You’ve probably heard a colleague or family friend gushing about the amazing time they spent in Croatia, and it turns out, they’re not wrong either. The once war-torn country has shot up the leaderboard of countries to visit in 2019, boasting an extremely popular holiday destination for those who want a tropical yet cultural experience all in one. The incredible old town of Dubrovnik gained it’s fame from the cult series Game of Thrones, and it’s clear to see why. The city is guarded by fortress walls, and within the big gates are houses with the most magnificent orange-tinged roofs. It’s a throwback in time which will see you become lost within its hundreds of laneways, nooks and crannies. When you’re not on the mainland, the best way to experience the country is by boat. Traveling on a boat is of the best things you will ever do (coming from someone who’s done this trip!). The mountainous landscapes roll into the deepest blues of the Adriatic Sea whilst you float on by small coastal towns which offer the best of hospitality and cuisine. You can dock off on one of the beautiful islands like Hvar, Mljet or Korcula. It is one of the most versatile European countries. Endless waterfalls and national park, dappled gems of history and lovely locals; Croatia has to be one of the best places to visit in 2019.
If you’re one who loves to travel to Thailand or Bali, why not give stunning Laos a go? Given the title of the most ethnically diverse region in Southeast Asia, Laos is home to an incredible landscape which is matched by its cultural charm and charisma. There’s over 20 ethnic minority groups who live in the mountains, each group creating their own unique textiles and totems for you to collect over your travels. The country is versatile in its adventures which await you: from hiking to tubing down rivers, the land and lakes boast an undeniably fun time ahead. Tubing is the most fond pastime for tourists. Simply hire an old tractor tyre and float down one of the incredibly beautiful rivers, stopping off along the way to play volleyball, drink with the locals and dance on the banks. The waterfalls are extremely photogenic, too. And if you love food you’re in for a treat, with Laos home to an abundant mix of French and local cuisine thanks to an early European colony leaving their mark on the country. Reconnect with your spiritual side as Laos is also known for its golden temples and unique worship spots. The Pha That Luang temple (which is also the national symbol of the country) is said to house the hair and a small bone from Buddha, making it an incredibly special place for Buddhists to visit.
If you’re a fan of music, wine and culture, then this might be the place for you. Argentina is a place abundant with life, colour and colliding landscapes. From bustling cities to actual icebergs (who would’ve thought?), this country offers a unique trip to those who are willing to experience South America in a different way. Some of the most fascinating places in the natural world call Argentina home, including the breathtaking Andes mountain ranges and Iguazu Falls, which kind of looks like the earth has cracked in two and a magnificent waterfall system is filling up the gorge. If you travel south towards the border of Chile, you will find yourself in an awe-inspiring location- The Perito Moreno Glacier, which some tourists gladly label as one of the most beautiful and thought provoking sites in the globe. The heart of the city in Buenos Aires pumps with excitement and animation. You’ve got endless options to explore, be it the local marketplace, a tango class or tasting the incredible barbecued meat platters. Argentina is an incredibly diverse and spirited location which would definitely feed an adventurous soul.
The island pulls you into its magical charm as soon as you arrive. Instantaneous scents of fresh vanilla, ylang-ylang flower and cloves fill the air at Reunion Island, located just off the coast of Madagascar and floating carelessly in the Indian ocean. The French colonised island is an outstanding place to visit if you’re up for a bit of tropical relaxation which isn’t packed with tourists. Unlike Mauritius, Fiji or Seychelles, Reunion Island has a vast array of tricks up its sleeve, hiding away volcanos, waterfalls and plantations from first impressions. On arrival, you can expect to be handed beautiful samples of wine, vanilla and fish. The cuisine is a mix of French inspired Caribbean and Indian, but Reunion is best known for its Bourbon Vanilla, a strain of the vanilla plant which only grows on the island. If you fancy a unique way of seeing things, helicopter tours often run over the still active Piton de la Fournaise volcano, which still spits and churns its fiery belly every other month. The Langevin Waterfalls are truly spectacular, like something from a fairytale. And if you’re still up in that helicopter, check out the awesome Takamaka Waterfall by air. It’s more than just a beach holiday, Reunion Island offers unbelievable views and cuisine which is hard to be matched.
Photo credits to Holly Barber