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  • Writer's pictureAmy Leggett

My Favorite Destinations in 2023 That You Have to Check Out in 2024!

Mountains Airplane View
View from Airplane over Europe

I am grateful for an incredible year of travel in 2023. In addition to visits to various states in the US, I was able to fit in two trips to Europe in the first half of the year. I am happiest when traveling and exploring different places. I love experiencing every new location and learning about its' history and unique culture. However, there are always those places that capture my heart and stand out a little more than the rest.

Here is a list, in reverse order (to build suspense), of my five favorite spots from my travels in 2023:

5. Lucerne, Switzerland. Coming in at number 5 is Lucerne, Switzerland! This was my second visit to Lucerne, but I loved it just as much as I did the first time. Highlights of the things I love about Lucerne include the picturesque Chapel Bridge, the hauntingly beautiful Lion Monument, the gorgeous Lake Lucerne and the trip to the top of nearby Mount Pilates for incredible views. And I can't forget to mention the delicious cheese fondue I made a point to enjoy again!

Lucerne Switzerland Cheese Fondue
Famous Cheese Fondue in Lucerne

4. Ravello, Italy. My whole trip to the Amalfi Coast with my daughters was amazing and a trip I will hold in my heart forever. But our excursion up to the mountain village of Ravello was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It is not one of the most talked about spots on the Amalfi Coast, but it is a hidden gem that should definitely be included on your itinerary if you find yourself in this part of the world (and hopefully you will!). The things I loved about Ravello include the charming small village, the breathtaking gardens and scenery at Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone, all of the village cats and the incredible mountain top view while enjoying Limoncello Sprtizes with lunch. You can also get a great work out in if you choose to walk back down to Amalfi. You can also walk up to Ravello, but if you do you are braver than me!

3. Riquewihr, France. Again, the whole AMA Riverboat Cruise up the Rhine River was jaw-dropping, but our first stop in Riquewihr turned out to be one of my favorites. Riquewihr has an interesting history (as do most of the places in the Alsace region) where the territory flipped back and forth between Germany and France. This double identity is reflected in the area's architecture and its culture. The village looks straight out of a fairy tale, complete with storks nesting on the top of buildings! It looks exactly like it did in the 16th century so wandering along the cobble stone streets feels like you were transported by a time machine. Being on the Alsace Wine Route, you are guaranteed to get amazing wine. Riquewihr is especially known for its Riesling wine and I can personally attest that it is one of the best wines I have ever tasted. I may or may not have purchased a few bottles to bring home while stopping at locations along the Alsace Wine Route.

2. Capri, Italy. Capri is a well-known spot on the Amalfi Coast, so certainly is not a hidden gem. However, its' reputation is well-deserved! It was my favorite stop on our Amalfi Coast journey. It can only be reached by ferry which makes for a grand arrival. Here are just a few options of things to do:

  • The main area of Capri is filled with luxury and designer stores, but we didn't really spend much time shopping as there is so much more to do.

  • A bus ride to Anacapri (which is situated on top of the rugged mountains on the island) will take you to a more low-key shopping area where you can even get a pair of sandals hand-made for your feet.

  • In Anacapari you can catch a ride on the single chairlift up to the top of Monte Salaro to take in expansive views of the Bay of Naples and the Tyrrhenian Sea.

  • Back down in the main village of Capri you can grab a delicious scoop of gelato on a freshly made waffle cone at the famous Buonocore Gelateria.

  • Take Insta-worthy sunset pics off the main plaza in Capri.

  • Grab dinner at a cliffside restaurant to watch the sunset and eat amazing Italian food. We ate at Panorama and I highly recommend it. Great service and delicious food, not to mention the incredible view of the sea while you dine.

  • One of the best things we did on our trip was to rent a private boat for a few hours to go around the island of Capri, motor under the Faraglioni rocks and take a dip in the refreshing turquoise water.

  • We didn't get a chance to explore the famous Blue Grotto because of long lines to get in, but that is an option as well.

I generally don't like to go back to a place I have been before, but like Lucerne, I would return to Capri in a heartbeat!

AND, drum roll favorite travel destination in 2023 was

1 Amsterdam, Netherlands.

This was a hard decision because there were so many amazing places I had the opportunity to see in 2023. I chose Amsterdam because it was a place that had been on my bucket list for a long time and I always wanted to be able to go during tulip season which I did! I loved pretty much everything about Amsterdam (well, except the constant rain, but obviously it was to be expected given the climate and time of year I was there).

There is such a variety of things to see and do in Amsterdam:.

  • Stroll along the iconic canals and browse in the local shops.

  • Take a boat tour on the canals to learn the intriguing history of the region.

  • Visit the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijks Museum which are enjoyable, even if you aren't a huge art museum fan (like me).

  • If the history of beer is more up your alley, Amsterdam has you covered there too! Check out the incredibly cool Heineken Experience with lots of interactive displays AND a complimentary beer.

  • Walk in the steps of Anne Frank and her family as you explore the Anne Frank Museum and take a chilling tour through the small hiding area where they lived for over two years.

  • The famous flower market in downtown Amsterdam is a must see even if you aren't able to time your trip during the April/May tulip season. If you are there during tulip season, check out Keukenhof Gardens for dazzling floral displays.

  • For the more adventurous, the Red Light District provides an interesting evening of sights and entertainment.

  • In the same vein, you can visit the Sex Museum and see the history of sex and related topics. It isn't a big museum so you don't have to set aside a lot of time for this experience. And the entry fee is reasonable as well if you just want to satisfy your curiosity like we did!

  • Stroopwaffles and the famous Amsterdam fries are must-trys for even the pickiest of eaters.

  • You can follow up those treats with a unique craft cocktail at Tales and Spirits (read my blog about T&S here).

These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. Amsterdam is a unique destination with something for everyone. That is why it secured the top spot of my favorite destinations in 2023!

If you are just starting to plan your travels for 2024, consider including some of my favorites in your itinerary. You won't regret it, I promise!


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