To explore is to live! This is our philosophy here at Igloo. We’ve put together our top 19 destinations for 2019 so you can live your life to the fullest!
1. Abu Dhabi, UAE
The majority of people when booking a flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) usually pick Dubai as their first destination. What you might not know is that an hour and a half away is Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. All of the country’s presidents must be from the Al Nahyan family, which is from Abu Dhabi. Therefore, it makes Abu Dhabi the most important city in the country politically, geographically and historically speaking. On top of that, the most beautiful mosque in the UAE is located in the presidential city. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a piece of art made with pure marble walls and decorated with gems. Because Abu Dhabi is less touristy than Dubai, you will get to live a better local experience and see the Emirati costumes, garments and traditions. If you like fancy hotels, stop searching and stay at the Emirates Palace, the most expensive hotel ever built at an approximative cost of $3 billions. You can also get a cappuccino with flakes of real gold. Just what you need after a busy day filled with unique adventures.
2. Bali, Indonesia
Bali, Bali, Bali, who doesn’t dream of visiting this paradise on Earth? Famously known for its beaches, bars and parties, there is much more to discover. The 5 633km2 island is home to endless spectacular landscape. There is the secret canyon of Sukawati, Bukit Teletubbies on Nusa Penida, the Melasti Beach and many more wonders to discover that are less touristy. Looking for a nice place to relax after your amazing day? Why no stay in a giant treehouse, a safari lodge or on the edge of a cliff? Yes, all of these places are waiting for you if you are willing to get out of your comfort zone. There are many infinity pools to choose from that are known as some of the best in the world. You can also take your loved one to one of the many romantic restaurants. If you’re searching for adrenaline, why not try ghost hunting or try an extreme sport like cliff jumping or surf giant waves? If you are more into relaxation like yoga and meditation, Bali is a world-renowned destination for soul searching. Bali simply has it all.
3. Bangkok, Thailand
Thailand’s capital city attracts millions of people from all round the world. It is the largest and most developed city in the country. Even though it is the largest city, it has maintained its unique architecture and traditions that go back hundreds of years ago. There is everything in Bangkok: freedom and chaos, beauty and ugly, giant skyscrapers, grand palaces and temples and floating markets. There are many temples to visit but The Wat Arun – The Temple of Dawn should be your first stop. This temple’s architecture is unique compared to the other temples of the capital. You can climb up the 70 metre-high spire where you will get one of the best views of the city. The best time to see the temple is at night when lit up. The most popular floating markets are Damnoen Saduak, Amphawa, and Klong Lat Mayom. You definitely need to go shopping there! After a long day of visiting, you will probably want to go out with your friends so make sure to go to Khao San Road. 99% of all youngsters will go there at least once during their stay in Bangkok. Why not finish the journey with a Thai massage?
The largest city in Denmark is unique. The historic center of the city, Indre By, contains an 18th-century Rococo district called Frederiksstaden. It is in this district that one finds the palace of Amalienborg, residence of the royal family. Not far from the royal residence are the Christiansborg and Rosenborg castles. Beyond its rich history, Copenhagen is famous for its gastronomy, including the famous Danish open sandwiches. We strongly suggest that you take a bicycle tour and a canal tour aboard a small boat. This is a great way to see the city from a different angle. Make sure to stop at the famous Nyhavn district and enjoy the number one attraction in the capital of Denmark. Copenhagen also has several attractions and museums to visit such as Tivoli Gardens. It is an amusement park with roller coasters, restaurants, exhibitions, concerts and more, right in the center of the city. No matter how long you spend in Copenhagen, you are sure to be delighted.
5. Costa Rica
Located in Central America, Costa Rica is a famous holiday destination for many good reasons. First, adrenaline junkies will be amazed by the number of activities available. Numerous zip-lining tours are offered all around the country and are guaranteed to give you a unique taste of the Costa Rican forests. Another famous activity is whitewater rafting. Be ready to get wet and be shaken up as you go down the rapids into the rainforest. The country is home to some of the best rafting places in the world, it is definitely something you should try. Kayaking, scuba diving, cliff jumping, skydiving, and of course, surfing are some other choices that you will have. When ready to relax, get to a beach that sits on the 1,000 miles of coastline and enjoy the landscape. Costa Rica is known to have some of the most beautiful beaches around the world. If you want to enjoy the beaches and the sun to the fullest, avoid the rainy season which is between April and November. Take a tour into the rainforest and enjoy the wildlife such as monkeys and sloths. Also get to see one of the numerous volcanoes that are around the island. This country is simply magnificent! The people are extremely friendly and cook incredibly good food. Costa Rica is basically heaven on Earth. Pura vida!
Fiji is known for its famous landscape filled with beaches, palms and unbelievably blue water with colourful reefs. The Great Astrolabe Reef is the world’s fourth-largest barrier reef. If you like diving you will be in paradise. Divers can swim along the reef coral gardens along with manta rays, turtles and wrasses. Another great way to see animals is by taking a Sigatoka river and cave safari. It’s a jet-boat safari that takes you 15 kilometres up the green Sigatoka Valley and you get to visit one of the 15 Fijian villages. Looking to relax after seeing these animals? Enjoy a tropical spa in the award-winning Bebe Spa Sanctuary at the Outrigger on the Lagoon. Fiji is also home to many sports such as rugby, which locals are obsessed by and consider their third religion. There are many tropical golf courses to choose from where you can enjoy the landscape while dropping a hole. Fiji is also really popular as surf destination. It is known to be one of the best places to ride a wave around the world. You can watch pro surfers in action from June 3 to 15 at the Volcom Fiji pro.
Iceland is truly magnificent. One of its unique characteristics is the 24-hour daylight from mid-May to late July. Because it is situated just below the Arctic Circle, the residents and visitors can enjoy a midnight sun during this period of the year. Iceland is also one of the best places on Earth to see the northern lights or aurora borealis. This unbelievable phenomena can be seen from September to mid-April. The country is full of natural wonders. 11% of Iceland is covered by glaciers and there are numerous volcanoes that are still active. There is a rich supply of water along with geothermal natural pools. There are many different locations to choose from around the country but the Landmannalaugar, located in the highlands, is probably home to the most beautiful pools. Due to its location and ideal conditions, the ocean that surrounds the country is home to twenty species of whales and is known as Europe’s whale watching capital. The Þingvellir National Park is a must-see during your stay. Located in the southwest, the park has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site due to its beautiful natural features such as Iceland’s largest natural lake, Þingvallavatn. Divers can also swim between the American and European tectonic plates.
8. Iguazú Falls, Argentina and Brazil
Iguazú falls is known as the natural border between Brazil and Argentina and is famous for its unbelievable waterfall and landscape. On the Brazilian side, the park is situated along the cliff edge and offers visitors an unbelievable panoramic view. There is a path where visitors can go down the canyon and reach the corner shaped in a semicircular form. The view from this point is breathtaking, but be aware: you will get wet. On the Argentinean side, the visitors get to live a more intimate experience as they are situated at the top of the body of the waterfall. There are many transportation possibilities to get closer to the waterfall. You can go through the jungle on a train and on a ferry tour into the waterfalls. On this side, you are certain to see many rainbows.
9. Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul usually doesn’t come to mind as a top travel destination. This is because it is highly underrated. Known as a city of chaos and paradoxes, this city is a unique destination that every traveler should visit. Its rich history from the Ottoman Empire has left the city with a unique architecture style. Walking around the Topkapi or Dolmabahçe Palaces is like walking through time. The Ottoman Empire left a heritage of rich and highly developed knowledge that is still visible today. Many art galleries and museums can be found around the city. Hipster neighborhoods are also famous for being unique. The Galata and Karaköy are great places to walk around to get a sense of local culture. Beautiful antique shops can also be found in Çukurcuma neighborhood. Throughout the country, different regions have different food cultures and recipes, but it is in Istanbul that all of these traditions meet. You have the choice from Turkish haute cuisine to street food; there is a meal for every taste. What would be a trip to Istanbul without the Bosphorus views? The strait that separates Europe from Asia is a must during your stay. Take a Bosphorus cruise to experience the water and get a breathtaking view of the city. You will love the Turkish capital.
Malta is rarely not your first choice of destination when planning a trip to Europe. Other destinations like Italy, France, and Spain are usually picked first due to their popularity. What you might not know is that Malta is home to the oldest prehistoric underground temple in the world. Built more than 5 000 years ago, Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum is known to be the oldest temple in the world. Make sure to book your visit early as they only allow 80 visitors per day. There are also many museums and attractions to choose from that reflect Malta’s rich and turbulent history. Malta is also famous for its beautiful beaches and its blue water. A boat trip to Comino and the Blue Lagoon is highly recommended. You will have the chance to swim and do snorkeling in clear azure water and walk on white sand beaches. Maltese people are known to be super friendly and almost everyone speaks English which makes it easy to get around. The weather is also one of the main reasons why over a million people visit the Maltese islands. During summer, the weather is simply perfect to relax on the beach or practice a sport or a leisure activity. Winter is also pretty mild with a lot of daily sunshine during the day, perfect for anyone who is looking to escape the short daylight of winter. It’s a perfect quiet all-year round holiday destination.
11. Marrakesh, Morocco
Marrakesh, also known as the Red City, has attracted millions of people from all around the world over the past year and continues to attract more and more people each year. There are many attractions to visit during your stay. The Majorelle botanical garden in Marrakesh, bought by the fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 1980, is a famous tourist attraction. Both designers contributed to develop the city’s unique design and, therefore, helped to boost the tourism industry. The YSL Museum, or the Yves Saint Laurent garden, is known for its green cacti and cobalt blue buildings. There is also the recent opening of the Musee Yves Saint-Laurent Marrakesh which houses many haute couture outfits and fashion books. On top of that, Marrakesh is colorful and vibrant. The Medina is simply unbelievable, colourful and unique. If you like to post pictures on social media, this place offers infinite opportunities to bring you the attention you are looking for. There are many shops and food places to choose from. All this fun happens in the middle of a mix of old and modern cultures.
12. Moscow, Russia
The largest city in Russia is home to unbelievable architecture. You can literally travel through ages just by walking around. You can get a taste of the ancient Russian architecture by visiting the Kremlin or Kolomenskoe Museum. There are numerous great museums and galleries around Moscow. From fine arts to multimedia art and modern art, many museums have unique collections for every taste. The city is also famous for its green areas. Located around the city, many parks offer the opportunity to practice sports, play board games, meet your friends or just walk around. Food lovers will also be pleased. Russia offers a great variety of traditional Russian food. If you’re looking to have a good time at night, Moscow has it all: bars, clubs, concerts, parties; you are certain to have a good time.
13. Oahu, Hawaii
Hawaii is a true paradise on Earth. The archipelago of eight major islands is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes around the world. Oahu is home to a lively neighborhood and is the most popular Hawaiian island. Also known as the gathering place, Oahu has everything from a big city on a small island, including nightlife parties and great local cuisine. The Waikiki scene is worth stopping for high class shopping, dining and entertainment. Make a stop at The Lolani Palace and get a taste of Hawaii’s monarchy. Kailua and the Hanauma Bay are known for their breathtaking view points and their natural preserved snorkeling spots. Continue your journey by hiking some of the many trails around the island and enjoy the beauty of nature. There are many gardens along the way with unique tropical plants that are only seen in Hawaii. For those looking for an extreme activity, go to North Shore and surf some of the best waves of Hawaii. On top of that, make sure to immerse yourself in Hawaii’s culture through different museums, activities and restaurants around the island. A hui hou!
Looking to go in the South Hemisphere? Why not try something new by visiting the vast region of Patagonia? It ranges across Chile and Argentina and is home to unique wildlife, diverse geography and great climate. The best time to visit the southern part of South America is from the end of October to early March. Nature lover will be amazed. Whether you’re looking to walk around glaciers, enjoy nature, go white-water rafting or relax along the coast, the choices will be yours. The exploration opportunities are simply endless. While you explore this unique part of Earth, you will be surrounded by unique landscapes. Los Glaciares National Park is one of the most popular destinations in Patagonia. Visitors will get the chance to see beautiful glaciers, mountains, lakes and forests. Relax with a Calafate liquor made from the Calafate berries which are from Patagonia. During your hike, the views will be filled with diverse landscapes that remain almost untouched. You will also experience a change in climate along your journey. In the Valdes Peninsula you can come face-to-face with Magellanic penguins and you can also see Patagonian sea lions along the Argentinian coast. Be sure to live a true unique experience with no cellphone signal right in the middle of nowhere. Good luck leaving this place.
15. Shanghai, China
Shanghai, China’s biggest city is home to many great attractions. First, the city is a mix of eastern and western culture influences. During the second half of the 19th century, the city was divided into three foreign settlements: French, British and American. Most of the architecture built at that time remains. It gives the city a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. On top of that, Shanghai skyscrapers are breathtaking. Shanghai Tower is the world’s second tallest building in the world at 2074 feet (632 meters) and has the world’s fastest elevator, which travels at a speed of 67 feet per second (20.5 meters per second). Let’s be honest here: China’s food is one of the greatest there is, especially in Shanghai’s restaurants. The Michelin Guide awarded 31 stars in total to the top restaurants of the city. If you are not into fine dining, don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of choices to choose from as there are approximately 20 thousand restaurant to choose from. Shanghai is extremely easy to get around. There is the metro, the world’s largest rapid-transit system and the only inter-city subway in the world that connects to the nearby city of Kunshan. Buses, taxicabs, bike-sharing programs and a cross-city trolleybus make it super easy to get around. It is also easy and safe to walk around. Whether it’s your first time or tenth time in Shanghai, there is always something new to discover as the city is always in constant evolution. It even started to get serious about the environment.
Singapore, also known as the ‘City in a Garden’, is simply astonishing. The unique architecture around the city can’t be described, you have to see it with your own eyes. The mix building styles around the city is one of the main reasons that makes this place so special. They represent the evolution from colony to cosmopolitan city. Almost half of the island is green. Nature reserves, urban parks, UNESCO World Heritage and Singapore Botanic Gardens are great places to connect with nature. The food scene is also incredible. Singapore is home to the cheapest Michelin-starred eatery in the world called Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle. There is also the Singapore Food Festival which happens every July. Different traditional festivals are seen throughout the year: Deepavali, Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Aidilfilri. Singapore calls itself a city that never sleeps. Famous districts like the Clarke Quay, Boat Quay and Robertson Quay are great places to party and have a great time on the dance floor. It is super easy to get around the city with the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) subway system, the bus network and even with bikes.
17. Tokyo, Japan
From historic temples to skyscrapers, Japan’s capital has a huge variety of activities to choose from. Worldwide known for its taste and simplicity, Tokyo is a great place to experience Japanese food. There are over 149k restaurants around the city to choose from. Tokyo is also known as the world’s best food city due to its 226 Michelin-Starred restaurants. If you are looking to entertain yourself, try to find a sumo tournament or visit the stables in the early morning to watch the wrestlers practice. There are many temples to visit such as the Senso-ji, the oldest in the city. Tokyo street fashion is unique to the city, just like its dialect and culture. To get around the city, try the busiest subway system in the world; it is an experience in itself. Shopping will also be a unique adventure as there are thousands of shops to choose from. There are different festivals during the year that light up the city. For an authentically Japanese experience, try a trip around a Shinto shrine festival. These festivals are usually in spring and fall. You will love your experience in Tokyo, there is no doubt about it.
18. Toronto, Canada
The biggest city in Canada is home to many great attractions. There are many things to visit in this beautiful city. The most famous attraction is of course the CN Tower. Measuring 350m, (116 floors high) it gives you a breathtaking 360 degrees view of the city. After you’ve taken your photos and are ready to head back down, go next door to Ripley’s Aquarium. Visitors get to experience the ocean realm and come face to face with thousands of sea creatures. The variety is endless, from fascinating fishes and menacing sea species to barracudas, rays, jellyfish and giant sharks. Nearby is the historic distillery district which is home to a collection of perfectly preserved Victorian industrial warehouses. We also suggest that you try axe throwing and visit Toronto’s zoo. Toronto is really full of surprises.
Zambia usually doesn’t come to mind as a first choice of destination, but over the past years, the country is getting more and more popular due to its incredible number of animals. If you love animals, Zambia needs to be on your bucket list. You can take walking safaris and walk on lions trails. Get on the Canoeing the Zambezi and get close to crocodiles, thirsty elephants and hippos. After a long safari day, why not bushcamp? Get to sleep in pure nature with animals near your room and eat high quality food. Of course, there is the Victoria Falls which is the largest waterfall on the planet. It pours one million of liters per second into the Zambezi gorge. Zambia is basically a pure paradise.
We truly hope you enjoyed our list. Share with us your 2019 bucket list destinations. Have a great journey and don’t forget to travel comfortably by grabbing your Igloo today: https://igloo4travel.com.
See you in the dream zone!
The article “19 Destinations for 2019” was written by Philippe Dallaire, President & co-founder of Igloo4travel, Inc.