International travel in 2022: The best new attractions around the world to see next year

A new normal may exist in our post-pandemic world but the old desire to wander, explore and discover remains. If anything, that desire is stronger than ever, tightly pent-up from the succession of impediments to travel, both internationally and domestically.

How fortunate, then, that while we've had to stay at home, cut off from a world that used to be so accessible and available to us, the global travel industry, albeit a beleaguered one, has put the extraordinary hiatus to good use, preparing new and exciting experiences in readiness for us to emerge, blinking, bemused but freshly bedazzled from our cocoons.

Therefore, it's high time to get excited about travelling again, even though we'll need to keep our wits more than ever. Happily, there are travel treats galore awaiting us both here and overseas, as you'll learn from this special Traveller guide, across a broad range of interests, to 2022.

HOTELS + RESORTS

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pictured: Raffles Doha

Doha Raffles will be in one wing of Katara Towers.

DOHA, QATAR

With big sporting events comes big hotel development; World Cup 2022 host, Doha welcomes hotel brands, Rosewood and Raffles to its already burgeoning cache of luxury digs. Rosewood Doha Lusail City is ensconced in a striking two-tower development with cladding inspired by coral reefs. But Raffles takes the architectural chocolates, inhabiting one wing of a mind-blowing horseshoe-shaped edifice, Katara Towers (referencing Qatar's national emblem), with sister brand, Fairmont, in the other. See rosewoodhotels.com; accor.com

LONDON, UK

A couple of long-awaited luxury hotels are scheduled to finally open their doors in the UK capital, with one providing access to a historic property that has been closed to the public for more than a century. The Old War Office (OWO) from where Winston Churchill ruled the troops, becomes OWO Residences by Raffles. Meanwhile, Peninsula's purpose-built hotel at Grosvenor Place is set to swing open its doors. See raffles.com; peninsula.com

ATHENS, GREECE

The stylish old seaside neighbourhood of Glyfada on the outskirts of Athens is a hangout for locals. Now travellers can experience its laidback ambience at One&Only Aesthesis, a 21-hectare luxury property that will have a beach club, where, like the Hilton Athens with its fantastic pool, locals will be welcome to show off their glorious tans and jewellery. See oneandonlyresorts.com

GALLE, SRI LANKA

An enclave of 34 privately-owned luxury villas will also offer holiday rentals managed by Eden Villas, 300 metres from Thalpe Beach, a quieter take on the south coast. Tamba Villas will merge Balinese with Sri Lankan style and feature private pools. Eden will offer experiences such as in-villa chef services and daily yoga classes. See edenvillas.com

GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND

Langham Hotels takes up residence in the Goldy's controversial Jewel development at Surfers Paradise (the first and largest development to be built right on the beach in 30 years). The Langham Gold Coast, set to open in 2022, is only the luxury brand's third hotel in Australia. Further down the coast, Accor establishes the cool Mondrian brand at Burleigh Heads, with Mondrian Gold Coast sure to become a playground for the beautiful. See langhamhotels.com; accor.com

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FLORIDA, US

Less hotel, more space mission, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser opens at Walt Disney World on March 1. Guests "board" for a two-night adventure via a launch pod and bunker down in cabins with all the trimmings of the movie sets. Visit the bridge, take light-sabre lessons, mingle in the atrium with fully costumed "crew" and eat with them in the galactic-fantastic Corellia Dining Room. See disneyworld.disney.go.com

ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN

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pictured: The Ritz-Carlton hotel Melbourne

The Ritz-Carlton hotel, a first for Melbourne.

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA

A seemingly ever-changing skyline adds two more landmarks in 2022, the CotteeParker-designed West Side place on Spencer Street that will be home to the tallest hotel in the southern hemisphere – Melbourne's first Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Up the other end of town, the Cox Architecture/Fender Katsalidis-designed Sapphire Gardens debuts with Melbourne's first Shangri-La, soaring 64 storeys and offering 500 rooms. See marriott.com; shangri-la.com

NEW YORK, US

Replacing a church that stood at 155 Cedar Street, destroyed in the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Centre, Santiago Calatrava's St Nicholas Greek Orthodox church is set to open officially in early 2022. The striking Byzantine-inspired dome was magnificently illuminated for this year's 20th anniversary of the attacks. See stnicholaswtc.org

VALENCIA, SPAIN

As if design buffs needed another excuse to visit Spain's Valencia, with its stunning Calatrava masterpiece amid traditional European streetscapes, the Mediterranean city becomes the globe's eighth World Design Capital in 2022, with a thrilling program of festivals, forums and projects including an imagining of the city in 2050 by five important emerging design teams. See wdcvalencia2022.com

MILAN, ITALY

Italy's hub of design takes on the big questions in the 23rd Triennale Milano. With an overarching theme of Unknown Unknowns, it will engage scientific research and artistic creativity together to address questions around the fragility of the post-pandemic world. From May 20 through November 20, an array of design, architecture, visual and performing arts will be centred around the Triennale di Milano Museum. See www.yesmilano.it

OSLO, NORWAY

Slated to open in June, the new National Museum will bring the collections of the former National Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Norwegian Museum of Decorative Arts and Design under one roof. The Kleinhues + Schuwerk Gesellschaft von Architekten design emphasises "dignity and longevity over sensationalist architecture" but nonetheless features a spectacular illuminated great hall on the rooftop. See nasjonalmuseet.no; visitoslo.com

NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA

Capital of one of Canada's least visited provinces - namely Nova Scotia on Canada's Atlantic coast - Halifax debuts the $CA200 million Queen's Marque district at the edge of the harbour, with an inviting 9280 square metres of new landscaped, accessible public space that will include public art, dining and hotel facilities. See discoverhalifaxns.com

OCEAN + RIVER CRUISING

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pictured: Norwegian Prima NCL Norwegian Cruise Line norwegianprima-oceanboulevard-infinitybeach-lifestyle-composite.jpg

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Prima is set to sail in 2022.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE

When the 3215-passenger Norwegian Prima takes to the seas in 2022, she'll be offering a new dining style to suit the new normal. Goodbye buffet - the Indulge Food Hall, an "open-air market place", features 11 mini-restaurants and food "trucks". There are three additional, more traditional restaurants onboard. See ncl.com

CELEBRITY CRUISES

The 3260 passenger Celebrity Beyond debuts in the northern spring and features many firsts, including elevated spa and wellness facilities and new AquaClass SkySuites created by celebrated British designer, Kelly Hoppen. A partnership with Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop lifestyle brand, the first at-sea F45 training and a Kerastase premium hair salon are just some of the attractions for the wellbeing-minded. See celebritycruises.com

EMERALD CRUISES

In January, Emerald Cruises premieres its superyacht concept. The 50-cabin, 100-guest, 110-metre yachts are small enough to enter the small ports and lesser visited islands the larger cruise ships can't access, but large enough to offer great comfort and space. They have luxury on-board amenities, including a marina platform with marina toys. The first superyacht, Emerald Azzurra, welcomes her first guests on an eight-day Best of the Red Sea itinerary. See emeraldcruises.com.au

AVALON WATERWAYS

The 2022 addition to Avalon's river cruising fleet, the Avalon View, features wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows that transform living space into an open-air balcony, in suites that are 30 per cent larger than the industry standard. The 2022 itineraries include the new 16-day sailing, The Danube from Germany to the Black Sea cruise. See avalonwaterways.com.au

SCENIC

While the curtains have been drawn on cruising travel, Scenic has been busy elevating the experience on their groundbreaking Discovery Yacht, Scenic Eclipse. When she resumes sailing in early 2022 (in Antarctica) guests will enjoy a refreshed Yacht Club, a new Panorama Bar and Cabana area on Deck 10, and new wellbeing programs including aerial yoga, TRX training, mindfulness meditation and Tibetan sound bowl healing group classes in the dedicated yoga and Pilates studio. See scenic.com.au

P&O CRUISES

The second LNG-powered ship in P&O's fleet, the 5200-passenger Arvia, arrives December 2022, and will also be the line's second to include a SkyDome, a "relaxed pool environment by day with entertainment by night, including live music, spectacular production shows, DJ sets and blockbuster movies al fresco on SeaScreen." The key is a retractable glass roof that converts the deck from indoors to out and is designed to maximize outdoor space, an important development in the new normal. See pocruises.com.au

CULTURE + EVENTS

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The island of Procida, Italy. Photo: iStock

PROCIDA, ITALY

One of only three islands in the Bay of Naples, pretty Procida is often overshadowed by neighbouring Capri. But 2022 is Procida's time to shine – it's Italy's Capital of Culture for the year. The backdrop to the films Il Postino and The Talented Mr Ripley is tiny but it has a mighty calendar of events that will draw on its history, art, music, food, architecture and natural beauty. See visitprocida.com

NAGOYA, JAPAN

Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation film studio, opens its theme park, Ghibli Park, on the former site of the 2005 World Expo about an hour by train from central Nagoya. It has five areas themed around some of Academy Award-winner Hayao Miyazaki's most popular flicks alongside shops, exhibition facilities, and dining based around the 2001 film, Spirited Away. See ghiblicollection.com

DOHA, QATAR

The beautiful game takes over Doha in late 2022 but it's hard to argue it didn't the minute Qatar won the rights to host a decade ago. Seven new stadiums, a new airport, new roads and public transport, and even an entire new city, Lusail, where myriad new hotels have shot up, are all in preparation for FIFA World Cup 2022. See fifa.com

BEIJING, CHINA

The controversial Winter Olympics take place in February, with opening and closing ceremonies using arenas built for the 2008 Olympic Games and the alpine events destined for the Xiaohaituo Mountain area, around 90 kilometres north-west. While only Chinese mainland residents can be spectators, the cutting-edge TechnoAlpin snowmaking system being installed should attract skiers for years to come. See olympics.com

ALMERE, NETHERLANDS

In 2022, the Netherlands' once-in-a-decade Floriade Expo is on in Almere, a new Dutch city built on reclaimed land with environmental sustainability at its core. More than a flower show (though it will be spectacular), it will focus on green solutions to make cities more beautiful and sustainable. Trafalgar is offering an itinerary that will get you there. See floriade.com; trafalgar.com

SETOUCHI, JAPAN

The region of Setouchi, encompassing islands and the coastal fringes of seven prefectures in western Japan, is renowned for art and literature, running a round-the-year arts program, proceeds of which go to ocean conservation. In 2022 it will see the return of the Setouchi Triennale, a highly anticipated contemporary art festival held on the islands of the Seto Inland Sea. It runs select periods April – November. See Setouchi-artfest.jp

FOOD + WINE

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La Patisserie, Aman Tokyo, Japan.

TOKYO, JAPAN

Tokyo Aman executive pastry chef Yoshihisa Miyagawa realises a dream with the opening of an exquisite street-access patisserie at the Ootemori Centre. Set to be a must for foodies, the kitchen is visible via a theatre-screen-like glass wall, so you can witness the Aman attention to detail for the price of a coffee and croissant. See aman.com; ootemori.jp

LONDON, UK

Mayfair's currently-closed 1888, Grade II-listed pub The Audley is – praise be – being restored as a bonafide local. Originally designed by Thomas Verity (Lords Cricket Ground), the plan is to bring it back to its former glory, including restoring original features lost in World War II. It's in the hands of Artfarm, the company behind Somerset's Roth Bar & Grill and the Fife Arms in Aberdeenshire. See artfarm.com

SINGAPORE

Japanese-born Australian restaurateur Tetsuya Wakuda opens his second site in the Lion City. Joining the two-Michelin-starred Waku Ghin in the Marina Bay Sands complex will be Wakuda, promising a more "experiential" vibe. Meanwhile, Hilton Singapore Orchard opens with five standout dining options, including Osteria Mozza by celebrity American chef Nancy Silverton. See tetsuyas.com; marinabaysands.com; hiltonsingaporeorchard.com

BELLARINE PENINSULA, VICTORIA

The pretty, historic fishing village of Portarlington, 31 kilometres north-east of Geelong is about to get an injection of pizzazz. Teche, the architectural gang behind the hugely successful redevelopment of St Kilda's Espy, have taken hold of the lovely-boned Portarlington Grand Hotel and in a $10 million reimagining, it will debut in 2022 with a focus on local food and wine across four dining spaces, along with 18 boutique lodgings. See portarlingtongrandhotel.com.au

ROME, ITALY

After six glamorous openings elsewhere, luxury brand Bvlgari opens a hotel in its home town of Rome, inhabiting a handsome 1938 rationalist building in Campo Marzio. Hotel Bvlgari Rome will feature a rooftop bar and the simply named Il Ristorante under the direction of 2020 European Chef of the Year, Niko Romito, head of the legendary, three-Michelin-starred Reale which he runs with his sister Cristiana in Aquino. See bulgari.com

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

Golf mecca Gleneagles is renowned for cuisine with its Andrew Fairlie being Scotland's only restaurant to hold two Michelin stars. The venerable institution is lending its name to a city hotel for the first time. When Gleneagles Townhouse opens in Edinburgh, it will feature 33 rooms, an all-day restaurant, roof terrace and members' club – and you can bank on the culinary offering being outstanding. See gleneagles.com

HEALTH + WELLNESS

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pictured: Six Senses Loire Valley France

Six Senses, Loire Valley, France.

LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE and ROME, ITALY

Debuting in May, the 88-suite and villa Six Senses Loire Valley lies within the Les Bordes Estate, a 560-hectare slice of the Sologne forest, home to Les Bordes Golf Club, one of the most prestigious in the world. The family-friendly luxury property will include equestrian and tennis centres, an organic farm, art gallery, natural swimming lake, water sports, biking and walking trails. See sixsenses.com

NEW YORK STATE, US

A luxury wellness retreat with a cottage-core twist opens in the northern autumn, 90 minutes from New York City. With expansive grounds including orchards, animals, heirloom gardens, and fields of wildflowers, Wildflower Farms, Auberge Resorts Collection is located where the Hudson River Valley meets the Catskill foothills, offering 65 cosy bungalows with fireplaces. See aubergeresorts.com

KAWAU ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND

A popular tourist destination, Kawau Island is a short ferry ride from Sandspit, about an hour from Auckland and now home to Parohe Island Retreat, a 20-hectare wellness resort comprising native bush, luxurious accommodation, organic gardens and orchards. It's modus operandi? Encouraging a deeper connection with nature. Guests can simply stay and relax or sign up for packages that include yoga, meditation, massages, workshops and nature walks. See parohe.co.nz

JAPAN, SAUDI ARABIA and MONTENEGRO

Janu, the new brand from Aman Resorts, will debut in Montenegro and Saudi Arabia in 2022 and Japan in 2023. Sharing basic principles of sophisticated design and luxury wellness with the mother brand, Aman's private sanctuary ethos gives way to a younger, more playful, social stay, encouraging guests to mingle with each other and locals. See janu.com

LONDON, UK

Inhabit, a new independent hotel brand, aims to bring wellbeing and environmental and social consciousness to city stays. Inhabit Southwick Street opened in London in 2019, and in early 2022 Inhabit Queens Gardens opens in a row of Georgian townhouses in Bayswater, W2. It promises "considered spaces, nourishing food and beverage, and hosts that share a passion for maintaining a healthy body and mind". Morning meditation class is on the house. See inhabithotels.com

PALM SPRINGS, US

Founded by tech billionaire Larry Ellison and celebrity doctor David Agus, Sensei "applies data-driven health knowledge and uses technology to create premier wellbeing retreats". In 2022, Sensei Porcupine Creek opens in the Californian desert on what was Ellison's private home and golf course. Ninety-eight per cent of the island of Lanai on which its Hawaiian sister property, Sensei Lana'i - A Four Seasons Resort is situated, is also owned by the Oracle founder. See sensei.com

FIVE ESSENTIAL TRENDS FOR TRAVEL IN 2022

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pictured: TRIPS by Culture TripsTRIPS by Culture Trips is incorporating smaller hotels with good COVID procedures, assigned coach sitting with daily deep cleaning, and exclusive activities where possible to minimise contact.
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Hiking in Snowdonia National Park, Wales, with TRIPS by Culture Trips. Photo: Alamy

SAFETY FIRST

Does keeping COVID-safe mean steering clear of Venice for a while? Not necessarily. Some operators are looking to bring travellers to great locations in new ways. TRIPS by Culture Trips is just one outfit incorporating smaller hotels with good COVID procedures, assigned coach sitting with daily deep cleaning, and exclusive activities where possible to minimise contact. See the culturetrip.com

WELL WORTHWHILE

Wellness travel was once for the burnt out, overweight or spiritual. Now it's mainstream with the non-profit advocacy body, the Global Wellness Institute, predicting wellness tourism will be worth around $US1 trillion a year in 2022. No longer just the domain of retreats and spa resorts, look out for big brand city hotels with their own wellness offerings responding to the demand for physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing in all aspects of travel. See globalwellnessinstitute.org

UNCERTAINTY IS THE NEW CERTAINTY

A legacy of the pandemic, as far as travel is concerned, is that nothing is certain. Having endured two years of cancellations and postponements, with quarantine and vaccination requirements in flux globally, viral waves and shut downs still happening even in the most open destinations, the onus on the traveller in 2022 is to be responsible and informed. The key to embracing travel in the COVID era will be preparation and research in the planning stages, then flexibility and patience before take-off and on the road. See smartraveller.gov.au; traveller.com.au

MOTELS BUT NOT AS YOU KNEW THEM

The Gold Coast and northern NSW are leading the Australian charge on the great global motel revival and as you'd expect in the US, the birthplace of the accommodation style, the roadside revival continues apace as it does in Canada, where the hugely popular motel-focused TV show Schitt's Creek was shot. Now with safety, hygiene and physical distancing important, the mighty motel ticks the boxes, with guest room access directly from the carpark, along with one or two-floor layouts that assure smaller capacities. See visitnsw.com; destinationgoldcoast.com

WALK IT OFF

European pilgrim trails and multi-day treks in alpine regions are well-beaten by the hardy hiking-booted. But walking holidays are attracting wider audiences, and in the post-pandemic world, the appeal of spending long days in the great outdoors will see that expand. Inn-to-inn hiking is taking off in the US, while Ireland has adopted the ancient Japanese practice of forest bathing – walks in nature aimed at peace and oneness with the natural world. Locally, Tasmania is the place for ambling at your own pace. See visitusa.org.au; ireland.com

SWITCHING ONTO THE OFF-SEASON

With even the likes of the Thailand government intent on finding ways to pivot away from mass tourism (a tourist levy is being introduced to fund programs) operators are eyeing the off-season as a way of offering experiences far from the madding crowd. Wilderness Scotland, owned by conservation charity The John Muir Trust, is offering a five-day walking trip on Orkney in the winter off-season – the climate of the archipelago off the north coast of Scotland is surprisingly mild due to the Gulf Stream. See wildernessscotland.com

FIVE MUST-KNOWS FOR TRAVEL IN 2022

UNSURE-ANCE

Travel insurance remains one of the greatest barriers to travelling safely while COVID remains an issue. At present, COVID cover options differ considerably between providers. Now is the time to read that fine print - all of it - for the first time and look out for factors such as border closures being excluded from coverage. Keep a close eye on the news, too, in both your destination and back home. Events can change in an instant. See smartraveller.gov.au; traveller.com.au

SMALL AND SUSTAINABLE

A mid-2021 survey by booking.com found 83 per cent of global travellers questioned found sustainable travel to be paramount, with 61 per cent saying the pandemic has made them want to travel in a more environmentally friendly way. The industry is already acting. Small Luxury Hotels, for instance, has introduced its Considerate Collection, 26 (so far) pioneering hotels in 16 countries, that prioritise sustainability as measured by real authorities. See slh.com/considerate

CRUISE SAFE

One of the sectors of the travel industry most heavily impacted by the pandemic, cruising had notoriously been vulnerable to viral illnesses with COVID only amplifying that vulnerability. As cruise lines placed early tenuous but optimistic toes back in the briny, they are employing strict COVID and hygiene protocols and are now leading the entire travel industry. Look for the ones that require passengers to be vaccinated and which maintain strict masking and test policies and protocols. See cruising.org.au; traveller.com.au

FLY WITH CONFIDENCE

Most air crew will be vaccinated and if not, subject to rapid-antigen testing pre-flight. You'll need a mask, or to have contacted your airline in advance to seek dispensation. Some airlines – read many – will only fly vaccinated passengers. Check all requirements carefully before booking. See qantas.com; traveller.com.au

FAST TRAVEL IS DEAD

Ten European countries and 200 selfies in a week? Fuhgeddaboudit. In our new travel reality, slow travel goes mainstream, with pundits predicting travellers will aim to eke as much as possible out of one location, rather than hop about and add risk of viral exposure in additional planes and trains. Pick a place, unpack and immerse is the new MO. See traveller.com.au

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