Must-See Travel Destinations for 2019
The top 10 places to visit on tour
What are your favorite travel moments? If they include trying new things while exploring new places with new friends, we’re not surprised. Our team of travel experts picked the top places to visit this year with these shared tour experiences in mind. Check out our 10 Must-See Travel Destinations for 2019 below, and start dreaming of your next adventure with us.
The stories behind the sites
Only on a trip to Egypt can you stand in awe of the last remaining Wonder of the Ancient World. With a Tour Director who is also a professional Egyptologist in the lead, you’ll see many sides of this spectacular country in all its complexity. Piece together clues about the civilization that thrived here thousands of years ago, and witness what society is like in the present day.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is only the first part of your journey. You’ll cruise along the Nile River, explore the Valley of the Kings in the Theban Hills, and see the enigmatic Great Sphinx. Step foot in Alexandria, the port city once home to the famous library and one of the most interesting places to visit in Egypt that few other tour companies travel to. Along the way, you’ll get a feel for the local culture and how ancient and modern life intermingle.
Why visit Egypt now?
For the captivating history. If pharaohs and pyramids fascinate you, there’s no better option than to travel to Egypt on a guided tour.
When to visit Egypt
The best time to visit Egypt this year is November, when there are fewer crowds to contend with at the main sites and temperatures are cooler.
A remote region, now in reach
Spanning Chile and Argentina at the tip of South America lies Patagonia. Nature is on display at its most incredible here, where the landscapes are as pristine as they are diverse. You'll find rugged mountains, plains, cliff-lined coasts, and even the desert in this massive region that's becoming a traveler favorite. With so much potential ground to cover in a region as expansive and remote as Patagonia, guidance from our travel experts around logistics is indispensable. (That's where we come in!)
One of the can't-miss places to visit in Argentina? The enormous Perito Moreno Glacier, which you can sail past in Los Glaciares National Park. In Chile, spot glacial lakes and unique wildlife in Torres del Paine National Park after visiting a Patagonian estancia, or ranch—an experience you'll only be able to have on a guided tour with us.
Why visit Patagonia now?
For an escape from the bustle of modern-day life. Sparsely populated Patagonia offers visitors a chance to be awe-inspired by the power of nature.
When to visit Patagonia
The best time to visit Patagonia on tour is this March, when you'll say goodbye to winter in North America and soak up summer in the opposite hemisphere.
Captivating culture, up close
The global spotlight is shining on Tokyo as it prepares to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, but we have our sights set on Japan all year round. Every one of our guided tours is full of inclusions that give you special access to awe-inspiring cultural events.
A trip to the Land of the Rising Sun is a sure way to satisfy your senses. See Mount Fuji, one of the most iconic places to visit in Japan, as you travel from Tokyo to Kyoto. Listen to the wind rustle through the trees as the vibrant colors of fall foliage emerge or during cherry blossom season in Japan. Feel serenity settle in as you join a guided Zen meditation session. Sip Matcha tea between visits to Osaka Castle, the Golden Pavilion, and Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. This island nation offers something for everyone, and we’ll make sure you experience whatever interests you most.
Why visit Japan now?
For the colorful culture. Each day and each experience here brings a new aspect of Japan into view. Plus, you’ll get a sneak peek at the preparations as Tokyo gears up for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
When to visit Japan
This April is the best time to visit Japan in 2019 as the cherry blossoms come to life and paint the country pink.
Southern Italy's hidden gem
Named a 2019 European Capital of Culture, “the Subterranean City” of Matera is Italy’s unexpected treasure. This hilltop town in the Basilicata region is not only one of the best places to visit in southern Italy, it’s one of the oldest cities in Italy, too. Other guided tour companies may skip over this spot in favor of ones with more name recognition, but our trips offer an inside look at what makes Matera one of the best cities in southern Italy to visit.
Wondering what to see in Matera? Start with the Sassi di Matera, 9,000-year-old, interconnected cave dwellings. These fascinating UNESCO-recognized structures are where portions of the movie “Wonder Woman” were shot. After exploring the caves, sit back and sip on vintages of Aglianico wines from nearby Puglia, which produces some of the tastiest—and most underrated—vino in Italy.
Why visit Matera now?
For the chance to go off the beaten path. We’re one of the only tour companies to bring travelers to this up-and-coming hot spot.
When to visit Matera
We recommend heading to Matera, Italy, this May so you can comfortably explore it before summer heat sets in.
Reflect on the past
This year marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, earning Normandy a rightful spot on our Must-See Destinations list. There’s no better way to experience the moving sites along the Normandy Coast than with the help of your Tour Director’s expertise. We’ve heard from many travelers over the years about the impact of setting foot on the D-Day beaches of this region. With this in mind, we’ve carefully crafted trips for 2019 with special access to some of the best places to visit in Normandy. In addition to exploring memorials, monuments, and museums, you’ll hear from experts at both Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery in Colleville who will share context from a local perspective. When you travel to Normandy with us during the D-Day anniversary in June, American travelers will enjoy exclusive access to a ceremony at Utah Beach and Canadian travelers will be able to participate in a ceremony at Juno Beach.
While history is the main draw of a trip to this region, we make sure to introduce you to other, more flavorful aspects of the region on your guided tour. Taste local specialties like goat cheese and Calvados, a distinctive apple brandy, for the complete Normandy experience.
Why visit Normandy now?
For the connection with the past. When you step foot in Normandy, the influence of World War II can still be felt.
When to visit Normandy
The best time to visit Normandy, France, is this June, when the 75th anniversary ceremony will be a powerful reminder of the lessons learned.
An authentic safari experience awaits
The Serengeti, which spans an area of over 12,000 square miles, comes—unsurprisingly—from the Masai word for “endless plain.” Nothing quite compares to a game drive through the UNESCO-listed Serengeti National Park when you visit Tanzania. This vast region is the ultimate place to keep watch for the Big Five: lions, leopards, elephants, Cape buffalo, and rhinos. It would be difficult to plan a trip that covers the best of this country on your own, so let us handle the details for you.
Tanzania is where you need to go for the authentic, exclusive safari you’ve been dreaming of. With us, you’ll travel beyond the ever-impressive Serengeti. Spot baobab trees and herds of elephants in Tarangire National Park. See lions sleeping atop acacia trees in Lake Manyara National Park. Set foot inside Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact caldera. And explore Olduvai Gorge, where 1.25 million-year-old fossils provide insight into evolution.
Why visit Tanzania now?
For the wondrous wildlife. If you’re a serious animal lover, this is the safari experience for you.
When to visit Tanzania
The best time to visit Tanzania is this July during the wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park. This annual event offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to spot zebras, gazelles, lions, leopards, and more on the move.
The Balkans beckon
For many travelers, Croatia means "coastline." And in some ways, that’s true—the Dalmatian Coast is beyond stunning, and seaside spots like Dubrovnik and Split are some of the best places to visit in Croatia. But when you go on a guided tour with us, you’ll discover that the country offers so much more.
Croatia’s under-the-radar capital city, Zagreb, has a walkable center and the perfect mix of old and new. In the port of Zadar, you’ll find both Roman ruins and the one-of-a-kind music created by a Sea Organ. Unlike many other Croatia tours, we make sure to give you a full day to explore the interconnected falls and jewel-colored waters of Plitvice Lakes National Park. In the UNESCO-protected park, 16 waterfalls tumble from terrace to terrace, making for one of the most memorable stops of your journey.
Why visit Croatia now?
For the chance to be ahead of the curve. As people are catching on that Croatia is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, more and more travelers are heading here each year.
When to visit Croatia
The best time to visit Croatia is in August, when days filled with exploration give way to long, enjoyable summer nights.
8. The Alps
8. The Alps
Take the paths less traveled
Spanning parts of France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia, this region is one that constantly reinvents itself. World travelers are drawn to the Alps for its mix of unbelievable scenery and charming villages—and they keep coming back because there’s always more to explore. Our experts will be there to help you navigate the varied languages, cultures, and modes of transportation you’ll encounter in this classic Central European destination.
The famed Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps and iconic jagged peak of the Matterhorn mountain are two quintessential Alpine locations you’ll visit on tour as you check new countries off your list. After admiring the beauty of Lake Lucerne and stopping in the small towns of Annecy and Chamonix, scan the surrounding glacial landscape from atop the Jungfrau plateau, a Swiss mountain pass nicknamed “the top of Europe.” How you travel through the Alps is as much a part of the excitement as what you see. Unlike other tour companies, we take you through many of these incredible landscapes by train. While winding your way through the mountains and valleys aboard the Bernina Express and the Glacier Express, you’ll know: This is the true Alpine experience.
Why visit the Alps now?
For the stunning sites. Whether local charm or jaw-dropping views are what you seek, the many sides of the Alps have it all. And now more than ever, today’s busy travelers deserve a break from hectic daily life and a retreat into nature.
When to visit the Alps
We suggest venturing there in September this year to soak in the natural beauty during its quieter season.
Savor local flavors in Spain
Rolling hills, bustling cities, a beautiful coastline—Andalusia has it all. It’s home to the best destinations in southern Spain, which you’ll get a firsthand look at as you skip the lines at major landmarks on tour. The region’s Moorish history comes to the forefront as you explore the expansive Alhambra palace in Granada and striking Mezquita, or mosque of Córdoba, which is now a UNESCO-protected cathedral. You’re bound to be wowed when stepping inside Seville Cathedral and strolling through the colorfully tiled pavilion of the Plaza de España.
Just as awe-inspiring as these larger cities are all of the small towns in-between, which your Tour Director will share local insight on. The whitewashed hill towns of Ronda and Carmona are under-the-radar locales that we wouldn’t miss. Stop to sample olive oil in the Andalusian countryside and sip Sherry in Jerez. We take you closer to local culture than other travel companies, all the way to the picture-perfect village of Jabugo to snack on jamón ibérico and learn from an artisan producer how it’s cured. And after some adventure, the inviting shores of the Costa del Sol are the perfect place to settle in for a siesta.
Why visit Andalusia now?
For the variety. Andalusia offers a sampling of Spain’s many sides when it comes to cuisine, culture, and scenery and we’ll be sure you’re getting the best of each on tour.
When to visit Andalusia
Head to this Must-See Destination in October this year, when the temperatures are comfortable and prime for the olive harvest.
Natural beauty from all sides
This Scandinavian standout is on our radar as adventurers crave more opportunities for arctic travel. While Bergen and Oslo are some of the best places to visit in Norway, it’s the fjords that make it an unquestionably wanderlust-worthy destination. These narrow inlets surrounded by cliffs stretch across the western part of the country. Whether seen as you cruise along the water or from above as you zip by on a train, Norway’s fjords are, in a word, otherworldly.
Did you know that Norway is about as large as California in square miles? That could mean a lot of time on the road, but not when you travel there with us. We organize on-tour flights between destinations so you can make the most of your time on a trip to Norway. Plus, it makes a great jumping off point for exploring even more Nordic countries. If you have your heart set on visiting places like Denmark, Sweden, Finland, or Iceland, our tours offer you the chance to do just that.
Why visit Norway now?
For the unparalleled winter scenery. While experiencing the thrill of chilly weather from the cities to the fjords, you’ll also discover why the country consistently tops the annual UN Worldwide Happiness Report.
When to visit Norway
Scandinavia is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit Norway on tour and experience its arctic side with more sunlight is in November.
The making of the list
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes when it comes to choosing our annual Must-See Travel Destinations list? The answer is: a lot! Our Market Innovation & Development Team is constantly monitoring the travel industry trends, which means we know which spots are most buzzworthy for the upcoming year. But these picks are so much more than just recommendations for must-see places. They’re tried-and-true destinations that our team has scouted out, stayed in, and explored in depth to be sure that we offer incredible tour experiences in each one. What sets our top places to visit list apart from the rest is that it’s all about attainable adventures, ones you can have—and share with others—on tour.