As we wave goodbye to a troubled year for the travel industry, the British appetite for a holiday appears as strong as ever. A recent survey of 2,000 UK travellers by easyJet found 70 per cent would prioritise a trip abroad over other yearly expenditure.
Another study, by the French hospitality giant Accor, reported that, on average, Britons intended to take at least four trips to the Continent in 2023. Meanwhile, airlines are launching exciting new routes, luxury hotels are opening everywhere from Athens to Zanzibar and while holiday prices have risen, there are still many tempting trips on offer.
In this positive spirit, here are our Top Ten places to visit this year, from intrepid river cruises and leisurely fly-drive holidays to rewarding cultural breaks with the emphasis on food, art or sport.
JAPAN IS BACK
Here the Daily Mail presents its top 10 places to visit this year. One recommendation is combining cultural discoveries with all sorts of seaside fun on a trip around Japan’s subtropical Okinawa Prefecture – pictured is the region’s stunning Miyako Island
Dancers at Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival, which returns this year after a three-year hiatus. See the festival for yourself on a guided visit with Bamboo Travel
WHY GO? Famous for its giant ice sculptures, the Sapporo Snow Festival (February 4-11) returns after three years. It’s a flagship event for a country packed with wonders, from delicate clouds of cherry blossom to monumental sumo wrestlers.
OUR TIP: Subtropical Okinawa is an enchanting string of 160 islands where you can combine cultural discoveries with all sorts of seaside fun (visitokinawajapan.com).
BOOK NOW: A 13-day Winter Adventure In Hokkaido, spending time in Tokyo, Sapporo and Akan National Park costs from £4,995 pp including flights, rail and road transfers, B&B accommodation and a guided visit to the Snow Festival (bambootravel.co.uk).
In February, art lovers ought to pay a visit to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum (above) to take in the landmark retrospective of paintings by Dutch master Johannes Vermeer
A Girl With A Pearl Earring (above) is one of the paintings on display in the Vermeer exhibition in Amsterdam
WHY GO? Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum will stage a landmark retrospective of paintings by 17th-century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. Running from February 10 to June 4, it will exhibit 28 works (from an oeuvre of 35) including Girl With A Pearl Earring (rijksmuseum.nl).
OUR TIP: Amsterdam is small yet has 23 Michelin-starred restaurants. For a list and tourist information, visit iamsterdam.com.
BOOK NOW: KLM flies from 17 UK airports and Eurostar has trains from London St Pancras (klm.com, eurostar.com). Park Centraal Amsterdam is near the Rijksmuseum, with doubles from £134 in February, room only (parkcentraal.com).
WHY GO? Setting sail on October 15, Pandaw’s new Deeper And Further On The Mekong River cruise promises a pioneering voyage through Cambodia and Vietnam, including time in Phnom Penh and an excursion to Siem Reap.
OUR TIP: Sailings continue to February 28, 2024, with no single supplement on selected dates (pandaw.com).
BOOK NOW: A 14-night package including flights, transfers, hotels and a ten-night river cruise with full board and sightseeing is from £5,995 pp, departing November 4 (fredholidays.co.uk).
With a sheer drop of 714 ft, spectacular Kaieteur Falls in Guyana can be visited by small plane
Check out Guyana’s beautiful wildlife on a 15-day tour with Journey Latin America. Above is a native flycatcher
WHY GO? On March 27, British Airways starts flights from Gatwick to Guyana, the only English-speaking country in South America. With its wild interior, pristine rainforest and extraordinary wildlife, it’s perfect for an adventurous holiday somewhere new.
OUR TIP: With a sheer drop of 714 ft, spectacular Kaieteur Falls can be visited on a day trip by small plane (guyanatourism.com).
BOOK NOW: A 15-day Guyana Wildlife tour, including Kaieteur Falls, costs from £6,188 pp with British Airways flights, accommodation, excursions and most meals (journeylatinamerica.com).
CALL OF THE KIMBERLEY
Discover magnificent Cable Beach (pictured) on a cruise around the coast of north-west Australia, which is a new cruising hotspot
WHY GO? Australia’s north-west corner is a new cruising hotspot with sailings from Darwin that follow this scenic coast round to Broome, with its pearl farms and magnificent Cable Beach.
OUR TIP: April to October is the dry season. Bear in mind that Ningaloo, farther west, is a prime spot for viewing the total solar eclipse on April 23 (westernaustralia.com).
BOOK NOW: A ten-day luxury cruise aboard Silver Explorer, departing Darwin June 30, with excursions to the Bungle Bungle Range and King George Falls, is from £7,850 pp all-inclusive. Flights extra (silversea.com).
Drive the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, visiting whiskey distilleries and Louisville (above), on a fly-drive holiday with America As You Like It
WHY GO? A new fast track to the U.S. states of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky will open on June 5, when British Airways launches direct flights from Heathrow to Cincinnati, Ohio. These will operate five times a week throughout the summer.
OUR TIP: Drive the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, visiting whiskey distilleries and Louisville, which has a long association with the Old Fashioned cocktail (kybourbontrail.com).
BOOK NOW: A 14-night ‘Sips, Sights and Sounds of Kentucky’ fly-drive holiday, with nine stops including Nashville and Memphis, costs from £1,905 pp with British Airways flights, car hire and accommodation (americaasyoulikeit.com).
Sample the culinary delights of Georgia on an eight-day Georgia Food Adventure tour with Explore. Above is the country’s pretty capital city, Tbilisi
Colourful local Georgian cuisine (file photo)
WHY GO? Georgia is one of ten new destinations where Explore will run small-group gastronomic tours in 2023. This one homes in on the country’s excellent wines and includes cookery classes and meals in local homes.
OUR TIP: Similar trips are available to Morocco, Jordan, India, Peru, Vietnam and Japan.
BOOK NOW: An eight-day Georgia Food Adventure, available May to September, is from £1,329 pp. Transport, accommodation and some meals included; flights extra (explore.co.uk).
In the wild: Spot incredible wildlife on a nine-day tour of Africa’s Lake Kariba with CroisiEurope Cruises. Pictured are elephants on the lake’s shore in Zimbabwe
WHY GO? Combine the heart-pumping excitement of game drives in Botswana and Namibia with a serene voyage on Lake Kariba aboard CroisiEurope Cruises’ new 16-passenger vessel Zimbabwean Dream.
OUR TIP: The tour ends at Victoria Falls, so add on some days to admire this world wonder (zimbabwetourism.net).
BOOK NOW: A nine-day trip, including three nights in safari lodges and three nights cruising Lake Kariba, costs from £4,532 pp all-inclusive. Flights are extra (criosieurope.co.uk).
VIVE LE RUGBY!
Fly to the French city of Nice (above) with Wizz Air to catch the England, Wales and Scotland matches in the early stages of the Rugby World Cup 2023
WHY GO? France will come alive for the Rugby World Cup 2023, staged in nine cities over a leisurely seven weeks from September 8 to October 28. While diehard fans already have tickets, it will be fun to soak up the international atmosphere as 20 countries compete.
OUR TIP: Nice is easy to reach and hosts England, Wales and Scotland matches in the early stages (rugbyworldcup.com).
BOOK NOW: Wizz Air starts a daily service from Gatwick to Nice on March 26 (wizzair.com). Hotel Saint-Gothard is close to the railway station, with doubles from £90 room- only, excluding match-day spikes (hotelstgothard-nice.com).
TRY TURKS AND CAICOS
Relax on the fabulous three-mile sands of Grace Bay Beach (above) on a trip to Turks and Caicos with Virgin Atlantic Holidays
WHY GO? On November 15, Virgin Atlantic commences twice-weekly flights from Heathrow to Providenciales, the gateway to this laid-back British Overseas Territory east of the Bahamas. Tickets go on sale on January 11.
OUR TIP: A holiday here is all about playing in and on the sea, backed up with high-class hotels and the fabulous three-mile sands of Grace Bay Beach (visittci.com).
BOOK NOW: Seven nights at Ports of Call Resort on Providenciales cost from £1,655 pp, including Virgin Atlantic flights and breakfasts (virginholidays.co.uk).
CHECK INTO THESE NEW HOTELS AROUND THE GLOBE, FROM PARIS TO SRI LANKA
Opening on January 24 in Huesca, north-east Spain, Canfranc Estación, A Royal Hideaway, is a 104-room luxury hotel set in a restored 1928 Beaux-Arts railway station. Doubles from £207, room only (barcelo.com).
Just north of Galle in Sri Lanka, Reverie Ahu Bay will open on February 1 with 16 Indian Ocean-facing rooms plus a restaurant and spa. Doubles from £374, B&B (thereverie.life).
PLEASURE IN PARIS
In Paris, Hôtel Dame des Arts is a Saint-Germain hideaway with 109 studiously-designed rooms and a rooftop bar that will debut on February 1. Doubles from £252, room only (damedesarts.com).
LIVE THE HIGH LIFE
Hot spot: The 43-storey Atlantis The Royal (pictured), opening in Dubai in February, features six towers linked by a 295ft infinity pool
Atlantic The Royal will be the latest architectural wonder to enliven the Dubai skyline when it opens on February 10. At 43 storeys high, it features six towers linked by a 295ft infinity pool and a Heston Blumenthal restaurant. Three-bedroom suites from £2,219, B&B (atlantis.com/atlantis-the-royal).
Sustainability is to the fore at the 96-room greet Wien City Nord in Vienna, which opens on April 1 with stylish upcycled furniture and an urban garden theme. Doubles from £82, room only (accor.com).
Golfers, families and spa-lovers will enjoy the five-star Viceroy at Ombria Resort opening in Portugal’s Algarve in late spring. Doubles from £176, room only (viceroyhotelsandresorts.com).
COR FOOD IN CORFU
Ikos Odisia – which offers menus by Michelin-star chefs – opens in Corfu next May
Ten pools, menus by Michelin-star chefs and an Anne Semonin Paris spa are good reasons to check into the new 395-room Ikos Odisia resort opening on the Greek island of Corfu on May 19. Doubles from £305 all-inclusive (ikosresorts.com).
The Italian island of Capri will get a lift when the 50-room Hotel La Palma reopens on July 6 after a glamorous make-over by Oetker Collection that includes a beach club and rooftop restaurant. Doubles from £795, B&B (oetkercollection.com).
Sandals will open the luxury hotel Dunn’s River (shown in the rendering above) on the north coast of Jamaica in May
Sandals Dunn’s River will be the company’s 17th resort when it opens on the north coast of Jamaica on May 24. Get ready for 12 restaurants, nine bars and the largest pool on the island. Doubles from £275pp all- inclusive based on a seven-night stay (sandals.co.uk).
In Mallorca, Sir Richard Branson’s Son Bunyola Hotel will welcome guests from August 1, offering 26 rooms in a historic finca framed by an 810-acre estate with almond, olive and citrus trees. Doubles from £662, B&B (sonbunyola.virgin.com).