Now that the year is ending, many people are starting to think about where they will travel in 2019. I read lots of travel sites and blogs as well as other travel bloggers. Based on my experiences and readings, here are my 2019 travel recommendations. Some of these 2019 travel destinations are my own opinion as well.
Not the state of Georgia, but the country of Georgia. I visited Georgia in 2017, and I loved it. It isn’t popular yet, but I have seen some other travel bloggers visiting though. The benefits of this are that there are very few tourists and the prices are very cheap. However, Georgia is trying to join the European Union. Once that happens, things will definitely change.
The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi and has much to explore. Georgia is known for its wine and has one of the oldest wine regions in the world. Georgian cuisine was also fabulous. I don’t think we had anything frozen. I will mention that many of the dishes contained nuts, and strictly vegetarian options were hard to find.
If you are into skiing, Georgia has several ski options. We went to Gudauri as a day trip from Tbilisi. There was plenty of places to stop along the way for great photos, a historic church, and some shopping. I am not a skier, so I am not sure how the slopes or lifts compare to more popular ski areas.
Montenegro is another country I visited in 2017. The most popular towns to visit are Kotor and Budva. Kotor is located in the Kotor region, and the region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Kotor region includes the town of Perast, which was one of my favorite old towns in the area. Off the coast of Perast is a famous church located in the Bay of Kotor, Our Lady of the Rocks. The island it is built on is a man-made island. There are several boat operators that will take you over and back for about €5.
Many of the towns on the coast have historical old towns surrounded by city walls. I recommend you rent a car and drive to see them. It is a great way to see Montenegro, and it is such a small country the driving is easy. I spent five days in Montenegro and based myself out of Kotor and drove every day to a new town or two. Rent a car here!
Belize is one I see lots of travel bloggers visiting in 2018. They are visiting Belize City and many of the islands, which are accessible via ferry. The snorkeling and diving opportunities are definitely the draw here. Belize is home to the second largest coral reef in the world. There are also Mayan ruins in Belize.
The great thing about Belize is that it is a short flight from the US. For example, it is only a three-hour direct flight from Dallas. Another great reason to go is that it is warm there when it is cold in the US. I just checked the temperature, and it is 82 degrees! Sounds great to me.
As many of you know, I love Greece. However, I haven’t made it to Crete yet. It is on my long bucket list of places to visit. I see lots of people planning trips to Crete. The island is much bigger than so many of the Greek Islands, and you may be able to get a direct flight to Crete from Europe and the UK. The island is also much further south than Santorini, so the weather is warmer than other Greek Islands.
There is so much to see there as well. Crete is home to some beautiful beaches, including Balos Beach. There are also plenty of historic sites to see including castles and Spinalonga Island, the former leper colony. I recently read a novel book, The Island, about the colony there and it really made me want to visit.
Sri Lanka is another place I visited in 2017. Many people I know abosolutely love Sri Lanka. I went for over a week and still didn’t see everything! There are tons of temples to visit and the natural scenery to admire. I stayed at one hotel that had a view of a river that had so many birds to watch.
The other highlight of the trip was seeing wild elephants in Minneriya National Park. There are lots of places to see them, but these are wild and protected in a park. The guides do not get close and have stringent rules about where they can go in the park. The park also had some fantastic birds, like storks!
Recently I read an article about Cordoba, Spain has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world. I had no idea, and I have been to Spain. I am now making a plan to go back so I can visit this town. Cordoba is about a two-hour train ride from Madrid and is much less visited. That means fewer crowds than Barcelona or Madrid.
The most recently added site is the Medina Azahara. It was just added in 2018! Medina Azahara is a fortress and it’s about a 10-minute taxi ride from the city center. If you are visiting Cordoba in early May, look out for the festival that is UNESCO site. The Patios Festival is when 50 of the historical homes around the center open their patios to the public. This is a great way to meet locals and see how they live!
Lonely Planet has rated Copenhagen the #1 city to visit in 2019, and I couldn’t agree more. After a friend visited it a few years ago, I quickly saw the charm and wondered why I didn’t go with her. Who doesn’t want to visit a city with a permanent amusement park, a mermaid sculpture, and castle as its main attractions! Copenhagen definitely has something for every traveler.
The Kronborg Castle was made famous in Hamlet. During the summer, you can see Hamlet performed on an open-air stage in the castle. If royal families and palaces are more your thing, you can visit Amalienborg Palace, where the Danish royal family still reside. There are a museum and a changing of the guard every day at noon.
Botswana has been on my list for a long time. Partly due to the series by Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. After reading these books, I did tons of research about Botswana and wanted to go even more. Going on safari has always been something I have wanted to do.
After doing my research, I know that when I finally do go, I want to visit the Okavango Delta. This is where the animals come during the rainy season to drink water. The pictures I have seen are stunning. Most people are still visiting Kenya to go on safari and visit the Maasai Mar and the people that live there. While that is appealing, I have also been one to want to go off the beaten path.
Another Latin American country has been popping up in my travel reading, and that is Guatemala. I think it gets overshadowed by Mexico and Costa Rica. Guatemala is filled with Mayan ruins. Many of these are not visited because of their locations in the northern part of the country.
If nature is your thing, then Guatemala will not disappoint. They have 37 volcanoes! Three of them are active volcanoes. You can hike many of them including the active ones with a guide. One of the volcanoes is located at beautiful Lake Atitlan, which is worth visiting for the beautiful lake alone.
For many people, visiting the Middle East is not even on their radar. However, I am here to tell you that you are missing out. Of course, I did live there for four years, so I am slightly biased. In 2016, a friend and I visited Salalah, Oman and I was stunned by how beautiful it is. During the summer, the monsoon season comes to Oman. The mountains turn into forests of green trees, and you can hardly see through the mist. It is almost like a jungle without monkeys. This happens because, in the south of Oman, the mountains meet the ocean.
Of course, there is more to Oman than Salalah and visiting Muscat in the north is a must do as well. Unlike other Middle Eastern countries, Oman does not have money from oil, so the society is still very traditional. Omanis are very friendly and happy to have you visiting their country. Visiting both Muscat and Salalah is an excellent way to see what the Middle East is like without all the glitz, although Muscat has some glitz if you want it!
As you can see my list has lots of options for all kinds of travelers. I hope that you are inspired to visit a new place in 2019! What are you 2019 travel plans? Share with us in the comments!
** All photos courtesy of Unsplash