If you’re after a dose of travel inspiration, the Mirror Travel team is here to help!
We’ve picked out 10 destinations that are sure to be a hit in 2019, from beautiful islands you need to explore to cities celebrating milestone anniversaries, and even spots which are about to get easier to visit thanks to new flight routes.
To make things even easier, we’ve also searched out the best deals which are currently on offer for each hotspot, in case one does take your fancy.
Of course you can also look out in the January sales where there are currently plenty of airline discounts and holiday deals to be snapped up.
Check out the full list below… Happy holiday hunting!
1. Sri Lanka
Named by Lonely Planet as its top country of 2019, Sri Lanka is preparing for its moment in the spotlight. For a relatively small island – Sri Lanka is slightly smaller than Ireland – the variety on offer is impressive.
Think leopard-spotting and whale-watching, misty rainforests, historic fort towns and miles of perfect beaches. What more could you want?
The best time to visit is winter and spring, ideally between December and March, for warm days without the intense humidity. See srilanka.travel for more.
THE DEAL: TUI has 11 nights’ half-board from £1,262pp including Gatwick flights on May 8. For more information visit tui.co.uk or call 020 3451 2688.
Tokyo may be the obvious choice when considering a trip to Japan but the Land of the Rising Sun has much more to offer – and 2019 is the year to discover it.
The Rugby World Cup kicks off in September and the neon-lit capital is preparing for the Olympics in 2020. Furthermore, a new non-stop British Airways flight to Osaka takes off on March 31, meaning you can now discover Japan’s energetic second city, with its skyscrapers and sake bars.
Better yet, atmospheric Kyoto – known for its teahouses and ancient back-streets – is only 30 minutes away by train.
You may even spot a geisha or two. Return flights from £599. Rail travel rules supreme in Japan. Enjoy views of Mount Fuji from a super-speedy Shinkansen bullet train. Go to seejapan.co.uk for more.
THE DEAL: A seven-night break with Inside Japan Tours starts at £980pp. Flights extra. For more information visit insidejapantours.com or call 0117 370 9751.
The Netherlands’ second city will soon give the capital a run for its money. Eurostar’s service from London to Amsterdam and Rotterdam, launched earlier this year, will introduce a third train each day from June.
The trains are direct outward but passengers must disembark in Brussels to clear immigration on the way back.
However that should change by the end of the year when the UK and Dutch governments place border controls.
Developed in the late 1970s, the bold and bright yellow Cube Houses designed by architect Piet Blom are now home to independent shops. You’ll find them in the Laurenskwartier district. See rotterdam.info for more.
THE DEAL: Return fares start at £70. Find out more at eurostar.com or call 0343 218 6186.
Handsome Cape Town may hog the limelight but Durban on the east coast is vying for some attention.
British Airways recently started the only direct services between Europe and Durban, meaning its beaches and game reserves are within easy reach.
There’s much to tempt you due south, not least the balmy winter temperature (around 25C in February), but also the chance to surf at Addington Beach and spot the Big Five on safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi.
Take a day trip to neighbouring Lesotho, which includes crossing the Sani Pass and lunch at the highest pub in Africa. See southafrica.net for more.
THE DEAL: Return flights from £599. Find out more at ba.com or call 0344 493 0787.
A city of soul and weathered beauty, the Cuban capital is marking a milestone this year: the 500th anniversary since its founding. History is everywhere you go in Havana, where the streets are lined with dilapidated buildings and the days of Castro can still be felt.
There are changes, too. Fancy new bars, cafes and hotels, places that wouldn’t look out of place in New York, have transformed the city centre.
Start your day with brunch at El Dandy and finish it with late night mojitos at Sia Kara, a trendy bar with live music close to the iconic El Capitolo building.
Stretch your legs in El Bosque (meaning ‘the forest’), a patch of greenery close to the city centre with 300-year-old banyan tress. See travel2cuba.co.uk for more.
THE DEAL: Virgin Holidays has 10 nights in Cuba, including Gatwick flights to Havana, from £1,149pp. For more information visit virginholidays.co.uk/cuba or call 0344 557 3859.
Having enjoyed a seismic regeneration over the past few years, this waterfront Scottish city is very much on the up.
The recent opening of the V&A – Scotland’s first design museum – cemented Dundee’s position as an emerging cultural hub and its popularity is only set to grow in the coming months.
So, what awaits? A city that’s laidback and unassuming in nature but delivers on surprises. Visit the the old castle at the seaside community of Broughty Ferry and tour HM Frigate Unicorn, Scotland’s only preserved warship from 1824. And, of course, miss the V&A at your peril.
There are more than 300 exhibits on show, ranging from fashion and furniture to engineering and architecture. Discover the secrets of the night sky at the Mills Observatory.
See visitscotland.com for more.
THE DEAL: Doubles at the Apex City Quay Hotel and Spa start at £105. Find out more at apexhotels.com or call 0800 049 8000
7. Rio de Janeiro
South America’s most vivacious city just got a whole lot closer thanks to new non-stop flights from Norwegian. The low-cost airline is set to launch Dreamliner services from Gatwick on March 31 (from £480 return on norwegian.com).
meaning you can soon enjoy sun, sea and samba on Copacabana Beach for less than ever before. Away from the beach, head to the arty hilltop district of Santa Teresa, known for its galleries and cute cafes.
Take in the city’s finest view from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Mornings are best. See visit.rio for more.
THE DEAL: Journey Latin America offers eight nights staying in and around Rio from £1,261pp. Flights extra. For more information visit journeylatinamerica.co.uk or call 020 3811 6079.
With pristine white beaches, and crystal turquoise waters that rival those of the Caribbean, along with stunning coastal cities, medieval hilltop towns and dense chestnut forests, the French ‘Isle of Beauty’ more than lives up to its name.
It’s rich in history too, as next year sees the Mediterranean island marking the 250th anniversary of its most famous son. Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio, the island capital, just a year before France seized the island from Genoa.
Following the launch this spring of direct flights from Heathrow to Figari in the south, British Airways will start direct flights to the northern city of Bastia in May, return fares from £98.
And with Air Corsica operating Stansted flights to Bastia, Figari and Ajaccio, Corsica is on course to be one of 2019’s most popular short break destinations.
Drive along the D81 road which hugs the superbly scenic west coast. See ee.france.fr.
THE DEAL: Corsican Places offers seven nights self-catering in Calvi from £399pp including flights. Find more information at corsica.co.uk or call 01489 866931.
Dance your way to South Carolina. The Atlantic seaport city will become the latest American destination to be served by direct British Airways flights from Heathrow from April 4.
The endearing charm of this musical metropolis, one of cobbled streets and vibrant houses, is one that proves irresistible. Cruise the harbour on an old paddle steamer and visit a traditional working farm.
The family-run Boone Hall Plantation, one of the oldest and most photographed in America, has been producing crops for more than 330 years.
For the best fare, head to Leon’s O’yster Shop for the best fried chicken – and oysters – in town. See charlestoncvb.com for more.
THE DEAL: Return flights from £880. For more information visit ba.com or call 0344 493 0787.
It’s time to discover the delights of Mexico’s Pacific Coast and find out for yourself exactly why it’s such a hit with A-listers.
George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston and singer Enrique Iglesias are among the famous faces who flock to Los Cabos, on the scenic southern tip of Baja California, and you can join them now that TUI will be offering direct Gatwick Dreamliner flights from November.
Once you’re there, discover stop-in-your-tracks beaches and some incredible snorkelling opportunities. It’s one of the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks, the gentle giants of the ocean.
Eat like a local at a taqueria, small streetside taco stands that they swear by. See visitmexico.com for more.
THE DEAL: TUI has seven nights from £683pp including flights. For more information see tui.co.uk or call 020 3451 2688
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