As the world slowly emerges from the challenges of recent times, wanderlust is stronger than ever, and travelers are eager to embark on new adventures. If you’re seeking inspiration for your next journey, we’ve curated a list of our top five iconic destinations to visit in 2023 and 2024. From captivating natural wonders to vibrant cultural gems, these destinations offer a mix of breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and unforgettable experiences.
Whether you’re a seasoned globetrotter or a curious explorer, these iconic destinations will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on all your travel memories.
1. French Polynesia
Is there a destination on the planet more coveted than French Polynesia? Emerald green peaks pierce the sky, turquoise blue seas lap gently on golden sandy beaches, and hibiscus flowers burst with vermillion bloom year-round. To call the place paradise is an understatement. French Polynesia is a living paradise on Earth.
The archipelago is famous for being one of the most beautiful in the world. Strung out like gems on a necklace, it is easy to see why this region is called the pearl of the South Pacific; iconic islands such as Tahiti and Bora Bora, tropical islands renowned for their turquoise lagoons and overwater bungalows simply glow with natural beauty. We don’t think you need much convincing to visit, but if swimming with (harmless) sharks, searching for rays in the crystal-clear waters of Bora Bora, snorkeling through vibrant coral gardens, learning about the history of the region’s famous black pearls in Rangiroa and relaxing on pristine beaches doesn’t convince you to visit, then perhaps the warm Polynesian hospitality that makes this destination genuinely unforgettable will.
2. The Mediterranean
No seasoned traveler needs convincing of the beauty of the Med. However, there is one season when this region really comes into its own. If you’re looking for an extraordinary adventure far from the madding crowd, the Mediterranean during the magical fall season is not to be missed. As summer fades and the tourists go home, a captivating transformation takes place. Locals return to their daily lives, and an authentic and unmatched tapestry of colors, flavors, and culture emerges.
With the weather still sunny but with lower, more manageable temperatures, fall is the ideal time of year to discover the Med’s hidden gems. The weather is still warm enough for you to swim in the clear waters, relax on secluded sand beaches, and explore charming villages that exude a sense of tranquility. However, that is not to say that the shoulder season lacks excitement. The region is full of experiences to be experienced, from Barcelona to Bari. Try taking a flightseeing tour over dramatic Mt. Etna (followed by a real Sicilian cannolo in beautiful Taormina) if you want a real taste of the Italian high life.
Finally, for those who want to connect with the region’s millennia of history and heritage must-sees, fall offers the chance to explore ancient sites and archaeological wonders with fewer crowds, granting you an uninterrupted and immersive experience that ignites the imagination and stirs the soul.
3. Costa Rica
Nestled in Central America, Costa Rica is a land of awe-inspiring natural beauty and unmatched biodiversity. The country’s commitment to environmental preservation is extraordinary; Costa Rica boasts a remarkable 26 national parks, protected reserves, and wildlife refuges, making it a true haven for nature enthusiasts. Wherever you are in “Tico,” as the country is known colloquially, every step teems with vibrant flora and fauna. To really understand the country, do not miss out on a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica’s smallest National Park. Despite only covering 6.8 kilometers, the National Park and its fragile rainforest ecosystem shelter a variety of wildlife including mammals and tropical birds and is a feast for the senses.
The country is a destination that transcends expectations, whether it is your first or fiftieth visit. But the destination is not just for those who want to marvel at the stunning scenery. By visiting Costa Rica, you contribute to preserving its incredible biodiversity and support the local communities that strive to protect their natural heritage. If you are looking for a country that seamlessly blends lush coasts, biodiverse jungles, stunning waterfalls, and dramatic volcanoes while being underscored by centuries of culture and friendly locals, then Costa Rica is it.
4. Northern Canada
Oh, Canada, oh Canada … for travelers looking to escape to the extraordinary, northeast Canada could well be the destination you need.
Often (mistakenly) overlooked by guests from the United States for being “too much like home,” this region offers an off-the-beaten-path experience that will leave you breathless. From awe-inspiring landscapes to autumnal pyrotechnical explosions of color, Canada unveils a world of unparalleled beauty and serenity.
The region’s main calling card is, of course, the captivating tapestry of colors during fall. Vibrant autumn foliage paints the rugged terrain with crimson, gold, and amber hues. Pretty villages paint a picturesque backdrop that rivals any postcard, offering a haven of tranquility away from the bustling crowds. The region’s reputation for superb seafood precedes it: think delicious lobster lunches in picture postcard rustic villages that burst with authenticity. But that’s not all: encounters with the extraordinary, endemic wildlife that thrives in the region will leave you humbled while marveling at our wonderful world. Just don’t forget your camera.
Bucket list Alaska may be the USA, but this is one destination where Uncle Sam has never been further from your thoughts. If you have not already been, don’t delay: This region takes you away from the hustle and bustle of city life and swaps it for long summer nights, freezing glaciers, jagged peaks, and a love affair for the Last Frontier. Away from the bright lights and big cities the US is famous for, Alaska redefines the meaning of the Great Outdoors.
The region has long been our cruise line’s favored destination, with many guests going again and again. And it’s easy to see why: as regions go, it is both untamed and unforgettable. The region truly offers the best of both land and sea – try on land excitement such as a helicopter glacier trek where you’ll get and get a very unique view of the region, not to mention some once-in-a-lifetime photos. Or take an on land tour and experience some to close encounters of the wildlife kind. The region is famous for its hundreds of species of animals, both above and below the water. A voyage to Alaska means setting sail for a glacier-carved wilderness of totem poles, traditional living, and time-enduring culture.