There is no denying that travel is back in 2023, thanks to an understandable demand for those well deserved holidays that were put on hold during the pandemic.
Whether it is specific locations, certain countries, particular festivals or outstanding areas of natural beauty, the world offers us a rich variety of desirable locations to visit.
These are just a few suggestions:
Fabulous for foodies and culture vultures
The most complete medieval city of the Arab world, Fes’ old town feels magically suspended between the Middle Ages and the modern world.
There are around 9000 amazing alleys buzzing with living history and traders, it’s a place to lose — and find — yourself in.
The oldest part of the city, walled Fes El-Bali, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its mosques, medersas and fondouks, plus a mile-long labyrinth of souks, there are enough sights here to warrant several days exploration.
Fes is also a feast for the senses. Head to Souk el Attarine to savour the aroma of spices, herbs, and incense, and buy traditional Moroccan crafts. Given that some traders are set up in beautiful old mansions, you’ll most likely find yourself exploring a regal riad while shopping.
To add to the enticement, Fes is also the culinary capital of Morocco so navigate your way through the captivating tastes and aromas.
Green and clean, Slovenian capital Ljubljana – a place voted one of the most beautiful countries in the world – has an abundance of scenic charm. Caressing the Ljubljanica river and overlooked by a castle, this city is the epitome of picturesque.
To add to the attractiveness, Ljubljana has the EU’s biggest pedestrianised area, plenty of parks to stroll in, and is a beautiful base from which to visit a variety of Slovenian attractions.
Under an hour from the capital, Lake Bled is simply a must-visit. A fairy tale island juts from its expanse of clear water, with a cliff-top castle and mountain backdrop adding to the magic. This destination is at the forefront of sustainable travel practices. It can be argued it is Europe’s greenest destination.
More rocky wonders await at sixteenth-century Predjama Castle. Built into elevated cave entrance in the heart of an unforgettable karst landscape, it defies the imagination. Your assumptions about engineering will be turned on it’s head.
Northern Cape, South Africa
The biggest and most dispersed of South Africa’s provinces, the Northern cape is also one of its least visited regions. This fact is terrific news for travellers who like to go your own way.
Boasting a landscape of dramatic red dunes, South Africa’s longest river, and desert miracles in the form of Namaqualand’s flower carpets, it is a breathtaking vision of nature.
With landscapes in mind, they seldom are more marvellous than Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. Tucked in a loop of the Orange River, it is the world’s only arid biodiversity hotspot, and fascinatingly, home to almost 5000 plant species.
Nature-lovers will also want to experience the mighty Aukoerebis waterfalls, which is South Africa’s largest in the Augrabies Falls National park.
Imotski lakes, Croatia
Explore the Dalmatian lake district
Thirty minutes drive east from the Adriatic resort of Baska Vida is one of Croatia’s loveliest inland regions. Eleven lakes dot the karst landscape surrounding the town of Imotski, with the most dramatic, Blue Lake, bordering the town. Scrub-covered limestone cliffs rise from an enormous sinkhole filled with vivid blue water. This lake is swimmable by those who follow a serpentine path to the valley bottom. Along with Biokovo nature path, Imotski’s lakes are a contender for gaining Unesco status in 2023.
There is a huge amount to do here: kayaking the Vrljika River, hiking the hills, taking in views from Imotski’s medieval Topana Fortress and touring vineyards.
Architecture, art and food
Fans of sustainability, livability and design should head to Copenhagen. In 2023 it will be Unesco capital of architecture. You can revel in a variety of events, showcases and talks which will take place throughout the year. An inspirational place to start is the Danish Architecture Centre which hosts a new exhibition on Danish architecture from 24 March. On the harbour, public pavilions will showcase the work of architects specialising in sustainability. Also by the water will be Opera park, an urban green space designed for climate resilience.
Are you an adventure lover searching for an off-the-beaten-path. If so, s truly exhilarating experience is Namibia. This country in southern Africa is the perfect place to travel to reconnect with nature and escape the modern stresses of life. On the wildlife front, you may see lions and cheetahs, possibly giraffes and elephants. It is also home to strong populations of both black and white rhinos. Other activities range from climbing the world’s tallest sand dunes at Sossusvlei to discovering the stark beauty of the windswept Skeleton Coast.
Japan in all it’s astonishing mixture of tradition and futuristic vision finally reopened to all travelers at the end of 2022.The beauty of Japan is that if offers experiences totally unique to the country and can offer a traveller whatever kind of experience they are seeking.
Kyoto, the cultural and historic heart of Japan, will present its famed Gion Festival in summer 2023, the first time visitors can attend since before the pandemic. Based on the indigenous Shinto faith, this festival features two processions of floats, a wealth of food and drink vendors and the Gozan no Okuribi, a Kyoto-based bonfire culmination of the Obon festival that will also be ramping up excitement levels.
Vail is one of those mountain towns that creates a wonderful fairytale atmosphere. It was built to replicate the charming mountain towns in Bavaria, it features gingerbread trim and lots of wood in the town’s two main villages, Vail Village and Lionshead, which are delightfully pedestrian-only, so it really evokes a time gone by.
The area is known for its winter skiing and year-round mountain scenery. New for 2023 is something even more impressive: the newest national monument in the United States. Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument honors the 10th Mountain Division, the Army’s first and only mountain infantry division, which helped liberate Europe during World War II. You can explore the expansive new monument (the first President Biden has named) with Nova Guides, an adventure tour company that offers tours and activities in the area, including ATV adventures.
Prague is understandably one of the most appealing places to travel for charm and culture. The perfectly preserved city has bright red trolleys traversing original cobblestone streets lined with charming stone buildings. In every direction, you will discover a new treat, like the Charles Bridge lined with majestic stone statues, Michelin-starred restaurants and fabulous pilsner bars. Looking for another highlight? an entire “castle district” centered around majestic Prague Castle.
To entice travellers in 2023, this ancient kingdom meets modern times with William Rudolf Lobkowicz, the 14th prince of Bohemia, who is modernizing the way philanthropy takes place with NFTs. New technology can assist proving provenance of historic art and also help fund its restoration. This is of understandable interest to a family that lost its kingdom of treasures twice, first to the Nazis, and then to the Communists. It is possible to view many of these works of art and hear about their “Non-Fungible Castle” project at the lovely Lobkowicz Palace, totally stunning.
Whatever you are looking for in a travel experience, there are a multitude of exciting, inspiring and conversely calming and reflective destinations to choose from. The important point is to enjoy yourself and soak up the experience. It will stay with you for a lifetime.