The Wanderlist 2019 | 50 Unmissable Travel Experiences, Curated by Amuse

Welcome to The Wanderlist, your guide to where to go this year - and what to do when you get there

by Amuse Team
Jan 14 2019, 11:03am

It’s cold outside, the nights are long, and the residual afterglow of the festive period has finally faded. Everywhere we look, there are adverts telling us we should be starting new diets, joining new gyms, reinforcing that old cliché, “new year, new you”. You may (if you’re feeling particularly puritanical) even be subjecting yourself to Dry January. In short, life is miserable right now.

It’s times like this when, more than ever, you need something to look forward to. Which is why we’ve created The Wanderlist - a guide to 50 unmissable holiday experiences for 2019. Lots of websites will put together lists of the best travel destinations, but we’ve gone a step further - because while the country, city, or resort you visit is obviously important, what really makes or breaks your holiday is what you do when you get there.

Nominated by our award-winning team of contributors - travel writers and photographers - as well as selected industry experts, these are some of the most innovative and unusual holiday suggestions you’ll ever see. From the hottest new restaurant openings, to unusual ways to try ski-touring, to festivals in far-flung destinations - it’s all here.

While whittling the hundreds of nominations down to this final 50 was hard work, we can safely say that The Wanderlist 2019 represents the best of the best. Putting this together got us dreaming. We hope it does the same for you, and inspires you to start planning that next unforgettable trip.


Photo: Courtesy of Upguides

Go Skiing from a Surf-Ski in Northern Norway

Finding untouched powder is, of course, every serious skier’s dream, and Finnmark, the northernmost point of mainland Europe, offers it in spades. The lines here aren’t just fresh after new snowfall, many of them have never been ridden by anyone, ever. Paddling round the fjords on a surf ski (a kind of kayak) adds an extra element of adventure to the experience. As does the fact that, with nearly 24-hours of daylight in May, you can be skiing around midnight. Finnmark might be, quite literally, at the end of the earth, but it’s worth going there for this.

Photo: Courtesy of Africa Exclusive

Canoe the Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe

As with most things in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe’s unsavoury regime was terrible for tourism. But with the dictator now gone, the industry is starting to bounce back. Meanwhile, the country’s breathtaking landscapes and incredible nature reserves remain as appealing as ever. The stunning Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a case in point. And with Africa Exclusive launching a new boat-based safari experience there this year, there has never been a better time to visit Zimbabwe.

Photo: Stuart Kenny

Ride the Stunning Mountain Bike Trails of Madeira

The island used to be best-known as the destination of choice for bus-pass age pensioners, but increasingly it's becoming something of an adventure hotspot - particularly for mountain bikers. With its jungly vegetation, dramatic cliffs and stunningly beautiful coastline, Madeira looks like Jurassic Park without the velociraptors. Add in a network of well-built, technical trails and you have what is arguably the best mountain biking destination on the planet right now.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

See the World’s Oldest Desert in Namibia

This summer, Zannier Hotels are launching a new luxury lodge on the edge of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, site of the world’s oldest desert. While there are animals here, the real attraction is the landscape itself: striking red sand dunes, punctuated by the 500-year-old skeletons of dead trees, make it feel like you’re stepping out onto the surface of Mars. If you’re looking for a unique, luxurious safari experience, the new Sonop Lodge should be at the top of your list.

Photo: Ed Blomfield

Splitboard in the Japanese Alps

With its crazily consistent, ludicrously fluffy, powder snow, Japan (or Ja-pow, as it’s often called) should be on every serious snowboarders’ bucket list. The best-known resorts in the northern island of Hokkaido attract the lion’s share of the visitors, but for our money you’re better off staying south. The Japanese Alps on Honshu offer steeper, more technical riding, and incredible backcountry access. Here’s why Hakuba is the place to get your fix of Japanese powder in 2019.

Photo: Courtesy of G Adventures

Hike to Ciudad Perdida, Colombia’s Lost City

Tourism in Colombia has been growing steadily since the signing of the cease fire between the FARC rebels and the government in 2016, and the country is fast gaining a reputation as one of the best - and most interesting - travel destinations in South America. For anyone visiting in 2019, a trek to the stunning Ciudad Perdida in the rainforests of the Tayrona National Park should be the first thing on the agenda. Like Machu Picchu without the crowds, the Lost City is one of the jewels in this emerging destination’s crown.

Photo: Damea Dorsey

Surf the Pristine Shores of the Marshall Islands

In the 50s and 60s, the Marshall Islands were the site of no fewer than 23 nuclear weapons tests, making this tiny Pacific Ocean archipelago officially the most nuked place on the planet. They are also, however, home to some of the world’s best and emptiest waves, and as of summer 2018, a brand new luxury surf lodge. Here’s why surfing in the Marshall Islands should be top of your list of adventure experiences in 2019.

Photo: Dan Medhurst

Try Cat-Skiing in Kazakhstan

Incredible snow? Check. Empty Slopes? Check. Remote location? About as remote as it gets. This incredible cat-skiing lodge in the North East of Kazakhstan, where the borders of Mongolia, Russia, China, and Kazakhstan meet, is like a mini-Japan, just without the crowds. Here’s why the East Pole should be on every serious powder hound’s wishlist for 2019.

Photo: Courtesy of Shinta Mani Wild

Escape to Cambodia’s New Luxury Eco-Lodge

Designed to feel like “going on a luxury safari with Jackie O”, Shinta Mani Wild combines no-expenses-spared luxury with a passionately-held environmentalism. Guests are encouraged not just to support conservation passively - with their tourist dollars funding research - but also actively: the hotel will take you out on ranger patrols to help combat poaching. All of which makes this new property a unique and exciting proposition.

Photo via Flickr

Go Land-Sailing on Nevada’s Dry Lakes

Nevada’s reputation as the number one state for thrill-seekers barely needs introduction, with gamblers trekking to Vegas in their droves each year in pursuit of easy riches. But should the velvet tables and chandeliers of Sin City not be your thing (and they’re not ours) there are plenty of others ways to get an the adrenaline kick: For example, if you head out into the desert, you can try the fast-paced thrill of land-sailing. These “boats” can reach speeds of well over 100 mph, and with only a thin strip of metal between you and the ground, the sensation of speed is intense. It’s a rush like no other.

Photo: Courtesy of Wa Ale Resort

Dive Into Myanmar’s Myiek Archipelago

Six years on from the election of a more representative government led by Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Myanmar is becoming an established fixture on the South East Asian tourist trail. But while sites like Bagan and Inle Lake are frequently frequented by tourists these days, there are still large swathes of the country that remain either completely off-limits, or at least well off the beaten track. Visitors needs a special permit to get to the Myiek archipelago for example, but if you make it here, it’s worth the faff a thousand times over. World class diving and snorkelling from near-deserted islands? If it sounds like paradise, that’s because it is…

Photo: Courtesy of SkiBro

Star in Your Own Ski Movie in France

However good you are at skiing, it’s always the same story: You want to record yourself having fun with your mates on the slopes, so you buy the GoPro, the mounts, the monopod. You then spend ages fiddling around with it, making people wait so you can get into position (all the while using up valuable time when you could just be skiing instead), then you download the footage onto your hard drive and... it just sits there. Because as much as you want the memories, who’s got time to watch it all back and edit this stuff? How do you solve this perennial problem?

Well, this innovative startup has a solution, which will leave you with a professional-level, drone-filmed mini-movie to take home at the end of your holiday. Not only will you be free to enjoy the skiing, but this will look a whole lot better on your Instagram feed than anything you could have created.

Photo: Leon Poultney

Surf Empty Waves on Jeju Island, South Korea

South Korea isn’t exactly famous as a surfing destination, but that’s precisely what gives Jeju, a tropical island of beach resorts and mellow breaks, its charm. Surf culture is new here, and the nascent surf scene, while enthusiastic, is far from enormous. This means the waves are all-but empty (music to any serious surfer’s ears) and visitors have the advantage of being able to explore a unique culture, as well as enjoying authentic Korean cuisine (which in our humble opinion is among the best in the world). Jeju Island is never going to be the next Bali, but then that’s precisely the point.

Photo: Courtesy of Wild Safari

Try a Vegan Safari in Botswana, Africa’s Anti-Hunting Heartland

Vegan” and “safari” are not typically words you'd expect to see sharing a sentence - one conjures up images of slightly nimby-ish metropolitan millennials, while the other is usually associated with bush-dwelling boers who’d think nothing of butchering animals with their bare hands. And yet, when you think about it, the idea of a vegan safari makes perfect sense. Safaris are all about raising awareness of animal welfare after all, so why wouldn’t vegans be into them? Botswana, with its incredible nature reserves and strict anti-hunting legislation, is undoubtedly the best place to experience this growing trend.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Travel the Ancient Silk Road on a New High-Speed Train

Uzbekistan probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you think of holiday destinations. And yet, for the best part of 2,000 years, the network of trade routes known as the Silk Roads meant the countries of Central Asia were quite literally at the centre of the world. In cities like Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, the legacy of this period is still viscerally visible - ancient markets, beautiful mosques and stunning early-modern Madrasas survive to this day.

The whole region has been slowly opening up since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but the process has accelerated rapidly in recent years. With the opening of new high speed train connections in Uzbekistan this year, there has never been a better time to explore this fascinating country.

Photo: Dan Milner

Go Bike-Packing Around Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc in the summer can be a gridlock of hikers, bikers, joggers, climbers, and all manner of outdoorsy types, trying their hand at conquering one of the most iconic mountains in Europe. But its popularity shouldn’t discourage you. For serious mountain bikers, the Tour de Mont Blanc is one of the most challenging, and most rewarding, routes going, and if you visit in the off-season (ie. not in summer) you’ll have the winding, gruelling trails all to yourself. It’s an incredible way to see this iconic peak, and explore the landscapes around it.

Photo: George Scott

Ride the Toughest Road in the Middle East

Are you an experienced road rider? Do you own more bikes (and more items of Rapha clothing) than is strictly-speaking good for you? Does a sportive in the Pyrenees fail to get your juices flowing anymore? Well don’t start hanging up your cleats just yet hotshot, there are still plenty of challenges out there that will test you. Take the the Haute Route Oman for example - the new middle-Eastern edition of one of the toughest amateur races on the planet. This multi-stage race includes legs with an average (that’s right, average) gradient of 10%, enough to make even Geraint Thomas puff, and a 9km uphill time trial. Have a go if you think you’re hard enough.


Photo: Courtesy of The Alchemist

Eat a 50-Course Meal in Copenhagen's Most Exciting New Restaurant

Rasmus Munk has earned his reputation as one of the world’s most provocative chefs. This is a man, after all, who once served his customers lamb heart tartare accompanied by an IV drip and an organ-donor card. For years his restaurant The Alchemist was one of Copenhagen’s hottest tickets (no easy task in a city that’s as famous for its food as the Danish capital). Its successor, also called The Alchemist, which will open this spring, looks set to be even better. Get your pre-bookings in now.

Photo: Courtesy of the Four Seasons

Dine Out in an Ice Cave in Whistler, B.C.

Tired of the same old fancy restaurants, with their stultified atmospheres, snooty waiters, and drab décor? Why not opt for something more, and take a look at the latest offering from the Four Seasons resort in Whistler, British Columbia: a five-course meal inside an ice cave, with a limousine and helicopter taking you there and back. The Blue Room is available upon request, allowing two very lucky guests at a time to be wined and dined by the resort’s executive chef, who serves up a sumptuous banquet of truly luxurious food, all accompanied with bottles of Krug champagne. Yours for the princely sum of $20,000.

Photo: Tristan Kennedy

Explore Cape Town’s Exploding Craft Beer Scene

The Western Cape may be best known for its wine, but with a whole host of excellent microbreweries springing up in recent years, the area is fast developing a reputation for a different kind of alcohol. As hipster-ish as it sounds, a Cape craft beer tour now offers one of the best and most original ways to experience this stunning region. Just make sure you get there before the mainstream catches on...

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Eat Like a Buddhist Monk in a Japanese Monastery

With its origins in Zen Buddhism, the ancient Japanese culinary tradition of Shojin Ryori places a strong emphasis on balance. Entirely vegetarian (and usually vegan) it’s incredibly restorative, incredibly tasty, and a brilliant way to detox (without having to subject yourself to any of those worthy-but-disgusting kale-based smoothies). The Souji-in Temple in Mount Koya is the best place to try it.

Photo: Michelle and Chris Gerard

Cocktail-Hop Across Detroit

It’s only just over five years since Detroit’s infamous filing for Chapter Nine bankruptcy, but the city has come back in a big way. Nowhere is this more evident than in its fast-growing cocktail scene. Motor City is rapidly turning into Mojito City, shattering stereotypes and winning awards as it goes. From bars in prohibition-era distilleries to places that serve 80 dollar drinks using 40-year-old rum, here’s why cocktail-hopping in Detroit is one of the best travel experiences you can have this year.

Best Travel Destinations 2019 Chicago
Photo via Unsplash

Stroll Through Chicago's Fulton Market Food District

Should you find yourself caught in Chicago with nothing to do, having walked the length of the Magnificent Mile and done your tour of Fenway Park, then head south, and discover what might be America’s buzziest, brightest, most enthralling foodie district. Whether it’s Michelin-starred sharing platters, molecular cocktails, microbrews, or Brazilian banquets, Fulton Market has it all - and much, much more.

Photo: Courtesy of Pure C

Eat Michelin-Starred Cuisine in an Old Dutch Seaside Resort

Dutch seaside resorts share a lot in common with their British counterparts - they’re often bleak, windswept and empty, populated mostly by the ghosts of past glories. Certainly they’re not the kind of place you’d expect to come across a Michelin-starred restaurant producing some of Europe’s most groundbreaking cuisine. And yet in Cadzand-Bad on the coast of Zeeland, you’ll find exactly that. Pure C is a destination restaurant in the truest sense of the word, and a must-visit for any serious foodie.

Photo: Zahra Hankir

Try Raw Liver and Arak in the Mountains of Lebanon

Few nations on the planet are as enigmatic as Lebanon, and few cuisines are either. Lebanese cooking, which stands out in the Middle East for its particular boldness and vibrancy, is loved and imitated the world over, but some of its rarer traditions are barely known outside of the country. Take, for instance, the custom of eating raw liver sandwiches, chased down with rip-roaringly strong anise liqueur: as shocking as it sounds, this dish is one part of the traditional Lebanese mezze, and is beloved by those with an adventurous heart and a strong stomach. Any enthusiast of Levantine food ought to experience sawda nayye - at least once, anyway.

Photo via Unsplash

Smoke & Sip Your Way Through Sonoma County, California

California has, for decades, held a special place in the hearts and minds of both and wine and cannabis aficionados. For years, these particular worlds were almost entirely distinct from one another - sommeliers were sommeliers, and stoners were stoners, and never the twain shall meet. But all of that is now changing. Sonoma County, the state’s wine capital, has started dedicating huge swathes of its fertile land to growing high-quality green (pun very much intended), and local tour guides have started offering courses on weed & wine pairing. Perfect for when you want to stick on some Miles Davis and shake up your next dinner party.

Photo: Courtesy of Belcampo

Spend Three Days at ‘Meat Camp’ in California

In our climate change-conscious, post- Cowspiracy era, being a meat eater can feel problematic. It’s generally accepted that everyone should be eating less - and better - meat, but what does “better meat” actually look like? It’s a question that the Californian farmers, butchers and restaurateurs behind Belcampo are working hard to answer, and they’re inviting the general public to get involved by attending one of their ‘meat camps’.

It might sound strange as a holiday idea, but this is basically a more hands-on, back-to-basics cookery course, on a beautiful farm to boot. If you love your food, and fancy spending a weekend in stunning natural surroundings learning not just how to make it, but how to make it better, then a Belcampo meat camp should be top of your to-do list for 2019.

Photo via Flickr

Sample the Best of Peruvian Pisco

Ever since ceviche exploded into the global culinary consciousness, Peru has become the gastro-destination of everybody’s dreams, and hungry Hispanophiles have washed down their sour and spicy plates of fish with the quintessential Peruvian cocktail: the Pisco Sour. But the sweet, floral brandy has uses beyond 30 seconds in a shaker with a couple of egg whites. Should a boozy tour of Peru pique your interest, try traversing the country on the pisco trail, visiting the various distilleries and artisanal bars set in stunning mountainous and coastal locations. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.


Photo: Tristan Kennedy

Soak in a Hot Stone Bath in Bhutan

Known as the “Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon”, the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan is one of the most remarkable places on the planet. It combines an ancient Buddhist culture (think Tibetan-style monasteries in the mountains) with a set of environmental protection laws so progressive they’d make Denmark blush, and measures its success as in terms of Gross National Happiness instead of GDP. A real-life Shangri-La, Bhutan is an incredible place to explore, and an even more incredible place to escape to - especially if you try out some of their more interesting traditional wellness treatments.

Photo: Courtesy of Les Monastère des Augustines Hotel and Spa

Switch Off Completely in an Old Monastery in Québec

Do you ever feel bound to your phone, or overwhelmed by the constant presence of your Macbook? Are you irritated by the eternal stream of emails and notifications that pop up on your every screen, or find yourself devoid of an attention span? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, then you, my friend, are in need of a digital detox. Les Monastère des Augustines, tucked away by the old ports of Québec, is the ideal spot for going off grid, offering rooms without TVs or electronic equipment, and an option to check your devices in at the front desk. Book yourself in with a suitcase full of books and reconnect with what’s real.

Photo: Clem Fiell

Cure Yourself with Water Drinking Therapy at a Slovenian Health Spa

If you’ve spent your life being bombarded by the propaganda of Volvic and Evian, you’ll no doubt already be hardwired to drink water as a first point of recourse for all manner of ailments and grievances. The Slovenians, however, are even more fervent in their belief in water’s healing powers - their water in particular. Rogaška Slatina, in the east of the country, is a spa dedicated to this particular method of therapy, and visitors to the spa have often had prescriptions written for its mineral-rich, curative water. Take a trip over and, if nothing else, nab yourself a very original hangover cure.


Unwind and Indulge at Croatia’s Beer Spa

Istria is starting to build up quite a buzz, with its splendid positioning in the Adriatic Sea, its forests teaming with truffles, and its storied Roman heritage. But the peninsula also offers one of the world’s most unique wellness experiences: the beer spa. San Servolo provides this particular treatment, which is vaunted for its rejuvenatory effect upon skin and hair, as well as its sheer novelty (when else are you going to be sat in a bathtub full of beer?). The resort also offers more traditional treatments, and is set up high in the mossy Istrian hills; come for the views, stay to get soaked in IPA.

Photo: Courtesy of SHA Wellness Clinic

Rejuvenate at the Most High-Tech Spa in Spain

Everybody needs to rest and rejuvenate more; lucky are the souls who know this, and realise the value in a proper once-over. At the SHA Wellness Clinic, situated on the beautiful shores of Alicante that is precisely what you’ll get - a spa that is decked out with the very, very best medical equipment, and staff who are experts in both Western and Eastern wellness treatments. Book yourself in and run the gamut of their whole-body, holistic treatment plans. You deserve it.

Photo: Courtesy of Synthesis Retreat

Trip Out at Amsterdam’s Magic Mushroom Wellness Retreat

It won’t be news to anyone that Amsterdam is a city where you can, ahem, alter your state of mind for a brief time. But the process of doing so as a means of therapy is both a new and novel project. Launched by the Synthesis Retreat, who offer short-stays and therapy sessions facilitated by the use of psilocybin (the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms), these retreats are intended to open up your mind. They provide drive, purpose, comfort, or relief, through a process of self-analysis guided by their on-site councillors. Your next trip to Amsterdam could be a life-changing one.

Photo: Courtesy of The Pavilions Himalayas Lake View

Unwind in the Himalayas at Nepal's Newest Luxury Hotel

For obvious reasons the Himalayas are one of the best places in the world for adventure. But they’re also an incredible place to kick back and relax. Should you fancy a trip to Nepal that doesn’t involve a crack at Everest (or something similarly adventurous) The Pavilions Himalayas Lake View is the perfect place to stay. Their luxury tents are only accessible by paddle boat, and promise total seclusion, with an organic community farm nearby that serves up all manner of Nepalese delights. It’s also an excellent new example of a hotel that gives back to the local community.


Photo: Vilnius Tourist Board

Explore Vilnius’ Booming Art Scene

According to Vilnius own tourist board, the city is “the G-Spot of Europe”: No-one knows where it is, but when you find it, it’s amazing. That slogan might be a bit of a piss-take, but it’s actually not far off, especially when it comes to the arts. With its very own version of Fristaden Christiania (complete a constitution which affirms “a dog’s right to be a dog”), a growing street art scene, and a whole spate of new galleries and fairs, Vilnius’ creativity is truly booming. Just make sure you get there before the rest of Europe finds out where it is.

Photo: Courtesy of Kala Festival

Rave and Relax at an Albanian Music Festival

Are you torn over where to go this summer? Unsure whether you want a beach holiday, or a festival, or a spiritual retreat, or an adventure trip? Well, don’t worry - you can have your cake and eat it with the Kala Festival in Albania, which ticks every box you could dream of. Offering sets from big names like Jordan Rakei, hiking expeditions, gong baths, and top-class food pop-ups, Kala Festival is putting Albania on the map as a summer destination. The nation’s President even handed out a free crate of lager to every festival-goer last year; who knows what you’ll get this year?

Photo: Courtesy of Desert X

Explore Contemporary Art at Desert X in the Coachella Desert

The Coachella Valley isn’t exactly synonymous with beaux-arts (unless you consider Tupac’s hologram a masterclass in multimedia performance art). But that perception will change upon a visit to Desert X, a free and open exhibition which brings together the world’s best artists, musicians, writers, sculptors, and creatives to display their work in the beguiling setting of the California desert.

Photo: Unsplash

Celebrate 50 years of LGBTQ+ Progress at World Pride, New York

In that year of seismic change, 1969, Greenwich Village’s LGBTQ+ community took to the streets to protest the raiding of the Stonewall Inn, united in their fury at the structural prejudice towards their community, and the behaviour of the New York Police Department. Their radical action and display of force across two days of demonstrations and rioting kickstarted the gay liberation movement, and paved the way for the enormous gains that the LGBTQ+ community have fought for and won over the last half-century. Fifty years on, New York City is planning the Pride to end all Pride events, as the city will be proudly decked in the rainbow flag, celebrating love and liberty for all.

Photo: via Wikimedia Commons

Check Out the World’s Oldest Book Fair in Leipzig

If you haven’t caught on to Leipzig yet, don’t fret - there’s still time to discover the “new Berlin” before everybody else. And if you’re of the literary persuasion, there’s no greater time to visit than in March, when the world’s oldest book fair once again opens its arms to bookwormy travellers from across the globe. For three days, books take over the city: some 3,600 events, in 550 venues, are pencilled in, and will no doubt spark up innumerable conversations and meet-ups. Head over, join in, and get inspired.

Photo: Unsplash

Cut Loose at an Exclusive Rave in the Brazilian Rainforest

Deep inside the Amazonian rainforest, a party like no other is growing. O MATO festival, now going into its third year, intertwines Berghain vibes with Brazilian carnival spirit, curating a 10-day jungle experience that balances eco-consciousness with adventure and hedonism. Only 100 tickets are available at a time, so spaces are scarce and competition fierce, but should you be one of the lucky souls to grab a spot, you will find a selection of DJs that will rival any festival on earth, playing in a unique and unforgettable space, a million miles from home.

Photo: Courtesy of Frieze Los Angeles

Lose Yourself in Contemporary Art at Frieze Los Angeles

For years, Frieze has been the art fair to end all art fairs. Its annual residency in London’s Regent’s Park played a huge part in putting the city on the map as far as contemporary art is concerned. But Frieze hasn’t limited itself to modern art exhibited in Britain; Frieze Masters now covers the classics, and Frieze New York brings radical works to the Big Apple. Not content with settling, Frieze are now launching a Los Angeles fair for the first time in 2019, where groundbreaking pieces from 70 galleries across the world will be displayed for the enjoyment of California’s aficionados, in the home of glitz and glamour. For the art world, this will be an unmissable event.

Photo: Courtesy of Fabrika

Stay at Fabrika, the Art Space at the Heart of Modern Tbilisi

Tbilisi has been steadily gaining a reputation over the last few years as the next big city destination: an elision of East and West that feels at once familiar and excitingly new. Fabrika - a hostel-cum-art-space in the centre of the city - embodies that spirit. Set inside a former Soviet sewing factory, this vibrant meeting spot is the venue for all manner of events, from exhibitions to DJ sets, and is an ever-bustling hive of creativity and conviviality. No trip to Georgia would be complete without a visit.

Photo: Courtesy of Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita

Stay in the Secret Caverns of Matera, Europe’s Capital of Culture

Matera is far from the most famous tourist site in Italy, but it’s one of its oldest - people have been living in the caves, or sassi, here for around 7,000 years. And yet, despite that long history of occupation, if you’d visited 30 years ago you’d have found these stunning underground caverns all-but abandoned. People had been moved out entirely in the 1950s after they were deemed unfit for human habitation and the caves were largely left empty. Redevelopment over the past three decades - aided by the granting of UNESCO World Heritage status in 1993 - has seen the sassi’s stock rise again, with new luxury hotels now opening underground. This year Matera has been nominated European Capital of Culture, meaning there’s never been a better time to visit than 2019.

Photo: via Wikimedia Commons

Celebrate 100 Years of the Bauhaus in Germany

Germany has bestowed many cultural gifts upon the world; from the literature of Mann and Goethe, to the music of Bach and Czukay, to the football of Özil and Sané. But few movements of any form have shaped the modern world in the way that the Bauhaus managed - quite literally, as their architectural styles and precepts are still visible on practically every continent. 2019 represents a century since the founding of the Bauhaus, and to celebrate this milestone, Germany are planning a year of events across the country: if you want to worship at the temple of modern design, this year’s the time to do it.

Photo: Courtesy of Beat Hotel Festival

Live It Up at the Beat Hotel Festival in Morocco

Celebrating its eighth birthday, the Beat Hotel - the super-slick Glastonbury stage that has long been the place to see and be seen in Worthy Farm - is upping sticks and heading on out to sunnier climes, taking up residence in the Fellah Hotel in Marrakech. For those seeking the Glasto vibe without the grot and mud that comes with it, the Beat Hotel’s residency will be offering world-class DJ sets, talks by inspirational artists, impeccable food from some of the UK’s best chefs, and most importantly: guaranteed-to-be-gorgeous weather. What more could you ask for?


Photo: Unsplash

Go Shopping in Lyon’s Historic Croix-Rousse Region

With its higgledy-piggledy cobbled streets, pastel-shaded buildings and network of subterranean Roman tunnels, Lyon’s Croix-Rousse district has charm in spades. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this historic area is also home to an incredible network of independent boutiques, and artisanal clothing shops. Paris may be the fashion capital of France, but if you want a truly unique shopping experience, put Lyon at the top of your list of city break destinations.

Photo: Courtesy of Visit Galena

Shop Local in the Quaint City of Galena, Illinois

If you’re sick and tired of identikit high streets and endless chain stores, then Galena is the place for you. This historic city three hours outside of Chicago has placed a blanket ban on chain brands, and actively taken steps to encourage local craftsmen and artisanal producers to set up shop here. If you want a shopping experience that’s like no other, get Galena on your list for 2019.

Photo: Unsplash

Eat, Drink, and Shop the Hidden History of Palma, Mallorca

Mallorca - one of the jewels of the Balearic Islands - has an unfortunate reputation among holiday-makers as a destination for lascivious Home Counties rugby lads to sink back sambucas and smash up hotel rooms. Fortunately however, Magaluf does not represent the isle; Palma, the island’s capital, is a far more apt representative for the Mallorcan character, and in 2019, the city is celebrating its storied, centuries-old shops, bars, and restaurants. Head over and get a proper sense of the island, its stunning architecture, and rich local history. With not a single flaming sambuca in sight.

Photo: James Tennent

Uncover the Vibrant, Thriving City of Sarajevo

You’ll be forgiven for not immediately thinking of Bosnia as the ideal place for a city break, but now’s your chance to pick up this hot tip early: the nation’s capital, Sarajevo, is positively bustling with youth, enterprise, and the finest streetwear scene this side of the Bosphorus. The city is finally stepping out of its post-war malaise - although it still bears its scars and perhaps always will - as bars, music venues, skate spots, and clothes shops reclaim the spaces of old, breathing life back into them in the process. Go now, and catch their culture in its infancy.