The New Year is almost upon us — and that means a whole calendar's worth of brand-new destinations to drool over. And if you're looking for somewhere a little further off the beaten path than, say, Paris, you're in luck: some exotic new destinations are trending for 2019.
Whether you're in the midst of planning your next adventure or simply looking for a quick lunch-break getaway courtesy of your smartphone, here are some hot new destinations to make sure you've got on your travel radar this year.
1. Marrakesh, Morocco
This bustling Moroccan city boasts almost a million citizens, but it still has room for the influx of visitors eager to experience its architecture, cuisine, culture, and stunning gardens.
Stroll through the public square known as the Jemaa el-Fnaa, where street vendors and entertainers will demand your attention, before retreating to the Koutoubia Mosque or the Bahia Palace. Keep in mind that Moroccan summers are no-joke hot, though — and besides, the spring and fall shoulder seasons bring budget-friendly pricing.
2. Petra, Jordan
This 2000-year-old city is like no other on earth, with ancient temples and tombs carved directly into the devastating sandstone cliffs that surround it. It's accessible only after a desert journey culminating in a passage through the narrow Al Siq Canyon. And yes, you'll likely make the trip by camel.
Even if you're not interested in history or archeology, this spot should be on your must-see list, if only for its insane natural surroundings. Once you've had your fill of prehistoric wonder, head to one of the nation's many gorgeous beaches to sit back and reflect — and given the intense Jordan sunshine, we mean that term both literally and figuratively.
3. The Azores Islands, Portugal
Move over, Lisbon and Porto. (Not that a trip to either sounds like a bad idea.)
But this year, it's all about Portugal's mid-Atlantic archipelago.
And once you arrive, it won't take long to see why the Azores are getting so much attention — or why São Miguel, home of the capital, is known as "The Green Island." Hike through the verdance to thermal pools in the Furnas Valley or take a dip in the volcanic crater lake known as Lagoa do Fogo. Then, venture back to civilization to explore 16th century forts and buildings... and, of course, to enjoy a plentitude of delicious, freshly-caught seafood.
4. Greenville, South Carolina
It might not have the star power of other quintessentially southern destinations like Savannah or Charleston (yet, anyway).
But the mid-sized South Carolina town of Greenville actually has a whole lot of charm to offer — and less crowds to deal with while you enjoy them. A stroll through Falls Park on the Reedy is a great way to work off the delicious southern comfort food you'll doubtless be noshing on, from an epic brunch at Soby's to the famous fried chicken at Tupelo Honey. If the kids are along for the ride, you won't want to miss a trip to the town's impressive zoo.
5. The Northwest Passage
Polar bears, glaciers, and the breathtaking Arctic landscape — these experiences were once inaccessible to all but the boldest adventurers.
But today, you can see them for yourself from the luxury and comfort of a passage cruise, many of which start at under $10,000 for almost 20 full days of sailing. No, it's not the cheapest itinerary on this list, to be sure... but it's an insanely low price considering people used to literally die while taking this historic route. And given the plethora of tours and guide options to choose from, it's easy to customize your Arctic adventure to your specific travel budget.
Not every country measures its success by GNH (Gross National Happiness). But Bhutan does — and given its stunning landscapes, diverse ecosystems, and enchanting historical sites, you'll be as happy as a native during your visit.
Take in one of the nation's many Buddhist temples, like Paro Taktsang, whose history as a sacred site dates back to 1692. If you arrive in springtime, you might get to catch the Tsechu, a religious festival marked with dancing and traditional costume. Keep in mind, too, the towering Himalayas nearby, which beckon the most adventurous visitors to take to their slopes. Given the insanely low costs of meals and lodging, you'll likely have more than enough left over to hire a Sherpa.
7. Paso Robles, California
You don't have go to all the way up to Napa to sample stellar California wines. In fact, many somms would say you'll do yourself a favor by staying a little bit further south, where higher temperatures create bolder, jammier versions of Cali's classic Cabernet Sauvignon.
What's more, since the name doesn't have quite the same star power (though it's still a very well-regarded wine region), the tasting room fees won't cost you quite as much as they would up north. Bringing the kids along — or just in need of a break between days of Bacchanal? Head to the Ravine Water Park for affordable, family-friendly theme park fun. Regular admission is under $30!
What destinations are on your 2019 travel bucket list? Let us know in the comments!
All content provided in this blog is supplied by Jamie Cattanach and is for informational purposes only. Barclays takes no position as to the views, and makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.
*Prices indicated in this article may vary according to season and demand. Please check corresponding website(s) current pricing and availability.
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