The Top 20 Places to Travel in 2019

Where should you plan a trip in 2019? We found the places celebrating major anniversaries and other cultural events, consulted travel experts about emerging destinations, and compiled the hottest new hotel openings. It wasn’t easy narrowing this list down to just 20 places around the world, but a few key places stood out from the rest. In 2019, the Southern Italian city of Matera will be crowned a European Capital of Culture, drawing countless visitors to see its architectural and cultural heritage. The Taj Mahal will emerge from a yearlong restoration of its iconic dome. And Berlin will celebrate the centenary of the Bauhaus as well as the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Of course, these are just a few highlights. From remote safari spots and off-the-beaten-path islands to well-trodden cities with new reasons to visit, these are the locations at the top of our list for 2019.
Matera, Italy

a hillside covered in ancient stonecolored dwellings
Photo: Manuel Zublena / Courtesy of Design Hotels

This Southern Italy city known for its sassi (cave dwellings) is making a major comeback. For decades the caves were uninhabitable and unsanitary, but over the last several years entrepreneurs have started restoring them and transforming them into unique hotels like Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita, a member of Design Hotels. Crowned a 2019 European Capital of Culture, Matera will host a dynamic roster of events throughout the year. For the opening ceremony on January 19, a series of marching bands from the region of Basilicata and across Europe will parade through the city’s streets to kick off the yearlong celebration.
Agra, India

The Taj Mahal  is an ivorywhite marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra.
Photo: Kriangkrai Thitimakorn / Getty Images
The majestic Taj Mahal will emerge in 2019 from a yearlong restoration that polished its gleaming marble dome and turrets, which have been hidden under scaffolding for months. If you want to see it in all its glory, plan a visit between November and March, before monsoon season. Stay at the Oberoi Amarvilas, where every room has a view of the monument. You can wake up and do yoga in the gardens with a view of the Taj.
Berlin
aerial View Of Fernsehturm Berlin next to a river
Photo: Getty Images/Golero
2019 marks two important anniversaries for Berlin: the centenary of the Bauhaus and 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. To celebrate, the opening Bauhaus Festival will be held at the Akademie der Künst on January 16–24. The renowned Bauhaus Archiv—which displays furniture and other designs by the school’s most important figures—is currently being renovated, and a temporary space will host exhibits for the centenary. It’s worth visiting some of Berlin’s UNESCO Heritage–listed Bauhaus sites, including a famous Mies van der Rohe house constructed during the last year of Bauhaus in Berlin.
Savannah, Georgia
Beautiful road flanked by oak trees at Wormsloe Historic Site in Savannah Georgia.
Photo: Getty Images/Daniela Duncan
Georgia’s second city may be known for its charming squares and weeping willows, but this big small town is also a hotbed of contemporary design thanks to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Travelers who want to see what it’s all about now have two new options: the Perry Lane Hotel, a member of the Luxury Collection with a gorgeous design featuring work by SCAD students, and the Alida, Savannah, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, a new boutique property in the emerging warehouse district

Namibia

an orange range of hills with a leafless tree and a white sandy plane
Photo: Simon Phelps Photography / Getty Images

Barren landscapes and sand dunes may not be what most people expect to find in Southern Africa, but they show a whole other side of the region that’s becoming much more accessible. According to George Morgan-Grenville, Founder & CEO of luxury outfitter Red Savannah, “a spate of new lodges in Namibia moves the Southern African nation further up the luxury travel hot list.” He cites Omaanda, a collection of ten Owambo-style huts in a private reserve, the British Colonial–inspired tented camp Sonop, and the luxurious, eco-friendly Shipwreck Lodge by Natural Selection, which opened on the Skeleton Coast. Just this fall, Serra Cafema Camp by Wilderness Safaris emerged from an environmentally sensitive rebuild.
Singapore

The Top 20 Places to Travel in 2019
Photo: Courtesy of Raffles Singapore

Following the runaway success of Crazy Rich Asians, we predict that Singapore will be one of the top travel destinations for 2019. It comes at an apt time as the small nation-state is celebrating the bicentennial of its founding by Sir Stamford Raffles, Changi Airport recently unveiled its swanky new terminal, and the iconic Raffles Singapore is set to emerge mid-year from a top-to-bottom renovation by Champalimaud. It will join several other exciting new hotels, including the Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore in a renovated heritage building, Six Senses Duxton and Six Senses Maxwell, and three new hotels on Sentosa Island by Far East Hospitality.