Interest Pieces

These are the top 6 unusual holiday destinations for 2023 

Travellers who love to break the mould and plot their own path are seeking unconventional travel destinations for their trips in 2023. Now experts at Panache Cruises, the leading provider of ultra-luxury cruises in the UK, are revealing their top six underrated locations for those seeking adventure outside of the normal picturesque scenes of well-explored countries.

Azerbaijan is named one of the top unusual holiday spots. Credit: pexels.

Travelling off the radar is becoming more popular among adventurous travellers hoping to avoid the hustle and bustle of famous tourist spots.

Thrill-seekers, beach dwellers and adventurous foodies hoping to expand their travelling horizons this year can enjoy local cuisines in Azerbaijan, float in the dead sea in Jordan or zip-line through the biodiverse landscapes of Panama.

James Cole, founder and managing director of Panache Cruises said: “We have seen an increase in those looking to discover far flung destinations and avoid the hustle and bustle of well-visited tourist spots.

“There are many underrated countries which have so many sights and experiences to offer travellers. Unusual travel destinations like Borneo, Azerbaijan and Nicosia may not be at the top of many bucket lists, but should not be overlooked and can offer travellers the trip of a lifetime.

“Many of these destinations can be reached or explored by ship too and water-bourne itinerary offers travellers entirely different perspectives when compared to land based visits. Wake up in a stunning new destination every morning!”

Here are Panache Cruises’ top six unusual holiday destinations for this year:

  1. Azerbaijan 

Sandwiched between Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan is home to a huge mix of culture and a vibrant history which makes it an underrated travel destination. The country is a hotspot for activities and has something to offer all. Food lovers can enjoy culinary tours of the country, tasting delicious local cuisines like gutab and sweet halva. East of the country lies the Caspian Sea, the world’s largest inland body of water, offering day cruises and an amazing swimming spot for sun-lovers. Azerbaijan is home to nine of the world’s 11 climate zones, for travellers to experience beautiful green landscapes.

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  1. Borneo

Borneo is the world’s third-largest island based in Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago and is known for its beaches and ancient biodiverse rainforest. The diversity of the wildlife is matched by the history and culture of the people who live here. The vast wildlife tourism allows visitors to experience orangutans, pygmy elephants, sun bears and endangered species like the Borneo elephants which all reside on the island. Animal enthusiasts can support the Danam Valley Conservation Area, which safeguards a 130 million-year-old rainforest and the species which live among it.

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Travellers can also tackle the 4,095m Mount Kinabalu, dive into the Sipadan Island’s vibrant corals or enjoy the sandy beaches of Kota Kinabalu. Many of Borneo’s treasures can be explored by ship too. Several luxury cruise lines operate to Kota Kinabalu with some of the best itineraries being offered by Oceania Cruises.

  1. Nicosia

The capital of Cyprus is split by the ‘Green Lane’, a border between the Republic of Cyprus and Northern Cyprus, making it the world’s last divided capital city. Once completely sealed, the restrictions on the border are now more relaxed, allowing travellers to visit both parts of the city.

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The Republic side of the border can be compared to other European capitals, with popular retail and food spots available for tourists. When crossing into North Nicosia it becomes clear there is a huge divide between the two areas, offering cultural sights like mosques and the mediaeval caravanserai. Nicosia has become a popular shore excursion for many luxury cruise lines including Regent Seven Seas.

  1. Jordan

A five hour flight from London lies Jordan, brimming with Historic treasures and must-see spots. These include the UNESCSO World Heritage Site in Petra and Wadi Rum which is also know as the ‘Valley of the Moon’. The lesser-known travel spot offers visitors the chance to explore ancient architecture, desert adventures, local delicaseys, deep sea diving and museums. Alongside the many significant historical sites to see, must-visit spots include the Dead Sea, known for being the lowest place on earth, 400m below sea level. Visitors can experience the healing mineral waters, rich air and rare animals. Jordan’s excellent cruise ship terminal in Aqaba, best served by cruise line Azamara, allows people to explore the country’s many treasures as a stopover destination.

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  1. Montenegro 

As one of the smallest countries in Europe, this underrated spot is the perfect place for travellers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of busy tourist spots. Montenegro is home to the deepest canyon in Europe and offers visitors the chance to explore stunning landscapes, exceptional mountains, the inviting Adriatic sea and an incredibly rich history and culture. Compared to Croatia’s popular coastline, the Montenegrin coast remains off the beaten tourist trails. The Bay of Kotor is known as the ‘jewel of the Montenegrin crown’ and is loved by those who visit for its beauty and atmosphere.  Ultra-luxury cruise line Silversea has a number of cruises which visit Kotor and other locations on the Adriatic coast.

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  1. Panama

This snake-shaped country boasts a vibrant culture – blending African, Native Panamanian, and Spanish influences. Music enthusiasts should visit to experience traditional Panamanian music which combines salsa, calypso, jazz, reggae, tamborito, congo and other diverse styles to create their very own unique sound. The transportation infrastructure makes the country easy to explore for visitors, making it easy for adventure-seekers to enjoy scuba diving in the deep ocean, hiking up volcanoes, exploring the biodiverse jungles and zip-lining through stunning landscapes. Many people also choose to arrive in Panama via the Panama Canal. Several luxurious cruise lines regularly navigate the canal including ships from Seabourn.

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To find out more about luxury cruising and travel to some of the most unusual destinations on the planet please visit