When I scroll through Instagram each morning, I am constantly served European summer destinations, think Mallorca, Puglia, South of France, but in reality, the world is much bigger.
Tripadvisor have released their top trending travel destinations in 2023 and some of them may surprise you!
Coming in at number 1, Cuba has made its way to the top of the list. Pretty good going seeing as a Cuban stamp in the passport can now mess up the ease of travel for so many wanting to go to the USA.
Cuba is a fascinating island, offering the perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Located in the Caribbean, many go to Cuba for the sunshine and excellent beaches, but the island is so much more than that.
Cuba has a distinct culture with influences taken from Spain, Africa, and Caribbean traditions. Havana is the centre of it all with its vibrant streets, and historic old sites, offering world renowned-local music, art and cuisine.
Outside of its cities, there are some brilliant must-visit beaches in Cuba, the most popular being the white sand beaches of Varadero. The Viñales Valley gives visitors the chance to hike through breathtaking scenery, whilst others choose to walk through national parks such as Topes de Collantes.
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Vietnam, Hoi An is a charming town and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The town itself is filled with beautifully preserved architecture that reflects historic Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and European influences. At night time the streets and river are lit up with colourful lanterns, making it one of the most romantic cities in the world.
It’s not just its architecture that the city of Hoi An is famous for. Many people flock to the town for its high-quality tailoring services where travellers can enjoy custom-made clothing by skilled local tailors.
The best time to visit Hoi An is February-April or August-October for the best weather, June and July get very busy with tourists. There are plenty of things to do, such as picturesque boat journeys down the Thu Bon River, an afternoon on An Bang Beach, or perhaps take a day trip to a day trip to the ancient ruins of My Son, a UNESCO World Heritage site with beautiful Cham temples.
As you have likely realised by now, Hoi An offers a captivating travel experience, making it a must-visit destination in Vietnam, and it’s great to see the city is loved by so many.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting this picture perfect island and it’s great to see it in Tripadvisor’s list of trending travel destinations.
Mauritius boasts a breathtaking coastline filled with white sand beaches that border crystal clear waters. If you are looking for a beach holiday in the Indian Ocean, the main tourist beaches (and some of the most beautiful) include Trou aux Biches, Flic en Flac, Le Morne, and Belle Mare.
Away from its coast, the island is home to a lush, mountainous interior, with majestic waterfalls, mountains, and blue lagoons. A major attraction is the Chamarel Coloured Earth which are a collection of sand dunes layered in various hues, caused by a unique geological phenomenon.
There is a huge cultural diversity in Mauritius which is another reason why the island is so well loved. This has made way for a mix of cuisines from Indian, to European, to Creole, as well as different temples, churches and shrines to visit. The main town of Port L0uis is the cultural hub and contains several historic landmarks, markets, and places to eat.
Located in the heart of Cambodia, Siem Reap is home to one of the most recognisable temples in the world, Angkor Wat. But don’t be mistaken in thinking that’s the only temple here, you could spend days on end exploring the different temples and shrines that surround the city.
Beyond the temples, Siem Reap is a bustling and lively city with warm hospitality and a range of accommodations for all types of travellers. The streets make way for markets, an excellent way to practice your bartering, and Pub Street in particular is home to bars, restaurants and clubs.
Visitors can find beautiful surrounding scenery with floating villages, rice paddies, palm trees, and rural villages, these are best explored on bike or if you pick up a tuk-tuk from the centre of town.
A must-do experience in Siem Reap is waking up at dawn so you can watch sunrise at Angkor Wat, a truly magical and unforgettable moment. Anticipation builds as you weave your way towards the temple under the gentle glow of people’s torches, before arriving at the temple in time to see the tapestry of colours that paint the sky above its turrets.
Is anyone else seeing a pattern here? Looks like 2023 is all about the Asian cities and Chiang Mai is no exception!
It’s nice to see the city get the recognition it deserves, especially when it is located in a country with so many other stunning locations to visit. Chiang Mai has its own rich cultural heritage that can be seen in the numerous temples in and around the city.
The old city is surrounded by ancient walls and moats that have preserved its charm and made it so unique within Thailand, traditional wooden houses guide you along streets that lead you towards ornate temples, and bustling markets.
Chiang Mai is one of the best foodie destinations in Asia with copious amounts of street food and local specialties such as khao soi (curry noodle soup), sai oua (northern Thai sausage), and the famous sticky rice with mango.
Crystal clear water, white sand beaches, incredible sunsets, that’s just the start of why holidays to Grand Cayman are in demand.
Grand Cayman is an island south of Cuba that’s become a huge hub for ex pats wanting a piece of the tropical life. Coral reefs surround the islands making excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities, and there is even a sandbar that has been dubbed ‘Stingray City’ due to the sheer volume of stingrays that frequent it.
The island is the largest in a chain of islands known as Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac. Cayman Brac is a little more rugged, whilst Little Cayman feels like an undisturbed castaway island.
The majority of resorts on Grand Cayman can be found along Seven Mile Beach, a great destination for sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling, beachside dining, and sunset strolls.
Often overlooked due to the more touristy city of Marrakesh, Fes is slowly making its way onto the bucket list of many. This historically rich city in the north of Morocco has a beautifully preserved UNESCO-listed medina with a labyrinth of narrow alleyways and souks.
Fes is a haven for food enthusiasts who come from miles around to sample the local dishes such as tagine, couscous, and of course, aromatic Moroccan teas.
Another reason for its rise in popularity, Fes still holds its original authenticity in terms of experiencing the traditional customs and observing the Moroccan way of living. The city is filled with beautiful architecture, housing colourful mosques, madrasas, palaces, and riads.
Last but not least, the transport options to Fes have improved massively, connecting it to other cities in Morocco alongside its improved international airport and increasing organised tours.
Now is the best time to tick this city off your travel lists so you can benefit from its improved infrastructure, and increase in places to stay, whilst still enjoying its authenticity before a tourist boom
Baku is the capital of Azerbaija in the South Caucasus region on the border of Europe and Asia.
The city is the political, cultural and economic hub of the country with a fascinating history that spans thousands of years.
Baku offers so much to travellers thanks to influences from various empires and civilisations, most notably its Persian, Roman, Arab and Ottoman. This offers visitors the opportunity to see a range of architectures, to try different cuisines, and experience interactions with all types of people.
The ‘Old City’, also known by its name of Icherisheher is located in the heart of Baku, drawing in hundreds of thousands of tourists a year to see its ancient fortress walls and beautiful architecture. Now a dedicated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Icherisheher dates back to the 12th Century, contains notable attractions such as the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, the Maiden Tower, and the Juma Mosque.
Away from its ancient history, Baku has gone through somewhat of a ‘high-rise boom’, with sky scrapers popping up all around the city. The Flame Towers have become a particularly iconic component of the city’s skyline with its trio of flame-shaped structures.
This increase in modern development has led to some criticism, but it cannot be denied that the city is becoming more and more attractive to foreign visitors.
Thanks to its location on the ancient trade routes between India and Tibet, Kathmandu has a history of over 2,000 years, with various cultural and architectural influences that have made the city what it is today.
The city is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites that comprise beautiful palaces, temples and complex artworks. It is rich in religious sites which has earned Kathmandu the nickname ‘City of Temples’ thanks to numerous Hindu and Buddhist temples, stupas, and monasteries.
Inside the city travellers can find a unique blend of Newari architecture, built by the Newar people, an indigenous group known for their intricate craftsmanship and intricate woodwork. The traditional buildings in Kathmandu are a real pull to visitors, creating a charming city with elaborately carved windows, pagodas and incredible detail.
Aside from Kathmandu being a worthy city to visit in its own right, it is of course the gateway to the Himalayas. Adventure seekers and trekkers flock here from all over the world to embark on popular treks such as Everest Base Camp or the Langtang Valley, all starting from the outskirts of the city. Explorers can also enjoy mountaineering, rock climbing, and other outdoor pursuits.
Krakow is a charming city in Poland, oozing in history and culture. It remains to be a brilliant year-round city break destination in Europe, offering a cheaper alternative to the likes of those in the north and west of the continent.
Once again, its historic old town comprises a UNESCO World Heritage Site, often said to be one of the best preserved medieval city centres in Europe.
Its cobblestoned square is perfectly positioned for an evening dining al fresco (even in winter!) or simply trying a pint of Polish beer. The Jewish Quarter has recently established itself to an alternative foodie destination away from the main square, offering a variety of cuisines and a vibrant evening atmosphere.
There are plenty of day trips from Krakow itself, such as a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, a profound historical site where visitors come to pay their respects and learn about the Holocaust and its victims.
Krakow makes an excellent European city break for all types of people. Couples can enjoy its romantic, historic centre, families can educate their children on important historical events, and groups of friends can enjoy the lively nightlife scene and abundance of activities.