The new year has just begun and already, some of my readers have asked me for ideas on where to go in 2019. I thought about this and decided to create this list, partly based on places I’ve visited and absolutely loved in the past few years. Here are my recommended destinations in 2019:
I visited Nepal for the first time last year and even though I only got to see Kathmandu, I was blown away by its historic sights, temples and friendly people. The chaotic traffic was often overwhelming but despite that, I was drawn to its serene, deeply spiritual vibes. I’d go back in an instant! While you’re there, do explore the rest of this country to see other historic towns and the breathtaking peaks of the Himalayas. If you’re short on time, take a scenic flight to the Himalayas for literally jaw-dropping views!
See my video of the scenic flight to Mount Everest:
Read about my impressions of Kathmandu.
Matera, situated in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, is the designated European Capital of Culture in 2019. There will be lots of cultural events to enjoy throughout the year but take some time to explore this wondrous city of caves, which is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited settlements in the world! Visiting Matera is like taking a step back in time to Biblical ages! Read about things to do in Matera.
If you’re visiting Matera, I also recommend exploring the neighbouring region of Puglia. Check out my guide to the best places to visit in Puglia.
Another country I visited for the first time last year. I don’t know why it took me that long to finally visit Lithuania! It’s a beautiful country with a gorgeous capital (Vilnius), charming towns, large swathes of dense forests, crystalline lakes and beaches. Spend a few days exploring Vilnius (with its picturesque old town and countless churches), then head over to Kaunas (a wonderful mix of historic architecture and Art Nouveau) and indulge yourself in the spa town of Birštonas. If you’re there in the summer, head for the beaches of Palanga and nearby Šventoji. A curious (perhaps spooky) site that is worth a visit is the Hill of Crosses in northern Lithuania, where approximately 100,000 crosses and religious icons dot the slopes of a hill.
There’s always something to do in Germany, one of the top holiday destinations in Europe. This year, fans of Modernist architecture and design are in for a treat as the influential movement, Bauhaus, celebrates its 100th birthday! Trace the steps of the Bauhaus movement and admire the terrific architecture and design in cities such as Weimar, Erfurt, Dessau and Berlin. Take note of the new Bauhaus Museums opening in Weimar and Dessau in 2019.
From the lofty peaks of the Andes to the tropical Pacific Coast and the incredible Galapagos Islands, Ecuador is an amazing destination with lots to see and do. Explore the historic centre of Quito before venturing into the cloud forests of Mashpi and further up into the Andes. If you can, I recommend a visit to the Galapagos Islands.
Read about places you should not miss in Ecuador.
I visited Belfast, Northern Ireland, four times in 2018 and absolutely enjoyed every visit. Stroll around the city centre, visit one of the many pubs, check out the stunning street art (and pubs) in the Cathedral Quarter and re-live the days of the Titanic at the Titanic Museum. While you’re there, make time to explore more of Northern Ireland. Check out the Giant’s Causeway and the Causeway Coastal route, Lough Neagh, Game of Thrones experiences, culinary tours in Enniskillen, hikes in the Mourne Mountains and cycling tours in the Sperrins.
La Réunion & Mauritius
These two dots in the Indian Ocean are the perfect pairing for those seeking a luxury beach escape combined with action and adventure. La Réunion (or Réunion Island) is a French department (the Euro is the currency here) and is a mountainous island with one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It’s a paradise for travellers seeking action and adventure; from canyoning in old lava flows to hiking in the cirques, and exploring lava tunnels to flying in a micro-light plane above the mountains, Réunion Island is simply mind-blowing!
Read about things to do in Reunion Island.
After all that action and adventure, head to nearby Mauritius, with its incredible crystalline lagoons, powdery white beaches, bustling towns and stunning luxury resorts. Read about things to do in Mauritius and my recommended luxury hotels in Mauritius.
There you have it! My list of where to go in 2019! I wish you safe and inspiring travels!