As the weather gets warmer, it’s natural that we start to think about our travel plans and where to venture to this year for some much needed Vitamin D, time out and new experiences.
When looking for where to go to next, I am a big fan of visual searching, social media inspiration and also trying to seek out a destination that suits my needs. Sometimes you want a city break, other times a more adventurous tropical retreat.
To inspire you with your choices for 2019, here’s what the UK has been looking for when it comes to travel guides and destination advice. The top searches for Lonely Planet this year so far are:
- Sri Lanka
- New York
If the above looks like an amazing list to help you decide where to visit next, but you’re still a little stumped on which one or where, here’s my thoughts on the one’s I have visited myself.
Croatia is incredible, and has so much to offer across all the different cities and landscapes of the country. I have written a longer guide to getting the most out of Dubrovnik here, and also have explored the beautiful and historic northern port of Zadar which I can wholly recommend. Go for culture, pristine national parks, delicious fresh seafood and of course, island hopping.
Portugal is a warm, vibrant and welcoming country. Visit Lisbon for aesthetically pleasing buildings, tiled interiors and a lively and exciting atmosphere. Taste the custard tarts, watch the local dancing late at night, and hop from one bar to another to experience all the best tapas the city can offer.
Japan is easily the best country I have ever visited, and you can read more in detail on this guide here. Go for the hospitality, the incredible juxtaposition of old meets new with the futuristic cities filled with ancient shrines and culture. It’s a real foodie place so stop and savour all the street food at the many local markets, and don’t leave without taking the bullet train to get out of the main hub of Tokyo and everything this incredible country has to offer.
A true land of natural wonder, Iceland was genuinely the best place I ever visited until Japan knocked it off first place this March. It’s a strong second however. A place where you really feel connected with nature, able to explore volcanic landscapes, natural baths and glaciers in the space of a day. The people are friendly, hilarious and incredibly artistically gifted. Read more in my guide here.
Thailand was our first experience of Asia, and it really did not disappoint. From gorgeous islands, to kayaking out in the Andaman Sea, eating all the mouth-wateringly good local dishes and hiking through the mountains it is a country that can offer you so many experiences you just need to choose what’s right for you. There’s endless shrines, golden bays and jungles to hike through, now you just need to decide how to spend your time there!
Because it was our honeymoon destination, Rome will always hold a special place in my heart. Go for a city of history. Somewhere where you can really stand in the middle of the Coliseum, Roman Forum or the Vatican and feel the immense scale and power of these grand places. The food is always good, the red wine fantastic, and the location means it’s close to many of Italy’s other golden destinations such as Pompeii, Amalfi and Florence. There’s just something about Italy that captures you when you are there. It delivers many recurring simple pleasures that they have honed and got just right over the years. We have gone back to Italy every year, at least once, for the last seven years now, and there’s a reason for this. It’s the country that just keeps on giving.
Barcelona is a city which is just always alive and awake. I have visited the city six times and yet still there’s an endless list of things I have yet to do there, restaurants I want to eat at, or bars I wanted to experience. Honestly, you’d never find yourself bored in this warm and vast city. Come for the historical sites, the breath-taking Sagrada Familia and the green parks surrounding the city, but stay for the award-winning food, local cuisines and of course, the sangria and red wine. Don’t miss the regular festivals held there to really immerse yourself in the city.
I can’t comment on Vietnam, Sri Lanka, or Canada. However watch this space for our New York update after September this year.
If you have any top tips you can share on the big apple, or any of the countries above, please comment below and inspire others with your insider advice and helpful comments.