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Skyscanner Travel Trends 2019

As 2018 draws to a close, Skyscanner has done some serious number crunching and analysis to predict the top – and the best value – destinations for Irish travellers to visit in 2019. Brace yourselves for a few surprises!
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Skyscanner compiled the top travel trends for 2019 based on analysis of 2016-2018 data, alongside the top 5 destinations that offer the biggest potential savings on airfares. From a weekend getaway in search of winter sun in Paphos to sampling culinary delights in Vieux Lyon, these are our top destinations for exciting new travel adventures in 2019.

Top Trending Destinations 2019

1. Agadir, Morocco

With 300 days of sunshine a year and an array of beautiful beaches, small towns and fishing villages on its doorstep, Agadir is one of Morocco’s best-known coastal resorts. Enjoy a relaxing traditional Berber massage in a local hammam, or a scenic camel ride into the sunset before an authentic Moroccan dinner in one of the promenade’s bustling restaurants. Agadir is one of the best destinations to find winter sun – and splendid sunsets – in January.

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2. Paphos, Cyprus

With a wealth of historic sites, pristine beaches and lush nature stretching all the way to the unspoiled Akamas Peninsula in the north, Paphos is one of Cyprus’s timeless gems. From Coral Bay’s cosmopolitan resorts to the scenic Aphrodite’s Rock where, according to local legend, Goddess Aphrodite emerged from the sea, Paphos enchants first-time visitors. Paphos district tops our list of things to see in Cyprus.

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3. Split, Croatia

Split will be even more accessible in 2019 as Ryanair commence new direct flights from Dublin, joining Aer Lingus on that route. Stroll along the Riva, Split’s elegant palm-lined promenade, explore the majestic Diocletian Palace, where the glory of a 4th-century Roman treasure meets the busy comings and goings of a modern-day metropolis, and, of course, don’t forget the seafood – octopus salad, tuna pasticada and other Dalmatian specialties go great with a glass of local wine. Check out the top 9 things to do in Split and the Dalmatian Coast.

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4. Dalaman, Turkey

Value for money holidays in Turkey are set to be a big draw for Irish travellers in 2019 – with Dalaman ranking the highest on our top destinations list. Go tandem paragliding over Ölüdeniz’s Blue Lagoon, sail past the ancient Lycian rock tombs in a captivating Dalyan river cruise, or step back in time on a day trip to the ancient city of Ephesus. Book your trip in early autumn to avoid the crowds – and get the best deals on accommodation.

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5. Stuttgart, Germany

Strike a pose next to shiny vintage cars at the Mercedes-Benz Museum, tour the art-filled halls of the Staatsgalerie, explore Wilhelma Zoo’s idyllic Moorish gardens – and don’t miss out on the world’s biggest Pig Museum, a startlingly fun highlight of your visit to the capital of Baden-Württemberg. We put together a list of the 10 best places to visit in Germany.

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6. Istanbul, Turkey

Join the hustle and bustle of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, the15th-century covered market that boasts a total of 4400 shops. Or take your pick from the trendy cafés, galleries and vintage shops lining the streets of hip Karaköy. But nothing beats the views of a romantic sunset cruise on the Bosphorus – an absolute highlight of your visit to Istanbul. Keep in mind also that the ferry that connects popular Beşiktaş with the colourful Kadıköy, on the Asian side of the city, provides a budget-friendly alternative. Start your adventure with our mini-guide to Istanbul.

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7. Bilbao, Spain

Bridging the gap between medieval charm and futuristic excellence, the cantons of Casco Viejo and the light-filled halls of the world-renowned Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao is a city of contrasts. You can’t leave the city without trying the pintxos (Basque-style tapas) in bars like La Viña del Ensanche, a local favourite for nearly a century. Combine your trip to Bilbao with one of these must-see destinations in Spain.

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8. Mykonos, Greece

You come to Mykonos for the sun-soaked all-day beach parties and the vibrant nightlife. But you’ll also enjoy a breathtaking sunset over cocktails in Little Venice, dive into the crystalline waters of Agios Ioannis, one of Mykonos’s quieter beaches – and take the ferry to nearby Delos, home to one of the most striking archaeological sites in the Aegean. Planning a June escape? Sunshine is guaranteed in Mykonos.

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9. Alexandria, Egypt

Modern-day Alexandria piques the interest of Irish urban adventurers – from the impressive Biblioteca Alexandrina to the imposing 15th-century Citadel of Qaitbay. Although rainfall increases from December to February, Egypt tops our list of destinations for long-haul winter sun.

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10. Zagreb, Croatia

Croatia scores a second top 10 entry with its spirited capital. In Zagreb you’ll find some of the best places to party in Europe, alongside rather unexpected attractions, like the Museum of Broken Relationships. Add to that a towering Gothic cathedral, Tkalčićeva street’s bustling collection of cafés, and the refreshing summer swims in Lake Jarun – also known as “Zagreb Sea” – and you have the recipe for a top-class European city break.

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11. Nashville, USA

If the “Birthplace of Country Music” wasn’t already on your travel radar, it is now. Nashville’s biggest draw is none other than the sprawling Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. But the city also features a choice of art crawls, thriving neighbourhoods for shopping and sightseeing and vibrant festivals, like Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival, taking place at the city’s gorgeous Centennial Park.

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12. Naples, Italy

There’s no guarantee you’ll manage to pack in a long weekend everything this compelling Italian metropolis has to offer. From the striking Palazzo Reale to the atmospheric Catacombe di San Genaro and the sun-drenched day trips to Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii and the stylish Amalfi Coast, Naples has many facets, and one venerable dish to savour in between: Pizza Margherita. Fabulous food and fascinating history – these are our top 10 things to do in Napoli.

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13. Zante (Zakynthos), Greece

Zante’s spellbinding Shipwreck Beach usually steals the show, but there’s beaches galore in this paradise Ionian island. Opt for a day tour to the lush, uninhabited island of Marathonisi, or dive into the dreamy waters of the rocky Porto Roxa. Just make sure you’re in the village of Bochali before sunset to take in the stunning panorama of Zakynthos harbour.

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14. San Diego, USA

San Diego made Ireland’s top trending destinations for 2019 despite the lack of direct flights. With an array of hip restaurants, fine beaches and natural attractions like Balboa Park, San Diego is jam-packed with things to do, from surfing and hiking to free open-air concerts. But thousands of fans also flock here every year to attend Comic-Con, one of the best-known comic conventions in the world. Explore further with our guide to the 10 best things to do in California.

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15. Rhodes, Greece

The largest of the Dodecanese islands provides the perfect backdrop to a medieval fairytale revolving around the superb Palace of the Grand Master. With cinematic beaches like Anthony Quinn Bay, natural wonders such as the Valley of the Butterflies and vibrant nightlife – from the Old Town centre to the island’s bustling resorts – Rhodes is an absolute Med classic. Time for island-hopping with our guide to 20 beautiful Greek islands.

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16. Vancouver, Canada

A direct Dublin-Vancouver flight launches in spring 2019, inviting you to explore the British Columbia’s dynamic metropolis. Take the ferry to Granville Island for a stroll around the local artisan studios and Public Market, go whale watching, and have your camera at the ready for the unbeatable vistas from the 137 metre-long Capilano Suspension Bridge, British Columbia’s top destination attraction.

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17. Seattle, USA

Aer Lingus offers direct flights from Dublin to Seattle, the third North American city to feature on our top trending destinations for 2019 – as well as our top 5 of the most hipster cities in the US. Show-stoppers like the Space Needle observation tower and the Museum of Pop Culture meet an array of independent coffee shops and underground music hangouts making Seattle a must-visit destination this year.

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18. Minsk, Belarus

Put a visit to the up-and-coming Belarusian capital on your travel bucket list for 2019 and you’ll discover a flourishing restaurant scene, charming neighbourhoods like Trinity Hill and extraordinary museums, such as the Museum of the Great Patriotic War and the National Art Museum. The Soviet past meets the eclectic cityscape and creative energy of modern Minsk.

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19. Hamburg, Germany

Germany’s famous port city offers modern architectural masterpieces like Elbiphilarmonie, the city’s state-of-the-art concert hall and one of HafenCity’s indisputable highlights, alongside fascinating cruises down the historic Speicherstadt, Hamburg’s landmark warehouse complex. Love Christmas markets? Then look no further: Hamburg also features among the 10 best Christmas market cities in Europe.

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2019 Best Value Destinations

1. Stuttgart, Germany

Rosensteinpark en Stuttgart

Stuttgart tops our list of best value destinations for Irish travellers, with our data showing airfares dropping as much as 61% between 2016-2018. From window-shopping in the 1.2 km-long Königstraße to joining the crowds basking in the sun in Schlossplatz, the stately square of the New Palace, there’s no lack of fun free things to do in Stuttgart.

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2. Lyon, France

France’s foodie capital is also one of the country’s oldest cities, and Le Vieux Lyon (Old Town) is an UNESCO World Heritage site with a wealth of Renaissance delights. Still, nothing beats the charm of a traditional bouchon serving culinary highlights like quenelles (pike dumplings). Here’s a rundown on the 10 things to do in Lyon to fit all budgets.

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3. Munich, Germany

With bargain flights, a wealth of beer gardens to choose from and sight-packed free attractions like the Englischer Garten – where you’ll also spot Munich’s famous year-round river surfers – Bavaria’s capital offers plenty of options for a budget-friendly city break. Return flights for a weekend in January will cost you less than €30. From Oktoberfest to fairytale castles, these are the top 10 things to do in Munich.

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4. Nashville, USA

You explored historic Germantown, checked out East Nashville’s coolest hangouts and sang your fair share of country karaoke hits? Take advantage of cheap flight deals from Ireland to Nashville in 2019 – and if you’re looking for more adventures in the US, here’s our top 7 places to party.

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5. Reykjavik, Iceland

You’ll find great deals on flights to Reykjavik, one of Europe’s most enigmatic capitals. The dance of Northern Lights over Faxaflói bay is a mesmerising sight – and completely free of cost, if you’re lucky enough to catch it. And skip the pricey Blue Lagoon for a swim in an outdoor geothermal pool along with the locals, at a fraction of the cost. When is the best time to visit Iceland? These tips will help you make the most of your trip to the Land of Fire and Ice.

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*Published December 2018. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.

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