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.
Baja California National Marine Parks, Mexico
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.
Papua New Guinea
Canton Uri, Switzerland
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.