It’s time to book some adventures for the year to come.
From short, flight-free breaks to longer-haul endeavours, there are plenty of destinations deserving our attention.
There are options to suit every budget – so get some dates in the diary to put a positive spin on 2023.
Los Angeles, USA
Most of us will never see our handprints cemented into the paving stones of the Walk Of Fame. But we all have a chance to pose for a selfie with the iconic Hollywood sign in the background.
The 100-metre-long set of capital letters was created in 1923 as a temporary advertisement for a real estate development, but a century later its still standing (although it was replaced in 1978 with a sturdier steel structure).
An additional reason to visit the sunshine state is the opening of the new Super Nintendo World on 17 February, at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Rides will include Mario Kart™ and Bowser’s Challenge, along with a Mushroom Kingdom and Toadstool café.
Read: America’s capital is packed full of new surprises
Starting life as a town called Brigg stow, bohemian, offbeat Bristol was granted its city and county status by King Edward III in 1373. A programme of events and festivals will be held to celebrate its 650th anniversary next year, including the summer’s Unicorn Fest (theunicornfest.co.uk) – a public art trail of unicorn sculptures, painted by Bristol artists and on display at famous landmarks, from Clifton Suspension Bridge to Weston-super-Mare’s Grand Pier.
Additional new attractions include new BOXHALL waterfront food hall and the reopening of the We The Curious Science museum.
Set on a picturesque tidal island in Normandy, UNESCO-protected Mont Saint Michel Abbey is extremely photogenic– yet nothing beats seeing it for real.
Construction of the Benedictine abbey, which is dedicated to the archangel St Michael, started in 1023 and took almost 500 years to complete.
Access the island either by foot or shuttle bus from the nearby car park, but purchase tickets for the abbey in advance. Some of the best views are from hiking around the mudflats with a guide or from a distance when the tide comes in.
Read: Seven of the world’s most amazing streets
Malopolska region, Poland
Even if you’re not a fan of athletics, televised sporting events are a good source of travel inspiration, with the backdrops often as inspiring as the sporting performances.
Next June, the European Games will take place in Poland’s Malopolska region and capital city Krakow, with athletes competing in 24 disciplines.
From the snowy peaks of the Tatra Mountains to the limestone cliffs of Kraków-Częstochowa Upland, the scenery of this area is superb.
UNESCO World Heritage sites include the underworld of the salt mine in Wieliczka and the Bernardine Monastery in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska with its churches and chapels found scattered throughout the nearby hills.
Perhaps even more dramatic than a total eclipse, an annular solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, creating a ring of fire effect.
Next year, the phenomenon will be visible in North America, and Utah – which has the most International Dark Sky Parks in the world – is the number one choice for viewings.
The narrow path of the annular eclipse passes through Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon, Glen Canyon and the world’s first-ever Dark Sky Park, Natural Bridges national monument, on 14 October.
Bryce Canyon, famous for its red rock hoodoos, spires and sandstone fins, will also be celebrating it centenary.
Read: Travel in 2023, according to your star sign
Shimokitazawa district, Japan
Demand for holidays to Japan has soared since the destination reopened after the pandemic. Although it’s always been a pricey place to visit, the yen has dropped by 25 per cent, making now one of the most affordable times to book a trip.
Specialists InsideJapan are excited about Tokyo’s emerging Shimokitazawa district, packed with independent shops and cafes. A new Shinkansen service to the bay side city of Nagasaki, launched in September 2022, will also see the southern island of Kyushu grow in popularity in months to come. Visit active volcanoes, fertile hot springs and emerald gorges.
K’gari (Fraser Island), Queensland
The world’s largest sand island is a UNESCO World Heritage site, measuring 123km long and 22km wide. It’s the only place on the planet where tall rainforests grow on sand dunes at elevations of more than 200m, and is also home to half the world’s perched lakes (lakes formed when depressions in dunes fill permanently with rainwater).
Rugged and wild, K’gari is best explored by 4WD along its beach highways and sandy inland tracks. It’s also one of the best places in Australia to take a beach camping trip. Options for wildlife viewing include humpback whales and dingoes.
Where are you heading this year? Let us know in the comments section below.
– With PA
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