These are the best travel photos of 2021

Explore the world in 18 stunning images from our contributors.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Two countries’ differing COVID-19 responses have led to divided slopes: some deserted, some crowded at the Matterhorn Ski Paradise, which straddles the border between Italy and Switzerland. Here, visitors enjoy the slopes on the Swiss side of the resort, while the Italian side marked off with a yellow rope remained closed. Scroll through to see 17 more awe-inspiring images from our contributors.
Photograph by Davide Bertuccio

Even with an unsteady return to travel, 2021 proved to be a time of renewed exploration. The photographs we published this year reflect an intimacy that comes from staying closer to home and looking deeper into the landscapes and cultural traditions all around us.

Our National Geographic contributors shared surprising glimpses of regions they know well, from the urban trails of San Francisco to the untamed lands of Patagonia to the watery wilds of Alaska. These images reveal the enduring essence of inspiring places. 

(Best of the World: Here are 25 incredible journeys for 2022.)

The year ahead promises a grand return to travel, and we’re eager to hit the road. We hope these photographs reignite your desire to discover, spark your adventurous imagination, and set you off on your next journey, near or far.

Correction: The correct name of the Greek church is Agios Onoufrios. 

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