No matter how well-travelled you are, there’s always more to see and experience. Your checklist evolves with your priorities, and the best destinations Opens a New Window. change from one year to the next. Travel in 2019 is no different.
Case in point: A decade ago, you didn’t know anyone who’d been to Lisbon. Now, everyone’s been, twice. Sure, Lisbon is worth a visit, but it’s a bit overcrowded these days. Maybe you’ve been to Germany Opens a New Window. before, but 2019 is a particularly special year to go, so it deserves a spot on said list. And there’s more out there than just Europe Opens a New Window. , too. Ever been to Senegal or Panama? Well then, 2019 is the time!
So, where should you go in 2019? If your list needs a refresh, and if you’re willing to take the advice of a few travel pros—those of us who’ve been there, done that, and written about it—then here are 10 places to consider for travel in 2019.
“Forget flamenco and Mediterranean beaches,” says travel writer Marck Gutt Opens a New Window. . “Spain is way more than its southern coast cliché.” This year, head north to the region of Asturias Opens a New Window. , on the Bay of Biscay. As far as nature goes, Gutt loves Asturias for its “evergreen cliffs, hidden, unspoiled bays, and monumental summits”. You’ll start each meal with Cabrales cheese, chase it with artisan cider, and might even bask in a gaita bagpipe serenade.
Sure, you’ve club-banged in Berlin Opens a New Window. and OD’d on pretzels in Munich Opens a New Window. . But next year, you need to return to Germany, says travel writer Eliot Stein Opens a New Window. . While November isn’t the prime time to visit Berlin, it’s exactly when to go in 2019: November 9 is the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the city will commemorate Germany’s reunification Opens a New Window. with numerous events. Stein is also excited about new museum openings in the German capital: “The glittering Futurium, the graceful James-Simon Galerie, and the sophisticated Humboldt Forum.”
There’s another significant German anniversary next year, too: “Nearby Berlin Opens a New Window. , in Dessau, a design trend that shook the world, ‘Bauhaus’, is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a series of exhibits and events throughout the country—from Hamburg to Hesse and Berlin to Brandenburg,” says Stein.
“I’m an ardent supporter of pushing forward the urban agenda when it comes to tourism in Africa,” says travel writer and TV host Brandon Presser Opens a New Window. . “Sure, safaris are stunning, but Africa’s urban offering feels like an untapped spring.” Presser’s top city pick is Senegal’s capital: “Dakar Opens a New Window. just unveiled its new international airport that’s been 10 years in the making. Its geographical positioning means that it could potentially become another strategic layover destination, like Iceland or Dubai, bringing a flood of new travellers through.”
There’s far more to see and do on the West African coast, too: “The beaches of Sierra Leone Opens a New Window. beckon the intrepid explorer, as do the markets of Benin, the purported home of voodooism, which lends a certain intrigue,” Presser says. He recommends Mango Safaris Opens a New Window. to help do some itinerary planning, as well as Intrepid Travel Opens a New Window. for day trips and itineraries for West Africa, like a slow-boat tour through The Gambia.
While most travellers to Baja will post up at a Cabo Opens a New Window. resort, you should consider La Paz Opens a New Window. , just two hours north by car along the Sea of Cortez. Jacques Cousteau called it the “world’s aquarium,” because of the 900+ species of fish and 5,000+ micro-invertebrates that inhabit the waters. You can snorkel or dive to find them, alongside sea lions and whale sharks, or boat out farther to spot whales. (La Paz is one of the world’s best diving destinations, after all.) If you’re the beached kind of traveller, La Paz’s Balandra Beach is often ranked the best in Mexico, thanks to its turquoise water and white-sand sprawl. Surfers will head to nearby Todo Santos, a “magic town” one hour away. (Come in winter for the best surf.) La Paz Opens a New Window. itself has a stronghold on authenticity, serving Mexican fare both sophisticated and simple—far more sincere than any “all-you-can-eat” exclusive resorts down the coast.
That’s Georgia the country, not the state. Tbilisi Opens a New Window. left a big impression on Eugenia González de Henn Opens a New Window. —especially its incredible party scene, often fueled by Georgian wines. In fact, it’s got one of the oldest wine-making traditions in the world, González de Henn says of the 8,000-year-old custom of fermenting wine in clay vessels (called kvevris). Here’s what else you can expect: a burgeoning craft beer movement, sulfur-fueled Persian baths, a diverse religious history (with synagogues, mosques, and churches standing out in its Old Town), and Art Nouveau architecture in various states of restoration or disrepair, signalling that Georgia Opens a New Window. is moments away from its breakthrough as a tourism hotspot.
“There’s already quite a lot of pre-buzz about Tokyo’s Olympic gig in 2020,” says Presser. “But I would argue that next year’s the right time to pay the Land of the Rising Sun a visit. I’m most interested in the art triennial happening throughout the Setouchi islands Opens a New Window. .” (You might recognize Yayoi Kusama’s polka-dot pumpkin installation from a previous collection.) “Sometimes I find the art world to be arcane, but this experience is wholly immersive and has a very broad appeal (think adult Disneyland); also there are some wonderful opportunities to book small B&Bs throughout the archipelago where the innkeepers can further the adventure by teaching you local cooking and other home-based crafts.” Presser suggests booking with InsideJapan Opens a New Window. to help build a thorough itinerary for the whole trip—or for individual days. “They have access to private boats to shuttle you between islands, and can hook you up with perfectly bilingual guides to help with interpretation of the exhibitions,” he says.
If you’re looking for a US trip, point yourself southwest: “In the middle of nowhere Arizona, among cowboys and deserted landscapes, this unexpected town salutes visitors with progressive art galleries, beautiful boutique hotels, and restaurants that unapologetically take time to prepare food,” says Gutt. “That’s because they do everything from scratch. Bisbee Opens a New Window. is more than a picturesque Wild West postcard, it’s a role model for community-oriented economies. There’s not a single chain or franchise operating in town: no Starbucks, no Chase, and no Hilton.”
Honduras Opens a New Window. is often overlooked because of its Central American competition: “While Costa Rica gets the attention for natural adventures, and El Salvador when it comes to surf, the Honduran lush landscapes are set aside,” says Gutt. “Untouched jungles, massive lagoons, and forests give life to inland Honduras. Birdwatching paradises, beautiful eco-lodges, and ecological reserves (protecting manatees and more), are easy to find in the parks surrounding San Pedro Sula.” He recommends The Lodge at Pico Bonito Opens a New Window. and Cuero y Salado Reserve Opens a New Window. for nature lovers.
I’ll admit that Serbia never registered as a destination to me: I knew of it as part of the war-torn remnants of Yugoslavia (much of its damage was done by our own American hands, so I wasn’t sure we were welcome, either). But modern-day Serbia—and in particular, Belgrade Opens a New Window. —is more modern than most, the polar opposite of any naïve and dated misunderstandings. The city produces many of Europe’s top engineers and programmers, carrying on Tesla’s legacy. It’s often called Little Berlin because of its nightlife and graffiti-dotted urban bloom. You can dine in old-world restaurants Opens a New Window. , with chickens parading at your feet, or world-class ones Opens a New Window. that attract Serbian stars like Novak Djokovic (whose face you’ll see on two dozen billboards). When you’re in town, stay at the newly opened Square Nine Hotel Opens a New Window. , and save time in your itinerary to explore the expansive Kalemegdan Park + Fortress of Belgrade, with panoramic views of the Danube.
“Bridging two continents and dividing two oceans, Panama is home to Central America’s most cosmopolitan city, and some of the world’s richest biodiversity,” says Stein. “Next year marks Panama City Opens a New Window. ‘s 500th anniversary, and thanks to Copa Airlines’ brand-new Copa Stopover program, you can explore the country’s misty highlands, cerulean shorelines, and graceful Casco Viejo up to three days free of charge.” (You need to call Copa’s Reservation Centre Opens a New Window. to arrange this stopover, which is a viable option if you’re leaving a major U.S. hub and are en route to Lima, Santiago, São Paulo Opens a New Window. , Buenos Aires Opens a New Window. —or even Mexico City Opens a New Window. should you want a circuitous route.)