Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or are just setting out on the grand adventure of exploring the wider world, this list of the top ten travel destinations of 2019 will have something for you. Beauty, culture, food and fun await.
1. Lake Como, Italy – Food, Beauty and Charm
The recent 500-year memorial or Leonardo da Vinci stands testament to the rich history and creativity of Northern Italy, but it’s also world-renowned for its delicious food and the beauty of the natural landscape.
Even the most discerning visitor can’t help but be inspired by the stunning views over Lake Como, the charm of architecture that looks as if it were always part of the landscape, and the simple pleasure of sharing hot food, fresh ingredients, combined in centuries-old recipes that have stood the test of generations.
Turin, Milan, and Venice are all wonderful destinations – and within range of a side journey – but the mountain scenery and lakeside bustle of Como is a gem just waiting for you to discover it.
We love… take a 6 day tour of Lake Como, Milan & the Bernina Express and see the beautiful surroundings of Lake Como in five days, with plenty of free time to explore the nearby towns and take day trips to Milan and St Moritz.
Prices from £859pp
2. Kigali, Rwanda – Friendly People and Rare Wildlife
In the nineties, this place was famous for political turmoil, but the change over the last thirty years has been profound. It is now a very safe city, friendly and with a great food culture and vibrant nightlife. The people are warm, helpful and, since it’s an English-speaking country, getting around is easy.
The city is a pleasure but the biggest draw to this place is the wildlife. You can book a safari for a chance to see the Big Five: lions, rhinos, elephants, buffalos, and leopards. You’ll even have the opportunity to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
We love… take an 8 day tour of Rwanda taking in the culture and wildlife as you travel from Kampala down to Kigali, stopping off en route to explore the Kibale National Park, Queen Elizabeth Country Park and Gorilla Trekking.
Prices from £2,499pp
3. Tohoku, Japan – Culture of the Ancient East
An hour and a half from Tokyo, this lesser-known area of beautiful landscapes, temples and food, is a hub for Japanese history and culture.
Kakunodate Village features artisan workshops from the Edo period. You can see how the people lived from the sixteen- to the eighteen-hundreds, how tools and products were made, and experience the strict social codes of the famous Samurai warriors.
The castle around which the village grew has been lost, but the traditions are preserved, steeped in the mystique of ancient Japan amid the hundreds of beautiful weeping cherry trees.
We love… take a 9 day taylor made tour of Northern Japan enjoying the experiences and sights of Fukshimas’s restored samurai residence, Akiu Great Falls, hike through Yamagata’s Zao Range and alot more.
Prices available on request.
4. Banff, Alberta, Canada – Natural Majesty
Few places in the world can match the stunning mountain scenery of Canada’s Rocky Mountains. Still, a haven for wildlife – bears, moose, elk, and mountain sheep roam the wilds and you’re sure to catch sight of them here and there – the area has become a centre for outdoor recreation as well.
Spend the day skiing, hiking, or relaxing in nearby natural hot springs. There are excellent shopping facilities and a wide range of restaurants and bars in a town that hasn’t lost its mountain charm.
The people are friendly, English-speaking, and welcoming to visitors from all over the world.
We love… take an 8 day tour onboard the Canadian Rockies Express, filled with postcard-perfect landscapes of Lake Louise, gondola rides up mountains in Banff and Whistler and stop for local wine tastings.
Prices from £1,299pp
5. Andaman Islands – Spa and Sport
If thoughts of turquoise waters, white sands, and days spent warming yourself sea-side, appeal, then look no further than the Andaman Islands. On the eastern edge of the Bay of Bengal, these island getaways offer kayaking, scuba diving, and snorkelling.
Why not try your hand at underwater photography? They don’t allow any commercial fishing in the area, so the coral reefs are abundant and beautiful.
After your day under water, or beside it in the sun, the 5-star spa and rustic-chic décor of your hotel will welcome you with cool refreshment and delicious meals.
It is an island paradise, designed for comfort and fun.
We love… the Taj Exotica Resort, Havelock Island. With pristine white beaches and clear waters perfect for scuba diving.
Prices from £950pp for 4 nights
6. Valletta, Malta – No rush, no fuss, History
This sixteenth-century citadel-capital and Unesco World Heritage city is a relatively small area that packs in a wealth of interest and wonder.
Explore on foot. Make a plan, or set out for open discovery. Either way, you’ll find excellent art and architecture, charming cafes, quality restaurants, and maybe even a pop-up theatre or musical performance.
The marina, fortifications, and elegant blend of modern comforts over ancient buildings will enchant you from the first day, and leave you keen to return.
We love… the Palazzo Consiglia, a traditional Maltese townhouse converted into a modern boutique hotel situated at the heart of Valletta in St Ursula Street, surrounded by baroque buildings and key attractions such as the Lower Barrakka Gardens, Valletta Waterfront and Fort Saint Elmo.
Prices from £654pp
7. Nashville, Tennessee – Music History and Nightlife
Once a difficult centre to get to from the UK, non-stop flights now provide easy access to this hub of music makers and music lovers alike.
Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry, and a host of other famous landmarks in the history of music.
Whether you’re a Johnny Cash fan, a Taylor Swift junkie, or anything in between, this iconic American centre will prove an engaging destination.
We love… the ultimate 10 night Rhythms of The South Self Drive Tour. Take a mystical journey through America’s Deep South, learning the history of rock ‘n’ soul, blues, country and jazz.
Prices available on request.
8. Moscow, Russia – The Other Side of the Curtain
Think of Moscow and you’ll probably imagine visions of Red Square, Moscow’s Kremlin, or Gorky Park… but the beauty of these places is not captured in pictures.
The turbulent history of tension between Russia and Western Europe has steeped most of us in almost tangible curiosity of this historical Cold-War foe. See the overlap of Europe and Asian architecture. Tour rich museums and galleries. Taste fine cuisine and stroll along the side of the Moskva River in this culturally-rich, modern, and tourist-friendly capital.
We love… take a 5 day tour exploring the Kremlin, browse the Tretyakov Gallery, embark on a half-day excursion to Gorki Leninskie and visit the Tretyakov Gallery.
Prices from £1,030pp
9. Leeuwarden, Netherlands – A Walk Through Culture
Named the 2018 Capital of Culture, Leeuwarden boasts excellent performances, exhibitions, and historical landmarks.
Wander past charming buildings, through modern and traditional galleries, visit WWII historical sites, or take a break with a pastry beside a beautiful riverside walkway. The people are friendly, the city is clean and green, and if you can time your trip around June, you’ll get the best of the summer weather.
We love… a short escape staying at the Post-Plaza Hotel & Grand Cafe. In the heart of the city, you won’t get any more Leeuwarden than this. Located on one of the most beautiful streets in the capital of Friesland.
Prices from £92 per night
10. Nusa Penida, Indonesia – Sun and Sand
For an escape from urban hustle and the constant rumble of city life, try a week on the tropical Southeast coast of Bali.
You’ll be greeted each morning by almost untouched tropical scenery, and lulled to sleep at night by the chirps and calls of the night, while you lay cool and secure in your comfortable room. Break up the sunbathing sessions with a scuba dive, or visit the temple complex in the Giri Putri Cave.
You’ll return home refreshed by the warmth of the sun and of the people, and the panoramic beauty of this tropical paradise.
We love… Sail from Bali to Lombok on a 7 day voyage. From the deck of a catamaran, enjoy the beautiful coastlines of Sanur, Nusa Lembongan, Lombok Island and finally the stunning Nusa Penida.
Prices from £1,129pp