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A new year, a fresh start, and twelve clean months to fill with adventures. With infinite possibilities, how do you create a shortlist of where to go?
What’s topical, and what should be at the top of your list for right now? For the inside track of the best destinations to discover in the coming year, look no further. From up and coming destinations, to anniversaries to celebrate, to international events, here are ou top travel destinations.
Best Adventure Holiday Destinations
Sri Lanka: Best for Variety
Sri Lanka Buddha
Lonely Planet’s number 1 Destination is “decidedly having its moment in the equatorial sun”. Sri Lanka’s charm lies in its ability to appeal to all tastes. Somehow the teardrop isle has something for everyone without losing its identity. Beach lovers will adore the gorgeous sandy shores, and wildlife enthusiasts can take to the waves to spot whales swimming past.
Cyclists and walkers alike can explore the tea plantations and take quiet tarmac backroads or picturesque trails through the highlands to see a rural side to the country. There’s history aplenty, with tranquil temples, glittering reclining Buddhas and hilltop fortresses all awaiting discovery.
Find out more: Sri Lanka travel
Egypt: Best for Beating the Crowds
“Tourism is returning to Egypt,” explains Product Manager John Penge, “but visitor numbers aren’t at the same level that they once were, making now a very good time to visit a popular destination before the word gets out!” Egypt’s appeal lies in its phenomenal history.
The ancient wonders of the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings come to life for Exodus travellers with the help of a qualified Egyptologist, whose immense knowledge and passion bring to life the stories and the power struggles that dominate this hugely sophisticated civilisation.
Find out more: Egypt Travel
Piedmont, Italy: Best for Culinary Enthusiasts
Another Lonely Planet recommendation that we can’t help but agree with. The region has long been known as a gastronomic hub, even by Italian standards, and the local vineyards make beautiful scenery as well as Barolo, or the King of the Wines. 2019 looks to be all about authentic flavours, traditional techniques and recipes handed down through the generations.
Our two self-guided culinary adventures stay in luxury historic hotels, whether you’re walking or cycling between Savoy castles, tiny frescoed chapels and picturesque villages. We’ve included wine-tastings, cheese-tastings and all gastronomic evening meals so you can try the delights of the region.
Find out more: Italy travel
Iceland: Best for Game of Thrones Fans
Game of Thrones has inspired a new rush of inspired travellers heading to Iceland to discover the series’ most dramatic filming spots. The scenery of the land of ice and fire captivates the imaginations of both fans and visitors alike, with thundering geysers, rushing waterfalls, scenic escarpments and the crack between two of the world’s tectonic plates all there to draw the eye.
Find out more: Iceland travel
Jordan: Best for Adventure
Jordan also appeared in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel list for 2019, we’ve got our own evidence to back it up. “Jordan is a fantastic destination — and one that is growing in popularity, with almost 30% more travellers than this time last year,” says product manager Kashka Lantis.
In just four hours, you can escape the dull British winter and find yourself floating in the dead sea, wandering through the ancient rose-red city of Petra and falling asleep under the stars in a traditional Bedouin desert camp; we’re not surprised to see this destination making a comeback.
Find out more: Jordan travel
Cuba: Best for Anniversary Celebrations
2019 marks the 500th anniversary of the founding of the city of Havana, Cuba’s crumbling colonial masterpiece. Havana isn’t a place that gives up its secrets easily, despite being one of the friendliest places you could hope to visit; that’s why we’ve included a classic car tour of the city.
Hop inside one of America’s classic cars, lovingly restored and patched up for years by local taxi drivers, and be escorted around the markets, ration stores and streets that make up this enigmatic city.
Find out more: Cuba travel
Kyrgyzstan: Best for Wilderness
Dotted with alpine meadows and wild pastures inhabited by Kyrgyz nomads, full of flowing rivers and waterfalls and graced with panoramic views of Lake Issyk-Kul and the snow-capped peaks of the Tian Shan Range (meaning Mountains of Heaven), this country is a must see on your bucket list.
Great explorers and traders once led their caravans across Kyrgyzstan, following the riches of the Silk Road trade in exotic goods of silk, spices and commodities and bringing with them their own cultures, customs and identities with them.
Now Kyrgyzstan is emerging onto the scene once more, with improved infrastructure since the 2018 World Nomad Games and time in the spotlight with books, TV shows and even Joanna Lumley extolling its virtues. Now’s the time to visit, before too many other people uncover this hidden gem.
Find out more: Kyrgyzstan travel
Japan: Best for Sports Fans
With the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the 2020 Summer Olympics hot on its heels, visitor numbers to Japan are set to skyrocket. A combination of sporting fans intending to make the most of their visit and world-wide press coverage putting a fascinating country front of mind will increase visitor numbers – fortunately, Japan’s uncanny ability to perfectly blend the traditional and modern mean its well-suited to adapt to increased numbers.
Find out more: Japan Travel
The Grand Canyon, USA: Best for Epic Landscapes
2019 was the centennial celebrations of the Grand Canyon National Park. This bucket list travel icon will be celebrating 100 years since the opening of the national park, a protected space designed to preserve and celebrate the unmistakable natural landmark.
And though 100 years have passed, the splendour of the scenery hasn’t aged a day and still serves us the same overwhelming sense of awe and wonder as it did to visitors throughout the centuries.
Find out more: Grand Canyon travel
Find out more about these top travel destinations in our trips below.