11 Best Places to Visit in 2023: Europe’s Top Destinations
Europe has so many dreamy destinations – from idyllic beaches and vibrant cities to soaring mountains and pristine countryside – that choosing where to visit can be challenging. Pick Portugal for divine food or go to France for romance. You can explore Spain’s fascinating history, enjoy family adventures in Scotland or discover the vibrant culture of Italy.
To follow up on our list of the best places to visit in 2023, we’ve asked our experienced travel designers to tell us their top Europe destinations for this year. Read on to find out what we love about each place, plus which ones are best for families, couples, adventurers, foodies, and more.
1. Portugal – Best for Food
Porto - Best for traditional Portuguese cuisine
Portugal is a must-visit for food lovers in 2023. Porto’s winding staircases and cobbled alleyways hide buzzing restaurants that serve mouth-watering Portuguese classics like bacalhau (dried, salted cod) and the francesinha (Porto’s signature sandwich).
Alentejo - Best for fresh, organic food
Head to the Azores archipelago to work up an appetite with hikes through emerald green hills and volcanic landscapes. Then return to the mainland for even more scrumptious cuisine in Alentejo. This region is strewn with olive groves, cork trees, beautiful beaches and incredible cuisine. Stay at the sustainable and contemporary Craveiral Farmhouse for organic meals in tranquil surroundings.
2. Italy – Best for Culture
Puglia - Best for distinctive culture
From ancient traditions to contemporary art, Italy has you covered when it comes to culture. We love Puglia for its perennially sunny climate and the towns of Lecce, Ostuni and Gallipoli, brimming with distinctive local culture. Take a cycling tour through the (mostly) flat country lanes, lined with olive groves and thatched trulli houses. Immerse yourself in rural culture at Masseria Torre Coccaro, a traditional farmhouse reimagined as a luxury hotel.
Rome - Best for incredible sightseeing
Rome, arguably Italy’s cultural hotspot, has something for everyone. Families can enjoy educational treasure hunts in the historic quarters, while couples can soak up the Eternal City’s culture at the stylish Six Senses Rome: a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city. The best time to visit Rome is from April to June or in September, to avoid the large crowds and hot weather of July and August.
3. France – Best for Couples
Bordeaux - Best for architecture and wine tasting
With its elegant cities, chic beaches and peaceful countryside, France is the epitome of a romantic destination in Europe. Bordeaux city’s grandiose architecture gives way to the exquisite wine region. Here, private wine tours and tastings at Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Lascombes come highly recommended.
French Riviera - Best for glamorous beach towns
Visit fairytale-like Provence, the land of lavender, in June or July to sip on delicious rosé before travelling down to the glamorous French Riviera, home to the stunning Maybourne Riviera hotel. Unashamedly lavish and undeniably charming, the beaches of Nice, Cannes and Saint-Tropez have attracted fashionable Parisians for decades.
Monaco - Best for the Grand Prix
Add some excitement to your romantic European vacation this May with the Monaco Grand Prix. Or get tickets for the Rugby World Cup, taking place at venues across the country from 8th September to 28th October 2023.
4. Scotland – Best for Families
Edinburgh - Best for the Old Town
Rugged landscapes meet enthralling cities in bonnie Scotland, one of the best places to visit in Europe for a family holiday. Ghost stories in the amber-lit alleyways of Edinburgh’s old town and magical Harry Potter tours will keep the whole family captivated. For a fix of art and culture, visit in August for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Scottish Highlands - Best for castles and outdoor activities
Outside of the city there’s even more family fun to be had on hikes and private jeep or stargazing tours through the Scottish Highlands. Step into a storybook at Stirling Castle and Blair Castle, or take an exciting train journey across the countryside on the opulent Belmond Royal Scotsman.
5. Iceland – Best for Year-Round Adventures
Westfjords - Best for Puffins
The Land of Fire and Ice has plenty to offer throughout every season. Craggy cliffs, smoking volcanoes, snowy peaks and windswept beaches are just some of Iceland’s natural highlights. Wildlife lovers can go whale watching from February to March, or spot cute puffins in the southern region, Westfjords and Eastern Fjords from May to August.
The Blue Lagoon - Best for hot springs
Thermal activity powers much of the country, so there are plenty of hot springs to discover. The world-famous Blue Lagoon is definitely worth a visit. Farther off the beaten track, you can also soak in the simmering waters of Reykjadalur Valley Hot Springs. Visit from November to May for ice caving and the chance to witness the mesmerising spectacle of the northern lights illuminating the skies.
6. Norway – Best for Arctic Adventures
Oslo - Best for architecture and Viking history
We’re obsessed with Oslo: a fusion of modern architecture and ancient Viking history, and the gateway to northern Norway. This capital city offers an eclectic collection of restaurants, art galleries and museums to discover. Iconic sites include the soaring Holmenkollbakken ski jump and the contemporary Opera House.
Norwegian Fjords - Best for cruises and glaciers
The Norwegian Fjords, another surprisingly versatile year-round destination, can be explored on spectacular cruises and outdoor expeditions. Snow activities, kayaking and glacier hikes are great for intrepid explorers. Those looking for a challenge can climb Folgefonna, the third-largest glacier in mainland Norway, with ice up to 400 metres thick in some places.
7. Spain – Best for History and Beaches
Seville - Best for history and architecture
Whether you’re interested in the history of flamenco, paella or Picasso, exploring Spain’s fascinating past is definitely one of the best things to do in 2023. We’re especially fond of Seville’s pretty historic quarter, where you can discover medieval architecture, Baroque sculptures, ancient embroidery and Moorish pottery on walking tours.
Menorca - Best for peaceful beaches
The best time to visit Spain for a European beach trip is the warm summer from May to September. Minorca (or Menorca), one of the Balearic Islands, is our top pick for a peaceful coastal holiday. Expect sandy coves with brilliant blue water, charming fishing villages and local restaurants serving up traditional dishes like arroz de la tierra (ground wheat baked with sausages) and caldereta de langosta (lobster stew).
8. Switzerland – Best for Outdoor Activities
Zermatt - Best for the Matterhorn
This country may be famous for watches, chocolate and fondue (we’re sold on the last two), but it’s Switzerland’s great outdoors that have earned it a place on our list. Picture pristine mountains, lakes, glaciers and green pastures surrounding stylish cities and pretty mountain villages.
Jungfraujoch - Best for hiking
Those looking for an adventure can hike to the Rhine Falls (Europe’s largest waterfall), summit Mount Titlis or traverse glaciers in Jungfraujoch. We recommend a stay at one of Switzerland’s elegant hotels, like the extraordinary Gstaad Palace or the lakeside Grand Hotel Suisse-Majestic in Montreux, designed to represent the opulence of the Belle Époque.
9. Croatia – Best for Scenery
Rovinj and Opatija - Best for northern Croatia
The cities of Split, Dubrovnik and Zadar have seen a significant rise in tourism in recent years. But if you’re looking for stunning scenery and peaceful towns, northern Croatia is the place to be in 2023. From the pretty coastal towns of Rovinj or Opatija, it’s easy to reach the gorgeous vineyards of the north. Here, you can take a private tour to meet the owners and learn about the region’s ancient winemaking methods.
Kornati archipelago - Best for boat trips
There are plenty of spectacular national parks in Croatia, but the Kornati archipelago is especially alluring. Take a boat trip from Rovinj to discover dozens of uninhabited islands where sandy coves, blue lagoons, cascading waterfalls, bright white cliffs and clear blue waters create a true natural paradise.
10. Slovenia – Best for Hidden Gems
Ljubljana - Best for foodie walking tours
If you’ve travelled to Europe before – or you’re just looking for something a bit different – we highly recommend Slovenia for your 2023 European adventure. The capital and cultural hub of Ljubljana is divided by the meandering Ljubljanica River, with its pretty arched bridges and riverside cafes. The city’s innovative food scene makes it a great place for street-food-style walking tours.
Soča Valley - Best for adrenaline activities
No trip to Slovenia is complete without some adventures in the stunning area around Lakes Bled and Bohinj. Go canyoning, kayaking and hiking in the country’s only national park, Triglav. If you want an adrenaline rush be sure to visit the Soča Valley, where you can go whitewater rafting on the Soča River and zip lining above the dramatic scenery.
11. Greece – Best for Island Escapes
Athens - Best for ancient history
Greece has a bit of everything: delectable cuisine, ancient history, stunning islands and some of the best beaches in Europe. Start your adventure in Athens, where you can sip sundowners on the rooftop of the Hotel Grande Bretagne while admiring privileged views of the ancient Acropolis. The Greek islands are just a short flight or ferry away.
Paros - Best romantic island
The island of Paros is our favourite for romantic getaways, with its whitewashed towns, secluded beaches and luxury hotels like Cosme and Parilio. For a remote wellness retreat, we highly recommend taking the five-minute ferry ride to Antiparos to reach the exclusive Rooster resort. Here you can connect to nature and devour delicious food sourced from the resort’s own farm. You’re guaranteed to leave feeling refreshed and revived.
Plan 2023 with Peace of Mind
As much as we love daydreaming about our next trip, we know logistics can’t be overlooked. We make sure you can plan with peace of mind thanks to flexible bookings and full support. Leave the details to us as you look for inspiration, and then let us make the trip of your dreams a reality.