28 January 2019
As we enter 2019, you’ll be starting to think about the holidays you will be taking in the coming year. Whether you simply desire some fun in the sun or want to go in search of some of the world’s finest experiences, narrowing down a wealth of exciting options can be daunting.
So, we’ve put together a list of 5 incredible places across four continents, drawing on the expertise of our Travel Counsellors to reveal the hottest destinations for 2019.
Renowned for its unspoiled tropical beauty and as one of India’s top responsible tourism destinations, Kerala is a coastal state with a lot to offer whether you’re looking for a beach break, mountain hikes, adventure, wildlife or culture. Stop by Munnar for a tour of their sprawling tea plantations and try a cup of the local produce at the tea museum, head to the coast at Varkala for a stretch of palm-fringed golden sand bordered by beachside restaurants, hotels and guest houses, or visit Kannur to see masked spirit-possession theyyam rituals and hand loom weaving.
Kerala is also is committed to making tourism a tool for “the development of village and local communities, eradicating poverty and giving emphasis to female empowerment,” combining the excitement of travel with sustainable practices.
“Take a houseboat cruise along the backwaters. It has beautiful scenery and fantastic people, and after the terrible monsoons they suffered this summer, their economy needs the support of the tourist industry to help them recover.”
Mark, Travel Counsellor
Although it may look like a long-lost relative of the Caribbean, the stunning island of Mauritius is one of the jewels in Africa’s crown with a beautiful coastline sporting golden sands and the crystal blue waters of the Indian Ocean. On Flic-en-Flac beach, you can get fresh pineapple from local vendors as you soak up the sun, while the paradise-like Île aux Cerfs has waterfalls and beaches that look better in person than in the brochures.
There are also many attractions of the island that shouldn’t be overlooked. The Seven Coloured Earths at Chamarel is a great example, displaying an array of vibrant colours in the form of sand dunes, or hike up to the 500-metre peak of Le Morne for spectacular views of Mauritius’ most spectacular optical illusion – the underwater waterfall. There’s also Grand Bassin, a secluded mountainous area which has a beautiful lake overlooked by a large statue of Shiva. It is Mauritius’ most sacred Hindu site and tourists are welcome to visit.
“Mauritius is a stunning destination and has plenty going on for all travellers, whether you are going on your honeymoon or travelling with the kids. The country is full of lovely people who just want you to love their island as much as they do.”
Helen, Travel Counsellor
In Bergen, you can wander along streets lined with colourful, wooden buildings in its UNESCO-listed Old Town, or take the funicular up to Fløyen for spectacular views of the region. Bergen also has an impressive collection of unique Norwegian and international art treasures ranging from classical to contemporary, with major collections of Munch, Tidemand, Gude and Picasso housed in a row of galleries lining Lille Lungegårdsvann lake.
Norway’s second city is also a great base for exploring the west coast’s beautiful fjords, and a number of fjords tours and cruises are available, including the Norway in a Nutshell tour that combines the region’s most picturesque roads, rail tracks and waterways to create an unforgettable adventure.
“Cruise your way to Bergen and the Norwegian Fjords – the scenery is just breathtaking. In particular, I’d recommend going on the Fløibanen funicular to the top of Fløyen mountain for breathtaking views over the city and coast.”
Julia, Travel Counsellor
Following on from the increasing popularity of nearby Croatia and neighbouring Montenegro, Albania is the next big thing on the Adriatic coast. If you’re looking for a city break head to Tirana, one of eastern Europe’s hidden gems. Its emerging gastronomic scene is headlined by restaurants such as Mullixhiu, with its traditional Albanian tasting menu, and Cioccolatitaliani, a glass-fronted dessert joint serving up a wide variety of chocolate-inspired dishes. Tirana is also the gateway to the picturesque, mountainside town of Krujë, which is home to Krujë Castle and the Old Bazaar, where you can pick up some souvenirs.
The Albanian Riviera’s the best for those wanting to top up their suntan and take a dip in the turquoise Mediterranean without the crowds. This rugged stretch of coastline features the stunning beach at Ksamil, which sits across the water from Corfu, and Dhërmi beach with its white pebbles and picturesque coves and bays. Further north is Durrës, home to Albania’s most popular beach and ancient Roman ruins including an amphitheatre.
“Albania may be an unusual destination, but with recent changes, it is becoming easier to visit. I enjoyed the short tour that took us to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint, which has ruins from the Greek, Roman and Ottoman periods. This is perfect for a day trip if you’re staying along the Albanian Riviera.”
Graham, Travel Counsellor
This fascinating island-nation blends stunning beaches and landscapes with a compelling past and lively present-day culture. If you’re looking to take advantage of soft white sands and the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, head to Varadero, Cayo Coco or Cayo Guillermo.
If a cultural experience is something you desire, look no further than Havana, with centuries-old pastel buildings, vintage cars and a selection of fantastic bars which serve up cocktails and the country’s famous cigars. One of the best ways to see, and capture, the city is on a photography tour, where your guide will take you to the capital’s most iconic shots such as El Malecon and Old Havana.
“Cuba is not just for beach holidays. There’s the faded beauty of Havana, incredible history and wonderful food in hidden paladares, horseriding through tobacco fields in Viñales, sipping mojitos and salsa dancing with the locals and exploring the beautiful colonial town of Trinidad. And if that’s not enough, there are plenty of gorgeous beaches, stunning scenery and the warmest people you could wish to meet.”
Steph, Travel Counsellor
If you would like to book a trip for 2019, contact your Travel Counsellor.