To help you find the ultimate travel hotspots for next year, Booking.com has delved into global booking trends** to share the top 10 trending destinations for 2023 – combined with tips from Booking.com’s community of travellers. From spiritual seaside towns to artistic capitals and hidden gems, this list of the top 10 on-trend places, experiences and stays is sure to inspire a year of incredible travel.
São Paulo, Brazil
Enjoy a typical Mortadella sandwich from a São Paulo street food stand
The energetic metropolis of São Paulo is home to 20 million locals known as ‘paulistanos’ and a buzzing nightlife scene, with underground clubs, art house cinemas, experimental theatre and Traditional Samba and Pagode Experiences. The city also lays claim to fantastic street food and nine of Brazil’s 14 Michelin-starred restaurants, where you can sample delicacies including the ‘coxinha’ (a golden shredded chicken croquette) and the ‘feijoada’ (a rich black bean stew). For fashion-lovers, a stroll down Rua Oscar Freire – a tree-lined street with glossy, luxurious boutiques – is a must. Or for some real downtime, escape the city with a short drive to the northern coast of the state of São Paulo, a hidden gem where the beaches rival those in Rio.
Traveller tip from Daniele:
“I'd recommend dinner at Skye Restaurant & Bar on the rooftop of Hotel Unique. Or Terraço Itália, a restaurant at the top of the Edificio Italia skyscraper, to enjoy breathtaking urban views and taste local cuisine.”
Where to stay: L´Hotel Portobay São Paulo, just a short walk to São Paulo's vibrant Avenida Paulista and the Modern Art Museum. Enjoy a caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail made from cachaça, sugar and lime at the piano bar.
A view of the beach from Budva's old town
If what you want from a trip next year is to relax on a beach, Budva in western Montenegro is the perfect European destination to visit. Located on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, the town boasts a long, winding coastline known as the Budva Riviera, where golden sand is lapped by crystal clear water. Budva’s medieval old town features Venetian stone walls, cobbled streets and restaurants serving fresh grilled seafood, including local speciality – octopus. For those seeking adventure, explore Boka Bay on a Mamula Island, Blue Cave & Lady of the Rocks Tour (travellers can swim and snorkel at the Blue Cave and are even able to enter a submarine tunnel). At night, Budva comes alive with bars and clubs headlined by famous techno and house DJs for dancing the night away.
Where to stay: Apartments Inspiration offers studio, one-bed and family apartments just a short walk from the old town and beach. Enjoy balconies with views of the town, surrounding mountains and sea, and dinners on the terrace overlooking the fiery Mediterranean sunset.
Cycle rickshaws parked in the leafy streets of Puducherry, India
The seaside city of Puducherry (previously known as Pondicherry) sits on the southeast coast of India facing the Bay of Bengal. Nicknamed ‘Pondy’, it attracts spiritually minded visitors keen to visit its ashrams to partake in yoga and meditation. The best way to get around is cycling through the leafy boulevards or on a Customised Private Walking Tour, wandering quaint, historic streets lined with pastel-coloured townhouses and balconies draped with pink bougainvillaeas. Tranquil beaches stretch north and south from town but Mahe Beach is the best spot to watch an incredible sunrise. And throughout the year, a kaleidoscope of festivities and religious celebrations allow visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant local culture.
Traveller tip from Saurabh:
“Concept store and café Baker Street serves the best French baguettes and pastries in town. Enjoy coffee at The Hidden Garden Café by Rock Beach and stay nearby, as this is the most fun area. The best way to explore is to rent a 2-wheeler motor vehicle – and be sure to visit the experimental township of Auroville, just outside the city.”
Where to stay: traditional B&B, Anantha Heritage, is a beautifully restored, high-ceilinged Tamil house behind a temple and sacred pool. The property is close to the Goubert Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in the city, as well as being just a short walk to the beach.
Querétaro's historic centre was declared a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site in 1996
The city of Querétaro in Mexico can be found in the central highlands, possessing a blissful, spring-like climate thanks to the altitude. Just a short drive away, you’ll find one of the world’s largest monoliths, Peña de Bernal. You can scale the remains of this old volcano, rising majestically 1421 feet into the sky. The region is also home to Sierra Gorda, a biosphere reserve known as the ‘green jewel’ of Mexico on account of its forest-cloaked mountains, valleys and canyons. Back in town, travellers can stroll past fountains, plazas and historic churches before making a pitstop at the Mercado La Cruz, a market crammed with tasty taco stands and colourful pinatas. Finish the day here with a glass of fizz, a speciality from the Querétaro wine region.
Where to stay: located in the historic centre of Querétaro, the blue-washed Morazul Hotel Boutique features old stone walls, tiled floors, wood-beamed ceilings and four-poster beds.
Roman-style buildings with a snow-covered mountain backdrop in Bolzano, Italy
The capital of Italy’s northernmost South Tyrol region, Bolzano is an idyllic alpine destination situated amid the snow-capped mountains of the Italian Dolomites. You can hike here in summer or head to one of the acclaimed ski resorts in winter. You’ll also discover medieval castles and the gothic Duomo di Bolzano, a cathedral whose imposing spires contrast with the city’s painted houses. For a modern culture fix, the Museion is a gallery full of contemporary paintings and sculptures. This region of Italy is renowned for its full-bodied wines and you can pay a visit to the Santa Maria Maddalena Church for breathtaking views of rolling vineyards and wine-tastings. A Group Market Tour with Cooking Class offers the chance to explore local markets and even visit the host’s home to prepare Italian aperitivo.
Traveller tip from Luca:
“Try Castel Flavon – you eat very well and the view is very beautiful. And take an excursion to the Dolomites though I recommend relying on an alpine guide (who can be hired locally)."
Where to stay: with views of the Dolomites, Castel Hörtenberg is a refurbished Renaissance castle in the centre of Bolzano with wood panelling, wine cellar and luxury spa.
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Catch a sunrise over the Nanamun River from the South Peak of Mount Kinabalu
Known locally as ‘KK’, the bustling capital of Sabah in the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo is a hidden gem surrounded by rainforests and sandy beaches. By day, browse exquisite pearls, textiles and wood carvings crafted by artisans at the Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market. Or make a beeline to Tanjung Aru Beach, a local hotspot. Visit the Floating Seafood Market restaurant for excellent butter prawns and soft-shell crab, as well as cultural performances. The ecosystems around Kota Kinabalu are home to unique wildlife, best observed from a boat during an Evening River Safari; look out for views of Mount Kinabalu along the Nanamun River, as well as the native proboscis monkey and come dusk, thousands of fireflies lighting up the evening sky.
Where to stay: check into Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu opposite the city’s waterfront market for modern accommodation in the heart of the action – head to the beach for snorkelling or recline on one of the poolside cabanas with a cocktail.
Greece's famous Meteora, where monasteries stand on steep cliffs amid emerald hills
Located in the Thessaly Valley, the scenic Greek town of Kalabaka guards the Meteora, a mighty rock formation that’s home to several Eastern Orthodox monasteries. Appearing suspended in the air against a backdrop of emerald hills, this 1,300-feet-high, 13th-century site was built by monks seeking solitude. Today, it offers otherworldly views to those exploring on foot. Take a Meteora Sunset Tour and discover the thousand-year-old Badovas hermit caves and monastery frescoes before watching the sunset across the valley. For foodies, there’s a bustling market every Friday and local restaurants serving meatballs, moussaka and slow-cooked stews. To dig even deeper, the town’s Natural History Museum organises truffle hunting tours followed by tantalising fresh truffle pasta.
Traveller tip from Stefano:
“Meteoron Panorama Restaurant is a tavern that offers traditional Greek dishes well-prepared and at an honest price. You eat on a terrace at the foot of the Meteora.”
Where to stay: between the Meteora and the town centre, the Hotel Doupiani House offers guests great views and a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit grown from the hotel’s own garden.
Santa Fe, United States
Be sure to check out some of Santa Fe's indigenous Adobe architecture
The uniqueness of Santa Fe is encapsulated in its nickname, ‘The City Different’. Explore its unparalleled multicultural heritage via the vibrant food scene, with myriad Mexican food trucks and open-air markets, and appreciate indigenous culture at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. Santa Fe is also the United States’ highest state capital and sits at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo range, making it a great base for hiking, mountain biking and skiing. Adrenaline-seekers can venture into the mountains for rock climbing, paragliding or white water rafting.* Try a Downtown Santa Fe Photography Tour & Class to meet and learn from a Sante Fe resident while admiring the city’s historic architecture.
Traveller tip from Tracy:
“My favourite Santa Fe restaurants would be Geronimo, The Shed and Sazon. These places are southwestern style and some of them are like a hacienda with a cantina-style bar.”
Where to stay: The Bobcat Inn is a B&B just a short drive from the city centre and various hiking trails, with a courtyard and BBQ, mountain views, and a garden perfect for stargazing.
Olomouc, Czech Republic
Climb Olomouc's town hall tower for an amazing view of the old centre
For travellers keen to explore lesser-known places next year, the historic Czech Republic city of Olomouc is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. Located in the Haná region of Moravia, it dates back to Roman times and has everything from grand architecture and microbreweries to rich gastronomy – the local Olomoucké tvarůžky soft cheese is a must-try. The well-preserved old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the Holy Trinity Column, which rises nearly 115 feet in height in the main square, is one of the baroque wonders of Central Europe. Enjoy views of the column from the nearby Town Hall Tower, as well as the beautiful Jeseniky Mountains.
Where to stay: The central Long Story Short Hostel & Café is set in an 18th-century fort and offers a pétanque court, BBQ, plus café and terrace bar with live music events and movie nights.
Explore Hobart's poetically beautiful surroundings
There are few destinations where travellers can climb a mountain, head to the beach and visit a world-class art gallery all in one day, but Hobart is one such place. The world-renowned Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) placed Hobart on the global cultural map. But the nature here is equally astounding; the capital of Tasmania is the southernmost capital in Australia, is framed by Mount Wellington and sits on the River Derwent. Explore the city’s poetically beautiful surroundings via kayak, or try abseiling and surfing for added thrills. And if even that’s not enough, sign up for a Learn-to-fly Experience, gliding over the city in a plane under the guidance of a qualified instructor.
Where to stay: Maylands Lodge is an old landmark property and luxury hotel, just a short drive from the city centre and waterfront, with rooms that feature mountain or garden views.
**Destinations had to be in the top 1,000 most booked on Booking.com between 1 August 2021 and 31 July 2022. The resulting list was sorted by year-over-year increase and destinations with a large decrease in the share of domestic bookings were removed. This was to ensure that the list represents destinations that have managed to maintain domestic interest (as well as international), even in the face of loosening COVID-related travel restrictions.