Lonely Planet reveals its top destinations for 2023

The 2023 edition is in a slightly different format than it has been in years past. Rather than a simple list, the destinations are split up into five categories — eat, learn, journey, unwind and connect.

“This year, we really wanted to try something new and we wanted to reflect the way that we saw travelers looking for travel, which was about the destination, but also about the experience,” explains Nitya Chambers, executive editor and senior vice president of content at Lonely Planet.

Editors begin work on the list as early as April. Chambers says that — as much as they’d like to — not every staffer can visit each place on the list personally.

Instead, she explains, Lonely Planet reaches out to its wide network of contributors around the world and asks them to nominate destinations they believe should be on the list.

From there, editors at Lonely Planet HQ begin to ask more questions, work their sources and narrow down the options until it is released in November.

Chambers sums up the perfect destination as “expected but unexpected.”

That might mean taking a chance on a new country, like Malta or Guyana, that all your friends haven’t been to yet. It might mean choosing a less-visited place in a favorite destination, like Marseille rather than Paris or Fukuoka instead of Tokyo. All four spots are among the 30 destinations of the 2023 list.

The Lonely Planet journey began in 1972 after Maureen and Tony Wheeler traveled from the UK to Australia and subsequently published a guide to recreating their overland adventure.

Check out CNN Travel’s award-winning feature The Hippie Trail to learn more about the company’s story.
The Mediterranean country Malta was chosen as one of the best places to unwind.

The Mediterranean country Malta was chosen as one of the best places to unwind.

Calin Stan/Adobe Stock

Culinary delights

It’s no surprise that Lima appears as one of the picks under the “eat” section of Lonely Planet’s list — Peru’s capital has been racking up the recognition for years on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

However, its South American sibling Montevideo — another “eat” entry — is not as high profile. Visitors to the Uruguyan capital might recognize dishes that are popular elsewhere on the continent, like dulce de leche, asado steaks and yerba mate.

Uruguay is also coming into its own as a wine destination, with both reds and whites on offer. Plus it’s much more affordable and less crowded than Argentina’s Mendoza wine country.
Street food lovers should head to Kuala Lumpur. The capital is a perfect location for an introduction to food from all over Malaysia, like nasi lemak (the unofficial national dish), Penang-style curries and Peranakan classics like fish maw soup.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to find an Italian cuisine that isn’t beloved.

Stanley Tucci visited Umbria on an episode of his show, “Searching for Italy,” feasting on black truffles, boar ragu and braised pigeon. It’s on Lonely Planet’s list, too.

Get connected

As the world opened up after long Covid restrictions, many travelers felt the urge to connect or reconnect with others.

One way to do that is by looking into our own backyards.

Boise, the capital of Idaho, is home to the biggest Basque community in the world outside of Spain, and make’s Lonely…

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