The best places to visit in 2023 named by Lonely Planet: South Scotland and New Mexico make the cut


The travel experts at Lonely Planet have unveiled a list of the best places to visit in 2023, with Manchester, South Scotland, Sydney and New Mexico all making the cut.

The list features 30 ‘must-visit’ destinations in total and this year is sorted by the type of experience to be enjoyed there: Eat, Journey, Connect, Learn and Unwind.

The Eat category features Peru’s capital, Lima, for ‘diverse dining options’, South Africa, for ‘affordable world class dining’, and Umbria, Italy, for ‘a rich gastronomy scene’.

Manchester (above) is hailed as ‘one of the best – if not the best – cities in the UK with something for everyone’

In South Scotland (above), Lonely Planet says that travellers should 'explore the ancient Borders town of Melrose, Tweed Valley Country Park and near-secret fishing villages of Eyemouth and St Abbs before moving south-west to the historic market town of Dumfries and the other-worldly Crawick Multiverse'

In South Scotland (above), Lonely Planet says that travellers should ‘explore the ancient Borders town of Melrose, Tweed Valley Country Park and near-secret fishing villages of Eyemouth and St Abbs before moving south-west to the historic market town of Dumfries and the other-worldly Crawick Multiverse’

Alaska (the state's Glacier Bay pictured) is where indigenous groups manage authentic tourism experiences that also embrace sustainability, says Lonely Planet

Alaska (the state’s Glacier Bay pictured) is where indigenous groups manage authentic tourism experiences that also embrace sustainability, says Lonely Planet

Intrepid ‘Journeys’ include the reinstated night train between Istanbul and Sofia, Bulgaria, and a road trip through Nova Scotia, Canada’s dramatic Atlantic.

Western Australia is also nominated in the Journey list. Lonely Planet says: ‘It covers more land than England, Spain, France, Italy and Germany combined, yet is home to less than one per cent of their collective population. As well as exciting Perth, explore national parks, beaches and characterful towns with fantastic food scenes in the south-west of the state.’

Another top spot for a memorable journey, says Lonely Planet, are the Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia, encompassing 59 protected natural areas that harbour some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world.

The ‘overlooked’ peninsula of Halkidiki in Greece, meanwhile, ‘historic sunshine island’ Malta and ‘future-facing’ Jamaica all offer ‘tempting chances to Unwind’, says Lonely Planet.

This category also features Dominica (pronounced Domi-nee-kah), known as the ‘Nature Island’. Lonely Planet says: ‘It’s often confused with the Dominican Republic. We don’t expect that to happen for much longer as the Caribbean island opens up to more visitors.’

Travellers looking to ‘Connect with distinctive local scenes’ are directed by Lonely Planet to the buzzing art-centric Accra in Ghana, as well as Sydney – ‘back on the map after the enforced separation of the past few years’.

Alaska also graces the ‘Connect’ ranking. Lonely Planet explains: Since a settlement agreement in the 1970s between the US Government and indigenous groups in Alaska returned millions of acres of land, it is a great example of indigenous groups managing authentic tourism experiences that also embrace sustainability.’

Sydney is 'back on the map after the enforced separation of the past few years'

Sydney is ‘back on the map after the enforced separation of the past few years’

Western Australia is nominated in the Journey category. Lonely Planet says: 'It covers more land than England, Spain, France, Italy and Germany combined, yet is home to less than one per cent of their collective population'

Western Australia is nominated in the Journey category. Lonely Planet says: ‘It covers more land than England, Spain, France, Italy and Germany combined, yet is home to less than one per cent of their collective population’

Marseille is described by Lonely Planet as 'both beachy and urban, French and Mediterranean, modern and historic'

Marseille is described by Lonely Planet as ‘both beachy and urban, French and Mediterranean, modern and historic’

The Halkidiki peninsula in Greece 'stretches into the Aegean Sea and offers blissful beaches that are an idyllic setting to relax and unwind', says Lonely Planet

The Halkidiki peninsula in Greece ‘stretches into the Aegean Sea and offers blissful beaches that are an idyllic setting to relax and unwind’, says Lonely Planet

Manchester is spotlighted in the ‘Learn’ category, with Lonely Planet describing it as ‘an accessibility-friendly destination that’s also doing a lot for sustainability’.

The guide continues: ‘Manchester has some exciting things happening in 2023. The Manchester Museum is getting a major renovation, the Manchester Jewish Museum is expanding, and historic Castlefield Viaduct is being transformed into a green walking trail.

‘Delectable food, world-class sports, exquisite art, cool industrial-era architecture. It’s grown in both size and renown in recent years, metamorphosing into a brilliantly creative, proudly musical, and gastronomically diverse hub. Quite simply, it’s one of the best – if not the best – cities in the UK with something for everyone.’

South Scotland is also a Learn category destination, with Lonely Planet urging travellers to ‘explore the ancient Borders town of Melrose, Tweed Valley Country Park and near-secret fishing villages of Eyemouth and St Abbs before moving south-west to the historic market town of Dumfries and the other-worldly Crawick Multiverse’.

South Scotland is joined in the Learn list by ‘Land of Enchantment’ New Mexico. Lonely Planet says: ‘The state lives up to its nickname. Home to 23 native tribes, this is an ideal spot to learn about indigenous culture, art and music while also enjoying the food and natural beauty of the American Southwest.’

New Mexico is 'home to 23 native tribes... an ideal spot to learn about indigenous culture, art and music'

New Mexico is ‘home to 23 native tribes… an ideal spot to learn about indigenous culture, art and music’

Dominica (above) is known as the Nature Island and is often confused with the Dominican Republic, says Lonely Planet, adding: 'We don¿t expect that to happen for much longer as the Caribbean island opens up to more visitors'

Dominica (above) is known as the Nature Island and is often confused with the Dominican Republic, says Lonely Planet, adding: ‘We don’t expect that to happen for much longer as the Caribbean island opens up to more visitors’

Lonely Planet says of Top 30 destination El Salvador: '[It] offers almost everything travelers to Latin America are looking for: sunny beaches with world-class surfing, quaint colonial towns, stunning volcanoes, colourful handicrafts, low prices and arguably the finest cuisine in Central America'

Lonely Planet says of Top 30 destination El Salvador: ‘[It] offers almost everything travelers to Latin America are looking for: sunny beaches with world-class surfing, quaint colonial towns, stunning volcanoes, colourful handicrafts, low prices and arguably the finest cuisine in Central America’

The Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia encompasses 59 protected natural areas that harbour some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world

The Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia encompasses 59 protected natural areas that harbour some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world

Marseille is also a Learn destination, with Lonely Planet describing it as ‘both beachy and urban, French and Mediterranean, modern and historic’, adding: ‘Go for the beach, but with its diverse neighbourhoods, street art and architectural tours, as well as cave paintings dating back 20,000 years in a new museum, there’s a lot to learn here too.’

Lonely Planet’s Tom Hall said: ‘Next year is shaping up to be the year to get out and explore. With much of the world firmly on the road to recovery, travellers are looking for different locations and experiences.

‘The list celebrates the world in all its wonderful enticing variety. Each of the itineraries in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023 shows how to leave the crowds behind and truly get the heart of a destination.’

For more visit www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel. 

BUCKET LIST BONANZA: THE 30 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN 2023, ACCORDING TO LONELY PLANET, FROM MANCHESTER TO NEW MEXICO 

These are your bucket list destinations for 2023 according to Lonely Planet. They’re listed here along with the guide’s descriptions and reasons for exploring them.

EAT 

Lima, Peru – a gastronomical delight centuries in the making. Best known for its cevicherias and Pisco cocktails, Lima is the place for fresh seafood and to explore Peruvian cuisine and so much more.

Umbria, Italy – sometimes overshadowed by big-name destinations in nearby Tuscany, Umbria has art, treasures and culinary delights galore but far fewer crowds.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Food stall lined streets, markets with delicious snacks, and lively nightlife scene put the Malaysian capital city on our list for places to eat.

Fukuoka, Japan – landed on the Best in Travel list for its mouth-watering culinary options, from the incredible mobile food scene to, of course, the internationally renowned Hakata ramen.

South Africa – complementing the internationally known vineyards, a new generation of South African chefs is propelling the country’s culinary scene forward. 

Montevideo, Uruguay – with enhanced access to Uruguay overall, we anticipate Montevideo’s laid-back beaches and under-the-radar food and wine scene will top travel wish lists.

JOURNEY 

Nova Scotia, Canada – the best way to experience the beauty of its shores is by taking driving between seaside villages.

Bhutan – the fully restored Trans Bhutan Trail reopened to visitors in September. Its 250 miles of scenic footpaths will offer visitors a unique perspective of the Asian country and likely will become one of the world’s most iconic cross-country walks.

Zambia – from swimming on the ledge of a mighty waterfall to walking safaris, a journey through Zambia offers the chance to reconnect with nature.

Western Australia – WA covers more land than England, Spain, France, Italy and Germany combined, yet is home to less than one per cent of their collective population. As well as exciting Perth, explore national parks, beaches and characterful towns with fantastic food scenes in the south-west of the state.

Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia – from the beauty of the beaches of Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona to the peaks of Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados, Colombia’s 59 protected natural areas are a must for nature lovers. Along with protecting some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world, 26 of these areas are also inhabited by indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.

Istanbul to Sofia Train – the recently restored overnight service between Sofia and Istanbul will whirl two adventures into one, leaving the place where east meets west in Istanbul and depositing you in Bulgaria’s laid-back capital city 11 hours later.

UNWIND 

Jordan – experience adventurous itineraries to places like Petra or soak up the buzz of Amman before heading unwinding to relax in Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea.

Halkidiki, Greece – often eclipsed by the islands to the south, Northern Greece’s Halkidiki peninsula stretches into the Aegean Sea and offers blissful beaches that are an idyllic setting to relax and unwind.

Jamaica – with new hotels popping up to compliment this sense of looking to the future, Jamaica is a perfect spot to unwind.

Dominica – known as the Nature Island, Dominica (pronounced Domi-nee-kah) is often confused with the Dominican Republic. We don’t expect that to happen for much longer as the Caribbean island opens up to more visitors.

Raja Ampat, Indonesia – well known for its coral reefs, excellent diving, and beautiful beaches, it is a great alternative to better-known Indonesian islands. The best way to see these stunning (and remote) islands is by chartering a ‘liveaboard’ dive boat and heading out to sea for several days.

Malta – much-loved, laid-back Malta is attracting more visitors from around the world, beckoned by its prehistoric temples, fantastic scuba diving and buzzy Valletta, its beautiful capital.  

CONNECT 

Accra, Ghana – is full of energy and chances to connect with both the city and its people. Frenetic, bustling markets, new community spaces like skate parks and creative spaces for artists to gather plus a nightlife with a great music scene.

Albania – few places can you start your day in the mountains and end it at the sea. Albania’s natural beauty will take your breath away – and you’ll have far more of it to yourself than neighbouring Greece.

Sydney – international visitors have missed Australia during the pandemic, and with travel returning down under, it’s also an opportunity to connect with the city in new ways. From hosting one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world to its new indigenous tours over the bridge, return to Sydney and see it from a new perspective.

Guyana – culturally connected to the Caribbean, this under-the-radar South American country is 90% rainforest and a great place to see unspoiled nature and incredible waterfalls.

Alaska – Since a settlement agreement in the 1970s between the US Government and indigenous groups in Alaska returned millions of acres of land, it is a great example of indigenous groups managing authentic tourism experiences that also embrace sustainability.

Boise – White water rafting in the summer and skiing in the winter, Idaho is a great adventure destination. But it’s this mid-sized city’s year-round natural beauty, combined with terroir and culinary scene, that landed it on our 2023 list for best places to connect.

LEARN 

New Mexico, USA – known as the Land of Enchantment the state lives up to its nickname. Home to 23 native tribes, this is an ideal spot to learn about indigenous culture, art and music while also enjoying the food and natural beauty of the American Southwest.

Marseille – both beachy and urban, French and Mediterranean, modern and historic. Go for the beach, but with its diverse neighbourhoods, street art and architectural tours, as well as cave paintings dating back 20,000 years in a new museum, there’s a lot to learn here too.

Manchester – along with being an accessibility-friendly destination that’s also doing a lot for sustainability, Manchester has some exciting things happening in 2023. The Manchester Museum is getting a major renovation, the Manchester Jewish Museum is expanding, and historic Castlefield Viaduct is being transformed into a green walking trail. Delectable food, world-class sports, exquisite art, cool industrial-era architecture. It’s grown in both size and renown in recent years, metamorphosing into a brilliantly creative, proudly musical, and gastronomically diverse hub. Quite simply, it’s one of the best – if not the best – cities in the UK with something for everyone.

Dresden, Germany – located on the Elbe River in Saxony, Dresden’s story is one of rebirth. With urban renewal continuing in 2023 with the second phase of renovations of the Altmarkt (central square) to include more accessibility and climate protection measures. The project is set to reopen in time for the 2023 Striezelmarkt, one of the oldest and largest Christmas markets.

El Salvador – offers almost everything travelers to Latin America are looking for: sunny beaches with world-class surfing, quaint colonial towns, stunning volcanoes, colourful handicrafts, low prices and arguably the finest cuisine in Central America

South Scotland – the Lumo train offering low-price competition on the rails between London and Edinburgh makes accessing Scotland a fast, affordable breeze. Instead of heading to the Highlands, aim for the Borders and other areas of southern Scotland to learn more about the country’s history and famous residents like writer Robert Burns. Explore the ancient Borders town of Melrose, Tweed Valley Country Park and near-secret fishing villages of Eyemouth and St Abbs before moving south-west to the historic market town of Dumfries and the other-worldly Crawick Multiverse.

Source: Lonely Planet. 

 

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