If you’re looking for holiday inspiration for 2019 and fancy somewhere alternative this year, our guide is not to disappoint. Avoiding the popular tourist resorts and European favourites, we’ve selected upcoming holiday destinations from around the world, destined to inspire you to visit somewhere completely different this year.
Read on for our top 10 holiday destinations you wouldn’t have thought of for 2019…
Montenegro is the new alternative to Croatia in the Adriatic as popularity rises every year. This small but idyllic country is surrounded by beautiful mountains and a breath-taking coastline of rocky beaches and local towns. The sea is crystal clear and perfect for a swim, but you’ll also have plenty of adventure activities in the mountains or boat trips to surrounding islands (and Croatia). Although you won’t find many five-star hotels, this is a good thing and you’ll like the relaxed and ‘off the beaten trail’ nature of a Montenegro holiday by the sea.
A trip to Montenegro in 2019 is sure to impress you if you like low-key beach holidays with things to see other than the shoreline. It’s a lot less touristic than other Mediterranean destinations, the local culture is welcoming and untouched by the tourist industry and it’s a simply beautiful place to spend your holiday.
Recommended area: Sveti Stefan is one of the most picturesque places to stay in Montenegro. The pink-pebble beaches, amazing sunsets and variety of places to stay makes this a top choice. Be sure to visit the other towns, lakes and mountains on a day-trip!
The island of Sicily has long been a seductive place to spend your summer, especially for Italians! The south-med location guarantees warm weather year-round and although the island is fairly small, there’s plenty to see and do. It can get busy in the summer months; however the variety of resorts and beaches have something for everyone. It’s well equipped to handle lots of visitors. We recommend visiting pre or post summer to beat the crowds.
For history and culture lovers, it’s no secret that Sicily has a rich heritage of Byzantine, Greek and Roman influence, with many of the cities and monuments serving as key tourist attractions for when you’re not relaxing on the beach. Arrive in Sicily before the summer for splendid weather, plenty to see and clear-water Italian beaches. And did we mention the food? Expect hearty pastas, fresh seafood and cheap but delicious local wines.
Recommended area: We recommend flying into Catania to the south-east of Sicily. This is the best area for beaches and you’re within a short drive of many of the historic towns and Mount Etna volcano if you wish to do some exploring.
3. Lake Bled, Slovenia
Slovenia has forever been an off-the-tourist trail Eastern European gem, but new budget flight routes from Europe are helping it become a hotspot for travellers looking for a different destination to the usual favourites. Everything from the accommodation and flights to living costs and eating out is cheap in Slovenia, but that isn’t the only allure. Outside of the quaint towns and cities, there’s a beautiful countryside of mountains, lakes and quiet villages, many of which are postcard perfect.
Lake Bled is one of the most well-known vacation spots and there’s a good chance you’ve heard of it. Picture a turquoise, glistening lake surrounded by country houses, castles and green mountains in the summer; whilst the lake is covered in snow and ice in the wintertime. It’s an enchanting place to visit for the day, but many tourists also opt to stay by the lake, waking up to beautiful scenery on a morning.
Recommended area: Fly into the capital of Ljubljana for a cheap city break with plenty of sightseeing, eating-out and museums. The nightlife here is also very good. Next, take the short drive to Lake Bled for a relaxing end to your holiday. It’s a particularly good ‘long-weekend’ break destination.
After some political unrest in the past few years, visitors are starting to return to this long-loved holiday classic. As the country is huge, it offers both a cultural experience in cities such as Istanbul, but the coastline has a unique appeal for its beaches and plentiful supply of hotels. Turkey is once again a cheap place to go on holiday and you have plenty of facilities, bars and restaurants on hand if you pick one of the more popular resorts such as Antalya.
If you do opt for a beach holiday over city sightseeing, expect nice golden sand beaches, plentiful accommodation options and lots to do on an evening. The coastline has pretty towns and marinas on both of its coastlines and the local food is enough reason to come here alone.
Recommended area: For a traditional beach holiday, we recommend Antalya or Alanya. If you’re travelling between August and October, we highly recommend taking the trip to inland Cappadocia for the world-famous hot air balloon festival – it’s a true spectacle.
5. Tel Aviv, Israel
If the middle-east has always fascinated you and you like the sound of a cosmopolitan beach city with an attitude, Tel Aviv is well worth a look. This Israeli urban coastal city is hip, trendy and has a young population. It has the highest concentration of vegan restaurants in the world and is a very progressive city, from its modern art museums, parks and vibrant nightlife, to the more cultural street markets and food stalls.
Your first impression of Tel Aviv is the strikingly modern design, mixed with traditional Middle Eastern culture and customs. Enjoy a Shisha and freshly grilled meat on a skewer in an outdoor restaurant or go for a long walk along the promenade. If you fancy seeing some historic sites, the bustling city of Jerusalem is only a short drive away; as is the Dead Sea, where you can bathe in the water and purify your skin with a natural mud mask.
Recommended area: Budget flights direct to Tel Aviv are common in major European cities and the flight from London takes only 5hr30mins. We recommend staying in the Tayelet beach area, where there’s plenty of hotels to choose from.
6. Northern Brazil
When people ponder a trip to Brazil, the first thought is the beaches of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro and Carnival celebrations. Speak to a Brazilian, and they’ll tell you that the best beaches are in the north of the country, to the east of the Amazon and amongst cities such as Fortaleza, Belem and Natal. Here you’ll find untouched, white-sand beaches that stretch for miles, compact little ‘Pousada’s’ or guesthouses and some amazing natural scenery.
A holiday in northern Brazil is no doubt an exotic place to visit in 2019 and you can be assured that it’s far away from the tourist trail, unless you’re South American of course – they love it here. We recommend checking out the unspoilt shores of Jericoacoara or suave coastal city of Natal, which has fine beaches in and outside the city. Like many of the beach destinations on our list, Northern Brazil enjoys a life away from the high-rise hotels and touristic party-scenes you’ll find in other popular global resorts. Pour a Caipirinha, pull up a deck chair and relax…that’s the main thing you’ll do here and it’s blissful! The food also can’t be missed! Check out our Brazilian food review on Travel Eater to see just how great it can be.
Recommended area: From Europe, the cheapest way to get to the northern shores of Brazil is by going via Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. Stop off in either of these action-packed cities to break up your trip or fly onwards straight away to Natal, Sao Luis or Fortaleza (depending on where you want to say). We personally recommend Jericoacara.
7. Palawan, Philippines
Philippines is top of our own places to visit list in 2019. Whilst much of South-east Asia has been overrun by tourists, the islands in the Philippines are still sparsely populated and untouched by hotels. It feels like Thailand 20 years ago and prices are still very cheap. With 7000 islands and places to see, it can be difficult choosing a place to go for a 2-week holiday.
We recommend sticking to the mystical islands of Palawan. This sprawling archipelago has several hidden bays, coves, caves and clear water diving spots waiting to be explored. Spend your days relaxing on the beach, cave diving, kayaking, or touring the tiny island reefs on a small boat. Life here is quiet and beautiful to look at. Its an island hopping tropical paradise that will bring out the adventurer inside you.
Recommended area: Coron, El Nido and Puerta Princesa in Palawan are the top places to stay if you’re looking for quiet lagoons and exploration. If you’re looking for a beach holiday with pure relaxation, the newly opened Boracay island is calling your name. The entire area has been refurbished to cater to a tourist’s every need.
If you want a holiday experience unlike no other to kick start your 2019 and African culture intrigues you, the shores of Mozambique may not have originally crossed your mind. Many African coastline countries now have an upcoming tourist industry, catering to travellers of all budgets. Once you have the somewhat expensive flights paid for, accommodation here is cheap and you can enjoy amazing experiences with your partner that you just wouldn’t find anywhere else.
Its Virgin Indian Coastline is occupied by miles of white sands, coconut trees and coral reefs, which travellers haven’t been able to explore fully until recently; and inland, local towns and villages are breathing with culture, alongside several safari parks. New luxury beach resorts are popping up every year and our favourite thing about holidaying here is the ability to go on a wildlife safari and stay at a beach resort, all in one trip!
Recommended area: It’s usually cheapest to fly to Johannesburg in South Africa and then catch an onward 45-minute flight to Maputo, Mozambique’s capital. From here you may wish to take a safari in the Maputo Special Reserve or head straight to the secluded beaches of Ponto Mamoli. The Quirimbas Archipelagos are also worth checking out if you want to go scuba diving.
9. Columbia’s Caribbean coastline
If you fancy an exotic adventure in faraway land, look no further than the shores of Columbia. It may be a trek to get there from Europe, but Columbia is a rising star of adventure holiday destinations. The coastline town of Palomino is a remote village on the Caribbean coastline that enjoys the simple life. It’s undeveloped and basic, but the scenery is impressive and all you need is a beach towel, sun cream and a clean guesthouse to sleep retire to. You’ll forget about all of the stress back home in this secluded getaway.
Go tubing on the Palomino River, horse riding along the beach or taste the fresh seafood and local delicacies. You won’t find the luxury resorts and tourist facilities of other Caribbean beaches; however, you will find endless adventure and mindlessness in nature. Combine your trip to Palomino with Santa Maria, a livelier beach town. You’ll also want to squeeze in the cultural hub of Medellin if you have time!
Recommended area: You’ll most likely fly into the capital of Bogota. From there, we’d recommend planning a multi-stop itinerary to the beach resorts of Palomino and Santa Marta, stopping at Medellin on the way back.
When people browse for their next Caribbean holiday with tranquil white sand beaches and eye-opening scuba diving excursions, Panama is often overlooked. It is a Central American country full of character! The grand Panama City has a skyline to rival Miami, whilst the beaches are less crowded in comparison to other Caribbean destinations, but pack the same relaxing vibes you’d find in Jamaica.
Most people come to Panama for the cheaper beach lifestyle and endless scuba diving adventures – you can swim with whale sharks or scuba dive in coral reefs for a fraction of the price of Cancun! When you’re not relaxing on the beach, explore inland Panama for waterfalls and vast jungle trekking, or drive along the coastline to check out the old Spanish fortresses. If you’re thinking of a Caribbean escape in 2019, don’t discount Panama; your money will go further here and you’ll be impressed at the lack of crowds.
Recommended area: Fly into Panama City and enjoy a few days of city life and day-trips to the mainland, including the nearby National Park. The San Bals island archipelago is the place to go for quiet relaxation and amazing beaches, and you can fly here directly from the capital.
The destinations we’ve selected are located across the globe so prices will vary depending on where you’re flying from, but they’re all generally quite cost effective once you’ve bought the airfare.
We hope we’ve inspired you to pick somewhere you wouldn’t have thought of and we’d be happy to answer any holiday planning questions you have – we actually plan on returning to many of the above countries ourselves in the near future.