10 Unique Destinations to Visit in 2019

The beginning of every new year is the perfect time to start setting goals and organizing plans for the year ahead. Start ticking off the things you left unfinished from the previous year or maybe create completely new ones.

The sunsets in the Maldives are unlike anything you've ever seen. The sky is painted beautiful shades of pink, purple and orange. This one in particular was gorgeous at Lily Beach Resort and Spa in the Maldives

Not surprisingly, my goals and plans are always travel related.  I excitedly begin each new year by researching destinations that I’d like to visit and then adding them to my ever-growing list. There are a number of factors that I use to determine why I’d like to visit a particular destination and I try to encompass all of them into each location. These usually include landscapes, landmarks & monuments, the culture & people and the local cuisine.

Dalawella beach is a quiet, beautiful beach on Sri Lanka's southern coast

I’ve created a small list of some of the destinations I feel should be added to your 2019 bucket list. All of these places I have visited myself and would continue to visit over and over again if I could.


1. Egypt


Topping my list for 2019 would have to be Egypt. The land of incredibly rich history, massive pyramids, intricately carved Temples and delicious food.  I truly believe that this north eastern African country should be on everybody’s bucket list and soon. Currently, tourism is slow but I imagine there will be an increase again in the near future.

Sitting in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza is a humbling experience. There is so much history and beauty that can be found in Egypt!

There is so much to see and do so I’d advise at least a week, but preferably more if you’re planning to make a visit to Egypt. On your journey, include stops in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan to ensure you capture some of the best parts of the country. A few of the top highlights include: the Ancient Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx in Cairo, Karnak Temple and Valley of the Kings in Luxor and Abu Simbel in Aswan.

Be sure to visit Abu Simbel during a visit to Aswan in Egypt! There is so much history to be seen here and the carvings are just incredible.

» Use this 8 day guide to traveling around Egypt to plan your trip of a lifetime to this incredible country.


2. Sri Lanka


One of my favorite destinations on this planet is easily Sri Lanka. If you guys follow me on instagram or read the blog you know how passionate I am about this tiny teardrop country located in the Indian Ocean. The diverse landscape makes it any travelers dream destination and easily offers something to please everyone.

» Sri Lanka’s Most Beautiful Train Journey: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya to Ella

Hanging out of the doors on the train in Sri Lanka

I recommend spending at least 2 weeks circumnavigating the country to explore all the best sights and really immerse yourself in the culture. Sri Lanka is well known for its surfing beaches, many historical sights and temples, as well as, safaris where you can spot leopards and elephants in the wild!

» The Best Beaches Along Sri Lanka’s Southern Coast

There is a stunning panoramic view from the top of Sigiriya Rock in Sri Lanka

» Plan your trip with my 17-day guide to adventuring around Sri Lanka!


3. Faroe Islands


Still relatively untouched by mass tourism, the Faroe Islands is a small group of islands boasting dramatic landscapes and unique wildlife encounters. Situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, snuggled between Norway and Iceland, the Faroes are surprisingly easy to reach.

The Múlafossur Waterfall is one of the most famous places to visit in the Faroe Islands. It can be easily spotted from the side of the road and is located in the village of Gásadalur.

These Islands are an outdoor lovers dream with tons of hiking, adventures and impressive scenery to keep you busy for the duration of your visit. Although the weather can be temperamental and unpredictable, visitors can still enjoy the outdoors with the proper attire.

One of the largest populations of puffins call the island of Mykines home. Mykines can be reached by helicopter or ferry and its best to do a day trip here to hike to the lighthouse and back.

We saw the largest population of puffins on the island of Mykines during our visit, but we also had a little difficulty getting off the island! You can read all about how I ended up on my first helicopter ride due to this little misadventure!

» An Outdoor Lovers Guide to the Faroe Islands


4. Maldives


I have a special place in my heart for the Maldives and my love for this country only grows stronger with each visit. Look up any picture of the Maldives and you can easily see why it is any ocean lovers dream vacation. With turquoise waters so clear you can see more than 30 feet deep and an abundance of sea life, you’ll never want to get out of the water.

» Snorkeling in the Maldives: Why We Spent Everyday in the Ocean

The Maldives is home to the whale shark, the largest fish in the sea. Get up close to this amazing marine animal year round in the South Ari Still.

And don’t just think this group of about 1,200 islands is only for the rich and famous, there are now many options including guesthouses on the local islands or even lesser expensive resorts. The resorts and guesthouses all offer many excursions so that you can combine adventure with relaxation for the duration of your stay.

» Maldives: An Affordable Dream Destination

You can spend the day on your own private island, soaking up the sun and snorkeling the reef surrounding the island. The Maldives is a gorgeous place and should be on every travelers bucket list!

» The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Maldives on a Budget


5. Svalbard


With global warming and the continual melting of glaciers all over the world, now is the time to visit Svalbard. An archipelago of Norway, Svalbard is a small piece of land located very, very close to the North Pole. In fact, I believe it is the closest you can get if you want to explore that part of the world.

The main town of Longyearbyen in Svalbard is a great place to wander around in between excursions out in this winter wonderland!

I spent 3 days here, with 2 full days glued to the seat of a snowmobile in search of the illusive polar bear! If you’re lucky enough you will get to see one in the wild just like I did and the experience will change the way you view these animals forever. Of course you will be will a guide, as safety is their main priority in Svalbard, so don’t fear and just enjoy the ride.

Snowmobiling in Svalbard is a really adventurous activity that you can do in Svalbard and you might even have the opportunity to encounter a polar bear on your trip like I did!

Find your inner adventurer and partake in other winter focused excursions like ice caving or dog sledding!

There is many wildlife to see in Svalbard including the adorable reindeer! We spotted this baby on our journey back to Longyearbyen after being on the snowmobile for 2 days!

Looking to plan your 2-day snowmobiling trip in Svalbard, I’ve got you covered!

» Svalbard, Norway: Snowmobile Adventures and a Polar Bear Encounter


6. Morocco


There’s so much to love about Morocco. From the gorgeous riads, delicious food and stunning deserts, a trip to this country in the NW of Africa is an absolute must. Discover the Erg Chebbi desert by camel and fall asleep under the starry night sky in one of the traditional berber tents.

Visiting the Erg Chebbi in the Sahara desert is a huge draw for travelers visiting Morocco. Be sure to make the journey out here and spend the night sleeping under the stars

Explore the city of Marrakesh and navigate your way through the old medina and the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa square. Visit the stunning Bahia Palace and Koutoubia Mosque and admire the delicate intricacies of their tile work and architecture.

The largest Mosque in Marrakesh is the Koutoubia Mosque and can be seen high above the medina. Marrakesh is a great place to explore for a couple of days before heading out to the desert!

Spend a couple days in Fez getting lost in the narrow streets and learn how they color their leather goods by visiting one of the local tanneries. Savor the aromatic scents of the Moroccan spices and maybe take a few home with you to create your own tangine dinner!

The tanneries in Fez are a must visit when in the area. Here you can observe the process of how the dye the leather!

A visit to Morocco isn’t complete with out spending at least one day in the magical city of Chefchaouen. A photographers dream and easily identified by its cluster of blue washed buildings, the small village is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains. Affectionately named the Blue Pearl of Morocco, Chefchaouen is a spectacular place to get lost amongst the labyrinth of cobblestone streets.

» A Travel Guide to Morocco: Visiting Fez, Chefchaouen and the Erg Chebbi Desert

Appropriately named Morocco's Blue Pearl, the town of Chefchaouen is a travelers dream. The entire city is painted all shades of blue and is even more stunning to see in person.

I’ve traveled to Morocco multiple times and have always trusted my friend Said and his family-run tour company Morocco Countryside Tours to guarantee I have an amazing and safe time in this beautiful country.

» A First Timer’s Guide to Visiting Morocco


7. Madagascar


An island just off the coast of SE Africa, Madagascar is a land of stunning beauty and enchanting mystery. The landscape differs dramatically from one side of the island to the other, resulting in a combination of dry desert mixed with a lush rainforest. Its quite a stark contrast and it allows for the many species of lemurs to thrive in these different enviroments.  Madagascar is home to many national parks where you can see view these indigenous species in the wild.

These adorable species of lemurs are indigenous to Madagascar. Different species can be seen in different parts of the country.

Be sure to travel to the famous Avenue of the Baobabs and take in the massive trunk sizes of these unique trees. These trees are endemic to Madagascar and can reach a whopping height of almost 100 feet!

The Avenue of the Baobabs is one of Madagascar's most photographed locations. These tree-lined dirt road can be seen on the west side of the country and is absolutely worth a visit!

Read about the top places to visit during your trip to Madagascar and start planning your trip now!

» Lemurs in the Analamazaotra Reserve and the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park


8. Indonesia


Easily one of the top travel destinations in the world is Bali and there’s no denying its persistent charm. Even during wet season, Bali is a stunning place to visit. Although if I had the choice I would prefer to explore when the earth is dry and sky is not threatened by impending storm clouds.

» The Top Places to Visit on Bali’s Southern Coast

Bali has so many temples that you can find all over the area. The temples have beautiful ornamentation and are all painted lovely colors.

Arrive in Bali with no set plan and see where the journey takes you. Explore the countless temples and endless beaches while devouring some one of the country’s iconic smoothie bowls. Take a yoga class at The Yoga Barn or have a little adventure on a bike tour through the famous rice fields.

» Biking Through Bali with Jegeg Cycling Tour

Another popular place in Nusa Penida is Angel's Billabong. We were there during the rainy season so we didn't get the clear water that you normally see.

Be sure to stop at the Tegallalang Rice Terrace in Ubud and then make your way over to the Ubud Market to grab some souvenirs to remember your trip. A popular activity in Bali is the Sacred Monkey Forest but if you’re scared of monkeys like me you’ll want to go ahead and skip this one.

The Tegallalang Rice Terrace in Ubud is the most famous in Bali. There are many rice terraces all around Bali, you just have to get out and explore!

If you have a few extra days, take a short boat journey to the nearby island of Nusa Penida and discover the island by scooter (a private driver is always an option-and probably what we should’ve done!) We had a bit of misadventure during our day in Nusa Penida and ended up missing out on all but 2 of the amazing sights on the small island.

» Nusa Penida: Our Day of Misadventures and the Shit That No-one Tells You

Broken Beach in Nusa Penida is one of the islands most iconic spots! Visitors flock here to see the coast line and its natural beauty.

I plan on returning to Bali this year to explore more and see some of the other beautiful locations in Indonesia!

 


9. Tanzania


Thinking about going on an African Safari and not sure where to start? Tanzania is the perfect location for safari newbies who want to combine their love for wildlife and adventure! The dry, flat lands make it easy to spot the wildlife even if they are quite a distance away. During my visit to Tanzania I was fortunate enough to see the big 5 and tons of babies!

» Safari in Tanzania: The Ultimate Guide

Watching the zebras graze under the Baobab trees as the sun sets below the horizon is one of the greatest parts about being on an African Safari

I highly recommend going with a reputable company on a private tour. The guides are incredibly knowledgeable, not just with the wildlife species but also with knowing the trails and staying on the designated paths. I imagine it would be quite easy to get lost in the Serengeti and internet isn’t always an option. Camp out in the wild like I did and have a real African adventure safari experience!

» The Absolute Best Camera Gear for an African Safari

Hot air ballooning over the Serengeti in Tanzania

Gain a different perspective and take flight during sunrise in a hot air balloon over the central Serengeti. Floating high above the baobab trees, the smooth journey takes you across the plains where you will pass over many animals grazing in the early morning sun.

» A Hot Air Balloon Safari Over the Serengeti in Tanzania


10. Slovenia


This often overlooked country is a true European gem. Many travelers flock to bigger countries and cities across the European continent when they should look here. Slovenia is rich in culture, many outdoor activities and the most magical, fairytale lake.

Lake Bled is one of the most beautiful lakes in Slovenia. The church not the island makes for a fairytale-esque destination.

Lake Bled is located just a 30 minute drive from Slovenia’s hip capital city Ljubljana and is well worth a short visit. From here you can branch off to one of the many hikes or caves in the region.

» Lake Bled: A True Gem in Slovenia’s Julian Alps

Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia and a fun place to visit. There are many delicious restaurants and hip shops here. It is well worth a visit if you are in Slovenia!

Be sure to add Triglav National Park, Vintgar Gorge and the Postojna & Skočan Caves to your itinerary.

Vintgar Gorge is a very short drive from Lake Bled and definitely worth a visit. The man-made boardwalk takes you through the gorge where you will see the turquoise waters flowing around each bend and down waterfalls.

There are also a few seaside towns along the Istrian Coast that you should be sure to check out! My favorites are Piran and Izola!

» Piran: Slovenia’s Super Popular Seaside Town

I hope that this guide gives you some inspiration for new places to visit this year!

Views like this are common along the most beautiful train journey in Sri Lanka. This trip takes you from Kandy, through Nuwara Eliya and ends in Ella.

Have you visited any of these places yet? If so, share some of your experiences in the comments below! If not, are any of these destinations already on your 2019 bucket list?

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Looking for travel inspiration? Find out which places I recommend traveling to in 2019! Some of these may even surprise you!

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