The 20 Best Places to Travel in 2019

Ask the Travel + Leisure staff where we want to travel in 2019, and most of us will answer, honestly, where don’t we?

When it comes to singling out the best vacation spots and compiling our annual year-end list of the places we’re most excited about in the coming months, narrowing down the field is easier said than done. We pore over press releases, tourism statistics, and our overflowing spreadsheets of hotel openings, restaurant debuts, and new flight routes before deciding where to go on vacation. We consider the anecdotal evidence: Where are our ? What vacation destinations are we seeing on ? Which places seem to be part of ? And, as always, we turn to our network of travel experts for vacation ideas — trusted writers, hospitality professionals, the travel advisors that make up  — to see where people are actually going, and which places are the ones to watch in the coming year.

This year’s list of the best vacation spots spans the globe, from exciting southern hemisphere cities like Santiago, Chile, and Brisbane, Australia, to harder-to-reach regions like Langkawi, Malaysia and the Danish Riviera. There are the new capitals of culture — Nairobi, Kenya, home to a emergent design scene, or Panama City, with a deluge of forward-thinking restaurants and bars — and the tourism destinations that are back in fighting form after natural disasters or human conflict, including Puerto Rico, the Turquoise Coast of Turkey, Egypt, and Montecito, California. And, of course, there are the destinations that we haven’t heard much about, but certainly will soon — places like India’s remote Andaman Islands, or the art and history-filled emirate of Sharjah, in the U.A.E., or the under-the-radar wine scene in Etyek, Hungary.

After all, isn’t dreaming about places totally new to us — and seeing  in a new light — why we travel in the first place?

Here are Travel + Leisure’s 50 best places to travel in 2019. If you already know where you're going in the year ahead, share your vacation destination picks with us on social media with.

1. The Adirondacks, New York
One of America’s first vacation destinations, New York’s Adirondack Mountain region has been luring travelers since the late 19th century with clear lakes, pure air, and 46 high peaks to climb. You can still visit in classic style. Built in 1927, the  reopened last year after a respectful renovation that brings a touch of urban grandeur to the charming town of Saranac Lake. Hidden in the woods outside of town,  is a sumptuous lakeside resort that occupies what was once a “great camp” belonging to members of the Rockefeller family. A change of ownership has brought a welcome refresh to the elevated woodsy décor. —Peter Terzian

2. Alberta, Canada
Jasper and Banff’s rugged, powdery trails should be enough reason to add Alberta to your winter travel wish list. But this year, happenings off the ski runs have made the Canadian province . If you’re flying into Calgary, make a detour before hitting the slopes to see the month-old Snøhetta- and DIALOG-designed . Covered with 460 white hexagonal panels, it’s set to become an architectural icon. Culture hounds should visit Edmonton’s new , a $375-million, 419,000-square-foot institution featuring collections on indigenous cultures, a gallery dedicated to insects, and more. Away from the cities, , the first of its kind in the province, just unveiled a collection of hydrotherapy pools — as well salt exfoliation cabins and eucalyptus steam rooms — right in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. And if you’re in Banff National Park, keep an eye out for bison. Due to overhunting, the animals haven’t been spotted in the area for over a century, but in June 2018, a herd of 31 was released on Banff’s eastern slopes. —Chadner Navarro

3. Alsace, France
This region in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains produces some of the finest wines on the globe. The stunning , whose restaurant has two Michelin stars, is the ideal place to start a sojourn. Visit top wineries like  and  for world-class Gewürztraminers and Rieslings. At , in Riquewihr, chef Philippe Aubron melds ingredients from France and Japan, where he spent 17 years — chanterelle soup with enoki and truffles, for example. Luxury travelers can even see Alsace by boat: , offers private cruises. —Ray Isle

4. The Andaman Islands
For anyone who’s ever fantasized about running away to a remote island, the Andaman Islands are the stuff of dreams. A chain of more than 300 islands (some sources cite as many as 572)  and Thailand, they seem almost too perfect to be real, with unspoiled beaches, clear water, coconut trees, and tropical mangroves. Many of the archipelago’s islands are uninhabited or off-limits in order to protect the tribes who live there. But one, Havelock Island, became more accessible this March, when  — the Andamans’ first five-star resort — opened on Radhanagar Beach. Spread out over 30 acres, the property comprises 75 luxurious villas inspired by the huts of the indigenous Jarawa tribe, three restaurants serving local specialties and global cuisine, and the tranquil Jiva spa. It joins Havelock’s other main draw, the charming boutique hotel , which opened in late 2015 with just three rooms, three suites, and a private villa on an old banana and betel nut plantation. Days here are spent swimming and diving amid the coral, kayaking in the mangroves, hiking in the forest, and relaxing on the beach. For now, the Andamans remain far less developed than the Maldives, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Go before that changes. —Laura Itzkowitz

5. Armenia
This past spring Armenians voted in a new, more liberal government. The resulting energy has made the country all the more inviting to travelers. , part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection, recently opened in Yerevan, giving the capital its first world-class hotel. And a number of new restaurants in the city, including , are breathing new life into Armenia’s ancient cuisine. Armenia has a famously beautiful countryside landscape, and there’s no better way to see it than on foot. The  passes the spa town of Dilijan, the bucolic Dilijan National Park, and a pair of 10th-century Christian monasteries. —Peter Terzian

6. Berlin
The coming year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the  and city's jam-packed cultural calendar reflects its post-reunification renaissance. Exhibits and performances celebrating  will roll out all year, starting in January with a ramped-up opening festival at the Akademie der Kunste, which will include lectures, dance and theatrical performances, and concerts — and, this being one of Europe's capitals of nightlife, a pop-up nightclub featuring DJ sets and the presentation of a Bauhaus manifesto for the 21st century. The party will be bookended by the debut later in the year of the  in the Berlin Palace. The sprawling complex will include the Ethnological and Asian Art museums, as well as a Berlin Exhibition that explores how the city, now a hub of diversity, interacts with the rest of the world and grapples with issues of cultural appropriation. The year's biggest surprise, though, may be the emergence of  — a meat and potatoes epicenter, and the only city in the world boasting a museum devoted to the currywurst — as a veg-friendly culinary mecca. The city is now home to more vegetarian restaurants than any other European capital, and Vevolution, a celebration focused on vegan and vegetarian cuisine, will be part of the city's  in February, a culinary blowout slated to draw world-renowned chefs like Slovenia’s Ana Roš and Austria’s Heinz Reitbauer. —Raphael Kadushin

7. Brisbane, Australia
Teasingly nicknamed Brisvegas for its sleepy mien,  has long been regarded as an outsize country town, a cultural vacuum overshadowed by Sydney and Melbourne. But that’s changing. The shift began with the mid-2018 opening of the , the first luxury property to launch in the central business district in two decades. Now, the city is unveiling the $140 million  development, which brings a hotel and restaurants to an abandoned dockyard under the Story Bridge. But even before the project is complete, this city, which hugs the Brisbane River, has plenty to offer. There are fine arts institutions like the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, or , where the vast Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art is on view through April. The Fortitude Valley neighborhood continues to evolve, with the recent opening of the contemporary, white-brick  and the relaunch of the Emporium Hotel as the whimsical  following a $39 million upgrade. One thing remains unchanged: the Brisbane River is still the heart of it all, both a thoroughfare and a destination unto itself. The  ferry is a tranquil vantage point from which to see Brisbane’s parks, the cliffs of Kangaroo Point, and the ever-evolving skyline of this underrated city. —Sanjay Surana

8. Cambodia
Most visits to Cambodia are centered around exploring  and the temples of  — but now there’s a reason to head much further south, to an area that more accessible than ever thanks to the . Set inside the remote South Cardamom National Park (a three-hour drive from Phnom Penh), this all-inclusive luxury camp with 15 tented suites is the brainchild of hotel designer Bill Bensley, who made it a priority to protect hundreds of acres of surrounding land and the wild elephants, gibbons, and other wildlife that call it home. Guests will be able to join experts on guided hikes, explore Southeast Asia’s last wild estuarine ecosystem on custom expedition boats, and relax in a spa that uses natural, chemical-free products. Feeling extra adventurous? Instead of driving, you can opt to enter the property via a 1,247-foot-long zipline. —Brooke Porter Katz

9. Cambridge, England
One of England’s two great university cities, Cambridge doesn’t wear its history lightly. It’s impossible to visit and not feel catapulted back in time, from the medieval maze of streets to the dazzling Gothic buildings of its colleges. Yet the city is also looking to the future: more than 4,500 science and technology firms have opened in the region over the past two decades. Cambridge now has a superb hotel to match. The , which opened last summer, is both an elegant homage to neoclassical style and a whole lot of fun, with book-filled suites that use famous Cambridge graduates like Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawkins as decorating motifs. The city’s food scene is keeping apace, thanks to , the hotel’s jovial, haute-British restaurant, and, across town, the subdued and sublime . —Peter Terzian

10. Egypt
News of Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming movie adaptation of the Agatha Christie classic "Death on the Nile" comes just as Egypt prepares to welcome the luxe . When it opens this spring, the 36-floor tower, overlooking Old Cairo and the Nile, will pamper guests with round-the-clock butler service. Luxury tour operators are responding to a strong uptick in visitor interest with new itineraries that cater to families.  can combine a river cruise, camel rides, and hands-on crafts. Tourism will only grow once Giza’s $1.1 billion  makes its long-awaited debut in 2020. —Sarah Bruning

11. Elqui Valley, Chile
Eclipse chasers should book a trip to Chile’s Elqui Valley for the total solar eclipse this July 2. The remote region, whose lack of artificial light earned it a designation as the world’s first , is home to over a dozen observatories, making it a magnet for both scientists and stargazers. The lush valley is also hailed for its Andes-flanked nature trails, world-class wines, and distilleries where travelers can sample the country’s celebrated national spirit, pisco.  is offering  to the Path of Totality with award-winning English astronomer, Dr. John Mason. Guests will visit famous observatories like  and , as well as prominent vineyards and top distilleries. Travel outfitter  is also offering bespoke journeys to experience this rare celestial event, with overnight stays in ’ geodesic glamping domes and observatory-style cabins. And Upscape’s new  pop-up camp will open in Elqui Valley starting June 29, just in time for guests to get a front row seat to one of nature’s most spectacular shows. —Nora Walsh

12. Etyek, Hungary
In the last two decades, Hungary has quietly been reclaiming its place as one of Europe’s most important wine producers. By now, wine connoisseurs are familiar with the most prominent of Hungary’s 22 : Tokaj, Eger, and Lake Batalon. But lately, the unassuming little town of Etyek — just 18 miles outside the capital — has emerged as a go-to destination for oenophiles and gourmands. Recognized in the 18th century as “the vineyards of Budapest,” Etyek has been gaining acclaim in recent years for its Champagne-like terroir that yields fine Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot (noir et blanc), and sparkling wines. While still under-the-radar among foreigners, Budapestians have been descending in droves onto the town’s “Gastro Walkway” (a cobblestone street in the older part of Etyek lined with restaurants and limestone cellars). Take a day to explore the town’s wineries on foot. , owned by a Hungarian radio celebrity, is revered by locals for having put Etyek on the oenological map — and Rókusfalvy also owns a  just a short walk away. A few doors down from those,  serves wine in an enchanting country setting complete with Tyrol-style furnishings and embroidered doilies, but it is their fruit and botanical syrups in dozens of intoxicating flavors (blackberry, pine needle, acacia) that will leave you swooning. One of the newest wineries in town, , has a state-of-the-art concrete and glass tasting room, completed in 2015, offering sweeping views of the countryside. In 2019, the town will play host to four major gastronomic weekends (January 19, April 6-7, June 1-2, and September 7-8), organized by, with live music and public events highlighting local wines, cheeses, and other regional delicacies. —Elizabeth Warkentin

13. The Florida Keys
A year after Hurricane Irma, the  are bouncing back, with a slew of hotel openings that prove the region’s enduring appeal. In Key Largo, there’s the 200-room , which reopened this fall following a major rebrand and reno, and the all-inclusive 135-room , which finally made its debut in December. The property is tailor-made for couples, with coastal cottages starting at 900 square feet, complete with bicycles, Adirondack chairs, and enormous soaking tubs. Over in Marathon, the 24-acre  is set to open in March 2019 with 199 rooms, all with ocean views. And there’s yet another new place to bunk in the American literary capital of Key West: the , a cluster of rooms in a historic home across from the main property. While you’re there, book a sightseeing excursion with the , which takes visitors to the former stomping grounds of Elizabeth Bishop and Ernest Hemingway, as well as local lit-scene favorites such as . The Florida Keys is always good for a surprise or two, and this is no exception: Swing by the shop on the right day and you may get rung up by none other than proprietor Judy Blume. —Tom Austin

14. Georgia
With so much happening in the Peach State, Georgia should be on the mind of any savvy traveler these days.  continues its rise as a culinary capital: Notable recent openings include the , a downtown pizza spot, and , helmed by James Beard-nominated Rui Liu, while food halls like  and  are constantly adding new vendors. Meanwhile, the remarkable transformation of  from a seedy motel into a dapper boutique property — complete with a superb French-leaning bistro and rooftop bar — has both locals and visitors buzzing. And the city famous for its gridlock is increasingly bike-friendly, thanks to the ongoing growth of the , a mixed-used trail that will span 33 miles when it’s completed in 2030. Over on the coast,  is hopping with a flurry of hotel openings, including newcomers , a luxe riverfront property, and the upscale  in the Historic District; 2019 openings include the Liberty and the Lark. On the food front, the , a hybrid of New York-style bodega and Southern lunch counter, opened in late 2018 under Johno Morisano and Mashama Bailey, Savannah’s most celebrated restaurant team. It was inspired by their beloved restaurant, the , which dishes up Southern-inspired cuisine in a refurbished Greyhound bus depot and has racked up a slew of accolades since its 2014 opening. —Blane Bachelor

15. The Grand Canyon
In 2019, the park dedicated to America’s most famous geologic marvel will celebrate its 100-year anniversary with a series of  throughout the year. And while you can certainly have an awe-inspiring experience without venturing far from the designated lookout points, new tours make 2019 the ideal time to explore the Canyon’s less-traveled corners. Operator Austin Adventures has added more dates for its , as well as a brand-new itinerary that includes Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, while Tauck’s 8-day  itinerary, created with help from documentarian Ken Burns, includes lunch on the canyon’s rim and two nights in an oft-overlooked section of the park. If you’d prefer a DIY adventure,  and head to the North Rim: less than 10 percent of the canyon’s 6.2 million annual visitors see this side of the park. With wild places both at home and abroad increasingly under threat, bearing witness to these natural wonders feels more urgent than ever. —Lila Harron Battis

16. The Grenadines
As the  from last year’s devastating hurricane season, now is the time to explore the depth and breadth of experiences available in this diverse region. The Grenadines, a chain of dozens of islands south of St. Vincent, were spared by the 2017 storms (in fact, the last time they experienced a direct hit from a hurricane was over 60 years ago). But only recently has the tourism infrastructure and local economy come to match the archipelago’s raw natural beauty. This year, one island in particular — Bequia — will be in focus thanks to the highly anticipated opening of the , a sleek resort that comprises nine clean-lined private villas and a luxe manor home. But other islands are also on the up and up. Mandarin Oriental recently took over the management of , which officially rebranded in July with just 26 suites and 13 exclusive villas on a prime section of Godahl Beach. Canouan has also built a runway to allow private and charter jet access. And , on the famed private island of Mustique, continues to draw visitors two years after an extensive renovation. Thanks to a new airport on St. Vincent, which provides a hub for  and , these secluded island retreats are just a short ferry ride away. —Hannah Walhout

17. Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
With its beach-meets-jungle coastline, splendid array of biodiversity, and climate as warm as the locals, it's no wonder Costa Rica's northwestern corner became an early paragon of ecotourism. That's a lot of paradise to protect. Now,  for overtired humans, too. Liberia’s airport is fresh off a multimillion-dollar expansion while the luxury playground at Peninsula Papagayo is in the midst of its own $100-million refresh. Miami-based Gencom is bringing fresh dining concepts, an electric bike-share program, and thoughtful updates to both the  and  resorts (the latter’s reimagined spa is a destination in its own right). If the road less paved is more your brand of adventure, a stylish new boutique property, the 45-room , will open in February in car-free Las Catalinas, and small surf towns like Nosara and their year-round, world-class swells are as welcoming as ever, whether you're a beginner or a pro on the board. —Richelle Szypulski

18. Guatemala
Guatemala is Central America distilled: its mix of mountain and jungle landscapes, haunting Mayan ruins and vibrant Indian culture has been luring English-speaking travelers since the writer Aldous Huxley was hypnotized back in the 1930s. Its modest travel industry was put on hold after the , but today, the Land of Eternal Spring is bouncing back. Perched on the rim of the jewel-like Lake Atitlán, Guatemala's finest boutique hotel, , has expanded its rustic-chic rooms, which are decorated with indigenous and colonial artifacts, from nine to 15, and signed on Guatemala's top celebrity chef and TV star to oversee its menu specializing in indigenous cuisine. 2019 will also see the opening of two glamorous new properties in alluring settings. In Antigua, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Spanish-era capital, you'll be able to sleep like a conquistador in the 11-room , a former mansion decorated with 17th-century silver relics. And in the tropical forests by the Rio Dulce, the seven-room  will revive a beautifully situated lodge from the 1960s; only accessible by boat, it's a sumptuous base for exploring one of the region's most isolated nature reserves. —Tony Perrottet

19. Helsinki, Finland
The capital of Finland continues to build on its reputation as an . Last spring, the  opened in a handsome 19th century building in the Kampii district, once the center of the city’s printing industry. The property features more than 400 pieces of art, culminating in an installation by Ai Weiwei. , Helsinki’s new central library, is a sweeping cloudlike structure that includes not only sun-infused reading rooms but a cinema, recording studios, and crafting rooms. And the latest addition to the gallery scene is , an underground museum of contemporary art, with domed exhibition spaces that bulge upwards into an urban plaza. —Peter Terzian

20. Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An is one of Vietnam’s most historically significant (and beautiful) port cities — and now, a luxe beachfront resort and an influx of creatives are bringing new life to its UNESCO-protected “Ancient Town.” Key to this resurgence is the , a recently renovated property on one of Asia’s most picturesque beaches. Like Hoi An itself, the Nam Hai is an intriguing blend of old and new, reinterpreting the garden courtyard house typical of this part of Vietnam. New shops and restaurants are also bringing a contemporary eye to the city’s layered culture. At , enjoy dishes that explore the Hoi An’s spice trade history inside a repurposed 200-year-old merchant’s house. , owned by artist Nguyen Qui Duc, serves Japanese fare and shots of rare sake and whisky, while the menu at  includes gins infused with native vanilla, cardamom, and black pepper. After cocktails, head to the French-Vietnamese atelier , with its understated prints and smart silhouettes, or , which reimagines the traditions of Ancient Town with embroidered velvet slippers and silk slip dresses. Tapping into the town’s leisurely vibe,  has an atmospheric white-and-blue atelier filled with ceramics, bedding, and linens. This colorful port city has matured gracefully — but a new golden era is just beginning. —Rachna Sachasinh. Source:

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