Top 10 holiday destinations to experience in 2019
Thinking about where you should visit in 2019? We’ve got you covered with everything from tropical locales for island hopping to exciting cosmopolitan cities while making it easy to create the ideal holiday that allows for a more immersive experience.
There’s plenty to explore in this vast nation that stretches 2,800 miles from coast to coast. It would take months if not years to experience it all, but it’s easy to combine some of the top spots into one unforgettable holiday excursion. If Southern charms peak your interest, consider a tour through the south. Here you can sample the region’s legendary hospitality, delicious cuisine and magnificent antebellum homes along with its famous sounds from Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry to Elvis Presley’s Graceland and iconic Sun Studio in Memphis. You won’t want to miss strolling the cobbled streets of New Orleans, internationally renowned for its jazz and mouthwatering Cajun fare.
Summer in New England is ideal, making it the perfect time to explore the coast from Newport, Rhode Island with its grand historic mansions and the islands off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Nantucket is famous for its many romantic inns, over 800 pre-Civil War houses, postcard-perfect beaches, pretty lighthouses and a fascinating whale museum. Taste fresh lobster in Maine and perhaps even join a lobstering adventure, stepping into the shoes of real-life fishermen in Kennebunkport. There are lots of opportunities for outdoor adventure throughout the area, from whale watching, canoe and kayak tours to hiking and biking.
Or, tour the awe-inspiring Mountain States, delving into the Wild West while taking in dramatic Rocky Mountain views in Colorado, endless prairies and soaring jagged peaks in Wyoming, along with famous national parks like Yellowstone and Grand Teton. You can even include the stunning red rock country of Utah and sights like Mount Rushmore National Monument with the faces of four U.S. presidents carved into the granite cliff in the spectacular Black Hills of South Dakota.
Costa Rica is a top destination for wildlife and nature lovers as well as adventure seekers. Its lush jungles are home to four types of monkeys, an astonishing array of exotic birds and butterflies, sloths and a wide range of lizard species. Anteaters, tapirs and coatimundis scurry by regularly in some of its national parks while both coasts are famous for nesting turtles as well as visits from migrating whales and leaping dolphins, with pods number in the thousands. All sorts of adventures can be enjoyed, from surfing and zip-lining to hiking through cloud forests and swimming in tranquil pools under cascading waterfalls. You can even delve into authentic culture, experiencing what it’s like to live in this remote part of the world by spending time in one of the rural, local communities.
With breathtaking scenery that stretches across soaring mountains and gorgeous coastlines combined with cosmopolitan cities, Canada offers it all. If you’re looking for a combination of remote wilderness and exciting city options, spend time in British Columbia, the westernmost province, exploring Vancouver and its capital city, beautiful Victoria on Vancouver Island. You’ll be able to take advantage of shopping, dining and cultural attractions in the city and immerse yourself in remote wilderness areas taking advantage of opportunities for eco-adventure tours, fishing and wildlife watching – including bears and whales.
On the east side of the country, Atlantic Canada, which includes New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, is a region that’s incredibly picturesque, warm and welcoming, characterised by colourful fishing villages, beautiful beaches, a wide range of marine life and some of the most mouthwatering fresh seafood you’ll ever taste. Don’t miss the chance to take one of the world’s most scenic drives, the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. The route meanders alongside dramatic seaside cliffs, circling around the northern tip of the island traversing through the Cape Breton Highlands. Along the way keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife, including dolphins, whales, seals, bald eagles and the adorable auk known as the puffin. Immerse yourself in the still vibrant Celtic and Acadian cultures, enjoying live traditional Celtic music nearly every night of the week.
Thailand is often ranked among the world’s happiest nations, known as the ‘Land of Smiles.’ It’s not only renowned for its friendly hospitality, but it’s a foodie heaven. In Bangkok you’ll find especially delectable street cuisine with every plate bursting with tasty flavors, blending sweet and spicy with ingredients like kaffir lime leaves. Discover a wealth of magnificent Buddhist temples and monasteries, and then head out to do some island hopping, the most popular activity in Thailand. There are more than 1,400 tropical islands to choose from in the south, from Ko Chang, offering some of the best diving and snorkeling in the country, to Ko Samui with some of the world’s top luxury beach resorts and indulgent spas. No matter which island you choose, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery and glistening turquoise seas, ideal for days spent relaxing on the sand and enjoying activities on the water.
Vietnam is another fabulous option for a holiday in Asia, with a wide range of cultural experiences and lush, boutique escapes. Take a walking tour in Hanoi where you’ll discover something interesting around practically every corner, stopping to soak up the views from a rooftop bar with a traditional Vietnamese coffee or a chilled beer. The Old Quarter of the buzzing capital showcases businesses just as it did centuries ago for a fascinating glimpse into local life. Hoi Ann, Vietnam’s most atmospheric city, is a World Heritage Site with hundreds of buildings designated historic landmarks. Explore the Ancient Town on foot where you’ll witness centuries-old temples or take a tour to learn about the local fishermen and even test your own skills.
After your explorations of some of Vietnam’s most interesting cities, take time to relax and refresh at An Lam Retreats, an ideal boutique getaway in Nich Van Bay, an exclusive area of Nha Trang. Nestled in the jungle, this gorgeous adult-only resort features 34 villas for an intimate, high-end stay, including your own personal butler. Many come with a private plunge pool. Guests can also take advantage of the lavish spa with its many pampering treatments.
One of the top destinations for romance-seekers, Mauritius is an island located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, some 2,000 miles off the southeast coast. It’s best known for its luxury hotels and resorts with landscapes that include postcard-perfect white sandy beaches, picturesque lagoons and volcanic mountains. It’s an ideal spot for honeymooners and all types of travellers who want to enjoy relaxed days soaking up the sun and snorkeling or diving through a spectacular underwater world, jam-packed with marine life. Paddle boarding, windsurfing, parasailing, deep-sea fishing, swimming with dolphins, mountain treks and bird watching are just some of the other activities possible here.
The stylish all-inclusive LUX* Belle Mare resort offers a luxurious stay with plenty of Mauritian hospitality in thatched-roofed suites with jaw-dropping panoramic views. It boasts the island’s largest swimming pool as well as an idyllic stretch of beach, multiple onsite eateries and the world-class LUX* Me spa. This sanctuary for health and well-being has an extensive menu that includes a variety of massage options, treatments, yoga and meditation.
Barbados is the No.1 holiday island for Brits who tend to return again and again, enjoying the endless delights that include swaying palms, fantasy-like beaches framed by a sea in every shade of blue as well as classic all-inclusive resorts, top-notch restaurants and exciting excursions. One of the most desirable and luxurious travel destinations in the Caribbean, it offers a wide range of water sports options, from swimming with sea turtles to paddle boarding, windsurfing, snorkeling and diving. It’s a true diver’s paradise, surrounded by reef with several wrecks that can be explored. Visitors can also wander through the capital city of Bridgetown’s historic old town and St. Ann’s Garrison, both of which have been recognised by UNESCO as outstanding examples of British colonial architecture.
Tamarind by Elegant Hotels is a top pick here, located on the west coast, often referred to as the Platinum Coast, renowned for its powdery white sands. It boasts awe-inspiring ocean views and glorious sunsets, with the pristine beach just steps from rooms. There are three beautiful pools, including adult-only and sea view options as well as a tranquil spa.
The Seychelles are the ultimate island paradise located on the equator in the Indian Ocean. A true fantasy come to life, the archipelago has 115 islands to choose from, each with its distinct charms, making it ideal for an island-hopping holiday. You may want to embark on a cruise aboard a catamaran taking in some of the most popular islands, starting in Mahe, the largest island home to about 90 percent of the population.
Snorkelling at Sainte Anne Marine National Park, made up of six islands off the northeast coast with vibrant coral reefs and swaths of seagrass inhabited by dolphins and hawksbill turtles, is often included. Many itineraries also feature the island of La Digue, the smallest of the three main islands and the most laid-back – a place where time seems to stand still with few signs of modern civilisation, nearly everyone gets around on foot or bicycle. Cousin Island is popular too, a wildlife haven with sandy beaches and rocky coastline, lush mangroves, freshwater swamps and dense forests. It’s a paradise for bird lovers and home to giant tortoises and a variety of lizards. With luck on your side, you might even stumble onto a tortoise laying its eggs.
One of the fastest growing destinations for travellers, Japan has become a must-experience. While its cities are known for their sea of neon lights, densely-packed skyscrapers and crowds, there’s always a calm of oasis to be found nearby for enjoying peace and serenity, like the Meiji Shrine with its 100,000+ trees in Tokyo’s district of Harajuku. Throughout the nation, tradition mixes with the cosmopolitan, like the old town of Kishiwada where you can wander the side streets that haven’t changed for decades, lined with family-owned tea brewers, grocers and confectioners.
Japan is also home to the magnificent landscapes of Mount Fuji, hot springs and volcanic lakes, offering something for just about everyone. There are a wide range of unforgettable cultural escorted tours available in this country of contrasts. Visitors can explore the highlights and history of Tokyo, the wonders of Kyoto, participate in traditional tea ceremonies, discover ancient temples, visit the famous snow monkeys in Jigokudani Park, enjoy close encounters with the over 1,000 wild deer in Nara Park and much more.
A haven out in the Indian Ocean, the secluded Maldives are often named as the most romantic archipelago on the planet. Anyone that’s looking for seclusion and relaxation is likely to find it here, with hundreds of picture-perfect sandy islands and countless resorts with overwater villas where you’ll be surrounded by warm waters in a myriad of dazzling blue hues. Look forward to taking part in active pursuits like diving or snorkeling among coral reefs, sailing, windsurfing and more. Many resorts in the Maldives can only be reached by boat, offering an extra special, secretive allure.
While there are countless options to choose from, Baros Maldives sits on the secluded island of Baros in the southern reaches of the North Male Atoll, a 25-minute speedboat ride from the international airport. Surrounded by a crystal-clear coral lagoon and powder sugar-like sands fringed with palm trees and fragrant flowers, guests can spend their days lounging on the beach and taking part in all sorts of activities from snorkeling, diving and sailing to romantic dinner cruises. The onsite Serenity Spa is the perfect place to take relaxation up a notch, offering yoga, massage and wellness treatments.