Our 12 Top Destinations for 2023: A Tour for Every Month of the Year (10 minute read)

(Last Updated On: October 14, 2022)

Are you starting to plan your travel for next year? We have tours departing every month, to countries all over the world. But some places are best visited at certain times of year. In March, the beautiful spring cherry blossoms are in bloom across Japan. In July, southern Africa experiences its dry season, so wildlife is easier to spot, but water levels in Botswana’s Okavango Delta are high, perfect for exploring by canoe. And although Iceland can be visited year round, travelling in December gives you the best chance to see the majestic Northern Lights. We’ve put together our top destinations for each month of the year in 2023, to help you decide where and when to travel!

 

January: Finland

Finland is a fantastic winter destination, and it doesn’t get more wintery than January in Europe! Snows in Lapland are still thick, perfect for husky and reindeer sledding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and other activities. But the December crowds have receded somewhat. The nights are still long and dark, perfect for spotting the Northern Lights. The best way to do this is to spend a night in a glass igloo, wrapped up toasty warm and keeping your eyes on the skies to watch the green flashes of the Aurora Borealis light up the darkness.

Recommended tour: Aurora & Glass Igloo Explorer – 5 days

Snowmobiling in Finland, one of our top destinations for 2023
Snowmobiling in Finland is a great way to spend January

February: Vietnam & Cambodia

It’s the dry season in Southeast Asia in February, with warm, dry, sunny weather across Vietnam and Cambodia. This makes it the perfect destination for travellers from the northern hemisphere who are looking to escape the long winter. Beach destinations in Vietnam such as Nha Trang are popular at this time of year. And crowds can be larger at some sites, such as the mighty Angkor Wat in Cambodia. But it is worth putting up with these crowds to avoid the monsoon rains which begin in April and last until October.

Recommended tour: Journey to Angkor Wat – 15 days

The temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

March: Japan

Japan was one of the last countries to fully re-open to foreign travellers post-pandemic. But as of October 2022, things are pretty much back to normal, with minimal covid restrictions and the return of visa-free travel from many nations. For these reasons we expect Japan to be a hot destination for 2023. And there is no better time to visit the country than in spring. The pink cherry blossoms are in full bloom and a celebratory atmosphere takes over towns and cities as winter comes to an end. It is by far the prettiest time to visit Japan, with weather conditions also excellent for sightseeing. Our annual Cherry Blossom Festival tour always fills up, and we are so excited to be running this trip in 2023 for the first time since 2019!

Recommended tour: Cherry Blossom Festival – 13 days

Japan is a top destination for 2023 thanks to the pink cherry blossoms which bloom in March
Spring is the best time to visit Japan, as the cherry blossoms are in bloom

April: Jordan

Like much of the Middle East, Jordan experiences stiflingly hot summers, with temperatures routinely hitting 35 degrees centigrade and above. Visiting in April means you can avoid these temperature extremes and enjoy sightseeing in much more pleasant conditions. This is particularly important when exploring Petra, which is quite exposed. Spring flowers are in bloom across the country and it’s a great time of year for trekking. Be aware that Ramadan lasts until 21 April in 2023. This means that some businesses will be closed for the majority of the day, but tourism businesses tend to be largely unaffected. And it is a great time to experience Jordanian culture, especially in the evenings, when families and entire communities break their fasts together.

Recommended tour: Totally Jordan – 8 days

A group in the desert of Wadi Rum, Jordan
A group in the desert of Wadi Rum, Jordan

May: Turkey

In May, Europe is readying itself for the summer season. Temperatures are on the up, with long sunny days, but schools haven’t yet broken up for the summer. This means crowds are thinner and hotels and flights are cheaper, making it a great time to travel. It may still be a little early for sailing on the Mediterranean. But for cultural touring of mainland Turkey, May is one of the best times of year to visit.

It is the Netherlands that is best known for tulips these days. But this craze actually started in Turkey, as Ottomans in the 16th century brought them over from Central Asia. The annual tulip festival is still a big deal, particularly in Istanbul. April is tulip season in the city, but this sometimes lasts into early May. It depends on the weather and the melting of the winter snows.

Recommended tour: Turkey Discovered – 14 days

Turkey is one of our top destinations for 2023
You can still catch the famous Istanbul tulips in bloom if visiting in May

June: Croatia

It’s hard to look past Europe for travel in June, and this is probably the best month to visit Croatia for an island-hopping cruise. Temperatures are high enough for sunbathing on the deck of your ship out at sea, or on the picturesque beaches of the Adriatic. But it isn’t too hot for sightseeing in Dubrovnik and Split. Rainfall is virtually non-existent, and schools still haven’t broken up, so this is still a quieter time to visit than the peak months of July and August.

Recommended tour: Sailing Split – 8 days

A beach in Croatia
Beat the crowds to Croatia’s beaches by travelling in June

July: Southern Africa

East Africa is popular in July, because the Great Migration is in full swing across the Serengeti ecosystem in Kenya and Tanzania. But this is also a great time of year to head further south on safari, to Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. In Zimbabwe, the rains have passed and there is less spray at Victoria Falls, perfect for capturing the best photos. Water levels in Botswana’s Okavango Delta are at their peak, as the rainy season has just ended here too. This makes it a great time for exploring the delta by mokoro canoe.

Across the entire region of Southern Africa, vegetation is drying out in July due to the lack of rain. This means that wildlife is easier to spot, because it cannot hide in the vegetation, and there are fewer watering holes for animals to drink at. This means park rangers can better predict where wildlife will be, so you are more likely to be able to tick off the Big Five on your safari.

Recommended tour: Namibia, Botswana & Falls – 14 days

Water levels in Botswana's Okavango Delta are at their highest in July, perfect for canoeing!
Water levels in Botswana’s Okavango Delta are at their highest in July, perfect for canoeing!

August: The Baltics

A less popular corner of Europe, but one that is definitely worth visiting, you are safe to explore the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in August. Temperatures are high but not as hot as countries further south. And although the crowds are at their largest, these countries still attract just a fraction of the travellers flowing into Greece, Croatia, Spain, and Italy at this time of year.

Estonia in particular is something of a hidden gem when it comes to beaches. The resort of Parnu is delightful in August, with sunny weather and little rainfall. The summer season is short in this region, lasting for about 10 weeks from mid-June. So if you do fancy an Estonian beach break then you have no time to lose!

Recommended tour: Highlights of the Baltics – 8 days

Riga and other cities in the Baltics are top destinations for 2023, especially in the summer months
Riga, Latvia is one of the Baltic capitals, a great place to visit in August

September: Morocco

As summer in the northern hemisphere comes to an end, travellers must head further south in search of reliable weather. And Morocco’s 1,200 mile coastline is a good contender, especially such destinations as Essaouira, Tangier and Agadir. It’s a good month for cultural touring in Marrakech, Ait Benhaddou and the Sahara too, with the peak summer temperatures on their way down a little, but the November rains not yet setting in. This means September is also a great month for trekking – Mount Toubkal is a good option here.

Recommended tour: Totally Morocco – 9 days

The Sahara Desert, Morocco
Temperatures are more bearable in Morocco if you wait until September to visit

October: Egypt

Just like nearby Morocco, Egypt becomes a better holiday destination as summer comes to an end, and temperatures reduce from their sweltering peaks. October is one of the best months for exploring Egypt, with pleasant weather across the country, and Red Sea resorts still open for business.

22 October is an important date in the calendar, as the second and final Abu Simbel Sun Festival of the year takes place to mark the birthday of King Ramses II. Using geometry and astrology way ahead of the times, Ramses II commissioned a temple to be built in his honour to mark the date of his ascension (21 February) and his birthday (21 October). The temple was constructed in such a way that on these two dates only, the rising sun illuminated the inner sanctum in a spectacular display. With the building of the Aswan Dam and subsequent flooding in the 1960s, the entire temple of Abu Simbel had to be relocated. This caused the dates to move by one day to the 22 February and October respectively. Visiting the Sun Festival is a memorable experience, as locals and travellers alike gather at dawn, and a festival atmosphere grips the temple site.

Recommended tour: King Ramses – 13 days

The Abu Simbel Sun Festival takes place on 22 February and 22 October each year
The Abu Simbel Sun Festival takes place on 22 February and 22 October each year

November: Nepal

Nepal is a year-round destination. But to really get the most from the Himalayan scenery you need clear skies, and the driest, clearest weather is generally found from October – April, after the monsoons have passed. This makes the country a great option for travel in November. Good visibility, cooler temperatures and fresh, crisp air make it a great time for trekking, and there are still good safari opportunities in Chitwan National Park. The lofty capital of Kathmandu averages around 15 degrees centigrade at this time of year, fine for exploring by day, but you will want to wrap up at night to keep warm.

Recommended tour: Highlights of Nepal – 9 days

Nepal is one of our top destinations for 2023, and November is a great time for trekking
November is a great month for trekking the Himalayas in Nepal

December: Iceland

If you’re looking to get away from the in-laws over Christmas, then Iceland offers a beautiful wintery landscape in which to do so. Frozen waterfalls, mighty glaciers, fresh snowfall and of course the beautiful Northern Lights make December a great time to visit. December offers the best chance to spot the Aurora Borealis, as it is the heart of winter, with crisp, clear skies and long nights in which to spot them. The days are short, and it is cold, but this means fewer crowds at the main attractions, and as long as you wrap up warm you are sure to have an incredible adventure. Our best-selling Land of the Northern Lights tour has departures throughout December, and we also offer a special Christmas Land of the Northern Lights tour for those who would like to spend the festive period on holiday.

Recommended tour: Land of the Northern Lights – 5 days  

December is winter in Iceland - think long, dark nights, perfect for spotting the Northern Lights
December is winter in Iceland – think long, dark nights, perfect for spotting the Northern Lights

Where are you planning to travel in 2023? Let us know in the comments and get in touch with our team today if you would like to enquire about any of our group tours or private trips.

One comment on “Our 12 Top Destinations for 2023: A Tour for Every Month of the Year (10 minute read)

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