It’s odd to view travelling as a year by year kind of activity, but that’s how a lot of people tend to function nowadays. They’ll compare and contrast some of the destinations they’ve visited on any given month or twelve-month period, analysing how they can continue to grow and see more of the world. It’s an admirable technique, and for the most part, these are the kind of people who can look past the stereotypical locations that we all know and love - to the point where they only select destinations that will provide them with something different. Unfortunately, not everyone has these kinds of ‘resources’ or wits available to them, and whilst we aren’t claiming to, we’re going to do our best to inform you of the 23 locations that come to mind when we think of travel spots that will burst into life in 2019.
You may be slightly confused as to why we’re doing this list with still a few months remaining until the year is out, but let’s face it, January is going to be here before we know it and you’re in denial if you disagree with that. A lot of people are currently enjoying the summer holidays with their friends, family or partners, and with the winter months looming, it’s always nice to get excited about planning your next trip - regardless of when it’ll actually come to fruition.
In terms of the cities that we’ve selected, it’ll soon become apparent that there are no real criteria here. Some of the entries were once considered to be great but are only just recovering from a period of instability, whereas others are pretty ‘new’ in the purest sense of the word, and haven’t had much of a chance to create some buzz for themselves. This article alone isn’t going to do that, but we’re hoping that we can help to get the ball rolling.
23 Istanbul - Try Something New
The people of Turkey tend to be masters in a variety of different fields, and when it comes to tourism, they’re starting to get back to where they once were. More and more families and couples are visiting the nation in order to enjoy a quick getaway, but at the same time, their major cities have suffered.
Istanbul is one such example but as we look ahead to the future, it feels as if that’s all going to change. The stigma surrounding the city is slowly fading away, more and more businesses are willing to open up shop there, and from an architectural point of view, there are few places better.
22 Pyeongchang - Winter Wonderland
The location of Pyeongchang is one that’s likely to be pretty familiar to a lot of people, which in itself might come as something of a surprise. The county in Korea, which some consider to also be a city, hosted the 2018 Winter Olympics earlier this year - and whilst the temperatures were pretty extreme, for the most part, it was an overwhelming success.
It’s one thing to visit a winter wonderland-type of destination in your own country or continent, but you’ll get a whole new kind of experience when your adventure takes you all the way over to the other side of the world. Pyeongchang is experiencing something of a boom period right now, and you’d be a fool not to head over there and see it for yourself.
21 Valletta, Malta - The Definition Of Picturesque
Malta is a country that most people can give or take, predominantly because there are so many alternative options surrounding it. As harsh as it may seem, that’s the kind of world we live in right now, but with 2019 on the horizon, we’re starting to get the feeling that more and more people are opening their minds to the possibility of visiting Malta - and more specifically Valletta.
The capital plays host to some of the best views in Europe, and that alone should be enough to convince you to make the trip over. On top of that, you’ve got the cathedral, Grandmaster’s Palace, the Grand Harbour and so much more. Stereotypes are a deadly thing, nowadays more than ever, but you can’t let that kind of thing cloud your judgement.
20 Paris - An Old Classic
Every other romcom or romantic storyline on television and in movies like to reference Paris, as it’s well known for being one of the best places around to visit if you’re all loved up. Contrary to popular belief, however, that’s not the only thing it’s useful for, with a parade of tourists visiting the city purely to see what all the fuss is about.
Unfortunately, recent events in the last few years have left a few people on the fence when it comes to committing themselves to a trip there, but with the added security combined with the history of their many monuments, you’d be a fool not to give the city the benefit of the doubt. It’s a wonderful place and deserves to be remembered as such once again.
19 Osaka - The Gem Of Japan
From the food to the booming economy to the breathtaking castle, there are a plethora of reasons as to why you should visit Osaka in 2019. The city has long since been chasing Tokyo as the number one destination in Japan, but it’s starting to feel like they’re building a reputation for themselves as an underrated city - which can only be a good thing.
Universal Studios Japan offers travellers a taste of the west, Dotonbori is always busy with plenty of food and drink options, and the aquarium is a lot of fun, too. Osaka doesn’t take itself too seriously in comparison to Tokyo, with plenty of the locals being friendly, approachable and generally nice individuals.
18 Skopje, Macedonia - Cheap As Chips
We’re going to say this one time and one time only: don’t sleep on Skopje, because it could end up being the biggest mistake of your travelling life. The capital of Macedonia is as cheap as they come in regards to the standard of living, allowing you to live like royalty throughout your entire trip.
If you’re also looking for something picturesque, the Old Town, the mountain and Matka Canyon offer you the opportunity to let all of your worries wash away in favour of pure tranquillity. You wouldn’t think that would be possible given the nature of most European cities, but believe us when we say that Skopje is different.
17 Mendoza - Magnificence In Argentina
Travelling somewhere new is scary, and travelling somewhere that’s a little bit alternative can be a bit of a risk - but not in Mendoza. The city is known for being a hub for wine culture, the art scene is on the rise, and it’s about as picturesque as you could ever imagine a city in Argentina to be.
It’s almost as if nobody outside of South America has ever stepped foot in this city because nobody ever seems to talk about it. The prices involved with flying over there can often put people off but trust us, if you’re committed to seeing some of the best sights the world has to offer, you need to check out Mendoza. The positive vibe there are beyond anything we’ve seen in a long time.
16 Albuquerque, New Mexico - We Are The Ones Who Knock
No, we aren’t just including this because of the ties to Breaking Bad, although the tour does sound pretty cool. Albuquerque is unlike the majority of other cities in the United States, in that it’s never viewed as a must-visit location despite being incredibly well known.
The weather is almost always nice, the buildings look fantastic, the people are lovely, and they continue to produce dozens upon dozens of phenomenal athletes. The ABQ is a really fun place to live and that never seems to be recognised, although with the recent injection of life from a financial and tourism standpoint, that could all change in the not so distant future.
15 Lima, Peru - On The Rise
South America is the most vilified continent on the face of the Earth, and the residents there likely have the topsy-turvy history of Colombia to attribute - for the most part. Still, the other nations have played their part, which is what makes the rise of Lima so much more inspirational.
If you take away their impressive performances in the lead up to the World Cup and the bias from surrounding nations, you’ll discover a city with plenty to offer. The light show is remarkable, there are a handful of really fun museums to walk around, and the plaza is pretty much something you’d expect from any first world country.
14 Marrakesh, Morocco - A Renewed Favourite
We aren’t going to pretend like sketchiness still isn’t an overbearing issue in Morocco as a nation, but that’s slowly starting to change and we can appreciate the lengths that their government is going to in order to make the country feel more accessible. The first step in that process comes in Marrakesh (aka Marrakech), which is probably the biggest source of tourism for the African country.
The sensational markets often bring in thousands upon thousands of foreigners every single year, and can you blame them? If we take out the fact that there are some absolute bargains to be had throughout all of the stalls, it’s also just a great experience to wander around. Majorelle Garden needs to be seen in order to be believed, and if you’re European, Marrakesh is much easier to get to from a travel perspective than anywhere else in Africa.
13 Greenville - America’s Saviour
For some bizarre reason, there are a number of states that people just don’t seem to even entertain the idea of talking about. That could be due to the fact that many States have larger than life reputations, but in some cases, it can simply be a case of arrogance on the part of the masses.
South Carolina certainly falls into this category, which is a great shame - especially given how stunning cities like Greenville are. Aside from the weather being tremendous throughout most of the year you’ve got scenic lakes and forests, great routes for hiking and cycling, and a family togetherness kind of feel that can be a rarity over in the States.
12 Birmingham, England - Prepare The Commonwealth
Commonly referred to as the second city, we aren’t going to sit here and pretend like there aren’t issues within some of Birmingham’s suburbs. However, when you visit the city centre, you’ll discover that it’s actually a really enjoyable city to be in. The locals are very upfront with a typical sense of humour, Symphony Hall and The Bullring are both great structures, and the transport system is really easy to use.
Add in a profitable sporting scene and it’s not hard to see why they’ve been awarded the 2022 Commonwealth Games. It’s been a long process for the city to get to the point that they’re at now, but that doesn’t make their journey any less impressive. It doesn’t matter if you’re going on a night out or just for a walk around the stunning Christmas market, because you’re bound to have a great time.
11 Tel Aviv, Israel - As Trendy as they come
As Israel’s reputation from a political standpoint continues to fluctuate, it’s important to remember the history and splendour of the country at all times. In particular, you’ve got Tel Aviv, which you could argue is one of the most dramatically underrated cities on the planet right now. The markets are tremendous, Yarkon Park looks like something out of a movie, and the fishing port brings in a whole new kind of economy.
It’s a really trendy city and as ‘cliche’ as that may sound, it’s the truth. With the Eurovision Song Contest being set to come to the city in 2019 (if all goes to plan), it seems as if things are looking up in a big way. Who knows, perhaps this will even be a viable place for more expats to move to someday soon.
10 Hamburg, Germany - The Peak Of German Nightlife
Going out and partying serves as a big selling point for a lot of young people who want to go travelling, and as a result, Hamburg often fits into their plans quite nicely. There is a parade of bars, clubs and restaurants available to you, but don’t be fooled into thinking that they don’t have anything else to offer.
Miniatur Wunderland will make your trip worth it, and if you catch the city on a sunny day, you’ll have a blast walking through the Japanese-style gardens or going down by the river. The travel ‘game’ if you will is all about discovering something about yourself that you didn’t previously know and Hamburg certainly does just that.
9 Saint Petersburg, Russia - The Moscow Alternative
It’s no secret that Moscow is considered to be the focal point of Russia as a nation, and most people don’t even choose to take other cities into consideration. That’s somewhat understandable given the amount of stock that’s been put into the city over the course of the last few decades, but we still think that tourists should have an open mind with these kinds of things.
Case in point: Saint Petersburg. It’s not too in your face and it certainly isn’t all too flashy, but it’s definitely peaceful. It serves as something of a rehabilitation city for those of us who have lost our way, and simply want to rediscover who we are as people. That sounds a little bit too deep, but trust us, nothing we say could do justice to this place.
8 Beijing, China - Not To Be Forgotten
Back in 2008, Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics in a successful venture that helped to raise the stock and profile of China's massive capital city. Since then, though, it feels as if more and more people have been flocking towards Shanghai in an attempt to capitalise on the marketability and business growth that the city has been experiencing.
That’s left Beijing in the dust in more ways than one, but we can feel something of a revival coming. The Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven are three of the many, many attractions that showcase Asian culture at its finest. Beijing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly feels like it’s going to bounce back sooner rather than later.
7 Boise, Idaho - Simple And Sleek
With a new $40 million development on the way with the aim of improving the entertainment side of the city, it’s hardly difficult to see why Boise is such a hot spot right now. We mentioned previously in the article that some states and locations aren’t given the respect they deserve, but Boise seems to be the exception to the rule as of late.
The sun always seems to be shining, the people are exceptionally friendly, and everyone just loves to have a good time. They always seem to be developing new, creative ways to master the art of cooking, too, which is something that all different sorts of people can appreciate.
6 Philadelphia - The Hustle And Bustle
Where do we even begin? Philadelphia is one of the greatest cities in the world and whilst that should automatically rule it out of a list like this by default, people have still been mistreating it and not giving Philly the right kind of appreciation. People seem to be obsessed with negative connotations derived from old school trails of thought, and that’s just not right.
Thankfully, the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory earlier this year seems to have given the city an injection of life, which will only serve to help them reach the next level in 2019 and beyond. With Creed 2 also coming out later this year, the Rocky Steps will likely be given a boost, and let’s be honest, cheesesteaks only feel right when they come from Pennsylvania.
5 Abu Dhabi, UAE - Approaching The Pinnacle
We could just say ‘Ferrari World’ and be done with this whole thing, but there’s more to Abu Dhabi than that. Of course, when people think of the United Arab Emirates their mind switches to Dubai, which makes sense. However, Abu Dhabi is a city that continues to push themselves to the point where they can become the ‘new Middle East’.
They’re finding the right balance between iconic landmarks, great pieces of architecture, and different forms of entertainment that can appeal to all different kinds of families and groups. It goes without saying that you can live like a king over there, and 2019 will serve as the next stepping stone towards their tourism growth.
4 Toronto - O Canada
People in Canada often point to their free healthcare as one of the primary reasons why their country is better than the United States of America, but it goes much deeper than that. Toronto, in its own special way, is gradually becoming the New York City of Canada in ways that could never have been envisaged.
Not only are they building a credible stock market and a place for small businesses to thrive, but they’ve also perfected the art of ‘tourism’. It’s a great sports city, the CN Tower is stunning, the Royal Ontario Museum is extremely enlightening, and if you can’t enjoy the cold weather climate then you need to re-evaluate why you enjoy Christmas.
3 Valencia, Spain - Utter Perfection
Listening to what everyone else has to say in the realms of travel isn’t always a good idea, especially when you can’t even bring yourself to find your own voice on the matter. Look, it’s always great to get advice from people, but at the end of the day you shouldn’t travel somewhere unless you, specifically, find it interesting.
So instead of pitching Valencia over Barcelona and Madrid to you, just go ahead and research some of the many, many positives associated with the city. You’ll likely find yourself falling in love before you’ve even had time to check the price of the plane tickets, and that’s when you know you’re onto something special.
2 Buenos Aires - A Marvellous Place
The Summer Youth Olympics are set to be held in Buenos Aires later this year and whilst that may not sound like the most thrilling thing in the world, it serves as a great metaphor. The Youth Games offer up a chance for youngsters from every corner of the globe to prove themselves, in a city that also needs to prove itself in more ways than one.
Buenos Aires isn’t nearly as ‘in’ as it should be with travellers, and we believe that’ll change with the Games. The 19th-century buildings showcase how much stock the locals put into historical significance in this day and age, and we’re pretty confident that this place invented the ‘city that never sleeps’ moniker.
1 Baku, Azerbaijan - Avoid The Stereotypes
Stereotypes, stereotypes, stereotypes. There probably isn’t a word in the English dictionary that we use more than that, but we have our reasons. Many people often associate Azerbaijan as being a ‘taboo’ place, and when you question their logic or motive behind that, they rarely have a sustainable answer.
In truth the country, and Baku specifically, is spectacular. The Old City is filled to the rafters with history, the skyline is more riveting than you could ever imagine, and the coastline offers up a lovely place to look along the endless Caspian Sea. The iconic 12th-century Maiden Tower is brilliant, too, amongst many other traits that Baku possesses.