Places to go in 2019: The hottest destinations, events and attractions

 From a spectacular cruise ship with all the bells and whistles, to a bijou inn in Hawaii, 2019 is a year of exciting travel possibilities. We've scoured the globe for the best of the new and the now to offer a list that goes from the sublime – a a year of celebration in Berlin to mark the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus – to the ridiculously fun: a new Jurassic Park feature at Universal Studios. Across the gamut of travel interests: destinations, festivals, art galleries, ships, food, drink and more, here's a taste of what the year in travel has in store.

DESTINATIONS

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

Lonely Planet listed the Danish capital as its top city to visit in 2019 for good reason. A flourishing food scene boosted by the new market at Refshaleoen and a new Noma will be joined by the new Carlsberg brewery precinct. Late in the year, Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen's globally significant art museum, will reopen after a two-year renovation. See visitcopenhagen.com

UZBEKISTAN

Uzbekistan.

Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

Of all the 'stans, landlocked Uzbekistan is most enthusiastically putting out the welcome mat, with increased air service and a fast train to UNESCO World Heritage Samarkand as well as relaxed visa requirements. Wendy Wu is one operator venturing into the historically rich country and wider Central Asia. See wendywutours.com.au

BERLIN, GERMANY

It is all happening in Deutschland. The 100th anniversary of the hugely influential art and design school Bauhaus sees events throughout the year as well as the opening of a new museum. This year is also the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with commemorations to include the 100 Miles Berlin run, along the path of the former edifice. See visitBerlin.de

THE PHILIPPINES

Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

As the Australian-born Miss Philippines took the crown of Miss Universe this year, so her country took its own, voted as Asia's best beach location in the World Travel Awards. It's still cheap and in August 2018, Philippine Airlines added non-stop flights between Manila and Melbourne. See tourismphilippines.com.au

ARMENIA

The US-based Travel + Leisure magazine put this bucolically blessed Eurasian country on its own 2019 list, citing a revitalised tourism energy as a result of a new, more liberal government. The capital, Yerevan, also has just got its first upmarket international hotel, The Alexander, part of Marriott's Luxury Collection.

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CULTURE

STATUE OF LIBERTY MUSEUM, NEW YORK, US

It's a big year in New York City, a beacon of which is this new Ellis Island museum. Heightened security meant few were getting into the existing little museum beneath the statue. The new much bigger facility has three gallery spaces dedicated to the history of the monument with exhibits including her original torch. See libertyellisfoundation.org  

EUROPEAN CAPITALS OF CULTURE

The ancient cave town of Matera in southern Italy is the joint 2019 Capital of Culture alongside Plovdiv in Bulgaria. With a tourism boom, Matera locals are keen to keep visitor numbers sustainable (they're looking at you as what not to do, Venice and Florence). But Bulgaria is a destination with the welcome light on. See ec.europa.eu

PETRA MUSEUM, JORDAN

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With hotels, restaurants and a new theatre and convention centre in the pipeline, Jordan's so-called Rose City is set to offer an enhanced experience beyond the stunning Petra Archaeological Park. Across eight galleries, the new interactive Petra Museum will offer insight into the history and culture of the site. See visitpetra.jo

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF QATAR

After many delays, Qatar's showpiece is set to open in March. The 52,000-square-metre facility will tell the story of the rise of this oil-rich nation. It's housed in a building inspired by the desert sand rose, designed by the much awarded and lauded French architect, Jean Nouvel. See qm.org.qa

MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON, TEXAS, US

One of the largest museums in the US is becoming larger, with a $US450 million campus redevelopment. It contains more than 65,000 works of art spanning 6000 years. It's the crowning glory of a burgeoning art scene in a city. See mfah.org

EVENTS

RUGBY WORLD CUP, JAPAN

Japan hosts Asia's first Rugby World Cup this year and the Japanese are taking the tournament to heart as enthusiastic preparations across the 12 host cities crank up to welcome 400,000 visitors. A warm up for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but big news itself, it kicks off on September 20 and runs for seven weeks. See www.rugbyworldcup.com 

DA VINCI 500

Commemorating the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, come October, at the Uffizi in Florence, see The Leicester Codex of Leonardo da Vinci: Water as Microscope of Nature, based around da Vinci's astonishing 72-page Codex, on loan from Bill Gates for the occasion. There are more events in Turin, Rome and Milan, home of The Last Supper. See www.uffizi.it 

LIECHTENSTEIN 300

To mark the 300th anniversary of the principality of Liechtenstein, the tiny landlocked European nation has given a gift to the world. May marks the official launch of the Liechtenstein Trail, a hiking and biking trail that connects all the country's municipalities and features castles, cottages, villages and vistas. See tourismus.li

STONEWALL 50

New York City's Pride celebrations this year commemorate the 50th anniversary of the landmark Stonewall Uprising. For the first time, World Pride will also be celebrated concurrently in New York. It spans the entire month of June and features 50events, across politics, arts and culture, and of course, partying. See 2019-worldwide-stonewall50; nycpride.org

GRAND CANYON 100

On February 26, the US celebrates 100 years of the Grand Canyon as a national park. Celebrations include working with 11associated indigenous tribes to tell their stories and days dedicated to aspects of canyon history, including performances by the Tucson Symphony, a fee-free day and ranger events. See www.nps.gov

CRUISING

CELEBRITY FLORA

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When she debuts in May, Celebrity Cruises' luxury yacht in the Galapagos Islands, Celebrity Flora will offer glamping at sea.

The 100-guest all-suite beauty's top deck willfeature sleeping and dining cabanas where experiences include sunrise breakfast and observing the night sky with the guidance of a naturalist. See celebritycruises.com.au

SCENIC ECLIPSE

While the launch of the much-anticipated Scenic Eclipse has been delayed in the Croatian shipyard where she is being built, the luxury discovery yacht is set to finally make her debut this year. The six-star, 228-passenger explorer featuring a helicopter and a submarine will sail on April13. Her sister ship, Scenic Eclipse II, ison track for a 2020 launch. See scenic.com.au

SPECTRUM OF THE SEAS

Carrying 5622 guests, Royal Caribbean's first Quantum Ultra Class Ship is flashy and fun. She includes a two-storey, 11-person, 260-square-metre family suite with its own 3D cinema, and a private area for all suite guests that comes with an exclusive swimming pool, restaurant and elevator. She debuts in Asian waters come autumn. See royalcaribbean.com.au

CARNIVAL PANORAMA

Carnival Cruise Line's first California-based ship in 20 years will include a water park and a trampoline park developed in partnership with Sky Zone. The 4008-passenger Carnival Panorama is the third of the Vista-class series, Carnival Cruise Line's largest. She is scheduled to debut out of Long Beach in December 2019. See carnival.com.au

EMERALD HARMONY

August sees Evergreen Cruises' new river ship Emerald Harmony take to the Mekong. The Star-Ship's innovative design means she can cruise right into the centre of Ho Chi Minh City, a point of difference in a well-serviced market. She has suites with wraparound terraces and private hot tubs. See evergreentours.com.au

FOOD AND DRINK

KUMIKO, CHICAGO, US

The bar scene in the Windy City has always been great, but not necessarily upmarket. That's changed. And the prospect of a new Japanese-inspired drinking den, to open early 2019, has locals salivating. It's a partnership between star bartender Julia Momose and Noah and Cara Sandoval, of the much-loved fine diner, Oriole. See barkumiko.com

COVENT GARDEN, LONDON, ENGLAND

Over-touristy in the late 20th century, London's old fruit, veg and flower quarter is now home to fabulous shopping, and of late, is returning to its foodie roots. Attracted by glorious streetscapes and architecture, a slew of eateries are moving in, including a bakery by American cronut creator, Dominique Ansel and an outpost of Taiwan's famed Din Tai Fung. The Royal Opera House has a new restaurant in its listed balconies.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, US

A few years of being named among the top foodie cities in the US (and by some, the world) has not made Atlanta rest on its laurels. Big name chefs and audacious newcomers are adding to the culinary scene's richness. New to town, the rooftop bar at the snazzy Clermont, a once down-at-heel motor inn turned pet-friendly hive of hip. See atlanta.net ; hotelclermont.com

FIJI

The evolution of eating in Fiji continues with resort chefs upping the ante in line with global standards and expectations, especially at the high end. Six Senses Fiji has a new Wellness Kitchen, serving gluten-free baked goods, homemade kombucha and cocktails using spirits such as house-made gin infused with aromatics including lavalaya, bush lemon and kumquat – all locally sourced and foraged. See sixsenses.com

TOKYO FISH MARKET, JAPAN

The fruit and vegetable wholesale area is seen at Toyosu Market in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. The Toyosu Market, where the iconic Tsukiji fish market will relocate to, is scheduled to being operations on Oct. 11. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

The Toyosu Market in Tokyo. Photo: Bloomberg

The world's most famous fish market has relocated. The 83-year-old, open-air Tsukiji was congested and lacked airconditioning and refrigeration. Most of the 500-plus traders have moved to the new Toyosu fish market in Koto Ward. Visitors can still view the tuna auction, only now, instead of on a first-come basis, it's via a ticket lottery.

ATTRACTIONS

STAR WARS LAND, ORLANDO, FLORIDA, US

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Photo: Disney

While the Star Wars experience at Disneyland Resort is expanded and upgraded, a brand new counterpart is under development at Orlando's Walt Disney World. Called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the 5.7-hectare world is the Disneyland Resort's biggest expansion. It opens mid-year. The Orlando world is expected late 2019. See disneyparks.disney.go.com

GAME OF THRONES, NORTHERN IRELAND

Game of Thrones may be on its final season, but fans still have a great deal to look forward to. There's already an unofficial Game of Thrones trail along Northern Ireland's wild coast. But after a decade of filming in the country, HBO has announced it will turn sets into visitor attractions. See discovernorthernireland.com

JURASSIC WORLD, LOS ANGELES, US

After more than 20 years, Universal Studios in LA shut down its Jurassic Park Ride to make way for Jurassic World. It's still under wraps, but Universal promises "never-before-seen dinosaurs, enhanced storytelling, lush scenic design, an entirely new colour scheme and uncompromised state-of the art technology".

SILVERSTONE EXPERIENCE, NORTHHAMPTONSHIRE, UK

Rev heads and history buffs will love the Silverstone Experience, housed in a World War II Wellington Bomber hangar at the entrance to the famous Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire, Britain. Opening June 1, the 4000-square-metre space will house interactive displays and an immersive show, The Ultimate Lap of Silverstone, narrated by esteemed F1 commentator, Murray Walker. See Silverstone-experience.co.uk

TEN ISSUES AND INITIATIVES IN 2019

MAPPING RISK AND REWARD

The 2019 Travel Risk Map has revealed the lowest and highest risk countries in which to travel. There is also a Medical Risk Map and Road Safety Risk Map. See travelriskmap.com

THE IMPACT OF OVERTOURISM

The effects of overtourism are well noted. Now, a KPMG study has warned there are signs of it in the Hungarian capital, Budapest. Overtourism is where large visitor numbers affect the quality of life of locals and the natural values of the country.

THE SEARCH FOR ALTERNATIVES

With overcrowding a problem in some locations, the "where next" question is leading us to alternatives: "secondary cities", "the new" or "instead of" places that reflect another destination's charms without the crowds.

THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR

Forecasts are for the Australian dollar to spend plenty of time valued under 70¢ US in 2019. Turkey, Argentina and Russia are among the destinations giving good value for the AUD.

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY

Operators are asking guests to play a part in environmental causes. For example, Finnair is offering customers the chance to offset CO2 emissions by supporting biofuels. See finnair.com

BEING MORE SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS

The Millennial desire to have a holiday spend that is ethical and sustainable is resulting in new product and new standards. See intrepidtravel.com

TAKING CARE OF OUR CULTURAL FOOTPRINT

G Adventures is leading the way in addressing our cultural footprint with a new child welfare charter that asks us to be mindful of how we treat children: photographing, handing out gifts and normalising certain scenarios. See gadventures.com.au

ADOPTING A CHARITABLE CAUSE

Giving to a cause while travelling is giving to yourself. Huma Charity Challenge, the fundraising arm of World Expeditions, has raised more than $5 million for charity in five years. See humacharitychallenge.com

THE RISE OF THE MICROBREAK

Time-poor Millennials have led the microbreak charge. It's a mini-holiday, be it a weekend on its own or one with a leave day or two combined. See aptouring.com.au ; shortbreakshawaii.com.au

HILTON TURNS 100

As the Hilton marks 100 years in 2019, prepare for discount rates, special inclusions and community events across its vast network. See hilton.com

Poll: Where are you heading in 2019?

 

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