“To travel is to live” – the words of Hans Christian Andersen remain true as ever. Our own personal reasons for travel are all different: some of us love an adventure, climbing epic mountains or swimming with rays; while others escape to luxurious serenity, swaddled in spa treatments and five-star services.
Travel is always evolving – and this year it appears more holidayers and globetrekkers are flying to lesser-known places for more than a fly-and-flop break. They want to learn something new while they’re away, stay in unique places that break the mould and cram in as many experiences as possible while they’re there.
Technology is also changing the travel decisions we make, with Instagrammable locations playing an important part in our holiday choices – as hashtags such as #roomwithaview and #hotelgoals will show you. Whatever your travel style, these trends might just end up inspiring your next adventure:
1. Experience rules all
Don’t just ‘go’ somewhere, ‘do’ it properly. From the hotels you stay in to the places you shop, the year ahead will see a bigger focus on comfort, joy and authenticity. Modern travellers value experiences over material possessions, so travel in 2019 will be as much about making memories as they are about the destination. Whether there’s an event taking place, a once-in-a-lifetime festival, climbing a mountain, surfing, skiing or learning new skills – adventure reigns supreme.
Read more: Our guide to the best adventure holidays in Europe will show you where to find some of the most unique and authentic experiences, from where you eat and sleep to activities such as raft-building, gladiator courses, dog sledding, clay pigeon shooting and fjord trekking.
2. Bite-sized breaks
Welcome to the year of the ‘micro trip’ – shorter holidays with more squeezed into smart itineraries. Weekend city breaks will be on the up thanks to flight prices, more routes, on-demand car rental, seamless technology and a wide range of hotels to choose from in lesser-known destinations. Unique accommodation is a big factor for shorter escapes and is predicted to be even more popular in 2019 – travellers want properties that pack a punch. With everything from castles and palaces to monasteries and mansions, our collection of historic hotels couldn’t be more remarkable – the hardest part is choosing just one place to stay.
Read more: Squeeze more into your short break with our European travel itineraries and browse our list of hotel categories to make a serious travel statement with your next stay.
3. Lesser-known Europe
Some of the coolest destinations aren’t always the ones on the tourist map. From exploring vampire graveyards in Kraków’s Old Town to visiting cat museums in Kotor, lesser-raved-about towns, cities and villages are drawing in visitors. Each offers something new and unique, without the hordes of crowds.
Read more: We’ve rounded up 17 of the most remarkably unusual things to do in Europe, from getting covered in chocolate in Czech Republic to staying in the smallest city in the world in Croatia.
4. Foodie holidays
This was a popular trend in 2018 and it doesn’t show any signs of wavering. Food and wine are a massive decision-maker when it comes to holiday choices. Memories of that magnificently gooey pizza you ate in Florence can be just as strong as those when you first eyed-up Michelangelo’s David. Whether you’re heading on a wine tour of western France or putting Tuscany’s famous olive oil to the test, our holidays are centering more and more around food – and we like it that way.
Read more: Seafoodie? Find out what’s worth splashing out for in our guide on where to eat the best seafood in Europe. From Lisbon to Bergen, it’s a mouthwatering read.
5. Personal touches
We’ve always championed exceptional hospitality, honouring our members that go above and beyond in our Historic Hotels of Europe awards ceremony. Travellers are increasingly interested in personal, exclusive-feeling touches when staying in hotels and this is reflected in the fact that more and more properties are investing in remarkable staff, as well as technology.
Read more: Many of our historic hotels have played host to royalty and celebrities. What kept the likes of Einstein, or Bowie, returning? Warm welcomes, incredible service and simply beautiful properties. Here are the winners of our Historic Hotels of Europe awards 2018 – keep your eyes peeled to see who will announced in 2019.