National Geographic Reveals 'Best of the World 2021' Travel List

Visit these exotic locales for the ultimate post-pandemic getaway.
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An aurora borealis swirls over Yellowknife, the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories.

An aurora borealis swirls over Yellowknife, the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories.

National Geographic has published its "Best of the World 2021" list, featuring 25 potential travel destinations that are sure to inspire plans for life after the coronavirus is under control. The venerable nature magazine said in a press release that this rundown was researched and written by international editorial teams and "provides an optimistic dose of escapism, as would-be travelers navigate pandemic precautions around the world."

Nat Geo divided the list into these categories: Nature, Adventure, Culture, Sustainability, and Family. All the selected destinations, according to the magazine, have "a relevant story to tell for the year ahead."

Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

They include some unsurprising places, like Denver, Colorado. Selected for the Sustainability list, Denver is a profile in successful policies aimed at conservation and environmentally-friendly practices. 

Other destinations include Gabon, which Nat Geo calls "Africa’s last Eden,” and the longest seaside walking trail in the world, the England Coast Path.

In the National Geographic release, magazine executive editor George Stone says that though "the pandemic has brought journeys to a standstill, it’s not quieted our curiosity." 

"The world is full of wonders—even when they’re hard to reach," Stone continues, "Now is the perfect time to discover something new about an extraordinary place or culture in our world and perhaps dream up your next journey, for when that time comes. Ahead of a new year—with the hope of a return to travel—we’re excited to share these 25 timely tales of timeless places that will define our future itineraries."

We've reproduced the list below along with photos generously provided by National Geographic, but to learn much more, see Nat Geo’s "Best of the World 2021" list at NatGeo.com/BestOfTheWorld.

SUSTAINABILITY 

Divers explore a bounty of amphora from a fifth-century B.C. shipwreck—the first to be open to the public in Greece—in the National Marine Park of Alonissos and Northern Sporades.

Divers explore a bounty of amphora from a fifth-century B.C. shipwreck—the first to be open to the public in Greece—in the National Marine Park of Alonissos and Northern Sporades.

Alonissos, Greece
Copenhagen, Denmark
New Caledonia
Freiburg, Germany
Gabon, Africa
Denver, Colorado, U.S.

FAMILY JOURNEYS

When completed in 2021, the England Coast Path will link existing stretches, like the South West Coast Path (Cornwall's Atlantic coast, pictured here), with newly minted paths to create a 2,800-mile coastal trail.

When completed in 2021, the England Coast Path will link existing stretches, like the South West Coast Path (Cornwall's Atlantic coast, pictured here), with newly minted paths to create a 2,800-mile coastal trail.

England Coast Path
Transylvania, Romania
Space Coast, Florida, U.S.
Hortobágy, Hungary
Indigenous British Columbia, Canada

ULTIMATE ADVENTURES

Wildlife lovers can swim alongside Dominica's resident sperm whales, but only with an accredited tour operator that follows strict animal-welfare protocols.

Wildlife lovers can swim alongside Dominica's resident sperm whales, but only with an accredited tour operator that follows strict animal-welfare protocols.

Dominica
Svaneti Region, Georgia
Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina
Katmai National Park & Preserve 

WILD BEAUTIFUL PLACES

A female moose wades across a lake in Isle Royale National Park, Michigan.

A female moose wades across a lake in Isle Royale National Park, Michigan.

Isle Royale, Michigan, U.S.
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada
Cerrado, Brazil
Lord Howe Island, Australia

CULTURE & HISTORY

In Guam, a local Chamoru dance group performs a blessing at the U.S. Naval Cemetery, in April 2017.

In Guam, a local Chamoru dance group performs a blessing at the U.S. Naval Cemetery, in April 2017.

Guam
Pueblo Nations, New Mexico, U.S.
Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain
Gyeongju, South Korea
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Tonglu, Zhejiang Province, China