Emerging Destination Awards
- 2019 -
6 Best in the World
Unexpected places trending on each continent, as voted by 31 of the world's top travel influencers and bloggers.
We asked 31 of the world's top travel influencers, bloggers, and vloggers to vote on the world's best emerging destinations by continent. In total they selected 44 incredible but underrated spots around the planet.
And we are proud to announce that these 6 destinations are the cream of the crop: their top picks as the #1 emerging destination on each continent for 2019 (you can also check out our readers' top picks here).
So instead of following the herd to the same overcrowded and overdone tourist destinations, make 2019 your year to set the trends instead of following them:
Best in Europe
You heard it here first: the Faroe Islands will be to the 2020s what Iceland was to the 2010s. You'll find unspoiled natural beauty, a unique culture, and some of the most stunning scenery in the world. Picture rolling green hills dotted by hobbit-like homes, with streams that meander through this verdant landscape before gushing down the side of a sheer sea cliff for a misty meeting with the wild Atlantic below. No wonder the Faroe Islands were the unanimous choice of our Europe panel of travel influencers as the top place to travel in Europe for 2019. If you're one of the handful of travelers who has experienced these magical islands, we apologize for spilling the beans and letting Europe's best-kept secret out.
Best in North America
Dance under the Northern Lights. Lock eyes with polar bears. Witness beluga whales. And just soak in the natural beauty of this wild and rugged destination. Whatever you do in Manitoba, do it soon and you'll beat the crowds there. Until recently Manitoba was a hidden gem known only to locals and a handful of intrepid travelers. But the province is poised for a moment in 2019. Besides being selected for our Judges' Award, Manitoba also was named by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 regions to visit in 2019, and up-and-coming Winnipeg made Airbnb's list of the 19 trendiest places to travel in 2019. With so much to do and see, the only wonder is why the recognition took so long in the first place.
Best in Australia & The Pacific
Why isn't Tasmania already one of the world's most popular travel destinations? It's a great question, and the only answer we can conjure is that perhaps its location at the literal end of the world has kept it out of the gaze of mass tourism. Which on some level is probably for the best, as it means it's still possible to experience this truly spectacular island in relative solitude - at least for now! On Tasmania (or "Tassie," as the locals call it), you'll find some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, incredible landscapes filled with craggy mountains and lush green fields, and quirky and abundant wildlife (care for a midnight hike through a glowworm-covered rain-forest?). Only true adventurers need apply.
Best in Africa
Kenya isn't just a safari destination: it also has some of the most incredible beaches on the planet. And the cream of the crop is the uber-trendy Diani Beach, a strip of sand so perfect that you'll find yourself pinching yourself. But trust us, this is real. And the best part is that, despite a recent wave of international accolades, Diani Beach is still blissfully free of the crowds. Beach bums will find plenty of quiet patches of powdery sand to lay down a towel. And thrill seekers will love the booming kite-boarding scene here, which offers a unique and exciting way to take in this world-class beach. A word of warning: after a visit to Diani Beach, you may be forever spoiled for any other beach destination.
Best in South America
In just a few short years, Colombia has undergone an incredible metamorphosis from tourism pariah to a veritable travel mecca. But there's one place that still doesn't get its fair share of attention: the colorful city of Cali. This friendly and vibrant town isn't anything like what you'd expect from the dark version of its past portrayed in Netlflix's popular series Narcos. No, Cali is safe, clean, and ready to welcome to the world. The main attraction here is salsa - Cali is the undeniable king of the Latin dance - but there's so much to do beyond just giving it a whirl. Visit the Cristo Rey statue, a less crowded version of Rio's famous Christ the Redeemer, tour the city's neoclassical architecture, or escape to the nearby Los Farallones de Cali National Nature Park. Whatever you do, do it fast: there's nowhere hotter in travel than Colombia, so this place won't remain a secret much longer.
Best in Asia
Lonely Planet recently called it the #1 place to travel in the world for 2019. And we have a hard time arguing with that assessment. For travelers who can't decide between culture, nature, and beach, Sri Lanka makes it easy to avoid the choice altogether. This tropical island packs a lot into a small package: explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the unbelievable ancient Sigiriya rock fortress, go leopard spotting in Yala National Park, or grab your board and head for the surf in Weligama. And with affordable prices and destinations for every time of year, there's really no reason not to add Sri Lanka to your 2019 bucket list.
Nate Hake has traveled to 65+ countries across six continents around the world and blogs about his travels at TravelLemming.com. He is from Denver, Colorado, recently concluded a six month stint living in Mexico, and is now currently traveling in Thailand.