Where to Go in 2019?
Wondering where to go on vacation in 2019? We've got you covered.
This year’s list of the best vacation spots span the globe, from exciting southern hemisphere cities like Uruguay to destinations at the top of the world like Finnish Lapland. There are tourist destinations like Egypt making a comeback, new capitals of culture like Singapore and Panama City and old favorites like Greece that we are seeing in a new light. Where will you go this year?
Glasgow and Edinburgh are Scotland's two biggest cities, and any Scotland travel plans should make ample time to explore the craggy alleyways, historic castles, and centuries-old pubs both offer, but the true spirit of the country lies in the Highlands. Once home to crofters (tenant farmers) and fiercely loyal clansmen, it is still a land of distant moors and defiant mountain-scapes. If you’re a fan of hiking majestic mountain ranges, floating mist-covered lochs, or exploring ancient forests, then you’ll love the Highlands. Combine your outdoor cycling/hiking/kayaking/fishing adventure with visits to famed distilleries, stunning historic castles, the iconic Culloden Battlefield and even try to spot the fabled Loch Ness Monster on the bonny banks of Loch Ness. Stay: the charming 4-room, Killiehuntly Farmhouse
Jose Ignacio, Uruguay
Beginning in November and running through February, Uruguay’s José Ignacio transforms from a sleepy fishing village into a buzzing haven for surfers and international jet-setters swapping their winters for South America’s summer season. If a party scene isn’t your thing head to this seaside town during the off-season when the town reverts to its laid-back beach town vibe. If surfing and yoga aren’t your thing, there is plenty more to do in the “Montauk” of South America. See a polo match (or take a lesson), horseback ride on the beach, try windsurfing, or explore the town’s fishing village roots and go deep sea fishing. Stay: on the beach at Bahia Vik
Finnish Lapland is the ultimate winter destination – not only will you find miles of downhill ski runs and cross-country skiing trails but quirky snow sports, some of which are only feasible with enough snow and ice, abound. If you’re not afraid of heights, try ice climbing along frozen cliffs and rock faces. Or do some snow kiting, also known as kite skiing, which uses the power of the kite to glide along ice while riding a snowboard or skis. To explore farther afield hop on a snowmobile or dog sled and search the night sky for the Northern Lights (they appear on more than 200 nights a year in Finnish Lapland). Winter not your thing? Contrasts are a key factor in the allure of Finnish Lapland where 24-hour sunlight in the summer replaces the dark winter days. The summer sun naturally brings people out to hike, canoe, fish and golf into the wee hours of the morning. Stay: at the luxury resort, Octola Lodge or in a glass igloo beneath the Northern lights at Kakslauttanen Resort.
It’s not surprising that Japan was named Travel + Leisure’s 2018 destination of the year. The Land of the Rising Sun has the electric energy of Tokyo and the enduring beauty of Kyoto. The country’s ancient customs continue to fascinate, and its chefs approach their trade with a precision and creative spirit that yields unforgettable culinary experiences. Its landscape, from magisterial mountain ranges to an enchanting inland sea, rivals any in the world. Its museums are meccas for art lovers, and its architects are imagining the future of design in daring ways. Best of all, from historic urban shrines to forest trails to understated hotels, Japan offers a sense of serenity that is harder than ever to find today. Stay: See and be seen at the iconic Park Hyatt Tokyo or follow the trendy locals and stylish travelers to the Trunk Hotel in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood. In Kyoto, the spectacular Ritz-Carlton Kyoto is the place to be.
The Azores, Portugal
The Azores, an archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and a region of Portugal, is topping the lists of adventure travelers for 2019. With new direct flights from New York (the journey takes just five hours), the islands have volcanic crater lakes, natural hot springs and black-sand beaches and offer high-thrill activities including scuba diving, kayaking, hiking, whale-watching, birding, surfing and more. And while five-star luxury isn’t easy to find here, there are some lovely hotels such as the contemporary-chic Furnas Boutique Hotel, urban Azor and minimalist White Exclusive Suites & Villas.
South Island, New Zealand
Though some might think of it as Australia’s little sister, New Zealand has always been a sensational destination in its own right — and 2019 is set to be a banner year. Air New Zealand recently launched a non-stop flight between Chicago O’Hare and Auckland, the first and only direct route to the wild islands from the center of North America. Use this as your excuse to head down under and visit the country’s lush South Island, which is less developed than its neighbor to the north. Dramatic topographical features dominate the landscape, from snow-capped mountain peaks to whimsical, Seussian flora. An adventure seeker’s nirvana, the South Island is known for its bungee jumping, skydiving, and six of the country’s ten Great Walks, a network of backcountry trekking tracks, with a new route in the Paparoa Range set to open in 2019. Stay: at the Lindis, a new luxury lodge built into a dramatic dip in the Ahuriri Valley, or the Matakauri Lodge overlooking Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by snow-capped peaks.
Welcome to the crossroads of the Americas. In Panama, north meets south in a fiesta of tropical biodiversity, celebrated at the world-class BioMuseo. East meets West through expanding world trade, with the world’s biggest cargo ships travelling the recently revamped Panama Canal. Darling Panama packs so many treasures into one small country – from white-sand beaches to tropical rainforests, misty highlands and indigenous culture – it is shocking that it’s somehow still under the radar. In 2019, Panama City pledges to party like never before, marking its 500-year history with one raucous jubilee that you won’t want to miss. Stay: At the charming, boutique American Trade Hotel in Panama City or Islas Secas nestled in a private archipelago of 14 islands on Panama’s Pacific Coast.
Egypt is back! New museum and hotel openings are a welcome sign that tourism is slowly returning to this culturally-rich country. The brand new 650,000- square foot Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza is slated to open this year as is the new St. Regis Cairo on the shores of the Nile. Spend a few days in Cairo to gain insight into the complex history of the Middle East, visit the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, cruise down the Nile from Aswan on a luxury cruise or on a traditional sailing dahabiyas, soar above the pyramids on a morning hot-air balloon ride, and take a trip to Luxor to see the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens.
Call it the Crazy Rich Asian effect but the blockbuster has launched Singapore as more than just a stopover city. Head here for the tropical British colonial grandeur and futuristic architecture, for street food in the night markets, skyscraping sundowners in Marina Bay Sands’ rooftop pool, and for namesake Slings at Raffles, the original Grande Dame of the Far East. And when you’ve had your fill of city life head to the beach for a relaxing reprieve. Yes, Singapore is still a great a jumping-off point for the islands of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia but it also has a slew of stunning beaches and incredible private islands nearby. Stay: Luxury in the city at Six Senses Maxwell. Luxury on the beach at nearby Bawah Reserve, accessible accessed by seaplane from Singapore, with 35 teak overwater villas in the bright lagoons of a marine conservation zone.
First time visitors to Greece tend to flock toward the usual suspects – the white washed island of Mykonos, the rugged topography of Crete, and the strikingly beautiful island of Santorini. But those in the know will tell you where much of Greece’s true beauty (and history) lies in the large southern peninsula of the Peleponnese. The Peloponnese is the stuff of legends. Literally. It is here that Hercules fought the Nemean lion and gods walked the earth; it's from here that Paris of Troy eloped with Helen and the Argonauts set sail in search of the Golden Fleece. Celestial and mythological charms aside, this region is also home lofty, snowcapped mountains, vast gorges, sandy beaches and azure waters – the very topography that kept invaders at bay for centuries but now draws visitors of a very different kind. Filoxenia (hospitality) is as strong here as anywhere in the rest of the country; the food is among Greece's best; and the region's vineyards are contributing to Greece's wine renaissance. Locals claim to have the best of everything to give. And that’s no myth. Stay: For luxury Amanzoe, nestled on a secluded hilltop among acres of olive groves, the coastal resort, Costa Navarino, overlooking the Ionian Sea, or at an ancient Byzantine estate, the Kinsterna Hotel, overlooking the fairytale rock city of Monemvasia, the “Gibraltar” of Greece.