The best travel experiences in the world in 2023

Tripadvisor®, the world’s largest travel guidance platform, announced the winners of its 2023 Travelers’ Choice® Best of the Best “Things to Do” Awards. As the summer travel season gets into full swing, these are Tripadvisor reviewers’ favorite activities from across the world that will turn any vacation into a trip to remember.

Analyzing 12-months of Tripadvisor review data (May 1, 2022 – April 30, 2023) from millions of travelers across the globe, Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best “Things to Do” is a definitive list of extraordinary experiences for travelers looking to create memorable moments. The list brings together the very best activities and excursions – from bookable tours and experiences to top attractions that travelers can visit along the way.

In addition to the Top Overall Experiences, Tripadvisor offers 10 further sub-categories including Top Attractions, Amusement Parks & Water Parks, Bucket List Experiences, Cultural & Historical Tours, Food & Culinary Experiences, Nature & Outdoor Activities, Sailing & Day Cruises, Snorkeling & Water Sports and Wine Experiences. New for 2023 is Family-Friendly Experiences, activities that are perfect for kids and the parents tagging along with them.

According to Tripadvisor’s most recent Seasonal Travel Index, almost a third (28%) of travelers are motivated by the opportunity to experience something new and just under half (44%) want to make memories with family and friends on vacation. With experiential travel taking center stage, Tripadvisor’s Best of the Best “Things to Do” is an essential guide for travelers looking to do something a bit different on their next trip.

Kate Urquhart, General Manager, Experiences at Tripadvisor, said: “Experiences turn travelers into adventurers, connecting them with the local community and giving them unforgettable stories for years to come. With more than 300,000 bookable experiences in over 250,000 destinations worldwide, Tripadvisor helps people access the best things to do globally, and we’re committed to expanding that number of tours and attractions across every destination. These awards are a testament to the businesses dedicated to ensuring the Tripadvisor community enjoys the most memorable trips, and we’re grateful to everyone who took the time to share their reviews and help fellow travelers plan their next escape.”

Delving into the collective wisdom of the travel community, this year’s best experience in the world is a full day tour of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. On the Grand Circle Island and Haleiwa Tour, travelers will visit all the island’s top sights including the impressive Hālona Blowhole and the Byodo-In Temple, as well as the island’s most beautiful beaches and surf spots. The rest of the Top Overall Experiences is a diverse list ranging from an Icelandic food tour in Reykjavik to sand surfing through the Dubai desert dunes.

According to Tripadvisor reviewers, Oahu is the place that left the biggest impression on travelers, with parasailing adventure Xtreme Parasail in Honolulu and Deluxe USS Arizona Memorial and Historical City Tour also coming in at No. 6 and No. 7 in Top Overall Experiences in the U.S.

Top 10 Experiences – World

Top 10 Experiences – US

1. Grand Circle Island and Haleiwa Tour, Honolulu, Hawaii

1. Grand Circle Island and Haleiwa Tour, Honolulu, Hawaii

2. Thai Cooking Course, Chiang Mai, Thailand

2. Juneau Wildlife Whale Watching, Juneau, Alaska

3. Ubud Tour – Best of Ubud, Ubud, Bali

3. History and Hauntings of Salem Guided Walking Tour, Salem, Mass.

4. Red Dunes ATV, Sandsurf, Camels, Stargazing & 5* BBQ, Dubai, UAE

4. Party Bike in Old Town Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Ariz.

5. Best DMZ 3rd Infiltration Tunnel Tour from Seoul, Seoul, South Korea

5.  Niagara Falls American-Side Tour with Maid of the Mist Boat Ride, Niagara Falls, N.Y.

6. Reykjavik Food Walk – Local Foodie Adventure, Reykjavik, Iceland

6. Xtreme Parasail in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

7. Amsterdam Luxury Guided Sightseeing Canal Cruise, Amsterdam, Netherlands

7. Deluxe USS Arizona Memorial and Historical City Tour, Honolulu, Hawaii

8. Angkor Wat Sunrise Tour, Siem Reap, Cambodia

8. Swim with Manatees, Crystal River, Fla.

9. San Juan Guided Snorkel Tour, San Juan, Puerto Rico

9. Fairbanks Snowmobile Adventure from North Pole, North Pole, Alaska

10. Hanoi Jeep Tours, Hanoi, Vietnam

10. The Official Hollywood Sign Walking Tour in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif.

With half of global travelers prioritizing visiting attractions on their upcoming trips this summer, according to Tripadvisor’s Summer Travel Index, Tripadvisor has compiled a list of the world’s best. Barcelona‘s Sagrada Familia holds on to the top spot for a second year running as the No. 1 Top Attraction in the world, followed by Rome’s Colosseum, which also took second place in 2022. Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and The Dubai Fountain in the UAE are new additions to the world list for 2023, taking third and fourth place respectively.

In the U.S., the Empire State Building held onto its top spot in the best U.S. attractions, and New York overall came out top with Central Park placing second, The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum fourth and the Brooklyn Bridge sixth.

Top 10 Attractions – World

Top 10 Attractions – U.S.

1. Basílica de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

1. Empire State Building, New York City, N.Y.

2. Colosseum, Rome, Italy

2. Central Park, New York City, N.Y.

3. Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

3. Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Hawaii

4. The Dubai Fountain, Dubai, UAE

4. The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum, New York City, N.Y.

5. Empire State Building, New York City, N.Y.

5. The National WWII Museum, New Orleans, La.

6. Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France

6. Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, N.Y.

7. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

7. Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colo.

8. Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

8. Stetson Mansion, DeLand, Fla.

9. Central Park, New York City, N.Y.

9. Fountains of Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nev.

10. Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain

10. USS Midway Museum, San Diego, Calif.

This year’s awards include a new subcategory, Family-Friendly Experiences, which highlights the most loved days out by parents and children alike. The No. 1 world experience in this inaugural category, both in the world and U.S. lists, is a private boat tour in South Carolina. Private Dolphin Tour in Hilton Head Island. This trip was “the highlight of our family vacation” for one reviewer and others highlighted the captain’s knowledge, noting “there was not a dolphin or nature questions he was unable to answer”. Other winners include a wizard walk in York, UK, and a Roman gladiator school in Italy.

Amusement Parks & Water Parks: The best places to scream, splash, and get your adrenaline fix, according to travelers who love a good thrill.

  • No. 1 in the world: Siam Park– Tenerife, Spain.
  • No. 1 in the U.S.: Silver Dollar City, Brandon, Missouri.

See all the winners here.

Bucket List Experiences: Unique things to do that’ll make your trip—and give you the best stories for later.

  • No. 1 in the world: Red Dunes ATV, Sandsurf, Camels, Stargazing & 5* BBQ – Dubai, UAE.

See all the winners here.

Cultural & Historical Tours: Discover a new city on foot, bike, even Vespa(!) with the best guides in the game.

  • No. 1 in the world: Ubud Tour – Best of Ubud – Ubud, Bali.
  • No. 1 in the U.S.: History and Hauntings of Salem Guided Walking Tour – Salem, Massachusetts.
  • See all the winners here.

Food & Culinary Experiences: Tours and experiences that are known for their great taste (literally).

  • No. 1 in the world: Reykjavik Food Walk – Local Foodie Adventure in Iceland – Reykjavik, Iceland, for a second year running!
  • No. 1 in the U.S.: Little Havana Food and Walking Tour in Miami – Miami, Florida.
  • See all the winners here.

Nature & Outdoor Activities: Fresh air, new heights, wildlife sightings—the greatest outdoor adventures start here.

  • No. 1 in the world and U.S.: Grand Circle Island and Haleiwa Tour – Oahu, Hawaii – also No. 1 Top Experience in the world and U.S. for 2023.
  • See all the winners here.

Sailing & Day Cruises: Get out on the open water with traveler-loved expeditions.

  • No. 1 in the world and the U.S.: Niagara Falls American-Side Tour with Maid of the Mist Boat Ride – New York, U.S.
  • See all the winners here.

Snorkeling & Water Sports: From snorkeling and scuba diving to kayaking and surfing, these are the best things to do under—and over—the sea.

  • No. 1 in the world: San Juan Guided Snorkel Tour – San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • No. 1 in the U.S.: Xtreme Parasail in Honolulu – Oahu, Hawaii (also No. 6 Top experience in the U.S.).
  • See all the winners here.

Wine Experiences: Sip your way through these top-rated tours and tastings.

  • No. 1 in the world: Chianti Safari: Tuscan Villas with vineyards, cheese, wine & lunch – Florence, Italy.
  • No. 1 in the U.S.: Traverse City Wine Tour: 4 Wineries on Old Mission Peninsula – Traverse City, Michigan.
  • See all the winners here.

See all the winners across subcategories here.

Travelers’ Choice Methodology

Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best “Things to Do” Awards are determined based on the quality and quantity of traveler reviews and ratings for experiences, tours, activities and attractions on Tripadvisor over the 12-month period from May 1, 2022 through April 30, 2023, specific to each award subcategory, as well as an additional editorial process.

Tripadvisor is proud to serve a broad and diverse community of travelers from all over the world. As such, Tripadvisor reserves the right to determine the eligibility of any property, business, destination or point of interest listed on Tripadvisor for an award based on additional factors that reflect Tripadvisor corporate policies and values.

Experiences are classified as bookable tours and activities on Tripadvisor. Non-bookable experiences, or attractions, are activities on Tripadvisor that travelers can visit without booking any ticket. Nine of the Best of the Best Things to Do subcategories are limited to experiences, except Top Attractions and Amusement & Water Parks, where attractions are included, for a bigger picture of travelers’ favorite things to do.

Tripadvisor Seasonal Travel Index Methodology

A Tripadvisor Consumer Sentiment Survey, based on data drawn from an online survey of over 2,400 consumers, in partnership with Qualtrics, conducted between March 17-27, 2023 across six countries – AustraliaItalyJapanSingapore, U.K. & U.S.

Site behavioral data sourced from first party traffic data on the Tripadvisor platform, gathered between January 10, 2023-April 10, 2023, for searches made by travelers in the U.S., U.K., AustraliaJapan and Singapore for travel between June 1 through August 31, 2023.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. Well you learn something everyday, though I’m not sure that I have. On the Korea Tour I’m guessing that DMZ is a Demilitarisation Zone and that it’s a legacy of the Korean War but what exactly is that one all about? I’m going to have to get googling and do some research. I think I’m going to develop my historical knowledge today.

  2. Where would the world be without Trip Advisor? Can you remember what the travel world was even like before Trip Advisor?

    Sure it has its critics, mainly hotel owners whose properties have been unfairly savaged, but at the end of the day it’s become a very useful source of info for all us travel addicts.

    There’s some fascinating lists here and we all love a good list don’t we?

    1. Impressive stars on TripAdvisor. They really have grown to be a mega force in travel. Automatically I go to their website whether I’m thinking of booking a trip or just looking for a new restaurant for dinner.

  3. The Chiang Mai cookery course really appeals I can see why it’s up there at number 2. I love Thai food or think that I do.

    It would interesting to experience what Chiang Mai teach and how that compares with what’s presented as Thai Food in the West.

  4. Although I’ve done a dines adventure in Arabia I’m not convinced about the camels. They are neither the most gracious or sociable of characters. What is worth doing is the night sky star watching. Up here in the cloudy north, what with light pollution too, we hardly know what’s in the sky above our heads.

  5. Hold it! Way too much inspiration for a Monday. And more to the point I’ve already booked out too many days of annual leave for this year.

  6. The fact that the Empire State Building is top of the US Attractions chart is a big win for the Golden Oldies.

    Although I haven’t done the Empire State for around a dozen years, I think that it’s not only the iconic views which contribute to its popularity, it’s also the photographs of its construction.

    For those of us who don’t have a head for heights, the very famous picture of the construction workers eating their lunch happily sat on a girder is frightening.

  7. Gobsmacked that the Salem stuff’s come in at number 3. I’ve been there, and it’s really interesting, didn’t think it was that mainstream though.

  8. Thinking about what family and friends are doing for hols over the next few months I’d agree with the new experiences stat.

    As for “making memories” that is very, very vague. “Making memories” isn’t always great. I’ve made memories on a damp camping holiday that are so bad that they will never fade.

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