Where to Travel in 2023 (and What to Do When You Get There)

From a hot-and-happening London neighbourhood to the icy expanses of Antarctica, via a gritty French port city, Greece’s mountainous mainland and the industrial heartlands of the US, here’s where we’re heading in 2023. Get ready to plan your escape

We're calling it: 2023 is the year of the city. After a travel rebound that had us running for the rugged, windswept hills, this year will be all about the renaissance of urban centres - grande dames and gritty upstarts alike. Our list of destinations to watch is metropolis-heavy, and crammed with cultural highlights - though we've added a fair few adventure wonderlands and extreme locations into the mix, too. Featuring revived old favourites and fresh new locales, our line-up will take you from England's wildest corner to the industrial heartlands of the US, via a hot-and-happening London neighbourhood and the icy expanses of Antarctica.

This year, we're travelling for longer, and more intentionally. If we're catching a plane, we'll be taking our time at our destination, perhaps doing some WFH - working from holiday - and being mindful about where we spend our money while there, all in an effort to make our air miles matter. Designed to be used as a jumping-off point for your year-ahead travel planning, here's where we'll be exploring in 2023.

The hottest destinations to visit in 2023

Bridge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA


Pennsylvania, US

Shrugging off a beaten-down reputation, industrial Pittsburgh is swapping steel girders for space rockets: under its distinctive skyline, the next lunar lander is being built (find out more - including a chance to see a rocket in the making - at the city's Moonshot Museum). These celestial innovations have electrified Steel City (expect to rub shoulders with upstart techies on a visit), and its starry-eyed ambitions are lighting up the art scene, too. Head to The Andy Warhol Museum to pay tribute to the city's golden boy, hit up SPACE Gallery for explorations of what creativity means in the 21st century to regional artists, then stroll over to Federal Gallery food hall to taste-test what some of the city's most exciting new restaurant startups have got cooking.

Nour el Nil Boats on the Nile in Egypt
Photo credit: Dyland Chandler / Nour el Nil


In the centenary year of the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb, Egypt's much-anticipated £889 million Grand Egyptian Museum is inching towards welcoming its first public guests. The world's largest archaeological museum will incorporate 12 exhibition halls and 100,000 artefacts - including nearly all those found in the Egyptian pharaoh's tomb. There's no confirmed public opening date yet, but if the start of private showcases, including a hosting of Dior's men's capsule collection, is anything to go by, it's sure to be soon. Elsewhere along the Nile, this larger-than-life African destination is putting adventure front and centre of its return to the world stage: trek the long-distance Sinai and Red Sea Mountain hiking trails to explore less-visited pockets of the country, or hop on a Nour el Nil dahabiya -a small, sail-powered boat - for a leisurely exploration of the waterway.

Street in Amsterdam, the Netherlands


The Netherlands

Amsterdam is no under-the-radar destination, but we're loving the canal-laced Dutch capital's visionary approach to its urban planning and infrastructure, which was recognised with the city being a finalist in The Earthshot Prize 2022. Skip the tourist hotspots and head to the city's outer edges to catch some of its innovation in progress. Experimental restaurants like plant-based Mediamatic ETEN, Circl, activist-led Testtafel and Café de Ceuvel (built on an abandoned shipyard) are all worth the tram ride from the city centre. It's in the leafy suburbs and lesser-trodden neighbourhoods that some of the most interesting hotels are to be found, too. The Hoxton's second hotel in the city, Amsterdam Lloyd, opens in the Eastern Docklands in spring.



Persil-white ice cliffs, wind-carved blue caves and the occasional flash of an emperor penguin's vivid yellow throat: the least-populated continent is all over our TikTok feeds right now. With the recent fleet of state-of-the-art ice-breaking boats (with rooms) taking to the seas, this breathtaking destination is seeing an increasing number of sustainability-focused tours. Braving the rolling waves of Drake's Passage and the challenges of life on the ice, climate-concerned travellers are visiting the continent both to carry out citizen science projects and commune with local wildlife. Adventure tourism is taking a turn to the extremes this year - and the iceberg-dotted landscapes of Earth's southernmost point offer the opportunity to push it to the limits. A chance to parle with the penguins? Count us in.

Discover Antarctica in our latest issue, Ritual

La Grand Place, Belgium


Forget the staid reputation: like its elusive but crazily successful musician, Stromae, Belgium is back. And - just like the meteoric return of the artist who released a third, critically acclaimed album in 2022, nine years after its predecessor - the compact country is masterfully blending the old with the new. We're planning a visit to Antwerp's Royal Museum of Fine Arts (an 11-years-in-the-making, £88 million restoration that has added gleaming white lofts to the museum's marble-clad, 19th-century galleries), before taking a train to Brussels (less than an hour's journey). Once notorious for its greyness, the city is now shining bright, with a new, 198-key Hoxton - housed within the concrete tower that was formerly the IBM headquarters - opening in April.

Buildings in Nairobi, Kenya at sunset



Put the Big Five to the bottom of your bucket list: Kenya's capital is taking the spotlight this year, and the only safari we'll be heading on is a cultural one. Home to experimental restaurants and bars, a bubbling arts scene and a nightlife that moves to the rhythms of Afrobeat, this East African city has evolved into a frenetic creative hub for the continent. Stay at The Social House Nairobi, sip cocktails at Hero, network with the city's movers and shakers at The Alchemist, and try homegrown Kenyan ingredients at the intimate Embark, or the sustainably-driven, farm-to-fork restaurant Cultiva. For sophisticated souvenirs, we'd stop by One Off, an exhibition space and garden dedicated to supporting East African artists.

Paris, France



All hail the renaissance of cultural city breaks in Europe, as the continent's grande dame destinations rise from the dark days of the pandemic, add the finishing touches to their refurbishments (see Belgium) and welcome a slew of hot new 2023 hotel openings. The City of Lights is leading the pack, with a glittering array of new hotels set to shake up the scene, offering ultra-maximalist design and increased affordability. The cloud-tickling TOO Hôtel, a four-star Philippe Starck-designed urban eyrie from hotelier Laurent Taïeb, is already open, with the Left Bank's Hôtel Dame des Arts and the more decadent Hôtel Le Grand Mazarin pegged for spring launches.

Women walking in Morocco


A handful of new openings has us making good on our promise to stay longer, and travel slower, on a multi-city trip to Morocco. We're kicking off in the breezy coastal city of Essaouira, where a new generation of musical nomads is reinvigorating the city's creative juices, before making tracks to Marrakech. Rosemary, in the medina, a new riad from the designer behind city homeware brand LRNCE, is slated to open this year. The property is just a short walk from the new Monde des Arts de la Parure museum, a continent-crossing cultural temple dedicated to jewellery and textiles. For a flavour of the country's increasingly hot crafting movement, join a tour with rug makers Salam Hello and meet the Amazigh artisans of the High Atlas Mountains. The ever-innovative Habitas group, meanwhile, has just announced its second property in the country. Caravan Dakhla is opening this month on the banks of the sun-scorched Dakhla lagoon.

Northumberland. UK



England's wildest corner is blessed with dramatic coastal geology, heather-cloaked hills and a wild, rambunctious interior - and its rugged beauty has us spellbound. Cornwall might be the UK's best known beauty queen, but the North East is clipping at its heels. Road-trip your way around its sacred sites and sea-sprayed tidal islands on an off-grid adventure in a modified-for-camping 4x4 booked through cool new brand Northumberland Defender Hire, stop by the Michelin-starred Hjem, tucked into a country pub in Wall, and then pull on your hiking boots to stomp across the moody moors of the Cheviot Hills.

Fukuoka, Japan



Switch Tokyo's urban jungle for the verdant streets of Japan's greenest city. Located on the sun-soaked tip of Kyushu island (which, by the way, has just seen the launch of a new shinkansen line linking its largest cities), Fukuoka is famed for its tree-lined streets, peaceful city parks, and tiptop hakata ramen. The rich and creamy pork broth noodle dish hails from around here, along with other Japanese street-food favourites like mentaiko and yakitori. Try some at the mobile food stalls traversing the city daily, or head to the just-opened, futuristic-looking 010 Building. This riverside complex is a temple to the city's upstart food scene, with restaurants from award-winning chefs and leading bar teams housed inside.


Guyana makes it onto our destinations-to-watch list for the third year in a row, and we'd argue that the South American country is only getting better with each repeat: think coastal enclaves blessed with Caribbean breezes; far-flung landscapes of rainforests, waterfalls and rugged, bumpy roads; and community-run wildlife projects popping up across the diminutive destination (it's about the same size as the UK). With 90 per cent of the country covered in forest, you'll be venturing deep into the greenery to reach one of the world's highest waterfalls - the majestic Kaieteur Falls. Why are we still obsessed? In March, British Airways will launch a twice-weekly flight from London Gatwick (via a short stop in St Lucia), making Guyana more accessible than ever before.

Pelion, Greece



Whether it's hunkering down in the black pine forests of mountainous Epirus at the family-run Grand Forest Metsovo or exploring the myth-laden landscapes of the Peloponnese, we're obeying the call of the wilderness on our next Greek odyssey, and switching Hellenic island life for explorations of the diverse mainland. Despite the celebrity of its isles, 83 per cent of Greece sits within its continent-shackled landmass. It's not all bear-roamed wildernesses and stories of Hercules' heroics, though. The mountainous peninsula of Pelion pairs the ubiquitous wooded hills and rustic stone architecture of much of the mainland with white stone beaches, wild olive groves, traditional fishing villages and year-round sunshine.

Houses in Notting Hill, London

Notting Hill

London, UK

After years out in the cold, W11 is making moves to be the city's hottest neighbourhood, with a list of new openings longer than Portobello Road landing in the postcode. Everyone who's anyone was dining at Straker's over the festive season - the new London restaurant that's been propelled to the fore by its chef's avid FoodTok following - while the NYE haunt of choice for west Londoners was wine bar Caia, just down the road. We're booking a table at Dorian, a few streets over, to beat our January blues. It's the new restaurant from the man behind Notting Hill Fish Shop. Then, we're dropping into last year's big hit, The Pelican, for a pint. Come bedtime, all eyes are on the newly opened Hoxton hotel, in nearby Shepherd's Bush.

Marseille, France



We first got wind of there being a renaissance afoot in France's second city last year, when Parisian friends informed us they were moving down south. They weren't alone. Enticed by 300 days of sun a year, sea breezes and the city's gritty, rebellious character, former residents of the capital are moving there en masse. The inbound traffic has whipped up the winds of change: locals old and new are reshaping the port city, and creativity and entrepreneurship are flourishing. Food reigns supreme around here, with restaurants tending to look towards North Africa and Italy in the kitchen, rather than to the rich sauces more typically associated with France, and there's been a recent boom in the music scene, too. Head to indie bookshop and grocery store Provisions, a treasure trove of the best of the city's larder, with a peppering of cook books thrown in, for a flavour of the new generation of young Marseille entrepreneurs disrupting traditional business models, seek out Afrofuturist nights at venues like Méta 2 and Le Makeda, and book a room at Les Bords de Mer, an elegant art deco cube perched above the Corniche.

Minneapolis Downtown


Minnesota, US

This year, we're expecting indigenous-owned restaurants to go big. From Melbourne's incredible Big Esso, helmed by Nornie Bero, a Torres Straits chef, to moonlit meals in Canada's Saskatchewan that celebrate Cree and Dakota heritage, indigenous chefs are putting First Nations food into the spotlight, and Minneapolis' native communities are at the forefront of this global movement. Between the city's high-flying galleries and museums, you'll find the 2022 James Beard Best New Restaurant winner, Owamni, serving a decolonised menu that uses ingredients purchased (where possible) from indigenous food producers. Elsewhere in the city, a new market from Indigenous Food Lab is opening in February, while the recent success of the Four Sisters Farmers' Market has ensured it will open again every Thursday between June and October in 2023, selling indigenous products from across the region.

Photo cedit: Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock.com


Beautiful Belize has been popping up all over our socials of late, its rugged beaches, lush jungles and brilliantly coloured coral reefs making perfect fodder for "wish you were here" BeReals and barefoot-in-the-sand Instagram Stories. Beyond its picture-perfect coastal looks, though, this Central American country hums with age-old traditions and ancient stories. Head inland and you'll find Mayan ruins and sky-tickling mountain ranges. Stick to the coast, and you'll be eating from a cookbook that counts Chinese, Creole, Lebanese, Mennonite and Mestizo among influences. Traversing the dinky country is easy via the retro fleet of retired Bluebird buses that tootle between towns. Bought from the US, these 1950s beauties are painted in primary colours and used as commuter shuttles between major conurbations in the country. They're the easiest (and coolest) way to get around.

Jeju island in South Korea


South Korea

You heard it here first: South Korea is set to be 2023's hottest plane ticket. Call it the K-kulture effect; the country is emerging as one of the 21st century's major exporters of hotlist fodder. From TV dramas like Squid Game and movies (hello, Parasite), to K-pop and culinary trends (remember the dalgona coffee craze of a few years ago?), Korea's cultural kudos is igniting a globally fed pilgrimage, soundtracked by girl group Blackpink. Don't tell Seoul, but we'll be skipping the big city's bright lights this year and exploring the country's less-visited locales to get a taste of culture old and new, from the palatial beauty of Gyeongju to Andong's soju-soaked streets. Our top tip? Jump on a boat to explore the island of Jeju. This small southern coast isle is a hotbed of small-screen activity, with its dramatic natural landscapes making it a go-to backdrop for some of the country's best-loved TV shows.

Bend, Oregon


Oregon, US

Pass by Portland. Swerve Seattle. The Pacific Northwest's new cool kid on the block is Bend. Sitting on a high desert plateau and surrounded by the distant peaks of Mounts Jefferson, Rainier and Hood, this laid-back town is something of an anomaly. Bone dry, yet within driving distance of Oregon's famously rainy mountain ranges; chock-a-block with bike lanes, in a country notorious for its car dependency. Book a room at LOGE Bend cabins, from where you'll be able to peddle a bike (free of charge) down into town to explore all the peculiarities (including the man-made wave in the centre of town used for surfing and kayaking by Bend residents). Fuel up on tacos at El Sancho, rehydrate with a drink at one of the various craft breweries that have earned Bend the moniker "Beertown USA", then get out into the great Oregon outdoors. You'll find hiking, biking and more all within easy reach.

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