HomeAfrica-NewsDiaspora African NewsLonely Planet reveals its top travel destinations for 2023

Lonely Planet reveals its top travel destinations for 2023


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Guidebook company Lonely Planet has revealed its 18th annual “Best in Travel” list.

The 2023 edition has a slightly different format than previous years. Instead of a simple list, the destinations are divided into five categories: Eat, Learn, Travel, Relax, and Connect.

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“This year, we really wanted to try something new and we wanted to reflect the way we viewed travelers looking to travel, which was about the destination, but also about the experience,” explains Nitya Chambers, executive editor and senior vice president of content at Lonely Planet. .

The editors start working on the list as early as April. Chambers says that, as much as they would like to, not all staff members can personally visit every location on the list.

Instead, he explains, Lonely Planet reaches out to its vast network of contributors around the world and asks them to nominate destinations they think should be on the list.

From there, Lonely Planet HQ editors begin asking more questions, working with their sources, and narrowing down the options until it’s published in November.

Halkidiki in Greece was named one of the best places to relax. Credit: fake images

Chambers sums up the perfect destination as “expected but unexpected.”

That could mean taking a chance on a new country, like Malta or Guyana, that all your friends haven’t visited yet. It may mean choosing a less-visited place in a favorite destination, like Marseille over Paris or Fukuoka over Tokyo. All four places are among the 30 destinations on the 2023 list.

Lonely Planet’s journey began in 1972 after Maureen and Tony Wheeler traveled from the UK to Australia and subsequently published a guidebook to recreate their overland adventure.

culinary delights

It’s no surprise that Lima appears as one of the options in the “eat” section of Lonely Planet’s list: Peru’s capital has been racking up recognition for years on the list of the world’s 50 best restaurants.

However, its South American sibling, Montevideo, another “eat” entry, isn’t quite as high profile. Visitors to the Uruguayan capital may recognize dishes that are popular in other parts of the continent, such as dulce de leche, roasted steaks and yerba mate.

Uruguay is also becoming a wine destination, with both reds and whites on offer. Plus, it’s much more affordable and less crowded than Argentina’s Mendoza wine region.

Street food lovers should head to Kuala Lumpur. The capital is a perfect place for an introduction to food from all over Malaysia, such as nasi lemak (the unofficial national dish), Penang-style curries, and Peranakan classics like chowder.

Umbria in Italy was named one of the best destinations to visit for foodies. Credit: fake images

Meanwhile, it’s hard to find an Italian cuisine that isn’t loved.

Stanley Tucci visited Umbria on an episode of his show, Looking for Italy, feasting on black truffles, wild boar ragù and braised pigeon. It is also on the Lonely Planet list.


As the world opened up after lengthy COVID restrictions, many travelers felt the need to connect or reconnect with others.

One way to do this is to look in our own backyards.

Boise, the capital of Idaho, is home to the world’s largest Basque community outside of Spain, and is on Lonely Planet’s “connected” list. Some local residents still speak the Basque language, learn traditional dances, and make paella large enough to feed the entire town.

Nova Scotia in Canada was named as one of the best destinations to explore. Credit: fake images

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Sydney is also on the list. The Australian city is known for its friendly locals, as well as its beautiful beaches, top-notch food scene, and… oh yeah, a great opera house.

People of African descent may want to go to Accra, Ghana for their own sense of connection. The country, also on the list, observed a Return Year in 2019, which drew people from across the diaspora to Ghana for fellowship and community.

Just because the year is over doesn’t mean the sense of connection is gone: Ghana wants to hit a target of 8 million tourists per year.

Ghana is a great destination for ecotourism and outdoor travelers, thanks to its variety of wildlife and beautiful coastline.

learn to let go

The pandemic has also spurred another powerful desire: The stress of working from home while homeschooling kids via Zoom means many travelers just want to take a long break.

Island destinations, like Jamaica and Dominica in the Caribbean, are the perfect place to unwind, according to Lonely Planet.

The former is high on Chambers’ personal list for 2023.

“There is only one opportunity with our children in the summer (to) spend more time, immerse yourself and have the experience of living in a place where you can really feel changed and transformed by being a part of another place.”

While the summer of 2022’s “revenge trips” might have made Europe seem over-exploited, Malta, another “unwind” destination, is a lesser-known gem with the climate of Italy and the landscape of the Middle East.

And in Asia, the Indonesian archipelago of Raja Ampat could be one of the last remaining paradises on Earth.

Located in the West Papua province of the country, this place is beloved for ecotourism and is home to a highly successful coral restoration project.

learn a lesson

Did you start baking sourdough or learn a new language during lockdown? If you want to keep the spirit of learning alive beyond the pandemic, Lonely Planet suggests visiting a destination to deepen your knowledge.

These include New Mexico, the US state nicknamed the “Land of Enchantment,” where visitors can learn about Native American history and the country’s Spanish heritage while eating red and green chili peppers and tasty biscochito cookies.

Visiting some of Europe’s second cities can also broaden your horizons. In Marseille, learn how to say more than just “merci beaucoup” while soaking up the sun on France’s Mediterranean coast. In England, Manchester is an underrated cultural destination, with art galleries, performance spaces and an annual cultural festival all on offer.

For New Mexicans, chili is not just a food, it is a way of life. Chiles are so important that New Mexico is the only state to have an “official” question, “Red or green?”

the journey is the destination

Ultimately, whether you’re hitting the road in search of the perfect meal or a stunning cityscape, traveling is as much about exploring along the way as it is about what’s on your itinerary.

With that in mind, Lonely Planet designated six “travel” spots—places for the most wanderlust of travelers.

Not surprisingly, the central Asian kingdom of Bhutan made the cut. In 2022, the country finally reopened to tourism and unveiled its crown jewel: the Trans-Bhutan Trail, connecting nine dzongkhags (districts), 28 gewogs (local governments), two municipalities, a national park and 400 historical and cultural sites.

Another “travel” destination, Zambia might be best known for Victoria Falls, which UNESCO describes as “(plunging) noisily into a series of basalt gorges and raising an iridescent mist.”

But even if the world’s most impressive waterfall isn’t a compelling reason to visit, the wild diversity of animal life—giraffes, elephants, lions, hippos, cheetahs, and more—make it the perfect choice for a safari vacation.

Here is the full list of 30 destinations:

Best of Lonely Planet Travel List 2023


Umbria, Italy

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Fukuoka, Japan

Lima Peru

South Africa

Montevideo, Uruguay


Istanbul, Turkey to Sofia, Bulgaria

Nova Scotia, Canada



western australia

Natural National Park, Colombia


Chalcidice, Greece



Raja Ampat, Indonesia






Accra, Ghana

Sydney, Australia


Boise, United States


Manchester, United Kingdom

New Mexico, United States

Dresden, Germany

The Savior

southern scotland

Marseille, France

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