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The pearl island Sri Lanka is among the best destinations to travel to in 2023

A new year can only mean one thing for The Independent’s travel desk: a new list of dream destinations that we’re planning trips to. After years of pandemic-related restrictions, it’s hopefully the first year that travel should be broadly back to “normal”, with most countries having opened back up to tourists, without the need for extra testing and paperwork.

With so much pent-up demand for the itchy-footed among us, it’s hard to narrow it down – but we’ve done our best. Here are the places that are top of our holiday wish lists for the year ahead.

Sri Lanka

Previously on the up as a seemingly universally loved travel destination, this Indian Ocean island has had a tough few years, with political protests prompted by an economic crisis, Covid-19 shutting down tourism and a 2019 bomb attack. But despite all this, there remains lush natural beauty, diverse wildlife to see and a delightful independent hotel and tourism scene to explore. It feels like 2023 is the time to return, with the historic Galle Fort Hotel, set in a 300-year-old Dutch mansion, reopening after a major restoration, plus the nation is celebrating 75 years of independence in February. This year also saw the Uga Elephant Research Centre open at Ulagalla, with the first tourists visiting to learn about the island’s 6,000 (remaining but endangered) elephants this winter. And it’s worth checking out the Tea Country Trail, a 22-day, 200-mile network of hiking trails through verdant Sri Lankan tea fields. 

Lucy Thackray

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/inspiration/best-destinations-travel-2023-b2249166.html

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