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

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

Pittsburgh

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

Egypt

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

Amsterdam

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.

Antarctica

Antarctica

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

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

Nairobi

Kenya

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

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

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

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 4×4 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

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

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

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

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

Minneapolis

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.

Belize
Photo cedit: Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock.com

Belize

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

Jeju

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

Bend

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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