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Why everyone needs to visit these alternative destinations in 2019

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Susan Devaney
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People are jetting off to destinations with a difference in 2019…

We might have just left the summer sun behind us, but there’s no time like the present to think about the places you’d love to visit in the coming months – with just a suitcase in tow.

And where better to jet off to than somewhere that’s new and exciting? Like, say, Catania in Italy or Zagreb in Croatia?

According to Trip Advisor, there are 10 trendy hotspots that people are already booking flights to and they’re off the beaten track.

Here we give you some insider knowledge on the places that are set to become must-see destinations in 2019. 

10. Nuremberg, Germany

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If you’re looking for a city break that’ll feel like something straight out of a fairytale then Nuremberg in Germany is for you. As Bavaria’s second largest city, it has a lot to offer visitors. From the rebuilt Nuremberg Castle and it’s unforgettable world-famous gingerbread, it’s most certainly worth a visit – especially in December with Christmas just around the corner.

Best thing to do: go see the Deutsche Bahn Museum

9. Valletta, Malta

If you’re after art, museums and cathedrals then Valletta is for you. Trust us when we say it’s been named Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2018 for good reason. With bars and restaurants to be found in 16th century mansions alongside temples, gardens and palaces, it’s an elegant and historically rich city. Stay at Blanc Boutique Hotel, swing by L’Artiglio Ristorante for some great food and sip a cocktail or two at Alchemy Cocktail

“With its acres of sandstone and signature Maltese balconies, Valletta is one of the most attractive capital cities in Europe,” says Stylist’s deputy editor Gemma Crisp. “Situated on the water, having a pre-dinner spritz outside at the very chic Harbour Club as you drink in the views of Fort St Angelo across the Grand Harbour is a must. Strait Street is the place for bars – if you’re a fan of gin, don’t miss the extensive offering at Yard32 (as wash it down with their delicious tapas).”

Best thing to do: take a ferry to see the Three Cities. 

8. Cadiz, Spain

With around 100 watchtowers, including the world-renowned Torre Tavira, the ancient port city of Cadiz in Spain is sure to be a peaceful getaway. With golden sands, ancient buildings and a deep blue sea, its ideal for sun-worshippers and seafood lovers alike.

Best thing to do: go see the Cadiz Cathedral. 

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7. Ljubljana, Slovenia

As the European Commission’s Green Capital of Europe in 2016, Slovenia’s capital city Ljubljana is leafy, pedestrianised and in touch with nature. With some of the best museums, restaurants and nightlife the country has to offer, the city can feel like a nightly street party.

“The tree-lined riverside is where you want to be,” advises Crisp. “With its endless array of restaurant terraces, cocktail bars and pastel buildings with a hilltop castle overlooking proceedings, it’s Instagram gold. What most people don’t realise is that Slovenia makes excellent wine - which makes stopping in at Dvorni wine bar non-negotiable. Avoid the traditional Eastern European stodge with dinner at Julija - an excellent modern Slovenian restaurant on a lovely cobbled street - if the weather is nice, snaffle an outside table for optimum people watching.”

Best thing to do: go and see the famous Triple Bridge. 

6. Zagreb, Croatia

With open-air markets, medieval towers and 19th century palaces, Zagreb in Croatia has plenty to offer the city-bound explorer. It’s definitely a city made for walking, so be prepared to spend a lot of time on foot.

“Anyone visiting Zagreb absolutely needs to visit the unique and ever-so-quirky Rakhia Bar,” says Stylist’s digital writer Megan Murray. “This warren-like drinking hole holds a certain mismatched European charm with a plethora of rainbow furniture and walls adorned with graffiti and paintings. There are a multitude of rooms that are perfect for holing up in on Friday night and putting the world to rights.”

Best thing to do: go visit the Museum of Broken Relationships

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5. Catania, Italy

If you want to find yourself in a place that’s full of energy, gritty bars and has an air of coolness about it then Catania in Italy is for you. The birthplace of Sicily’s iconic pasta alla Norma and home to the incredible La Pescheria market, it’s a foodie’s heaven.

Best thing to do: go see Mount Etna (Europe’s largest and most active volcano). 

4. Nerja, Spain

“Located in the Costa del Sol, Nerja is a pretty peaceful place to be,” says Stylist’s digital writer Susan Devaney. “With sea views of the Mediterranean waters, delightfully authentic restaurants and a lovely promenade, it’s a Spanish town brimming with real charm.”

Best thing to do: pop to La Gelateria da Piero for some incredible ice-cream. 

3. Rovinj, Croatia

Croatia has certainly been all over our Instagram feeds of late – and it’s easy to see why with the country’s beautiful blue seas and stunning coastline. But why not opt for the lesser explored Rovinj? Situated by the sea, the old town is full of old squares and cobbled streets and a very laidback vibe.

“This part of Croatia was ruled by the Italians for years, and Rovinj still has a very Italian feel until you get to the beach – you don’t get crystal clear aquamarine water like this in Italy,” says Crisp. “Unlike Mulini Beach which is closer to town but cement-based, the coves at Lone Bay is worth the walk if you prefer to be surrounded by nature. When you’re back in town, grab a seat at Bar Mediterraneo for seaside sundowners (go early) before settling in at Piassa Grande wine bar for serious people watching and a serious wine list at affordable prices (their range of malvasia is particular impressive).”

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Best thing to do: go see the Golden Cape Forest Park

2. Riga, Latvia

Riga, Latvia’s capital city, offers a peaceful getaway on the city’s outskirts, but the city centre is bursting with modern bars, great restaurants (definitely pop by Maja restaurant) and lots of things to do and see. Make sure to swing by Illuseum for a cup of tea and stop by DAD cafe, too. With plenty of markets, museums and monuments, you’ll most certainly leave the city wishing you’d stayed longer.

Best thing to do: go see Alberta lela

1. Gdańsk, Poland 

With travellers noting the city for its unique vibe, Gdańsk in Poland is one of the country’s most scenic and historically rich places to visit. From incredible street art to interesting museums and a brilliant viewing tower at St. Mary’s Basilica, the city has a lot to offer explorers in 2019.

“This Baltic city is full of history and charm with a fair bit of hipster thrown in,” says Crisp. “Stay at Puro Hotel Stare Miasto (the breakfast is amazing), mosey along the incredibly picturesque riverfront, check out the cute shops and cafes on Mariacka Street and stop for coffee or a Polish craft beer at Drukarnia, pop into the externally drab Basilica Mariacka for its seriously impressive interior.”

Best thing to do: go see the Solidarity Museum

And while you’re there, take some time out to just watch the world walk on by

Images: Getty / Unsplash 

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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