Looking for unique destinations to add to your travel bucket list? Booking.com has come up with its ten top emerging travel destinations for 2019.
From Colombia’s secret paradise of Palomino to the desert wilderness of Jordan’s Wadi Rum and the tasty seafood of Bacalar, Mexico, there’s a new find to tempt everyone.
Research reveals that nearly half of global travellers (45%) want to be more adventurous in their choice of destination in 2019 than they were in 2018, rising to 58% of 18-34 year olds, which makes these up and coming destinations the perfect places to put on your 2019 bucket list. In 2019 over half of travellers want to visit somewhere none of their friends have been and 60% of 25-34 year olds plan to use more of their annual leave on travel.
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Featuring as the backdrop to many blockbuster films, Wadi Rum is everything you’d expect from the desert wilderness. Dramatic sandstone mountains, red canyons and stunning prehistoric rocks make up the stunning scenery, with Wadi Rum providing a getaway that’s completely off the grid. Many times the desert has been compared to Mars with its reddish sands and natural arches, so why not take your next vacation here for an experience that’s out of this world? The top endorsements for Wadi Rum by Booking.com travellers are the stunning sunsets, stargazing and the desert.
One of the most prosperous stops on the ancient Silk Road, Samarkand is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia and has been the hub of world cultures for hundreds of years. It’s full of medieval architecture and monuments that are included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. One of the most popular monuments is the Registan Square which ranks among the world’s most beautiful squares and is completely covered in mosaics and is adorned with gold and calligraphy.
Tipped to be the next Maldives, Bacalar houses one of the most stunning natural beauties, the Lake of the Seven Colors. With its crystal clear, fresh waters and white sandy base, this lake appears almost turquoise and is ideal for diving and snorkelling. Small fisherman’s houses dot the lake, so be sure to sample some of the seafood as it’s the food that Bacalar is most known for.
Known as the gateway to the Sahara, Ouarzazate is a city south of Morocco’s beautiful Atlas Mountains and home to the impressive Ait Ben Haddou (a fortified village) where you can head to the ancient Kasbah to watch the spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Quad biking along the dusty roads is an excellent way to explore the region and you’ll see why it’s been a setting for some big movies and TV shows – and travellers can even visit the local film studios.
This much loved beachside town is a must see on any visit to Colombia, offering travellers a range of exciting activities. Not only does it offer beautiful Caribbean beaches but it’s also a great place for spotting wildlife (monkeys and toucans to name a couple), delicious seafood and a great range of hostels. Travellers can also try tubing on Palomino River, taking in the natural beauty as you float down to the Caribbean Sea.
This town in northwest Georgia is 1,500 metres above sea level and a great starting point for trips throughout the region. The Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography is perfect for immersing yourself in the local history and culture. Active travellers will be in awe hiking up the Chaladi Glacier on the slopes of the Caucasus Mountains as well as hiking the lakes at the base of Mount Ushba, offering breathtaking views of the lakes. Foodies will be intrigued by the local Svan cuisine – a must try is the Kubdari meat pie and Tashmijabi (cheesy mashed potatoes).
“The land of a Thousand Hills” has become more accessible for travel over recent years and travellers come from all over the world to see the incredible mountain gorillas which live in Volcanoes National Park. In addition to gorillas, you can also spot the Big Five (lions, rhinos, elephants, buffalos and leopards) on safari in Akagera National Park. The city of Kigali itself is considered one of the safest and most alluring capitals in Africa and offers more than just a great base to the wider region: having undergone rapid economic transformation in the past 10 years, the city boasts a booming food scene, bustling markets and fun nightlife.
Leeuwarden is full of laid-back Dutch charm with its museums, great shopping districts and food hotspots. It was named a 2018 Capital of Culture due to its choice of cultural performances and exhibitions. Easy to explore on bicycle, visitors can stop off at the Fries Museum to learn about Frisian treasures, climb Leeuwarden’s leaning tower and sample the local spirits at the family run distillery at the Boomsma Museum.
This village in Southern Albania is a hidden gem when it comes to beautiful beaches., but not for long! Located on the Albanian Riviera you’ll find crystal clear waters, secluded beaches and peaceful restaurants. Nearby you can visit sights including Syri I Kaltër (the Blue Eye) – a lake where bubbles create colours that look like an eye, and Butrint, an ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nusa Penida, Indonesia
Many travellers tend to visit the Gili Islands, Bali or other tourist hot spots when visiting Indonesia, but Nusa Penida is still a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Nusa Penida is an island off the southeast coast of Bali and offers breath-taking, mostly untouched landscapes. Travellers can try their hand at scuba diving, walk along the Crystal Bay or soak in the natural wonders including the Giri Putri Cave and the natural infinity pool Angel’s Billabong.