Lonely Planet Best Travel Destinations – Lonely Planet has published its annual best travel list with a list of 30 top destinations it recommends visiting in 2023.
You’ll find a variety of destinations and experiences expertly curated to help you consider places you’d never have considered for reasons you’d never considered. The best way to experience all of our top travel destinations is to visit our Best in Travel 2023 main page.
Lonely Planet Best Travel Destinations
Over the past few years, we’ve sorted our lists by best countries, regions, and best cities to visit.
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But as travel has come back to life, we’ve noticed that people crave more meaningful experiences and are much more intentional in how they choose the places they want to visit. With that in mind, we’ve reorganized our list by sorting our top destinations not by country, region, or city, but by the best types of travel you can do in each place.
Whether you’re looking for the best places to eat, a new adventure, a hidden spot to unwind, or a visit to a bustling new town, you’ll find something to spice up your wanderlust on this list.
At the heart of each destination is a local perspective, itinerary and recommendations to help you imagine and plan a memorable trip.
We understand that we may miss the way we have classified in the past. Let’s take a look at the regions that made the 2023 list.
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The best way to experience the full list of places to travel in 2023 is to visit our main Best in Travel page.
For a look at the 2022 winners, see the list of previous winners from the following regions:
The ultimate trip planner all year round: find the best places to visit depending on the season. From city vacations to tropical beach vacations and family adventures, the book is organized by month with recommendations for trips ranging from weekend getaways to one- and two-week vacations. May has a lot to offer travelers. So whether you’re looking for wildlife encounters, cultural soirees, daring trips, or destinations that won’t break the bank, this month’s Roundup will have something to stir up your wanderlust.
The central Italian region of Abruzzo is one of Italy’s most rugged regions. Stretching along the central Adriatic coast with seaside resorts such as Pescara and Vasto, and rising up to the rugged Apennines, it offers a completely different vacation experience. The mountains are snow-capped and cut by valleys, dotted with borghi (medieval towns) and patrolled by wolves and bears.
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Spring – Primavera – ideal. Nature is reawakening, rivers are full and alpine meadows are buzzing with butterflies and wildflowers. Guided nature walks in Majella National Park will reveal colorful floral arrangements and chamois. Visit the hills around L’Aquila to visit precarious castles and small towns trapped in time.
They call the seas of Newfoundland & Labrador ‘Iceberg Alley’. In the spring, huge chunks of Arctic ice, mostly off the glaciers of western Greenland, are washed along the Atlantic coast through Canada’s easternmost province. It usually arrives in April and May, peaking from mid-May to June.
You can stand on land and watch these white giants drift by, or you can take a closer look from a boat. Good spots include St Anthony, Twillingate, Bonavista and St John’s/Cape Spear. Seabirds also start appearing in May, with the first whales appearing towards the end of the month.
The real Godzilla, the Komodo dragon, is the world’s largest living lizard and only exists on a handful of islands in Indonesia. May is a good month to see them. The islands of Rinca and Komodo, which are best to witness early in the dry season, are still greener but less humid. That’s before peak season.
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Currently, dragons can be seen mainly in open spaces. But the mating season is just beginning. They are more elusive as they retreat into the forest, but it is possible to witness dramatic fights between males. Besides reptile activities, Komodo offers spectacular diving with manta rays, beaches (some with pink sand), and hiking to Gunung Ara (Komodo’s highest point). Also explore nearby Flores, including the colorful crater lakes of Kelimutu and the traditional villages of Bajawa.
Marvel at the buildings of Itchan Kala old town in Khiva, Uzbekistan © mihtiander / Getty Images
Caravanserais. silk road. Spices. Central Asia’s cultural center for thousands of years, there is something undeniably romantic about a trip here.
This is especially true of the historical cities of Uzbekistan: Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. Bukhara’s Silk and Spices Festival (end of May) celebrates its legacy, showcasing carpet weavers, woodcarvers, musicians and artists still practicing their traditional skills. In fact, May is the perfect month to travel. Temperatures in the mid-70s Fahrenheit (mid-20s Celsius) make for comfortable sightseeing, and tulips and apricot blossoms enliven the landscape.
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Hurtigruten Ferries operate year-round service from Bergen in the south to Arctic Kirkenes along Norway’s 2400 km (1491 miles) west coast. It’s a lifeline for those who live along this rugged, jagged fjord coast, so they should leave regardless of the weather. That said, May to June is a great time to visit. The weather is generally mild and the days are very long.
By mid-May, the sun never sets in Tromsø in the far north. You can enjoy jaw-dropping views all night long. Better weather and more light make activities easier. There are 34 call ports. Disembark to fish in the Lofoten Islands, meet the Sami people at the North Cape or go hiking near the Geirangerfjord. By the way, May is the month of festivals in beautiful Bergen, so allow some time before you set sail.
Cappadocia’s landscape and hot-air balloon-filled horizon is one of Turkey’s most iconic sights © Francesco Riccardo Iacomino / Getty Images
Mother Nature must have been whimsical as she sculpted the Central Anatolian region of Cappadocia. It is a place where soft tuff has been carved out of fairy-tale canyons, plateaus and turrets. It’s a magical place to explore (especially kids will love it) and the warm but not hot weather is ideal for activities.
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Hike through steep valleys and explore underground cities with 9th-century frescoes in rock-cut churches. Stay at budget and boutique cave hotels. Drift overhead in a hot air balloon. Winters are cold and snowy, but in May temperatures rise to a pleasant (25°C; 77°F) and little precipitation. In fact, locals put away their coal stoves in early May, a harbinger of good weather.
Machu Picchu is probably the most bucket list site in the world. Its steep location and mysterious purpose, combined with the fact that it has sat undisturbed for centuries, make for a most magical combination. It’s especially busy during Peru’s dry season. Permits to hike the four-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu currently need to be booked months in advance. Unless you go in May.
May is the first dry season, but not the traditional holiday season. So while the weather is nice, the trails and trains in the Peruvian Andes are less crowded. Dry days are good for sightseeing around the country as well as visiting the Amazon with slightly less rainfall and easier wildlife spotting.
If you like it hot, choose Cuba in May in all respects. It’s technically the first month of the wet, hot, off-season on this coolest Caribbean island. In practice, however, temperatures are not uncomfortable until June and heavy rains do not fall until late July. There are also ‘low season’ discounts.
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With mercury around 30°C (86°F), this is a good month for sun seekers. Try the all-inclusive resorts (most suitable for families) on the palm-swept Varadero peninsula, or head to Cuba’s 900-odd white sand beaches. Combine beach time with sizzling salsa. There is no better place to see or learn this hot and hip dance. Go to the Havana Club or the cobbled colonial Trinidad Club. You’ll be too busy mastering your steps to be disturbed by the possibility of rain.
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It is a classic train line. It travels east from Paris to Istanbul, passing through Europe’s biggest cities before reaching the edge of Asia. The name itself evokes an era of wood-paneled glamour, when train travel was at its most romantic. Today, the Venice-Simplon Orient Express (running London-Venice) aims to recapture this romance for those with a lot of cash. Alternatively, you can plan your own version of the famous route using much cheaper regular trains using a rail pass.
Plan your trip in May when you can expect great weather all the way. Leave the spring streets of Paris and head to the pinkish medieval Strasbourg. Continue your journey through Beer Munich, Vienna’s Music Halls, Art Nouveau Budapest, gritty Belgrade and East and West Sofia before reaching the Bosphorus.
Best Travel Destinations For 2022 Revealed
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