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The 2023 Hotlist:
This year's top destinations according to experts

Where do the travel professionals go on holiday? We asked top travel editors, writers, and photographers where they’re dreaming of heading this year, and why.


1. Canada

Christa Larwood
Travel journalist and a host of BBC’s The Travel Show

Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the world, but the top entry on my travel bucket list has remained unchecked. West-coast Canada. The northern tip of Vancouver Island, to be precise. Here, you can paddle the placid waters of the Johnstone Strait in a kayak and, if you’re lucky, encounter the world’s largest pod of resident orcas. The thrill of coming within touching distance of these wild, beautiful predators; the crisp air, the setting of thick forest and snow-capped peaks. My arms genuinely ripple with goosebumps when I think of it, and in 2023, I’m determined to make this travel dream a reality.
Take a remarkable journey from Calgary, across the Rockies, all the way to the rugged rainforest on Vancouver Island.
Explore Canada

2. Japan

Lucy Dunn
Lifestyle editor for The Telegraph, The Times and Grazia

I am about to book a trip to Japan. I went there years ago and ticked off a few touristy spots (Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka) but a friend recently went, and I have now major Instagram-envy, plus it's impossible to do it justice in just one visit. On my list this time: Naoshima, an immersive art island famous for its galleries; Shirakawa--go for its mountains, padi fields and pretty Alpine chalets and Okinawa for its beautiful beaches and mad Spam sushi (it was once a US military airbase). Last but no means least, there's Tokyo again for all its quirky weirdness which I’ll never ever tire of. Constantly evolving, the city's mashup of East and West, ancient and modern means there's always something new to experience. And any country that loves a musical loo gets my vote.
Discover the beautifully preserved gassho-zukuri farmhouses in UNESCO-listed Shirakawa-go, on a Japanese food adventure.
Explore Japan

3. Costa Rica

James Stewart
Journalist for Times/Sunday Times, FT, Telegraph, Travel Writer of the Year 2021

Of all my trips planned for early 2023 – to Cairo, say, or one transporting a cargo of wine from Porto to Brittany by traditional sailing ship – it’s Santa Teresa in Costa Rica that excites. It’s not just that I’ve never quite made it to Costa Rica yet. Not even the idea of wild beaches before the jungle and friendly surf in warm seas – handy if, like me, you’ve been out of the water for two years with an injury. No, it’s the chance to experience a laidback hippy-chic resort before it becomes the Next Big Thing. You didn’t hear it from me.
Explore rainforests teeming with wildlife, try white water rafting and relax on beautiful white-sand beaches.
Explore Costa Rica

4. Argentina

Pat Riddell
Editor of National Geographic Traveller

Following Argentina’s third World Cup win, the South American country remains high on my 2023 wish list. Buenos Aires has somehow evaded me for years – its grand architecture, exciting nightlife, legendary culinary scene, and football fanaticism are all essential in a city break. But the winelands of Mendoza, the vast expanses of Patagonia and the spectacular Iguazu Falls are all reasons to explore this alluring destination.
Discover the wine and landscapes of Argentina’s northwest region.
Explore Argentina

5. Botswana

Xenia Taliotis
Editor, writer, and contributor to The Telegraph, i News, Women's Health and Breathe

I fulfilled a long-held dream in 2022 when I went on safari to Botswana. I knew that the bush would immediately settle in my heart, and that is exactly what happened – I came home with a longing to return, and to spend weeks or even months there. Every day was an education, teaching me as much about our own species as about others. We are more like them then we care to admit.
Take a trip through Botswana's remote wilderness to track Africa's greatest animals.
Explore Botswana on safari

6. Egypt

Jill Starley-Grainger
Content Editor and Travel Journalist

Ever since reading Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile, I've wanted to get to Egypt. The thought of wandering through the temples of Luxor or exploring the Pyramids of Giza seems like a real adventure. I've investigated doing it independently in the past, but those places aren't very easy to get to by road, especially not if you enjoy your creature comforts, like I do, which is why a Nile cruise seems like it would be my dream trip - dipping my toe into an extraordinary past while enjoying the boat life. 
Explore the Pyramids, discover the buzz of Cairo, explore the Valley of the Kings and watch the sun set over the Nile on a luxury cruise from Aswan to Luxor.
Explore Egypt

7. California

Paul Mitchell
Travel photographer and videographer

My dream trip would be to combine my passion for mountain biking with a love of the USA, where I have shot many times. I’ve ridden European MTB events but not yet made it to the USA with my bike. Mountain Biking was started back in the 1980’s in Marin County in California and Repack is the original downhill mountain bike trail which I am desperate to ride! There’s a museum next to the trail that I would visit before I race down the hill. I’d go on to visit Moab in Utah and ride the rocky trails - then visit Santa Cruz – home of my favourite mountain bike brand - for a factory tour.
Take the roadtrip of a lifetime through the best of the American West, exploring six spectacular national parks in eight days.
Explore the USA

8. South America

Chris Leadbeater
Travel journalist for the Telegraph and The Independent

I hope 2023 will be the year I get to head back to South America. I've written about the continent extensively, but alas, haven't been there this side of the pandemic. I'm long overdue a return. I also have a lifelong obsession with the USA. The cliche about a continent masquerading as a country holds good. I'm up to 37 states now - having finally made Oregon's acquaintance in 2022. I'll get to all 50 at some point, but I'm in no hurry. It's a journey which doesn't need to be rushed. For me, travel simply makes life better. If you’re fortunate enough to have the time and money to explore, see as much of the world as you can.
Uncover Guyana, South America's hidden gem with an abundance of pristine rainforests.
Explore Guyana

9. Italy

Angelina Villa-Clarke
Travel writer for the Mail on Sunday, Forbes, Conde Nast Traveller, and Wanderlust

I always go back to Italy. Not only because I am half Italian, but because each region of the country is so varied and offers a distinct culture and feel. There's so much to discover. I may be biased, but Italy simply oozes warmth and beauty – from its ancient towns to its art, its food to the people. I think I got my thirst for travel from childhood, when, every summer, we used to drive across Europe to Italy to spend time with my Italian family. It always felt like an adventure. Travelling to new places and meeting new people, for me, is life-enhancing.
Indulge in the tastes and aromas of Southern Tuscany's cuisine, as you meander the rolling hills of the countryside.
Explore Tuscany

10. South East Asia

Andrew Eames
Travel writer, author, and contributor to national newspapers.

My next adventure is a research trip along the Norwegian coast for a book project connected to the saltfish industry. The latter was a key component of the Hanseatic League, an early form of the EU, which dominated northern European trade in the Middle Ages. But as a place I go back to often, I lived and worked in southeast Asia in the 80s and have great fondness for Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Laos. Food, climate, people, landscapes, temples…all are magnificent, and good value. For me, travel is a chance to share ideas and understand the perspectives of others.
Spot elusive wildlife in the Jungles of Sabah as you explore Borneo's rugged landscapes.
Explore Borneo


Looking for more inspiration?

Since 1981, Explore has always been passionate about providing unforgettable experiences around the world. We're thrilled to bring you a new way to discover far-flung hidden gems through the very first edition of The Explorer magazine.

From new destinations for 2023 to the rise of slow travel, immerse yourself in the pages of The Explorer.
Read The Explorer online

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