a great railway journey: the Indian Pacific. Into the vast and sweltering center of the continent you’ll go, and over the course of four days and three nights you’ll see the sort of landscapes that inspired explorers, prospectors and adventurers for countless years. Stopping in places like Kalgoorlie, Rawlinna, Cook, Adelaide, Broken Hill and the Blue Mountains means you get to experience other facets of Australian life, geography and culture in the time between Perth and Sydney. It’s not cheap, but as a once-in-a-lifetime trip, it’s so very worth it.

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

The exterior of Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent — ShutterstockChorsu Bazaar is one of Tashkent’s main landmarks — Shutterstock

Uzbekistan celebrated 30 years of independence from the Soviet Union in 2021, and with it came a wealth of new ideas and projects to make the country and its cosmopolitan capital more accessible and welcoming than ever. A mixture of people, cultures, religions and languages make Tashkent a colorful, friendly city, and the 2.7 million people who call it home are keen for travelers to experience everything that’s going on. It’s a jumble of eras all mixed together, from tumbledown market squares and bazaars to wide, leafy, Soviet-era boulevards housing mighty buildings and seats of power.

Using the city as a base, adventure-seekers can head around 90 minutes away to the Ugam-Chatkal National Park for hiking, climbing, rafting or skiing, while the newly-extended high-speed rail network now whisks travelers to the Unesco World Heritage Site of Khiva. This ancient Silk Road city is a 2,000-year-old oasis in the desert, and is preserved beautifully, like stepping back in time. That’s Uzbekistan though: undiscovered, unspoiled, but waiting for you to visit.

Those are our suggestions. But where are our customers heading in 2022…?

Japan

Exterior of Osu Temple, Nagoya — ShutterstockOsu Temple, Nagoya — Shutterstock

Always a popular choice, the Land of the Rising Sun is a wonderful mix of the ancient and the super-modern. Tokyo is, of course, one of the world’s great cities, and it would be remiss not to mention it here. But how about Nagoya, industrial but friendly and home to Osu, a quirky shopping district? Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan? Kobe, sitting prettily between the mountains and the sea?

Once you’re done with the manic pace of the cities, give yourself a bit of self-care in an onsen, one of the tens of thousands of hot springs that occur across the country, or get in touch with your spiritual side at a Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine. Hike the mountains in autumn, ski in winter, picnic under the cherry blossom in spring, or head to the beach in summer. It’s all here, all year round.

Tromsø, Norway

Northern Lights over Tromsø — ShutterstockTromsø is a great place to see the Northern Lights — Shutterstock

Way up in the north of Norway lies the city of Tromsø, home to around 70,000 people (and, in the city center, the largest number of old wooden houses in the region!), the Arctic University of Norway (the world’s most northerly), and a roaring trade in Northern Lights chasing. Although not a prime spot for the lights (being coastal means it’s often cloudy), it’s a fantastic place to use as a base.

There are a bunch of ways to get out into the wilderness and see the Lights, from individual to group tours on single nights, to camping adventures over several days, and even boat tours to capture the Lights over the fjords and inlets surrounding the city. Even if you’re not there for the Lights, Tromsø is a cool place to be, with a number of summer festivals, a music scene that specializes in ambient, trance and electronica — which seems oddly fitting, given the atmosphere and location — a planetarium, botanical garden, and a stunning setting surrounded by water and mountains.

The Caribbean

Colorful huts on Catalina Island, Dominican Republic — ShutterstockHuts on Catalina Island, Dominican Republic — Shutterstock

A wide remit, this one, but a fantastic idea for an extended vacation. Over 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays make up the Caribbean region, and the mixture of cultures, languages, foods, music and more make it a fascinating part of the world. Many people just head out to lie on the beach and, while tempting, you’d miss out on so much.

The cultural impact Jamaica has had on the world is huge for a country of just over 2.5 million people. You could also say the same for Cuba, with its old American cars, grand yet crumbling buildings, and folk music tradition. Trinidad and Tobago is where Africa and India come together in a colorful, celebratory way, and the Dominican Republic’s colonial towns and white, sandy beaches have made it the most visited country in the region.

Pacific Coast Highway

Bixby Creek Bridge on the Pacific Coast Highway — ShutterstockBixby Creek Bridge on the Pacific Coast Highway — Shutterstock

Fancy a road trip? How’s this for an absolute classic? Begun in the 1930s, the Pacific Coast Highway now covers 900 kilometers (600 miles) of some of the most ruggedly beautiful scenery in the US. If you wanted to do the whole thing in one blast, you could theoretically do it in 10 hours, but where’s the joy in that? No, the best way is to take a week or so and cruise from place to place, stopping at coastal villages, vineyards, gold-rush outposts, roadside diners and every other possible bit of American you can think of.

From San Francisco to Los Angeles — or vice versa — you’ll head through hills and forests, across scrubland and bluffs, along glorious coastline and through friendly towns and onto the big city somewhere in the vague distance. It’s never a question of how far or how long, it’s a question of what, where and who you’ll discover on the way. The journey truly is the destination.

Maldives

Beach huts in the Maldives — ShutterstockThe Maldives is renowned for its paradise coastline huts — Shutterstock

With Veligandu Island Beach fresh from its victory in the Kiwi.com 2021 World Championship of Beaches thanks to a swell of local pride and support, it’s no surprise that the Maldives are a hot ticket. This stunning chain of atolls in the Indian Ocean can lay claim to some of the most iconic beach scenery in the world.

Almost every picture you see is an almost stereotypical idea of an island paradise; ask a child to draw a tropical island and this is what they’d come up with. White sandy beaches, clear blue seas, lazily waving palm trees and endless sunshine. Stay in what is a beach hut in name only — crisp white sheets on a king-size bed facing your own balcony and beach front — while doing very little aside from reading, swimming, and feasting on freshly-prepared seafood. Not a bad aim for 2022.

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