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National Geographic reveals its best destinations for 2021

(CNN) – Many end-of-year traditions are a little different in 2020.

The annual “Where to Travel” lists revealed by the big-hit adventurers National Geographic and Lonely Planet are no exception.

Faced with a world in which travel is often difficult, undesirable or impossible at the moment, the 2021 publisher lists – both published on Tuesday – have chosen a more thoughtful approach.

While Lonely Planet’s message this year is about traveling as a “force for good,” with themes related to diversity, sustainability and community, National Geographic has chosen sustainability, family, nature, adventure and culture as its five categories.

Instead of inviting you to throw your sarong in your case and take it to the airport, the lists are designed to serve as inspiration for future adventures, no matter what.

National Geographic̵
7;s list of “The World’s Best 2021” offers 25 suggestions for your attention, selected by its international editorial teams, and is presented at natgeo.com/bestoftheworld.

Here, the reader will find stories describing “conservation successes, conservation achievements, cultural sustainability, and stories of communities overcoming discouraging obstacles to thriving despite the pandemic,” National Geographic said in a statement.

Greece has opened its first underwater museum off the coast of Alonissos. Attendees can explore the remains of an Athenian merchant ship at sea or through virtual reality.

The Sustainability category celebrates six superb destinations across Europe, Africa and the United States.

In Greece, there is Alonissos, with its new underwater museum, where visitors can explore the remains of a 2,500-year-old shipwreck, and New Caledonia in France with a 1.3 million-square-kilometer marine park.

Florida’s space coast is honored in a family section, as is England’s nearly completed coastline, which at 4,500 kilometers will be the longest hiking trail in the world.

In the “Adventure” category are the Georgian Svaneti – a stop on the epic Caucasian hiking trail between Georgia and Armenia – and the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia, a beautiful, beyond and very dangerous volcanic landscape.
Located in the Danakil Depression, Erta Ale is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Located in the Danakil Depression, Erta Ale is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Massimo Rumi / Barcroft Media / Getty images

Isle Royale in Michigan, in the northwest corner of Lake Superior, is awarded in the category “Nature / Wildlife”, and has performances for Yellowknife, Canada and the Australian island of Lord Howe.

Asia and Oceania are underrepresented in the list as a whole, but it restores some positions in the culture / history category, with three destinations selected.

Elections include Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific that played a strategic role during World War II, and Gyeongju, an ancient capital in South Korea that is so teeming with artifacts that it is known as the “Museum Without Walls.”

“Although the pandemic stopped travel, it did not allay our curiosity,” George Stone, executive editor of National Geographic Travel, said in a statement. “The world is full of wonders – even when they are difficult to reach.”

A diver explores the coral reefs around Lord Howe Island.

A diver explores the coral reefs around Lord Howe Island.

Melissa Findley

The best of the world on National Geographic 2021


Alonissos, Greece

Copenhagen, Denmark

New Caledonia, France

Freiburg, Germany

Gabon, Central Africa

Denver, Colorado


Coastal road of England

Transylvania, Romania

Space Coast, Florida

Hortobagi, Hungary

Local British Columbia, Canada



Svaneti, Georgia

Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

Depression Danakil, Ethiopia

Nature / Wildlife

Isle Royale, Michigan

Yellowknife, Canada

Cerrado savanna, Hotel Brazil

Lord Howe Island, Australia

Culture / History


New Mexico, travel

Bitoria-Gasteiz, Alava, Basque Country, Spain

Gyeongju, South Korea

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tonglu, Zhejiang Province, China

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