From new inspirations to iconic highlights, these emerging destinations for the year ahead reflect the diverse interests of Zicasso travelers and what is on the top of their travel wishlists for 2023. Most of the world is now open to explore, and these destinations have grown in popularity with new ideas for returning travelers and unforgettable experiences for first-time trips.
Whether looking for a wildlife and coastal combination in Southeast Asia or a connection to volcanic islands in Portugal, ancient history mixed with luxury in Croatia or journeys to indulge in Italian culinary masterpieces, these destinations offer it all and have joined our top countries for where to travel in 2023.
Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand open a world of natural magnetism and communities representing millennia of tradition, history, and heritage. After several years closed to travel, this combination of destinations is the ultimate exploration of the South Pacific and a route that is only increasing in interest.
Flights from the West Coast to Fiji are similar in length to flights from the West Coast to Europe, making it far easier to visit than many might realize. As a fantastic way to break up the long flights required for Australia or New Zealand, why not make a quick stop to relax on stunning South Pacific beaches?
Vacation Idea: Ultimate Adventure Tour in New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji is a 25-day sample itinerary from which you can draw inspiration by picking and choosing a shorter timeline or by immersing yourself in the entire visit. This trip shares Maori and Aboriginal cultures while also unveiling the natural drama of the landscapes across Australia, New Zealand’s North and South Islands, and the Fijian island of Nadi.
Southeast Asia offers tropical beaches, exciting jungles, traditional communities, and ancient ruins. The region has just recently opened after a long period of closed borders followed by challenging restrictions to navigate and now offers all of the spectacular beauty with far fewer crowds.
Exceptional luxuries abound with a price point that provides more value for the dollar than other areas of the world, and border crossings are reasonable to make travel between countries by land or air an option to experience more places in less time. From island hopping to dreamy landscapes, picture-perfect beaches, and unique traditional cuisine, the robust cultures provide much to explore and enjoy.
Vacation Idea: 3-Week Explorer: Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia is our sample itinerary that celebrates the diverse cities and countryside across the region, introducing you to the delicious flavors of each country, the remarkable vibrancy of each city, and the dramatic imprint past civilizations have left on the present.
Japan can feel both timeless and futuristic, and travelers are eager to visit now that the challenging travel restrictions have been lifted. Travelers will be thrilled to explore the charming bridges of Kyoto or the enticing flavors of Osaka, the changing leaves in fall or the iconic drifting petals of the cherry blossom season.
Traditions and the modern pace of Tokyo feel harmonious and continue to intrigue travelers as they look for inspiration amid the country’s natural charms. Whether in a fast-paced city or a traditional mountain retreat, Japan is an island of creative and elaborate contrasts unlike anywhere else in the world.
Vacation Idea: This 14-day sample itinerary, Premier Enchantments of Japan Tour: Temples, Traditions, Cuisine embraces the mystical ambiance and legendary customs across the country, connecting you with artisans and boutiques, flavorful cuisine and preserved ceremonies, refreshing thermal springs and the focused joys of discovery.
Portugal has emerged in popularity over the last few years and rivals its neighbors with world-class beaches, fairytale castles, and exemplary food and wine. With dreamy hiking trails and a beautiful coastline to explore, the landscape itself has so much to offer and epitomizes traveling away from the more trodden paths in Europe.
While Portugal has gained notoriety as a destination, the Azores Islands remained a region of the country set apart. Not as easily accessible over the past three years due to the strict pandemic requirements, entry guidelines have now loosened, and the islands are once again easy to visit. These gorgeous islands offer endless adventures with plenty of luxury and beauty to enjoy - perfect for those ready to set out for something new in 2023.
Vacation Idea: Luxury Escape to Azores: Adventure Tour of Portugal's Islands is a seven-day exploration of tropical Portugal mixed with brand new experiences accentuating the islands’ opulent nature and fascinating discoveries.
The Italian and Greek islands combine the iconic and the unexpected with popular options and lesser-known places to visit in 2023. These islands, with their marvelous landscapes and cultural landmarks, were on our list last year but have continued to increase in popularity. They capture the natural beauty of their respective regions, and the traditions passed down through the generations while offering a step off the beaten mainland paths.
The islands are diverse, combining the known and unknown in remote areas with accessible luxuries where modern hospitality meets classic traditions. Islands like Sardinia and the Aeolians in Italy or Crete, Rhodes, and Zynkathos in Greece have gained more notoriety from US travelers eager to witness the natural colors of the sea, the world-class beaches, and the island life shaped by the local heritage that spans millennia.
Vacation Idea: Our Best 9 Itineraries for Italian Islands and 10 Best Greek Islands to Visit: Trip Ideas & Inspiration have plenty of ideas for how you can experience the islands according to your preferences, from Santorini’s familiar cliffs to the colorful homes on Ischia.
Already gaining in popularity ahead of the pandemic, the last two years brought explosive interest in this sparkling country. Croatia is a stunning combination of spectacular landscapes and engaging culture. Dreamy islands, Roman ruins, and glistening lakes are equally accessible across the country. Island hopping and sailing vacations drew many visitors, as did the ability to easily explore cities and towns with outdoor restaurants and incredible food and wine.
The mixture of sand, sea, and city remains popular, which allows visitors to experience places like Diocletian’s Palace, distant Lastovo, or the edges of Cape Kamenjak to explore classic landmarks and stay away from the crowds. From a well-known but under-experienced food and wine scene to the ease of visiting unique neighboring countries like Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia continues to inspire visitors with new ideas, adventures, and possibilities.
Vacation Idea: This 11-day Blissful Discoveries of Croatia Itinerary sample itinerary embraces the diverse combination of culture, land, and sea by introducing you to the unique lifestyle of Zagreb or the layered history of Dubrovnik and the dreamlike ambiance of Hvar.
Spain is one of the food capitals of Europe and, arguably, the world, but other European culinary destinations often overshadow it. Clean, balanced, and focused on local ingredients, dishes often change when crossing borders between communities. The most famous cuisine and popular wines are from the Basque region and the Rioja vineyards, as cultures and traditions collide.
The Basque Country has gained more prominence among travelers interested in exploring the fantastic summer beaches amidst the highlights of a Spain tour in 2023. Beautiful with a lot of history specific to that region, home to one of the oldest and most unique languages in the world, an idyllic coastline with warm water, and gorgeous beaches with coastal views, while also being geographically and culturally connected to Basque France makes Spain’s Basque region a surprising and timeless delight.
Vacation Idea: This 13-day Magical Highlights of Spain: Culture, Cuisine, Countrysides immerses visitors in the diverse treasures of the country with a special focus on the Basque region at San Sebastian. From traditional restaurants to gorgeous beaches, this sample itinerary brings the spirit of Spain to life.
A bucket-list safari is often the compelling reason to visit sub-Saharan Africa, but travelers have also discovered the secret grandeur of Africa’s beaches. A “bush and beach” combination is the ultimate mixture of adventure and luxury, and perfect for the traveler who wants both.
Combine the luxury of top safari destinations like the Okavango Delta in Botswana with the sands of the Seychelles, embrace the high-end coastal streets in South Africa and uncover the remote beaches of Mozambique, or delight in the fascinating resort getaways of Zanzibar after a safari in Tanzania’s Serengeti.
Vacation Idea: An authentic immersion into glamour and natural beauty, Okavango Delta and White Sandy Beaches: Luxury Botswana and Seychelles is an 11-day journey through the wonders of the Botswana waterways and the magic of the secluded island escape.
Ecuador is known for the Galapagos, Peru is famous for Machu Picchu, and the increased interest in the combination of the two countries reveals an embarrassment of riches travelers can explore. Incan ruins, the Amazon Rainforest, and wildlife unlike anywhere else in the world highlight the variety of natural resources and cultural icons between the neighboring countries.
As the interest in visiting the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon has increased, so have the opportunities to join explorations that combine the regions throughout Ecuador and Peru. Witness the fascinating wildlife, take part in the preserved culture, and connect with the local cuisine, which includes traditions for making chocolate.
Vacation Idea: Ancient Inca Culture to Natural Wonders of Galapagos and Amazon Tour is our 13-day sample itinerary that features the highlights of Ecuador and Peru experienced among the Galapagos’s and Amazon’s fascinating wildlife, and the Incan ruins that spread across the Andes.
Belize is the perfect connection between Central America and the Caribbean Sea. With a tropical coastline, the second-largest barrier reef in the world, and excellent accommodations, Belize offers a fantastic opportunity to escape and explore with easy access for American travelers.
Thanks to this proximity to the United States, since reopening its borders, interest has increased as travelers discover everything this small country offers. The promise of adventures in the jungle to Mayan ruins, excursions to gorgeous coral gardens, and relaxing with views over crystal-clear waters is endlessly enticing and easily accessible.
Vacation Idea: Our eight-day Tropical Beaches to Lush Jungle: Beautiful Belize Escape sample itinerary focuses on the diversity Belize offers as it highlights the many possible adventures that exist among Mayan ruins, culinary delights, kayaking journeys, and snorkeling excursions.
Egypt is home to the marvels of ancient civilizations that have withstood over 4,000 years and continue to entice travelers from around the world. Luxury remains an essential part of visiting the country, and all eyes are on the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum. With the long-awaited museum set to open soon, travelers are “on deck” with plans ready to book the moment it opens.
As the number of travelers returns to pre-pandemic levels, lesser-known monuments are starting to gain more prominence, with Luxor’s underappreciated beauty gaining traction, such as temples often featured as marvels in magazines and documentaries but overlooked during planned itineraries.
Vacation Idea: From the captivating pyramids in Giza to the dramatic temples in Luxor and ancient ambiance of Aswan, our One-Week Capturing the Essence of Egypt in Cairo, Luxor, & Aswan sample itinerary features the majesty of ancient kingdoms with handpicked experiences.
Turkey is more than meets the eye. Best known for sparkling waters and sun-washed beaches in summer, travelers are now noticing the pleasures of Turkey’s winter season as well. With skiing an option and access to stunning museums with fewer crowds, winter in Turkey is at the top of many travel lists. Developing into a year-round destination, excellent hospitality and beautiful properties make Turkey a perfect choice for travel in 2023.
With a welcoming price point and excellent value for visitors, Turkey is also rising in popularity for honeymoons and romantic trips. Art and history buffs and those looking for spectacular landscapes will not be disappointed, as traditional and modern culture intersects for a compelling journey for every traveler.
Vacation Idea: A Romantic 11-Day Getaway to Picturesque Turkey is the perfect introduction to the beautiful landscapes, magnificent architectural designs, and luxurious accommodations that highlight the layered histories and inviting culture.
An emerging destination promises discovery tailored to your interests. With opportunities for more authentic and localized activities, you can connect with local culture, embrace history in new ways, and create unforgettable memories steeped in new experiences.
A Zicasso travel specialist will not only tailor any trip to your specific needs and goals but will also provide personal support throughout your travel experience. Interested in visiting somewhere not on the list? Visit Zicasso to find ideas on the more than 100 destinations we service or explore Our 12 Most Popular Destinations for 2023.
Travel according to your timeline and style with our ideas on the Best Places to Travel by Month or find new inspiration for your next trip by discovering our Spring Vacation Ideas, Summer Vacation Ideas, Fall Vacation Ideas, and Winter Vacation Ideas.