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This was a 12 months that began off slowly, then went into hyperdrive in the summertime. After returning from a three-week journey to Italy in June, I made a decision to journey a LOT extra and barely noticed New York between July and October. That ultimately led to a call to not stay full-time in New York.
2019 was a 12 months of Italy and Canada specifically. I’ve all the time been a frequent Italy customer, however this 12 months I pushed my travels to the following degree and made a aim of visiting all 20 areas (and I went from 10 areas visited to 17!). As for Canada, this was my first time visiting since beginning this weblog in 2010 (!!) and I made up for misplaced time with a number of weeks of travels all through Atlantic Canada.
This wasn’t fairly as far-flung a 12 months as 2018, once I visited each continent besides Australia, however I’m very content material with the outcomes.
So what made the listing of my favourite locations?
In 2012, I selected locations like Iceland, Montenegro, and South Africa.
In 2013, I selected locations like Japan, Berlin, and the Scottish Highlands.
In 2014, I selected locations like Sri Lanka, New Orleans, and Skellig Michael, Ireland.
In 2015, I selected locations like Nicaragua, Albania, and Chicago.
In 2016, I selected locations like Puerto Rico, Alsace, and Western Australia.
In 2017, I selected locations like Ukraine, the Florida Keys, and St. Petersburg, Russia.
In 2018, I selected locations like Antarctica, Hokkaido, and St. Croix.
Sometimes I select one greatest vacation spot, or a high three, or simply listing them unexpectedly. This 12 months, I felt like there was one greatest vacation spot general, plus one greatest nation and one greatest metropolis. The remainder of the locations are ranked equally and listed in no explicit order.
Please be aware that that is just for locations that I visited for the primary time in 2019, in order that eliminates locations I’ve beforehand visited like London, Parma, and Prague.
My Favorite New Destination of 2019: Newfoundland
I discover that the phrase “enchanting” is overused in journey writing — however there’s no different method to describe Newfoundland. I fell beneath its spell inside minutes, and it was a sense that hasn’t diminished by any means to this present day. As quickly as I visited, I knew that Newfoundland can be my #1 vacation spot of 2019.
Newfoundland was a spot that I had hoped to go to for years, ever since I obtained to realize it by means of my pal Candice‘s writing. Seeing the excellent musical Come From Away pushed me into overdrive and I practically booked a flight that very night time!
Newfoundland is lots like Ireland — all of the allure, all of the friendliness, all of the greenery, all of the lilting accents — however extra colourful and with a fraction of the vacationers.
Each vacation spot I visited was like a brand new treasure. I felt enveloped in happiness the entire time I used to be in Newfoundland — like I used to be really a part of the group. It’s such a uncommon feeling to seek out on my travels, and one which I hope to recapture quickly.
And a reminder to my fellow vacationers — you don’t must journey someplace troublesome or harmful to get a real off-the-beaten-path journey expertise. There are loads of superior locations near residence. Newfoundland excited me, thrilled me, and made me really feel like a real adventurer.
Kate’s Top Recommendations for Newfoundland
Do dinner on the seashore in Twillingate with Krystal from Experience Twillingate. This was my favourite exercise in Newfoundland. Krystal cooks the freshest seafood possible on a stunning seashore, and it’s such a particular factor to try this connects you with Newfoundland.
Get screeched in at Christian’s Pub in St. John’s. I believe the much less I inform you about this, the higher — however it’s a Newfoundland ceremony of passage.
Stay on the Artisan Inn in Trinity. Trinity is a spectacularly lovely village and Marieke and her individuals take such excellent care of their lovely properties. I solely had one night time however I like to recommend staying a couple of days in case you can!
Read More: Travel to Newfoundland and You’ll Never Want to Leave
My Favorite New Country of 2019: Georgia
Georgia was definitely worth the wait. For years, I had been dreaming of visiting Georgia and the entire Caucasus; lastly, the right alternative arrived in 2019. I obtained to tour the nation with a number of of my blogger associates and obtained to spend essentially the most time in Tbilisi, a really cool metropolis, and Svaneti, the remoted mountainous area with its personal tradition.
Georgia is residence to beautiful mountains, attention-grabbing and perplexing cities, and meals so universally scrumptious that I’m shocked there aren’t Georgian eating places in each main metropolis. Mark my phrases: Georgian meals goes to grow to be far more widespread within the subsequent decade. And better of all, that is an especially low cost nation the place you’ll be able to journey like a baller whereas on a finances.
I consider Georgia goes to be one of many largest up-and-coming journey locations within the subsequent few years. I sincerely hope the nation is ready for the inflow.
Kate’s Top Recommendations for Georgia
Don’t drive. The driving right here is insane — don’t drive right here until you thrive in wild, unpredictable driving circumstances.
Enjoy the meals and wine tradition. Georgian meals is excellent and the wine is affordable and fairly palatable. My absolute favourite meal was at Shavi Lomi in Tbilisi, and don’t miss an evening out at Wine Factory!
Visit Ushguli. It’s a tough and wild drive to this remoted Svaneti village, however when you get there, you’ll really feel such as you’ve made it to the top of the world.
Read More: Reasons Why You Should Travel to Georgia in 2020
My Favorite New City of 2019: Yerevan, Armenia
I’m an unabashed metropolis lady and love visiting cities on my travels as a lot as I get pleasure from residing in them. And whereas I visited numerous cool new cities, from Lecce to Tbilisi to Olomouc. But nothing was as cool as Yerevan, Armenia.
I went into Armenia with few expectations and my first impression was delight at a taco truck parked exterior my resort. Taco vehicles are so arduous to seek out exterior North America — however in Armenia?! I grew additional enamored on the elegant, well-cared for streets, and the art-filled scene across the Cascade.
But Yerevan is at its greatest on the subject of its outside nightlife scene. There are so many cool cafes and eating places, and town is full of fountains. Parts of it remind me numerous Southern California — not stunning as Los Angeles is residence to the most important Armenian group within the United States. I might completely spend a month in Armenia (in the course of the summer season, clearly!) and benefit from the ambiance.
Kate’s Top Recommendations for Yerevan
Learn in regards to the Armenian Genocide earlier than you go. It impacts all the pieces about life in Armenia right this moment. My weblog put up linked beneath is an efficient place to begin.
Have the bread at Temurnots, subsequent to the Yerevan Cascade. Armenian bread is scrumptious, and that is my favourite bread place. Fill it with cheese, matsoni (strained yogurt) and recent herbs!
Read More: What’s It Like to Travel Armenia Today?
Lake Orta, Italy
In my efforts to discover extra of Italy this 12 months, I obtained off the overwhelmed monitor. One place was within the lakes area of Piemonte. While Lake Como is extraordinarily widespread with international vacationers, and Lake Maggiore barely much less so, Lake Orta is far more a vacation spot for Italian vacationers. Many Milanese have trip properties right here.
Lake Orta is splendid — a lot smaller than essentially the most well-known lakes, clear and darkish, surrounded by mountains and even snow-capped glaciers. Orta San Giulio is a pastel-colored city that matches into the encircling panorama completely. The space is surrounded by mountains, supplying you with nice views in each path. And one among my favourite agriturismi on the planet is right here, serving up improbable Piemontese delicacies and wines.
Every from time to time you want a quiet, peaceable getaway with no agenda. Lake Orta is my new favourite place for that sort of journey. I hope to return at the very least every year.
Kate’s Top Recommendations for Lake Orta
Eat at Il Cucchaio di Legno. This agriturismo served me one of the vital excellent meals I had this 12 months — all for a really affordable worth of 33 euros plus wine. I might return to eat right here alone. Make a reservation prematurely.
Take a ship to the island on the lake. This island is spooky-silent and has indicators across the island extolling the virtues of silence. It’s an attention-grabbing place to go to.
Visit Mottarone. This mountain gives you views of a number of lakes within the area in addition to the encircling snow-topped glaciers.
Read More: 11 Things I Learned on My Latest Trip to Italy
The Îles-de-la-Madeleine, additionally known as the Magdalen Islands, are remoted and arduous to achieve — however in case you make it right here, it’s properly definitely worth the journey. This archipelago north of Prince Edward Island is made up of skinny, wispy islands the place the borders erode and alter with the tides.
I discovered the islands so delicate and valuable — as a result of they’re going to be impacted by local weather change, and are already being economically affected by most younger Madelinots leaving for higher alternatives. But it looks like there’s a optimistic change within the air — younger persons are coming again and opening new companies. Perhaps it’s the start of a brand new period.
For now, these islands make a peaceable summer season getaway, a spot the place you’ll be able to get pleasure from nature and quiet in a spot that appears quickly suspended in time. Make positive you ebook all the pieces manner prematurely.
Kate’s Top Recommendations for the Îles-de-la-Madeleine
Try the native brews on the À l’abri de la Tempête. This brewery is likely one of the newer companies to open on the island and a really welcome one — heat and welcoming, it’s the right place to spend a stormy afternoon.
Stroll the retailers of La Grave village. This city is full of picture-perfect cottages and makes a beautiful and photogenic place for a stroll.
Gorge on cheeses at La Fromagerie du Pied de Vent. The islands are residence to a superb fromagerie with a number of home made varieties. I took a couple of with me!
Read More: Reasons to Travel to the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Canada’s Magdalen Islands
For years, my expat associates in Mexico had been raving about Holbox as their particular island getaway. For individuals who lived proper subsequent to the seashore on the Mayan Riviera, these had been sturdy phrases. But as soon as I visited myself, I understand what makes this island so particular.
Holbox is what I believed Tulum can be and precisely what I wished in a Mexican island getaway. There are not any large manufacturers, solely small companies. There are not any vehicles; individuals get round by bicycle or golf cart. It’s undoubtedly obtained vacationer infrastructure, however it one way or the other appears to draw the appropriate vacationers — plenty of backpackers and former backpackers who grew up, might have had youngsters, however saved the backpacker mindset.
I’m often cautious of the way forward for locations like these, afraid that they’ll succumb to growth — however Holbox appears to be doing the appropriate factor. Development has been severely restricted and a ban on single-use plastics is on its manner. Hopefully Holbox continues to be the fantastic place it’s.
Kate’s Top Recommendations for Holbox
Stay at Casa Sandra. It’s a high-end luxurious eco property, and it you’ll be able to swing the associated fee, it’s DIVINE. From the beautiful rooms to the poolside margaritas to the black tempura-fried onions (OMG!) to the peaceable breakfast ambiance, I liked each minute.
Day journey to Cabo Catoche. Take a ship trip east and also you’ll discover Cabo Catoche — a stunning space with clear ankle-deep water. Go early sufficient and also you’ll have the place to your self.
Catch the sundown at Zomay. There are so many sundown spots all through Holbox, however I actually loved getting a cocktail and watching the sundown from this widespread seashore bar hooked up to the eponymous resort.
Read More: What’s It Like to Travel to Isla Holbox, Mexico?
Every 12 months, there may be an “it destination” that tons of journey bloggers begin visiting organically out of the blue. One 12 months it was Cuba; one winter it was Oaxaca; sooner or later Myanmar went into overdrive. This 12 months, it’s the Dolomites, the beautiful, jagged mountains of Italy’s far northeast, and out of the blue this area turned extremely widespread on Instagram!
I’ve lengthy wished to go to the Dolomites, a part of the Alto Adige (South Tyrol) area of northeast Italy. And it was value it — their magnificence is spectacular. The Dolomites have a UNESCO World Heritage designation due to their uncommon geology that leaves them jagged and color-changing relying on the time of day.
It’s additionally a reminder that Italy is an extremely numerous place. The native language right here is Ladin and so they even converse completely different dialects of Ladin in several valleys! Anyone who thinks Italy is all the identical boring factor ought to journey to the Dolomites.
Kate’s Top Recommendations for the Dolomites
Rent a automobile. I often choose touring by prepare in Italy, however public transport within the Dolomites is far more restricted. You’ll be higher off renting a automobile and touring by yourself timeline.
Stay at Ciasa Salares. This boutique resort is designed superbly, has excellent award-winning delicacies, and subsequent to the wine cellar is a chocolate room that’s principally like Willy Wonka for adults!
Eat all of the speck. “Speck” typically means bacon or comparable variety cured arduous pork in Germanic Europe, however within the Dolomites it’s the most feathery, delicate, smoky prosciutto ever. It’s improbable and distinctive to this area.
Read More: Three Days within the Dolomites: A South Tyrol Getaway
When I obtained an invite to go to Guyana on a press journey this previous winter, I used to be overjoyed. This was a real off-the-beaten-path vacation spot. Guyana actively discouraged tourism as late because the eighties; they thought it could break their nation. And whenever you go to right this moment, there may be little or no journey infrastructure in most elements of the nation.
But the eco-tourism within the Rupununi is classy. You can spend a night on a riverboat monitoring down large crocodile-like caiman lizards. Giant otters are one other native denizen; head out early and also you would possibly be capable of spot an anteater. The landscapes are nearly painfully lovely. And Kaieteur Falls is so magnificent — however it defies perception that there isn’t even a guardrail at Kaieteur National Park!
Guyana is completely my choose for the following large offbeat wildlife vacation spot. If you wish to journey the place few others go, put the nation on the high of your listing. And spend as a lot time as you’ll be able to within the Rupununi.
Kate’s Top Recommendations for Guyana
Hang out with the enormous otters at Karanambu Lodge. They could also be large otters, however the little ones are like puppies! It’s enjoyable to observe them eat and play.
Get actually off the overwhelmed path at Saddle Mountain Ranch. Ride ATVs, swim within the creek, and luxuriate in little electrical energy and completely no web (they don’t actually have a web site!).
Read More: What’s It Really Like to Travel Guyana?
Imagine a area of Italy with mountains crashing down into deep lakes, terracotta-topped roofs, and among the tastiest white wines round. Now let me inform you which you can get pleasure from this area with out the vacationer crowds that dominate extra widespread Italian spots. This is Trentino.
One purpose why I like touring Italy is as a result of there may be all the time extra to find, and it has numerous variety. I didn’t have many expectations for Trentino, however I grew to like the small, unpretentious metropolis of Trento, lined in pastel murals and full of enjoyable bars. (Oh, and the principle photograph on the brand new residence web page of my website was shot in Trento!)
I liked feeling so beneath the radar, in a area the place many of the vacationers are Germans or Austrians on long-distance bike journeys. I’d love to return and see much more of Trentino.
Kate’s Top Recommendations for Trentino
Spend a day at Riva del Garda. Only a tiny portion of Lake Garda is in Trentino, however this lovely little village is a good day journey, with lovely views from the clock tower.
Drink all of the Trentodoc. Trentodoc wine comes from Trentino and it’s fabulous — particularly the glowing white varieties.
Visit MART, the Museo di Arte Moderna, in Rovereto. This fashionable artwork museum has numerous fantastic shows and makes an ideal tour away from Trento.
What a very superb a part of Canada. I spent fairly a little bit of time in Nova Scotia this summer season — I did a Cape Breton highway journey, I visited a number of locations together with distant Sable Island on my Canada cruise, and I spent a couple of days with my pal Cailin in her hometown of Halifax and visited close by cities like Lunenberg and Peggys Cove.
What I liked about Atlantic Canada is that a lot of it jogged my memory of New England — however I felt like Nova Scotia was so just like Massachusetts! I liked the improbable lobster for each meal, the pure magnificence (particularly Cape Breton Highlands National Park), the little folks artwork stands, and the attention-grabbing combination of indigenous, Celtic, and Acadian cultures on Cape Breton.
Sable Island felt like the largest journey achievement in Nova Scotia — that is such a distant island and it’s so arduous to get to! But I’ve to say my coronary heart belongs to Acadian city of Chéticamp. Nova Scotia deserves benefit in so many areas. I do know I’ve solely scraped its floor and I can’t wait to return.
Kate’s Top Recommendations for Nova Scotia
Eat all of the lobster, continually, each time attainable. For years Cailin has been telling me Nova Scotia has the most effective lobster on the planet, and although it pains me to say…she’s proper.
Paint masks on the Mi-Carême Centre in Chéticamp. I had no concept that such a cool pageant existed within the remaining Acadian elements of Atlantic Canada! Learning in regards to the masked, costumed mid-winter pageant was a blast — and portray our personal masks was enjoyable and enjoyable.
Have afternoon tea at Tartan Tea House. What makes this Halifax-area tea store so particular? You can truly borrow fancy hats to put on whereas having fun with your tea and pastries. EVERY PLACE SHOULD DO THIS.
Read More: Driving the Cabot Trail: The Ultimate Nova Scotia Road Trip
Every Caribbean island has a manner of taking your worries away (and sure changing them with a cup of rum punch). But what makes Antigua particular? It’s in all probability essentially the most strong all-around Caribbean island I’ve visited. Sure, you’ve obtained your nice resorts and seashores, however it’s greater than that.
In Antigua, you will get out and hang around with locals much more simply than different islands. I liked everybody I met. The native meals is great — even one thing with the identify of “goat water” is scrumptious. The island has numerous historical past and historic websites. There are hikes for all ranges, actions for partiers, and a few loopy sea actions like scooter snorkeling. Even town of St. John’s was enjoyable to discover on market day.
Kate’s Top Recommendations for Antigua
Enjoy all of the Antigua black pineapple. I swear that Antigua is residence to the sweetest, most scrumptious pineapple on the planet. Try it and I wager you’ll agree.
Spend a sundown at Shirley Heights. Not solely is the most effective view on the island, the entire place turns into a celebration ambiance with music, drinks, and dancing! While I loved my Thursday night time go to, I’ve heard Sunday is greatest as a result of it’s the native night time.
Take a catamaran trip. My favourite exercise in Antigua was a catamaran trip, having fun with music and rum punch at sundown. The good method to finish a visit to Antigua!
Read More: What’s It Like to Travel to Antigua and Barbuda?
When it got here time to discover a base for every week in Puglia, Monopoli was completely the only option. It’s not essentially the most well-known city south of Bari — Polignano a Mare subsequent door will get much more guests — however you’ll be able to’t beat the vibe right here.
Monopoli is a tourist-driven city, however it has such a pleasant ambiance. It’s stuffed with twisting, winding streets with white buildings and inexperienced shutters, inexperienced crops including to the colour all through town. It’s obtained a small seashore and a few seashore golf equipment additional out. Much of Puglian delicacies is vegetable-driven, however there may be tons of recent, scrumptious seafood out there in its coastal cities as properly.
Monopoli is a good place for lazy days. Have a pleasant lunch. Go for a stroll. Go for gelato — twice and even 3 times in case you’re formidable. This is Monopoli life!
Kate’s Top Recommendations for Monopoli:
Eat gelato at Caruso as typically as attainable. Caruso could also be my favourite gelato spot on the planet, and that’s saying lots. As in we had been the weirdos loitering exterior at 2:00 PM ready for it to reopen. The flavors are ingenious and attention-grabbing and the standard is high notch.
Day journey throughout Puglia (and past). If you’re prepared to stroll a bit, you’ll be able to park simply in Monopoli. One of my favourite day journeys was to Matera and Altamura; one other was to Alberobello and Locorotondo.
Have drinks and dinner in entrance of the ocean wall. I liked catching these late night sea breezes whereas nursing the right aperol spritz.