Here’s the 2023 Top 10 Travel Bucket List
Here are my TOP 10 international places to travel in 2023 – If you have a bucket list these are the destinations you need to add in 2023 if you have not visited already.
1. Greece – Greece is hot, hot, hot in 2023. Everything starts and stops in Athens. Athens is the capital of Greece and is dominated by the hilltop citadel, the Acropolis, which includes the famous Parthenon. The Acropolis museum is a can’t-miss stop while in Athens. Everyone talks about the amazing beaches of Greece which include the famous islands of Santorini and the party land of Mykonos. I am most fascinated with Meteora, the rock formation in central Greece with Monasteries now listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Last but not least is a visit to the Biblical ruins of Corinth in the Peloponnese Region just a few hours outside of Athens.
2. Portugal – Americans are finally starting to wake up and recognize the amazing country of Portugal as a world-class destination. Lisbon is the capital and largest city and is a natural place to start your journey. Porto is the second largest city and its central district has a fairy tale feel and is now listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
3. Italy – This is the most obvious country on the list and continues to be the most popular country in Europe. The Italian Riviera, which includes the seaside town of Portofino and continues on to the five cities of Cinque Terre, is a great way to feel the Mediterranean coast. Florence with Renaissance art and architecture, including Michelangelo’s “David” statue, Botticelli’s works in the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo basilica are world famous. To the north of Florence is Milan, the fashion capital of Europe and nearby Lake Como which is nestled beside the Alps is home to the Rich and Famous from around the world. South of Florence is the famous region of Tuscany with Chianti’s vineyards and olive groves and the hilltop towns of Sienna and San Gimignano which can captivate your senses for weeks and months at a time. Rome, of course, is the must-do thing in Italy with the world-famous Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, St. Peters Basilica and the list goes on and on. And who can mention Italy without listing the canals of Venice to the north and the Amalfi coast to the south? Time to start packing!
4. Havana, Cuba – Cuba is on again in 2023. President Obama opened travel to Cuba over a decade ago. The next President gave it a red light and now it is slowly opening up as Americans can go as part of cultural group tours. You will feel like you have turned back to the 1950s when you step into this Caribbean country. Airlines are starting to add service again and prices are amazingly low but the dual currency is very confusing to many. Basic services like cell phones are hit and miss and even credit card payment limitations make this trip a little trying but the uniqueness is hard to find elsewhere.
5. Copenhagen, Denmark – CPH is the starting point for many cruises to the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden, and Finland. If you are looking for the perfect summer cool-down, Denmark is the perfect start to your trip to Scandinavia. Most people don’t realize that Copenhagen is linked to southern Sweden by the Oresund Bridge. Tivoli Gardens is the must-see 19th-century amusement park in Copenhagen. The Little Mermaid bronze sculpture in the bay is on every tourist stop. The Nyhavn is a can’t-miss waterfront, canal, and harbor with bars, cafes and restaurants, and many wooden ships.
6. Iceland – This has been our most popular tour even before COVID hit. Airlines are adding lots of flights to this island in 2023 which is known for its volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, and lava fields. The famous Blue Lagoon is everyone’s favorite. Iceland is known as “The Land of Fire and Ice” due to its contrasting landscape and many people travel there to see the awe-inspiring Northern Lights.
7. Dubai – This is the place for people to Dream Big Dreams. Most people know Dubai as over the last two decades the airport in Dubai, featuring Emirates Airlines, has become the largest connecting point to the Middle East and Asia. This city is on steroids and is known for ultramodern architecture. If you are looking for luxury shopping and lively nightlife this is your place. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and is surrounded by skyscrapers of all sizes and shapes. Ski Dubai is an indoor ski slope that provides a cool experience even when the temperatures hit 120 degrees outside. My favorite experience in Dubai is a desert safari over the gigantic sand dunes in a Land cruiser followed by dinner in a Bedouin camp under the star-lit skies.
8. New Zealand – New Zealand is starting to wake up from COVID and is one of my favorite destinations. Most people include New Zealand as an add-on trip to Australia. The 17-hour flight from the U.S. keeps many people away but many people enjoy the uniqueness of both the north and south islands of New Zealand. My favorite city of all is Queenstown on the South Island. It may be the most beautiful spot on the planet. It is filled with adventure and skiing. If you are looking for beauty, visit New Zealand.
9. South Africa – With new airline service directly from the USA to Cape Town on United Airlines, travel to South Africa should balloon in 2023. If you are looking for big-game safaris then South Africa lets you jump right to Krueger National Park to see the biggest and best game reserve. Table Mountain shadows over Cape Town and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront which attracts millions of visitors a year. On the way to Cape of Good Hope, you can also find amazing wineries that dot the landscape just north in Franschhoek.
10. Austria – My favorite city in Europe is Vienna, Austria. Austria’s capital saddles beside the Danube river and its artistic legacy include Mozart and Beethoven. The imperial palace of Schonbrunn was the center of the Habsburg empire. World-class shopping and eating make this the perfect city to stroll. I always make a point to stop by the Hotel Sacher and grab an apricot and chocolate Sacher tort. The Imperial Hotel and Hotel Bristol are famous for their historical luxury. Just a short 3-hour train ride away is Salzburg, Austria. I think they have the best Christmas market in Europe. This is such a fun city to walk with views of medieval and baroque buildings. This is my base camp when doing a Sound of Music tour of Bavaria.
11. BONUS #1 – Hong Kong – Hong Kong is finally opening and is the perfect gateway into China. Most Americans like Hong Kong, as a former British colony everyone speaks English. This town is like Las Vegas on steroids as it glows 24 hours a day. The view from Victoria Peak provides an amazing lookout point across the city. Transiting Victoria Harbor on the famous Star Ferry has its roots dating back to 1880. Nothing can compare to the Temple Street Night Market in Kowloon as it is a bargain hunter’s delight. This is where you can buy a Rolex watch for 20 bucks. My favorite hotel in Hong Kong is the Ritz-Carlton which starts on the 103 floor above Kowloon Centre. Try swimming on the 116th floor for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
12. BONUS #2 – Ireland – This is an easy pick every year for summer travelers who want to cool down. Dublin may be the friendliest and most fun city in Europe. The people are so welcoming and smile all the time. The Emerald Isle is a very small country that is only 171 miles wide so you can get from Dublin to almost anywhere in half a day. Famous for Guinness beer, Trinity College, and the Book of Kills make Dublin a fun town to explore. Be sure to visit one of the many castles that dot the historic landscape of Ireland such as Blarney Castle, Ashford Castle, and my favorite Dromoland Castle.
13. Bonus #3 – Vancouver, British Columbia –This is a beautiful city that is the hub for Alaska cruising during the summer months. It is cosmopolitan and hip. Downtown Vancouver on Granville Street has live bands and clubs and great shopping with luxury boutiques. Gastown is my favorite with a steam clock and trendy shops. Stanley Park makes up the north part of Vancouver and is filled with trees and a giant park. No trip to Vancouver is complete without a trip to Butchart Gardens just a ferry boat ride away. This 55-acre garden is one of the most beautiful gardens in the world.
Greece for everyone – An all-time classic – If you want to experience one of the most beautiful countries in the world, some great food, world-class history, art, and culture, then do not hesitate to sign up for one of our custom-tailored escorted tours in 2023. If a culinary adventure sounds intriguing, you should join our “Greece – Eat, Live, Love” journey with Women of the Midwest. If you dream of walking in the footsteps of Apostle Paul, we have two departures, one for everyone and a women-only journey. Or, if you love theater, art, and movies, join us on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the oldest theaters in the world, “Mamma Mia” island, and much more; Greece is where it all began. CLICK HERE to see all the detailed tour itineraries, and never hesitate to call or email our friendly group department at (402) 435 8888 / GroupDepartment@executivetravel.com.
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