This post is about my year of travel for 2023, in the form of a round up of all the trips I took this year. As usual, I mostly took solo trips, although there were a few group trips too. I’ll list all the places I visited and also provide links to relevant articles I have written about each place too.
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My two main solo trips this year were to Puglia (South Italy) and Madeira (Portugal). I had been looking forward to these trips for a very long time, and they did not disappoint! I have included links after each destination so you can check out the prices on Booking.com.
Unfortunately I have not had time to write articles about every destination on this list yet, but when I do I will update this post.
March 2023 found me wandering through the fairytale-like landscapes of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its iconic trulli houses. I stayed in one of these trulli houses and it was a magical experience (you can read my review here). The picturesque streets with their whitewashed buildings and conical rooftops, transported me to a bygone era.
- Further reading:
- Alberobello Travel Guide
- 15 Best Restaurants in Alberobello
- Best Time to Visit Alberobello
- 16 Best Things to do in Alberobello
- How to get to Alberobello by plane, train, car and bus.
From Alberobello, I made my way through the Puglia countryside to Bari, a coastal capital in southern Italy. The blend of historic charm and vibrant modern life was enchanting. The old town, with its narrow alleys and historic cathedrals, provided a great contrast to the lively atmosphere of the waterfront. I watched the grandmothers of Bari making pasta, and went on an amazing food tour (read my review here). Browse through all my Bari posts here.
If you would like to book a stay in Bari, use this link to see the best deals available in Bari on Booking.com today. I stayed at B&B Airport Bari Deluxe which was a great no-frills base within walking distance of the airport.
- Further reading:
- How to get to Bari
- 24 Wonderful Things to do in Bari
- 10 Excellent Day trips To Take from Bari
- A Bari Street Food Tour
In April, Matera beckoned with its ancient cave dwellings and dramatic landscapes. This unique city, carved into the rocky hills of Basilicata, gives a glimpse into prehistoric times. It’s also the place where some of the scenes from James Bond – No Time To Die were filmed! Strolling through the Sassi districts with the rock-cut churches was a surreal experience, and like nowhere else I have been.
Here are some more of my posts on the Puglia region of italy.
- Ultimate Puglia Travel Guide
- 30 Best Places in Puglia
- 14 Best Towns in Madeira
- Guide to Driving in Puglia
- Planned Itineraries for Puglia
- Guide to Food in Puglia
- Guide to Wine in Puglia
My main trip of the year was in June, an adventure across the stunning island of Madeira. From the lush landscapes of the Laurissilva Forest to the rugged cliffs of Cabo Girão, every corner of the island revealed a new face of natural beauty. Whether indulging in local cuisine, exploring charming villages, or taking in panoramic views, Madeira was a true feast for the senses.
Highlights included hiking through the forests on levada walks, sampling local delicacies such as limpets and black scabbardfish, and visiting Porto Moniz and Ribeira Brava. Read all of my Madeira posts here.
If you would like to book a stay in Madeira, use this link to see the best deals available in Madeira on Booking.com today. I stayed in the 5 star Savoy Saccharum hotel (see prices here or read my review here).
- Further reading:
- Madeira Travel Guide
- 20 Best Towns in Madeira
- 14 Best Hotels in Madeira
- 25 Amazing & Unique Things to Do in Madeira
- 16 of the Best Levada Walks in Madeira
- Review of the Savoy Saccharum Hotel
- 20 Best Souvenirs to Buy in Madeira
- Guide to Food and Drink in Madeira
- 29 Wonderful Things to do in Funchal
I attended a music gig at Cardiff Castle in June. The historic backdrop of the castle created an unforgettable experience. Cardiff’s excellent blend of tradition and modernity left me eager to explore more of this dynamic city. I only had a weekend here, and will definitely be returning in the future to explore more.
If you would like to book a stay in Cardiff, use this link from Booking.com to see today’s best deals in Cardiff. I use Booking.com because they offer free reservation and free cancellation. I stayed in the Radisson Blu Cardiff.
Once again, July found me in the captivating landscapes of Cornwall, where I based myself in the charming town of Padstow for a week, with three girlfriends. I have visited Cornwall over 30 times, and it never gets old! From the breathtaking cliffs of the South West Coast Path to the quaint fishing villages like Port Isaac, Cornwall’s rugged beauty and coastal charm is a perfect summer retreat. I have yet to write about Cornwall, but I’ll update this page when I do.
If you would like to book a stay in Cornwall, use this link from Booking.com to see today’s best deals for Cornwall. I use Booking.com because they offer free reservation and free cancellation.
There is no better time to visit the lively streets of Edinburgh than August, for the renowned Fringe Festival. A week filled with theatrical performances, comedy shows, and cultural events immersed me in the vibrant arts scene of this historic city. I actually visited Edinburgh about fifteen times this year (for my day job) but this particular visit was for leisure only. I highly recommend the Fringe Festival and will be attending again in future for sure.
Use this link from Booking.com to see today’s best deals for Edinburgh. I use Booking.com because they offer free reservation and free cancellation. Hotels I have stayed in include the Voco Haymarket, Radisson Blu Royal Mile and Holiday Inn Express City Centre.
I’m so lucky to live near London, where I can explore the city’s diverse offerings throughout the year. From the bustling markets like Spitalfields and Borough Market to the cultural hubs of Covent Garden and South Kensington, I enjoyed many a London jaunt this year. Concerts in Hyde Park and the O2 Arena, culinary adventures in Seven Dials’ (especially the cheese restaurant), and regular visits to Kings Cross and Liverpool Street added layers to my year-round exploration.
Use this link from Booking.com to see today’s best hotel deals for London. I use Booking.com because they offer free reservation and free cancellation. For a lavish experience, I recommend the Royal Lancaster Hotel, which is centrally located right on Hyde Park.
In October, the vibrant city of Glasgow welcomed me with its friendly locals and lively atmosphere. Glasgow is completely different to Edinburgh, it’s hard to believe it’s only a 45 minute train journey away. I enjoyed walking around the city and seeing the sights. I recommend having brunch at the Singl-end restaurant!
Use this link from Booking.com to see today’s best hotel deals for Glasgow. Booking.com is the best option because they offer free reservation and free cancellation.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
In the heart of October, I found myself in the vibrant city of Belfast, where a weekend of Guinness tasting, food market explorations, and sightseeing awaited. I visited lots of pubs with live music and lively atmospheres, and I wholly recommend St George Market for lunch options.
Use this link from Booking.com to see today’s best hotel deals for Belfast. Booking.com is the best option because they offer free reservation and free cancellation. I stayed in an apartment which gave more freedom over a hotel.
November brought me to the historic city of Porto, where I indulged in port tasting, scenic boat cruises, and immersive sightseeing. The blend of mediaeval architecture, colourful riverside buildings, and the Douro River’s gentle flow created a romantic and memorable experience in this Portuguese city. I will 100% be returning here in the future.
Use this link from Booking.com to see today’s best hotel deals for Porto.
I booked a great hotel in Porto (the HF Ipanama Porto) which was about a 20 minute walk from town, with excellent service and a great breakfast. Book it here with free reservation and free cancellation.
The year culminated in the enchanting city of Belgrade, where I embraced the festive spirit of Christmas and New Year. Belgrade is beautiful during the festive season. Exploring the city’s historic landmarks, enjoying local delicacies, and partaking in seasonal festivities made Belgrade a fitting conclusion to a year.
Use this link from Booking.com to see today’s best hotel deals for Belgrade.
See below for your booking links again, in case you wanted to check out prices or availability for any of the above destinations. Booking.com offer free reservations and free cancellation, so there is nothing to lose. These links will get you the best prices available today.
My Upcoming Year of Travel
As I look forward to 2024, I am hoping I will get a bit more time in my diary for writing blog posts.
I have not got any trips planned for 2024 yet, but of course London and Edinburgh will feature, as they always do. I am also hoping for more Italian adventures and maybe back to the USA, but time will tell.
As I have mentioned throughout this post, I only recommend Booking.com for hotels and apartments, and also Viator for organised tours. For car hire, I recommend the brilliant car-comparison site Discover Cars.
Wishing you all a happy 2024!
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