Best travel destinations for 2023

Trevi, an ancient town in Umbria, Italy.

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Trevi, an ancient town in Umbria, Italy.

© Shutterstock Best travel destinations for 2023 Malta, Umbria, as well as Manchester and southern Scotland, make the list for Lonely Planet´s 2023 travel hotspots.

Where should I holiday next year? With the removal of most Covid-19 restrictions, this is a question that will spring to mind for many as travel to most countries opens up. The Australian publisher of guidebooks, Lonely Planet, offers its advice, unveiling its top destinations for 2023: its ‘Best in Travel 2023’ is an annual list of 30 trending destinations around the globe. This year´s list has been sorted into five types of travel experiences (Journey, Unwind, Eat, Connect, Learn), with nominations made by Lonely Planet´s community of staff, writers and bloggers, amongst others. A panel of travel experts then whittles down the nominations.

These are the best travel destinations for 2023:

Category ‘Journey’

  • Nova Scotia, Canada: the best way to experience the beauty of its shores is by driving between seaside villages, Lonely Planet´s travel experts suggest.
  • Bhutan: the restored Trans Bhutan Trail reopened to visitors in September: its 250 miles of footpaths will offer visitors a good perspective of the Asian country. 
  • Zambia: nature is the most important attraction in this country, where travellers can swim on the ledge of a mighty waterfall or enjoy walking safaris.
  • Western Australia: Australia’s largest state covers more land than England, Spain, France, Italy and Germany combined. Travellers can explore the state capital Perth, along with national parks, beaches and small towns, with fantastic food scenes available.
  • Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia: beaches of Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona and the peaks of Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados are just two of many protected natural areas in this often overlooked country (not by Falstaff, it has to be said).
  • Istanbul to Sofia Train: with this recently restored overnight service between Sofia and Istanbul, travellers can enjoy an 11-hour journey. However, the interest of holidaymakers may be diminished with the latest travel warning for Istanbul.

Peggy´s Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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Category ‘Unwind’

  • Jordan: places like Petra, Amman, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea offer the chance to explore and unwind simultaneously in Jordan
  • Halkidiki, Greece: Northern Greece’s Halkidiki peninsula offers blissful beaches. 
  • Jamaica: with many new hotels popping up, Jamaica is a perfect spot to unwind.
  • Dominica: this Caribbean island is often confused with the Dominican Republic, but is much more relaxed.
  • Raja Ampat, Indonesia: with coral reefs, excellent diving spots and beautiful beaches, the islands are a great alternative to better-known Indonesian destinations. The best way to explore them is by chartering a dive boat for several days.
  • Malta: the Mediterranean island has much to offer.

Aerial view of Raja Ampat islands, Indonesia.

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Category ‘Eat’

  • Lima, Peru: known for its cevicherías and Pisco cocktails, the capital of Peru is the place for fresh seafood and much more. 
  • Umbria, Italy: the region has art, treasures, and culinary delights galore, great wines but far fewer crowds than Tuscany.
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: food stalls, markets with delicious snacks, and a lively nightlife scene put the Malaysian capital on this list. 
  • Fukuoka, Japan: an excellent mobile food scene and the internationally-renowned Hakata ramen are just two reasons for gourmets to travel there.
  • South Africa: a new generation of chefs is propelling the country’s culinary scene forward.
  • Montevideo, Uruguay: with its laid-back beaches and fantastic food and wine scene, the capital offers many ways to enjoy Uruguay

Street food night market Putrajaya near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Category ‘Connect’

  • Accra, Ghana: bustling markets, new community spaces like skate parks, and creative spaces for artists make the city a perfect place to connect with others. 
  • Albania: travellers to this small European country can start their day in the mountains and end it at sea. And there are fewer tourists than in neighbouring Greece. 
  • Sydney: from hosting one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world to new indigenous tours, Sydney is open to new perspectives. 
  • Guyana: culturally connected to the Caribbean, this South American country is a great place to see unspoiled nature.
  • Alaska: a great example of how authentic tourism experiences can also embrace sustainability.
  • Boise, Idaho, US: the mid-sized city offers natural beauty and an impressive culinary scene. 
Top travel destinations 2023 Lonely Planet Falstaff

Boise, Idaho, US.

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Category ‘Learn’

  • New Mexico, USA: home to 23 native tribes, it is an ideal spot to learn about indigenous culture, art and music whilst also enjoying the food of the American southwest.
  • Marseille: beachy and urban, modern and historic – Marseille has much to offer. 
  • Manchester: There is much going on with the renovation of the Manchester Museum, the expansion of the Manchester Jewish Museum, and the transformation of Castlefield Viaduct into a green walking trail. Excellent food, world-class sports, exquisite art and industrial-era architecture are more reasons to visit.
  • Dresden, Germany: the second phase of renovations of the Altmarkt (central square) should be finished in time for the reopening of ‘Striezelmarkt’, one of the oldest and largest Christmas markets in Europe. And there are some excellent restaurants in Dresden as well.
  • El Salvador: sunny beaches, quaint colonial towns, volcanoes and arguably the finest cuisine in Central America
  • Southern Scotland: travellers should aim for the Borders and other areas of southern Scotland to learn more about the country’s history and famous residents like writer Robert Burns. Melrose, Tweed Valley Forest Park and the fishing villages of Eyemouth and St Abbs are recommended by Lonely Planet experts, as well as Dumfries and the Crawick Multiverse.

The Manchester Museum, Manchester, UK.

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