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Top 6 authentic travel bucket list destinations 2023

Finally most travel restrictions are lifted and thankfully traveling was almost back to normal again in 2022. And although the world is facing new problems now, most European countries are easy to enter again and international travel is opening up more and more.


Jebel Akhdar Mountains Oman
Jebel Akhdar Mountains Oman

My 2022 in trips

For me that was also evident in the many travel projects and trips I did this past year. Compared to 2021 I traveled twice as much, 11 trips in total this year, of which also several outside Europe.

While I do love the Netherlands and also experienced some nice trips in my homeland, to Terschelling f.e., I also visited 3 new countries and many surprising destinations!


And, as always, stayed at several stunningly unique accommodations, about which you can read all here; Unique accommodations.


I also had the honor to set up 2 more travel campaigns this year, as the PR agency, coordinator and creative director for Aruba and Luxembourg. For which I created custom-campaigns with a group of bloggers/influencers, including trip- and content creation guidance.


Aruba workation campaign team
Aruba workation campaign team

Exciting new travel projects


And I started a new long-term project since September, as freelance PR manager and reporter for the Dutch travel website NatureScanner.

Something that is really close to my heart, as I love representing beautiful companies with passionate people, like this nature website, with 2,5 million visitors a year.

Naturescanner reporters team
Naturescanner reporters team

It's great that I'm able to coordinate the press trips among their 14 reporters! And also had the honor to travel for them once this year and hopefully even more next year.

My top 6 authentic travel bucket list destinations

So which were the most surprising countries I visited in 2022, you might ask? Even though I had been to some of these destinations before, there's enough to explore, so I was glad to revisit them.


The river Gambia - Africa
The river Gambia from above
Oman souk Nizwa with our guide Almundir
Oman souk with our guide Almundhir - pic credits: Sybylle Kroon

And as I love more authentic and lesser-known countries, I'm happy to share my favourites with you in this top 6 of destinations I've been to this year, that should definitely be on your authentic travel bucket list for 2023!

Oman

The last destination I traveled to in 2022 around half December. Which proved to be the perfect time to visit this diverse country, that is also one of the safest and cleanest of the Middle-East. And also good to know that it’s the most female-friendly country of this region, with locals that are really nice and respectful!



I can highly recommend Oman, as there's so much to see and do and it's easy to get around by car. Our 5 day roundtrip was not nearly enough to see less than 1/3 of the country’s natural beauty, so can’t wait to come back for more next year!



Get a preview already in the blogs I wrote about this unique trip for Naturescanner in Dutch:


Zanzibar


My first trip abroad again in 2022 was to this stunning island and I couldn’t have been more surprised.

Zanzibar is pure tropical beauty, with a laid-back vibe, lovely locals, white beaches, bright blue seas and palm tree galore.



I loved everything about it and not just because I flew there business class;) But mostly because Zanzibar is so small, yet diverse and really tropical, with still plenty to see and do, among which the Unesco-listed capital Stone Town.



Read all about this slice of paradise in my Zanzibar top 9 blog!

The Gambia


Although it's certainly not the most beautiful with regards to its natural diversity, The Gambia is the most friendly of the 6 African destinations I visited so far.

Its nickname: ‘The Smiling Coast of Africa’ is so just, as the locals here seem to be always smiling and are super nice. With beautiful mangroves around the river, long deserted beaches and plenty of affordable luxury seaside resorts.



If you want to experience something unique and authentic, while getting a taste of the ‘real African vibe’. Combined with pleasant temperatures between 25-30 degrees Celcius in the winter months, this is the place to visit.


Find out more about this friendly African destination in this Gambia affordable-luxury blog.

Aruba


My 3rd trip already to this Caribbean island, but it never gets old. I revisited last August and always seem to find new pristine spots, delicious restaurants and unique accommodations! This small, yet diverse island has so much to explore and is really not as touristic as some might think!



Needless to say that Aruba is one of my all-time favourite destinations and I cannot recommend it more. This is evident through the 7 blogs I already wrote about this stunner, which you can find on my Caribbean page.



And if you also like more authentic and less touristic spots, where you can stay overnight in comfort and style, and are also perfect for a workation, then you should certainly check this

Luxembourg


This destination was certainly not on my bucket list before, as I highly underestimated it! I used to just drive through it on my way to Southern-Europe, as I was totally unaware of its abundance in castles, nature reserves and big diversity of cultural attractions.



Also Luxembourg’s capital is so beautiful and historic, that it truly deserves a spot on your bucket list, if you like authenticity, Unesco heritage sites, unique architecture, castles and outdoor activities.


The city and country both have all that and more. It’s also very convenient that Luxembourg is easy to reach by car, just a 4 hour drive from the Netherlands and many other European countries. And in the country itself public transport is free!



Find out more about this surprisingly diverse destination in my Luxembourg road trip blog.

Turkish Riviera


I must admit that I had quite some negative connotations with Turkey since my first visit 24 years ago. And although some areas of this country, as so many popular destinations, can be really crowded and overly touristic, my 2 Corendon trips to the Turkish Riviera this year proved otherwise!


Bodrum castle view - Turkey
Bodrum castle view

I visited Bodrum and the Kemer and Side region, and found out that if you stay a bit outside the center and rent a car or good tour company, there's so much more natural beauty and authenticity to find in Turkey. And don’t get me started about the delicious food😊


But don’t take my word for it! Convince yourself through these 2 blogs, with many of my own pictures and personal recommendations, as always, based on my own experiences!


Amphitheater in Side - Turkey
Amphitheater in Side

Hopefully I was able to inspire your 2023 travel bucket list! And although not all of these 6 destinations might seem authentic at first, they did turn out to be, if you know where to go..


For more inspiration do follow me on social media for daily updates about unique spots, beautiful accommodations and more authentic travel destinations coming up.

I hope your 2023 is going to be filled with lovely authentic trips and surprisingly unique destinations, would love to hear where you’re off to next!

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