Asia | Inspiration

8 iconic bucket list trips to take in 2023 (before they sell out)

There are certain iconic experiences that will forever feature on almost everyone’s bucket list. And now that most borders are open, you can bet that hundreds of people will be rushing to book those long-awaited trips. We already know that bucket list trips like our Christmas markets and Northern Lights trips will sell out for 2023 months in advance – and we’re already seeing other dream trips selling fast too. 

So if you’re wondering where to travel in 2023, it’s time to start booking now! From the cherry blossoms in Japan to the Jazz Festival in New Orleans, here are eight bucket list trips to book for 2023 before they sell out. 

To help you get inspired, our Christmas and New Year sale is kicking off on 20 December, offering 15% off select 2023 departures.

1. Christmas Markets of Austria, Germany and Switzerland

Our Christmas market bucket list trips sell out every year almost a year in advance. Not only are there limited dates, but they’re super popular trips, thanks to the magic of these festive markets. On this Christmas market trip, you’ll go from Vienna to Munich to Innsbruck and Lucerne, soaking up all the festive cheer and enchanting city backdrops. Get your fill of candles, carols, snowflakes, stollen, and mulled wine. Roam the twinkling market stalls to pick up special gifts and admire the local craftsmanship. And discover incredible old-world traditions in these beautiful cities.

RELATED CONTENT: An expert’s guide to the must-sees on our Christmas Markets of Austria, Germany and Switzerland tour

2. German Christmas Markets

Germany is home to the world’s oldest, biggest, and best Christmas markets. You’ll see them all on this special 8-day trip. It’s Gemütlichkeit and spicy Glühwein galore, with festive cheer, oompah music, fairy lights, snowy scenery and medieval architecture. 

We’ll take you to the heavyweights like Nuremberg, Dresden, Frankfurt, and Berlin. But we’ll also visit some of the hidden gems like Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Eisenach, Weimar, and Leipzig, where you can soak up centuries of spectacular Yuletide traditions. This is a very special trip that is guaranteed to sell out in 2023, so secure your spot now.

RELATED CONTENT: 9 incredible travel experiences that need good planning

3. Splendours of Japan

If you’ve got cherry blossom season in Japan on your bucket list (don’t we all?), you’ve got to book now to avoid missing out in 2023. The cherry blossom season usually happens in March or April each year and produces the most magnificent scenery with streets and cities swathed in bursts of pink and white. 

While you’re in Japan in spring you also can’t miss the Takayama Festival, one of the world’s most beautiful festivals. Held in Takayama’s Old Town on 14 and 15 April, this is the annual festival of the Hie Shrine with incredible parades, floats and traditional performances. If you miss out on spring dates, don’t worry – the Takayama Festival is held again in autumn on 9 and 10 October. This is known as the annual festival of the Hachiman Shrine and has equally spectacular processions and events. 

RELATED CONTENT: 9 of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Japan

4. In the Footsteps of the Incas

Always dreamed of visiting the ancient city of the Incan Empire, Machu Picchu? You’ve got to get in early. To help preserve these remarkable ruins, the Peruvian government has limited tickets to enter Machu Picchu or hike the Inca Trail. Unsurprisingly, they sell out fast so if you want to see this ancient wonder in 2023, it’s time to get your ducks in a row and book now. Machu Picchu isn’t the only place worth seeing in Peru though. This 14-day trip also takes you to the amazing cities of Lima and Cusco, the mesmerising Lake Titicaca, and the mighty Amazon Rainforest.

RELATED CONTENT: 15 picturesque places to visit in Peru

5. Autumn Colours

Fall is absolutely enchanting in the Eastern US states and hardcore leaf peepers know you have to book now to save your spot on our autumn bucket list trips. Departures from later September through October can sell out a year in advance, as travellers jump at the chance to see the magical changing of the leaves and the vibrant gold, orange and red landscapes. We’ll take you from Boston through New England to Vermont, Portsmouth and Acadia National Park, where you’ll be immersed in a wonderland of hot apple cider, pumpkin pie, cosy sweaters, and enchanting autumn scenery. 

RELATED CONTENT: 11 scenic road trips to take across the US and Canada this Fall

6. Tastes and Sounds of the South

Fancy yourself as a jazz fanatic? Then you’ll already have the New Orleans Jazz Festival on your radar. This world-class festival is running from 28 April to 7 May 2023. But you’ll have to get in now if you want to secure your spot as it always sells like hotcakes. Beyond the jazz, you’ll have a toe-tappin’ time on this trip with everything from country music in Nashville to rock n’ roll in Memphis. Walk down iconic Beale Street, visit Sun Studios, and worship at the altar of the King at Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Pay tribute to the most significant locations of the Civil Rights Movement. Cruise down the Mississippi in Natchez. Indulge in the best home cooking from local Southerners… this is one of the ultimate US bucket list trips. 

RELATED CONTENT: The most vibrant experiences to enjoy in New Orleans

7. Best of Scotland

This bonnie Scottish trip is always a best-seller… But if you want to take the trip that coincides with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, you’ve got to get in now. In 2023, the annual Military Tattoo is running from 4 to 26 August and it sells out fast. Tickets to see this spectacular event are included in our departures that coincide with the performance dates. It’s one of the best ways to secure your seat at this world-famous event. Experience a spine-tingling atmosphere as the drums and bugles ring out and the military bands march their way down the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. This 7-day trip also visits the Scottish Highlands and Glasgow so you’ll really get to see the best of Scotland. 

RELATED CONTENT: Majestic manors and castles to visit in Scotland

8. Scandinavian Northern Lights

Have you always dreamed of seeing the Northern Lights? If you want to make your dreams come true in 2023, you’ve got to get in quick. This is one of our most popular bucket list trips to see the Northern Lights… And seats are already selling out for February and March 2023. This 9-day adventure chases the Northern Lights across Sweden and Finland in the most spectacular way. 

You’ll go deep into the Arctic Circle, staying in the magical Apukka Resort Aurora Cabin where you can watch the Northern Lights from your cosy bed. You’ll also meet the Sámi people in northern Finland and learn about their fascinating culture. You can even take a Sámi reindeer-drawn sleigh or try snowmobiling or snowshoeing in these enchanting landscapes. Then head to the official Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi where you’ll meet the real Santa! Have a drink at the Ice Hotel and enjoy dinner at Aurora Camp while searching for the Northern Lights. From gorgeous villages like Gammelstad to vibrant cities like Helsinki, this is one of the most iconic bucket list trips you’ll ever take.

RELATED BLOG: Here are the 10 best places to see the Northern Lights

Are you taking any bucket list trips in 2023? Let us know in the comments below!

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