Best Travel

Best global travel destinations for 2023, per National Geographic

Got the travel itch? National Geographic has suggested 25 top destinations throughout the world for those looking to explore in 2023.

The recommendations, released Oct. 26, range from traditional U.S. destinations such as San Francisco and global travel hot spots including Egypt to ecotourism locations and lesser-known sites such as Choquequirao, Peru, the sister city to historic Machu Picchu.

“With our team of travel experts and editors, we took a deeper dive into places all over the globe that are providing experiences that are unique and beneficial for both locals and travelers: locations where visitors ultimately sustain and support – not damage – the destination’s environment and community,” said Amy Alipio, senior editor at National Geographic Travel, in a statement announcing the destinations.

“We also worked hard to provide lesser-known gems on the list, equally inspiring alternatives to destinations that have become overcrowded,” she said.

What US sites made National Geographic’s Best of the World 2023 list?

San Francisco made the list as a top family destination. (National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler’s editorial teams broke down their recommendations into five categories – family, adventure, culture, nature, and community – with five destinations in each category.)

Utah was listed as a site notable for adventure; Charleston, South Carolina, was chosen for its cultural efforts. Big Bend National Park in Texas earned its spot for natural scenery; and Milwaukee was included as one of five places with extraordinary conservation, sustainability and ecotourism initiatives.

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Big Bend National Park in far West Texas offers some of the most vivid landscapes in the state.

Switzerland, Colombia among recommended family trips

Switzerland, with a public transport network that includes a cookie train and a chocolate train, is among National Geographic’s five best destinations to “educate and illuminate” travelers.

Rigi Railways’ cogwheel trains present dazzling views of Lake Lucerne as they ascend Mount Rigi, known as the “queen of the mountains” in Switzerland.

Colombia was chosen for its rich biodiversity, which lends itself to birdwatching and wildlife watching. The Manchester Museum helped the English city, home of the Manchester United Football Club, make the list. Turtles abound in Trinidad and Tobago – making the Caribbean nation a mecca for turtle tourism.

Among the highlights that landed San Francisco a spot: a new Crosstown Trail, created by volunteers, covering 17 miles of the city. 

Roads near the Golden Gate Bridge, The Presidio, San Francisco, California, USA

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For adventure, Austria, New Zealand and Peru are places to go

For those seeking “adrenaline-soaked adventures in 2023 and beyond,” the magazine suggested the remote Inca ruins of Choquequirao in southern Peru.

Peruvian officials are spending $260 million to build a cable car making it easier to access the ruins. But tourists who want to see them now can make the journey over 18 miles of walking paths.

Hidden in the Peruvian Andes, the Inca ruins of Choquequirao are reachable only on foot—for now.

Other sites for “your next big adventure” on the list included the western states of Austria, which have created the Bergsteigerdörfer, a network of mountaineering villages where travelers get a more authentic Alpine experience.

Closer to home, Utah has five national parks and eight national monuments making it “an adventurer’s dream destination,” National Geographic said.  

Utah’s rugged landscapes invite adventurous outdoor recreation, such as paddle boarding down the Colorado River in Moab.

Mexico’s Revillagigedo National Park – nicknamed “the Galapagos of Mexico,” National Geographic says – is a haven for divers. 

Skiing, hiking and bicycling make New Zealand’s South Island a year-round adventure destination. 

For culture, look to Egypt, Italy, and South Carolina

Italy is always a desired destination for tourists seeking to christen themselves in culture – some go for the food alone. One of the recent developments cited by National Geographic to make it a 2023 travel consideration: Italian officials are restoring the Appian Way, which runs 360 miles from Rome to southern Italy.