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Best Destinations to Travel to in 2023

By Sue Rudolph January 13, 2023 Travel

As we ring in a fresh year, there’s no better time to start planning your 2023 getaway – the earlier the better! Planning a mid-year getaway now is guaranteed to take the edge off any busy schedule. The following locations draw visitors year-round, meaning you can plan your trip in any season.

Whether you’re looking for historic gems, outdoor attractions, or even a more environmentally conscious way to travel, consider these international destinations when brainstorming your next adventure.

The Azores

If you’ve been thinking about a European getaway but are looking for something off the beaten path, a stay on The Azores may be the extra flair you’ve had in mind. These Portuguese islands are about 1,000 miles away from mainland Europe, and can be reached from Lisbon in about two and a half hours.

You’ll have to book a flight from the Portuguese capital to Sao Miguel, the Azores’ largest island. Its’ capital, Ponta Delgada, is a great starting point for your tour – you might even decide to spend the entire trip in and around the city.

Sao Miguel is known for its abundance of outdoor wonders, including peaceful crater lakes, beaches, and vegetation-rich hiking trails. Be sure to venture to different regions of the island, as each part holds its own claims to fame.

Parque Terra Nostra, located in Furnas on the eastern half of the island, is a must stop. Enjoy the park’s rich foliage and hot springs before moving on to the scenic beaches at Povoacao.

If you’d prefer to stay closer to Ponta Delgada, be sure to devote a day or two to Lagoa do Fogo, a tranquil lake and hiking destination. A little to the north of the lake you’ll find Centro de Interpretacao Ambiental da Caldeira, a nature preserve offering more hot springs, walking paths and a waterfall.

If you have the opportunity, be sure to experience other islands within the Azores, as each has a distinct personality. Water expeditions to watch for sea life or dive off the islands’ famously enchanting coastlines are another great way to experience all the Azores have to offer, whether by land or sea.

Wales

If you’re considering planning a trip to London but aren’t crazy about the crowds, why not venture slightly south and slow things down with a visit to Wales? With breezy coastlines, medieval castles, and rugged mountain slopes, Wales sets the mood any time of the year. Its natural attractions, like Snowdonia National Park, are especially stunning when awash with autumn hues.

History and architecture lovers will be excited to take in structures like Caerphilly Castle, which works well with an outing to nearby Brecon Beacons National Park. The imposing waterfront castle dates back to the 13th century.

If you’re spending time in the capital city of Cardiff, be sure to make your way to Tintern Abbey, also built in the 13th century. Intricate arches and an idyllic setting make the abbey a must-stop.

Back in the capital, take a day to explore the famed Cardiff Castle and Llandaff Cathedral before strolling through Bute Park and brainstorming dinner at one of the city’s diverse eateries.

If you had your heart set on London as well, combine both capital cities and make it the trip of a lifetime. The train journey between the cities takes about two hours via the Great Western Railway.

Zanzibar

For a beach-filled getaway that subverts expectations, consider exploring the small Indian Ocean island archipelago of Zanzibar. Located a two-hour ferry ride off the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar’s main island is known as Unguja. Home to Zanzibar city, which will likely be your home base, the island offers plenty to fill your schedule.

In the city itself, be sure to devote some time to strolling the historic quarter of Stone Town. The district is an inspiring example of Zanzibar’s identity as a cultural and economic crossroads – Arabic, African and European influences meld to form Stone Town’s eclectic personality.

Overlooking the ocean, the quarter is home to a number of lodging options, local eateries, museums, souvenir shopping and historic icons like the Forte Arabo, a vendor-rich 17th century fort open to visitors.

When you’re ready to venture outside of the city, booking a trip to tour the island’s natural wonders is worth the effort. Start with Jozani Forest National Park, which is known for its red colobus monkey population and mangrove forests.

Cheetah’s Rock Animal Rescue Center, located on the island’s west coast, is another unforgettable experience on the island. Your entrance fee will contribute to the center’s rescue goals, and you will have the chance to view and learn about the diverse group of animals the facility takes care of.

When it comes to soaking in the sun, plan a trip to Jambiani, Pongwe, or Nungwi Beach for water activities and much needed time to yourself. Getting the right guide to accompany you to destinations outside of the city can make or break your experience, so be sure to do as much research as possible before finalizing your itinerary.

Poland

When it comes to underestimated European destinations, Poland is definitely on the list. While rich in natural attractions, historic curiosities and nightlife, the country may not be the first that comes to mind when you think of the quintessential European experience.

However, making it your gateway to Eastern Europe can expose you to unique cultural influences, a tumultuous history, new cuisine and contribute to much needed tourism revenue. The country is relatively small, so dividing your time between two or three of its largest cities is the best way to organize your trip.

Flying into Warsaw, you’ll want to devote a few days to exploring the capital. Rebuilt after the Second World War, the city’s history is written across its streets and structures – institutions like the Warsaw Uprising Museum, the National Museum and the memorable Neon Museum are all worthwhile pit stops.

In between sampling Polish dishes and souvenir shopping at local businesses, spend some time enjoying the banks of the Wisła River, which runs through the heart of the city.

From Warsaw, travel south to Kraków, where the city’s Old Town alone can keep you busy for a few days. The district’s historic streets, homes and plazas offer idyllic photo opportunities, unique gifts, and, of course, delicious bites. The Wawel Royal Castle is one of the country’s most cherished historic sites – a daylong visit to the castle grounds will be one of your best memories from Kraków.

The Wisła also runs through this city, and kicking back with a drink on a floating barge or other venue along the river is the perfect way to end a busy day.

If you have time to add a third city to your list, don’t miss Gdańsk, located on the country’s Baltic Coast. From the city’s famous shipyards to its comprehensive World War Two Museum, there is no shortage of history to soak in. The windswept coastline is beautiful in all seasons, as is the charming Old Town district.

Whatever your hopes may be for 2023, the unique destinations listed above are sure to put a new spin on the year – and remind you of the possibilities.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What travel plans do you have for 2023? Have you booked any locations yet? What is most important to you when visiting a new culture? I would love to hear. Share in the comments.

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Phyliss Esposito

Hi! My name is Phyliss. I have been fortunate to travel to six out of seven continents and I like to go in style, safety, and comfort. I am putting together small groups. My last trip for the second time was Dubai and South Africa. In 2019. I know best time to go, and where you get a bang for your dollar. I am single, a writer and director of films. My books. The Other Side of Love, Secrets & Lies and A journey of Miracles Amazon. My film They Just Don’t Get it will be out soon, I am in my seventies! I say this to give u hope! I am by no means rich, but I’m rich in ideas. My motto. “Live with Passion!!! And Don’t Think Just Do! How about the Blue Train to South Africa? It’s like going back in time. And luxury! And less then half the price of the Orient Express. Or Bangkok to see the Festival of Lights. And trust me. I only do restful, spa, and enjoyable adventures. How about Tango lesions in Argentina. If interesting in learning about anything from travel to trying new things. Contact me. Thewriter319@gmail.com & PS love Margaret at Sixty. She’s got it all going on xx

Sue Rudolph

That sounds amazing. I will check out your books.

Debra

We’re booked for Alaska in May. Looking forward to the cruise and rail experience!
Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks

Sue Rudolph

The flight with glacier landing in Denali is amazing. It is expensive but worth it. It sells out so book before you go. I really liked the dogsledding in Seward.

Deborah Miller

I’m hoping to do a solo travel tour to Switzerland this year. EF Tours does one that looks great, lots of rail travel. Anyone else interested?
Deb in Florida

Brenda Frank

I’m planning the Canadian Rockies this summer/fall. Looking for a travel companion. B. Frank 3234@gmail. com

Sue Rudolph

I am happy to help you. Send me an email at sue@amazingtravel.com and I can give you some suggestions based on your budget and interests or better yet book an appointment here and I discuss ideas with you on the phone. https://my.timetrade.com/book/LKZ86 

Susan

I’m needing to make plans for Christmas this year. Traveling alone, and needing to break traditions. I’d like some suggestions for that time of year for single people who don’t want to brood!

Barbara M

Hi Susan. I think you might be a quilter. I am a weaver and I too am looking for travel in dec 2023. My husband died in 2020 and I did my first solo trip in Nov 2022. It was a Viking river cruse. From Amsterdam to Budapest then a side trip to Prague. Th trip gave me courage to travel on my own. The river cruise was fine. Not as great as advertised. And very $$$$. I found the included excursions to be very boring so I eventually just did my own personal tours. By myself. I experienced a lot more. A bit “risky” yes but a lot more interesting. I am looking for a travel partner if you have any interest in planning a trip in dec 2023. I am looking at Maui right now. Somewhere warm.

Sue Rudolph

River cruises are a great way to travel solo.

teresa

there are trips for singles, different age groups. you can check on google

Deborah Miller

Apparently ‘singles’ travel and ‘solo’ travel are different. I am a solo traveler. After a 40 yr. marriage I am quite comfortable being ‘solo’. It would however be nice to join with other solo wanderers…

Sue Rudolph

There are trips that are geared towards solo travelers often with no single supplement. send me an email sue@amazingtravel.com and I am happy to advise you.

Alexis

Hi Susan, I took a solo trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico over Christmas a couple years ago. I rented a condo close to the downtown area so I could walk into town. So much to see and to do, and being solo didn’t bother me at all. It was lovely, and I would (and probably will) do it again.

Cheryl

How do you find out about places to rent condos room etc, when you are traveling alone so you can walk and explore?

Sue Rudolph

That sounds fun. I haven’t been to Sante Fe but I have heard so many great things about it.

Jerri

I went on a cruise this past Thanksgiving. You could barely tell it was Thanksgiving day. So I was successful in allowing the day to melt into every other day. My plan for this coming year is to be of service to others. Perhaps bring a little joy.

Sue Rudolph

I am happy to help you. Send me an email at sue@amazingtravel.com and I can give you some suggestions based on your budget and interests or better yet book an appointment here and I discuss ideas with you on the phone. https://my.timetrade.com/book/LKZ86 

Sue Rudolph

I am happy to help you Contact me and I can give you suggestions based on your budget and interests

Autumn

We have a wonderful women’s travel group call Women Exploring the World. You can join our Facebook group or find our website. I hope you get to travel soon!

The Author

Sue Rudolph is the owner of Absolutely Amazing Travel. Since 1994, she has been helping travelers who want to experience a destination, not just see it. She creates itineraries to exotic locations where you will meet the locals, immerse yourself in the culture, and get up close to nature and wildlife. Find out more at Amazing Travel.

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