10 travel country tips for 2022

The signs point to a comeback of travel! We present ten country destinations that outdoor adventurers should have on their bucket list this year. What convinces us about them: sustainable tourism concepts, authentic experiences and areas that are still little known and want to be discovered. These countries are definitely worth a trip in 2022.


Trekking on the roof of the world


The small Himalayan country between India and China is, of course, anything but an insider’s tip for mountain lovers (seven of the ten highest mountains in the world tower here). And yet it is worthwhile to (re)discover Nepal right now. After the still undigested earthquake disaster of 2015 and two years of pandemic-related tourism losses, the hospitable trekking paradise is craving for visitors.

And those – unless they absolutely must head to Everest Base Camp or linger too long in the Kathmandu Valley – can experience seclusion unique in the world. While the Annapurna trek is already quite crowded, other “circuits” (circular long-distance trails) guarantee a solitary experience – such as the two-week Manaslu Circuit Trek (according to Lonely Planet: “Nepal’s best new hiking destination entirely without crowds”). Real insider tips are the routes around the Kanchenjunga in the east.

Tip: Peak time for treks is between October and early December and in March and April.

Good to know: Nepal is more liberal compared to its neighboring countries and is increasingly focusing on eco-tourism. In Chitwan National Park e.g. you can spot the indigenous black rhinoceros. And dedicated tiger conservation is also paying off: Nepal may soon become the world’s first country to have doubled its tiger population in a ten-year period (to 250 animals).

Trekking in Nepal: Our first 5.000er in the Himalaya


Sustainable natural wonder

Norway Lofoten

For art lovers, the opening of the new Munch Museum in Oslo this year has added another reason to travel to Norway. For outdoor enthusiasts, the incentives are almost countless anyway. Whether Geirangerfjord, Spitsbergen or the Jotunheimen National Park – the Scandinavian country promises pure nature.

The reason we’re including the land of fjords, islands and mountains in our recommended list again is that it’s consistently expanding its pioneering role in green technology. This means that in Norway, more than in any other country, you can get around in electric cars (more than half of all new vehicles – including rental cars – are electric), set sail in 100% electric ships (Future of the Fjords, Legacy of the Fjords) or stay in the world’s first hotel with a positive energy balance directly on the glacier.

Good to know: Some corners of Norway, which also upholds the “everyman’s right” to move freely and spend the night in nature, are groaning under the tourist onslaught – such as the spectacular Lofoten archipelago. Those seeking true solitude will find perfect hosts in the nomadic Sami people. In their Nature Camps you sleep in traditional tipi tents (lavvus), meet reindeer and, with a bit of luck, see the northern lights.

Tip: The best time to see the Northern Lights is from October to March.

Senja – An outdoor island paradise in Norway


Between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea

Slovenia Socatrail

Perhaps it’s due to its location between the Alps and the Adriatic that too many travel-hungry people haven’t had Slovenia on their radar yet. A mistake, it combines the best of two worlds, right down to the culinary arts and top-notch wine.

When it comes to nature, this nearby vacation destination comes up trumps with great hiking and biking trails and some of the best paddling spots in all of Europe. Triglav National Park alone, with the country’s highest peak, is home to 9.000 kilometers of hiking trails. The emerald SoCa is a kayaker’s paradise and good for fly fishing, the lakes Bohinj and Bled almost kitschy postcard motifs. In the KoCevsko region with the UNESCO-protected primeval forest Krokar live brown bears – you can hike with game guides on their tracks or explore the area on mountain bike trails.

Good to know: Slovenia is not only extremely green in terms of landscape (two-thirds of the country’s surface area consists of forest), but also in terms of its tourism. Bike Slovenia Green, for example, was developed as the world’s first completely green bike route, leading only through places certified as sustainable (from Kranjska Gora to the Mediterranean coast in Koper). Whether the unbelievable successes of the racing cyclists Tadej PogaCar (two-time Tour de France winner) and Primoz RogliC (Olympic champion in the individual time trial) are connected with this, remains to be seen. More green offers: www.slovenia-green.si.

Tip: The 267 km long long-distance hiking trail Walk of Peace follows the front of the First World War.

Slovenia – Piran, caves and underground canyons


More than a beach holiday

Caminito del Rey

Spain is more than just a beach vacation: especially those who like hiking will find great opportunities on the Iberian peninsula – and in an amazing variety of landscapes. Culinary delicacies such as paella and octopus provide refreshment.

While the Picos de Europa in the north with their deep green forests and rugged peaks are reminiscent of the Alps – and the Atlantic coast with its surf spots is never far away – in some places in southern Andalusia you feel like you’re in Africa (the temperatures are also comparable, so it’s better not to visit in high summer)!). Nevertheless, the up to 3.500-meter-high summit of the Sierra Nevada in the hinterland of Granada (with the world-famous Alhambra) is covered in snow until May – no wonder, since it is the second-highest mountain range in Europe. A must-see of the area is the rock city of Ronda. North of Malaga, the Caminito del Rey beckons – until its renovation in 2015, this gorge via ferrata was considered one of the most dangerous hiking trails in the world. Today, thanks to boardwalks and mandatory helmets, walking through the Gaitanejo Gorge is still a spectacular – albeit well-secured – experience.

Good to know: Things are guaranteed to be more solitary in the Pyrenees, which real adventurers cross from the Atlantic (San Sebastian) to the Mediterranean Sea. Likewise in the hinterland of the Costa Brava. A real tip for the off-season (by the way, also for road cyclists) is the Costa Blanca, where the thermometer hardly falls below 17 degrees even in December. A few kilometers beyond the bustling castles, the Alicante Mountains offer a surprisingly rugged mountain landscape with narrow valleys, white villages, vast olive groves and coastal views as far as Ibiza (more about this soon in Bergwelten magazine).

Tip: The Way of St. James is also very popular. Learn everything you need to know about the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela here.

Steep teeth and deep gorges: Hiking in the Picos de Europa


Feel the elements


Iceland was no longer an exotic destination before the pandemic, thanks to cheap flights, and it is likely that many nature lovers will be drawn to the Arctic Circle again this year. Few places in the world are as close to nature as the bubbling geysers, bubbling volcanoes and thundering waterfalls of the mythical island of fire and ice, whose soccer- and song-contest-crazed inhabitants, in turn, display a special warmth and wry sense of humor.

If you decide for a classic road trip along the ring road, you will get to know the island in all its facets. The Westfjords, which are only connected to the rest of the island by a 7 km wide isthmus, are more lonely and point towards Greenland. The remote peninsula is home to cliffs, rare animals (such as the arctic fox in the Hornstrandir nature reserve) and Dynjandi, a hundred-meter-high waterfall giant.
Particularly intrepid people venture into the up to just over 2.000 m high mountains – the Icelandic Highlands (Halendið) in the center of the island are almost uninhabited, but beautiful.

Tip: A good month to travel is September. There are already less visitors on the island, the weather is still halfway good (for Icelandic conditions of course) and you already have a chance to see the northern lights.

Iceland – on the way in the big wilderness


Between dunes and forests

Curonian Spit

We have already raved about the Baltic States and their closeness to nature at this point. If you like to hug trees and hike, you should go to Estonia. If you want to experience the most rustic paddling tours in Europe, go to Latvia (e.g. in the Gauja National Park). With Tallinn and Riga, both countries also offer charming capitals worth seeing.

This year, however, the third in the bunch lends itself to a trip: Lithuania. And not only because the country of 3 million inhabitants has Kaunas as the European Capital of Culture (along with Serbia’s Novi Sad). The idyllic Kauno Marios Nature Park is conveniently located just outside its gates. If you travel a little further – towards the Baltic Sea – you should definitely stop at the zemaitija National Park, which enchants with a (mysterious) landscape of forests, rivers, moors and lakes (including the largest in Lithuania) – just made for cycling and boating.

Tip: And finally there is the Curonian Spit in the Baltic Sea. The peninsula, half of which belongs to Russia’s Kaliningrad, once attracted artists and writers – today nature lovers explore quaint fishing villages, hike over dunes and through forests, or observe rare bird species.

Good to know: Unfortunately, the security situation surrounding the war in Ukraine must be kept in mind when traveling to the Baltic countries.

Blown away by the sand: dune hiking off the coast of Lithuania

The Norway of Arabia

Oman Muscat

Oh man – Oman? This is how author Simon Schopf titled his Bergwelten travel story. And the answer can only be: Of course!
At least for those who want to explore a relatively advanced and yet pristine Arab country, where skyscrapers are not yet sprouting from the desert floor, as in the neighboring Gulf states. In addition, the former civil war country, where there were almost no paved roads a few decades ago, is easy to reach thanks to three international airports.

So while the souks of Nizwa or the capital Muscat sparkle with the dream of the Thousand and One Nights, outdoor fans will get their money’s worth in the hinterland. Not many people know that Oman is home to the “Norway of Arabia”. On the Musandam peninsula in the north (separated from the rest of the country by a narrow territory of the United Arab Emirates), fjord-like bays (khors) tempt to wonder. The Hajar Mountains impress with up to 3.000 m high mountains and spectacular gorges (among them the Wadi Nakhr, the “Grand Canyon of Oman”). Desert fans find their fulfillment in the endless dunes of the Rimal al Wahiba.

Good to know: Since oil doesn’t flow as abundantly in Oman as it does in neighboring countries, the country has recently turned to low-impact tourism. The locals and their lifestyle play a decisive role: It is worthwhile to stay with a host family or to learn how to prepare local specialties in a cooking course – offers abound.

Tip: Hadash is probably the most impressive climbing area in Oman. Here are about 50 perfectly drilled routes from 5 to 8b+, pleasantly cool at 1.500 meters above sea level and with tremendous views.

Oh man! Oman: Climbing& Wild camping in the desert


Finally Down Under


Hardly any other country has sealed itself off in such a way in the last two years due to the pandemic. For the first time since March 2020, international tourists (with full vaccination protection) are now allowed to enter Down Under again. So when, if not now!
Probably many other globetrotters will think so too. Who actually travels to the longing destination Australia, should consider to visit even less touristic corners. And they do exist – after all, there is a whole continent waiting to be discovered.

There would be e.g. the Scenic Rim, a region of green mountain arches and rainforests in southeastern Queensland. Until the devastating 2019 bushfire that destroyed more than a third of the Gondwana rainforests, this area was little known internationally. With the surprisingly fast recovery of this natural jewel, numerous eco-tourism projects are springing up. The newly opened Scenic Rim Trail, for example, is a guided 4-day hike that can easily be made more affordable by staying at the public campgrounds instead of the designated, quite luxurious lodges. Here you can find more Great Walks.

Tip: If you’re looking for complete freedom, take a road trip to less frequented spots like the Grampians National Park (two hours from Melbourne) or the Perth area in Western Australia (a true hiker’s paradise) – for example, to Margeret River, where kangaroos sometimes stray onto the empty beaches alongside surfers. Or to the outback: the Kata Tjuṯa rock formation looks like a craggy Ayers Rock and is actually a good alternative to the world-famous (and coach-parked) sandstone monolith. Even more bizarre and exciting for boulderers: the Devils Marbles. Called “devil marbles” but look more like fried potatoes.

Family Trip: Hiking and Surfing on the East Coast of Australia


Flamingos at the moon

Chile Atacama

Currently, you can sign up for the first private trip to the moon with Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX. If you want to experience lunar landscapes, but don’t want to fly quite so far, you should go to Chile – more precisely: to the up to 4.Atacama Desert, which is located at an altitude of 000 m. It stretches from the Pacific coast to the foothills of the Andes and is so sparsely populated that there is hardly any other place in the world where you can see the moon and the stars more clearly. It is therefore not surprising that some of the most important observatories – including ALMA, the largest radio telescope ever built – are stationed there.
What you can admire during the day in the Atacama: Geysers (El Tatio), sand dunes and sapphire blue lakes (around San Pedro) and flamingos stalking around in salt lagoons in the Los Flamencos National Reserve.

Good to know: You definitely encounter fewer people when ski touring Chile’s volcanoes, which hold the best firn on earth for connoisseurs. One of the great places of longing for all mountain lovers is the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, in the very south of the country: Glaciers, fjords and the iconic three granite towers after which the park is named.

Tip: Many local agencies from Chile cooperate with the indigenous community and focus on sustainable tourism in the form of eco-lodges and eco-tours.

Hiking in the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile


Always along the coast

Portugal, Algarve

Portugal is increasingly becoming a “dropout destination” in Europe, which is not surprising – nowhere else can you breathe in South American flair as well as in the country with the 800 km long Atlantic coastline. While Lisbon and Porto, with their old-town charm and culinary temptations, have long been city-trip classics, Portugal has a surprising amount of nature to offer away from the cities.

This is first and foremost for surfers from all over Europe: they plunge into the Atlantic tides (with wetsuits) just about any time of year. Corresponding camps and stores can be found in abundance along the coast – next to Lisbon, Ericeira or. Peniche as “Surf Towns”.

Good to know: But it’s the freeriders and especially long-distance hikers who are rediscovering the country right now. The Rota Vicentina – a 450-kilometer network of hiking trails in the far southwest of Portugal that was marked only a few years ago – runs among steep rocky cliffs, secluded sandy beaches and diverse plant life; it’s a pleasant place to hike in pleasant temperatures into November. The closest you can get to the sea is on the 225-kilometer Fischermen’s Trail between Sines and Lagos on the Algarve Coast.

Tip: Also in the Algarve, the Ria Formosa Nature Park – a lagoon system of salt flats, streams and dune islands populated by flamingos – is a lure.