Ride the Retrograde: Booking.com Reveals the Astro-Escapes Written in the Stars for Zodiac Signs in 2023
26 September, 2023
This year, a resounding seven planets will be in retrograde at the same time. Retrogrades occur when a planet spins backwards in its orbit, and are thought to have an impact on an astrological level, presenting windows of time that force people to slow down and review and refine difficult matters in their lives.
With over three quarters (78%)* of global travelers reporting their motivation to travel is to boost their mood, what could be more opportune than a getaway to ride this retrograde rollercoaster?
With its mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, we have delved into our endorsement data** to select destinations most recommended by travelers, and has matched these insights with the typical characteristics of the zodiac signs. Don’t get caught unprepared by these planetary power outages, let the stars determine the perfect getaway to help sail through 2023.
Adventurous Aries: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Fiery Aries are drawn to high energy and constantly on the move, needing a vacation filled with tours and excursions to let off steam. San Pedro de Atacama is an oasis town situated 7,900ft (2,400m) above sea level in the Andes mountains known for its desert, salt flats, volcanoes, geysers and hot springs – and one of Booking.com’s most recommended destinations by travelers for adventure. Rams can head to the pink-streaked mountains of the Valle de la Luna in the nearby Los Flamencos National Reserve, go flamingo spotting at the salt flats or bathe in the turquoise Baltinache Lagoons. It’s said that the high quantities of quartz and copper in the region gives its people positive energy and this will amplify the electric personality of Aries. With its dark skies and lack of light pollution, it’s also one of the best places in the world for stargazing so travelers can tune into the stars this retrograde season at the Alma Observatory, offering perfect conditions for observing the Milky Way and more.
Where to stay: This sign appreciates the finer things in life so splurge on a room at Nayara Alto Atacama in the outskirts of San Pedro de Atacama. This dreamy desert-chic lodge offers vast beds, gourmet cooking, geothermal spa treatments and six plunge pools dotted around the grounds. Better yet, the Booking.com Travel Sustainable property gives guests a reusable flask on arrival to top up from dispensers around the lodge and offers over 30 tours led by local guides to keep restless Aries occupied.Search Hotels in San Pedro de Atacama
Thrilling Taurus: Orlando, Florida
Bulls are known for being stubborn but it’s important to go with the flow with multiple planets in retrograde – and what better way than embracing thrilling rollercoaster rides in Orlando? This larger-than-life city in central Florida is home to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, and is one of Booking.com’s most endorsed destinations for theme parks. Visitors can explore the three theme parks to enter mythical and wizarding fantasy worlds and those of their favorite TV shows. Or explore the timeless world of one of the world’s most beloved toys, with more than 50 rides, shows and unique attractions with admission to LEGOLAND® Florida. An earth sign, Taureans are nurtured and sustained by nature: embark on a Clearwater Beach Day Trip with Dolphin Cruise along the shorelines of Caladesi Island to view bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat, or rent a car to explore the many beautiful wetlands and mangroves in the area.
Where to stay: Overlooking a lagoon-style pool and surrounded by gardens Universal's Loews Royal Pacific Resort has bright, refined rooms and airy suites. Just outside the Universal theme parks with access to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure on foot or by complimentary water taxi, fast-track admission to rides is included. Taureans love all things luxury and this high-end, island-themed resort delivers: start the day the island way with Hawaiian pancakes or Tahitian french toast à l’orange, and then relax poolside in a private cabana with bar service.Search Hotels in Orlando
Gastronomic Gemini: London, United Kingdom
This mutable air sign can breeze past negative old situations this summer by focusing on themselves and their needs. Given their desire for stimulation and their unending love for a fast-paced city, London with its remarkable cultural depth offers an array of experiences for this intellectually curious sign. Geminis will enjoy a Hidden London Walking Tour to discover forgotten alleyways, hidden medieval courtyards and captivating tales of the city, or a Historic Pubs Tour will take them around London’s most emblematic watering holes stopping at Charles Dickens favorite pub for a pint. Like Gemini, London has two sides: immersed in history and culture, but also known for its boisterous nightlife. London springs to life in the evening thanks to its eclectic food and drinks scene, and is one of Booking.com’s top destinations endorsed by travelers for restaurants. Book a Private Three-Hour London Food Walk to visit a selection of top-notch eateries, or head to the energetic streets of Soho for drinks, dinner and dancing.
Where to stay: Located in central London, The One Tun Pub & Rooms offers easy access to the city a stone’s throw away from Farringdon tube station. Geminis will particularly love the old English charm of this B&B with its snug rooms decorated with amusing portraits of dogs in old fashioned costumes. The cozy pub serves delicious pan-Asian cuisine from crispy soft-shell crab to fragrant duck salad, and is just a short walk away from the Charles Dickens Museum and Smithfield Market, a historic food market curious Geminis will love to explore.Search Hotels in London
Companionable Cancer: Bangkok, Thailand
For Cancerians, their communication abilities may be hindered this retrograde season, so a relaxing and rejuvenating getaway will do them wonders. Friendly and in touch with their emotions, Cancerian travelers will appreciate the welcoming nature of the locals in Bangkok, which is a highly endorsed destination by Booking.com travelers for its friendly people. This retrograde season, travelers can delve into this capital city’s ancient past from its gleaming golden temples to its series of canals and centuries-old cuisine. The water element of the crab will particularly enjoy riding a long-tail boat on a Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour to experience the colors, flavors and atmosphere of the most famous floating market in Thailand with welcoming local farmers selling flowers, fruits and food. For the best panoramic views of Bangkok, go high with a Mahanakhon SkyWalk Admission to the highest observation deck in the country at 1030ft (314m) and soak up views of towering skyscrapers and majestic palaces.
Where to stay: Set in the Silom district of Bangkok known for its mouthwatering street food, the trendy Kinnon Deluxe Hostel Coworking Cafe features private rooms or mixed-gender and female-only dorms – and is a short walk to the Sala Daeng BTS Station for easy access to the city. The hostel draws guests who prize warm hospitality, and Cancerian travelers can retreat to their protective shell here with all the home comforts they need, including a restaurant serving international dishes, rooftop garden, lounge and coworking space.Search Hotels in Bangkok
Lionhearted Leo: Cairns, Australia
This retrograde season Leos may feel as if they are not getting enough TLC from others – so a vacation to bond with friends or family could be on the cards. An inspiring city that speaks to their courageous and brave personality is Cairns, situated on the northeast coast of Queensland. Aside from its idyllic beaches and bustling backpacker scene, skydiving is what brings travelers from around the world to this tropical city, one of the top recommended destinations for this heart-pounding activity on Booking.com. Leo travelers will enjoy an exhilarating Skydiving Experience in Cairns, jumping from a height of 15,000 ft (4,500m) along with a professional tandem jump master, with breathtaking sea views of the Great Barrier Reef. Back on land, Cairns is a tourist town full of resorts, bars and reef boats, and the gateway to the world’s largest coral reef system. This bold fire sign can cool off on a Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Trip to discover a magical world of colorful fish and diverse marine life – with the option to add a helicopter flight over the reef to round off this experience Leo-style.
Where to stay: The Cairns Rainforest Retreat will connect to the spirit of the wild lion, nestled in the rainforest with views of the mountains yet just a short drive from Cairns. Outgoing Leos will appreciate the rooftop pool, barbecue facilities and firepit where they can socialize with their tribe. What’s more, this Booking.com Travel Sustainable property offers a stellar breakfast, serving locally sourced, organic food and making efforts to reduce their food wastage.Search Hotels in Cairns
Virtuous Virgo: Tokyo, Japan
Rather than deal with all this confusing retrograde energy, Virgos will want to get away from it all and go on vacation. A destination of learning and culture is best for this strict earth sign and a trip to Tokyo will do the trick. A mix of timeless history and space-age tech, ancient temples and futuristic malls, it’s the past and future wrapped up, and Booking.com’s most endorsed destination for sustainable travel. Virgo’s practical and precise nature will love its advanced technology and high-speed trains which provide energy-efficient transportation for tourists and locals alike. Virgos can explore the city on foot on a Guided History and Culture Walking Tour, or discover Tokyo’s beautiful landscape while preserving the environment through low-impact activities such as kayaking. Hiking through the geological wonderland of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park on a Hakone Private Tour will more than satisfy this earth sign’s craving for nature immersion, with a cruise across the crater Lake Ashi and incredible views of Mount Fuji.
Where to stay: Virgos like things neat and clean and value quality so they will appreciate the five-star Mandarin Oriental Tokyo and its exceptional service. Staff at this Booking.com Travel Proud high-rise hotel are attentive and the concierge’s printed handouts will help guests unlock the best places to explore, with a metro station conveniently located in the hotel’s basement. As conscientious about its guests as it is the environment, this Booking.com Travel Sustainable stay offers incredible vegan and vegetarian menus, and has a ban on single-use plastic.Search Hotels in Tokyo
Loyal Libra: Portofino, Italy
Libra is a star sign that is ruled by the planet of love, Venus, which means that they love to be in love, yet boundaries are a must this year and it’s best to focus on self love. When searching for destinations that will sweep Libras off their feet, Portofino is a match made in heaven. This picture-perfect coastal village on Italy’s Amalfi coast features pastel-colored buildings, super-yachts harbored in the port and high-end boutiques, and is within the top five of Booking.com’s most recommended destinations by travelers for a romantic break. Explore the village on a Portofino Tour with Pesto Cooking Class & Lunch that offers travelers a boat ride along the Italian Riviera and the chance to flex their cookery skills. Or rewind time this retrograde season on a day trip to Genoa, an hour’s drive away, for an Ancient Paths, Hills and Panoramic Views Tour to discover centuries-old hillside pathways. Incredible viewpoints offer libras selfie photo opportunities from towering heights, all accompanied by a guide who provides commentary with a twist; playing the guitar and singing about the city’s past.
Where to stay: This air sign can find balance at the chic Splendido Mare, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino located in the heart of Portofino’s famous Piazzetta Square next to the harbor. Libras appreciate good food and gracious service and the hotel’s DaV Mare casual fine dining restaurant serves spectacular fresh seafood that will not disappoint. For the ultimate self-care session, peace and harmony awaits at the iconic nearby sister hotel where guests have access to a saltwater pool and luxury spa via a complimentary shuttle that connects the hotels.
Shifting Scorpio: Berlin, Germany
Relationships may be in flux for Scorpios this year especially with their partners, so a last-minute trip away could be the perfect medicine to reconnect or take time out to reflect. Germany’s dynamic capital of Berlin with its eclectic culture, storied history, vibrant street art and pockets of underground nightlife is an ideal destination for deep and mysterious Scorpio, and currently Booking.com’s second most recommended destination by travelers for a city trip. Visit Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site on Spree Island with five world-famous museums and the modern James Simon Gallery, or ride a Panoramapunkt and Elevator Ride, Europe’s fastest elevator for unparalleled panoramic views of the city. Scorpios get inspired by being in the presence of something greater than themselves: a natural wonder like the UNESCO Spreewald Biosphere Reserve, an hour’s drive south of the city, will humble this water sign and help them recalibrate. Ride the watery web of canals flanked by emerald woodland on a traditional shallow punt boat, or hire a kayak or canoe to paddle away from the crowds.
Where to stay: For passionate Scorpios exploring Berlin, Brilliant Apartments offer a trendy stay in the lively Prenzlauer Berg district within walking distance of Museum Island. Guests can sink into super soft beds after hitting the hottest clubs in the area and will be welcomed by super friendly staff at this Booking.com Travel Proud certified stay. A stone’s throw away is Mauerpark Park which transforms into a vibrant flea market at the weekend and features remnants of the Berlin Wall covered in colorful street art.Search Hotels in Berlin
Sophisticated Sagittarius: Lhasa, Tibet, China
Work could be on the rocks this year until the retrogrades reverse so now is an ideal time to escape on vacation and breathe through any anxiety. There’s no better place to switch off than the city of Lhasa, a magical destination renowned for its high mountains, stunning lakes and awesome Buddhist monasteries. Sagittarians need a blend of cultural excitement and soul-enriching recharge time, and Lhasa is sure to deliver as one of Booking.com’s top recommended destinations for culture. Embark on a Potala Palace Half-day Tour to discover the historic red-and-white fortress of the Dalai Lama’s winter residence, explore Jokhang Temple, the most sacred shrine in Tibet and immerse in the bustling market that encircles it. Adventurous Sagittarius loves to discover local delicacies and must-try dishes include momos (dumplings), thenthunk (noodle soup) washed down with chang (barley wine). The archer also has a wild streak and feels rejuvenated in the presence of birds: head to the Lalu Wetlands and spot snow finch, redshanks and larks, sure to ignite their free-spirited side.
Where to stay: Positioned 12,000ft (3,650m) above sea level, Sagittarians can live the high life at the luxurious The St. Regis Lhasa Resort. Boasting views over the landscaped gardens of Potala Palace, a gold-tiled swimming pool, a meditation garden and mammoth bathrooms with heated toilet seats, its decor features motifs inspired by the nearby Sera monastery. Perfect for foodies, this Booking.com Travel Sustainable property provides delicious locally sourced food and offers activities including cooking classes expertly run by local guides.Search Hotels in Lhasa
Countryside Capricorn: Queenstown, New Zealand
This retrograde season might leave Capricorns feeling lonely so an action-packed adventure vacation will help keep them distracted. Queenstown, hailed as the 'adventure capital of the world,' will provide just the setting hardworking and driven Capricorns need to fully enter out-of-office mode. Its wealth of action includes bungee jumping, paragliding and skydiving as one of Booking.com’s top destinations endorsed for outdoor activities that will get travelers pulses racing. The no-nonsense sea goat will love a Gibbston Valley Canyoning Guided Tour to abseil beside beautiful waterfalls at a scenic canyon, or an Off-roading and Jet-boating Adventure includes a four-wheel-drive safari through the wilderness followed by an exhilarating Shotover River jet boat ride. Outside of the action, Queenstown is home to beautiful rolling vineyards, a cosmopolitan dining scene and a diverse range of welcoming bars where Capricorns can make friends with other like-minded outdoor activity lovers.
Where to stay: Situated a short drive from the action in Queenstown, Kamana Lakehouse offers unobstructed views over Lake Wakatipu and the iconic Remarkables mountain range. Each stylish room features floor-to-ceiling glass, an outdoor seating area and exposed wood beams. The earth sign of Capricorn will appreciate the ethos of this Booking.com Travel Sustainable hotel which dishes out foraged herbs, seeds and wild seasonal ingredients, and nurtures key partnerships with local farmers and growers for a zero-waste fine-dining experience.Search Hotels in Queenstown
Autonomous Aquarius: Bac Ha, Vietnam
This retrograde season, Aquarians might need to call upon their power as peacemakers to help loved ones at home going through issues. For some well-deserved time out, independent and easygoing Aquarius will relish an off-the-beaten-track destination where they can pave their own path. Wild, remote northern Vietnam contains some of the country’s most awe-inspiring scenery, and is sparsely populated by a fascinating mosaic of local communities. Bac Ha, a sleepy rural district, home to the Flower Hmong people, comes to life on Sundays thanks to its famous colorful market where mountainous tribes gather to sell handcrafted and traditional goods, making it one of Booking.com’s most recommended destinations for markets. Aquarians are naturally community-oriented and will fall in love with this vibrant local scene. For active water bearers, there’s a tumbling waterfall near Huang Thu Pho village, a short drive from Bac Ha, with a pool large enough for swimming – and excellent trekking north of the town.
Where to stay: Sustainable homestay La Beauté Bắc Hà features beautiful views of the surrounding rice paddies and emerald mountains from the sun terrace. Community-minded Aquarius will appreciate this Booking.com Travel Sustainable property which invests a percentage of revenue into community projects and offers locals a platform to display their crafting talents. A good selection of organic, locally sourced regional cuisine is also available.Search Hotels in Bac Ha
Picturesque Pisces: Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon has something special to offer those with a passion for the arts, which is why this destination is perfectly suited to imaginative Pisces searching for enriching experiences. Its thriving arts scene has firmly placed this creative capital city within Booking.com’s top 10 destinations endorsed for art, and Pisces can bounce from one artistic corner to another, from the magnificent Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology to the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum which features some of the finest collections in the world. For the sign of the fish, connecting with the ocean is a magical experience, and Portugal is known for its wild waters and vast stretches of sand. Explore the city on a Lisbon Sunset Cruise down the Rio Tejo aboard a traditional boat past Commerce Square, São Jorge Castle and the Palace of Ajuda, or head to one of Lisbon’s stunning beaches all easily accessible from the city. For those who want to explore on land, invest in a one, two or three-day Lisbon City Card with unlimited access to public transportation and admission to art galleries and museums. Make sure to head to the old town this retrograde season and go back in time with its white-domed cathedrals, pastel-colored buildings, cobbled alleyways and ancient ruins crafted over centuries.
Where to stay: Located in the heart of old Lisbon on the banks of the Rio Tejo, Pisces will feel at home at the 54 São Paulo - Exclusive Apartment Hotel. These elegant and artsy apartments in this beautifully restored building aptly merge old features with modern design. Ever-caring and compassionate Pisceans will appreciate this Booking.com Travel Sustainable stay for its sustainability efforts including water-efficient showers and toilets, and verdant green spaces including a leafy courtyard garden where Pisces can kick back and relax.Search Hotels in Lisbon
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