There’s a load of art, pageantry and storied settings going through a transformation to look forward to next year. If you’re one who appreciates witnessing the magic of history unfolding before your eyes or finding new thrills amid the familiar, mark your calendars. You’ll definitely find your fix of arts and culture at a celebration of Vincent Van Gogh in Paris, all the way to a new lease of hipness at Ubon Ratchathani.
A 2023 exclusive: The coronation of King Charles III
Location: London, United Kingdom
Visit London in May, and you’ll time your trip with a truly historic event: the coronation of King Charles III. Rooted in longstanding tradition and stately splendor, the symbolic religious ceremony will take place in Westminster Abbey on May 6th – the only remaining ceremony of its kind in Europe. To see the King’s crown up close – an impossibly heavy, solid gold 17th century crown that’s only used for the moment of crowning itself – head to the Tower of London, where it is displayed amongst other regalia that’s used during and after the coronation ceremony.
Whilst you’re there, immerse yourself in the lives of the royal family at unique exhibitions and tours around Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace and Buckingham Palace. Turn your travels into your own royal excursion by heading out into the English countryside to visit some of the locations used in Netflix’s The Crown: don’t miss Winchester Cathedral or Salisbury’s Wilton House – the series’ most Instagrammed location – which was used to recreate the sumptuous interiors of Buckingham Palace. —Christie Dietz
Celebrate the 170th anniversary of Vincent van Gogh
Location: Paris, France
Housed in a 19th century railway station and home to the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, the Musee d’Orsay is a must-visit for art fans on any trip to Paris. However, with 2023 being the 170th anniversary of one of Western Europe’s greatest post-impressionist artists, Vincent van Gogh, there’s no better time to go.
The Dutch painter spent the last years of his life in France, and his final months living in an artists’ village north of Paris called Auvers-sur-Oise, where he completed almost one work a day until his death. Showing at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris from 26 September 2023-28 January 2024, the Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise: His Final Months exhibition features 50 of his paintings, as well as some of his drawings and sketches, that have never been exhibited together. The location where Van Gogh painted his final masterpiece, “Tree Roots”, was discovered in 2020 and can be visited on a private tour of Auvers-sur-Oise; a unique opportunity to visit the site where Van Gogh put brush to canvas for the last time just hours before he ended his life. —Christie Dietz
The curious case of Nami Island
Location: Seoul, South Korea
It’s a favorite K-drama filming spot whatever the season. The 2002 classic Winter Sonata, partly shot in Nami Island, is often credited with having played a large part in kicking off Hallyu, or the Korean wave, a pop culture phenomenon that’s captivated the world. In the spring, Nami Island is covered in cherry blossoms, making its annual Cherry Blossom Festival a popular tourist attraction. The island turns lush and green in the summer. For the more active visitor, water sports during this season are highly recommended. Later in the year, autumn colors are vibrant with hues of red and orange all around, quite the opposite of the striking all-white landscape in winter.
Apart from the scenery, Nami gives visitors the unique experience of being in a place that is not in Korea. This is because the half-moon shaped island has declared its cultural independence from the Republic of Korea. This micro-nation has its flag, anthem, currency, and even an entry visa. But don’t worry – the entry visa is just another name for the entry fee that already includes the ferry ride to the island. Also, the South Korean won is widely accepted everywhere on the island. Because the place covers over 40 hectares, head off to these five places first to make sure you catch the most scenic spots of the island: The Gingko Tree Lane, Baekpungmilwon Maple Garden, First Kiss Glass Sequoia Bridge, Tulip Tree Lane and Weeping Willow Lane, and the Nami Island Millennium Waterfall.
Head for the cool mountain air and quaint outskirts in Shifen
Location: Taipei, Taiwan