Get ready to fill your travel bucket lists to brimming for the upcoming year with our swoon-worthy selection of destinations to visit in 2019, hand-picked by the top experts in the travel world. Buckle up for a year filled with terrific travel adventures.
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As Tokyo gears up for the 2020 Summer Olympics, all eyes are on this fascinating country full of amazing food and well-preserved arts and culture, yet as modern as modern gets, says Larry Olmsted, author of Forbes column “The Good Life.” There is simply no other place on Earth that boasts this side-by-side duality of tradition and cutting-edge. Tourists are starting to look beyond just Tokyo and Kyoto, and skiing in Japan has emerged as the hottest winter sport destination on earth, while more and more visitors are following culinary routes to Hokkaido, Osaka, and the Noto Peninsula. “The thing about Japan is that while it surprisingly spread out and varied, the excellent high-speed rail infrastructure makes it easy to explore,” adds Olmsted. Don’t miss these 10 under-the-radar hidden gems you can only find in Japan.
There’s a reason Portugal keeps making all the best-of lists, says Laura Begley Bloom, a senior contributor at Forbes and chief content officer at familytraveller.com. It’s affordable, loaded with culture, and beautiful, too. Its capital, Lisbon, is one of the world’s oldest cities—and one of the sunniest spots in Europe. For families, there’s no better destination in 2019, especially if you’re staying at the new Martinhal Chiado, which was built with little ones in mind. There’s a baby concierge who will set you up with anything you need (crib, baby bath, safety gates), plus all the rooms are marketed as apartments, complete with kitchens and washer-dryers, which is always a welcome amenity when traveling with children. Most city hotels have a business center. Not here. Instead, you’ll find a free kids’ club for ages six months to nine years. And it’s open late, so mom and dad can take a night (or two or three) to go out and experience Lisbon’s red-hot food scene. It’s easy to reach Lisbon, too, with direct service on TAP Air Portugal from an array of U.S. cities, which will be rolling out brand new Airbus A330neos, the first airline in the world to fly these advanced aircraft. Lisbon is also one of our favorite 11 most affordable cities in Europe.
Turkey is back! According to Darshika Jones, director of North America for Intrepid Travel, the country is currently the travel company’s fastest growing destination, showing a 214 percent increase in global bookings over the last year. The renovated Ataturk Cultural Center is slated to open in 2019 and will house the new Istanbul Opera House, designed to serve as a multi-venue performing arts center with a 2,500-seat capacity. The newly opened Troy Museum commemorates the naming of Troy as a UNESCO site. Given the recent developments in the Turkish economy, the exchange rate is very favorable right now for travelers. Additionally, Turkish Airlines serves the most countries in the world and the new Istanbul Airport just opened, which is set to be the biggest airport in the world by completion. Where’s best to visit in Turkey? According to Intrepid, the city of Kaş is a less crowded alternative to the Greek islands; it’s a hub for sailing, diving, and exploring the Mediterranean vibrant sea life.