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THE WORLD’S GREATEST PLACES: How does Canada rate?

TIME magazine has revealed its fourth annual list of the World’s Greatest Places, highlighting 50 extraordinary travel destinations around the globe. Spoiler alert: Two of them are Canadian.

The list, which is detailed in this week’s double edition of the magazine (cover date July 25/Aug. 1) does not rank the destinations, however the cover/cover story honour was given to Dolni Morava, Czech Republic, which boasts the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, Sky Bridge 721, plus another curiously configured structure (like a twisty roller coaster ride), Sky Walk, on a hill in the Czech countryside, about 200 km east of Prague.

Of the 2022 list, TIME editors write: “As persistent as the challenges of life in 2022 is the hope that understanding and human connection can be found through travel. So, with much of the global population now vaccinated against COVID-19, world travellers are again hitting the road – and the skies. The hospitality industry is reopening and excited to safely welcome them and revitalize local communities.”

To compile this year’s collection of top spots, the magazine solicited nominations of places from its international network of correspondents and contributors, with an eye toward those offering new and exciting experiences.

The result: 50 far-flung and familiar spots, from the Great Barrier Reef, where visitors can see undersea wonders while participating in conservation efforts, to the ultra-high-tech city of Seoul. Many of the destinations are charting a path to economic recovery, such as The Philippines’ Boracay Island, which had been closed for years due to over tourism and then the COVID-19 pandemic

Here are some of the highlights:

Dolni Morava, Czech Republic – “After a few years of grounded travel, take it up a notch by walking the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, a new sky-high architectural marvel in the Czech Republic. Sky Bridge 721, which opened in May after two years of construction, is a new attraction named for the 721 m. it spans in the foothills of the Jeseniky Mountains. Hanging more than 95 m. above the cloud-shrouded valley and the Mlynsky Stream, it offers panoramic views on a heart-pumping walkway that is less than 4 ft. wide. No climbing or skiing skills are needed to get your mountain high here. Bragging rights will only require a dose of courage to walk across the bridge.”

Miami, Fla. – “Miami is emerging as the US’s capital of cool. The inaugural Miami Grand Prix in May drew a spectacular cross section of VIPs and celebrities to witness Formula One stateside…To soak up the sun, the Underline is a new outdoor park on the city’s Riverfront, opening in phases through 2025. The first section is Brickell Backyard, a half-mile stretch of bike paths and public spaces (think yoga and live music) underneath the Miami Metrorail, which just won Architizer’s A+ Award for Architecture and Urban Transformation.”

Bali, Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia – “Bali is bringing the heat this year with numerous openings, including the kind of big-¬ticket luxury resorts and wellness experiences that make it the ideal escape for those looking to reconnect with nature and themselves. The long-¬anticipated Raffles Bali opened late last year in Jimbaran Bay, where guests enjoy the attention of a “well-being butler,” who does everything from drawing a bath with rose petals to providing aloe for over–sunned skin. Watch the sunset on the spectacular outdoor terrace of the Writers Bar, Bali Sling in hand.”

Rapa Nui, Chile – “The storied island of Rapa Nui finally reopens to tourists after more than two years on Aug. 1. Famous for the iconic massive and mysterious Moai sculptures crafted by its first inhabitants, Rapa Nui, located roughly halfway between Santiago and Tahiti, has been a Chilean territory since 1888… The closure of Rapa Nui to tourism because of COVID-19 affected both its economy and the frequency of food deliveries, so islanders have seized the opportunity to expand traditional and sustainable agricultural practices, especially for taro and guava. Once Rapa Nui reopens, don’t miss idyllic Anakena Beach – where Rapa Nui’s first King landed – and keep your eye out for hawksbill and green turtles… Tourism will restart slowly; some of the first to see Rapa Nui’s sculptures will be passengers aboard Silversea’s Silver Explorer and Silver Whisper, which stop in Rapa Nui in November and December on cruises between Chile and the South Pacific”

Skelleftea, Sweden – “Exciting new offerings have pushed this quaint Swedish city into must-see territory. Though it lies just 125 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Skelleftea emanates undeniable warmth. A parade of timbered buildings line the main promenade, punctuated by the newly opened Wood Hotel – one of the largest structures in the world built entirely of its eponymous material. At the restaurant Bryggargatan, Michelin-caliber Nordic cuisine is plated without pretension. Sometimes the warmth is literal: downtown now boasts heated sidewalks during the frigid Scandinavian winter.”

Calabria, Italy – “Calabria is one of the most overlooked Italian destinations –underdeveloped and unfairly dogged by a louche reputation. (Easy Jet was forced to apologize after a 2020 ad cheekily promoted it as a land of “Mafia activity.”) The province, spanning the toe of the Italian boot, is home to breathtaking beaches, stunning mountain vistas, ancient hilltop villages, and unique, spicy cuisine. Last year a group of enterprising and passionate hiking guides knitted the landscape into a three-day cross-¬country trek, starting in the beach paradise of Soverato on the Ionian coast and ending about 34 miles west, in the 14th century fortress town of Pizzo on the Tyrrhenian Sea.”

San Francisco, Ca. – “San Francisco’s incredible scenery, cultural institutions, and diverse culinary offerings are all making major strides this year. This July, the Presidio of San Francisco, located in Golden Gate national park, debuted Presidio Tunnel Tops, a 5.7-hectare outdoor park expansion built on top of old highway tunnels with unfettered views of the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Seoul, Korea – “Seoul is considered one of the world’s leading ‘smart’ cities, and now is the first city government to integrate with the Metaverse, earmarking $3.3 million of South Korea’s $187 million investment for the development of a virtual communication ecosystem tentatively called Metaverse Seoul….It is also working toward launching a Virtual Tourist Zone, which will allow registered users with VR headsets to view the city’s top attractions, such as the Deoksugung Palace, Gwanghwamun Plaza, and Namdaemun Market.”

Park City, Utah – “The charming ski town rose to fame hosting the annual Sundance Film Festival, a star-studded celebs-in-snow-boots event, but is now growing into a major winter and summer destination on par with Aspen… But it’s not all upscale accommodations, new restaurants, and ski-in ski-out at this beloved winter escape: the city is enticing summer visitors with golfing, hiking, fly-¬fishing, and mountain-biking opportunities set on a mesmerizing backdrop.”

Portland, Oregon – “Portland continues to expand on its commitment to planet earth, with new infrastructure for bikers and walkers. The Earl Blumenauer Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge opens July 31 and will connect the Central Eastside and Lloyd neighborhoods; the new, earthquake-¬resilient Ned Flanders Crossing pedestrian bridge (The Simpsons creator Matt Groening was raised in Portland) connects the Northwest and Pearl districts; and Tilikum Crossing carries trains, buses, streetcars, cyclists, and pedestrians over the Willamette River.”

Marseille, France

Marseilles, France – “France’s second largest city is fast becoming one of southern Europe’s leading cultural destinations, with the June opening of the Cosquer Méditerranée… The attraction houses a full-scale replica of the famous Grotte Cosquer, a cave in the city’s scenic Calanques National Park that prehistoric people etched with artwork before it was eventually submerged underwater…Any trip to France is incomplete without sufficient gastronomy, and Marseilles’ food scene is carving out its own identity. Europe’s first 100% solar-¬powered restaurant, Le Présage, has taken root in a leafy corner of the Technopôle de Château Gombert.”

Portree, Scotland – “The Isle of Skye has a stunning Scottish landscape characterized by coastal cliffs, craggy hills, and medieval castles, and its and its capital of Portree (pop. 2,300) is just as inviting as it is rugged. For generations, city-weary Glaswegians have been escaping here on weekends, drawn by idyllic scenery and relative proximity. Now it’s casting a wider net, welcoming a post pandemic influx of American visitors.”

And here’s what TIME has to say about its Canadian entrees:

Toronto – “The capital of Ontario – a multi-dimensional, forward-thinking, diverse city – is experiencing a growth spurt, thanks to a slate of new hotel openings, including W Toronto. But even beyond hospitality, Toronto is a city begging to be discovered and appreciated. On deck this year: the Frida Immersive Dream, from the creators of the immersive Van Gogh exhibit; ArtworxTO, a year-long initiative showcasing Toronto’s diversity as it supports its local artists; and the Toronto Biennial of Art, featuring citywide programming intended to inspire global conversations. And just in time for summer, the Lake Shore Inflatable Water Park debuted, adding a family-friendly attraction right off the shore of Ontario Place. In between excursions, lounge in CIBC Square Park, an elevated park—the city’s first, in an ongoing effort to create green spaces amid skyscrapers – complete with public wi-fi and spectacular city views.”

Tofino, BC – “On the windswept west coast of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island lies tiny Tofino, a former fishing village and the traditional home of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation of the Nuu-chah-nulth people, now a bustling community surrounded by the UNESCO Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve. Wildlife tours, forest hiking, and walks along wide sandy beaches reconnect people with nature. Powerful winter storms produce ocean swells, creating epic storm-¬watching opportunities and a thriving cold-water surfing scene.”

See the full list HERE.

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

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