- Erika Larsen/National Geographic
- National Geographic has revealed its top travel destinations for 2019.
- Mexico City was named number one on its list.
- Places selected ranged from specific parks and counties to whole countries.
- Other destinations include Montenegro, Mexico City, and Oman.
As National Geographic published its annual Best Trips issue, the magazine’s team has put together what they think are the best vacation spots for 2019. The magazine’s writers and editors have compiled expert opinions to give the best possible options for travelers.
Keep reading to see National Geographic’s 28 top places to travel this upcoming year.
28. South Walton County, Florida, is marine paradise.
- Paul Winterman/Shutterstock
With a thriving marine life population and diverse set of beaches, South Walton County has made itself a noteworthy destination for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.
Located in Northern Florida, organizations like the South Walton Artifical Reef Association and other similar municipal initiatives show the county’s commitment to the protection of its rich nature and landscape.
27. Montenegro might be small, but it’s rich in scenery.
Montenegro may be a small country, but there is plenty to see and do there – especially if you like hiking. In the nation’s northwest, Durmitor National Park covers 39,000 acres of land made up of scenic canyons and mountains. The park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
26. Perth’s remote location doesn’t prevent it from having fun.
Located on coastal Western Australia, Perth is the capital city to one of Australia’s most remote states. Despite that, the city has a lively population, plenty of vineyards, and scenic beaches, making Perth a great alternative to more popular Australian cities like Sydney.
25. Macedonia is a gem among the Balkans.
- Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Though Balkan countries get a fair share of attention, they aren’t often considered conventional vacation destinations. But Macedonia should change all that. With gorgeous mountains, waterfalls, and an affordable cost of living, tourists get a nearly endless supply of opportunities for leisure and relaxation.
24. Germany’s Bauhaus Trail is a crash course on Germany’s rich art culture.
- Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Even without a love of architecture, traveling through cities like Dessau and Berlin will expose visitors to distinct and novel parts of German art and culture.
23. Isla de los Estados is a serene escape from the rest of Argentina.
- Ionov Vitaly/Shutterstock
Approximately 18 miles away from the Argentinean part of Tierra del Fuego lies a quiet and picturesque escape from what the rest of Argentina has to offer. In Isla de los Estados, tourists can find idyllic mountainous landscapes, fjords, and a healthy wildlife population, all in pristine condition.
22. Salvador, Brazil, might be the world’s party capital.
- Yadid Levy/National Geographic
Carnival, a Brazilian tradition of dance and celebration prior to Lent, is one of the city’s biggest highlights, with some of the largest and longest parties a tourist could experience.
21. Oakland has become a more diverse and unique alternative to neighboring San Francisco.
Even in the face of recent gentrification in neighboring San Francisco, Oakland has maintained a free, unique, and multicultural identity. Restaurants and other local establishments owned by a diverse local populace make up the city’s rich social landscape. Cambodian stews and Lebanese flatbreads are as much at home in Oakland as are enigmatic secret societies and a bonsai garden curated by the first female and only American bonsai master to be trained and certified in Japan.
20. See thousands of different animals at Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park.
- Jen Guyton/National Geographic
At around 1,500 square miles, Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park gives visitors plenty of opportunities to witness large swaths of wildlife. Thanks to conservation efforts made in the past decade, the revitalized park now houses over 70,000 animals.
19. Galway is becoming Ireland’s cultural center.
Galway has quietly become one of Europe’s culinary gems. Recently named the 2018 European Region of Gastronomy, the city is now known for its arts and cultural clout. The city will soon host a culture fair called Galway 2020, featuring pop-up installations, performances, and other events.
18. Diversity is what upholds Toronto’s reputation.
Despite its frigid climate, Toronto’s population is extremely diverse and continuing to grow at a fast rate. As a result, visitors can enjoy a variety of cuisines and art from Torontonians hailing from different corners of the globe.
17. Enjoy ancient artifacts and architectural wonders in Cairo.
- Prin Adulyatham/Shutterstock
Historic artifacts and monuments are scattered across the city. In addition to the Sphinx and the upcoming $1 billion Grand Egyptian Museum, the city hosts a variety of other ancient artifacts that any history buff would enjoy seeing.
16. Witness rainbow-color rivers in Colombia’s Caño Cristales
Known as the “River of Five Colors,” Caño Cristales produces vivid visuals (best between July and October), and is also located next to Serranía de la Macarena, a massive national park known for its jungles and animal-watching opportunities.
15. Matera is an underrated spot for history-loving tourists to visit.
Set to be a 2019 European Capital of Culture, Matera has experienced a recent mini-renaissance of its own. The ancient city used to be a slum, but has now become a hotspot of tourism where people can visit an ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site, a famed contemporary sculpture museum, and enjoy a rich local culinary scene.
14. Belize has a remarkably rich natural marine life population.
- Jad Davenport/National Geographic
Amidst a rush to restore and revitalize its ocean life, Belize has become home to unadulterated marine experiences rarely found elsewhere. Amergris Caye, Belize’s largest island, has been previously named best destination in Central America for its diving and shark-watching opportunities.
13. Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness is New Mexico’s hidden gem.
Though not a name that immediately comes to mind, Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness is as wondrous as any attraction travelers might come across on a road trip in the American southwest. Near Albuquerque, the 41,170-acre area has no roads and is remote enough for visitors looking for a quiet escape.
12. Wine and serenity are what mark Vevey, Switzerland.
Vevey is comparitively small, with its 16,000 residents, but it’s a popular holiday resort and wine-growing region. Tourists might understand why the city was popular with Charlie Chaplin, who called Vevey his home until death, when they take charming strolls at spots like Vevey’s old town, home to the town’s famous market, or ride historic trains through neighboring wine country.
Nestlé’s Alimentarium will also give any visitor a fascinating crash course in the history of food and nutrition.
11. French Polynesia is an affordable alternative to similar rich tropical destinations.
- Ryan Moss/National Geographic
French Polynesia, a collection of islands in the South Pacific belonging to France, has flown under the radar as an ideal tropical travel destination. The islands give tourists the opportunity to go snorkeling in its crystal clear waters, or bask in its various scenic peaks and waterfalls. It also probably helps that it’s a cheaper expedition than what you’d expect.
10. Kansas City has become a new Midwestern oasis thanks to recent city developments.
Kansas City is going through a bit of a renaissance moment right now. Thanks to recent developments that add to a revitalized arts district (complete with a free trolley service), tourists can see shows at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts or shop at various creative boutiques, while also experiencing city staples like its world-famous barbecue and passionate sports culture.
9. Oman’s natural beauty and historical significance make it one to watch in 2019.
- Anastasia Taylor-Lind/National Geographic
Once a Middle Eastern backwater, Oman has transformed itself into a center for stunning architecture and culture. The government has recently set its sights on tourism, and developments in local culture and attractions have already sprung up as a result. From plenty of old military forts to the beauty and ferocity of the Gulf desert, it’s clear why Omani adventures will be worth your time next year.
8. Greenland is a land of adventure with great scenery.
- Keith Ladzinski/National Geographic
There’s far more to see and do in Greenland than the average person might expect. Those who like adventure can go dogsledding or heli-skiing. For sightseeing, take a helicopter ride overlooking the country’s fjords and the Northern Lights after dark.
7. Experience the Himalayans at Hoang Lien Son.
- VLADYSLAV DANILIN
Hoang Lien Son is a national park and a part of the Himalayan Mountains. Trekking the destination isn’t an easy feat, but Hoang Lien Son has memorable views worth seeing in your lifetime.
6. Canterbury Region will look familiar to “Lord of the Rings” fans.
In the middle of New Zealand lies Canterbury, a region with diverse cities like Christchurch, Kaikoura, and Timaru. The region served as a backdrop for most of the “Lord of the Rings” movies, and there are plenty of tours for die-hard fans.
If you’re not a fan of the fantasy series, visit Caterbury’s various bustling cities on your own.
5. Dordogne is an enduringly charming region of France.
- Gunnar Knechtel/National Geographic
Dordogne is a department in the South of France that gives every tourist a taste of what makes the region so wonderful. With its abundance of quaint and picturesque villages, tourists can see a scenic and unadulterated side of France. Just north of Dordogne is also the Vézèrze Valley, where tourists can find nearly untouched prehistoric caves and cave paintings.
4. Senegal’s food and friendliness make visiting a no-brainer.
- EyesWideOpen/Getty Images
Scenery, safety, and friendliness are all hallmark traits of a visit to Senegal. Within the country, you wouldn’t be hard-pressed to find plenty of amazing beaches to visit (thanks to its over 300 miles of coastline), a bustling and diverse capital city, and a culture innately tuned to hospitality and friendliness.
3. Fanjingshan’s history and beauty coincide.
Fanjingshan, one of China’s highest peaks, was made a UNESCO World Heritage site this year. The area has been a major holy site for Buddhism, and various temples and shrines are scattered throughout the area. In addition to its historical significance, Fanjingshan also has a thriving and diverse ecosystem, with over 2,000 types of plants and various endangered animal species.
2. The Peruvian Amazon is rich with wildlife.
- Charlie Hamilton James/National Geographic
Though the Amazon is most closely associated with Brazil, the forest covers over half of Peru and is home to a variety of wildlife. The country’s government is taking its involvement in the Amazon to heart, recently opening a national park meant to protect the forest’s vast plant and wildlife populations from endangerment or extinction, making the Peruvian Amazon a must-visit for any tourist passionate about environmentalism.
1. Mexico City’s food is not to be missed.
- Erika Larsen/National Geographic
Though its luche libre displays and neighboring historic relics already garner sizeable audiences, Mexico City also boasts a burgeoning food scene that’s not to be missed. With restaurants that consistently rank amongst the best 50 in the world, and delectable street snacks like elotes – corn cobs skewered and cooked with mayonnaise, cheese, and chili – Mexico City is a multifaceted city anyone can enjoy.
The latest issue of the new National Geographic Best Trips Traveler magazine is now available.
- National Geographic
You can also read it online.
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.