By Briana Seftel
We've searched, scoured and traveled to bring you the best places to visit in 2019. From an undiscovered region in Italy to the crystal clear waters of an island nation, here are ten destinations (in no particular order) that are right on trend for the new year.
Located in the Basilicata region of Southern Italy, Matera is one of Italy’s most Instagrammable destinations. Known as la Città Sotterranea (the Underground City), Matera is one of the oldest cities in the world famous for its sassi, or extensive cave-dwelling districts. For years Matera was left to ruins, but recently it has been transformed into a mecca of high culture, fine cuisine and ancient history. Adding to its allure, Matera was named a European Capital of Culture 2019.
With the final season of the epic fantasy series Game of Thrones set to premiere in 2019, Northern Ireland is sure to be high on travel bucket lists. Home to numerous GOT filming locations like the Dark Hedges, the Glens of Antrim, and Tollymore Forest Park, Northern Ireland is well worth the trip. Even if you’re not a GOT fan, you'll find plenty to love in history-rich cities like Belfast and Derry, the spectacular Antrim coast and the mystical Mourne Mountains.
Looking for a luxurious beach destination that won't break the bank? We have one word for you: Maldives. This island nation southwest of Sri Lanka and India has become one of the most affordable destinations due to new properties that have increased competition while lowering costs. On the Maldives' 26 atolls, you can stay in an overwater bungalow at a 5-star resort without remortgaging your house. With water as clear and clean as can be and plenty of fun-filled activities, the Maldives is no longer a "just for honeymooners" destination!
Miami is so much more than South Beach. One of the most dynamic and rapidly developing cities in the U.S., Miami has blossomed into a thriving urban epicenter filled with museums, street art, dining and nightlife. Save your dollars with plenty of free activities, stroll past eye-popping architecture in the Design District and dance the night away on Calle Ocho. You'll certainly feel the magic in this perennial sunny city.
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Famously used as a filming location in numerous blockbuster films like The Martian, Wadi Rum is a destination from another planet. Its red sands and exquisite rock formations bring to mind Mars, but it's the warm Bedouin hospitality and adventure activities that have travelers flocking to this desert region. Jordan ranks among the best places to hike, and from March 1st to April 13th 2019, travelers are invited to take part on the Jordan Trail - a 400-mile trail through 52 villages and towns connecting the length of Jordan from Um Qais in the north to Aqaba in the south.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2019, Tel Aviv is preparing for its close-up on the world stage. With its mild Mediterranean climate, a vibrant dining and nightlife scene and reputation as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, Israel's largest city attracts travelers looking to hit all of their needs. From the old port of Jaffa to glimmering beaches, Tel Aviv epitomizes urban cool.
Remaining largely unsung, Poland is an Eastern European country offering something for everyone: history, culture and natural beauty! No longer just a destination for World War II buffs, Poland is an affordable and exciting place to discover. Revel in the architectural splendor of cities like Krakow, Warsaw, Wroclaw and Gdansk, relax on the unspoiled Baltic coastline and traverse through the dense forest of Białowieźa National Park.
In 2019, Panama City will mark its 500-year history with a huge party. Join the revelry in Panama's capital that's known as the crossroads of the Americas (and yes, home to the famous Panama Canal). In addition to culture-packed Panama City, the small Central American country is home to plenty nature-fueled destinations like Bocas del Toro, the Gamboa rainforest and San Blas Islands.
If you're one of the millions who saw the hugely successful book-turned-movie Crazy Rich Asians, you might be thinking of a trip to Singapore, featured heavily in the film. From the Gardens by the Bay to its colonial center, the island city-state of Singapore oozes glitz and glamour. Whether you're a member of the Young family or not, the cultural melting pot that is Singapore is sure to dazzle.
A refreshingly laidback city, Vancouver is the kind of place you will be recommending to friends and family over and over. Boasting a global food and craft beer scene and an enviable location on the Burrard Peninsula, Vancouver makes an ideal city break or starting point for exploring British Columbia. Its collection of quirky neighborhoods like Gastown, Kitsilano and Chinatown offer plenty of sightseeing adventures, while its points north like Capilano Suspension Bridge and Lynn Canyon Park attract the inner thrill-seeker in all of us.