As we enter spring, there's still so much of 2023 to plan for, and a host of travel opportunities to enjoy. To get you inspired, our specialists have picked out ten of their top trips – their ones to watch for the rest of this year, and indeed beyond. There's everything from indulgent rail journeys in South Africa and Europe, to luxury island-hopping in Greece and adventure-packed holidays in Chile under the Northern Lights in Lapland. Whatever you choose, we’ll be on hand to help you plan your journey right down to the smallest details.
While the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will continue to wow guests across a full range of routes for 2023, many of its classic journeys are already sold out. However, if you’ve got your heart set on a trip aboard the world’s leading luxury train then fear not, as there are still cabins and suites available on some of its newer routes, including one of our favourites – Venice to Amsterdam. Not only will you experience the myriad delights of Italy’s floating city, including a stay at one of its leading hotels, but you’ll also have the chance to soak in the sights and sounds of the Dutch capital, canals, coffee shops and all. Of course, it’s all enjoyed alongside the Art Deco splendours and fine dining of the world’s most famous train – perfection!
There are few more exciting winter holidays than those to the snowy wilds above the Arctic Circle. Adventure abounds at every turn, played out across everything from husky safaris to snowmobiling as the Northern Lights dance in kaleidoscopic swirls overhead. But, it’s not just the thrills of the wilderness that makes Finnish Lapland so alluring. It’s also a region known for its innovative accommodation and stunning Nordic design. And, there are few better examples of this than the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel ¬– all glass, steel and pine set to a glorious backdrop of snow-dusted boreal forest.
This epic itinerary brings you deep into wilds of Chile, beginning with the Atacama Desert where geysers spring from bubbling pools, flamingos dot emerald-green lakes and majestic red-rock landscapes are reminiscent of another world entirely. You'll then journey south to Chilean Patagonia and the majestic spires of Torres del Paine, which contrast monolithic glaciers and giant snow-capped peaks beneath which lonely guanacos roam. In between, you’ll explore the urban intrigue of Santiago and get lost within Valparaíso colourful maze. You’ll take it all in with ultra-indulgent stays in some of the country's finest hotels while expert private guided will be on hand to bring each destination to life. Expect everything from city walks with local experts to horseback rides in search of eagles among the Andean peaks.
The Great Wildebeest Migration is often regarded as one of the world's most spectacular natural events, and rightly so. Characterised by millions of wildebeest hurtling across the open plains from Tanzania to Kenya, hunted along the way by elusive cheetah and lion, the annual spectacle is wonderfully witnessed with this tailor-made itinerary. You'll start in the aromatic coffee plantations of volcanic Arusha before heading to the iconic wilds of the Serengeti and the 'Garden of Eden' – the Ngorogoro Crater. It's all enjoyed between nights in a collection of elegant tented camps, evocative of the safaris of yesteryear, but with an added dash of luxury, showcased in private verandas, all-inclusive drinks, delicious meals and daily ranger-led game drives.
Staying closer to home, this two-centre Tuscan break is a true celebration of la dolce vita. It all begins on Italy’s sparkling west coast with a five-star stay at the superb Baglioni Cala del Porto. The private beach and gorgeous pool beckon for a spot of sun-kissed relaxation, of course. But so do the vineyards, medieval towns and historic castles which dot the surrounding countryside. And, be sure to explore pretty Punta Ala, with its cobblestone street and al fresco pizzerias. You’ll then pick up your hire car for the scenic drive to Florence, passing through a glorious rural idyll en route to the Renaissance wonders of one of Europe’s genuine city greats. Here, between nights in one of its premier hotels, you’ll have the chance to explore on a guided walking tour, taking in the likes of the famous Duomo and Ponte Vecchio bridge.
Another superb option for the European summer, this island-hopping adventure will see you explore two of Greece’s most postcard-perfect islands – Mykonos and Santorini. Packed full of instagrammable moments, you’ll need to have your camera fully charged as you combine stays in super-stylish hotels – both members of the Leading Hotels of the World – with expert-led tours of the likes of ancient Delos in Mykonos and the volcanic wonders of Santorini. You’ll even have the chance to climb up to a still-active crater rim. Of course, there’s plenty of time for relaxation, too, perhaps with a gentle stroll and taverna lunch in idyllic Fira or with some downtime at the spa, by the pool or on the one of the islands’ gorgeous beaches.
Returning to the rails, this epic adventure pairs the cultural and coastal delights of Cape Town with the ultimate Big-Five safari in the world famous Kruger National Park. But, that's not all. As well as the chance to marvel at Table Mountain, stroll penguin-dotted beaches, explore one of the New World's standout wine regions and watch lions and leopards prowl in the wild, this not-to-be-missed trip also includes a journey to remember on Rovos Rail – South Africa's most luxurious train.
Staying on the rails, but returning to Europe, this holiday explores one of Europe’s most historic region aboard one of its most elegant trains – think live bar-car music, nights spent in one of the world’s largest train suites and full-board, multi-course dining paired with complimentary fine wines. The route itself winds along Spain’s north coast, tracing the ancient Way of St James pilgrims trail between San Sebastián and Santiago de Compostela, with its imposing Gothic cathedral. In between, you’ll be treated to the very best the region has to offer, including the modernist marvels of Bilbao, Romanesque Oviedo, some magnificent national parks and countless seaside towns and villages home to everything from ancient cave art to thousand-year-old shrines.
For a change of pace, head east for a combination of coast and culture which pairs the centuries-old forts and temples of Sri Lanka with a the paradisiacal islands of the Maldives. You’ll kick things off in Colombo with a stay at one of the city’s leading boutique hotels, a wonderfully relaxing introduction to the country. It’s then time to head north, joining expert guides to explore the UNESCO-listed treasures of Kandy, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya – an ancient rock fortress towering above the jungled plains. Next, take the train into the highlands where verdant tea plantations set the scene for your luxurious mountain guesthouse, followed by a night back in Colombo before your flight to Madives for five nights of incomparable indulgence at the exclusive Baros resort.
This is your chance to follow in Agatha Christie's footsteps with your very of Egyptian adventure. Rather than the suspense and drama of the movie, your holiday will pair the very best of ancient Egypt with more than a sprinkle of Hollywood stardust. Begin with a luxury stay in Cairo, your hotel overlooking the famed Pyramids, before setting off to explore all the Nile has to offer, uncovering the treasures of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings in the company of the Egyptologist, taking a scenic flight to the temples of Abu Simbel and enjoying a guided sailing on a traditional felucca boat. It's all paired with the very best in onboard hospitality, courtesy of Sanctuary Retreats.