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Pirates, like every year, National Geographic takes stock of the best destinations to rediscover and visit for the next year.
For 2023 the most interesting places to see have been divided into 5 categories: community, culture, family, nature, and adventure, and for each there are 5 proposals, for a total of 25 unmissable destinations to inspire our next trips! Discover all the recommended spots below.
Here is the selection of the 25 destinations that, according to National Geographic, should be visited next year, chosen from those not yet fully on the radar of mass tourism and therefore worth exploring now.
We have divided them according to the 5 categories used by the magazine: community, culture, family, nature, and adventure.
Let's start with the best destinations to admire the wonders of nature, away from the big crowds: we start from one of the best places in the world for whale watching in the world to a legendary desert landscape.
These 9 volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic offer a unique marine environment, with 4 UNESCO biosphere reserves recognized by the World Wildlife Fund as an oasis for 28 species of whales and dolphins, making them a perfect place to observe them! Here sustainable tourism is a serious matter, and it is no coincidence that the Azores are the first archipelago in the world to be certified by EarthCheck.
With its spectacular and vast landscapes, it is home to more cactus species than any other in the United States, as well as a very special fauna, but even before the pandemic, it attracted no more than 400,000 visitors a year, one-tenth of Yellowstone. In the large park crossed by the Rio Grande, you will find not only nature but also different cultures, from the Mexican border community of Ojinaga to the cowboys of Alpine, to the painters of Marfa.
The African country faces a number of threats to its large national parks and reserves, from poaching to over-tourism. But new anti-poaching efforts, volunteering, and community outreach are improving the situation, with new craft-based tours and family stays in villages.
Among the leading countries in sustainable tourism, Slovenia is preparing a series of eco-friendly tours in its ambitious seven-year Green Scheme that involves the whole country. The latest addition is the Slovenia Green Gourmet Route, an 11-day, 10-destination gastronomic route designed specifically for cyclists.
The Scottish Highlands are famous for its unique bare beauty, but the landscapes marked by the sheep are actually the result of man who gradually cleared the great forests that stretched over the hills. Now there is an initiative to bring the ancient flora and fauna back to the territory, with a process called "rewilding" which in 2023 will see great progress.
Second stop: the places of history and cultural heritage.
If all roads lead to Rome, this ancient road built 2,300 years ago was the most important of all. The Regina Viarum, which connects Rome to Brindisi, is experiencing a renaissance in recent years thanks to the attempt to make it viable for modern travelers, for a real pilgrimage through history.
Korea's second-largest city is famous for one of Asia's most prestigious film festivals, with screenings in 14 different neighborhoods, its craft brewers, and Citizens Park, a refurbished former US military base. which has now become a 133-acre park in the city center with over a million trees and shrubs. Not forgetting beaches, mountains, and the Nakdong River estuary!
The upcoming debut of the new Egyptian museum, the Grand Egyptian Museum, along with a number of recent archaeological discoveries, are rekindling interest in Egypt. The GEM is located in Giza, on the edge of the Pyramids, "the perfect museum in the perfect setting", according to archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert: "it will change the way people visit Egypt". With more than 100,000 pieces, how long will it take to visit it?
South Carolina's largest city now faces a sadder side of its history with the opening of the International African American Museum next January. The building overlooks Charleston Harbor, where ships brought 100,000 African slaves to North America in the 18th and 19th centuries. This museum offers an important uncovering of US history.
Longmen Grottoes, in the Chinese province of Henan, offers more than 100,000 figures dedicated to Buddhism, carved mainly between the 5th and 8th centuries AD, hidden in countless caves within limestone cliffs that rise above the Yi River. Recently the site, a UNESCO heritage site, was the backdrop to an acrobatic dance TV program, which made these spectacular statues better known throughout the country.
Third stop: the places to embark on great adrenaline-filled adventures!
With five national parks and eight national monuments, Utah is a dream destination for those seeking adventure, who typically focus on a few iconic destinations. Now the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation has created an innovative grant program to help fund new initiatives across the state, including the Zion National Park Forever Project.
One of the most remote Inca sites in the Peruvian Andes: it can only be reached on foot, for 18 miles of dizzying paths before reaching nearly 10,000 feet. Annual visitors before the pandemic did not reach 10,000, compared to Machu Picchu's 1.5 million: the government's plans to build a cable car will change things, but for now Choquequirao is still a majestic and isolated Inca site.
Bergsteigerdörfer is an association of high-altitude villages in the Eastern Alps (not only but largely Austrian) created to promote their small communities to adventure travelers interested in winter sports. The association protects the culture and traditions of the villages, preserving mountain landscapes from excessive development and rejecting large-scale tourism projects in favor of more sustainable initiatives.
The nearly 60 square miles large Mexican marine reserve is the largest fully protected underwater park in North America. The "Galápagos of Mexico" offer shelter to a large amount of fauna and are fast becoming a mecca for divers: it is one of the few places where you can meet, for example, giant oceanic manta rays. Access to the park is limited, with queues reaching two years!
Fourth stop: places that stand out for community-led conservation efforts, cutting-edge work in ecotourism, sustainability, and inclusive travel.
The pandemic has closed the borders of many countries whose economies are heavily dependent on tourism, such as Laos. But the inauguration, at the end of 2021, of a fast train financed and built by China, promises changes. The route, from the capital Vientiane to the border town of Boten, could expand tourism among Laotians themselves, who can now more easily explore sites such as the ancient capital Luang Prabang, a UNESCO heritage site.
In front of the Turkish coasts, the Dodecanese offers islands already at the center of tourist flows such as Rhodes, Patmos, and Kos. Others, like the less visited Karpathos, want to find a different balance between the need for tourism and the environmental stress it causes. The attempt is to involve local communities as much as possible, with experiences such as demonstrations of tractional winemaking procedures or night fishing excursions with fishermen.
With the loosening of pandemic restrictions, many travelers are accepting Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo's invitation to people of African descent to return to this country to explore their African roots and connect with its citizens.
The largest and most vibrant city in Wisconsin is attracting more and more attention. Pedestrian paths are built along its three waterways; the vibrant Deer District offers hotels, concert venues and the Bucks Stadium; traditional neighborhoods carry out new development projects, such as the Bronzeville Art and Cultural Center; the Historic Third Ward, the Milwaukee Public Market, the Calatrava-designed Milwaukee Art Museum, or one of the many breweries should not be missed on your visit.
Alberta is famous for natural wonders like Athabasca Glacier and Banff National Park, but a rethinking of how indigenous stories are told is bringing new perspectives to the surface. Aboriginal sites such as Elk Island National Park allow you to learn about 8,000-year-old cultural history through guided hikes, hands-on workshops with prehistoric stone tools, or Cree crafts.
Last stop: the places that are perfect for a trip with the whole family!
Every day, the Swiss transport network transports 6.6 million travelers to a country of only 8.7 million inhabitants. Families on vacation have a unique chance to take advantage of this efficient transport system for unique experiences such as those of the Gotthard Panorama Express, the Cookie Train, or the Chocolate Train. To make everything easier there is the Swiss Family Card, with free or 50% discounts for children under 16.
Encanto is a Disney animated film set in this South American country rich in biodiversity: more than 1,900 different birds live here, or almost 20% of the world's avian species. Families can turn to the Northern Colombia Birding Trail, National Audubon Society tours of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, or visit Tayrona National Park on the Caribbean coast, full of beaches.
In San Francisco, children can learn how to become a hiker without leaving the city. The recently completed Crosstown Trail, operated by ordinary citizens as volunteers, crosses the city diagonally from the southeastern corner of Candlestick Point to the northwestern tip of Lands End, snaking through gardens, hills, and urban roads for over 16 miles.
In 2023, Manchester will see the arrival of a number of new attractions. The most awaited perhaps is the summer opening of Factory International, a new large cultural space in the city center designed by the architectural studio of Rem Koolhaas. The revamped Manchester Museum will also reopen with new galleries, as well as the new National Trust sky park on Castlefield Viaduct, a Victorian-era walking railway bridge.
Sea turtles survived the dinosaurs, but they may not survive this century. However, children eager to help save the turtles and meet hundreds of them can go to Trinidad and Tobago, which has as many as 5 of the 7 species of sea turtles that during the nesting (between March and August) can reach almost 10,000 units.