Calling all beach bums, outdoor adventurists and culture vultures. Seeking a sun-soaked escape, an intrepid outdoor exploration, or new cultural enlightenment this summer? You’re in luck, as there’s no shortage of spectacular travel destinations to choose from in 2023. From the vibrant streets of Lisbon, Portugal, to the pristine beaches of Barbados, to the storied pubs of Dublin, there’s a spot for you waiting to be discovered. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites for the year, heavily weighting the experiences these places offer versus just the destinations themselves. So, let’s get packing and set off on a summer adventure like no other.


Orange stucco rooftops and church steeples in Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal

Spain, France, and Italy used to get all the attention. But not anymore. Ladies and gentlemen, if you haven’t already been introduced, meet Portugal. Not exactly new (it became a sovereign state in 1143, 349 years before Spain did), Portugal is enjoying its time in the spotlight as one of the top travel destinations of the past few years.

And for good reasons. Its small country vibe is charming, its sunbaked Mediterranean climate and miles of Atlantic coastline are delightful, its food and drink are sublime, and the Portuguese people are excellent hosts. It also has a very low crime rate, and it’s affordable, consistently ranked among the most budget-friendly countries in Western Europe.

Of all the places you can visit while on holiday in Portugal, its capital, Lisbon, is a must. Known for its stunning architecture, both ancient and contemporary, Lisbon is an amalgamation of elements of other European cities, all mixed up to create a flavor all its own. The city proudly wears its history on its sleeve while looking toward the future, as centuries-old buildings stand next to modern cafes and shops. Explore the historic district of Alfama, take a stroll along the Tagus River, or visit one of the many museums and galleries. Or head to one of its several beaches, including Cascais and Estoril, which are perfect for swimming, sunbathing and surfing.

And for those of you not so up to scratch on your Portuguese, not to worry. Portuguese polyglots are plentiful and more than happy to speak English.

Risks while visiting Portugal include theft like pickpocketing and burglary in urban areas, as well as traffic accidents. Medical facilities may be limited beyond major urban centers.


A tropical cove on a sunny day in Barbados


If you’re a resident of the northern hemisphere, you’re justified for wondering why you’d want to visit Barbados in the middle of summer. But there are several reasons. Price is the most obvious. You can find specials and reduced rates from April to November during the low season. It’s a quieter time for this island nation, which means fewer tourists and more room to explore this tropical paradise as summer blooms join the year-round flowers thanks to periodic rain.

Some suggestions to put on your to-do list? Crane Beach and Bathsheba Beach await. If lounging on the white sands isn’t your speed, Barbados has some of the gentlest yet dependable waves to learn to surf, and fly boarding, kite surfing, reef diving and fishing are as equally popular. Away from the beach, you can visit the Barbados Museum and Historical Society and explore the historic Garrison district. Or book a Barbados rum tour to learn the story behind this celebrated spirit.

If you’re considering a trip to Barbados, know that it enjoys a relatively low security risk, but typhoid and dengue fever are concerns. A vaccine exists for the former, and there are precautions you can take to avoid the risk of the latter. Be sure to talk to your doctor about immunizations and treatment well in advance of your trip.


The colorful houses of a small city in Bermuda from high above.


The small island of Bermuda, a British territory, is a whole lot closer to North Carolina than it is to its mother country. Just a couple hours’ flight from New York City, and one hour ahead of eastern time, it’s a great option for a quick tropical getaway for a few days. Unlike the Caribbean Islands 900 miles or so to the south which get hot in the summer, Bermuda’s temperatures are stable and comfortable, barely reaching 85°F even in mid-August.

At only 21 miles in length and a mile wide at its thickest, you can see the whole island as you approach by plane. But don’t let Bermuda’s tiny size fool you as there’s plenty do to. The territory is steeped in history, and it’s a great idea to start familiarizing yourself with it by heading to St. George’s in the East End. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, its architecture and military history are something to behold. But it’s the area’s immaculate outdoor spaces and iconic restaurants that make it one of the best destinations on the island. Other key attractions include the Crystal Caves, Blue Hole Park in the East End, and the pink sands of Warwick Long Bay and, perhaps the island’s most famous attraction, Horseshoe Bay Beach.

Small crimes like theft and burglary are the biggest security risks, and vector-borne diseases like dengue fever are of concern. And unless you’re a believer in the perils of the Bermuda Triangle, hurricane season is far more cause for alarm.


[Related Reading: How To Travel Today: Plan Ahead and Be Patient]


A crowded street in Dublin lined by busy storefronts.

Dublin, Ireland

“The Pale,” “The Smoke” – just a couple of the nicknames for Dublin, the capital of Ireland. While there is never a true dry season in Dublin, summer tends to be drier and sunnier. As with anywhere fairly high up in the northern hemisphere, however, it’s a good idea to bring a jacket.

Dublin is a hip, metropolitan place, and there’s never a shortfall of things to do and see. A list of 50 activities would barely scratch the surface. Instead, picture the things you’ve always thought you wanted to do in Dublin, and do them. The food? World-class. The shopping? Top-notch. The drink? It’s Ireland, after all. You’d have to work hard to have a bad time in Dublin. So don’t even try.

But do try to get out of the city, too. The countryside is a patchwork of lush green farms, pastoral hills, and ancient stone walls. Take the three-hour day trip across the small country to walk along The Cliffs of Moher, a UNESCO Global Geopark, or get your gift of gab at the Blarney Stone, just a few miles north of Cork in the south of the country. And when you get back to Dublin, head over to the Guinness Storehouse for a tour and pint.

Ireland has been a very safe country in recent years. The biggest risk, like many others on this list, are petty thefts. Medical infrastructure is also excellent, should an illness or injury occur.


A curvy road with switchbacks winds its way through the desert mountains.

Mallorca, Spain

Heading southwest from the Emerald Isles, across the Bay of Biscay and the Iberian Peninsula is the stunning Spanish island of Mallorca. It’s the largest of the Balearic Islands and is a popular summer destination for Europeans, thanks to its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and beautiful landscapes.

Visitors can explore the island’s many historic sites, including the Gothic cathedral of Palma de Mallorca and the 13th-century Castell de Bellver. But the island is also a popular destination for hikers and cyclists, especially with several roads that wind through the countryside and up and over mountains. And of course, no visit to Mallorca would be complete without indulging in the local cuisine, which includes dishes like sobrassada, a cured sausage made from pork, and ensaïmada, a sweet pastry.

You may have noticed a theme with the destinations we’ve listed, but Mallorca, too, has low crime and health risks. Pickpocketing and other petty crimes exist mostly because of the prevalence of tourism, but otherwise you’re in good shape.


People inside an enormous beach cave next to clear ocean waters.

Sardinia, Italy

Sure, Italy’s got Rome, Venice, Florence, and Cinque Terre. But it’s also home to Sardinia. It’s the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea behind Sicily, but it’s a place where not a lot of people live year-round. It’s arguably the best-kept secret in the region.

For those that have been lucky enough to discover this island already, they know about its pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and rugged landscapes. But its small cities, the biggest of which is Cagliari, are an absolute gem, packed with restaurants, architecture, museums and art galleries.

Those that enjoy their history, the island features numerous caves, castles, and archeological sites to explore, many of which pre-date the ancient Romans. And for those looking for outdoor adventure of the endurance variety, hiking and biking opportunities are everywhere.

Sardinia is one of the safest places in Italy. Unfortunately, theft, like most places, can be an issue. Use common sense, enjoy the sun, the beaches, and the local dishes like bottarga, a cured fish roe, seadas, a sweet pastry, and Ichnusa, the local beer, and you’ll be fine.


People standing in shallow tropical ocean waters next to moored catamaran sailboats.

Grand Cayman

Another Caribbean paragon is Grand Cayman, the largest of the three Cayman Islands, which are British territories. It’s famous for its crystal-clear waters and world-class diving. At only 22 miles long, 8 miles wide, and 60 feet high, it’s fairly easy to experience as much as the island has to offer.

Visitors can explore the island’s many nature reserves and parks, including the Mastic Reserve and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, which is home to over 300 species of plants and animals. And for those into snorkeling and scuba, world-renowned dive sites, including the USS Kittiwake wreck, are scattered just offshore.

Once again, petty crime is something to protect against if you plan to travel to Grand Cayman, as is the threat of typhoid and dengue fever. Luckily, quality medical care is available throughout the island.

Of course, there are dozens of other places that would make for the summer trip of a lifetime. These are just some of the spots that stand out to us this year. But the one thing that any place you decide you’d like to visit has in common is your protection through a Global Rescue membership. Regardless of where you go, and with no activity restrictions – whether you’re spearfishing in Grand Cayman or speeding down Sa Calobra in Mallorca on your road bike, Global Rescue’s there to help you adventure with confidence.