Travelling is and always has been an important experience in people’s lives that can not only shape their understanding of other people’s experiences but also of their own. In 2019, people travel for sightseeing, new experiences, old experiences, cultural immersion, and — most importantly — for a break from everyday life and activities. Regardless of one’s reason for travel, it’s the perfect year to find new cities to visit in familiar countries, while also finding new countries to visit in unfamiliar areas.
Though many people travel to the hotspots of France (e.g., Paris, Loire Valley), and although those hotspots will always be beautiful places to visit and experience, France has just as much to offer in many of its known but less visited areas. Lyon, the current gastronomical capital of France, has a bevy of cuisine to offer alongside a variety of historic UNESCO buildings (including buildings previously used for silk production). Lille, a city near the border of Belgium and France, is filled with architecture and museums entrenched in the rich dated and contemporary history of this former merchant hub of both countries. Bordeaux, known as a hub of France’s famed wine region, offers a variety of flavorful wine and beautiful art with museums such as the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux.
Similarly to France, many people visit Spain specifically to visit the capital and other well-known cities (e.g., Madrid, Barcelona). But the outskirts of the country are rich in specific caches of history and culture. Many of the known but more obscure cities in Spain offer the same beachfront experience with less commotion and crowding, and more specific pieces of Spain’s history. Mallorca, best-known for its beach resorts, has the remains of the Moorish and Roman empires, vast mountain ranges, and gorgeous beach shores and coves. Similarly filled with Moorish history, Granada is another beautiful city to visit, located at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada mountains — filled with beautiful palaces, gardens, cathedrals, and greenery. Bilbao, an industrial port of Spain, offers a more urban experience with attractions like contemporary museums, a bustling city, and a variety of well-esteemed restaurants with particularly delicious takes on popular spanish cuisines.
Japan is an amazing place to visit to immerse in a complex culture comprised of a number of unique experiences. Though some of the best and most popular tourist areas are the most populated areas in the country (e.g, Tokyo, Shibuya), some of the less visited areas are just as interesting to visit and offer a different perspective of the many cultures within the country. For more of an outdoors experience, Hokkaido is the perfect island to visit with a variety of beautiful environments — hot springs, ski terrain and resorts, and multiple volcanoes (most famously, Mount Asahi). For a more historic experience, a city like Nara is perfect. Having been Japan’s capital in the 8th century, Nara is filled with shrines, temples, and statues dating back to the 700s, making for a great and immersive experience for a culture or history enthusiast! Japan has a wide variety of types of places to see, making it one of the most exciting countries to visit in 2023.
South Korea is a country with burgeoning growth in all factions of its society: culture, economy, architecture, and more. Although South Korea is currently most largely associated with it’s arts and entertainment culture, tourists have an equal variety of historic landmarks and pristine cityscapes to visit and experience when visiting the country. Many people visit Seoul, the beautiful artistic and cultural cityscape hub of South Korea, when travelling there for tourism. Seoul is a great hub for travelling through South Korea as well, considering there are beautiful towns and cities nearby—- like Deokjeokdo. Deokjeokdo is close enough to Seoul to be reached in a day, and is perfect for those who love the outdoors, with it being filled with a number of breathtaking beaches and hiking routes. Busan, being the second largest city in South Korea, is a mixture of the beautiful elements of both Seoul and Deokjeokdo, having even more beaches than Deokjeokdo and as many historic buildings as Seoul. Jinhae is more of a hidden gem with long stretches of beautiful trees and shrubbery, known mostly for its cherry blossom festival — which attracts upwards of 2 million visitors each year — that runs during a 10 day period where the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. These three cities are only a peek into what South Korea has to offer, but they serve as good starting points for a future trip to the southeast asian country!
Australia has always been a tourist hub for arts, wildlife, beach views, and landscapes. What better time than 2023 to travel to a tried-and-true popular tourist location? The Gold Coast is a beautiful city on the east coast of Australia, with renown canal systems and beaches. Though many go to the Gold Coast for surfing, there are also a variety of hiking trails leading through mountain paths — and a number of theme parks to fall back on for easy entertainment! Those looking for a mixture of an environmental and metropolitan experience should view Canberra, the capital of Australia, as a key city to visit (alongside Sydney). Filled with historically important architecture, a number of museums, and a variety of trails and waterfronts, Canberra is the perfect combination of so many things that Australia has to offer.
Whether you’re travelling during the spring, summer, fall or winter, all of the countries listed here have a variety of options to explore and experience. Some of the best experiences can come from visiting unfamiliar areas in places you’ve already heard a lot about! In addition, most of these countries have options that can be experienced alone, with a partner, with friends, or with family. Grab a comfortable neck pillow and some good company to make the flights easier, and get ready to create more memories. The year 2023 is the perfect time to take advantage of an opportunity to travel during vacation days or extended weekends, to find the perfect place to call one’s occasional ‘second home.’