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Here are the can't-miss travel experiences this year

Here are the can't-miss travel experiences this year

1. Astronomical tourism

During astronomy tourism, the main focus is on the wonders of the night sky, whether it is hobby astronomy, admiring the northern lights, or even participating in tours aimed at observing nocturnal animals.

Virtuoso recommends trips to Norway, Iceland and Canada, but notes that those in warmer weather can see the total eclipse in northern Mexico on April 8.

2. Slow safari

Safaris top many travellers' bucket lists, but you don't necessarily have to focus too much on finding the 'big five' – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African bison.

Slow paced safaris focus on a wide range of Africa's wildlife and landscapes, providing a more relaxed way to explore Africa's wildlife.

3. Wellness, but not just anywhere!

Wellness destinations are everywhere, but Virtuoso advises you should escape stress straight to the happiest country in the world – Bhutan or Thailand.

Bhutan's famous Gross National Happiness Index measures the collective happiness and well-being of the population.

The index, which was introduced in 2008, is one of the main drivers of the country's tourism and economic policy.

What's more, after the country's $200 per day sustainable development fee was temporarily halved, visiting has become cheaper.

As for Thailand, Virtuoso advisors recommend well-known areas like Chiang Mai and Koh Samui, but there are also more secluded places near the UNESCO-protected Khao Yai National Park.

4. Japan's seasons

Japan Rail Pass (the fastest growing travel site in the US) offers travelers a great way to travel around the island nation by rail.

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Between 2022 and 2023, the site's average monthly traffic increased even further (+239%) among US users, which, according to data analysis firm Sameweb, highlights the growing interest in international visitors.

Virtuoso points out that it is common to visit Japan in the spring when the sakura or cherry blossoms are in full swing, as is the case in places like Kyoto or Kanazawa. But according to the company, it's also worth considering a winter visit, when Fuji Peak is covered in a blanket of snow.

5. Expedition cruises

These cruises offer the convenience of cruising, but on smaller ships and fewer people. These ships are very popular from Antarctica to the Galapagos Islands, often have experts such as historians and geologists on board and cater to adventurers.

More and more people no longer want the usual vacations, they want adventure

– James Cole, founder of British cruise agency Panache Cruises, told CNBC Travel.

6. From Paris to Istanbul by train

There are many ways to travel between the French capital, Paris, and Istanbul, Turkey, at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, but perhaps none as luxurious – and expensive – as aboard the Belmond Simplon Orient Express in Venice.

The train makes shorter trips, often one or two nights, in Europe, but carries passengers from Paris to Istanbul only once a year. According to Virtuoso, after the Summer Olympics in Paris, the train starting in August could be a great way to leave the French capital.

7. Traveling “hobby”.

As Ferrutoso recommends, our hobbies can also play a big role in choosing the perfect destination, so for example, it might be a good opportunity for gardening lovers to visit the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London in May, while for book lovers, the Strahov Gallery might be a library. The monastery in Prague is the right choice.

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Additionally, a new company called Dinosaur Trips will allow fans to travel with paleontologist Brian Curtis to hunt for bones and explore fossil sites across the United States.

Such a trip could be one of the greatest dreams of a paleontology lover

Curtis said, adding that many paleontological wonders will be on display during the trips.

8. Private island

According to Virtuoso, exploring a private island can be the perfect option for those who want to vacation in a secluded location.

From the Bauh Reserve in Indonesia's remote Riau Islands to the Isla Palenque resort in Panama, private island holidays are for those who want to get away from it all, to a place where real roads lead instead of sand roads and private villas replace traditional hotels. They take charge.

9. Food festivals and private tours

Culinary tours are nothing new, but they provide a great opportunity to learn about a culture's past and present. Virtuoso recommends the Mistura Food Festival for those who want to discover Peruvian cuisine, and for those who want to get to know Slovenian culture better, they recommend wandering the streets of Ljubljana, where you can learn about many local specialties.

Cooking classes and food tourism with guides like The Curious Mexican in Mexico City can also directly support locals.

Cover image source: Shutterstock

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