INDEX's Top Travel Destinations for 2019
Where’s hot and where’s not? What’s good value? And how do you stay ahead of the tourist crowd? We went in search of the best of this year’s travel suggestions.
Scotland – which last year pipped New Zealand and Canada for the top spot in Rough Guide’s round-up of the world’s most beautiful countries – has much to recommend it, whether your interests are in the great outdoors, rich history and culture, fine food or impressive hotels and spas.
Ask The Experts
“Argentina will take centre stage on 2nd July when a total solar eclipse unfolds over the southern hemisphere. Occurring around sunset, the moon will totally obliterate the normally blinding disc of the sun, plunging the landscape around into darkness for two minutes,” explains Laura Rendell-Dunn of Journey Latin America.
• Paulo Veloso of Veloso Tours highlights the growing appeal of expedition cruises. “These offer the ability to visit remote destinations in comfort and Latin America has wonderful cruise ships in the Amazon rainforest, Galapagos Islands, Chilean Fjords and Southern Patagonia. Each country offers unique experiences and we see clients returning over and over again with each holiday making for a fascinating trip of a lifetime.”
Brazil is best known for samba and carnivals, football and beaches but look beyond the stereotypes because behind its endless palm-fringed coastline lies a huge variety of scenery from steaming tropical rainforests to the sunlit slopes of the southern vineyards and exotic wildlife.
This vast land, embracing history, gorgeous beaches and secluded coves, superb sailing and fine food, has long been a favourite with Brits and it may be one of the few short-haul destinations offering relatively good value in 2019.
Ask The Experts
“The Mediterranean will once again become the ‘centre of the earth’ in 2019, with travellers rediscovering its southern and eastern shores, which have gradually been returning to the radar of clients over the last six months,” says Patrick Millar at Kirker Holidays (kirkerholidays.com).
“Whilst Italy, France and Spain remain popular, Egypt, Israel and Turkey are back on the wish list of those looking for warm winter and early spring sunshine, delicious cuisine and ancient history.
“We’re also seeing the return of Egypt after an absence of several years – and an expanded range of destinations in Turkey, from historic hotels in the heart of Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district to luxurious coastal resorts.”
Because there’s so much more to India than Rajasthan and Kerala.
Ask The Experts
“First timers usually travel to the Golden Triangle or head to southern Kerala. However, it’s easy to look beyond these and combine them with other places for a greater taste of the country,” advises David Pettitt of Pettitts Travel.
“Delhi, Agra and Jaipur are easily packaged with more rural Rajasthan. In the south, Kochi and the backwaters can be combined with little-visited northern Kerala, which is home to a fabulous plantation retreat called Amaryllis and the lesser-known beaches of Neeleshwar.
“For returning visitors the options are just about endless from Gujarat with its history and wildlife – especially the rare Asiatic Lion – to the tremendous temple towns of Chettinad, fantastic river cruising and the country’s lesser known national parks.”
The tear drop island is the darling of travel lists this year, something being driven by the opening of new hotels and lodges as well as imaginative tours exploring off-the-beaten-track beaches and national parks with fewer visitors.
Australia & New Zealand
Yes, it’s a long way but these two countries continue to delight both first-timers and returning visitors.
Ask The Experts
“For 2019, we have given Australia and New Zealand their own dedicated brochure with more tours, experiences and inspiration,” says Trailfinders’ Nikki Davies.
“In New Zealand, we’ve introduced a range of luxury lodges, including Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses in scenic Kaikoura as well as the stylish Bay of Many Coves apartments with a secluded waterfront location in the heart of magnificent Marlborough Sounds.
“Queensland in Australia is proving more popular than ever and for 2019 we’ve many exciting hotels as well as new local tours ensuring you experience a quintessential Aussie experience.”
There’s one thing that enchants visitors to this landlocked country – its delightful people. But on top of that you have the great outdoors, superb adventures, magical festivals, serenity and spirituality, and home stays with nomadic families.
Images: Visit Scotland/Paul Tomkins, Rainbow Tours, Selective Asia/Richard Hanson, The Russia Experience, Filipefrazao