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Travel in 2021: Lesser-known spots National Geographic has called 'destinations on the rise'

National Geographic compiled a list of 25 locations you will only find on the road less travelled.
Dec 28th 2020, 7:00 PM 48,627 26

ALTHOUGH TRAVELLING ABROAD was off the cards for most of 2020, National Geographic has created a list of 25 beautiful destinations to inspire your future wanderlust. 

The magazine published its ‘Best of the World 2021′ list recently and it includes no shortage of stunning destinations to add to your bucket list. 

Split into five categories – nature, adventure, culture, sustainability and family – the list was written in collaboration with the magazine’s international editorial teams. 

George Stone, the executive editor of National Geographic Travel, said: “The world is full of wonders—even when they’re hard to reach. 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.” 

Here is a sampling of some lovely spots included in the list (Ireland did not make the cut unfortunately).

Lord Howe Island, Australia 

australia A diver explores the coral reefs around Lord Howe Island located in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand. Source: Melissa Findley

This tiny island was human-free until the 18th century, Nat Geo said. Nowadays, just 400 visitors are allowed to be there at any one time. This helps to protect what is one of the world’s most isolated ecosystems. 

It’s less than 12 kilometres long and is at most 1.6 kilometres wide, and is home to the southernmost coral reefs on the planet, not to mention more than 500 species of fish.

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada

yellowknife The aurora borealis swirls over Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Source: SEONG-WON JANG, EYEEM, GETTY IMAGES

Yellowknife is the capital of Canada’s Northwest territories and is a city of just 20,000 people. 

The Northern lights shine in this area 240 nights a year, Nat Geo said, and there is also an array of small lakes outside the city to marvel at. 

Freiburg, Germany

2500-261282-01 he vibrant German university town of Freiburg holds a weekly farmers' market in front of its historic cathedral and implements a number of best practices in sustainable living. Source: Reinhard Schmid/Huber / eStock Photo

This picturesque German university town is leading the way in terms of best green practices at the moment. 

People in this town have readily embraced sustainable living, with woodlands covering 40% of the urban area. 

Svaneti Region, Georgia

georgia Surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus mountain range, Svaneti is home to some of the most isolated villages in Georgia. Source: PUNNAWIT SUWUTTANANUN, GETTY IMAGES

This remote region is based on quite high ground and would definitely be described as ‘off the beaten path’.

However, Nat Geo said it is accessible to those who look for it through the Upper Svaneti section of the Transcaucasian Trail, a long trail across the countries of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

Katmai National Park & Preserve, Alaska 

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Katmai-Travel_001 n 1912, an eruption of the volcano Novarupta formed the caldera and crater lake at the summit of Mount Katmai. A 2018 expedition set out to uncover traces of Katmai National Park’s history before the massive explosion. Source: KATIE ORLINSKY, NAT GEO IMAGE COLLECTION

Another very remote location, this stunning national park and preserve can only be reached by boat or float plane. 

Many people who travel here are seeking out a 1.9 km long fishing hole home to the largest concentration of brown bears in the world. 

Gyeongju, South Korea 

the-pavilions-of-anapji-pond-lit-up-as-evening-comes-on-in-gyeongju-south-korea Donggung Palace overlooks the serene waters of Wolji Pond in Gyeongju, South Korea. Source: JOSHUA DAVENPORT, ALAMY

Located in the southeast corner of the Korean peninsula, this city is home to a lot of archaeological sites due to existing for almost 1,000 years as the capital of the ancient Korean kingdom of Silla, Nat Geo said. 

People can visit temple and palace ruins, rock carvings, an eighth-century statue of Buddha and much more in this very historical city. 

Alonissos, Greece

greece-diving-ancient-wrecks 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. Source: Elena Becatoros

This Greek island is home to the first underwater museum in Greece, but you’ll need to be able to dive to depth of 24 metres or more to take part. 

The museum explores an ancient shipwreck, but it can also be viewed virtually through the information centre on the small island.  

Click here to see more of Nat Geo’s Best of the World 2021 list. 

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Orla Dwyer

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