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10 Destinations You Need To Visit In 2019

Make 2019 the year you party in Asian pow and score the empty wave of your life

As the Coca-Cola advert has told us a good seventy billion times already this December, ‘the holidays are coming’. And while the elderly festive chubster in the red coat is referencing Christmas, it’s got us thinking about where we’re vay-caying in the new year. So much so, that we’ve put together this, a travel rundown of the coolest getaways you could possibly take in 2019. From Korean skiing to surfing in one of the most bomb-battered islands in the world, here’s where we’re dreaming of heading this year…

1) Bergen, Norway

Bergen in Norway looks alright, doesn’t it? || Photo: Xavier Coiffic

A quick look at our very scientific notes and, yep, it appears the most common silence-filling watercooler conversations of 2018 were: The “Tssk, this Brexit eh?!” One, The One About It Being Quite Hot/Cold/Wet Out There, The One About The Life-Affirming Trip to Iceland. And when even Soul-Patch Tony from the IT Department is waxing lyrical about “Reykjavik’s totally happenin’ night life!”, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere for your aurora borealis adventures.

We say, set your crosshair for Norway’s Bergen and strap into the coastal road that takes you up to Trondheim. Take a few days to soak in the dramatic fjords, eat up the culture in the architecturally incredible towns and cities, fish for your own supper, and stop off at Hoddevik – one of the prettiest, sleepiest surf spots on the planet, nestled between two rolling hills.

Stick that in your awkward chat pipe, office colleagues!

2) Nicaragua

Playa Maderas, Nicaragua || Photo: Jason Briscoe

Important disclaimer to keep Carol in our legal department happy: things ain’t all that pretty over in this densely forested and volcanic coastal idyll right now. Once one of the safest countries in all of Central America, violent political protests have led the UK government to ask would-be travellers to seriously reconsider heading over there. There Carol, that do it for you? We covered now, are we? Good.

*waits for Carol to look away*

We say, get over there as soon as the political situ chills a few notches. Its pristine beachfront resorts look a lot less like superstar getaways and more like wild west ghost towns, meaning the locals are not only desperate for the tourism industry to kick back into life, but they’ll likely make visiting their peeling waves, epic hikes and never-ending Insta-opportunities an incredibly enticing (read: hella cheap) proposition.

3) Seattle and The Cascade Loop, USA

Pour one out in Seattle for your boy Kurt Cobain || Photo: Milkovi

Is it worth the inevitable 10-hour flight filled with plaid-rocking, denim-destroying shampoo shirkers intentionally blasting In Utero beyond the capabilities of their Beats headphones? One. Hundred. Percent. Baby! Of course, insanely cool Seattle is where you need to be to trace the footsteps of Kurt and the Grunge Gang, as well as clog your arteries at one of the finest food markets in America and get embarrassingly overexcited over an epic craft beer scene.

A banging little city at the best of times, and that’s before you’ve considered its proximity to The Cascade Loop, the Pacific Northwest’s greatest road trip that offers forest hikes, world-beating fishing, valley horse riding, mountain biking, National Park gawping and a whooole lotta driving – 440 damn tasty miles of it.

4) Islay, Scotland

Walk around on this Islay beach looking moody. You know you want to || Photo: Will Kennard

You’re in serious snifter country here, friend. As the land of super peaty whisky, the tiny, remote and weather lashed Inner Hebridean island of Islay is the place to hit if you’re in the business of cracking into a celebratory scotch with your bros after topping your peaks. Which, like, you definitely are.

Forty-eight hours on this craggy little beast should absolutely involve packing a bottle of Ardbeg into your backpack and setting off from its distillery birthplace to wild camp beside Loch Uigeadail – the water source of every bottle Ardbeg make. And don’t worry about the inevitably biblical weather that you’ll be hiking though – we’ve found a couple of fingers of peaty fire water make those problems miraculously fade away.

5) The Marshall Islands

On top of everything else, there’s some world class diving in the Marshall Islands || Photo: Chris Rogerson

Brings a whole new meaning to ‘riding bombs’, this place. The under-the-radar Marshall Islands is the place of surfing dreams, with crowd-free killer peelers, hollow barrels and lazy rights to throw your fins into, but is also quite possibly the most nuked place on the planet thanks to a gnarly US weapons testing programme in the 50s and 60s.

Yes, fine, getting there ain’t easy (oh boo hoo you’ve gotta stop in San Fran and Hawaii *plays tiny violin*), but hell, if scoring the sorta kook-free wave you had pasted to your bedroom wall as a kid gets your loins stirring and your feet itching, it’s more than worth the effort. Oh, and btw, the wave sailing, fishing, diving and kiteboarding is ri-DIC-ulously good, too. Remarkable, in a good sixty billion ways.

6) The Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands. Easily the most ‘this looks like a planet from Star Wars’ set of islands in the world || Photo: Annie Spratt

You, flicking through Instagram: “Wah, I can’t take much more of this expedition envy.” Also you: “Wah, I wish I hadn’t used all my holiday days on that three-week Red Dead Redemption 2 sesh.” Quit yo’ moaning and make an epic weekend of it in the Faroes.

The ‘Gram’s finest adventure photographers are absolutely creaming over this volcanic Atlantic archipelago with its Likes-nabbing waterfalls, hiking trails, monolithic cliffs, grass-roofed houses and howling seascapes. And with flights taking just one hour from Edinburgh, you can make it there and back in a weekend, without your evil HR department slamming a final warning on your desk.

7) Nevis, Caribbean

Nevis from above. Not sure when this photo was taken but it looks old || Photo: Nevis Tourism

Yes, we also imagined a holiday on a Caribbean tax haven to involve laying low and essentially becoming the “Oh crap!” guy from The Simpsons for a week. But hoo boy, how wrong we were. Attracting wind swell on the regular, the island of Nevis – little sister of Saint Kitts – is a sneaky little water- and wind-sports haven, too.

And if the blue stuff ain’t pumping, there’s plenty of biking through the forested interior and hiking to mega natural waterfalls to be had. Oh, and pack your brave boy pants too – the climb up 3232ft Nevis Peak is a must-do, but also one that’ll have the locals thinking you’re a sado-nutjob when you tell them where you’re headed. Grab a guide for this one, fo’ sho.

8)Tasmania

Tasmania is no longer “The Isle of Man of Australia” || Photo: Lode Lagrainge

Tazzy’s had a hard time of it, to be honest. Not only was it where damn dirty criminals were sent to be totally forgotten about back in ye olde times, but it’s had to live with the pretty unfair moniker of “The Isle Of Man of Australia” for far too long. Tough break, but we’ve got its back.

This last frontier before Antarctica deserves some respect for its insane amount of outdoor bucket-list bangers, like the week-long romp along the South Coast track – a super remote, super wild, road-less 85km stomp through the Southwest National Park. And you’re gonna need to get yourself a new keyboard when you drool all over it after checking out its mountains, lakes and white sandy beaches. Glorious, glorious stuff.

9) Kalymnos, Greece

Go Greece climbing. You’re burnin’ up the quarter mile. Greece climbing. Go Greece climbing || Photo: Roberta Doyle

The UK’s gone bleedin’ bonkers for indoor climbing lately, with walls cropping up all over the place, and newbies discovering the absolute agony of smushing their toes into climbing shoes at a rate of knots.

So if you’ve completed your local routes, want to get away from the crowds and feel ready to earn yourself some extra gnarly finger blisters, then chuck your chalk into a duffel and get yourself out to Kalymnos. It’s a crag-heaven sat west of Bodrum, and boasts more than 2,000 routes, starting from F4-ers right up to proper Honnold-testing bad boys.

10) South Korea

Snowboarder Max Parrot sending it at PyeongChang 2018 || Photo: Sam Mellish

Take cover! Enormous truth missile incoming: snowboarding in Asia is better than snowboarding in Europe. Kaboom! Bang! Man down! Don’t @ me, bro, but I’m right. Er, silky noodles in epic ramen rather than artery-clogging cheese and meat? Case closed, your honour. And with spots like South Korea’s rad PyeongChang in my evidence dossier, my argument is watertight.

Get over there and make full use of the spanking new Winter Olympic infrastructure, experience the banging nightlife, get stuck into the tasty-as-hell BBQ après nosh, and ride until 2.30am with their frankly bonkers late lift times.

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