FROM Wales to West Africa – which holiday spot will you choose?
We reveal the top ten spots you should visit in 2023.
1. Vilnius, Lithuania
The lowdown: It’s party time, as the Lithuanian capital turns 700 this year.
But the charm of this city is in its quieter moments – sipping coffee near the cathedral in the Strange Love cafe or enjoying classic Lithuanian cuisine, like beetroot soup, at Ertlio Namas in the Baroque Old Town.
Don’t miss: “For something unique, join the chilling night-time tour of Lukiškes Prison,” says Inga Romanovskiene of Go Vilnius.
The prison, which featured in series four of Stranger Things, only closed in 2019, making it all the more eerie.
Best time to go: July, when the city’s music-festival-come-birthday-bash is hosted in Vingis Park.
FYI: Flights from the UK to Vilnius cost from £29 return.
2. Wye Valley
The lowdown: Beavers are back! After 400 years of extinction in Britain, the semi-aquatic rodents were recently reintroduced to several locations, including the River Wye.
The waters here are also ideal for canoeing, thanks to the rapids, according to James Atkinson, co-host of Where To Go, a podcast from DK Eyewitness.
Spot more wildlife by glamping: Wye Valley’s best sites include Hidden Valley, with its wildflower meadow yurts, and White House Glamping, which offers tipis in a cider apple orchard.
Don’t miss: Sex Education fan? At Whitestone, stroll in the woods Otis and Eric cycle to school through.
Best time to go: Spring and leaf-turning autumn are beautiful, with cheaper accommodation prices to boot.
3. Halkidiki, Greece
The lowdown: “You haven’t seen Greece until you’ve explored Halkidiki, with its open-air seafood dining, astonishing caves and thermal springs,” says Tom Hall, head of Lonely Planet UK.
Handily, Greece is still one of Europe’s most affordable sun-soaked destinations.
The all-night party scene in Kassandra is legendary, too.
“Ahoy Club and Pearl Club in the Kallithea area keep going well past dawn,” adds Tom.
Don’t miss: Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki, is an hour north and has an ancient Roman forum and buzzing waterfront cafe culture.
Head to Tribeca for strong coffee – and even stronger people-watching.
Best time to go: For temperatures bankably above 25°C, book between May and September.
FYI: Flights from the UK to Thessaloniki cost from £36 return.
4. Hanoi, Vietnam
The lowdown: In the increasingly sophisticated Vietnamese capital, you’ll still find buzzing motorbikes, pagodas and open-air markets touting affordable silks and bun cha – AKA meatballs.
But there are now also top-notch rooftop bars and hip designer boutiques like Dang Hai Yen.
Plus, it remains “one of the world’s best-value destinations”, says Sam Clark, co-founder of Asia-focused tour operator Experience Travel Group.
“A Bia Hoi beer at a streetside bar can set you back as little as 20p.” Cheers to that!
Don’t miss: Cocktails with a side of jaw-dropping views are the perfect pairing at the city’s highest rooftop bar, the 65th-floor Top of Hanoi.
Best time to go: November to February is cool and dry – think 20°C – but prices are peak.
Summer is hotter and cheaper, but wetter.
FYI: Flights from the UK to Hanoi cost from £459 return.
5. Wicklow, Ireland
The lowdown: Along with imposing mountains and bracing beaches, County Wicklow now boasts Ireland’s tallest slide – a giant spiral that spins you down 12 storeys.
You’ll find it at Beyond the Trees Avondale, along with an accessible treetop walk that immerses you among oak, spruce and giant redwood.
Need a beer after all that? Hit Wicklow Brewery for a tasting – the zesty Hopknut pale ale is especially moreish.
Don’t miss: Wicklow is known as the “garden of Ireland” and James recommends Powerscourt Estate for its “stunning, manicured garden”.
Its Baroque-style terraces are reminiscent of Versailles, while the walled garden blooms in technicolour come summer.
Best time to go: Summer is brightest at Powerscourt, while Wicklow in autumn offers wonderful leaf-peeping.
FYI: Flights from the UK to Dublin cost from £15 return.
6. The Scottish Borders
The lowdown: The cute fishing villages and crumbling castles of the Borders remain largely overlooked, compared to the more famous Scottish Highlands.
That means they are dependably crowd-free.
“Hit St Abb’s Head for cliff-top walks to work up your appetite for lobster rolls in the harbour at Ebbcarrs Cafe,” recommends Tom.
Don’t miss: “Kids will love feeding the seals in Eyemouth, followed by the best gelato around at Giacopazzi’s,” he adds.
Best time to go: For drier days (and the freshest lobster), visit during summer.
FYI: Thanks to new budget trains, you can now travel from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh from £29.90 each way (Lumo.co.uk).
The lowdown: France’s northernmost area has been hailed European Region of Gastronomy for 2023, and it’s no wonder.
This foodie stronghold is home to some of the world’s top chefs and champagne houses, and has more breweries than you can shake a pint glass at!
France also hosts the Rugby World Cup this autumn – England’s basecamp will be in seaside Le Touquet, an elegant spot for a break – though you can save by staying in less glitzy Berck-sur-Mer, a 20-minute drive south.
Don’t miss: “The real gem in the region is Lille,” says James.
“Grab moules frites, drink Pastis aperitifs and make a beeline for Méert, a patisserie famous for gaufre fourrée – a thin and delicate waffle filled with vanilla cream.”
Best time to go: The rugby runs throughout September and October.
For beach days, though, temperatures peak in July and August.
FYI: Eurotunnel Folkestone to Calais costs from £82 each way per vehicle (Eurotunnel.com).
8. Naples, Italy
The lowdown: Naples has long been overlooked in favour of Venice and Rome, but for 2023 there simply isn’t a better-value Italian city break destination.
“The world’s best pizza is found along Via dei Tribunali,” says James, and you can get a margherita, which was invented here, for less than a fiver – plus an Aperol spritz for a Euro or two.
There’s also easy access to two of Italy’s most famous sites – Mount Vesuvius and the incredible preserved city of Pompeii – plus the pretty isles of Procida and Ischia.
Don’t miss: Though Naples isn’t traditionally a seaside resort, there are plenty of spots to sunbathe – local fave La Gaiola beach is blissful, plus it offers great snorkelling.
Best time to go: With temperatures soaring into the late-20°Cs by May and the heat lingering well into October, spring and autumn are best.
FYI: Flights from the UK to Naples cost from £21 return.
The lowdown: The UK’s first direct flights to the West African country launched recently, courtesy of Tui.
In less than six hours you’ll find glorious beaches like La Somone and pristine mangroves like Sine-Saloum – plus no jet lag!
Don’t miss: A day in Dakar for markets like Soumbédioune is a must.
“Stop by in the afternoon when the grills get fired up and the fish is rubbed down in a parsley-chilli paste known as rof,” says Sean Connolly, author of Senegal’s Bradt travel guide.
Best time to go: With temperatures rarely dipping below 30°C, midwinter is best.
Avoid June to October, AKA rainy season.
FYI: Seven-night, all-inclusive holidays with Tui start from £777 per person, including flights.
The lowdown: This ever-evolving city not only has one of the UK’s best nightlife scenes, but loads of new attractions for 2023, too.
Most exciting is arts centre Factory International, showcasing local talent as well as big hitters like Yayoi Kusama with 10m-tall inflatable dolls!
Don’t miss: Industrial-revolution-era Castlefield Viaduct, a long-disused steel skeleton, has been reborn as a sky park.
Think New York’s High Line, but leafier.
Best time to go: Avoid weekends with big footie fixtures to bag the best accommodation deals.
published 2023-01-08 07:01:00