• 25 January 2023

Keen on travelling in 2023 and unsure of where to go? Wonder no more! Expat Explore has put together a list of the top trending destinations for 2023. From places that remain favourites with travellers year in and year out, to regions that are emerging as popular spots to add to your travel bucket list… This is where to go in 2023!

The desire to explore more of the world remains strong globally! Travel shows no signs of slowing down. After reviewing “hot lists” for major travel publications, checking out the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards results and Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel Awards, we have narrowed it down to the top 13 trending destinations for 2023. Take a look and choose to embrace wanderlust this year! 

13 Trending Destinations to visit in 2023

1. Japan

The Far East of Asia was one of the last parts of the world to reopen post Covid-19 travel restrictions. This means that many of us are incredibly excited to finally be able to explore this region again! Japan in particular was in demand pre-Covid and it will be topping the lists of travellers worldwide in 2023.

As a place where old meets new, where ancient shrines sit alongside modern skyscrapers, where the natural scenery is sure to take your breath away and where the culture, cuisine and hospitality are sure to impress, Japan should definitely be on your must-see list. Cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto continue to be top destinations while Fukuoka, Kanazawa and Naoshima are growing in popularity. This year, travellers will flock to Japan for the rich culture, the mouthwatering food and the scenery – Cherry Blossom season, taking place from late March to April/early May, is high season for a reason!

Did you know? Japan slowly opened up to tourism again in late 2022 and Expat Explore was one of the first tour groups to visit the country after the global lockdown! Read all about that trip here. Book your spot on one of our Highlights of Japan tours departing in 2023!    

View of Mount Fuji and cherry blossoms in Japan Trending Destinations
Tick Japan off your bucket list in 2023!

2. Egypt

As popular destinations go, Egypt remains a bucket list favourite. Pyramids, pharaohs, the famous Nile River, impressive archaeological sites and history dating back thousands of years – this country is an explorer’s delight! Combine this with the hustle and bustle of Cairo and relaxing Red Sea Resorts and you get an unforgettable holiday experience.

In exciting news, the highly anticipated Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) is set to open in 2023. When it opens, the GEM will be the world’s largest archaeological museum dedicated to a single civilization. With a location on the Giza Plateau (just next to the pyramids) and exhibitions showcasing ancient Egypt and the complete Tutankhamun collection, the GEM will have visitors from around the world flocking to admire the ancient treasures and learn more about this country’s fascinating history. 

In addition to this, travel research shows increased numbers of international cruises docking along Egypt’s shores in 2023 and waterside resorts gaining even more popularity. With its ancient archaeological sites and Red Sea resorts, Egypt offers the enticing combination of historical exploration and ultimate relaxation! 

Camel in front of pyramids in Egypt trending destinations
Visit Egypt for a fun-filled adventure!

Related: Enjoy all that Egypt has to offer on a tour of Egypt! Choose to explore ancient temples, cruise the Nile River and relax at an all-inclusive resort. 

3. Cuba

According to the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards, Cuba is the hottest trending destination for 2023! Cuba takes the number one spot ahead of Hoi An in Vietnam, Mauritius, Siem Reap in Cambodia, and Chiang Mai in Thailand which rounded out the top five. This Caribbean destination emerged as the spot experiencing the biggest spike in interest and bookings amongst travellers. 

With its colonial-style architecture, vintage cars and pastel colour palette, Cuba appears to be stuck in time. It is, without a doubt, an alluring destination to explore. Meandering along the tropical white sand beaches, exploring tobacco plantations and dancing the night away in the capital city of Havana sounds like something from a travel dream! Venture outside of Havana to visit destinations including Valle de Viñales, Santiago de Cuba, Trinidad and Baracoa.  

Vintage car parked in front of colonial style buildings in Havana trending destinations
Experience the vintage vibes and local hospitality in Cuba.

4. Italy

Another spot that continuously tops travel wish lists is Italy. From the food and culture to the history and incredible landscapes, this country offers a wealth of memorable experiences for travellers. Italy’s capital Rome (placing fourth on the Travelers’ Choice Awards Popular Destinations list) and cities including Naples, Florence and Venice rank highly on must-see lists for 2023. Lesser known destinations such as Lecce and the Basilicata region are growing in popularity too this year.  

In 2023, people will be visiting Italy for several reasons. These include enjoying the natural scenery and outdoor activities – think skiing in winter in the Italian Alps and hikes, swimming and more during the warmer months! 

At its core, Italy is about embracing the culture and making connections. One of the best ways to do this is through food. In fact, Italy’s Umbria region secured a spot on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023 feature on the “eat” list. Umbria offers an exciting culinary scene with authentic local foodie experiences!

Three friends ride bicycles at the Colosseum in Rome trending destinations
Italy is always a good idea!

Related: Experience the culture, cuisine and connections on Expat Explore’s Italy tours.  

5. Greece

Ah, Greece, another classic! Greek destinations such as Athens, Crete, Paros and Thessaloniki feature on several lists of trending travel destinations for 2023. Greece’s combination of ancient history, idyllic islands, delicious food, natural beauty and lively locals make it a long-time favourite for travellers. 

Visit Athens to discover the ancient Acropolis and uncover tales of Greek gods and epic battles! On popular islands Mykonos and Santorini, you can enjoy lazy beach days, beautiful walks and the chance to dance the night away! Crete is all about ancient sites, lively cities and stunning beaches while Paros offers all the iconic Greek island experiences – white-washed towns, gorgeous beaches and fun-filled nightlife – with fewer crowds. 

View of harbour town in Paros, Greece trending destinations
Live the Greek dream in Paros!

Related: You can see the Best of Greece over 12 days, starting and ending in Athens, with Expat Explore. This includes incredible destinations on the mainland and ample time on the islands of Mykonos and Santorini! Shorter versions of this tour are available too! Take a look at our tours that visit Greece.

6. Vietnam 

South East Asia has always been popular with travellers and in 2023, this popularity will continue to grow! One of the biggest travel trends for 2023 is health and wellness with South East Asian destinations being ideal destinations for this kind of travel. In Vietnam, you’ll find a mix of incredible food, rich culture, breathtaking natural scenery and buzzing cities. 

While Bali and Thailand might jump to the front of your mind for an Eat, Pray, Love style sojourn, don’t count out Vietnam! Vietnam offers relaxing coastal getaways and spiritual destinations perfect for a wellness retreat. 

Boats illiminated near Hoi An ancient town in Vietnam trending destinations
Discover the rich history and culture of Hoi An in Vietnam.

Related: Visit top Vietnam destinations including Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Long Bay and Hoi An (which is in second place on the Travelers’ Choice Awards list for trending destinations) on Expat Explore’s Highlights of Vietnam and Vietnam & Cambodia Explorer tours.

7. Cambodia

Cambodia might not be as widely-known as neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam. However, don’t overlook this incredible country. It’s a trending 2023 destination for good reason! 

Siem Reap is the gateway to the magnificent Angkor Wat. The centuries-old temple complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s largest religious monument. The sprawling 400 km2 site is Cambodia’s national monument and attracts visitors from around the world. Watching the sunrise over the central Temple of Angkor Wat before exploring famous sites like Angkor Thom and Bayon Temple is a soul-stirring experience!

Related: Explore Angkor Wat as well as Siem Reap and Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh on the Taste of Cambodia tour. 

Angkor Wat Cambodia trending destinations
Angkor Wat is a true bucket list-worthy destination!

8. Spain 

Fiestas, tapas and flamenco flair! Spain is a treat for the senses and is ever-popular with travellers from around the world. Madrid and Barcelona are travel hubs that offer captivating tastes of the Spanish way of life; earning these cities their spots in the top 20 on the Travellers’ Choice Awards Popular Destinations list. 

Madrid is home to Spain’s royal family as well as a wealth of incredible foodie experiences while Barcelona boasts awe-inspiring architecture including Gaudí’s fantastical, world-famous Sagrada Família. Now that is a bucket list item if we’ve ever seen one! More of Spain’s must-see destinations include Valencia, Granada, Toledo, Seville and San Sebastian.  

Not only is the country home to great food, rich culture and bucket list landmarks, but Spain also offers up centuries worth of fascinating history throughout its borders too! It’s perfect for all kinds of travellers’ interests. No wonder it maintains its position on popular destination lists year in and year out, and continues to trend in 2023! 

View of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain trending destinations
Gaudí’s masterpiece is a must-see in Barcelona.

Related: Take a look at these tours that visit Spain. Feeling adventurous? Combine Spain and Portugal for an epic trip! 

9. United Kingdom

Next up is Travel & Leisure’s Destination of the Year for 2023: The United Kingdom! This is the year to discover what makes Great Britain so great. While the UK is historically a well-known and highly visited travel destination, it’s far from tired and boring. Visit England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to experience the magic of each destination. 

It’s no surprise that London maintains a high position on people’s travel wish lists while Edinburgh continues to be a favourite among travellers. London will take centre stage in May for King Charles’ coronation celebrations and in 2023, Liverpool will step into the spotlight as the host of this year’s Eurovision competition! Eurovision is a fun, and often bizarre, celebration of music from across Europe (and for some reason, Australia). The 2023 instalment is sure to be a hoot as this is the first time the UK has hosted since 1998. 

View of The Mall and Buckingham Palace in London UK trending destinations
Enjoy a jolly good trip to the UK in 2023!

Related: Enjoy the ultimate United Kingdom & Ireland travel adventure with Expat Explore! 

10. Morocco

Morocco has steadily been emerging as a major travel destination over recent years. And its popularity shows no signs of slowing down! Morocco is a place of intriguing diversity; where desert sands flow into ancient cities and the Atlas Mountains pose a striking backdrop! 

Marrakech is one of the main drawcards. Travellers visit to indulge in authentic Moroccan cuisine, frequent the souks for arts, crafts and local produce, and watch the sunset from the beautiful beaches. Let’s not forget the rich history and culture! Absorb the atmosphere in the city streets or explore one of the many museums. There is even a museum dedicated to the work of French designer Yves Saint Laurent who loved Marrakech! Fes, home to the world’s oldest university, and Chefchaouen, a city tinted blue, are two more incredible Moroccan destinations to visit in 2023. 

Female traveller in Chefchaouen Morocco trending destinations
Discover Chefchaouen – Morocco’s famous blue city!

11. Costa Rica

Next, we move to Central America. Costa Rica is famous for its cloud forests, sloths and pura vida lifestyle. 

A Costa Rican holiday is all about embracing the great outdoors – another fantastic 2023 travel trend! Imagine hiking the Arenal volcano, soaking in volcanic hot springs or exploring a rainforest on a canopy tour. Picture yourself venturing through a national park, cruising around the coastline on a boat tour or relaxing on one of Costa Rica’s idyllic beaches. What’s more, Costa Rica’s exotic wildlife and beautiful coastline don’t hurt either! Great places to visit include Arenal, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio National Park and the Osa Peninsula. 

Did you know? You can explore Costa Rica with Expat Explore on the Panama & Costa Rica Escape tour!

Sloth in Costa Rican rainforest trending destinations
Embrace nature in Costa Rica!

12. New Zealand

New Zealand is another dream destination for lovers of the outdoors that is making appearances on travel “hot lists” around the world. This is the place for action-packed thrills. In fact, from surfing and skiing to hiking epic national parks; there is no shortage of adventure in New Zealand! 

Here, you can experience the incredible natural scenery coupled with captivating Māori culture and the ever-hospitable Kiwis. You could also experience New Zealand from a different perspective on the TranzAlpine Railway which cuts across the country from Christchurch to Greymouth and is one of the most scenic train trips in the world! 

hiker in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park New Zealand World Kindness Day
Explore Aoraki Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand.

13. Turkey (Türkiye)

Finally on this list is the place where east meets west: Türkiye! Like all of the destinations mentioned on this list, Türkiye offers a wealth of incredible travel experiences. 

The “big hitters” continue to remain popular with travellers. Istanbul, Cappadocia, Antalya and Türkiye’s beaches are at the top of travel wish lists. History buffs will be mesmerised by ancient sites in Ephesus, Troy, the Battlefields of Gallipoli and the historic monuments in Istanbul which are remnants of the country’s Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman influences. Love the outdoors? Natural beauty abounds from the golden beaches along the coastline and the terraces of Pamukkale to Cappadoccia’s whimsical fairy chimney rock formations! Looking for great foodie finds? The cuisine and culture are another mainstay of Türkiye travel! Prepare to indulge in some of the world’s most tantalising dishes while enjoying Turkish hospitality. 

Hit air balloons over Cappadocia Turkey trending destinations
Experience a trip to Cappadocia in Türkiye this year!

Related: Join the Highlights of Turkey tour to experience the top travel experiences in this beautiful country! 

Is Italy on your must-see list? Are you seeking adventure in incredible destinations like Japan, Türkiye and Vietnam? 2023 is the year to make travel possible! Visit many of these trending destinations on one of our fun, affordable and convenient group tours – start planning your next dream trip today!

Questions & Comments

  1. Nancy Spargo says:

    Are you doing a Cuba trip for 2024 . Will probably look at that and maybe a Mexico one.
    Thanks Nancy

  2. Adelina Colozo says:

    Interested in New Zealand and Costa Rica. Any details available?
    How about Cartagena Colombia?
    Thank you.

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