It’s hard to believe I’m writing this list once again…2018 was gone in a blink, a whirlwind of major life changes and trying to put down roots in a new place. Honestly, with everything that happened, I am really proud of myself for still managing to do some real travel this year. From Colombia to Iceland, and even closer-to-home destinations like Asheville and Belize, there were some big wins.
Sadly, I *didn’t* get to experience many of my 2018 list of places I was dying to visit (or, to be honest, 2017’s). In fact, Iceland was my one achievement in 2018 as far as the list is concerned. And I’m starting to get embarrassed by the handful of destinations that have now been on this list for a few years 🙂 But no matter—I’m holding myself accountable to start booking and actually planning ahead!
(And here’s my 2020 list if you’re interested)
10 of My Top Places to Visit 2019
So without further ado, here is the list of places that have completely captured my imagination right now…
1. Portugal’s Algarve Coast
I’m just in love with Portugal, though I’ve only experienced the area around Lisbon. There is just something about this country—its food and wine, colorful tiles and fanciful details, and completely charming people—that has its hooks in me. Ever since I first saw a picture of the vivid turquoise water and craggy sea cliffs of the Algarve, I’ve been dying to visit.
2. Cappadocia, Turkey
I am just obsessed with Turkey, and have been ever since visiting Istanbul for the first time. Other than a brief (like 5-hour) Istanbul return trip last year, I haven’t been able to make another visit happen. And Cappadocia happens to be on the TOP of my bucket list right now. My only concern is that I’m not sure how bad things have gotten in Turkey with the government really cracking down (not to mention the troubles they have with their Syrian border), so I’ll need to do a bit more digging, but really hoping to get back there and visit Cappadocia, Pammukkale, and maybe sailing on the southern coast!
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3. Greek islands
Guys, I have *got* to make this happen. This is a perennial appearance on the list, to the point it’s getting embarrassing. The whitewashed buildings, bright blue roofs, azure water, amazing food, and happily-colored flowers of Greece’s islands have been calling to me and it’s time I answer that call. Whether for a sailing trip or just doing a bit of island hopping on the less-crowded ones such as Oia, Crete, Corfu, or Zakynthos, I need to make this happen!
4. Cape Town, South Africa
I’ve been wanting to visit South Africa and go on a safari for so long. I’ll be honest and say that I’m not positive it will be in the picture in 2019 only because I need to make sure I set aside a MINIMUM of a week for this trip but honestly closer to two weeks…and I’m not sure that’s in the cards with other travel. But I will try! From safari to penguins to wineries to shark diving to beaches, South Africa has so much to offer!
5. Dublin, Ireland
It’s hard to believe that the last time I was in Ireland was in 2011! It was an amazing trip, a week with my parents roadtripping around the country, and ending with a day in Dublin. And that city DELIVERED! So fun and vibrant and full of history and delicious food and beer…coming up on almost a decade, I’m overdue for another visit and really giving it some time and attention since I’ve become an even better traveler since then 🙂
And I did it! Here’s a guide to an amazing 2 days in Dublin
6. The Fjords of Norway
The only thing I’ve already made concrete plans for in 2019 is a short trip to Bergen, Norway, so this is hopefully a *fairly* sure thing. But it’s not a total guarantee because of the weather, which is a big X-factor. I’m dying to visit the fjords during the summer too for some hiking, but am looking forward to seeing the moody towering snow-capped mountains, the heavy mists hanging over, the dark glassy water, and bright red pops of color from the houses.
Did it! Here’s all about my Mind-Blowing Boat Trip on the Fjords
7. Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park
My lack of visiting U.S. National Parks is getting embarrassing at this point. I’m still just as terrible at planning ahead as I have been in the past. So I’m going to go out on a limb. Either Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon (or both, if it’s doable)—OR BUST! Keep me honest, people.
This one is my dark horse, but I find it so interesting. The amount of history and culture in the Republic of Georgia is staggering. Often overlooked, it’s a melting pot of ethnicities, amazing food (and wine!), and gorgeous remote scenery. It’s one of the cradles of winemaking in the world, and the people have managed to retain their cultural identity despite centuries of difficult relations with various neighbors and world empires.
And we’re back to “I’m the worst”. I *still* have not made it to Asia, which is absolutely ridiculous. I’ve had Asia on my list since 2017 and had it on there last year too. And yes, I realize that “Asia” is kind of a vague and big statement. I’m a little worried I’ll be overwhelmed, as I obviously don’t speak any of the languages and I’ve never been quite as drawn to various Asian cultures as I have some of the European and Latin American ones.
But I’m going to now try and put a pin in somewhere and say that Thailand is probably the first place I should visit, a good entry into a vast and complex set of Asian cultures, peoples, languages, and food.
10. Sonoma Valley, California
Potentially a bit of a cheat, because I will almost certainly be here for work at some point in 2019 (though the same could be said of Ireland, Scotland, and Mexico). My goal, though, is to make sure I book a couple extra days to visit a few extra wineries and then get to the coast for some gorgeous hiking by the sea. Bonus points if I can make it to Monterey or Carmel, and possibly see the famous redwoods!
So now I’ve got to start booking trips…I’m hoping to make 2019 even more epic than 2018. Where is on your “must” list for 2019?? Let me know in the comments!
Related: 6 Travel Intentions for 2019
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