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While much of the world reopened in 2022 to travel, it wasn’t without glitches like canceled flights and major delays that threw yet another wrench in even the best-laid plans. It seems that 2023 may be the year that it truly bounces back, and this time, satiating the appetite for bucket-list adventures like no other.
With so many options now available, we’ll help you narrow down the destinations to plan a truly unforgettable trip, whether you’re looking to journey further than you ever have, tick off bucket-list experiences, or simply enjoy a blissful stress-free escape. Across the globe, these are the top places to consider for 2023 based on your particular interests.
The Best Places to Travel in 2023:
- Best for Outdoor Adventures: Queenstown, New Zealand
- Best for Nature Lovers: Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
- Best for Arts & Culture: Florence, Italy
- Best for Families: Honolulu, Hawaii
- Best for Couples: Amalfi, Italy
- Best for Solo Travelers: Reykjavik, Iceland
- Best for Retirees: Porto, Portugal
- Best for LGBTQ+: Vancouver, BC, Canada
- Best for Budget-Friendly: Hoi An, Vietnam
- Best for Luxury: Bora Bora, French Polynesia
- Best for Foodies: San Sebastian, Spain
- Best for Eco-Friendly Escapes: The Azores
- Best for Beach Bums: Phuket, Thailand
- Best for Mountain Lovers: Telluride, Colorado
- Best for Small Town Retreats: Port Townsend, Washington
- Best for Remote Getaways: Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile
- Best for Large Groups: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- Best for Nightlife: Mykonos, Greece
- Best for Revenge Travel: Tanzania
- Best for Bleisure: Dublin, Ireland
Best for Outdoor Adventures:
Queenstown, New Zealand
One of the world’s most spectacularly beautiful cities, Queenstown is hard to beat when it comes to outdoor adventure.
Why Visit? Located in the southern region of the South Island at the edge of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown offers activities like hiking, mountain biking, climbing, rafting, and kayaking, along with unique and thrilling pursuits. In fact, bungee jumping was birthed right here at the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, where you’ll plunge more than 141 feet over the Kawarau River. Tandem skydiving, river surfing, jet boating, and canyon swinging are just a few of the many other options.
Don’t Miss: Take a ride on the Skyline Queenstown Gondola which will bring you to the Bob’s Peak observation deck for some of the most breathtaking views around. You’ll have the option to bring a mountain bike and ride the trails in the Queenstown Bike Park at the top too.
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Best for Nature Lovers:
Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
Costa Rica offers it all for nature lovers, with Manuel Antonio National Park one of the top destinations, boasting unspoiled white sandy beaches, lush jungle, and abundant wildlife.
Why Visit? Howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, spider monkeys, and endangered squirrel monkeys can all be seen here in addition to sloths, agoutis, iguanas, toucans, and scarlet macaws.
Don’t Miss: The park is renowned for its marine biodiversity and vibrant coral reefs that are ideal for diving, snorkeling, and kayaking excursions with whales and dolphins that can be spotted.
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Best for Arts & Culture:
Florence is one of the most important Renaissance architectural and art centers in the world.
Why Visit? According to UNESCO, 60 percent of the most important works of art that exist are in Italy, and around half are in this magnificent city. You’ll find many museums, palaces, and churches that are home to priceless artistic treasures, including the churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce which are veritable art galleries.
Don’t Miss: The Accademia Gallery is one of Florence’s most visited museums featuring Michelangelo’s works which includes the over 13-foot-tall marble statue of David.
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Best for Families:
For families who are looking for a beach vacation with a wide range of other attractions and the opportunity to be immersed in a different culture, it’s hard to beat Honolulu.
Why Visit? You’ll be able to enjoy all of the usual activities like soaking up the sun and the sand, snorkeling, paddling, and surfing, with many opportunities to learn to surf. The area offers many kid-friendly activities, like the Waikiki Aquarium, the Honolulu Zoo, and the Waikiki Historic Trail.
Don’t Miss: The Polynesian Cultural Center hosts luaus that include dining on kalua pig prepared in a traditional earth oven, listening to live Hawaiian music, and watching hula dancers perform.
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Best for Couples:
The small town of Amalfi sits along the Amalfi Coast, a mountainous stretch of coastline just south of Naples in southern Italy that’s one of the world’s most breathtaking with sheer cliff faces dramatically plunging down to a brilliant blue sea.
Why Visit? The town itself is incredibly romantic with its dramatic setting lying below the precipitous cliffs. It’s known as the “vertical city” as it extends like a terrace over multiple steep slopes.
Don’t Miss: It’s worth visiting for the beauty alone, but you won’t want to miss the Arab-Norman Sant’Andrea Cathedral at its heart with its striped Byzantine façade.
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Best for Solo Travelers:
Iceland is one of the world’s most spectacularly beautiful destinations and one of the top spots for a solo trip.
Why Visit? It’s easy to navigate and the people are friendly, with the capital city of Reykjavik more like a small town. It’s easy to meet up with other travelers in many places here like the Laundromat Café where many come to drink coffee, share travel tips, read, dine and do their laundry at the same time. If you want to mingle with locals, head to one of the pools like Árbæjarlaug.
Don’t Miss: While the world-famous Blue Lagoon is touristy, it’s a place that must be visited at least once, and you won’t feel out of place while enjoying a soak on your own.
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Best for Retirees:
Porto is a great city for many types of travelers, although retirees seeking a relaxed place to enjoy rich history and architecture, fabulous scenery, and explore one of the world’s top wine destinations will love it here.
Why Visit? It’s world-famous for its production of fine port with the UNESCO-listed Douro Valley just a short drive away. Just across the river, Vila Nova de Gaia is renowned for its cellars and boasts a pretty promenade along the waterfront ideal for a stroll with remarkable views of the Dom Luís I Bridge and the picturesque neighborhood of Ribeira in Porto.
Don’t Miss: Spend time exploring Ribeira, an atmospheric pedestrian zone along the river, with cobbled streets made for wandering, cafes, restaurants, street vendors, and live music.
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Best for LGBTQ+:
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Vancouver is one of the world’s best cities, surrounded by mountains and water, offering a wide range of things to do indoors and out.
Why Visit? Whether you like to explore museums, shop, enjoy mouthwatering cuisine, watch a great band, dance all night, bike, run, paddle, or sail, there’s something for you here. Plus, Canada is one of the most progressive countries and the city itself has a thriving LGTBQ community with restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and clubs that are friendly to all.
Don’t Miss: Kitsilano Beach, or Kits Beach as the locals call it, offers a wrap-around view of the city, ocean, and mountains and is a favorite, attracting sun-worshippers, joggers, families, and people of all types.
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Best for Budget-Friendly:
Hoi An, Vietnam
The over 400-year-old town of Hoi An is a delightful UNESCO-listed town in central Vietnam that’s often ranked among the world’s most affordable travel destinations.
Why Visit? Hoi An is one of the most Instagrammable cities in Southeast Asia, with everything from its iconic colorful lanterns to the famous pink wall with the famous Hoi An “vibes only” sign. You can even take a tour to learn about the local fishermen and test your own luck and skills.
Don’t Miss: The Ancient Town is fabulous to explore on foot with centuries-old temples and magnificent architecture. Those who are into shopping will find countless bargains, including hundreds of tailor shops selling clothing, bags, and custom-made items for cheap.
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Best for Luxury:
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
The tiny island of Bora Bora is not only one of the world’s most photogenic places with quintessential white sand beaches, palm trees, and clear turquoise water, but it’s renowned for its luxuries.
Why Visit? It’s home to high-end resorts, including properties with overwater bungalows, and unique, pricey experiences that make it attractive to celebrities and other elite looking for the best of the best while enjoying the legendary lagoon encircled by islets with a backdrop of rainforest-covered peaks.
Don’t Miss: Book one of the island’s overwater accommodations for the opportunity to step off your deck right into a brilliant underwater world with colorful fish and manta rays.
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Best for Foodies:
San Sebastian, Spain
Located on the northern coast of Spain, the Basque Autonomous Community of San Sebastian offers gorgeous beaches but it’s best known for its delicious eats, particularly tapas.
Why Visit? The city has been called the “Foodie Capital of Europe” with more Michelin stars per square meter than almost anywhere else in the world, including local specialties like slow-cooked veal cheeks and salt cod, often paired with txakoli wine.
Don’t Miss: Every bar offers its own unique signature dish, from local spider crab to stewed rabbit, so find out what the locals are enjoying and follow suit. There are also food tours you can take to sample the fare while learning about its history.
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Best for Eco-Friendly Escapes:
The Azores are nine volcanic islands known for their magnificent beauty, dotted across the mid-Atlantic.
Why Visit? If you want to enjoy some of the most impressive work of Mother Nature sustainably, it’s one of the best places to do it. There’s a serious effort to protect the natural resources here with the Azores aiming to become the first certified sustainable tourist destination in Portugal. While Sao Miguel is the most developed, you’ll still find plenty of unspoiled landscapes with tumbling waterfalls, black sand beaches, and hot springs.
Don’t Miss: Ideal for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers, the Azores are a hiker’s paradise with a wide range of trails, ranging from gentle strolls along coastal paths and crater lakes to challenging treks, like the route to the peak of volcanic Mount Pico.
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Best for Beach Bums:
Phuket is the premier vacation destination in Thailand, with Patong Beach the top spot for sun-seeking travelers.
Why Visit? There are over 15 unspoiled stretches of white sands within close proximity to each other, making the country’s largest province a perfect place for beach bums. Look forward to spending your days soaking up the sun and swimming in stunningly clear aquamarine-hued waters, dining on a fresh-caught seafood and local produce in between.
Don’t Miss: From Som Tam (papaya salad) to Pad Thai to various types of grilled meats, Thailand has perfected the art of street food.
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Best for Mountain Lovers:
Telluride is nestled in a deep canyon in the San Juan Mountains, surrounded by soaring peaks.
Why Visit? It’s often named North America’s most beautiful ski town with Telluride Ski Resort lying just above, but hiking is epic during the warmer months of the year. A Victorian silver mining community, it was the world’s first to have electric street lights and it still has the feel of bygone days with no stoplights, billboards, or neon signs.
Don’t Miss: Exploring the downtown area with its Victorian storefronts and frontier-era facades, which house restaurants with fine wine lists and hip bars with a spirited culture of passionate mountain lovers.
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Best for Small Town Retreats:
Port Townsend, Washington
One of the prettiest small towns in the country, Port Townsend is nearly surrounded by water and mountains, located at the north end of the Olympic Peninsula.
Why Visit? It’s filled with magnificent Victorian buildings which now house a variety of eclectic shops, coffee houses, eateries, a historic theater, and live music venues, with a quirky artistic culture that can be enjoyed throughout. If you’re looking for scenic views, there are several small beaches for peaceful strolls and gazing out at breathtaking landscapes.
Don’t Miss: Fort Worden State Park is just a couple of miles from downtown, home to a lighthouse, long stretches of sand, trails for hiking, and opportunities to rent kayaks for a scenic paddle.
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Best for Remote Getaways:
Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile
Patagonia lies in the remote southernmost region of South America, stretching across both Argentina and Chile. Chile is home to Torres del Paine National Park, arguably the finest on the continent, and while it may be quite the journey to get there, your reward is a stunning natural beauty that few other places can rival.
Why Visit? Towering granite spires soar over 6,500 feet above the wild landscape, with the terrain carved out by glaciers that sweep down to valleys and hang over cliffs, eventually caving into lagoons in a brilliant shade of turquoise.
Don’t Miss: There are countless trails that can be hiked, winding through dense forest, along rushing rivers, leading to jewel-like lakes and glistening glaciers. Along the way, keep an eye out for wildlife like guanacos, rheas, flamingos, and Andean condors.
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Best for Large Groups:
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
One of Mexico’s top destinations, Cabo San Lucas is great for a large group getaway.
Why Visit? There is a wide range of all-inclusive resorts that make for a hassle-free stay, with everything from more affordable, budget-friendly options to properties that offer the ultimate in luxuries, complete with jaw-dropping ocean views. Numerous vacation rentals are available here too, many of which come with gorgeous pools, concierge services, a private chef that can prepare your meals, grocery delivery services, and more. No matter where you are, there’s never a margarita or a delicious meal far away.
Don’t Miss: After a day soaking up the sun and the sand and taking part in activities like swimming, snorkeling, and parasailing, you can sample the lively nightlife downtown.
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Best for Nightlife:
Mykonos is one of the world’s most stunning party spots, a playground for the rich and famous for decades, starting with Jackie Onassis and Grace Kelly.
Why Visit? There’s still an impressive roll call of well-known names who come to sip champagne from magnums sold right on the powdery white sands and dance the night away.
Don’t Miss: Paradise Beach is one of the most popular, drawing supermodels, fashionistas and celebrities of all sorts, along with the tourist looking to party all day, all night, and do it all over again the next day.
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Best for Revenge Travel:
The East African country of Tanzania is renowned for its vast wilderness areas that include the plains of Serengeti National Park, a safari mecca inhabited by the “Big Five,” including elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos.
Why Visit? The city of Arusha at the base of Mt. Meru is considered the Safari Capital of the World as a gateway to some of the best, including Ngorongoro Crater, often ranked as Africa’s No. 1 spot for exotic wildlife viewing.
Don’t Miss: Visitors are practically guaranteed to see all the “Big Five,” while enjoying the mesmerizing sight of the crater and the thrill of the descent down its inner walls.
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Best for Bleisure:
If you haven’t heard the term “bleisure travel,” it’s the term for a getaway that combines both work and play. As Dublin is home to many large companies and often ranked among the world’s top tech cities, it draws many business people while also offering plenty of opportunities for pleasure.
Why Visit? It’s home to the biggest city park in Europe, Phoenix Park, many world-class museums, and offers some of the best nightlife you’ll find.
Don’t Miss: Temple Bar is where the tourist often go, famously associated with the city’s fun after dark, but there are many historic pubs hosting local and national musicians for traditional music sessions, including The Brazen Head which claims to be the oldest in Dublin.
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