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10 Places I’m Dying To Visit In 2023
It’s time! I love writing this list every year, because it gets me super excited to get started on planning new trips. And I *am* doing better at planning ahead, per my 2022 travel intentions…
So now let’s get that process started again with 10 amazing ideas for where to travel in 2023!
10 Amazing 2023 Travel Destinations
This past year I ended up focusing on roadtrips (including the Florida Keys and Ireland), spent a while in Park City, Utah, FINALLY got to the Greek islands, and snuck in a few days on the Mexican coast at the end of the year I did book most of these trips further ahead than I had in the past, and everything worked out fairly well (but tickets were EXPENSIVE all year).
My 2023 travel destinations list has a nice blend of stunning scenery, amazing food and drink options, adventurous activities, history and culture, and—weirdly—two that include penguins! Some of these are definitely bigger trips, but I feel like we’re in a better place to do that now (2021 was still too uncertain).
Travel has felt a bit closer to normal this past year, but was also a hot mess logistically with flight delays, lost baggage, long lines, and more. It definitely still requires more planning, flexibility, and risk tolerance than it did prior to 2020 (…and probably one of these to keep track of your bags).
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#1 – Ischia, Italy
Do you like gorgeous beaches, candy-colored villages, awesome castles, and delicious Italian food??? (No, it’s not a trick question.) If so, Ischia should be at the top of your list!
Ischia is the Amalfi Coast’s MUCH chiller, affordable, and authentic little sister. An hour’s ferry ride away from Naples, it’s a favorite of locals but considered a hidden European gem…Capri and the Amalfi Coast get the crowds and the hype, but Ischia offers just as much with a fraction of the crowds.
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#2 – Fredericksburg, Texas
What do you get when you combine beautiful rolling hills, fields of wildflowers, scenic vineyards, German-inspired architecture, and great food? Well, you might get Fredericksburg a.k.a. Texas Hill Country.
Settled by German immigrants in the early 1800s, this little town in central Texas isn’t far from Austin and San Antonio but feels a world away. It’s a great long weekend destination, offering a live music scene to rival Austin’s, plenty of wineries to tour, and (if you catch the timing right) fields of lavender and Texas bluebonnets.
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#3 – South Africa
South Africa is definitely #2 on my bucket list right now, and it’s hard to know where to start on why it’s so awesome. We have stunning landscapes. We have safaris to catch a glimpse of rare animals. We have a pretty great wine region. WE HAVE PENGUINS ON BEACHES!
You couldn’t possibly see and do everything in one visit, but if I were putting a two-week perfect itinerary together, I’d make sure to get an amazing safari booked, spend some time exploring Cape Town (including the beaches), and then spend a few days in wine country (maybe with the cool wine train!).
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#4 – Dominica
If you’ve been a reader of this site for a while, you know I tend to be a bit lukewarm on Caribbean islands and like to explore further afield. But Dominica has really caught my eye recently.
Dominica is a small volcanic island in the eastern Caribbean, near St. Kitts and Saint Lucia (and not to be confused with the much more well-known Dominican Republic).
Enjoy lush green rainforests, crashing waterfalls, and other natural beauty in Dominica’s three national parks. Scuba dive into a volcanic crater and bask in the abundant marine life. Sip local rum in tiny beach bars. You can even see sperm whales year-round, which is super unique.
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#5 – South Island, New Zealand
New Zealand has been one of the last places to open back up (without tons of restrictions), and that means that 2023 is a perfect time to hop on a plane for like 17 hours and visit this insanely amazing country.
I went on an epic roadtrip through New Zealand almost a decade ago, and it blew me away with its unbelievable natural beauty, interesting and diverse things to do, and welcoming locals.
While the North Island is great, the South Island is really where it’s at…whether you’re looking for glacier hiking and glacier lake boat trips, adrenaline-spiking experiences, world-class wines and beers, secluded beaches, Lord of the Rings-style hiking, thundering waterfalls, or anything else, you’ll find it here!
#6 – Lapland, Finland
Do visions of fluffy snow and the jeweled colors of the Northern Lights dance through your head? Are you dying to pet a reindeer or fly across the snow with some huskies? If these are on your bucket list, then Finland’s Lapland region might just be the perfect place for you this year.
I’ve been lucky to have some similar experiences up in the Arctic Circle in Norway a number of years ago, but Finland’s Lapland region takes it even further. Sleep in a glass igloo under the stars or in a tiny mobile cabin out on a frozen lake. Try your hand at snowmobiling or snowshoeing, then devour piping hot fish soup to warm yourself back up.
Lapland is gorgeous in the summer as well, and definitely worth a visit. But in winter it is a true bucket list item, and an easy flight from Helsinki (which makes a great base, and also lets you easily visit Estonia and Russia if desired).
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#7 – Vietnam
From the culture to the people to the natural beauty, Vietnam has something for every traveler—and on top of that, it’s a remarkably affordable destination! Asia is finally really opening up more after Covid, making now the perfect time to visit (note, US visitors need a visa, which is easy & quick to apply for online).
I want to soak in the incredible landscapes, from the undulating green rice paddy terraces to the world-class beaches. I want to devour everything in sight and sip bracingly-sweet Vietnamese coffee.
And I want to learn more about their ancient culture (one of the oldest in southeast Asia) as well as the more recent Vietnam War and de-colonization.
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#8 – Chicago, Illinois (USA)
Sometimes the most obvious destinations get overlooked as everyone is looking for the hidden gems. If you haven’t ever been to Chicago (WHAT??) or just haven’t been in forever, it should definitely be on your 2023 travel destinations short list. Why, you ask??
It’s become maybe my favorite U.S. city in the last few years, with lots of interesting history, diverse architecture, world-class museums (if that’s your thing), beautiful parks, music, neighborhood festivals, water activities, nightlife, an iconic skyline, and so much more.
Chicago is also foodie HEAVEN! I’ve done multiple posts on the restaurants, bars, donut shops, and more (see my foodie guide + downtown donut shops). One of my favorite things to do is wander along the Riverwalk, coffee and pastry in hand, soaking in the sunrise or sunset views.
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#9 – The Republic of Georgia
This part of the world seems to fly under the radar, though with current world events it’s a bit higher profile right now. Sitting at a major crossroads of civilizations, the amount of history and culture in this region is staggering. Though Georgia is fairly small, it packs quite a punch travel-wise.
Nestled along the Black Sea and within the beautiful Carpathian Mountains, it offers stunning landscapes ranging from dramatic mountain passes to chill beaches. It’s a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures and has amazing food and wine—in fact it’s considered to be the birthplace of winemaking.
The cities are no slouch either. I’m fascinated by the ancient architecture, but it also has some of the more interesting Soviet-era architecture I’ve seen. Basically, Georgia is one of the places at the top of my personal 2023 travel destinations list, and I need to get a trip planned, STAT!
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#10 – Quebec City
I was actually supposed to visit Quebec City five years ago, and absolutely destroyed my ankle a few weeks before the trip so had to cancel (thank you, great credit card travel insurance!). And I was really bummed, because it looks SO cool!!
You’d be forgiven for believing you’re in a quaint French city while wandering the narrow cobblestone streets of Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In particular for U.S. tourists who want to get a taste of Europe but aren’t quite ready for the costs, Quebec City might be a great way to dip your toe in.
The city is charming and imminently walkable, full of delicious food, culture, 400 years of history (which is quite a bit for North America), shopping, and more.
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Bonus #11 – Antarctica
This is the absolute #1 on my bucket list, and has been for a few years, but it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip and so including it on my top 10 places to visit in 2023 felt like cheating. It really takes some planning, but I’m committed to starting to figure this out rather than just sit and dream about it.
Getting to Antarctica is an adventure in itself. Then you get to experience the towering ice cliffs, giant icebergs, wildlife (yes, MORE penguins!), and just…the sense of remoteness. I feel like I would learn so much, and also get the most amazing photography opportunities.
So this is sitting at the top of my bucket list until I get my act together and plan it!
Hopefully this gives you some inspiration for where to travel in 2023! Now…what’s on YOUR list??
Some practical travel tips to go with your inspiration:
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