If you have given travel much thought recently or have yet to decide on the places you want to visit, how exactly can you select just a few to put on your list?
The Earth is such a massive, wondrous place. So much so that it inspires many to travel and see as much of it as they can, as often as they can.
Thousands of places make it into countless bucket lists, and millions of people dream of one day planning the perfect trip to their once-in-a-lifetime destinations.
If you’re looking for your next destination, check out this list of the 24 best places to travel in 2023.
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Best Places to Travel in 2023
With so many choices for travel destinations, it can be hard to narrow down your options. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to travel in 2023. From breathtaking natural scenery to rich cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone on this list. So start planning your trip and get ready for an unforgettable experience. And don’t forget your travel camera.
1. Jasper National Park, Canada
Jasper is a vast national park on the Canadian Rockies’ eastern slopes. Every sunrise lights up each of the park’s 10,000+ ft. peaks.
Jasper is a UNESCO World Heritage site since it’s part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks. What makes this destination even better is that you can take the Icefields Parkway driving from Banff — an adventure on its own.
2. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
It’s not always cheap or easy to get to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. Visits may require a lot of planning, but they can be incredibly worth it in the end.
The Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are known to be one of the best places to see wildlife. Here, visitors can see a diverse environment with many ecosystems. There are many species of animals and plants, some of them endemic to the Galapagos. The best way to see the archipelago is with a Galapagos cruise.
3. Medellin, Colombia
Medellin, Colombia, still has a bit of a bad reputation, with many believing it to be unsafe and dangerous. And while it used to be, this has changed over the years.
Today, Medellin, Colombia, is one of the best places for digital nomads. Beyond the low cost of living, visitors will also have plenty to see and experience after work is done.
Colombia also recently established a Digital Nomad visa that allows visitors to stay up to two years.
4. Zermatt, Switzerland
If skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, and hiking interest you, Zermatt might be a destination to consider.
This car-free town has a massive list of hiking trails displayed right in its center, indicating how many people visit for this purpose during the summer.
There are also three peaks here: Gornergrat, Rothorn, and Matterhorn, which you might know as the Toblerone logo.
5. Gunung Leuser National Park, Bukit Lawang, Indonesia
Gunung Leuser National Park, located in Indonesia, is one of the Southeast Asia tropics’ richest rainforests.
It’s most known for being one of the very last homes to the critically endangered wild orangutans. Beyond Sumatran orangutans, this national park also serves as the habitat for many other species, such as tigers, rhinoceroses, elephants, and more.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is a joy for those who enjoy trekking and wildlife.
6. El Chalten, Argentina
Adventurers who love hiking and mountaineering will enjoy El Chalten, Argentina.
This small town sits below two mountains — Cerro Torre, a popular mountaineering destination, and Cerro Fitz Roy, a mountain you might already know as the Patagonia brand logo.
Visitors to El Chalten may also enjoy guided treks, river rafting, rock or mountain climbing, Patagonian crafts, and the rustic cuisine in the region.
7. San Blas Islands, Panama
The San Blas Islands of Panama, found in the Caribbean Sea, are the perfect destinations for those seeking sun and sand, pristine, untouched beaches, lush jungles, and crystal-clear turquoise and blue waters.
Visitors will also find the friendly Kuna Yala tribe residing on the islands. The Kuna Yala culture is part of Panama’s cultural heritage and a fascinating experience to share.
8. El Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
El Salar de Uyuni is one of Bolivia’s most popular must-see sites. It’s the largest salt flat on the planet and is a beautiful sight to behold.
Although this salt flat is a great place to visit year-round, coming between the months of December to March will allow visitors to snap photos with amazing reflections as the horizon seems to disappear.
9. Cordillera Blanca, Peru
People who love trekking and mountaineering will likely enjoy a visit to the off-the-beaten-path Cordillera Blanca in Peru.
The Cordillera Blanca is a mountain range located near a small town named Huaraz. This mountain range allows for fantastic hiking with far fewer crowds than one might encounter in Peru’s more popular destinations, such as Macchu Picchu.
10. Baja California, Mexico
Mexico’s Baja California boasts beautiful desert landscapes. Visitors will also find rich marine life and lush oases, making Baja California one of Mexico’s most popular locations.
Baja California, a popular destination for surfers and divers, is known as the “world’s aquarium” and features whales and whale sharks. Those who visit will also see plenty of human history, including remote cave paintings and practically ancient Spanish missions.
Those looking for a more exotic experience should consider Madagascar.
This island nation, located in East Africa, boasts all sorts of landscapes, including limestone karsts, beaches, mountains, forests, and canyons.
Although Madagascar isn’t the most accessible place to visit, it’s one of the most memorable — visitors can see Lemurs, the Baobab forest, and over 15,000 species of plants (80% endemic to the nation).
Mauritius is a country few would typically think of visiting, but this subtropical island east of Madagascar boasts some of the world’s best beaches.
Visitors can also enjoy a hike up to the top of Le Piton (Black River Peak), the top of which gives a 360-degree panorama of the island.
Mauritian culture is one to experience to enjoy, along with the food and festivals.
13. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thailand has countless beautiful locations to visit, one of them being Chiang Mai.
This beautiful city features a well-preserved culture, gorgeous greenery, and ancient architecture mixed in with more modern offerings.
Chiang Mai is also a fantastic place to visit to see Thai art, beautiful ancient temples, and the mountain Doi Suthep.
14. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Unsurprisingly, Ha Long Bay and its breathtaking limestone mountains are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visiting Ha Long Bay is made better by joining a cruise to see many of the area’s offerings at various times of the day — including unforgettable sunrises and sunsets.
Those who come to the site can also enjoy activities like trekking, rock climbing, cycling, (squid) fishing, kayaking, Tai Chi, and more.
15. Easter Island, Chile
Those who have always been interested in Polynesian culture may find Easter Island a fantastic destination. This island is one of the world’s most remote, with only about 6,000 inhabitants.
One of the best reasons to visit Easter Island is its rich cultural heritage, recognized by UNESCO. Visitors can see the world-famous Maoi stone statues, explore the Rapa Nui National Park, hike the area’s extinct volcano, and much more.
16. Marrakesh, Morocco
Sometimes called the “city of luxury,” Marrakesh is full of five-star restaurants, palaces, luxury spas, and traditional houses, but that doesn’t mean it’s an expensive place meant just for the rich.
Visitors can see the Medina (old city), which offers an explosion of scents, colors, exquisite cuisine, and cultural experiences.
Travelers can also use Marrakesh as a base camp before exploring the Atlas Mountains.
17. Queenstown, New Zealand
Many know Queenstown as the world’s “adventure capital,” and for a good reason. Visitors can enjoy adrenaline-fueled activities, such as skydiving, zip line riding, white water rafting, and the unique luge.
Many also visit Queenstown for hiking in the summer and snowboarding or skiing in the winter. This active and popular destination boasts friendly locals and a roaring nightlife for those interested in activities after dark.
Antarctica isn’t necessarily on many people’s bucket lists. It’s hardly considered a genuine travel destination, but visiting the continent can be incredibly rewarding.
Those ready to brave the cold will see penguins and many other species of birds, icebergs and glaciers, whales, seals, and unforgettable polar sunsets.
The most popular way to visit the area is by cruise, which provides the necessary comforts while providing all sorts of views and experiences.
19. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA
The Grand Canyon is hardly off the beaten path or underrated or unknown.
It’s a top-rated destination that everyone should visit at least once. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers some of the most spectacular views in the world and has all sorts of activities, including hiking, rafting, or swimming.
Visitors can also take a helicopter ride for a bird’s eye view or experience the Grand Canyon Railway and its stunning views.
20. Azores, Portugal
The mid-Atlantic archipelago of the Azores is known for stunning volcanic landscapes, natural hot springs and waterfalls, and magnificently dramatic coastlines.
Travelers can join hiking tours for any experience level and even join an expedition to summit the highest mountain in Portugal, Mount Pico. There are many sights to behold on this island, including the three picturesque volcanic lakes.
Visitors can also scuba dive and watch for whales and dolphins that frequent the area.
21. Kyoto, Japan
Japan closed its doors to tourism for the past few years due to the pandemic. However, it has since reopened in late 2022, and now tourists can once more visit many of the destinations on the island — including Kyoto.
Although Kyoto is a major city in (and the former capital of) Japan, today, it’s a more atmospheric place to be.
Kyoto offers a slow and deliberate pace of life with plenty of Shinto Shrines and Buddhist Temples. It also provides a better look into Japanese traditions, culture, and food.
If you’ve ever wanted to visit the Caribbean, Curacao is a fantastic place to start. Curacao is the C in “the ABC Islands” of Aruba, Bonaire, and of course, Curacao.
It might not seem like it from the name, but Curacao is a Dutch colony (though nowadays, it’s a little more nuanced than that).
This island isn’t nearly as famous as Aruba, but it boasts glorious beaches, rich history and culture, and some of the world’s best scuba diving.
And, unlike some other Caribbean Islands, Curacao is fortunately located out of what’s known as the “hurricane belt,” making it a perfect year-round destination.
Many may have never heard of Bhutan, a small land-locked country between China, India, and Nepal in the Himalayas. This country features a vibrant and enchanting culture and spectacular mountain landscapes (after all, it’s the last Himalayan Kingdom).
Visitors not only get to see amazing views and wildlife, including Himalayan black bears, Bengal tigers, and Asian elephants, but they also get to experience many of the country’s festivals.
Bhutan is highly concerned with its environmental footprint and ensures that at least 75% of its land is covered in forests and is a carbon-negative country.
24. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Last but not least in our list of the best places to travel in 2023 is in Tanzania. Those looking for a brush with African wildlife can go for a safari in the Serengeti. Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s most famous — and also its oldest.
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also often described as the world’s seventh wonder, where you can see the Great Migration.
Visitors can see some of the planet’s most exotic and magical wildlife, including giraffes, elephants, lions, leopards, and so much more.
Final Thoughts — Where Should You Go?
That wraps up our review of the best places to travel in 2023. With seven continents and nearly two hundred countries, many would find it challenging to find somewhere to go.
In the end, choosing where to go is entirely your decision. It’s easy just to pick one of the world’s most famous places, the well-known tourist destinations that will almost always guarantee a memorable experience.
But if you’re looking for something a little different or off the beaten path, consider one of the many listed above and see whether one resonates with you.