Travel Inspiration: Our Top 10 Most Exhilarating Trip Experiences of 2022
Anantara Palazzo Naiadi's Vespa sidecar tour of Rome was an exhilarating way to reconnect with the Eternal City. (Courtesy of @vespasidecartour)

Travel Inspiration: Our Top 10 Most Exhilarating Trip Experiences of 2022


Travel is back and it’s just as wondrous as ever.

After two long years of pandemic winter, we could not have been more excited to get back out there and see the world in 2022. This past year, 7x7 editors trekked Ecuador’s volcanoes, explored the Medina of Tunis, zipped around Rome on a Vespa, ate our way through the tascas of Lisbon—and so much more.

Find some inspo for your next trip with our 10 best travel experiences of the 2022.

Rome, Italy: A Cinematic Vespa Tour

(Courtesy of @vespasidecartour)

As a lover of travel but a skeptical tourist, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I signed on for the “Eat, Pray, Love” Vespa sidecar tour of Rome through Anantara’s new Palazzo Naiadi Hotel this past fall. But the moment I laid eyes on the custom-built scooter, with its bubbly retro-style sidecar and a pretty coat of periwinkle paint, I became Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, wide-eyed and smitten with the novelty. Locals and tourists alike snapped photos of us as we buzzed across the cobblestones of narrow Roman lanes—from the Piazza Della Repubblica to the Trevi Fountain, to a cafe by the Pantheon for cappuccinos to Trastevere for oysters at the open-air market—the Vespa just right for taking in the Eternal City. Small and agile, we kept pace with her energy; we were one with her timeless din. —Chloé Hennen

Cotopaxi, Ecuador: Trekking the Avenue of Volcanoes

Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador

(Courtesy of Pixabay/CC)

Ecuador’s second largest volcano, Cotopaxi, and the national park that surrounds it, is an incredible and still relatively untouristed landscape of deep grassy valleys and angular peaks only 90 minutes from capital city Quito. A four day lodge-to-lodge trek along the “avenue of volcanoes” wound us around its craggy precipices, ending each night at a charming hacienda with soft beds, cozy wood-burning stoves, and welcoming canelazo (a traditional spiked drink similar to hot spiced cider). —Shoshi Parks

Placencia, Belize: Snorkeling with a Sea Turtle

Endangered sea turltes swim near Placencia, Belize

(Courtesy of Pixabay/CC)

Coral reef devastation has changed the snorkeling game around the world. But off of Placencia in southern Belize, the Caribbean’s underwater forests are still teeming with fluorescent fish. We’re lucky enough to have seen them on beach vacations past, but this is the only place we’ve ever had the good fortune to swim with nurse sharks, rays, and best of all, a graceful, gorgeous, endangered loggerhead sea turtle. —Shoshi Parks

Tunis, Tunisia: An Aromatic Day in the Ancient Medina

An exquisitely tiled rooftop patio in the Medina of Tunis.

(Chloé Hennen)

If you have just one day (as I did) to get a taste of the Tunisian capital, the Medina of Tunis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the stuff of your most aromatic North African dreams. Its ancient alleyways unfurl into an endless maze of souks, cafes where men smoke shishas, and historic palaces and mosques with architectural influences ranging from Andalusia to Arabia. A short walk from our hotel, Dar El Jeld, the monumental Ez-Zitouna mosque took our breath away, as did the many shops overstuffed with buttery leather babouche slippers, Berber textiles and colorful woven poufs, amber and silver jewelry, and handmade pottery. Dinner at the hotel's lavishly designed namesake restaurant, where we literally feasted on traditional mezze and whole grilled fish to a soundtrack of lively tunes by a charming qanun player, is one I won't soon forget. If you've never been to Tunisia, begin your discovery at the Anantara Sahara-Tozeur Resort. —Chloé Hennen

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah: Canyoneering

Canyoneering in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

(Willa Scantlebury)

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, one of the most underrated national parks in the country, has slot canyons so unique and extensive that it draws canyoneers from around the world. We strapped on a harness and joined them, belaying deep into the red Utah rock for an adventure through its twisting, turning tunnels. —Shoshi Parks

London, England: Eating + Drinking All the Things

Sessions Art Club, London

(Courtesy of @sessionsartsclub)

London’s restaurant and bar scene remains one of the world’s absolute best, with so many innovative chefs and cocktail mavens making a name for themselves that it would take a lifetime to visit them all. But that doesn’t mean we don’t love trying and trying again (and again). —Shoshi Parks

Jalisco, Mexico: A Tasting Tour through Tequila Country

Jalisco, Mexico

(Courtesy of Pixabay/CC)

Jalisco, home to the town of Tequila, is one of the largest producers of agave spirits in Mexico. Obviously we had to try as many as we could on a visit to the state capital, Guadalajara. On a tequila distillery tour, we tasted our way through the countryside and ended the day dancing drunkenly to live mariachi with our new besties. —Shoshi Parks

Lisbon, Portugal: A Food + Wine Lover's Tour

Day 2: City exploration, cocktails + a seafood feast

The most memorable feature of this gorgeous San Francisco lookalike was the food. Though touristy, Lisbon’s TimeOut Market, known locally as Mercado da Ribeira, is impressive and a great starting point, especially for a first taste of Portugal’s famous pastéis de nada, a custard tart, at Manteigaria. Lunch or dinner at the chaotic Cervejaria Ramiro is a must for a fresh seafood feast (don’t miss the scarlet shrimp), but the best experiences we found were in the modern tascas, tiny holes-in-the-wall that serve authentic Portuguese plates tapas-style and on the cheap. O Velho Eurico and Taberna Sal Grosso (get the pork belly) were highlights. —Jess Lander

Paris, France: Exploring the Catacombs

Catacombs, Paris

(Courtesy of Rijin/CC)

More than six million bodies are buried beneath the city of Paris in a subterranean labyrinth 200 miles long. A little less than a mile of them are open to visitors, their passageways lined with skulls and bones arranged in religious motifs that reach from floor to ceiling. The Catacombs are so creepy, they're hard to wrap your brain around—or maybe that’s just the lack of oxygen. —Shoshi Parks

New York, New York: A Conundrum on the Hudson

Hudson River Park.

(Nick Czap)

There's something about Manhattan and the way the terrain and the energy shift as you move through it that tends to create memories of a discrete, episodic nature. One such memory, from a visit to the city this spring, is that of a stroll in Hudson River Park, a spectacular esplanade that stretches all the way from Hell's Kitchen to TriBeCa. Walking south along the waterfront, I noticed something odd and stepped out to the end of a pier for a closer look at the river, which appeared to be flowing backwards, towards Albany. I would later learn that the lower 153 miles of the Hudson are in fact a tidal estuary in which brackish water from the Atlantic is forced upstream by the rising tide. When the Mohicans settled in the Hudson Valley, they named themselves the Muh-he-con-ne-ok, the People of the Waters That Are Never Still. —Nick Czap

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