6 unusual travel ideas for 2023
With a brand new year comes a brand new opportunity to tick some new exciting destinations off that travel bucket list. If you’re not sure where to go, why not explore a few more unique options?
From surfing in the heart of one of Europe’s busiest cities, to trying a popular Japanese way to relax, here are six of our top unusual travel experiences to add to your list for 2023.
Vancouver Island: Camping near orcas
With over 200 resident orca, Canada’s British Columbia is one of the best regions in the world to see killer whales. Whale watching by boat is obviously super popular, but travelers who head up to the northern coastline of Vancouver Island can be rewarded with an even more intimate wildlife experience. Here you can find campgrounds on the shores of the stunning Johnstone Strait. Camp with ancient forest behind you and nothing but pebble beaches and the water in front of you for a rare chance to wake up and watch a pod of orca from your tent.
Tokyo: Try forest bathing
The Japanese term shinrin-yoku translates as forest bathing — something that is becoming popular around the world. No, it doesn’t involve showering in the woods; it means to spend time being still and present in nature. Simply lay peacefully on the forest floor, gaze up at the swaying branches, and listen to the sounds of the outdoors.
Science tells us that this kind of nature immersion can improve our wellbeing, and helps forest-bathers to relax and feel re-energized. (A bit like taking a bath!) One of the best places to forest bathe within easy reach of Tokyo is the Akigawa Valley, a beautiful woodland landscape popular with hikers and campers.
Munich: Go surfing in the city
Munich in Southern Germany boasts one of the most unusual spots to surf in Europe — especially since the city has no coastline. A break in the Eisbach River, where it flows through the southern end of Englischer Garten, creates a reliable 12-meter-wide wave known as the Eisbach Wave. And this isn’t the only place to river surf in Munich. A few hundred meters downstream, the slightly gentler E2 Wave is also popular, and between May and September a spot known as Floßlände on the Isar River is also surfable.
Reykjavik: Snorkel between tectonic plates
Often called The Land of Fire and Ice, Iceland’s volcano, hot spring and glacier-dominated landscape offers heaps of unusual experiences for travelers. But, there’s one otherworldly activity here that’s completely unique — swimming through a crack in the Earth’s actual surface between two continents. Here, the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart. In Thingvellir National Park, not far from Reykjavik, this tectonic fissure has filled up with freshwater from the Langjökull Glacier, and you can snorkel or scuba dive in it.
Bristol: Street art neighborhoods
Bristol — home of legendary graffiti artist Banksy — is one of the best places in the UK to see bold street art. His, and many other artists’ work, can be found all around the city, but one of the best places to see street art is North Street. Just south of the river, this high street hosts Upfest, Europe’s largest street art festival, every year. Over one weekend, international artists create incredible murals on the sides of buildings, along fences and in alleyways. Watch as the painters create, or explore the colorful neighborhood to enjoy their art year-round.
Sydney: Go open air swimming
We all know about Sydney’s iconic beaches and if you’ve been to the capital of New South Wales, you’ll know that both residents and visitors love the ‘Manly or Bondi; Which beach is better?’ argument. So, this year when visiting Sydney, take your trunks, cossies and thongs (aka: flip-flops) to one of the city’s epic open-air pools instead.
Many public parks like Victoria Park, Petersham Park and Prince Alfred Park have great freshwater pools, while the harbor-fed MacCallum Pool at Cremorne Point boasts epic city skyline views. Or, if you really must go to the beach, swap the sand and surf for the sea pools at Bondi and Bronte beaches.