Running With The Big Dogs


In December of 2009, National Geographic published an article which rated 133 destinations.

As expected, there were places which tied with ours for overall scores.  This you will see below. The Berkshires of Massachusetts had the same score as The Douro Valley in Portugal... The Engadine / St Moriz region in Switzerland... and Wales.


Overall, The Berkshires with the other three destinations RANKED #7!


And the other fabulous news is that The Berkshires have developed even

more since the 2009...  all in the ways that Nat-Geo views to be positive! 


Think about it!  

It's a very big world... And, there are only 13 places

that ranked above The Berkshires.


See The List Of The First 13 Locations Below

The Berskhires

Sharing The Spotlight  w Other Fabulous Destinations





Massachusetts: Berkshires (score: 76) This area in western Massachusetts “seems to have the right balance” of picturesque towns, arts offerings, and well-protected natural beauty. Some complain it is becoming too “gentrified,” with “boutiques pushing out the mom-and-pop establishments.”


Portugal: Douro Valley (score: 76) This wine region in northern Portugal charms some with its “historic and natural attractions” and disappoints others with its “suburbanization.” Most agree about the region’s intact cultural authenticity.


Switzerland: Engadine region (score: 76) “An incredibly beautiful landscape” dotted with mountain villages, including the famous ski resort St. Moritz. Earns high praise for both ecological and social integrity. “The main problem in the Engadine is the increasing number of second homes” that are empty most of the year.

Wales (score: 76) “I was gobsmacked by the beauty of the Welsh countryside,” says one panelist. “Extraordinary, verdant, and with 500,000 Welsh speakers,” chimes in another. The only drawbacks seem to be rainy weather and environmental degradation from mining. 


National Geographic's

The First 6 Rankings with 13 Sites





Norway: Fjords region (score: 85) The Fjords, which topped the charts in our 2004 rankings, get even higher marks this year. “About as good as can be done,” says one panelist. The gorgeous scenery and the “wellpreserved Norwegian rural life” are vigorously protected, plus “the local people seem to benefit.” Should keep a wary eye on the growing cruise business.




British Columbia: Kootenay/Yoho National Parks (score: 81) On the western slope of the Canadian Rockies adjoining Banff, these two national parks are “essentially wilderness” with a “good, marked trail system” and outstanding “visitor management.” “An awe-inspiring destination in summer.”




Quebec: Gaspé Peninsula (score: 80) Jutting into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the colorful Gaspé Peninsula offers “oceanfront, islands, and inland mountains” within “excellent parks and reserves,” along with “authentic Francophone” villages. A big part of the area’s appeal is “tourism development largely on a human scale.”


New Zealand: South Island (score: 80) “A place of incredibly diverse beauty,” with mountains, vineyards, lakes, “one beautiful beach after another,” and “clean” cities. “Laid back and not geared specifically for the tourist; welcoming to them while the locals go about their daily lives.” The future looks rosy because “stewardship is built into the culture as a whole.”




Japan: ancient Kyoto (score: 79) Kyoto, one of Asia’s most sacred sites, is “magnificently preserved and managed,” and honors the “serenity and charm of ancient Japan.” It showcases a “rich legacy of living cultures and festivals, immaculate gardens, a variety of crafts and cuisines, all within a modern city.”




Vermont (score: 78) “More than any American state, Vermont has worked to preserve those qualities that make it unique,” such as scenic countryside, lively small towns, historic streetscapes, local businesses. A tourist magnet in summer, it nonetheless “never seems overrun by visitors.” Scores well for “environmental- and socialsustainability practices.”


Slovenia (score: 78) The northernmost of the former Yugoslavia’s republics, Slovenia wins praise for being “savvy about balancing tourism with cultural and historical preservation.” Ljubljana, the capital, is “colorful, vibrant, and architecturally appealing,” and “Slovenia’s Alps and wine country remain among the most sustainable and authentic places to visit in Europe.”


Australia: Kakadu National Park (score: 78) Half the size of Switzerland, this diverse land of rocky hills and river valleys in Australia’s Northern Territory is jointly managed by government officials and Aboriginal people. “Wonderful wildlife, unspoiled beauty,” and Aboriginal rock art are major draws. Darwin, the main gateway, is “an undistinguished frontier town.”


Spain: Medieval Granada and the Alhambra (score: 78) “The beauty and variety of Granada still astonish me after 40 years of visits.” The “magical” palace and gardens of the Alhambra comprise “one of those rare must-see destinations that lives up to the hype.” The Alhambra is an innovator in managing tourist numbers; visitors are “absorbed into the urban milieu with little overt impact.”




Germany: Bavarian Alps (score: 77) “A great place to get lost in a remote village and get to know the locals.” Balanced tourist development and environmental protection are strengths, even at popular attractions, but traffic woes are mounting. Hiking is the way to go.


Oregon-Washington: Columbia Gorge region (score: 77) “The U.S.A.’s Rhineland,” not just for the wineries, but for “an incredible job of protecting the views and many towns with considerable charm.” Great potential for “agritourism and geotourism.” On the downside: major dams and highways.


England: Yorkshire Dales (score: 77) The Dales, much of which form a national park of valleys and villages, stand out as “an icon of sustainable tourism.” Visitors are rewarded with “wonderful” farmhouse B&Bs, great hiking opportunities, and “friendly village pubs.” But high housing prices are driving away young people, and limited public transportation poses problems.


Scotland: The Highlands (score: 77) Popular with visitors since the time of Queen Victoria, the Highlands don’t give “the sense that they’re a tourist destination.” Local people are part of the attraction and “appear to be in control of development for their benefit.” Second homes and nonlocal workers in the hospitality industry have begun to threaten the authenticity.


Chile: Torres del Paine (score: 77) Panelists rave about the “breathtaking” scenery of this national park in Patagonia, where cougars roam and “gauchos ride horseback around volcanic peaks.” Though generally well managed, there are worries about future overuse.




Massachusetts: Berkshires (score: 76) This area in western Massachusetts “seems to have the right balance” of picturesque towns, arts offerings, and well-protected natural beauty. Some complain it is becoming too “gentrified,” with “boutiques pushing out the mom-and-pop establishments.”