Forget the traditional holiday destinations; in 2023, travelers are looking for unique, delightful, and surprising vacations. Social media travel inspiration is everywhere, and Americans are shying away from usual Italy and Greece.
National Geographic published the experiences and destinations you want to discover in 2023. Want some travel destinations that are breathtaking, unique, and offer the trip of a lifetime? These destinations are worth looking into.
Alberta, Canada, is one of the places National Geographic recommends you explore. We’re specifically charmed by Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Aside from its beautiful wildlife, Calgary is emerging on the global table of renowned cuisines for the quality of its produce. Calgary is known for its maverick lifestyle approach, with incredible independent and chef-owned restaurants to explore. The culinary scene in Calgary offers everything imaginable, from fresh beef entrees to decadent chocolate shops, to tasteful distilleries – there’s something for everyone in Calgary!
Try vegetarian food at Fire & Flora, located in the city center. They focus on Canadian-sourced ingredients, starting with local Alberta farmers, artisans, and producers. Something new to explore in Calgary is the Alberta Boot Company. Visitors can see the boot-making process in the factory through a glass wall, with tours launching later this year.
In December 2022, Burwood Distillery will open a new location in historic army barracks with a restaurant, distillery tours, tastings, cocktail and beekeeping classes, and various experiences. The distillery owns approximately 1000 hives and uses honey to sweeten its spirits.
The Scottish Highlands boasts breathtaking scenery, rugged landscapes, and dramatic coastlines and stretches from Fort William to John O’Groats, a distance that spans almost 10,000 square miles (26,000 square kilometers). There is much to do here, including hiking in the highlands, swimming in clean lochs, wandering around rural towns, or driving along the North Coast 500.
For the ultimate Scottish Highlands experience, stay at a breathtaking 18th-century manor house. Auchterarder House is set in 20 acres of beautifully kept gardens, including a lochan (Scottish for small lake). It enjoys stunning views over the Grampian mountains to the west and the Cairngorms to the north as it sits in the very center of Scotland. The recently restored manor house is also surrounded by some of the best golf courses in the world, lying close to world-famous courses such as Rosemount at Blairgowrie, Muckhart, and the courses at Gleneagles.
Did you know that Ronald Reagon also stayed here?
National Geographic recommends visiting King Tut’s new home in Egypt at Cairo’s Grand Egyptian Museum and Luxor’s Avenue of the Sphinxes. The Grand Egyptian Museum, located on the Giza Plateau next to the Great Pyramids, is slated to open in 2023. With an estimated 100,000 artifacts and must-see sights such as the 83-ton, 3,200-year-old statue of Ramses II, the museum will truly be like no other.
A holiday to Egypt is as inspiring today as it was during Egyptomania in the 19th century when Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign documented the country’s historic monuments for the first time and in the 1920s when Howard Carter thrilled people with his discovery of the tomb of boy-king Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings.
The mighty River Nile is the country’s lifeblood, stretching from the delta at Alexandria up to the upper Nile Valley via bustling Cairo, where the Great Pyramids of Giza tower over the desert and city, ancient Thebes (modern-day Luxor), past the remarkable temples of Kom Ombo, Karnak and Edfu, and sedate Aswan where Agatha Christie was inspired to pen Death On The Nile at the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract.
As the largest region in Switzerland, Graubunden makes up almost 20% of the country’s total land area. The region’s diversity is seemingly endless, from famed Davos to the beauty of the Engadine, the glam of St. Moritz, the crystal-clear Alpine waters of Lake Caumasee, and the romantic Rhaetian Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Days can be spent hiking among the craggy ravines of the Rhine Gorge (known as the little Swiss Grand Canyon) or taking in the charms of quaint Swiss villages. Visitors can indulge in an incomparable culinary scene helmed by Michelin chefs, a legacy of wines passed down from the Romans almost 2,000 years ago, healing thermal waters at world-renowned spas, and palatial hotels curated by the world’s foremost architects.
The 126-room Valbella Resort—comprised of three separate buildings—is fresh from an extensive renovation inside and out. They not only drastically reduced their ecological footprint but also included upgrades of all rooms in the Tgiasa Principala main building, an expansion of the Capricorn restaurant, and the addition of an organic swimming pond, among other improvements.
Cresta Palace Celerina, following a large investment in the millions, has opened 40 rooms and suites, completely renovated and redesigned. The award-winning architectural office Fanzun AG managed the refurbishment, paying close attention to the hotel’s history. The renovation reflects a new interior and color concept skillfully with elements of Art Nouveau with loving details. It is important to note that the hotel and architect committed to involving as many local Engadin artisans as possible. Regarding sustainability, the conversion brought the rooms technically up to date and optimized them in terms of energy.
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. South Africa borders it to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. Botswana is home to the world’s largest intact inland Delta – the Okavango, the unimaginable vastness of the world’s second-largest game reserve – the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the isolation and otherworldliness of the Makgadikgadi pans, and the astoundingly prolific wildlife of the Chobe National Park.
Hundreds of plants and animals thrive in this sweltering nation. By many, it’s considered the best country for African safaris, and visitors will have the opportunity to see the “Big Five” — lion, leopard, elephant, black rhino, and buffalo. Besides the “Big Five,” Botswana is also home to several iconic African animals, including cheetahs, zebras, African buffalo, and giraffes.
For a unique experience, Natural Selection’s six-night Botswana Guided Cycling Safari explores the ancient elephant paths that shaped the unspoiled Botswana landscape for centuries by bike: cycling alongside incredible sightings of wildlife, passing acacia woodlands, wandering riverbanks, mopane forests, and savannah grasslands.
Private safari guides will introduce you to magical landscapes along the Okavango Delta, which are explored by a few, covering 25 to 40 miles per day. Spend the following days tracking the footsteps of giants with sightings of elephants, buffalo, giraffes, and even lions. Safari vehicles will be available as an alternative should guests wish to experience the incredible landscape from a different view.
Vienna, Austria’s capital, offers a mix of charming cobblestone streets, music, and historical architecture. On top of that, its parks and green spaces are what sets Vienna apart. Meanwhile, well-known residents like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud bring intellect and art to the city.
Vienna welcomes 2023 with a plethora of anniversaries and celebrations. In the years around 1873, Vienna reinvented itself, and in 2023, Vienna will celebrate “150 Years of the Vienna World’s Fair,” an anniversary that celebrates Vienna’s past, present, and future.
2023 also marks the 300th anniversary of the stunning baroque Belvedere Palace. In a major exhibition, the palace will look back at an illustrious history shaped by power and posture, courtly celebrations, and major milestones such as the signing of the Austrian State, Treaty in 1955. The show also brings to light the museum’s diversity and the collection built up over the centuries – including the largest collection of Gustav Klimt’s artwork.
Other artistic highlights will be displayed at the Albertina. From July – September, the museum will present Georg Baselitz in honor of his 85th birthday. The recently opened Rosewood Vienna is set in a neoclassical building once a bank headquarters and, before that, an apartment building where Mozart lived.
Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico
The Revillagigedo Islands are perfect for you if you dream of magical manta encounters and being surrounded by schools of hammerheads while being buzzed by an orca. Affectionately known as the Galapagos of Mexico, it is a diver’s paradise.
You can also sail to the most well-known of the island chain, Socorro, on a PADI Liveaboard during the spring months for a chance to witness the aquatic lover’s paradise. As the seasons transition from winter to spring, lucky explorers get the chance to have intimate encounters with manta rays, bottlenose dolphins who seek out divers for playful interactions and games they’ve created unique to the pod, and even the occasional humpback whale off the coast of Mexico.