My 10 best travel experiences of 2023

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today: My 10 best travel experiences of 2023

First, I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays with loads of joy and festive cheer.

As the year 2023 is coming to an end, it’s a good time to reflect on the headlines and stories that shaped the past year. Unfortunately, 2023 is a year that many across the globe will want to put far behind them. It’s a year that will go down in history as being marked by two big wars that keep sending shock waves round the world: the ongoing conflict in Ukraine as it fights off a Russian invasion, and the attack and subsequent war in Israel and the Gaza Strip (the senseless violence in both conflicts leaves me without words). Nature also showed itself from its most cruel side, with dozens of disasters happening around the world, such as the earthquake in Turkey and Syria that killed more than 50,000 in February and the devastating fires in Hawai this summer. One would almost forget that good things happened as well in 2023, such as rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence, major cancer cure breakthroughs, and renewable energy exploding around the world.

Since this is a non-political blog that tries to give you some enlightening travel inspiration, I want to focus on hope, positivity, and my personal travel stories, offering an escapism for the avalanche of bad news that often dominates the world media. Here are my ten incredible travel highlights of 2023. Early 2024, I’ll share what to expect from me in the next year.

There is more information (with trip reports & YouTube videos) below the slideshow. You can share your own thoughts on 2023 or your own 2023 travel highlights in the comments section below.

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During several weekends in 2023, I traveled to some of Europe’s most exciting and beautiful capital cities. My trips – a combination of sightseeing and trying out some new hotels – took me to Paris, Berlin and Vienna, among others. In Berlin, I stayed at the legendary Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, a historic property right next to the Brandenburg Gate (where I also had dinner at the two-Michelin-starred Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer Restaurant), and SO/Berlin Das Stue, the city’s first luxury boutique hotel neighboring the world-famous Berlin Zoo. In Vienna, I stayed at the brand-new Rosewood Vienna, a fabulous five star star hotel housed in a historic 18th century former bank building on Petersplatz in Vienna’s Old Town. The highlight of my city trips within Europe was my weekend getaway in Paris at the Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel, where I was upgraded to the Suite Lalique by Patrick Hellmann, one of the most exclusive hotel suites in the French capital.

You can read my trip reports here:


While British Airways’ Business Class raised the bar worldwide two decades ago with the introduction of the first fully lie-flat seat and an innovative “Ying/Yang” seat plan, the carrier’s Business Class product and mediocre service were quickly outclassed by some of its competitors. However, over the past years, British Airways introduced a new Business Class concept – called Club Suite – onboard its Airbus A350, Boeing 787-10 and some refurbished Boeing 777 aircraft. The new product offers direct-aisle access, a suite door for greater privacy, luxurious flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, 18.5-inch entertainment screens, and 40 % more storage space per seat. After my three trips onboard the carrier’s A350 in 2021 and 2022 were cancelled due to pandemic, I was finally able to try out British Airways’ suite product early 2023 on a Boeing 777-300ER Business Class flight from London to the Maldives. All in all, the Club Suite felt like a a superb and competitive Business Class hard product, and the soft product was nice as well with great amenities.


“This cape is the most stately thing we saw in the whole circumference of the earth”, wrote Sir Francis Drake in 1580 when he discovered the Cape Peninsula. Almost 500 years later, the area is home to one the planet’s most beautiful cities, Cape Town (Kaapstad in Afrikaans and Ikapa in Xhosa). Known as the Mother City because it was the first city to emerge in South Africa, the city owes its multicultural personality to a diverse range of people and events, from the indigenous Khoi and San peoples to local African tribes, from the European explorers to slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia, Madagascar and Mozambique, and from apartheid to democratic freedoms. Blessed with fabulous beaches, beautiful mountains, world-famous vineyards, and dozens of trendy bars and restaurants to choose from, it is hard to imagine a more picture perfect city destination. Cape Town was the point of departure for my 2023 expedition to Antarctica (more on that below), and during my travels, I stayed a two hotels: One&Only Cape Town (a resort within the city) and The Silo Hotel (a boutique property housed in a former grain elevator).

You can read my Cape Town trip reports here:


Known for its plethora of archeological sites, whitewashed villages, fabulous beaches, mouth-watering cuisine and welcoming atmosphere, it is no wonder that Greece – the birthplace of democracy – ranks among the world’s premier-league travel destinations. The sun-kissed Mediterranean country is made up of a mountainous mainland and 6,000 idyllic islands and islets dotting the blue Aegean and Ionian Seas – though only 227 of them are inhabited. In 2023, I visited Greece’s three most famous island: the spectacular volcanic island of Santorini (where I stayed at the new Nobu Hotel), party island Mykonos (where I stayed for a second time at Cavo Tagoo Mykonos) and the lush Ionian island of Zakynthos, which is home to Shipwreck Beach, one of the world’s most beautiful beaches (where I stayed at Lesante Blu and Lesante Cape). I also hopped over to Greece’s neighboring island Cyprus for a holiday at the brand-new, ultra-luxe Cape St Georges Hotel & Resort. But the absolute highlight of my trip to Greece & Cyprus was my stay at the phenomenal Four Seasons Hotel Astir Palace on the Athens Riviera, which is a destination in itself, offering an incredible array of  restaurants, bars, pools, and beaches.

You can read my Greece & Cyprus trip reports here:


Located to the east of Madagascar, the idyllic island of Mauritius with its secluded beaches and azure waters offers a unique experience of European, African and Asian cultures. It is one of the top four island destinations for a tropical holiday in the warm Indian Ocean (the other three being the Maldives, Zanzibar and the Seychelles). The island is famous for its lush greenery, rich wildlife, warm hospitality, and turquoise lagoons, which caught the attention of many early visitors, including Charles Darwin, Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain. Just as was the case for many of these visitors, the island continues to captivate travelers today due to its diverse landscape and natural beauty across both land and sea. Mauritius also boasts some of the most luxurious and famous beach resorts in the world, and I stayed at four of them during my trip to the island early 2023: One&Only Le Saint Géran (my favorite property in Mauritius), Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita, The Oberoi Beach Resort Mauritius and Shangri-La Le Touessrok.

You can read my Mauritius trip reports here:


Located between Europe and Africa and full of stunning architecture and spectacular nature, Sicily – the largest island of Italy and of my favorite destinations within Europe – has a charm that’s all its own. Most travelers come here to escape to a luxury beach resort overlooking the blue Mediterranean Sea. But you can also head inland to explore UNESCO landmarks and idyllic villages with magnificent views across mountains and brooding volcanoes, then savor fresh Sicilian cuisine and unwind at your exclusive island escape. Late summer 2023, I went back to Sicily and I stayed for the first time at the magnificent San Domenico Palace, a Four Seasons Hotel. The iconic hotel enjoys an idyllic location in the hilltop town of Taormina on the eastern shores of Sicily, and comprises an ancient Dominican convent from the 14th century, as well as a Grand Hotel Wing that was added in 1896. The 111 guest rooms and suites feature original architecture and stylish furnishings. Facilities include an onsite spa, an outdoor infinity pool, magnificent Italian gardens, and several bars & restaurants, including the Michelin star restaurant Principe Cerami. The fabulous hotel was used as the setting for season two of the hit HBO show The White Lotus.


Last summer, I flew Business Class with Air France from Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport to O.R. Tambo Airport in Johannesburg. The flight was operated by a Boeing 777-300ER which was equipped with Air France’s newest Business Class product: reverse herringbone suites in a 1-2-1 layout, featuring cool gadgets such as sliding doors, wireless charging, and bluetooth audio. The incredibly private Business Class seat, attentive service, gourmet cuisine designed by Michelin starred chefs, a carefully selected wine and Champagne list, and a wide selection of in-flight entertainment made for an excellent flight experience, which is hard to beat and which confirms Air France’s position as Europe’s most glamorous airline. On the return tip, I was seated in one of the bulkhead suites in the front of both Business Class cabins. These seats offer an enormous amount of extra space, which equals that and even tops the space you usually find in First Class cabins. IMHO, these are currently the world’s best Business Class seats and they seem to represent some sort of a “Business Class Plus” product.

You can read my Air France trip reports here:


Glamorous overwater resorts, pristine white-sand beaches, and a spectacular underwater world make the Maldives one of my favorite holiday destinations in the world (and I try to go back each year). The archipelago – positioned in the Indian Ocean southwest of India – consists of 1192 coral islands and sandbanks (200 inhabited islands, plus 100 islands with tourist resorts), which are the visible tips of an oceanic volcanic mountain range whose outer edge at some points plunge to depths of over 3 km (10,000 ft). The tiny islands are encircled by magnificent beaches and incredibly beautiful lagoons, blessed with crystal clear waters and protected by reef structures. Every resort in the Maldives is built on its own private, picture-perfect palm island, with all of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands competing with each other to offer their guests unprecedented levels of mind-blowing luxury. During my 2023 travel trip, I did not stay at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani, my favorite resorts in the Maldives (I am going back though in 2024, including the new Soneva Secret), but I tried out some new brand-new, ultra-luxe resorts: Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island, Alila Kothaifaru Maldives, Joali Being and InterContinental Maamunagau Maldives.

You can read my Maldives trip reports here:


Late summer 2023, I enjoyed a phenomenal safari & beach holiday in South Africa and Mozambique. My holiday took off at the world-renowned and state-owned Kruger National Park, where I staid at Kruger Shalati, The Train on The Bridge Hotel. Home to the Big Five animals (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo), Kruger offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Next, I moved to Sabi Sand, a private game reserve located next to Kruger. There are no restricting fences between Sabi Sand and Kruger, enabling animals to roam freely in a vast conservation area. In Sabi Sand, I stayed at two of Africa’s most luxurious safari lodges: &Beyond Tengile River Lodge and Lion Sands Ivory Lodge. Sensitive off-roading practices during the game drives in Sabi Sand allowed for several spectacular close-up animal sightings (I even published a separate video about the safari drives). After my safari trip, I hopped on a plane and flew to Mozambique for a brilliant holiday at one of the world’s most exclusive beach resorts: ultra-luxe Kisawa Sanctauary.

You can read my trip reports here:


Antarctica had always been very high on my bucket list. Currently, the classic way to visit the continent is by cruise ship departing from Ushuaia in Argentina, a journey which can take 2 to 4 days (depending on the sea conditions) and which is limited to the shoreline of the Antarctic Peninsula. But since a few years, there’s another way to travel to Antarctica and that is by plane from Cape Town, South Africa with White Desert Antarctica, which is what I did early 2023. Founded in 2005 by record-breaking polar explorers, White Desert Antarctica is the only company in the world that takes guests as well as scientists by private jet from Cape Town into the interior of the Great White Continent. White Desert Antarctica also operates the only three luxury eco-camps on the continent – Echo (where I stayed during my trip), Whichaway and Wolf’s Fang. The entire Antarctica experience was mind-blowing and surreal, from landing with a giant jet on the blue ice runway and staying in Echo’s futuristic pods to visiting the nearby Emperor Penguin colony and traveling to the South Pole.

You can read my Antarctica trip reports here:

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  1. Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays and prosperous 2024. I also would like to thank you for the awesome videos & unparalleed experiences you shared with all of us through your incredible YouTube channel. I for one have had the opportunity to follow “some” of your travels in person in the Maldives and my wife and I are just completely enamored of the place. If it wasn’t for you we would have never had the opportunity to experience it the way it’s meant to be experienced.

    Wishing you safe travels, great health, and many more unforgettable experiences in 2024. Looking forward to it.

  2. ANA’s “The Room” is now rated by most as the best business class. There are some that still rate Qatar’s Q-Suite as best, but the chances are your flight will not be Q-Suites is 50%.

  3. What happened to your trip to the states? You were going to Amangiri, Amanera and Aman New York…

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