A year ago, we skipped our annual “Where to Travel” shortlist for obvious reasons. Many of us were lucky to travel at all in 2021, even if it meant packing up the car and driving a few hours away—much less flying to, say, Perth, which topped the 2020 list before we knew what was coming our way. For 2022, we’re bringing this one back with a bit of optimism. That doesn’t mean we’re all comfortable boarding a plane or even venturing past the county line just yet. But with travel journalists and industry pros finally getting back to work, we’d be remiss not to celebrate the domestic and international destinations they cover and serve.
For your own personal “if and when you’re ready,” consider these destinations for a break from it all. For this list, we spoke to some of our favorite travel experts and picked some of our own top spots. It’s a blend of places we’ve been wanting to recommend for years on end—as well as places we’ll escape to (or even revisit) when the time feels right.
Here’s to proverbial bluer skies and calmer waters in 2022—and beyond. See you out there!
1. Montgomery, AL
I rushed to Montgomery for a short trip in May 2018 to see the just-opened, much-heralded Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (which you might have heard referred to as the “lynching memorial”). I’ve been wanting to bring friends and family back ever since, and a trip this year feels even more important. Not only did the museum and memorial open my mind and break my heart—while giving me hope that we could do better—but the whole capital city and everyone I met there exuded a warmth and creativity that I’d love to revisit.
The city is rich with milestones of the Civil Rights Movement, including where Dr. King lived and preached, where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, and the courthouse where buses were finally, legally desegregated, but there’s also so much of the present and future to get excited about. Michelle Browder of More Than Tours can tap you into the city’s complex heart and tie everything together. Don’t miss the art scene developing at Kress on Dexter, a former (and formerly segregated) department store that now houses galleries—or the warm company of locals (and local craft beer) at Goat Haus, a biergarten in a Victorian mansion. Cap it all off with an evening cheering on the local minor league baseball team, the Montgomery Biscuits.
2. Puerto Rico
When I visited Puerto Rico in 2019, I had an unforgettable time: I ate my weight in lechón, the traditional slow-roasted pork that tastes like candy; danced to the ricocheting rhythms of bomba and plena; marveled at the resilience of a people that just two years earlier had been battered by a devastating hurricane.
But as it often happens when you meet locals, it was also made clear to me how much I was missing. I had to venture deeper into the island’s interior, they said. I had to cross to the west coast of the island, post up in the beach town of Rincón, and watch time slow to a crawl. In 2022, I’m taking their advice. Puerto Rico’s inclusion in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel list was just the extra push I needed. After the past two years there’s even more reason to celebrate the resilience of Puerto Rico and to contribute to the local economy, especially further afield than the cruise ship ports and all-inclusive resorts that will be the first to fully recover.
3. Salvador, Brazil
Men’s Journal Pick
Samba-soundtracked Salvador was an intended “Where to Travel” pick for that elusive 2021 list—and the colorful coastal Bahian capital still awaits your visit. You can meander through colonial Pelourinho in search of shrimp-stuffed acarajé; learn about the Candomblé religion, which traces its roots to both Catholicism and Voodoo; and find yourself at the doorstep of Brazil’s most sprawling and sun-soaked beaches.
Salvador is the birthplace of Carnival and is also a more accurate portrayal of Brazil’s diversity. Afro-Brazilians are the majority in Salvador, just as they are in the country itself. Southern cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are either too segregated or too fast-paced and cemented to showcase this richness. Oh, and the city’s two best restaurants are led by women. You must eat at Casa de Tereza (run by Tereza Paim, a celebrity in these parts) as well as Andréa Ribeiro’s Mistura Contorno.
4. Oslo, Norway
Men’s Journal Pick
The “capital of Scandi-Cool” gets more incredible with each visit. Newly opened, the Munch Museum is the latest addition to Oslo’s ever-evolving fjord front, showcasing the work of Norway’s most famed artist (that’s Edvard Munch, alongside the work of his contemporaries). This and the iconic Oslo Opera House welcome tourists to the modern Bjørvika development, which is rising up from a former highway junction and container port. Here and in the adjacent, trendy Oslobukta, you can sauna on land or afloat—or eat at one of the city’s newest hotspots, like The Vandelay, a laidback launch from Esben Holmboe Bang, the chef behind 3-Michelin-starred Maaemo (right around the corner).
Head west to old town Frogner for the most exciting Oslo opening in 2022. The five-star, 231-key Art Deco hotel Sommerro—featuring an onsite theater, the city’s first rooftop pool and terrace, a trio of eye-popping restaurants, and immaculate interiors. Planned for September 2022, it’s already being booked into 2024.
5. Atlanta + Surroundings
Paul Jebara, Freelance Travel Writer
In 2020, I spent a few months in Atlanta—which until then I’d only really seen framed by the terminal windows of the world’s busiest airport. During that time, I unlocked the dynamic metropolis’ greatest assets: lush greenscapes like the sprawling BeltLine and just-opened Westside Park; a piping hot culinary scene anchored by revamped food halls and the Buford Highway (an eight-mile mecca of global yumminess); plus tons of arts and culture to consume at world-class institutions.
Sure, landlocked ATL deserves its reputation for notorious traffic. But in just an hour’s drive from the congested core, you can hike the Blue Ridge mountains, boat on Lake Lanier, and wade at the ‘Edge of the World’ on the Amicalola River—picking up roadside peaches and pecans to sweeten the deal.
Men’s Journal Pick
A couple years ago, we hadn’t met anyone who had even been to Greenland. After all, the Danish territory is three times the size of Texas yet has just 56,000 residents. Visiting the world’s largest non-continental island felt as rare as a trek to Antarctica—but without the controversial cruise shuttles. That might explain why Greenland is emerging as a “greener” and regulated alternative with its inhabitable cities.
Hurtigruten Expeditions is now cruising the super-Arctic Disko Bay—with a stop in the dog-sledding capital of Ilulissat. There you can visit the newly opened Icefjord Centre, a 16,000-square-foot building at the UNESCO-listed Kangia Icefjord educating visitors on the importance, fragility, and beauty of ice. It explores the impact of climate change, and is not so coincidentally near the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This has been called “the world’s fastest glacier”—retreating 130 feet each day and calving 11 cubic miles of icebergs in a year (including the one, historically, believed to have sunk the Titanic). Greenland wants to offer visitors proof of why ocean levels are rising. The territory is planning five similar centers across tourist attractions in the near future.
Territory wide, Greenlanders are turning to the tourism industry as an economic mainstay alongside fishing. It’s a near-guarantee for northern lights viewing in winter (perhaps via a snowmobile safari?). Or visit in summer for that famed midnight sun—when we’d also recommend a sprawling flightseeing tour to get a true scope of Greenland’s beautiful Arctic expanse.
Mark Hoenig, co-founder of AI-driven travel agency VIP Traveler
Dubbed the “Spice Island,” Grenada, along with its sister islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique was officially designated as a Culinary Capital by the World Food Travel Association (WFTA) this year. This much-deserved recognition is putting Grenada—which produces some of the best spices, cocoa, and rum in the Caribbean—on many travelers’ radars for 2022. Home to unspoiled beaches and lush rainforests, the Caribbean island will also see a number of exciting new hotels open in 2022—including the Six Senses La Sagesse and Kimpton Kawana Bay Resort.
8. Hudson, NY
Carlos Huber, Director of Membership, PRIOR travel club
A historic whaling town right on the river in Upstate New York, Hudson has been budding for years—but now with a new energy that feels more inclusive and diverse, as well as responsible in terms of gentrification and its consequences. Beyond those restored 19th-century farms and genteel captain houses, Hudson’s unsurprising influx of former NYC transplants wants to involve and create community.
The antique stores lining Warren Street are still there, but there’s more diverse businesses extending north and south—from art galleries championing LGTBQ+ artists to espresso and motorcycle stores (check out Moto Coffee Machine), thrift shops, and even avant garde fashion (like Katuri). Streets in town continue to be restored with historic consciousness and environmental care in mind. Developers like This Old Hudson restore and manage the Federal and Greek Revival houses around town that appeal to historic preservationists and environmentalists alike.
As a perfumer, I find spots like The Quiet Botanist and Feast & Floret particularly appealing since they represent a larger sensitivity that is tangible throughout Hudson. And while you’re likely to visit Breadfolks and the Hudson Farmers Market, don’t overlook the crazy, quirky, gender- and cuisine-bending food of Lil’ Deb’s Oasis.
Men’s Journal Pick
Europe’s most central country packs big things into its small framework. In a single day, you can hike or ski the Julian Alps, drink wine in the Vipava Valley, and take a crystal-blue dip in the Adriatic Sea. The country was named a European Culinary Destination of 2021—featuring Michelin-starred picks Hiša Franko (in Soča Valley) and Pri Lojzetu Restaurant Zemono Manor and Dam Restaurant (Vipava Valley). With this distinction, it’s no surprise that Slovenia also excels in small-production wine. Štajerska in the Maribor region touts the world’s oldest vine, while Goriška Brda, Karst, and Vipava Valley collectively produce some of the Mediterranean’s finest varietals—including the Karst region’s autochthonous red wine, Teran.
Then there’s the capital Ljubljana, an old-meets-new juxtaposition of Baroque + Classicism architecture with a savvy, upstart café class—just a short train ride from Venice or Zagreb. An easy flight from just about anywhere else in Europe, Slovenia really is at the center of it all—and not just geographically.
10. Coeur d’Alene, ID
Men’s Journal Pick
If you’ve ever driven across I-90 between Spokane and Missoula, then you’ve probably gasped at first sight of Coeur d’Alene, the evergreen lake-splattered sprawl in northwest Idaho. It’s a destination for golfers, skiers, hikers, RVers, spa goers, flyfishers, canoers, and pickleballers alike. It offers adults-only casinos as well as waterparks for the entire family. With 55 glacier-carved lakes in the area, you can even hit the links on a floating green or savor local salmon and steaks at Cedars Floating Restaurant.
While it’s no Banff or Vail in terms of elevation, you can still hike Coeur d’Alene’s nearby Canfield Mountain to its 4,162-foot summit towering above town. If you’re angling for a cross country road trip, Coeur d’Alene is a worthy destination. At the very least, it’s an inviting spot to stretch your legs for a few days.
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