Last updated: 06:00 PM ET, Fri November 18 2016

Are These the Best Places to Visit in 2017?

Features & Advice | Patrick Clarke | November 18, 2016

Are These the Best Places to Visit in 2017?

PHOTO: Hamburg, Germany. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock) 

National Geographic Traveler magazine has unveiled its annual Best of the World list for 2017.

The collection features 21 of the top destinations on the planet, spanning three different categories, including nature, culture and cities.

"We think this year's list represents a carefully curated selection of forward-leaning places that reveal the bright future of travel," said the magazine's editor in chief, George Stone, in a statement. "This list is all about exploration and discovery. It's not just about where to go, but why to go now and how to make 2017 a year of enlightenment through travel."

The U.S. is represented three times, boasting a destination for each category. While some places are better known than others, the list is extremely diverse, featuring entire countries, islands, metropolises and World Heritage sites.

Best Destinations for Nature

For a stellar mountain hike in 2017, consider Banff, Alberta. Meanwhile, birders should have their sights set on Ecuador's Cloud Forests, which are home to hundreds of different bird species.

According to National Geographic Traveler, nature lovers also can't go wrong with a trip to Kauai, Hawaii or the Baja California peninsula.

Kauai, Hawaii

Finland

Baja California National Marine Parks, Mexico

Banff, Alberta

Cloud Forests, Ecuador

Via Dinarica, Western Balkans

Central India's National Parks

Best Destinations for Culture

Travelers seeking culture in 2017 can find it all over the map, including Europe, where visitors can find the Mediterranean archipelago of Malta and Switzerland's Canton of Uri.

READ MORE: These Are the World’s Trendiest Destinations

Interestingly, the U.S. state of Georgia also makes National Geographic Traveler's list for the top culture destinations thanks to its unrivaled music scene.

Malta

Papua New Guinea

Canton Uri, Switzerland

Chengdu, China

Guadeloupe Islands

Georgia

Cradle of Humankind, South Africa

Best City Destinations

Those looking to experience a new city next year will have plenty of options, according to the magazine's Best of the World list. The Spanish capital of Madrid and the German port city of Hamburg headline this year's top city destinations, but Africa, Asia, North America and South America are also represented.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the category is Anchorage, Alaska. National Geographic Traveler credits the destination's easy access to a wealth of wide-ranging activities for its placement on this year's list.

Marrakech, Morocco

Madrid, Spain

Anchorage, Alaska

Moscow, Russia

Seoul, Korea

Cartagena, Colombia

Hamburg, Germany

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