Aerial view of Rome, Italy

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Among the clouds over 2022, we’re finding silver linings. Some popular countries for tourism are relaxing entry restrictions, and the world’s safest and most punctual airlines have been revealed.

Here are the biggest new stories from CNN Travel.

22 places to go in 2022

These past few years have proved that travel is a privilege, not a right, but we have so much still to be grateful for on our well-connected little planet. We’ve put together a wish list of 22 dream destinations around the world that inspire us – everything from national parks to remote islands and other less-visited spots.

There’s Ollantaytambo in Peru’s Sacred Valley, believed to be a refuge for Inca royalty, and the energetic vibes of booming Naples, the Italian birthplace of pizza. Or if you want to get knee-deep in nature, you could try the Congo Basin and Gabon’s national parks – all turning 20 this year – or Munga-Thirri-Simpson Desert National Park in the Australian Outback.

All have moved to “Level 4: Covid-19 Very High,” which applies to destinations where more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents are registered in the past 28 days. More than 80 destinations are now at Level 4.

Cancellation chaos

When the Covid Grinch wasn’t busy condemning us to eating turkey alone in our bedrooms, it was ripping through airline crews and contributing to thousands of holiday flights being canceled around the world, particularly in the United States.

Festive cheer was especially lacking on one Delta flight to Atlanta on December 23 when a woman allegedly punched another passenger, resulting in a federal assault charge.

You may want to bookmark our tips on what to do if your flight is delayed or canceled, as JetBlue has cut at least 1,280 flights through January 13 and more may follow. It caps off another turbulent year for air travel: Here’s how we covered the biggest stories in aviation in 2021.

Out at sea, meanwhile, cruises are once again facing disruption because of Covid-19, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has raised cruise travel to its highest risk level.

Big Ben bongs again

New Year’s celebrations in London and New York were canceled or scaled back, but at least the cities’ iconic attractions got to put on their party sparkle.

In the UK capital, where public festivities were called off, Big Ben slipped off its scaffolding and bonged again after a much-needed, four-year repair project. In Manhattan, the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball got a fresh covering of Irish Waterford crystals for the city’s scaled-back celebration.

In good news for Americans at home and abroad, the US National Park Service is waiving entrance fees for five days in 2022 at all national park sites, and the US State Department is now letting some citizens return to the country with expired passports.

The Times Sqare ball measures 12 feet in diameter and weighs 11,875 pounds.

Europe’s travel situation hasn’t improved

Three new destinations were added to the CDC’s highest-risk category for travel: a Mediterranean archipelago, an Eastern European country renowned for its vineyards, plus the largest country in northern Europe.

The operators of Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, the fixed railway link between Britain and mainland Europe, on December 29 warned British citizens who live in the EU that they can no longer transit through France by road to reach their continental homes.

Livin’ La Dolce Vita

Renderings of the new Orient Express La Dolce Vita have been revealed and, as you’d expect from the world’s most glamorous train company, they are exquisite.

The Orient Express last rode through Italy in 1977, when the Paris-Istanbul service ended, but from 2023, a deluxe set of new 11-carriage trains will glide through 14 of the country’s regions and 131 of its cities, as well as to countries beyond.

In the meantime, Wes Anderson’s redesigned Belmond British Pullman carriage is currently chuff-chuffing its way around England’s green and pleasant land.

The trip that inspired Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet Hippie Trail 1