The best new things to do in the world in 2022

From epic museum openings to unmissable music, art and theatre, ...

Get lost in the world of Hans Christian Andersen

Odense, Denmark

Photo: H.C. Andersen’s House, Laerke Beck Johanson

Just 90 minutes by train from Copenhagen is dinky, charming Odense.

This place is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, and as of this month, it is now home to the brand-new architectural wonder that is the HCA Museum, an affectionate tribute to the fairytale master.

With its inventive biographical exhibits – including theatrical imaginings of his memoirs and inanimate projects that come alive (much like in his stories) – this thoroughly fun museum would no doubt have delighted the ‘Little Mermaid’ and ‘Snow Queen’ author himself.

Go large at an 11-day music bash

Barcelona, Spain

Photo: Christian Bertrand /

Remember when tickets went on sale for Primavera 2022? It really felt like mass hysteria.

But there’s a reason why there’s so much hype.

For starters, the festival always turns Barcelona into one, huge beachside party (and draws a fun audience from all corners of the globe).

But next year it’ll also be bigger than ever: the 2022 event takes place across two weekends in June, with bonus concerts scheduled in between and an extra DJ event at the end.

That means an 11-day sun-kissed bender with music’s hottest names. The organisers have got together a pretty diverse programme: the Strokes, Tyler the Creator, Pavement, Gorillaz and Dua Lipa are all lined up, along with DJs Jamie XX, Jeff Mills, LCY and Shanti Celeste. Ooft.

See the world’s most awe-inspiring immersive theatre

London, England

Photo: Julian Abrams

You have to go back eight long years, to sprawling Hollywood epic ‘The Drowned Man’, for the last major London event by immersive theatre gods Punchdrunk.

But the wait is very nearly over.

Outdoing themselves for sheer scale and ambition, new show ‘The Burnt City’ (March 22 to August 28) takes place in not one but two former military arsenal buildings, and will be a (sort of) adaptation of two Greek tragedies set during the Trojan War.

It’s hugely exciting that Londoners will soon be able to step back into Punchdrunk’s awe-inspiring worlds, less works of theatre than full-blown waking dreams.

Load up your Insta feed at a very colourful exhibition

Chicago, USA

Photo: Cody Bless

Next year the eye-popping, kaleidoscopic installations of roving interactive museum Color Factory will rock up in Chicago this spring.

Its largest-ever exhibition will take over Willis Tower, giving Chicagoans a chance to load up their Insta feeds with a big splurge of fluorescent lighting.

Previous shows have featured candy-pink rooms and NASA-themed ball pits, so expect a wildly in-yer-face mix of classic Colour Factory replicas and new rooms themed around Chicago itself.

Visit the world’s first Studio Ghibli theme park

Nagoya, Japan

Photo: Studio Ghibli

Gear up for Hayao Miyazaki’s upcoming ‘final’ film at the world’s first Studio Ghibli theme park, set to open in autumn 2022 near Nagoya (about three hours by train from Tokyo).

The attraction will feature five main features, all packed with rides based on the studio’s most famous flicks; you can also expect shops, exhibitions and gardens, all themed around hit anime like My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away.

The artist’s impressions all look marvellous – we won’t be surprised to find something thoroughly magical in Ghibliland.

Catch ‘Phantom of the Opera’ in a pretty dramatic location

Sydney, Australia

Photo: Supplied/Opera Australia

This production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s megahit ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is being staged not in the famed nearby Sydney Opera House but out on the open water of the city’s harbour (from March 25 to April 24).

Lloyd Webber famously gives the go-ahead to very few brand-new productions of ‘Phantom’, and this bespoke reimagining is helmed by two of Australia’s most respected theatremakers, director Simon Phillips and set designer Gabriela Tylesova. It’ll premiere in March and run for a month.

Take a sleeper train all the way across Europe

Prague, Czech Republic, to Brussels, Belgium

Photo: Anze Furlan /

You doze off in ever-magnificent Prague, then wake up 800 kilometres away in EU capital and waffle-and-beer-paradise Brussels.

Sounds like a dream, right? Well, in 2022 this is set to become a reality, thanks to a new batch of sleeper trains run by the Regiojet network.

Spurred on by the climate emergency, it’s the biggest extension to Europe’s night-train network in years and part of a huge continent-wide drive to revive the good old-fashioned sleeper.

Not only will Regiojet’s new route run between Prague and Brussels via Dresden, Berlin and Amsterdam, but all the trains will have free wi-fi, coffee and breakfast, too. Swanky, huh?

Saddle up your dragon for the Game of Thrones studio tour

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Photo: Game of Thrones Studio Tour

It’s a big year for Thronies. Not only is a new Game of Thrones prequel scheduled to land on our TVs, but there’s a brand-new Westeros pilgrimage to saddle up your dragon for.

The official Game of Thrones Studio Tour is opening on February 4 in North Ireland’s Linen Mill Studios outside Belfast.

Basically the Seven Kingdoms’ answer to London’s Harry Potter studio tour, it will offer props, costumes and sets, including ​​the entirety of Winterfell’s Great Hall.

We cannot wait to find out what they’ll be selling in the shop.

Check out King Tut’s enormous new pad

Giza, Egypt

Photo: Wikimedia Commons / AshyCatInc

When it finally opens in November 2022, the Grand Egypt Museum will be the biggest museum in the world dedicated to a single civilisation.

It’s located in Giza, within snooping distance of the great pyramids and a 40-minute drive from the capital, Cairo.

The foundation stone was laid in 2002 – but the Arab Spring of 2010 created widespread unrest and work was put on hold.

An army of builders is now back on-site round the clock and working towards an opening next year.

Costing $1 billion, this megastructure won’t be far off the size of the Louvre in Paris. The museum’s rotating display will comprise 50,000 artefacts, but most importantly, this will be the first time that all 5,000 pieces of King Tutankhamun’s funerary treasure will be displayed in the same place – death mask included.

Discover a cultural jewel at the heart of Europe

Novi Sad, Serbia

Photo: Irma eyewink _ Shutters

Travellers have been making the pilgrimage to EXIT Festival for years, but 2022 represents a paradigm shift when it comes to Novi Sad.

Serbia’s second-largest city will wear the crown of European Capital of Culture for the year and the Vojvodina beauty has gone all in, revolutionising NS ahead of more than 1,500 events (featuring a whopping 4,000 artists).

Ever fancied checking out an exhibition in an abandoned pasta factory? The Mlin Cultural Station awaits.

Novi Sad’s gorgeous architecture and unique history have long made it a major destination-in-waiting.

In 2022, the rest of the world will finally cotton on too.

10 more best new things to do in the world in 2022

Snoop around an eccentric star’s living room up to the most remote night club.

Photo: Liget Budapest Project

Here are the 22 best new things to do in the world in 2022, from massive new museums to huge gigs, theatre shows and art exhibitions you won’t want to miss.

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