If you are planning a vacation in 2019, why not consider some destinations that may not be on the cover of all the guidebooks or brochures. Experience the medieval lore of Ethiopia or holiday in style at a Middle Eastern oasis with amazing modern skyscrapers. These vacation spots should be in the running. Forget London or Paris and check out these 9 destinations to add to your radar for 2019.
Ethiopia has been flying under the radar for too long. The Land of Thirteen Months is often seen as a gateway for tourists seeking to take in the beauty of East Africa elsewhere. But if you look hard enough, you will find a magical country with ancient and spiritual roots, rich in significant religious history that has a fabulous story to tell. Legends of the Ark of the Covenant live side by side and in harmony with ancient Islamic mosques. Its diverse capital city, Addis Ababa, has a vibrant nightlife and a wide array of exotic cuisine. A must-see is the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela where eleven medieval churches are all carved out of massive slabs of rock. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is fascinating and will leave you in awe of the faith that can move mountains.
It is unfair that the Rainbow Nation is not on more traveler’s radars. South Africa has to be one of the most gorgeous countries in the world. From the raw natural beauty of the Drakensberg Mountains to the breathtaking wild animals of the African savanna, you won’t be disappointed in all the scenic attractions found in South Africa. This stunning country also has vibrant and modern cities. In fact, Cape Town is probably the most beautiful city on the planet. Nestled in the shadow of Table Mountain, the “Mother City” offers a vibrant waterfront, non-stop shopping and exciting nightlife. Come to South Africa and you will find it hard to leave this amazing land full of beautiful people.
Alaska, United States
You may have considered Alaska and then dismissed it because of its reputation for its rugged wilderness and inaccessible pristine beauty. It is big, you can’t argue that—if it were a country, it would rank 20th in the world in size. But Alaska has something for every level of traveler. Each year, 1.5 million visitors come to revel in Alaska’s frontier flavor, amazing seafood, unique wildlife and unmatched natural beauty. The best way to approach a trip to the “Last Frontier” is to decide which of its many wonders you want to explore. Whether it’s the inside passage, with its collection of islands and Alaska’s capital city of Juneau, the Interior, with Fairbanks as the gateway to all points Arctic or the rugged and isolated Far North, you will be in awe of all the breathtaking beauty that Alaska has to offer.
If amazing beaches and an endless array of water sports is on your list of “must-haves” for your next trip, consider the Central American paradise of Panama. Here you will find chill Caribbean vibes and a string of isolated islands that sit poised to deliver you the best beach life ever. Where else can you scuba dive with whale sharks, snorkel in crystal-clear waters or catch world-class breakers on a beach that you have all to yourself. Discover nature by ziplining through rainforest canopies, swimming alongside sea turtles or trekking through a jungle to catch sublime cloud-forest vistas. If you need to be pampered in style, Panama City offers that and much more. Panama is as wild as you want it to be.
There are a magic and mystic about Cambodia that is just begging to be discovered. Much of the heart and soul of Cambodia comes from the mighty Mekong River that originates in the Yunnan Province of China, meanders south across Cambodia and ends in southern Vietnam. Most come for the temples of Angkor, but this quiet and magnificent country gives you so much more. The capital city of Phnom Penh offers views of glittering temples and delicious street food. You will be blown away by how friendly the people are, how gorgeous the country is, and how much there is to see and do. If you want to get the real feel of rural Cambodian life, take a slow boat ride down the Mekong from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and Battambang.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is a city that must be seen to be believed. This largest city of the United Arab Emirates boasts record-breaking architecture that towers over traditional residences, while man-made islands jut out of its coastline. You have to check out the tallest building in the world the Burj Khalifa, standing over 2,700 feet high. Many make the trip to Dubai for the shopping and right next to the Burj Khalifa is the Dubai Mall. You can spend all day here and still not see it all. Families will love the indoor theme park, ice rink and the giant Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Dubai is also home to Palm Jumeirah, one of the largest artificial islands in the world where locals and tourists alike enjoy a vast array of high-end hotels, like the iconic Atlantis, the Palm.
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South Korea won’t be flying under the radar for much longer. The Land of the Morning Calm has amazing natural beauty, ancient culture and a booming economy. All of this makes South Korea one of the most talked-about travel destinations on the planet, offering visitors an incredibly diverse range of unforgettable experiences. After you have decided whether to stay in one of Seoul’s luxury hotels or opt for the rustic charm of a traditional Korean house called Hanoks, explore this proud country until your heart’s content. Seoul is home to a huge variety of palaces, temples, and Buddhist landmarks, such as Gyeongbokgung Palace, as well as gracious gardens and ancient historic attractions.
Head to Greece and you will never be the same again. With its ancient sun-bleached ruins, endless coastline, passionate music and inspired cuisine, Greece needs to be on your radar for 2019. This ageless land is a veritable cultural treasure chest waiting to be opened. You feel like you are in another world as you stand in the shadow of the Acropolis or step into the ring where the first Olympians competed. Greece has endless cultural pursuits and a calendar bursting with festivals, holidays and exhibits. Greece has its draw for beach bums as well with sea speckled islands of white sand and palm-fringed beaches. Experience a culinary adventure with Greek cooking that is born of feta, olive oil and fish straight from the sea. What more can we say than “Opa”!
Chile is unlike any other country you will ever visit. Some have called Chile the “Switzerland of the south” because of its natural beauty, educated populace and stable government. Chile is full of natural beauty and is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. You will find a diverse variety of landscapes including vineyards, volcanoes, beaches, lakes, glaciers and forests. Nature, culture, food and amazing people just are a few of the reasons to visit Chile. The capital city of Santiago is modern and accessible with an endless supply of great hotels, chic boutiques and unbelievable dining adventures. A trip to Patagonia is a must, however, it is not for the causal adventure tourist. Few areas on the planet match the rugged frontier appeal of Patagonia where you can trek through glacier chiseled lands or spy on thousands of Magellanic penguins. Chile will be a completely new experience where you will really feel at one with nature.