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Zell am See, Austria
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These are the best villages to visit around the world in 2023

From Saudi Arabia and South Korea to Portugal and Peru, these are the best rural destinations to visit in 2023

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
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Looking for some travel inspo for 2023 but want to go a bit rogue, a bit off-piste? Well, here are a load of destinations perfect for exactly that. The UN has announced its ‘best tourism villages’ of 2022, thereby providing a bucketful of ideas for travel in the year ahead.

The world’s best tourism villages are chosen every year by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), which ranks rural villages based on loads of criteria from infrastructure and development as tourist destinations to the lengths they go to in order to preserve cultural customs and the natural environment.

This year, 32 villages in total made the cut from 18 different countries. As a reward for making the UNWTO’s list, the villages will be given funding to develop and help prevent depopulation.

So which are the best villages to visit in 2023, according to the UN? Well, they’re not all as obscure as you’d think. Zell am See in Austria, for example, has long been renowned for its extraordinarily pretty lake and mountain views, while Umm Qais in Jordan is a popular spot thanks to its Roman and Ottoman ruins.

A whopping three villages in Spain make the list – Rupit, Alquézar and Guadalupe – while hamlets and settlements in countries as far-flung as South Korea, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and Peru also feature.

Here’s the full list of the UNWTO’s ‘best tourism villages’ this year.

Zell am See, Austria

Wagrain, Austria

Puqueldón, Chile

Dazhai, China

Jingzhu, China

Choachí, Colombia

Aguarico, Ecuador

Angochagua, Ecuador

Choke Mountains Ecovillage, Ethiopia

Mestia, Georgia

Kfar Kama, Israel

Sauris-Zahre, Italy

Isola del Giglio, Italy

Umm Qais, Jordan

Creel, Mexico

El Fuerte, Mexico

Ksar Elkhorbat, Morocco

Moulay Bouzerktoune, Morocco

Lamas, Peru

Raqchi, Peru

Castelo Novo, Portugal

Pyeongsa-ri, South Korea

Rasinari, Romania

AlUla Old Town, Saudi Arabia

Bohinj, Slovenia

Rupit, Spain

Alquézar, Spain

Guadalupe, Spain

Murten, Switzerland

Andermatt, Switzerland

Birgi, Turkey

Thái Hải, Vietnam

All of which should provide more than enough inspiration for the year ahead! You can find out more about all these villages – as well as why the UNWTO chose them – on the official website here.

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