It’s that time of year when we start to map out our top places to visit in the next 12 months… so little time and so much to see! But where are some of the most buzz-worthy, Instagrammed and talked about destinations for 2019? Contiki, the travel company catering to the 35-and-under set who loves an adventure, recently polled young Canadians about their upcoming travel plans in 2019… and these hot spots below all made the cut. Ready to pack your bags yet?
Ever since Jean Louis Burckhardt stumbled upon the ‘lost’ city of Petra in the 19th century – the jaw-dropping ancient metropolis that’s carved into towering red cliffs – this land has ignited the imaginations of intrepid adventurers across the globe. Often overlooked in favour of its more mainstream counterparts –think Egypt and Morocco – Jordan offers safe and easy travelling thanks to its modern infrastructure, inquisitive locals and modest size. But the country isn’t just about the ‘rose-red city half old as time. Boasting sweeping desert panoramas, fascinating ancient monuments, fantastic food and warm hospitality, it’s comfortably one of the top travel destinations for 2019.
Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, spectacular wildlife, rolling surf, affordable prices, fun trains, famous tea and flavourful food make Sri Lanka a hotspot in 2019. With an abundance of wildlife, from elephants to tigers, Sri Lanka’s national parks are home to some of the world’s top safari tours, while there’s plenty of opportunity on the shimmering North East coast to relax on a secluded beach with a cocktail. It’s the place many haven’t been to yet but should.
Come to Scotland for the spectacular scenery, charming cities and fascinating history, but stay for the unbeatable hospitality (and the whiskey). Whether you’re walking through the gothic, cobbled streets of Edinburgh, gawping at the incomparable vistas of the Isle of Skye or trekking through the vibrant landscapes of the Highlands, this wild and beautiful land will steal your heart over and over again. Scotland has also seen a spike in interest thanks to the cult following of the hit TV series Outlander.
Japan is truly timeless, a place where ancient traditions are fused with modern life as if it were the most natural thing in the world. While the country has always been a perennial favourite, the ‘land of the rising sun’ has recently seen an influx of Canadians with the latest statistics showing a 10.8% increase in Canadian visitors, thanks to direct flights from Canada and word-of-mouth from family and friends. Canadians are now beginning to realize that this island archipelago boasts some of the world’s most eclectic cities, fascinating museums and countryside that leaves all its visitors enraptured.
Full of adventure, culinary delights and rugged landscapes, South Africa has so much to offer. Take a cable car up Cape Town’s Table Mountain for the best view of the city, embark on the famous Panorama Route to Kruger National park where you can spot Africa’s Big 5 and stand in awe of the wonders of the world,Victoria falls. And for those looking to surf, South Africa (Supertubes in Jeffrey’s Bay to be exact) has the best right-hand ride in the world according to experts.
Move over Croatia and Greek Islands! Turkey is poised as the next pick for your sailing holiday with friends. A land of remarkable diversity, Turkey is a melting pot of seething cities, colour, music and some of the best beaches in Europe. Framed by the Mediterranean and Black Seas, Turkey is a heady mix of visible history and inviting culture. Here, you can meander the pretty streets of Istanbul or Ephesus for boundless historical excavations and ancient Greek and Roman structures. Or if a sun escape is what you’re after, you can island hop from pure white beach to pure white beach. Turkey is an underrated travel gem that is as easy to access, thanks to direct flights from Canada, as it is to fall in love with.
Once home to one of the oldest and most advanced ancient civilizations on the planet, Egypt is a vast treasure house of history waiting to be explored. Imagine standing at the foot of the colossal stone statues of Abu Simbel or smelling the musty air of the 3,000-year-old tombs in the Valley of the Kings, some of which still look like they were painted with the infamous blue and gold scenes of the pharaohs just yesterday. Lose yourself in Karnak’s Hypostyle Hall, a veritable stone forest, housing 134 giant decorated columns. Watch feluccas sail the Nile, a scene hardly changed since the time of Cleopatra or explore Cairo and its plethora of ornate mosques, churches and museums. The country is beginning to see an uptick in visitors, with visitor counts up to 8.3 million people in 2017.
While most Canadians have visited Mexico, staying within the confines of their all-inclusive resort, many have never actually travelled to the country – that is, exploring the real, authentic side of Mexico. For those willing to venture beyond the resort environment, Mexico sizzles when it comes to travel. From buzzing city to idyllic bay, this country has boundless biodiversity, kaleidoscopes of colour, overflowing natural beauty, ancient archaeological sites and one of the world’s most vibrant cuisines. Wander through the spellbinding jungle ruins of Palenque; snorkel with turtles in Cabo Pulmo, or explore some of Mexico City’s up-and-coming and underrated neighbourhoods (such as Roma, as seen in Alfonso Cuarón new critically-acclaimed masterpiece). No matter what type of traveller you are, Mexico will have something to make you fall head over heels.
Looking at images of Slovenia is a bit like looking at teasers for a new Disney movie. But this is no fairy-tale – it really does look like that in the flesh. Emerald lakes, enchanting forests, hillside castles, alpine panoramas and oh yes, the food is delicious.
Boasting the best parts of both Central America and the Caribbean, this underrated palm-fringed paradise is packed with treasures. Looking for a hike through the northern foothills of the Maya Mountains, where you’ll find faded relics of ancient civilizations? Or how about a cold cocktail on some of the most idyllic beaches in the world? If you’re looking to dip your toes in those crystal-clear waters, you’ll find one of the longest barrier reefs on the planet (outside of Australia), brimming with colourful marine wildlife.