10 travel destinations you must visit in 2023.
Photo by Charlotte Noelle on Unsplash
We’re now down to the last two months of 2022, which means a new year is almost upon us. And with that annual reset is an opportunity to start fresh, plan a new set of resolutions, and even dream of all our next adventures. As the world continues to open up, many amazing destinations await those itching for well-deserved holidays. But where to go first? Here are 10 destinations to add to your must-visit list in 2023.
Tahiti, the largest of French Polynesia’s islands, welcomes seasoned travelers, people looking to relax on holiday, and honeymooners. Tahiti tours may not boast vast white-sand beaches, but visitors can still marvel at the waterfall-laden, shaded peaks, frolic on stunning black-sand beaches, and take in the beauty of its protected blue lagoons. Moreover, Polynesian and modern charms envelop the island, and the capital of Pape’ete hosts diverse cultures, which make for interesting encounters during your stay.
There’s so much to do and see in Tahiti. For those with an inner mermaid, relaxing in a bungalow over turquoise waters will bring you closer to the sea. You can also travel to Tahiti’s surrounding islands by boat or a quick flight, feast on its boundless selection of tropical fruit, or swim with sharks in Rangiroa. And if you find yourself in Moorea, an ATV tour of its mountains will complete any trip.
Those who visit Switzerland will be greeted by imposing peaks, deep Alpine lakes, grassy valleys filled with immaculate farms and modest villages, and prosperous cities combining old and new.
Thrill-seekers will stand in awe of this central European nation’s incredible landscapes and find inspiration in the exciting outdoor adventures it offers. Graubünden, Bernese Oberland, and Central Switzerland are skiing and snowboarding hotspots during the winter; while the warmer seasons beckon with tempting hiking and biking trails.
As for urban adventures or family-friendly holidays, various experiences abound in multiple cities and other areas. Riding the Swiss rail network is one experience you shouldn’t miss, especially if you’re traveling with family. Families will find once-in-a-lifetime moments through the picturesque peaks, be able to sample classic cookies, and tour a chocolate factory (ala Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
What do Colombia’s birdlife and the hit animated film Encanto have in common? Both are vibrant and harmonious.
Home to over 1,900 bird species, this South American nation boasts the Northern Colombia Birding Trail which is fit for casual and devoted bird lovers alike.
Travelers on the National Audubon Society’s tours will be able to explore the route’s notable destinations, like the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, on 4×4 vehicles and meet various bird species. The crested quetzal, Santa Marta parakeet, and sickle-winged guan are among the species to look out for. Visitors will also be able to interact with Colombians and Wayuu Indigenous peoples who work along the Northern Colombia Birding Trail.
Apart from a closer look at its colorful birdlife, Colombia has more attractions you can explore, including:
- Cartagena, an old town with boundless energy
- The Amazon jungle boasts colossal strips of unspoiled rainforest
- The La Guajira Peninsula, home of Colombia’s Wayuu people
Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island has opened its doors to thrill-seekers once more. This lakeside town offers opportunities to ski and hike in the Remarkables range and is likewise a cyclist’s haven.
Queenstown is currently building a network of recreational and commuting bike lanes and paths, with its Trails Trust eyeing completion by 2025. The 80.7-mile Queenstown Trail is the core route of this network, running from the town to Gibbston. But if you want to get your adrenaline truly pumping, you can add the Coronet Trail to your itinerary, which will allow you to admire the surrounding wilderness.
Once you’ve conquered the great outdoors, you can then visit other top attractions or learn about New Zealand’s vast culture. Kick back in Auckland or Wellington, get in on the aquatic fun on the Hauraki Gulf, or discover the Māori culture.
Appian Way, Italy
Looking for a must-visit destination near Rome? Look no further than the 360-mile Appian Way (or Via Appia). Natives, marching soldiers, and famous personalities have traversed this “superhighway”, which the Italian government is transforming into a walkable path.
On its way to returning to its former glory, you will be able to explore Via Appia’s spectacular villages and archaeological sites, then rest at your chosen overnight accommodation.
Dodecanese Islands, Greece
Destinations like Athens and Santorini may come to your mind whenever someone mentions Greece. However, the Hellenic Republic has its own hidden gems, including the Dodecanese Islands.
This archipelago off the Turkish coast lures travelers with rugged landscapes and lively history. The Romans, Ottomans, and Italians heavily influenced multiple aspects of Dodecanese society and culture, which tourists often highlight in their prized selfies at Leros, Patmos, and other popular Dodecanese islands.
Meanwhile, lesser-known areas have distinct yet unnoticed charms. One island in Karpathos spotlights isolated white churches, old towns, and long-standing traditions.
The Azores Islands, Portugal
Sustainable tourism thrives in this Portuguese territory. Currently, four islands on the Azores are UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) biosphere reserves. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) even deemed the region an oasis for 28 of its whale and dolphin species, and authorities are focused on protecting the unspoiled natural wonders within the Azores.
Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure sports buff, or someone passionate about sustainability, this Portuguese archipelago may offer the perfect experience for you. Whale watching, diving, watersports, and geotourism are top must-do’s in the Azores.
This southern African nation offers a real safari experience with biodiverse landscapes and free-roaming wildlife. For a glimpse of big cats and elephants, the Okavango Delta is a must-see.
The Kalahari Desert is another amazing destination within Botswana. Varying landscapes will greet you as you explore this vast desert, including the Makgadikgadi’s salt pans, Nxai Pans and its baobabs (trees from the silk-cotton family), and Kubu Island. The Kalahari also hosts incredible wildlife in Kgalagadi, fossil river valleys, and other distinct attractions.
For accommodations, visitors will find lodges and campgrounds and be able to rent a 4WD (four-wheel-drive) vehicle that will take them closer to the wilderness.
Impressive landscapes take the spotlight in the westernmost part of Canada’s Prairie Provinces, where the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains converge. Five UNESCO World Heritage sites and four national parks offer great views of these peaks while guarding Alberta’s natural wonders against potential threats.
Modernity and history co-exist in this Canadian province, as cities like Edmonton and Calgary combine diversity with a thriving economy. Its Aboriginal sites likewise let you dive deeper into Alberta’s rich history and culture. For instance, the Elk Island National Park holds guided hikes, hands-on interpretive programs, and Cree crafting programs revolving around the area’s indigenous peoples.
Alberta also hosts multiple events all year round, including the Calgary Stampede. The 10-day event welcomes over 700,000 attendees every July, who visit for the world’s richest rodeo, live music, and the Stampede Midway.
Provence may make you think of summer, lavender-scented air, aromatic olive oil, and cicadas humming their distinct tune. But whenever winter comes, snow atop the Sainte-Victoire Mountain becomes an unparalleled sight.
Provence welcomes travelers all year round and shows them how its people live the good life. You’ll delight in this French province’s every attraction, including its historic towns and unmatched countryside.
If you choose Provence as your next holiday destination, here are some places that deserve spots on your itinerary:
- Marseille, located on the edge of the Mediterranean
- Aix-de-Provence, where you can see the Sainte-Victoire Mountain from the nearby Esplanade Cezanne
- The Carrières de Lumières, a quarry turned art gallery in Les Baux-de-Provence
- Avignon, which features the Palace of Popes where nine Popes resided
Explore new destinations in the new year
Finding time to reconnect with yourself and your loved ones while exploring a new, magical destination is a great way to great 2023. We hope our must-visit list inspires you to satisfy your wanderlust and make unforgettable memories wherever you travel.