Famous Mitre Peak rising from the Milford Sound fiord. Fiordland national park, New Zealand
Where should you travel in 2023?
If you’re wondering where you should visit next, you need to ask a professional. I consulted with OvationNetwork to find out which destinations the company is recommending for travel in 2023.
“After a year of unprecedented demand for travel, our travel advisors are recommending destinations that are new alternatives to old classics,” says Sunil Mahtani, executive vice president of OvationNetwork. “They’re places you can celebrate, reconnect and curate lasting memories.”
Here are the 23 best places to travel in 2023, according to OvationNetwork’s list of the top leisure destinations, compiled exclusively for FORBES.
Scenic dusk view of illuminated Queenstown cityscape at beautiful sunset with Lake Wakatipu and The … [+]
Why visit? Besides its exotic scenery, Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world. “It gets your adrenaline racing,” says travel advisor Aanchal Gandhi. But Queenstown is also a relaxing destination if you prefer a slower pace — plus, the wine is great, says Gandhi.
Who should go? Anyone looking for a diverse experience — from gastronomy to hiking in the mountains. Queenstown is family-friendly and if you’re a “Lord of the Rings” fan, of course you’ll want to visit Middle Earth.
Don’t miss: The Remarkables mountain range and the azure blue glaciers surrounding the city. You can enjoy the adrenaline rush with a bungee jump or blast across Lake Wakatipu and down the world-famous Kawarau and Shotover Rivers on the KJet.
Souvenirs on the Jamaa el Fna market in old Medina, Marrakesh, Morocco
Why visit? Marrakesh is one of the leading locations for artisanal handcrafted wares, including tiles, pottery, wood crafts, hand-beaten metals, leather and glass. Plus, as travel advisor Fiona Bayne notes, it also “has some of the most revered hotels in the world where you can experience sublime luxury in historic ornate palaces, minimalist luxury in private pavilions, or the taste of Morocco in a secluded riad.”
Who should go? Marrakesh holds allure for those who enjoy mixing history with a unique cuisine. If you travel to find original handmade items for your home, you’ll want to visit Marrakesh.
Don’t miss: A day trip to the ancient coastal trading port of Essaouira, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with ancient stone battlements around the port. Explore Essaouira’s markets, famed for the Thuya wood crafts and their skilled craftsmen.
Lone Peak View Big Sky in summer.
Why visit? Visitors to Big Sky experience the Wild West in its original form. “Big Sky is a wonderful place to visit in the summer and winter,” notes travel advisor Rob Karp. Also, it has great skiing and hiking, and it’s close to Yellowstone National Park.
Who should go? Anyone looking for outdoor adventure. It’s also perfect for skiers, nature lovers, outdoor explorers, and families.
Don’t miss: A trek to Riverhouse for beer and barbecue.
Vines in a vineyard in Alentejo region, Portugal, at sunset.
Why visit? Located between Lisbon and the Algarve is a lesser-known farm region of Portugal known as Alentejo. It’s home to vineyards, olive groves, and a rich local culture. “Some forward-thinking Portuguese families have converted their farms into hotels, opening the authentic experience to guests,” says travel advisor Sylvia Lebovitch. “Alentejo’s farm region provides an immersive experience.”
Who should go? Couples, families and foodies, along with anyone who has experienced Napa or Tuscany and wants something similar.
Don’t miss: A locally sourced picnic in the vineyards.
Coloured houses in the town Longyearbyen, the most northern settlement in the world in Svalbard.
Why visit? For a true bucket list experience, the Norwegian Arctic’s Svalbard remains one of the last undeveloped places on Earth, in part because of the difficulty in accessing it. “Wildlife encounters are a highlight of visiting this Arctic wonderland, with everything from walruses, Arctic foxes and seals to reindeer and polar bears,” explains Lebovitch.
Who should go? Svalbard attracts wildlife lovers, adventurers and those who feel they have “seen it all.”
Don’t miss: The Global Seed Vault, which safeguards seeds from all over the world to protect the future food supply. The seed vault is not open to the public, but the structure alone is a sight to see.
Clear water lapping on a deserted sandy beach in summer, Naoshima Island, Kagawa, Japan
Why visit? Naoshima offers a calmer, more local and community-based experience not found not found in cities like Kyoto or Tokyo. “The island’s inherent tranquility and surreal scenery allows for the perfect environment to foster relaxation and an openness to creativity,” says travel advisor Rachel Glick, “It also hosts one of the most unique art experiences in the world.”
Who should go? Lovers of Japanese architect Tadao Ando, couples, architects, students, families with teens, and artists should consider weaving Naoshima into their Japan itineraries.
Don’t miss: Aside from the iconic Yellow Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama, guests should prioritize Monet and Turrell at the Chichu Art Museum, The Oval at Benesse House, and Tadao Ando’s new Valley Gallery Art Site. If you have an extra day to spare, the otherworldly Teshima Art Museum is a ferry ride away and a must-see.
Greek village of Naousa, Paros island, Greece.
Why visit? A Greek Island that has been famous among Greeks for decades, Paros’ landscape fascinates with its undulating hills dotted with private chapels, as well as fertile valleys, golden coasts and picturesque whitewashed villages. “Paros is beginning to offer a balance of the authentic Greek traditional feel and luxury,” notes travel advisor Konstantinos Bastas.
Who should go? Those looking for an alternative to the popular and more crowded Greek islands like Mykonos and Santorini.
Don’t miss: The fishing town of Naoussa, located on the northern coast of the island, has a welcome mix of traditional Greek with the contemporary through its offering of boutique luxury hotels and great food scene.
white sand beach and boulders and palm tree in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Why visit? Virgin Gorda is among the Caribbean’s best kept secrets, with clear, calm waters and first-class snorkeling. “The best way to explore has always been by boat, but with the reopening of the fully renovated Rosewood Little Dix Bay, staying on land is just as magical,” notes Lebovitch.
Who should go? Virgin Gorda is popular with couples, families, snorkelers and beach bums.
Don’t miss: The Baths, huge boulders in pristine turquoise water.
Elizabeth Quay-Perth, capital of Western Australia, where the Swan River meets the southwest coast.
Why visit? Often overlooked for international travel because it’s remote, Perth has a laid-back vibe and life centered around the water – both the Swan River and the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. “You’ll find sailing, surfing, quaint Victorian architecture, great food and excellent wine,” says travel advisor Mary Calloway Wood.
Who should go? With renowned vineyards and great food scene – there are more al fresco restaurants than anywhere else in Australia – it’s ideal for wine aficionados and foodies, along with surfers and adventure seekers.
Don’t miss: A day trip by ferry to Rottnest Island offers more than 60 white sandy beaches and the ultimate Instagram celebrities: the quokkas, tiny marsupials with distinctive faces.
Senanque Abbey with blooming lavender field in Provence, France.
Why visit? Provence has a way of easing your heart rate. “Beautiful scenes of bucolic valleys, delicious food, and timeless pursuits offer a unique respite from our now fast-paced world,” says travel advisor Christopher Bellot. “Sun-filled days exploring idyllic farms, centuries old wineries and picturesque villages often end in candlelit dinners as the sun sets late.”
Who should go? Families, foodies, and those seeking an inspired sojourn.
Don’t miss: The exquisite Le Mas des Poiriers, an 18th-century farmhouse located on an island in the Rhône River near the medieval city of Avignon.
Harbor in Antalya old town or Kaleici in Turkey.
Why visit? Antalya is famous for some of the world’s most ancient sites, as well as some of the finest resorts on the beach. “As a gateway to Türkiye’s Mediterranean region, known as the Turquoise Coast or Turkish Riviera, it’s a great alternative to the Greek Islands and less expensive,” explains travel advisor Harlee Rosenberg.
Who should go? Visitors looking for a warm weather getaway that won’t break the bank. It’s a great destination for families, singles and friends getaways.
Don’t miss: The ancient sites and ruins and Yivli Minare Mosque, The Harbour, Kaleici, Perge Hadrian’s Gate and a boat ride to explore Duden Waterfalls.
Roman Amphitheatre in Lecce, Puglia (Apulia), southern Italy.
Why visit? Often in the shadow of Italy’s tourist destinations, the southern city Lecce, in the Puglia region, is for anyone who has already done the classics. “Travelers who are seeking the authentic Italian lifestyle experience will appreciate the evening passeggiata, when locals take a walk around town before they have dinner as the sun sets over the cobblestone lanes,” notes travel advisor John Yuceler.
Who should go? Foodies, well-traveled individuals, couples, and families.
Don’t miss: After you overdo it on pasta and pizza, try the traditional Lecce Puglia cuisine, La Cucina Povera. If you want to take it a step further, take a cooking class to learn more about the local food and enjoy an authentic meal.
Sunset in Es Castells bay in Menorca, Balearic Island, Spain.
Why visit? Menorca is often referred to as Majorca’s little brother. Menorca attracts far fewer visitors and is much quieter, yet offers 216 kilometers of coastline is home to over 75 unspoiled beaches. “Visitors will find the island is filled with hidden swimming coves, called calas, many of which can only be reached by boat,” notes travel advisor Barbara Hammer.
Who should go? The island’s easygoing and uncrowded beaches make it ideal for families. There’s plenty to do, including water skiing, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling and even exploring the island’s shipwrecks.
Don’t miss: Port Mahon, the second-largest natural harbor in the world. Additionally, with extraordinary gastronomy and local wines, consider a wine tasting tour at the Binifadet Winery.
Aerial view of Lausanne Cityscape illuminated at dusk. Lake Geneva in the background. Vaud canton in … [+]
Why visit? Lausanne is a medieval city on the shores of Lake Geneva that was once occupied by the Romans. ”It has a charming and historic old town, as well as magical views of the Alps and endless natural beauty,” says travel advisor James Katz.
Who should go? Anyone who enjoys history, as well as outdoor enthusiasts who like hiking.
Don’t miss: Climb Sauvabelin tower for incredible views of the city, lake and Alps.
La Clusaz, located in the French Alps in Haute Savoie, is a beautiful little village and a famous … [+]
Why visit? Megève is considered one of the most luxurious winter destinations in the world. Yet it’s still understated, which helps it win over people who are uninterested in flash and glitz. ”After you spend the day on slopes you will find Michelin-starred restaurants and trendy bars where you can sip hot chocolate under the heat lamps,” recommends travel advisor Fatma Yuceler.
Who should go? Skiers, golfers, foodies, shopaholics, and spa lovers.
Don’t miss: The Calvary Trail, where you can walk to see the 15 chapels that mark the stations of the cross.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia, one of the country’s signature tourist attractions.
Why visit? Angkor Wat and the other Angkorian temples. But there is much more to Siem Reap. Travel advisor Andrew Williams explains, “It’s the epicenter of chic Cambodia, with everything from backpacker party pads to hip hotels, plenty of wining and dining options, sumptuous spas, great shopping, local tours for all types of travelers and a creative cultural scene that includes Cambodia’s leading contemporary circus.”
Who should go? History buffs, xenophiles and nature lovers. It’s a destination that you can explore on your own, as a couple, or with the whole family or a group of friends.
Don’t miss: Angkor Wat, Phnom National Park and the floating village of Kampong Phluk.
Valletta, Malta at dusk.
Why visit? Comprising three islands in the middle of the Mediterranean, tiny Malta is packed with history and culture. “Take the hop-on, hop-off ferry for a dip in the gorgeous Blue Lagoon and explore the truly unique Blue Grotto,” offers travel advisor Elaine Esposito.
Who should go? Malta is a destination for those interested in rich history and culture, great food, and a hot climate.
Don’t miss: The three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the capital city of Valletta, the Megalithic Temples of Malta and the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum.
The Kalka to Shimla railway is a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow-gauge railway in North India which … [+]
Why visit? Crowned the “Queen of the Hills,” Shimla embodies India’s former British colonial culture, architecture and was adopted as the summer capital destination in modern Indian history. “The lush greenery in the summers and snowclad hills in the winter are enchanted,” says Gandhi.
Who should go? Architecture nerds. Also, hikers who enjoy spicy and earthy scents carried throughout the pine forests and those who want to slow down time to bask in the charming town.
Don’t miss: A locally brewed cup of chai while relaxing in the opulent estate at the Wildflower Hall.
Moraine Lake, Rocky Mountains, Canada
Why visit? Lake Louise is a year-round destination in Banff National Park. Hiking, canoeing, rock climbing and fishing are popular summer activities. Visitors come to ski, skate and go tubing in winter. “Lake Louise enjoys a prime postcard backdrop against a hanging glacier and Mount Victoria,” notes travel advisor Stacy Kristynik.
Who should go? Active families and couples who love the outdoors will appreciate the enchanting, awe-inspiring scenery.
Don’t miss: Hike the Plain of Six Glaciers. You will be rewarded with breathtaking views while you enjoy a snack and hot chocolate at the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House.
Tourists at the Cruz Del Condor viewpoint, Colca canyon, Peru.
Why visit? This river canyon in southern Peru is famous for its remote trekking. “The surreal canyon is one of the world’s deepest, and you can hike among the terraced villages that predate the Incas,” says travel advisor Ashley Diamond, who notes that rafting and extreme sports are also available in the area.
Who should go? Culture-seekers and adventurous travelers will enjoy Colca Canyon most.
Don’t miss: Colca Canyon is the best place to see giant Andean condors. These condors are some of the largest birds in the world, with an average wingspan of 10 feet.
César Gaviria Trujillo Viaduct is a cable-stayed bridge linking the city of Pereira with the … [+]
Why visit? Located in the foothills of the Andes and known for its sweeping coffee farmlands, Pereira is synonymous with the coffee cultural landscape of Colombia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “Pereira offers stunning views of the Andes while you enjoy a freshly brewed cup of Colombian coffee,” says travel advisor Diana Villegas.
Who should go? Both coffee novices and enthusiasts alike looking for a unique cup of joe experience can book a tour of the local coffee bean plantations. Families and solo travelers can enjoy captivating views in Pereira’s natural parks and botanical gardens and its scenic trails.
Don’t miss: Coffee farms where Pereira’s award-winning arabica beans are grown and exported worldwide. Also, go café hopping to indulge in coffee, pastries, and local Colombian fare.
Famous Corniche, the waterfront street along Doha Bay, with its futuristic skyscrapers.
Why visit? Doha has become the latest golden capital of Mideast cool and culture. As the upcoming host to the World Cup, travel advisor Laurie Robinson explains, “It is a city in the making, juxtaposing its ancient Bedouin culture with the ultramodern. The Qatar National Museum, shaped as a desert rose, brings to life the unique story of Qatar and gives voice to the nation’s rich heritage and culture.”
Who should go? Architecture buffs will be awed by the futuristic skyline and the many spectacular museums.
Don’t miss: Souk Waquif’s Golden Thumb, sunsets on the Doha Corniche, I.M. Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art, the Katara Cultural Village and the trendy Mshereib art/design district, with its robust coffee and café culture. Be sure to try machboos and karak chai.
California Valley Oak Tree with early morning sun beams in Paso Robles wine country in Central … [+]
Why visit? Consisting of majestic vineyards, oak-dotted hills and cowboy charm, Paso Robles is filled with world-class dining and a burgeoning art scene, says travel advisor Andrew Williams. “Relax in your choice of endless lodging options, from historic inns and luxury resorts to rustic vineyard escapes,” he says.
Who should go? Long viewed as a great weekend escape among Californians, it is ideal for multigenerational families and wine connoisseurs.
Don’t miss: Tobin James Cellars, Sidecar Vineyard Tour, Sculpterra Winery, Kiler Ridge Olive Farm and Franklin Hot Springs are among the top vineyards.