In any given year, the exercise of assembling a definitive list of the best places to visit is both exciting and daunting. After all, we’re never short on inspiring places and experiences we hope to cross off. And so, every fall, when we convene to start the process of creating this list, we do so with great care, enlisting our extensively travelled network of writers from around the world – and for the first time this year, editors from other Condé Nast Traveller markets – to pitch, endorse, defend, and eventually align on the places we believe that you, as our readers, will most want to visit over the next 12 months.
Our 23 best places to visit in 2023 is a mix of old favourites worth visiting anew, and lesser-trammelled, even once-forbidden, regions ready to welcome travellers – yet they are all unified by highly anticipated new offerings and evolutions. There’s something here for every kind of traveller, whether you seek extraordinary excursions through ancient rainforests, a blossoming terroir-driven culinary scene, or dazzling cultural calendars packed with world-class music and rare art exhibits. We also believe that there’s more that binds than separates these places: an opportunity for richer engagement with local communities, slower travel, and more meaningful – and joyful – human connection. What could better speak to what we hope for in the year ahead?
Here, are the 23 destinations – vetted by Condé Nast Traveller editors from the US, UK, Spain, and India – to plan your 2023 travels around. Let them guide your next adventure. And don’t forget to visit lists from our teams across the globe for ideas for places to travel in the UK, places to go in the USA, top spots in Spain and destinations to book in India. Arati Menon and Megan Spurrell
All listings featured in this story are independently selected by our editors. However, when you book something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
The Best Places to Go in 2023
Go for: Lesser-known beaches, design-forward stays
Comporta’s lesser-known sister has been quietly simmering for some time now, but 2023 is set to become the year Melides emerges as the Portuguese beach spot to know. Its alluring landscape of white-sand beaches, pine forests, and rice fields will soon welcome exciting new properties, including Christian Louboutin’s much-awaited Vermelho this coming spring. The designer discovered the charm of Melides early – he’s been visiting for 10 years to design his winter collections, even naming one of his shoe lines Melides – and the boutique property will celebrate Portuguese artisanship and design traditions.
And there are others: Spatia – the Comporta resort frequented by travellers looking for minimalist design and quiet respite – will open a second hotel in Melides in 2023, while Umay’s otherworldly villas, inspired by the geometry of seashells, will follow in 2024. Also new to the area is the recently opened Pa.te.os, consisting of four discreet houses on 80 hectares of land, designed by famed Portuguese architect Manuel Aires Mateus to blend into the Mediterranean landscape.
Hotels aside, other 2022 openings like the Melides Pottery Museum, which celebrates Portugal’s rich ceramic history, and beach-front restaurants like À Toa on Praia de Melides, add to the excitement around this buzzy destination. Abigail Malbon
Turks and Caicos
Go for: Easier access to remote islands, cruise upgrades, sleek resorts
The exquisite white sands and blue waters of Grace Bay Beach have long been the coveted endgame for visitors to Turks and Caicos. Lately, though, a wave of new hotels and developments in more remote parts of the island chain are changing what it means to have an exclusive experience here.
Leading the way, the 46-unit Rock House opened this past May, with its sleek Mediterranean style (a departure from the archipelago’s traditional colonial aesthetic), private plunge pools, and sustainability efforts that preserve native foliage and limestone. But Rock House’s real magic is undeniably in its location: a clifftop perch above a secluded beach on Grace Bay’s north shore, where you can while away your days snorkelling in a protected marine sanctuary. More properties slated to come in 2023 include the 31-acre South Bank Turks & Caicos, a residential resort and marina, opening in March, at the top of Long Bay Beach with 18 waterfront villas and a five-acre swimming lagoon. The Strand Turks & Caicos will follow later in 2023, 20 minutes south of Grace Bay, with oceanfront residences and what feels like its own peninsula on Cooper Jack Bay.
Big-deal infrastructure enhancements are also making it easier to reach Turks and Caicos’ less frequented outer islands. On Grand Turks, a $25 million dock extension is set to welcome larger cruise ships in 2023. And on tiny South Caicos, a significant upgrade to the single-runway South Caicos Airport is scheduled for completion in June, meaning improved access to the least populated of the islands – like the uber-luxe Sailrock Resort, a favourite of celebs like Justin Bieber and Regina King. Nina Kokotas Hahn
Go for: One-of-a-kind archaeological museums, waterfront resorts, cruises
A far more hopeful period is afoot in Egypt after a decade of upheaval catalyzed by the Arab Spring. This year marked the centennial of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb – and in November 2022, Egypt hosted the United Nations Climate Summit, COP 27.
Long-laid plans will finally come to fruition in the year ahead, with many high-profile projects, including the much-delayed Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, set to open at last. Pegged to be the world’s largest archaeological museum, the space – slated for a 2023 opening – will contain priceless items, including all objects excavated from Tutankhamun’s tomb. Further touristic draws, Egyptology-wise, stem from the exciting return of certain artefacts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as the relocation of the nation’s vast collection of royal mummies to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo.
Grander transformations are afoot, with new infrastructure – and a new capital – rapidly taking shape. A development not without its controversies, Egypt’s New Administrative Capital, to the east of Cairo, will replace the current one as the country's governmental centre, boasting Africa’s tallest tower and the 22-mile-long Green River Park, designed to look like the Nile River. On that note: Viking River Cruises have expanded their fleet yet again, with the Viking Aton due to launch in August 2023, sailing their popular Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary. Meanwhile, the opening of eco-resort The Chedi El Gouna on the Red Sea is pencilled in for December 2022 – yet another reason for a multi-stop journey through Egypt. Gilly Hopper
Go for: Romanesque architecture, dazzling lakes, and improved access from Madrid
Few know – even in Spain – that Zamora is the city with the most Romanesque architecture in Europe, but it was reason enough for UNESCO to make Zamora a European World Heritage Site for 2023. Additionally, its proximity to Madrid – an hour away thanks to a new high-speed AVE train, inaugurated just a year ago – put this underrated town high on our must-visit list.
But there is more to Zamora, such as its enormous modernist legacy and its Lagunas de Villafáfila, a collection of lakes that are home to thousands of migratory birds each season. There’s even more to see, scattered throughout the province: Lake Sanabria is the largest glacial lake in the Iberian Peninsula, and just a few miles away, Puebla de Sanabria is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. Towards the east you will find Toro, the epicentre of bold red wines – and home to critically acclaimed winery Numanthia that’s credited with putting the wine region on the map. Not far away, in the heart of Tierra de Campos, snag a table at Lera, which got its Michelin star in 2022, and is a favourite among wild game enthusiasts.
Finally, to the south, Arribes del Duero shows that Zamora province has it all – even fjords. Beautiful crags and cliffs mark the border with Portugal in a natural park that has become a centre for viticulture and attracts reputed international winemakers. Olive, citrus, and other fruit trees, artisanal ceramics, and stunning natural beauty turn this secluded corner into a Mediterranean paradise. Consider the luxurious Hacienda Zorita Natural Reserve, and the Castillo de Buen Amor (refurbished in 2021) in Salamanca, just a 30-minute drive away, the perfect setting for your quaint Zamora escape. David Moralejo
Go for: New riads in the city, desert stays, art and design exhibits
Marrakech has a dizzying energy that pulls you in, spins you around, and leaves you wanting more. All good reasons to make sure you have a soothing home for the night – and you will, thanks to a handful of exciting openings. Dreamy riad El Fenn has just added 10 new rooms in the hotel’s signature style, mixing intricate artisanal details, bold colours, and striking contemporary art. On the other side of the medina, two new spots are coming this spring. Firstly, Rosemary, a bijou new riad with a calming courtyard and sunny rooftop, from Laurence Leenaert, the designer behind the LRNCE brand of ceramics and textiles. In the leafy Hivernage neighbourhood, home to some of the city’s best nightlife, a new Nobu hotel will breathe new life into the former Pearl Hotel. Out in the Agafay Desert, a 45-minute drive from the medina, Habitas has just opened the Burning Man–inspired Caravan Agafay. Don’t go expecting rolling Sahara-style dunes – the stone desert here looks more lunar than sandy – but do expect boho tents, swimming pools, moon gazing, and plenty more.
Marrakech itself continues to be a magnet for artists and designers: The new Monde des Arts de la Parure showcases 3,000 pieces of jewellery, ornaments, and textiles from more than 50 countries in a three-story wood-and-brick space lit by a dramatic octagonal skylight. At the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL), Malagasy artist Joël Andrianomearisoa’s “Our Land Just Like A Dream” explores traditional Moroccan creative knowledge, filling the museum’s spaces with works made exclusively in Marrakech until July 2023. Nicola Chilton
Loire Valley, France
Go for: New hotels and restaurants in historic châteaux, luxury train journeys
The Loire Valley has always banked on its abundance of royal châteaux and lush landscapes to draw in travellers. But it wasn’t until very recently, thanks to the initiative of hoteliers, creatives, and chefs, that the region sought to go beyond its picturesque historical marvels to establish new reasons to visit.
That effort began in 2020, with the gastronomic and nature-inspired getaways offered at Loire Valley Lodges and Les Sources de Cheverny, and has shown no signs of stopping. Raising the bar in a big way has been Fleur de Loire, double Michelin-star chef Christophe Hay’s fine-dining-led hotel in Blois, overlooking the Loire River, which opened last July. Hay restored a former 17th-century hospice to set up two restaurants, a pastry shop, a Sisley spa, 44 elegantly appointed rooms, and a 2.5-acre garden which supplies all of the produce for his cooking.
Yet there is also novelty for those who can’t shake the urge to sleep within the majestic confines of a castle. The Château Louise de La Vallière is a new Relais & Châteaux offering in forestland tucked between Tours and Amboise, open as of October 2022. Occupying a 16th-century château set within a 47-acre park that served as the first holiday residence of Louise de la Vallière, the first official mistress of Louis XIV, the 20-room property has been restored and redesigned by Jacques Garcia to its centuries-old glory: it approximates the style and customs of the era, down to the period dress sported by staff, in addition to original paintings, tapestries, decorative pieces, and even mealtime rituals.
It makes for a suitable home base to visit the Royal Château of Amboise in 2023 when the Saint-Hubert chapel, the resting place of Leonardo De Vinci, reopens after nearly two years of renovations. The Château will also host a new, year-long exhibition dedicated to Louis XI on the 600th anniversary of his birth.
But the newest way to make a stopover arrives next summer with the inaugural Le Grand Tour experience from Puy du Fou. The six-day luxury train journey spans a more than 2,000-mile tour of France in a Belle Epoque carriage, bringing guests to Chenonceau for a night, with private visits to the namesake château. Lindsey Tramuta
Auckland, New Zealand
Go for: Cultural and sporting events, new hotels, improved flight connectivity
Widely praised for its containment of Covid-19, New Zealand held out until September of this year to finally eliminate travel restrictions introduced during the pandemic. Needless to say, the island nation is mightily gearing up for the throngs of foreign visitors anticipated in the coming year, especially in the city of Auckland.
For our friends across the pond, air connectivity with the US has never been stronger. The world’s fourth-longest leg, Air New Zealand’s nearly-17-hour flagship from New York City, debuted in September.
Meanwhile, Auckland’s jam-packed events calendar seems to be making up for lost time. After a three-year hiatus, the popular Lantern Festival will be held in February 2023 to celebrate Chinese New Year. Pasifika, the largest Pacific Island cultural festival in the world, is returning in March 2023 after a two-year pause. And, in July, the quadrennial FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will swing down under to nine host cities across New Zealand and Australia, with Auckland’s games held in Eden Park.
Aside from Auckland’s newest attractions that outsiders have yet to experience – like the $350M eco-sensitive Te Wānanga waterfront development on Quay Street – three years’ worth of flashy hotel openings also await. There’s the Park Hyatt, QT Auckland, the charming Hotel Fitzroy, and Hotel Britomart, New Zealand’s only 5-Green-Star certified hotel. Stays in the city pair perfectly with newcomers in Auckland’s rural periphery, like the Scandi-inspired Parohe Island Retreat and golf-centric Te Arai. Should you journey further into Aotearoa, new multi-day tours by luxury rail operator Great Journeys depart from Auckland Rail Station. From the looks of it, 2023 will – finally – give Auckland its time to shine. Paul Jebara
Go for: A revived cultural calendar, dazzling new hotels
Vienna has long been a European capital of groundbreaking art and music, and in 2023 the city has several landmark anniversaries on its cultural calendar.
After a two-year hiatus, the 2023 Viennese ball season promises lush nights of live orchestral music and dancing in black-tie. Two of the year’s sparkliest, the Vienna Opera Ball and the Vienna Philharmonic Ball, are also marking their 65th and 80th anniversaries, respectively. The latter is returning on 19 January with performances by the legendary orchestra. Meanwhile, the Opera Ball, to be held on 16 February, will host dancing “Under the Sign of Solidarity” – the night’s theme – in collaboration with Österreich hilft Österreich (Austria Helps Austria) to fundraise for those most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Belvedere, home to Gustav Klimt’s famous The Kiss, is celebrating 300 years since its completion with a year-long exhibition, “The Belvedere: 300 Years a Place of Art,” paying homage to the museum’s impact on Viennese art history. Also not to be missed in 2023: “Klimt. Inspired by Van Gogh, Rodin, Matisse…,” a collaborative exhibit by the Belvedere and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, showcasing the prominent artists who influenced the master of Viennese Modernism.
Kick your feet up at Vienna’s chic new hotels. The Rosewood Vienna, which opened in 2022, will welcome its first full year of guests with the new Asaya Spa. Then, in late 2023, The Hoxton is set to open a 196-room hotel featuring an events auditorium (a first for the hotel brand) honouring Vienna’s legacy as a hub for live entertainment and culture. Matt Ortile
Go for: Locavore food experiences, forest hotels and saunas
A Welsh foodie renaissance has, admittedly, taken a while to arrive. But a new generation of chefs are digging into their terroir and emerging with handfuls of truffles, scallops, and cheeses, from James Sommerin’s Home restaurant in Penarth, to SY23 in seaside Aberystwyth, headed by Great British Menu finalist Nathan Davies. There’s also been the rise of hard-to-reach destination restaurants determinedly doing their own thing, such as Annwn in deepest Pembrokeshire, where Matt Powell forages most of his ingredients from the shoreline, and Gareth Ward’s Ynyshir in the Dyfi Valley, which was just awarded a second Michelin star. Ward’s empire will grow in 2023 with the opening of eight-seat Gwen – named after his mother – with sourdough pizzas on the menu. Paternoster Farm, meanwhile, set in a former Pembroke cowshed, is doing wondrous things with Porthilly oysters, Welsh Mountain lamb, and sea beet – with its Five Mile Feasts, a special menu, gathering up all sorts of local treasures.
In Cardigan, the Albion Aberteifi – certainly the coolest hotel to arrive in Wales in years – is set to open a Scandi-Japanese restaurant on the river bank in 2023, along with a woodland onsen and spa. Wales seems to be turning into a hub for the UK’s thriving outdoor sauna scene: Snowdonia-based Heartwood Saunas is launching a new forest project this December, where groups of up to 10 can use a wood-fired sauna before jumping in the pools of the River Dulas (or head to the yoga deck), all while surrounded by old oak trees and natural pools. In Carmarthenshire, the seven-mile stretch of Pendine Sands is enjoying a revival. Caban hotel is opening in the spring alongside the Museum of Land Speed, which celebrates the many land-speed records made on the beach – including one by actor Idris Elba in a Bentley Continental GT. Reducing the speed a notch, a new slow-travel route of roads and walking paths, The Wild Drovers’ Way, unfurls over 180 miles from the foothills of the Cambrians into the Brecon Beacons – a lovely way to appreciate some of Wales’ rural highlights.
If you need somewhere to toast all this, you could head to Swansea, where Penderyn will open its new whisky-distillery experience in March; or to Ynyshir, where Gareth Ward opened The Legless Thatch next to his restaurant last summer. The fun continues in Cardiff, where the St Fagans Museum of National History has been rebuilding the iconic Vulcan pub (beloved of Manic Street Preachers) on its grounds, set to open in 2024. Lechyd da! Rick Jordan
Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
Go for: Design-forward boutique hotels amid the region's jungle and waterways
With a boom of design-forward stays opening their doors – in an already easy-to-love destination marked by verdant jungle and brilliant waterways – the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico’s southeastern bounds is poised to be one of the most enticing areas to visit this year.
The 22-bungalow Boca de Agua is set to open in April in Bacalar, with suites designed by architect Frida Escobedo, who was recently tapped for the forthcoming contemporary art wing at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. North of Bacalar, tucked within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is Casa Chablé which will open in December 2022 with 10 rooms and bungalows. Guests take a 40-minute boat ride through lush mangrove forests, to arrive at the resort’s 12 acres of tropical jungle fronted by white-sand beaches. Plus, situated in the tranquil Xpu-ha cove, between the two bustling towns of Tulum and Playa del Carmen, the ultra-luxurious boutique property Hotel Esencia opened in November as one of the most refined offerings in Riviera Maya: the Esencia Mansion, a four-bedroom private hideaway with its own speakeasy, cinema, and rooftop infinity pool. And just outside of Mérida is the new Galopina, a five-bedroom, family-run guesthouse from Mexican owners Elisa Navarrete and Guillaume Galopin. After a stint in Paris, they returned to their home country and created their dream homestead in the jungle with miles of trails, organic gardens, and guest rooms offering meditative terraces. Michaela Trimble
British Columbia, Canada
Go for: New Indigenous-led experiences and wilderness lodges
The province of British Columbia is renowned for its pristine natural beauty, from the Rockies to the storm-battered islands of Haida Gwaii, and new Indigenous-led experiences are connecting travellers to the cultures most closely tied to the land. At Haida-owned and -operated Haida House – which launched its new longhouse-style oceanfront cabins in May 2022 – guests will explore Haida Gwaii while learning about the Haida worldview of Yah’guudang, meaning “respect for all living things and the interdependence that binds us.” Haida House guests will visit the islands’ ancestral village sites – including The Village of Queen Charlotte, which was recently restored to its Indigenous name of Daajing Giids in an unprecedented move.
Further east, in the interior Chilcotin region of BC., Indigenous-owned and -operated Nemiah Valley Lodge will open for its first full season next June. The lodge marks the first tourism venture on Tsilhqot’in title lands after a landmark ruling awarded the First Nation rights to their traditional territory. In 2023, they’re adding a sweat lodge experience and kayaking on Chilko Lake – Canada’s highest-elevation freshwater lake – led by Tsilhqot’in cultural ambassadors from the local Xeni Gwet’in community.
Back on the coast, Klahoose Wilderness Resort is also new on the scene, with a focus on Klahoose First Nation culture and wildlife viewing in remote Desolation Sound. There’s also Tofino Wilderness Resort in Quait Bay on Vancouver Island, which will open under Ahousaht First Nation ownership in 2023. But Indigenous culture will also make its mark in the bustling heart of British Columbia: Salmon n’ Bannock, Vancouver’s only Indigenous restaurant, is opening Salmon n’ Bannock on the Fly at the Vancouver airport, the first Indigenous restaurant in a Canadian airport – and a welcome way to bookend a trip to the region. Chloe Berge
Central California Coast, USA
Go for: New wine country stays, standout tasting rooms and restaurants
A patchwork of laid-back beach towns, trail-laced redwood forests, and vineyards producing standout Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, the Central Coast has been on our radar for a while now. Yet, all at once, it seems the region’s lesser-known destinations are taking on cooler second lives. In the Santa Ynez Valley, cowboy towns like Los Alamos and Los Olivos float on the same intriguing whispers that Joshua Tree did a decade ago (known, but not too known). The valley has emerged as the hippest new getaway for Angelinos, with its mix of funky tasting rooms like disco ball-decorated Future Perfect Wines, casually chic restaurants such as seafood tavern Bar Le Côte, and new accommodations, most notably the Inn at Mattei’s Tavern. Auberge Resorts Collection recently resurrected the latter, a beloved 19th-century landmark with a cabana-lined pool, a spa curated by New York City’s cult outfit The Well, and four restaurants, including a smokehouse that juxtaposes open-fire cooking and Shanghainese flavours. One hour north, Paso Robles, has finally shed its serious oenophiles-only image. Tin City, an approachable collection of wineries and breweries set within an industrial market, feels reminiscent of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, and boasts San Luis Obispo County’s only Michelin-decorated restaurant, Six Test Kitchen. Next year, the revival whizzes at Nomada Group will reopen two historic hotels – Farmhouse Motel, a 1940s spot downtown, and River Lodge, set at the entrance of Route 46 minutes from top wineries. They’ve even made the unassuming frontier town of Pozo, 30 minutes from downtown, Insta-cool by recently reviving the Saloon, where Willie Nelson once played, and adding airstreams and glamping tents as crash pads. Jen Murphy
Go for: Charming boutique hotels, vineyards, improved connectivity
For decades, food and wine aficionados from Tel Aviv have been making the windy drive north to Israel’s Galilee region, where the landscape unfolds into lush green hills and valleys. For locals, this fertile corner filled with fruit farms, organic dairies, and family-run wineries, has long been revered as Israel’s own Tuscany.
And now, international tourists are discovering the region’s bounty as well: a flurry of new boutique hotels have opened over the past year, including the Pereh Mountain Resort, perched atop a hill and surrounded by olive groves and orchards; and the Galei Kinneret, reborn with a kitchen led by celebrity chef Assaf Granit. At The Farmhouse, which also opened in 2021, guests sleep among vineyards, and after Watsu pool therapy and jeep tours, are invited to pair local wines with artisanal cheeses and local produce. Tiberias, the Galilee’s largest city, is also set for a facelift with a new promenade along the same shores where Jesus is said to have walked on water.
Go for: City hotspots, island getaways and dazzling safari lodges
Kenya has long been a big draw for safari travellers, but there’s much more to see beyond the Masai Mara – and there are compelling new reasons to crisscross the country. While Nairobi was often relegated to one-night layovers en route to the bush, innovative new hotel concepts like The Social House Nairobi, which opened just before the pandemic, are beckoning visitors to linger awhile. The 83 sleek rooms are brimming with local products, like Kenyan coffee and toiletries, and the four restaurants and café are hot spots for Nairobi’s creative set to converge. Nairobi’s restaurant scene is also thriving, with creative kitchens like the farm-to-table Cultiva, the brainchild of Ecuadorian chef Ariel Moscardi, who fell in love with Nairobi during a short visit; he’s now at work on an experimental chef’s-table offshoot called Aya set to open next year. Plus, on the heels of opening her home to guests as the art-filled Eden Nairobi in 2021, designer Anna Trzebinski has now set her sights on the coast. She’s taken over three apartments in the beguiling island archipelago of Lamu, filled them with furniture and decor she designed, and will unveil them as Jannah Shela in 2023. With gorgeous indoor-outdoor spaces and a rooftop bar with the best views in Lamu, this is a chic hideaway for a new wave of travellers – both Kenyan and international. For those who can’t get enough of Angama Mara’s dazzling details, the November 2023 opening of Angama Amboseli brings its contemporary African design to Amboseli National Park further south, where 10 tented suites come with sweeping views of Mount Kilimanjaro. Sarah Khan
Go for: New public spaces, restaurants and hotels that highlight the city's heritage
Nashville claims a lot of national buzz, but the city of Memphis has been quietly reshaping itself to be the hottest destination in Tennessee. Over the past decade, its downtown has invested billions in revitalization projects – and now, visitors can begin reaping the benefits.
An upgraded Tom Lee Park will open downtown in 2023, and in time for Memphis in May, a month-long festival celebrating the city’s culture with the famed Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. The $60 million transformation will add new pavilions, meditative paths, riverfront seating, sound gardens, and the Canopy Walk connecting the park to downtown – all a fitting tribute to the park’s heroic namesake, a Black Memphian who, nearly a century ago, rescued passengers from a sinking steamboat on the Mississippi River. Next up: The Walk on Union, said to be the largest new mixed-use development in the Southeast, will play host to retail businesses, green spaces, and two new Hilton hotels as it opens in phases over the next few years.
Memphis is experiencing a hotel boom, with eight new properties in 2022 and more on the way. Recently opened are the funky The Memphian and Hyatt's first Caption concept, both of which shine a light on the city’s heritage through design and cuisine, much like the latest crop of Memphis restaurants. Barbecue still reigns, but the city’s trendiest spots are lightening things up: Raw Girls now has two brick-and-mortar smoothie and juice bars, Food Network star chef Tamra Patterson will open a new vegetarian spot in 2023, and craft cocktail bar Cameo, opened this year, serves up sophisticated mocktails. Kelsey Ogletree
Go for: Women-led food experiences, new lodges on iconic vineyards
Toasting with Malbec in front of the majestic Andes is how people celebrate in Mendoza, and a slew of stylish restaurant and hotel openings – many of which are spearheaded by women – provides ever more reason to raise a glass in Argentina’s Great Wine Capital (it is just 90 minutes by plane from Buenos Aires, after all).
Mendoza’s new bodega wining and dining experiences are many. There’s chef Patricia Courtois’s 5 Suelos at Durigutti Family Winemakers (opened April 2022), sommelier Camila Cerezo Pawlak’s Ruda restaurant in Tupungato Winelands (January 2022), and Catena Zapata’s opulent Angélica named for the family matriarch (November 2022).
Zonda at Bodega Lagarde – an organic, B-Corp certified winery that marks its 125th anniversary in 2023 – stands out, however, for showcasing the best of Mendoza, from fantastic vintages down to its hard-carved teaspoons. Owner Sofia Pescarmona shares her family’s terroir with guests, who gather herbs and veggies and get a little messy making empanadas during Zonda’s immersive garden-to-table experience. Efforts are rewarded with a nine-course regional tasting menu paired with Lagarde wines, including the refreshing Proyecto Hermanas White Blend that Sofia makes with sister Lucila.
Plus, the latest venture of Susana Balbo – Argentina’s trailblazing female oenologist who helms her namesake winery – saw her lovingly refurbish a mansion with daughter Ana Lovaglio, unveiling it as the seven-suite SB Winemaker’s Lodge & Spa in April 2022; chef Flavia Amad Di Leo runs both the bodega and the hotel’s restaurants. Invigorated by in-room massages and asado by the pool, adventurous guests can then hire the lodge’s VisionAir seaplane, Argentina’s only such aircraft, and explore hidden corners of the world’s eighth-largest country. Sorrel Moseley-Williams
Go for: Luxury mountain retreats, rare experiences in a remote destination
For decades, Nepal has been the Himalayan destination of choice for backpackers and trekkers drawn to its deep-rooted spirituality, endless adventure offerings, and those sky-piercing peaks. This hasn’t been the case for many luxury-minded travellers, though, who often chose neighbouring Bhutan for its superior clutch of upscale mountain lodges. That will change in 2023 as Nepal unveils a wave of first-rate boutique accommodations and experiences.
Much of this shift is courtesy the recent update of Mountain Lodges of Nepal, a family-owned collection of deluxe accommodations scattered around the ultra-scenic Annapurna and Everest regions. By the end of 2023, they will introduce 15 premium, intimate lodges – a mixture of refurbished sites and new builds combining tradition (stone walls and colourful cultural motifs) with modernity (like dramatic floor-to-ceiling glass windows) – while offering multi-day treks, wild honey hunting, and helicopter rides to a Mount Everest-facing Champagne breakfast.
Come 2023, the 29-suite Shinta Mani Mustang, a Bensley Collection, arguably Asia’s most anticipated hotel opening, will open in the remote, once-forbidden ancient kingdom region of Mustang. Spearheaded by design virtuoso Bill Bensley, the all-inclusive mountain retreat brings together Tibetan design (incorporating upcycled materials), traditional wellness programs, unique experiences – like guided explorations of the mysterious, ancient “sky caves” – and unparalleled access to one of the Himalaya’s last frontiers. Travis Levius
Go for: Old-meets-new food and drink experiences, eco-stays
Ollantaytambo is best known for its archaeological site, a hillside Incan fortress that draws travellers off the train to Machu Picchu. But of late, the village has also become a terroir-driven culinary epicentre in the Sacred Valley, with local entrepreneurs placing a new era of the Andean food and drink traditions on the world stage. Taste herbaceous high-elevation rums, or infuse your own, at Destilería Andina; sip Andean coffee, or roast souvenir beans, at Cafe Mayu; and sample craft beer flavoured with local fruit at Cerveceria del Valle Sagrado. Old and new continue to meet, through farm-to-table fare paired with creative cocktails at Chuncho; meanwhile, tradition takes precedence with ancestral earthen oven pachamanca cooking in El Albergue Ollantaytambo’s farm tour meals. And look for Destilería Andina’s new location with a full-service bar, opening in mid-2023, near Cerveceria del Valle Sagrado.
Don’t make the mistake of hopping on the train after a meal, either – unique hotels further the case for staying the night. The 100-year-old El Albergue Ollantaytambo is a classic home base, but you can also pamper yourself at the Qolqas Eco Lodge (spa included), or sleep perched in a mountainside capsule with valley views at Skylodge Adventure Suites. The latter opened in 2013, but the brand’s new Starlodge Adventure Suites and onsen are 2022 additions.
Plan your trip around cultural moments for the full experience: The Señor de Choquekillka festival, 50 days after Easter, honours the village’s patron saint with food, music, and dance; locals celebrate the winter solstice in June; and the entire village revels during Ollantaytambo’s anniversary every October. Nico Vera
Go for: Indigenous-led experiences, swanky new hotels
Australia is making an effort to return land to its native people, and Queensland has been leading the way, with thousands of acres going back to Indigenous groups over the last two years. For travellers, this shift is yielding new experiences guided by the insight of the original stewards of the land.
The ancient rainforest of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park was part of a parcel returned in 2021, and now the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people are managing the national park alongside the state government. At the newly opened Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre, an ecotourism hub operated by mostly Indigenous staff, visitors walk the land with traditional custodians as guides; Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours include night walking, crabbing, and spearfishing under the moon; and on Walkabout Cultural Adventures, Indigenous plants and medicines are highlighted on guided rainforest excursions.
Further north, lands near the Torres Strait Islands – there are at least 274 in the strait between Australia and New Guinea – were returned to Torres Strait Islanders of Aboriginal, Melanesian, and Australian background last year. Now, local Indigenous entrepreneurs have launched companies like Strait Experience, which offers a first-of-its-kind day trip to the islands from Cairns, making the destination more accessible than ever.
Bookend your adventures with a night in any of the chic hotels and resorts set to call Queensland home in 2023, including the Mondrian Gold Coast and the Ritz-Carlton Brisbane, part of the Queens’ Wharf project that is transforming the river’s edge. These join a new luxury hotel faction including The Langham Gold Coast and Dorsett Gold Coast, both of which opened last summer.
Lastly, don’t skip a visit to Queensland’s capital: Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium will host eight games in July and August for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. Devorah Lev-Tov
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Go for: Landmark art and architecture events, atmospheric new hotels
While it might seem like Dubai continues to monopolise much of the UAE’s glitz and buzz, neighbouring Sharjah has been quietly asserting itself as the cultural capital of the Emirates. On the heels of striking new galleries from the Sharjah Arts Foundation and architectural marvels like the Foster + Partners-designed House of Wisdom library, the Sharjah Biennial opens in February, on its 30th anniversary, with works from more than 150 artists from 70 countries. Also on deck is the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, curated by Nigerian architect Tosin Oshinowo in collaboration with visionaries like India’s Rahul Mehrotra and Brazil’s Paulo Tavares. The most atmospheric place to stay in Sharjah is the Chedi Al Bait, a tangle of 53 rooms and eight suites spread across a series of ocher courtyards in the historic district. This year, it gets a refresh with the addition of a 12-room boutique wing built in a 100-year-old family home. There are plush new ways to explore the untrammelled emirate’s natural splendours as well. Lux Resorts and Hotels, known for its swanky digs in Mauritius, the Maldives, and China, is making its Middle Eastern debut with two new retreats in Sharjah coming in 2023: Lux Al Jabal is a beach escape overlooking an untouched stretch of the Gulf of Oman, while Lux Al Bridi will be a safari camp brimming with wildlife in the sprawling Al Bridi Nature Reserve. Sarah Khan
Go for: New infrastructure for easier road tripping, elevated nature retreats
In the heart of the Kashmir Valley, the gem of Srinagar – with its winding waterways and colourful houseboats – is equally alluring and challenging to plan a visit to. Yet the destination seems to be shifting gears, with the government greenlighting development projects that will benefit travellers.
Srinagar has some vibrant new openings: Karan Mahal, a swanky, intimate stay in the historic residence of Kashmir’s former rulers and amid nearly 60 acres of orchards and woods, launched last year, while Qayaam Gah, a stylish, Sufi-inspired nature retreat in the Zabarwan Hills, with unfettered bird’s-eye views of Dal Lake, opened this summer. Additionally, Indian Hotels Company Limited (also behind the Taj Hotels) will bring its affordable brand, Ginger Hotels, to Srinagar in the first half of 2023.
The capital is also about to get a boost in accessibility, with a spate of highways and tunnels planned to open in 2023 that will, among other connections, make it easier to drive from Kashmir – across breathtaking landscapes – to neighbouring Ladakh, even in winter. Other side trips that will be easier to reach, thanks to the new infrastructure: Sonamarg (which translates to “golden meadow”), a stunning hill station that is poised for substantial tourism development in the years to come, and Pahalgam, an idyllic getaway that has long drawn travellers to its pastoral charms. The latter will see, in early 2023, the opening of Shepherd’s Barn, a cottage stay by Ramneek Kaur (whose family owns the Bollywood-favourite Pahalgam Hotel), which will add rooms to an existing program of craft tours and local activities under the auspices of the Shepherd Crafts Cultural Centre. With so much change underfoot, there is no better time to experience the area – and before everyone else starts to do the same. Saumya Ancheri
Go for: The performing arts centre, two years' worth of hotel and restaurant openings
Elegant towering teahouses, otherworldly landscapes, and culinary excellence have long tempted travellers to Taiwan. Now, after more than two years, the island nation has reopened its borders to international visitors – and there’s quite a bit to catch up on.
One decade of construction later, the Taipei Performing Arts Center is finally open, with three performance spaces housed within sleek geometric buildings. A few kilometres south, the stylish Hotel Resonance Taipei recently unbolted its doors with 175 fresh guest rooms, offering sweeping city views and sleek modern interiors. Just before borders closed, the Taipei location of The Place hotel – equal parts polished and relaxing, with a teahouse in its lobby – opened in Nangang, and a design-forward branch of the Kimpton set down roots in the Da’An District. There’s even more to come, with the Sotetsu Grand Fresa Taipei Ximen slated to open in 2023 in the bustling Ximending, which was just named one of the “51 Coolest Neighbourhoods In The World” by Time Out. Plan your meals around any of the five restaurants that earned Michelin stars in 2022: Shin Yeh Taiwanese Signature, Holt, Yu Kapo, Paris 1930 de Hideki Takayama, and Sushiyoshi.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s oldest city, Tainan, has been attracting travellers who hop on the high-speed rail, headed for one of the 44 restaurants that earned Tainan its addition to the 2022 Michelin Guide. Also making it worth the trip: Anping Tree House, an abandoned warehouse that has been swallowed by banyan trees; the colourful and artsy Shennong Street; and when you’re ready for a nap, Mao House, a chic bed and breakfast that stands in stark contrast to its architecturally staid neighbours. Ella Quittner
Go for: Expedition cruises in the Seto Inland Sea, new onsen experiences
New luxury openings and a world’s-first expedition cruise are among a plethora of reasons to head for western Japan in 2023. In the Seto Inland Sea, which separates Japan’s main island of Honshu from the islands of Shikoku and Kyushu, luxury small-ship company Ponant has announced a first-ever expedition cruise from Osaka in 2023, which will sail along Japan’s oldest sea route. Exploring old feudal towns and traditional fishing villages on the coast of Honshu, as well as Inland Sea islands such as Inujima – once a copper mining hub and now one of the famous contemporary “Art Islands” – the 264-guest Le Soléal will chart a seven-night course towards the Sea of Japan, starting in May 2023. Also in the Seto Inland Sea, in a forest on Awaji Island, wellness retreat Zenbo Seinei just opened its doors. Designed by Pritzker Prizewinning architect Shigeru Ban, it features a 21-meter-long gallery for zazen meditation and a restaurant celebrating Japan’s culture of fermented foods.
On Kyushu island, the new Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen now conveniently connects cosmopolitan Nagasaki to Japan’s vast bullet train network. Good thing, as there’s a new Ritz-Carlton coming in the summer of 2023 to the vibrant, gateway city of Fukuoka; and in the hot-spring town of Yufuin, Kengo Kuma – the architect behind the Japan National Stadium for the Tokyo 2020 games – has completed a new gallery at Comico Art Museum to house works by Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, among others, as well as two exclusive-use “Art Houses” with private onsen baths. Nearby, Kuma has also created the gorgeous KAI Yufuin, a contemporary onsen ryokan with views of Mount Yufu and enveloped in rice terraces whose beauty changes with the seasons. Kate Crockett