Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, announces ten of the top emerging travel destinations for 2019. From Colombia’s secret paradise of Palomino to the desert wilderness of Jordan’s Wadi Rum and the tasty seafood of Bacalar, Mexico, there’s a new find to tempt everyone.
Research reveals that nearly half of global travellers (45%) want to be more adventurous in their choice of destination in 2019 than they were in 2018, rising to 58% of 18-34-year olds, which makes these up and coming destinations the perfect places to put on your 2019 bucket list. In 2019 over half (51%) of travellers want to visit somewhere none of their friends have been and 60% of 25-34-year olds plan to use more of their annual leave on travel, so time to make the most of your next vacation with Booking.com’s top trip hotspots!
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Featuring as the backdrop to many blockbuster films, Wadi Rum is everything you’d expect from the desert wilderness. Dramatic sandstone mountains, red canyons and stunning prehistoric rocks make up the stunning scenery, with Wadi Rum providing a getaway that’s completely off the grid. Many times the desert has been compared to Mars with its reddish sands and natural arches, so why not take your next vacation here for an experience that’s out of this world? The top endorsements for Wadi Rum by Booking.com travellers are the stunning sunsets, stargazing and the desert.
Where to stay: Memories Aicha Luxury Camp features everything you need for the ultimate desert experience. The property’s sleek design means that it’s ideal for stargazing and looking out to the mountains. As well as one-of-a-kind views, the property provides its guests with delectable dishes in its restaurant and a breakfast that caters to all dietary requirements.
One of the most prosperous stops on the ancient Silk Road, Samarkand is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia and has been the hub of world cultures for hundreds of years. It’s full of medieval architecture and monuments that are included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. One of the most popular monuments is the Registan Square which ranks among the world’s most beautiful squares and is completely covered in mosaics and is adorned with gold and calligraphy. The top endorsements for Samarkand by Booking.com travellers include ancient landmarks, architecture and history.
Where to stay: A short five minutes’ walk from the city center, Jahongir Hotel is centrally located. The property offers traditional Uzbek cuisine and each room is decorated with stunning traditional embroidered tapestry, Suzani.
Tipped to be the next Maldives, Bacalar houses one of the most stunning natural beauties, the Lake of the Seven Colors. With its crystal clear, fresh waters and white sandy base, this lake appears almost turquoise and is ideal for diving and snorkelling. Small fisherman’s houses dot the lake, so be sure to sample some of the seafood as it’s the food that Bacalar is most known for. The top endorsements for Bacalar by Booking.com travellers are wild swimming, relaxation and tranquillity.
Where to stay: Hotel Aires Bacalar is located near The Lake of Seven Colors, and each room comes with a balcony promising views overlooking the second largest natural body of freshwater in Mexico. Guests can also enjoy a buffet breakfast complete with the traditional Mexican dish chilaquiles.
Known as the gateway to the Sahara, Ouarzazate is a city south of Morocco’s beautiful Atlas Mountains and home to the impressive Ait Ben Haddou (a fortified village) where you can head to the ancient Kasbah to watch the spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Quad biking along the dusty roads is an excellent way to explore the region and you’ll see why it’s been a setting for some big movies and TV shows – and travellers can even visit the local film studios. Booking.com travellers endorsed Ouarzazate for sightseeing, nature and tranquillity.
Where to stay: Riad Ouarzazate is a Kasbah style riad located in the centre of Ouarzazate and offering stylish rooms with traditional Moroccan décor and an outdoor terrace where guests can enjoy the traditional cuisine. In the evening, guests can relax in the lounge area. Additional facilities available on site include a tour desk where guests can organise sightseeing excursions in the local area.
This much loved beachside town is a must see on any visit to Colombia, offering travellers a range of exciting activities. Not only does it offer beautiful Caribbean beaches, which are great for surfing and sunbathing, but it’s also a great place for spotting wildlife (monkeys and toucans to name a couple), delicious seafood and a great range of hostels. Travelers can also try tubing on Palomino River, taking in the natural beauty as you float down to the Caribbean Sea. The top endorsements for Palomino by Booking.com travellers include beach walks, relaxation and nature.
Where to stay: Palomino is a great spot for amazing hostels and Casa del Pavo Real Boutique Hostel is a great example, boasting modern luxury at a backpacker price. Just five minutes from the beach, this charming hostel features an outdoor pool, garden, restaurant, terrace and shared lounge.
This town in northwest Georgia is 1,500 meters above sea level and a great starting point for trips throughout the region. The Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography is a great place to start, to immerse yourself in the local history and culture. Active travellers will be in awe hiking up the Chaladi Glacier on the slopes of the Caucasus Mountains as well as hiking the lakes at the base of Mount Ushba, offering breath-taking views of the lakes. Foodies will be intrigued by the local Svan cuisine – a must try is the Kubdari meat pie and Tashmijabi (cheesy mashed potatoes). The top endorsements for Mestia from Booking.com travelers include mountains, hiking and scenery.
Where to stay: Svaneti apartment is perfectly located just over a mile from Mestia 1 and 2 for snowy getaways, with ski storage space available. These fully equipped, great value apartments with private bathrooms also include a comfy sitting area for guests.
“The land of a Thousand Hills” has become more accessible for travel over recent years and travellers come from all over the world to see the incredible mountain gorillas which live in Volcanoes National Park. In addition to gorillas, you can also spot the Big Five (lions, rhinos, elephants, buffalos and leopards) on safari in Akagera National Park. The city of Kigali itself is considered one of the safest and most alluring capitals in Africa and offers more than just a great base to the wider region: having undergone rapid economic transformation in the past 10 years, the city boasts a booming food scene, bustling markets and fun nightlife. The top endorsements for Kigali are the friendly people, clean streets and culture.
Where to stay: Pili Pili Boutique Hotel offers stylish apartments where guests can enjoy beautiful views, an outdoor swimming pool and in-house restaurant serving international and local cuisine. It’s close to a supermarket, Yeo Arts studio and Nyarutarama Tennis Club.
Leeuwarden, is full of laid back Dutch charm with its museums, great shopping districts and food hotspots. What’s more, it was named a 2018 Capital of Culture due to its choice of cultural performances and exhibitions. Easy to explore on bicycle, visitors can stop off at the Fries Museum to learn about Frisian treasures, climb Leeuwarden’s leaning tower and sample the local spirits at the family run distillery at the Boomsma Museum. Leeuwarden comes highly endorsed for its old town, city walks and shopping by Booking.com travellers.
Where to stay: Located in the heart of Leeuwarden, City Centre De Rozenboom is a guest house housed in a monumental building from the 17th century with views on the Oldehove and the Ceramic Museum. In the surroundings, guests can explore the Prinsentuin gardens, Theatre De Harmonie as well as various shops, restaurants and bars just 100 yards away.
This village in Southern Albania is a hidden gem when it comes to beautiful beaches., but not for long! Located on the Albanian Riviera you’ll find crystal clear waters, secluded beaches and peaceful restaurants. Nearby you can visit sights including Syri I Kaltër (the Blue Eye) – a lake where bubbles create colours that look like an eye, and Butrint, an ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The top endorsements include seafood, seaside and friendly people.
Where to stay: Hotel Mira Mare is perfectly placed one minute walk from the beach, offering rooms with a terrace and sea or mountain views. With kitchenette facilities available for those looking for a little more independence on their trip, the friendly staff can also help plan excursions to nearby destinations including the popular Butrint National Park.
Nusa Penida, Indonesia
Many travellers tend to visit the Gili Islands, Bali or other tourist hot spots when visiting Indonesia, but Nusa Penida is still a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Nusa Penida is an island off the southeast coast of Bali and offers breath-taking, mostly untouched landscapes. Travelers can try their hand at scuba diving, walk along the Crystal Bay or soak in the natural wonders including the Giri Putri Cave and the natural infinity pool Angel’s Billabong. The top endorsements for Nusa Penida by Booking.com travellers are snorkelling, beaches and nature.
Where to stay: Kabeh Jati Garden Villa and Restaurant provides guests with a comfortable stay complete with an onsite restaurant serving Asian and American food. The property is perched on a mountaintop and offers amazing 360 degree views of the island while being a short drive away from the beach and local harbour.
 The data analysts at Booking.com compared year-over-year international bookings (i.e. excluding domestic travellers) between 2016-17 and 2017-18, from September to August. The selection is based on the most appealing destinations with the highest year-on-year increase. To be included, had to be booked at least 10.000 times in the past year.
 Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 21,500 respondents were polled (including 1,000 each from Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China, Brazil, India, US, UK Russia, Indonesia, Colombia and South Korea; and 500 each from Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Taiwan, Mexico, Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore and Israel). Respondents completed an online survey between 10 and 30 August 2018.