By Kenya Barrett
Are you ready to embark on a journey that transcends the ordinary? 2023 promises a world of adventure, culture, and natural splendor, and we've curated the ultimate list of destinations that will ignite your wanderlust like never before.
Greece is consistently one of the best destinations in Europe to visit, and it remains the same this year. The "Cradle of Western Civilization" is filled with ancient historical, archeaological wonders, delicious cuisine, and beautiful beaches – making Greece perfect for any traveler.
You can visit the capital of Athens to dive into history at the Acropolis and Pantheon, or travel to the Greece islands like Santorini and Mykonos to enjoy magnificent beaches and romance. The country is also known for its mouthwatering cuisine and wine, so it's great for any foodie.
Italy, a timeless marvel, unsurprisingly emerges as one of 2023's must-visit destinations. The allure of Hollywood adds to its charm, as the hit series The White Lotus uses places in Italy as filming locations including Taormina and Palermo.
Beyond the screen, Italy enchants with its delectable cuisine ranging from exquisite pasta, pizza, and fine wines. Its rich history, showcased in the Colosseum and Renaissance art, beckons to history-buffs and art-aficionados. Italy's diverse landscapes, from the Amalfi Coast's rugged beauty to the serene Lake Como, offer endless adventures for nature-enthusiasts. Add the warmth of Italian hospitality plus world-class art, and you have the perfect recipe for one of the best countries to visit in 2023.
Ireland’s endless charm lies in its rolling green hills, rugged coastlines, and rich Celtic heritage. Throughout the country you can explore ancient castles like Blarney as well as the capital Dublin's bustling streets, where the past meets the present.
The Wild Atlantic Way will lead you to dramatic cliffs and pristine beaches, offering a breathtaking adventure perfect for a self-drive vacation. Ireland's warm hospitality is legendary, and you'll find a cozy pub with live traditional music around every corner. With its unique blend of culture, history, and stunning landscapes, Ireland is an immersive experience and an unmissable vacation destination.
If you love whiskey, bagpipes, and tales of the Loch Ness Monster, then it's time to take a trip to Scotland. This Celtic country is geographically stunning with scenic attractions at every turn. Visitors can enjoy the panoramic views of various highlands and lowlands while exploring historic landmarks that sit along the edge of different lochs.
Points of interest include the famed Loch Ness, the National Museum of Scotland, and the historic Edinburgh Castle. Visitors have particularly enjoyed visiting the cities of Glasgow, Skye, and Inverness, as they possess their own unique charm. A country filled with culture, Scotland’s traditions simply cannot be overlooked. Visitors usually make an appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, one of the top art festivals in the world!
Thailand is a majestic country filled with temples, tropical beaches, royal palaces, and ancient ruins. Whether you’d like to explore the Grand Palace in the heart of Bangkok, get a Thai massage on Railay Beach, or pay the Big Buddha a visit in Phuket, Thailand is filled with tons of adventures for anyone to enjoy. If you’d like to discover more of Thailand’s natural beauty, feel free to journey to Khao Yai National Park, Phang Nga Bay, or Ayutthaya – a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Thailand.
To enjoy more of the spiritual aspects of Thailand, consider taking a trip down to the Doi Suthep temple right outside of Chiang Mai or the Khmer Ruins located in Buriram Province. A perfect place to get lost in the culture and beauty, Thailand is equally a spiritual and earthly experience that visitors can appreciate in the coming year.
South Africa is so much more than just the cities of Johannesburg or Cape Town. Other countries in this region such as Botswana, Mozambique, and Zambia are also great destinations to discover more of what South Africa has to offer. With subtropical and temperate climates, countries in this area are ideal for those who would like to spend time participating in nature-based activities.
While safari adventures are common, visitors could also enjoy paddling through the Okavango Delta, standing on the edge of Victoria Falls, or observing the desert landscapes and sand dunes in person. This region of the world is filled with many adventures and sights that are just waiting for you to explore.
Another trending destination amongst travelers is the small yet fascinating country of Portugal. More recently, this country has become popular for its beautiful beaches, tasty cuisine, and contributions to the wine industry. Points of interest in Portugal include the Belem Tower in Lisbon, the Convento do Cristo in Tomar, and the Torre de Clérigos in Oporto. While Lisbon is the capital city, tourists also gravitate to the beautiful Algarves, the seaside city of Albufeira, and Coimbra.
Porto is the second largest city in the country and serves as home to port wine – one of the country’s most sought-after exports. The Douro River, which begins in and flows mainly through Spain, ends in Porto as well. Whether you’re more of the sightseeing traveler or the wine-tasting type, Portugal is truly the best option for all tastes.
Known for its fine dining, glamorous shopping opportunities, cultural and social gatherings as well as desert activities, the UAE should be at the top of your travel bucket list for 2023! The country consists of seven emirates which include Abu Dhabi (the capital state), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain.
Even though each emirate represents a piece of Emirati heritage and culture, Abu Dhabi and Dubai promote a certain level of glitz and glamour. There are also tons of beautiful beaches in Abu Dhabi well worth the visit! Ras Al-Kaimah and Ajman are perfect for those who seek a resort-style getaway; nature lovers may benefit from a retreat in Sharjah or Fujairah – a partial home of the scenic Hajar Mountains.
Without a doubt, Malta is simply one of the most underrated countries in the Mediterranean. Often overshadowed by Greece and Italy, Malta is arguably a better destination than the two when you take its amazing fortified landscapes, regularly warm climate, and rich history into consideration (plus smaller crowds).
Malta’s capital city Valletta is the perfect place to explore the traditions of the country. The city is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the abundance of historic landmarks including Saint John’s Co-Cathedral, Grandmaster’s Palace and Armory, and the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Head over to Sliema to enjoy a day of shopping or sunshine, as the area features various beaches and shopping centers. Other places of interest include Gozo, Mdina, and Marsaxlokk.
Egypt has recently become a trending destination amongst millions of tourists. While the country possesses a rich historical and religious background, it has also become a desirable relaxation location filled with marvelous beaches. Travelers should consider visiting the seaside towns of Alexandria, Sharm El Sheik, or Hurghada. All three offer amazing views of the iconic Red Sea while giving tourists a taste of Egyptian culture.
Alternatively, you can head a bit inland to explore the metropolitans of Giza and Cairo to experience the daily life of an Egyptian. You can enjoy a Nile River cruise in Cairo or discover one of the seven wonders of the world – The Great Pyramid of Giza!
If you thought Brazil was a unique South American country, you’ll love Argentina even more – especially if you're a foodie! Argentina’s mouthwatering cuisine is just one of the many reasons why it is worth a trip. Home of Asado, chimichurri, and provoleta, this country is also famous for its beverages including malbec wines (mainly from the Mendoza Province) and yerba mate.
While the food is a good enough reason alone to visit Argentina, it is equally a beautiful country. Cities such as Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Salta are perfect for exploring Argentine culture. Alternatively, travelers can discover the natural beauty of the country by visiting Tierra del Fuego National Park, Aconcagua, or Iguazu Falls.
Fans of football, nature, and cultural diversity will definitely enjoy a trip to Brazil. From the iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue to the ecologically important Amazon Rainforest, this country is quite possibly one of the most interesting places to visit in the world. Brazil’s capital city, Brasília is the perfect place to start your exploration of this magnificent country. Notable places of interest include the Cathedral of Brasília, Praça dos Três Poderes, and Eixos Monumental. Alternatives to Brasília include Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Recife, Salvador, and Fortaleza.
In addition to beautiful cities and natural wonders, Brazil stands out because of its rich cultural diversity. Not only is the country known for its unique approach to music and arts, but it is also favored for its delicious cuisine. Picanha, açaí, and brigadeiro are just a few notable eats.