It is the time of the year … actually, to be honest I have already started to make plans and even book trips for 2019 in recent months. That’s not only me itching to explore new locations. Depending on the destinations you plan to visit, flights (and in particular convenient flight connections) plus your preferred hotels might already be in high demand and need to be booked well in advance.

The destinations high on my list for next year are a mixture of long-distance and European locations along with the occasional and thus more spontaneous trip into the German countryside.

Alentejo, Portugal

Alentejo PortugalPhoto: Pixaby

If you follow my blog, you will know I am fond of travelling wine regions. Alentejo certainly is one of the hidden gems of wine tourism. Researching the trip, I came across a number of fantastic looking luxury wine hotels and interesting wineries to visit. Several gorgeous small villages and beautiful landscape have done the rest to convince me that it is time to learn more about this often overlooked part of Portugal.

Loire Valley, France

Loire Valley FrancePhoto: Pixaby

It’s been on my list for as long as I can imagine. Every time I see images of the many breathtaking Loire chateaux, I swear to make it there as soon as I can. Yet, there has always been something coming between me and my intensions. Therefore, 2019 should be the year.

It is not only castle hopping that attracts me to the area, though. The Loire Valley is also known as the ‘garden of France’ and for its excellent wines (yes, I hear you). Furthermore, the area stretching 280 kilometres from Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire – an UNESCO World Heritage site since 2000 – also boasts a number of gorgeous medieval towns including Orleans, Blois, Tours and Angers, full of history and beautiful sights.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm SwedenPhoto: Pixaby

Stockholm, the capital of Sweden is without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the north of Europe. From the historic Gamla Stan with its small cobble-stoned alleys to the royal palace, taking a cruise along the canals, visiting the island of Djurgarden with the Skansen open-air museum and of course eat the famous Swedish meatballs there are plenty of cool things to do.

The main reason to include Stockholm, however is to finally being able to experience the Nordic midsummer, with daylight hardly vanishing at all for a certain period. This must be an incredible experience and one I am keen to finally get to see firsthand. And why not do this in one of the most beautiful cities in the Nordics!

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen DenmarkPhoto: Pixaby

Another great Nordic city and one that seems to get more popular by the day. In recent months, images of Copenhagen have continued to pop up on my various social media accounts in growing numbers, making me itch to visit myself.

One of the reasons Copenhagen has made it into the limelight is the city being home to one of the world’s best restaurant, the largely acclaimed Noma. Following in its footsteps are now many more exciting restaurants as the city is going through a real culinary boom.

But there is plenty more to do, from visiting the colourful houses along the waterfront to its modern architecture, the beautiful Tivoli Gardens, visiting Blue Planet (one of Europe’s largest aquariums) and of course enjoy the city’s vibrating culture scene.

Road tripping through the province of Ontario, Canada

Quebec Chateaux FrontenacToronto skylinePhotos: Pixaby

I fell in love with Canada during a road trip through British Columbia, including some of the most amazing places and sights across the Rocky Mountains, the Okanagan Valley and finally Vancouver.

Thankfully, there is still lots more left to discover in the second largest country in the world. Therefore, in 2019 I will return to explore the province of Ontario.

On my list are the francophone cities of Quebec (the oldest in North America) and Montreal, along with multicultural Toronto. Along the way, I will make a stop at Prince Edward County, one of Canada’s wine growing areas and off course, will head down to the Niagara Falls (also a wine growing area by the way) while in Toronto.

Champagne, France

Champagne FrancePhoto: Pixaby

Champagne is a region every wine lover must visit at least once, right? Somehow I never made it there yet, but I am determined to spend at least a long weekend in this gorgeous region and sampling lots of great champagnes next year!

Turin and Piedmont, Italy

Piemonte ItalyPhoto: Pixaby

Having been named number in CondΓ© Nast’s Top 10 regions to visit in 2019 sounds like a great reason to return to Piedmont and the beautiful Langhe wine region. Not least because of the region’s other two culinary attractions: white truffles and nuts.

To make the most of the region’s culinary offers, I am planning a visit around October, when the truffles season starts. This will also see the return of the annual truffles fair in the town of Alba and off course feasting on truffle menus at local restaurants!

Not only a gateway to Piedmont’s wine region, Turin itself is the home of the slow food movement and the beautiful historic centre is always worth a visit too.

Travelling around Germany, in particular the beautiful wine regions

Weingut KnipserWeingut Wasem, Ingelheim

Over the past two years, I have started to visit the German wine regions more regularly, getting re-acquainted with some locations and start to explore those I have not been before.

In order to keep my ever growing list of wineries and wine villages under control, I am planning a number of weekend stays across the Mosel, Pfalz and other leading wine regions to enjoy the beautiful scenery (think steep hilly vineyards, gorgeous medieval villages and century-old castles), and in particular a growing excellent, modern yet locally influenced culinary offer.

Western Cape, South Africa

Walker Bay, Garden Route South Africa

For many years now, South Africa has become a staple in my travels. 2019 is no exception, I am looking forward to head down to the Western Cape again by the end of the year. It is such a vast area that you will easily find new things to see and do regardless of how many times you return.

High on my list is the area around Hermanus and Walker Bay, a stretch on the breathtaking Garden Route I have so far only visited once very briefly and definitely want to explore more thoroughly.

Likewise high on my list of new areas to discover in the Western Cape is the Wellington wine region.

Where do you want to go next year and why?