These Are Lonely Planet’s Top 30 Destinations For 2023

Photographed by Meg O'Donnell
Travel experts Lonely Planet have named their top destinations for 2023, and they're packed with fascinating places near and far.
This year's list is split into five categories reflecting different types of holidays: Eat, Unwind, Journey, Connect and Learn.
Staycation fans will be pleased to know that two UK destinations make the list, Manchester and Southern Scotland, both in the Learn category.
Lonely Planet notes that Manchester "has some exciting things happening in 2023", citing the fact that "the Manchester Museum is getting a major renovation, the Manchester Jewish Museum is expanding, the Factory International arts space is set to open and the historic Castlefield Viaduct is being transformed into a green walking trail".
Meanwhile, Lonely Planet points out that travelling to Southern Scotland from London is now a "fast, affordable breeze" because of a new, more affordable electric train link.
"Instead of heading to the Highlands, aim for the Borders and other areas of Southern Scotland to learn more about the country’s history and famous residents like writer Robert Burns," the guide recommends. "With the debate about Scottish independence showing no sign of cooling, exploring the borderlands is a great way to contemplate the future of the entire UK as well."
Other destinations that make the list include Accra in Ghana – home to "frenetic, bustling markets, new community spaces like skate parks and creative spaces for artists" – and El Salvador in Central America. According to Lonely Planet, the latter has "idyllic beaches" and is "quietly becoming the place where those in the know come to catch waves and hone their surfing skills".
Meanwhile, the Istanbul to Sofia train ride – a trip of around 400 miles – features in the Journey category. This "recently restored overnight service" is said to "whirl two adventures into one, leaving the place where east meets west in Istanbul and depositing you in Bulgaria’s laid-back capital city 11 hours later". It sounds pretty awesome, to be honest.
Check out the full top 30 below.
Lima, Peru
Umbria, Italy
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Fukuoka, Japan
South Africa
Montevideo, Uruguay
Novia Scotia, Canada
Western Australia
Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia
Istanbul to Sofia Train

Halkidiki, Greece
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Accra, Ghana
New Mexico, USA
Manchester, UK
Dresden, Germany
El Salvador
Southern Scotland

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