The annual “Where to Travel” lists revealed by big-hitter adventurers National Geographic and Lonely Planet are no exception. Faced with a world where travel is often currently difficult, inadvisable or impossible, the publishers’ 2021 lists — both released Tuesday — have gone for a more ruminative approach.
While Lonely Planet’s message this year is on travel as a “force for good,” with picks themed around diversity, sustainability and community, National Geographic has chosen sustainability, family, nature, adventure and culture as its five categories.
Rather than an invitation to throw your sarong in your case and hotfoot it to the airport, the lists are intended to serve as inspiration for future adventures, whenever they may be.
National Geographic’s “Best of the World 2021” list offers up 25 picks for your consideration, selected by its international editorial teams, and is showcased at natgeo.com/bestoftheworld. The tag line it’s using is “Dream Now, Go Later.”
Here the reader will find stories describing “conservation successes, preservation achievements, cultural resilience, and tales of communities overcoming daunting obstacles to thrive despite the pandemic,” says National Geographic in a release.
Greece has opened its first underwater museum off the coast of Alonissos. Attendees can explore the remains of an Athenian merchant ship by sea or by virtual reality.
The sustainability category celebrates six superlative destinations across Europe, Africa and the United States.
There’s Alonissos in Greece, with its new underwater museum where visitors can explore the remains of a 2,500-year-old shipwreck, and New Caledonia in France, with its 1.3-million square kilometer marine park.
Florida’s Space Coast is honored in the Family section, as well as the nearly completed England Coastal Path, which at 4,500 kilometers will be the world’s longest seafront walking trail.
Over in the Adventure category, there’s Georgia’s Svaneti — a stop on the epic Transcaucasian Hiking Trail between Georgia and Armenia — and Alaska’s Katmai National Park.
Located in the Danakil Depression, Erta Ale is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
Michigan’s Isle Royale, in the northwest corner of Lake Superior, is honored in the Nature/Wildlife category, and there are showings too for Yellowknife, Canada, and Australia’s Lord Howe Island.
Asia and Oceania are under-represented on the list overall, but it recovers some ground in the culture/history category, with three destinations selected.
The picks include Guam, a US territory in the Pacific Ocean, which played a strategic role in World War II, and Gyeongju, an ancient capital in South Korea that is so teeming with artifacts it’s known as “the museum without walls.”
“While the pandemic has brought journeys to a standstill, it’s not quieted our curiosity,” says George Stone, executive editor of National Geographic Travel, in a release. “The world is full of wonders — even when they’re hard to reach.”
There are about 1,500 potentially active volcanoes worldwide, aside from the continuous belts of volcanoes on the ocean floor at spreading centers like the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. About 500 of those 1,500 volcanoes have erupted in historical time. Many of those are located along the Pacific Rim in what is known as the “Ring of Fire.” In the United States, volcanoes in the Cascade Range and Alaska (Aleutian volcanic chain) are part of the Ring, while Hawaiian volcanoes form over a ‘hot spot’ near the center of the Ring.
There are 169 potentially active volcanoes in the United States.
The U.S. Geological Survey assesses and monitors hazards at volcanoes within the United States and its territories. Good sources for information about volcanoes outside the United States include Oregon State University’s Volcano World and the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program.