The 10 Best Places to Vacation This Year
May 8, 2019 | Travel
There’s no doubt planet Earth is full of beautiful places to visit. So much so, that in fact, it can be quite a daunting task trying to figure out where in the world to vacation?! The most popular tourist destinations can easily be found from a Google search. But what about those places off the beaten path? Or the hidden gems yet to be discovered by the traveling masses? If you are indeed looking for unique experiences filled with rich culture and a little adventure, then you need to see this list of the ten best places to vacation this year.
1. PUEBLA, MEXICO
Located sixty miles outside of Mexico City, Puebla is a must-see destination if you enjoy good food, history, and grand architecture. Most people visit Puebla as a day trip from the capital, but there is so much to see and do, that it’s worth a vacation all on its own. In fact, UNESCO recently declared it a World Heritage Site. Following the earthquake in 2017, many of the city’s most famous attractions have gotten a facelift, and new bridges, trains, and hotels built in the aftermath, make this destination much more accessible. Puebla has an international reputation of having Mexico’s finest cuisine, including their infamous mole poblano (a spicy chocolate sauce).
2. BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
Often referred to as the “Paris of South America”, Buenos Aires is a budget friendly destination that will give you a good taste of all the country has to offer. It is, after all the political, economic, and cultural heart of Argentina. The city has an ‘old meets new vibe’, where you’ll find grand European architecture side by side modern skyskrapers. Buenos Aires is also the birthplace of tango, so why not enjoy a lesson with an amazing steak dinnerwhile you’re there? Must see: Recoleta Cemetery, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, San Telmo Market, and Tigre. If you’re traveling in the Fall months, visit Palermo too to find out why polo is popular in Argentina.
Oman is one of the most beautiful countries in the Arabian Penninsula, yet it’s not often that you hear of it mentioned as a sought after travel destination. A new airport in Muscat has made it easier to access this under the radar gem, where you can enjoy the preserved Omani culture and its natural wonders. If you’re fearful of traveling to Oman, it may be reassuring to mention that it is the only country in the Middle East that scores a zero on the Global Terrorism Index. A week spent in the northern region of Oman should be sufficient to give you a taste of the country’s vast landscapes, from the Wahiba Sand desert to the majestic Al Hajar Mountains. For your trip, plan to fly into Muscat and spend a couple of nights there before heading to the ancient city of Nizwa to take in the architecture and historical monuments, then wrap up in Sur to explore the picturesque Arabian desert, before heading back to Muscat.
The stepsister of the ABC Islands, this little Dutch island is indeed a vacation hotspot for Canadians and Europeans alike. A vacation to Curacao is cheaper than the more popular Aruba, and you’ll find lots to do in this hidden gem. Take a trip to the colorful capital of Willemstad for some recognizable Dutch architecture, or enjoy the underwater paradise diving and snorkeling at any of the popular dive sites.
5. SOUTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND
South Island, New Zealand is the perfect destination for adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies. The island boasts a majestic landscape filled with snow capped mountains, spectacular glaciers, and the most turquoise lakes you’ll ever see. You’ll need at least a week to take it all in, but there are lots of guided tours to help you explore. Must see: Mount Cook (the tallest mountain in New Zealand), Franz Josef glacier, Fiordland National Park, Queenstown. Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand and is built for tourism. While it’s busier than most of the other places you’ll visit here, the scenery is gorgeous and this is where you’ll find an endless menu of extreme adventure sports (from bungee jumping to skydiving) to check off your bucket list. For the less adventuresome, touring the South Island wineries, or taking a nature cruise (or kayayking) on the island’s dramatic fiords can be just as much fun!
6. PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Once one of Europe’s hidden gems, the beautiful city of Prague has been soaring in popularity in recent years. It even made the list of one of the most visited cities in the world in 2017! Visiting the City of 100 Spires is like stepping into an enchanted fairytale. It is home to impressive architecture of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque influences, charming neighborhoods, and delicious beer. Getting around Prague is very easy as it is a walkable city, and has excellent public transportation. Most tours are free, or next to free, and you’ll find a variety of lodging options, making a trip to Prague a budget friendly vacation. It is essential for first time visitors to see the Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, walk across Charles bridge, and visit Old Town Square. With reliable and cheap transportation, it is also worth venturing away from the city square to some of the charming neighborhoods, like Vinohrady and Zizkov to rub shoulders with the locals and get a better taste of everyday life in Prague.
7. SANTORINI, GREECE
Santorini’s picture perfect landscape, from stately whitewashed homes to the beautiful black and red sand beaches, will make this vacation one to remember! Explore the archaeological ruins of Ancient Akrotiri or take a day trip island hopping around the archipelago. The best time to visit Santorini is in September to October, or April to May, when the crowds are scarce and the weather is warm.
8. NAIROBI, KENYA
Known as the most cosmopolitan city in East Africa, and cultural hub of the region, Nairobi is truly an exciting place to visit! And thanks to new direct flights from New York, travel from the East Coast just got that much easier. The city has, for the most part, shaken off its reputation for violence and robberies, clearing the way for tourists to enjoy all the city has to offer. Amazing hotels, hipster hangouts, and its increasingly popular buzzing food scene are just some of the reasons to get Nairobi on your travel radar. Famous for: Nairobi National Park (the only city in the world that boasts a national park filled with wildlife); Maasai Markets (stock up local crafts and artifacts in the Village Market Mall). The best time to travel to Nairobi is June to October. This is the country’s dry season, and the best time for viewing wildlife.
9. TAHITI, FRENCH POLYNESIA
The islands of Tahiti are infamous for their incredible beaches, impossibly blue lagoons, and natural wonders. This is a bucket list vacation destination you must visit at least once in your lifetime. Most images of Tahiti feature overwater bungalows, but there’s much more to these islands than these pricey accommodations. While visiting the main island of Tahiti, laying out on the popular La Plage de Maui beach (known for it’s pearly sand and crystal clear water), hiking to the Fautaua Waterfall, and taking in the nightlife, food scene, and neighborhood of Papeete, the capital city, should be on your itinerary. Sister island Moorea is only a short ferry ride from Papeete, where you can spend the day navigating the lush vegetation on an ATV tour, or hike to the top of Magic Mountain for scenic, panoramic views. Beware, a Tahitian vacation can be pricey, especially since the currency is tied to the euro. However, there are a variety of lodging options at different price points, some that offer meal options, that can make your vacation much more affordable. The best time to travel here is during the Summer months November to April.
10. THE BALKAN PENNINSULA
This relatively undiscovered region of Europe offers a unique travel experience that history buffs and adventure seekers alike will find fascinating. The Balkan Penninsula is one of the most beautiful natural areas in the world that is also rich with history and culture. Backpacking through the Balkans is very popular, and usually includes stops in Croatia and Slovenia, which already have a booming tourism industry. However, for a more “off the beaten path” adventure, plan to start your trip in Montenegro. It is one of the world’s most spectacular countries that boasts magnificent coastal hills, sandy beaches, and rugged mountain ranges. It is also home to the Tara Canyon (second in size to the Grand Canyon). If you’ve got time, make a stop in Bosnia-Herzegovina, to visit the iconic Mostar Bridge, and the capital city Sarajevo. You can also venture out to Bihac for whitewater rafting, or to visit the Una National Park.
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