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Travel

These Are The Places We're Tipping For 2023

As we welcome a new year, we welcome opportunity for change – and that includes mixing up our travel plans a little. These are some of the destinations on our 2023 travel list.

In a year when travel restrictions seem to have finally eased (and long may this remain), the world is ours to explore once more. But we can’t deny the fact that the last few years have seen changes to the way we travel with many of us reassessing how we want to do it. Bolder is one travel theme for 2023; exploring places we haven’t yet visited. Greater cultural immersion is a common wish for the year ahead too; deep-diving into a destination and really getting to know it, from those who already do. We also want our trips to be meaningful or transformational; this might mean travelling with loved ones, further learning or self-development, or even building and boosting our confidence by taking solo trips.

Destinations have changed, too. Three years with limited tourism will do that to a place. Expect new and exciting things – from hotels to dining, museums, galleries, events and festivals – even in those places you think you know well.

With an eye on the global travel stage in 2023, we’ve curated a list of destinations to visit this year – and the reasons why.

Rabat, Morocco

All (flight) paths lead to Morocco; it was one of 2022’s most booked countries for some UK-based tour operators, and airlines are adding more Moroccan-bound flight options to their schedules due to traveller demands. Savvy travellers have swapped the chaotic alleys of the Marrakech souks for the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Essaouira, with its boutique stores selling artisan products, galleries showcasing local and international artists, and ever-expanding restaurant and bar scene has been at the forefront for the last few years. But recently, Rabat, the country’s capital, has been catching up after many years flying under the tourism radar. Perhaps thanks to increased transport links to the city, or perhaps because of a slew of new openings across it. Probably both. Catch a show at the late Zaha Hadid’s, 12-years-in-the-making, Grand Théâtre de Rabat when its doors finally open – worth a visit for its impressive (and unmistakably Hadid-directed) architecture. We have it on good authority that the 12-year wait will come to an end this month, as it opens alongside the new Museum of the Oudayas. Reason enough to jump on a flight to Rabat and be a part of history in the making.

Tokyo, Japan

One of the last countries to open its borders after a pandemic-induced hiatus (in October 2022) – now is Tokyo’s time to shine. The Japanese capital was the beneficiary of significant infrastructure in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and hotels to house the influx of guests were a big part of those initiatives. The Games may not have gone as planned, and the guests may not have arrived as intended but now – three years later – the city is ready to show off its shiny new developments. New places to stay include the Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi, Kimpton Tokyo Shinjuku, Aloft Tokyo, Mesm Tokyo Autograph Collection, and more, with Bulgari Hotel Tokyo and Tokyo Edition in Ginza set to open later this year. Green spaces have become one of the city’s priorities, with outdoor entertainment areas cropping up across the metropolis: Shimokita Senrogai, reminiscent of New York’s High Line, is one of them. The redevelopment of this former metro-line track combines gardens with restaurants, bars, shops and even an open air hot spring.

Sri Lanka's Tea Country

After a few long, hard years for Sri Lanka, we’re hoping 2023 will be the year that tourism bounces back for this Indian Ocean island. It’s got a lot to give, not least the opening of the new Pekoe Trail, a 185 mile long hiking trail made up of 22 routes that takes hikers through the heart of the island’s tea country. Nine of the routes are currently open with the rest scheduled to be ready by July 2023. Elsewhere, wine and dine in some of the upmarket restaurants in its capital, Colombo; hire a yacht and set sail along the southern coast; take a safari in one of the 20 plus National Parks; or discover the lesser-explored Northern territory, Jaffna. Sri Lanka offers an abundance of places to see and things to do and if either Colombo or Galle are on your radar, find out more about them here.

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

It’s almost impossible to have missed the efforts Saudi Arabia have been putting into their tourism marketing; if you watched any of the World Cup 2022 matches broadcast within the UK, you will doubtlessly have seen adverts for the country during intervals. And they’re doing it with good reason. This Gulf country, known for its closed-to-visitors borders over the years has a 10 year tourism plan that began in 2020, known as ‘Vision 2030’, and aims to attract 100 million visitors from abroad by the (now seven years away) date. They’re backing it up with plenty of inspiring, visitor-attracting plans, too. The 2023 F1 World Championship will take place in Jeddah for the third time this year (17 – 19 March) and the 3000-year-old city is also undergoing a major 20 billion dollar renovation project, focussing on the old town’s history and culture. Elsewhere, take a look at Neom, a purpose-built city and island destination being built for residents and tourists. And, if that’s not enough to convince you then the long list of luxury hotels opening in the country might be. Banyan Tree AlUla, Habitats AlUla and The Ritz-Carlton, Diriyah are already open, while other brands including Anantara, Armani, The Langham and Waldorf 1 are scheduled to open during 2023 and beyond. Helpfully, tourist visas are being offered as multiple entry, valid for a year, and they allow tourists to stay in the country for up to 90 days. Perhaps 2023 is the year to add Saudi Arabia to your destination wish-list.

Thessaloniki, Greece

Often overlooked in favour of the country’s more well-known islands, Thessaloniki’s persona is one of a city that doesn’t really care if you give it a second look, or if you don’t. As well-versed travellers, we of course know that this means we should be paying attention. The off-beat charm of this city is sometimes hard to pinpoint but – like many Greek towns, cities and islands – it’s somewhere in the fascinating mix of history, stunning natural landscapes, culinary treats and creative scene. In Thessaloniki, food is especially high on the agenda. It was voted UNESCO’s first ever City of Gastronomy in 2021, and has made efforts to further improve its offerings with a recent 10 million euro restoration of its historical food market, Modiano Market, which first traded in 1925 and reopened its doors to the public during December 2022. With a new port upgrade offering ferries to and from previously un-linked Greek islands and a new metro system easing travel within the city itself, there’s really no reason not to add the second city of Greece to your travel list this year.

Copenhagen, Denmark

It seems 2023 is the year of Denmark: Noma celebrates its 20th anniversary (and its last in its current guise before it focusses on becoming a food lab in 2024); The Opera Park is opening in Copenhagen; The Ocean Race will stop in the country for the first time ever; and Copenhagen has also been named the UNESCO World Capital of Architecture for 2023. The latter has been awarded in recognition of the city’s innovative urban planning, unique design and ever-present vision for sustainability. A covetable achievement for the city, and one that translates into a cultural immersion for visitors. Related events will be springing up here throughout 2023, including Open House Copenhagen in March, the Copenhagen Architecture Festival in June and July, and guided architecture tours of the city by bike. The 25hours Hotel Indre By opened in the Danish capital last spring and is a great choice of place to stay. In Danish, ‘Indre By’ means ‘inner city’ and, true to its word, the location of this hotel will make sure you’re central to all of the 2023 Copenhagen action.

Edinburgh, Scotland

The Scottish capital started the year as it means to go on with the first Hogmanay celebrations in three years, after restrictions were lifted. And it’s almost as if it’s been preparing for this moment with exciting hotel openings taking place, ready to welcome guests throughout the new year and beyond. Gleneagles Townhouse opened in mid-2022 on the prestigious St. Andrew Square, elevating the already sophisticated area and, in August 2023, 100 Princes Street, another highly-anticipated hotel, will open its doors to show off its captivating views over Edinburgh Castle, the careful renovation of original architectural features, and its design-led approach to interiors, some inspired by Alexander McQueen (yes, tartan included). Add to this the long-awaited extension of the Scottish National Gallery which is set to house a greater collection of 20th Century art and to better showcase the work of Scottish artists, and it seems that Edinburgh is one to watch this year.

Cairo and Giza, Egypt

It’s hard to believe that after 20 years of planning, 2023 is (hopefully) the year that the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) located close to the Giza pyramids opens. When it does, it will be home to around 100,000 ancient artefacts, including, for the very first time, all 5,000 objects discovered in King Tutankhamun’s tomb. The final opening date of the museum is really anyone’s guess, though the official website states it will be during 2023. If you’re planning a visit to Cairo specifically for the museum, we’d recommend waiting for more information before booking – otherwise Cairo still has plenty to offer, including many ancient artefacts currently housed across the city including at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square. The Pyramids are also an obvious yet oh-so-worthwhile place to visit and saw both Dior and Art D’Egypte showcase them in style during 2022: Dior selecting them for their Pre-Fall 2023 Menswear show and Art D’Egypte for their “Forever is Now” exhibition, curated by Nadine Abdel Ghaffar. Elsewhere, visit to indulge in meals such as molokhia and fetteh, for felucca rides on the River Nile, or to explore the contemporary art scene, some of which you’ll find in the more residential neighbourhood of El Maadi.

Accra, Ghana

Ghana’s capital city has been named the UNESCO World Book Capital for 2023 thanks to its plans to upskill the next generation through access to education, with a focus on championing culture and creative industries. The country is a muse to authors – and the protagonist in some of our favourite literature by Ghanaian writers including Homegoing and Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah and Changes: A Love Story by Ama Ata Aidoo. A visit to Accra during 2023 brings the perfect excuse to brush up on your reading. If you’re really into the literature scene, visit during October for the Pa Gya! Literary Festival or, if food is more your thing, time your trip to coincide with the Ghana Food Festival, taking place in early March, to taste-test your way through the rich cuisine of both Ghana and wider Africa. Elsewhere, don’t miss The Mix Restaurant for Afro-European dishes and fun cocktails, stop by The Lotte to shop the latest women’s and menswear pieces from African designers or visit Viva Boutique for international designers such as Valentino and Bottega Veneta, and escape the city with a visit to Labadi Beach (pictured) – though we recommend going during off-peak times as it can get very busy. Radisson opened their first hotel in Ghana last year, Number One Oxford Street, and other hotel options in Accra include Kempinski’s Hotel Gold Coast City or the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel. 

Antarctica

Once reserved only for those with contacts, significant sums in the bank, or – more often than not – a mixture of the two, access to Antarctica has opened up significantly over the last year or so thanks to specialist cruise operators either starting to offer, or increasing their voyages, to the world’s southernmost continent. White Desert have been leading private jet tours for adventurous travellers for years, while Atlas Ocean Voyages have expanded their Antarctica expeditions, and Silversea’s Silver Endeavour cruise ship made its inaugural sailing to the icy frontier in November 2022. On board the latter was polar explorer and cruise ship Godmother, Felicity Aston MBE. We spoke to Felicity just days before she set off on the ship’s first visit to Antarctica, finding out more about her adventures – but also what to expect on a trip to the region, and how to make the most of it. If you have Antarctica on your mind for 2023, Felicity’s advice is a good place to start.

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