2018 was an amazing year for seeing gorgeous destinations. From the food to the culture to the pure eye candy, it’s difficult to highlight all of the stunning things we saw, but we’ll do our best. As you plan your 2019 travel, keep these beautiful locations in mind.
1. Tree tunnels
iStock / Mnieteq The Dark Hedges Is it real life or fantasy? It’s hard to tell when you’re surrounded by a magical passageway of trees. We explore 10 breathtaking tree tunnels around the world to add to your must-visit list.
Stranocum, Northern Ireland
Copenhagen 2. Cruise in Norway
During the summer, the sun never sets on the scenery of stunning Norway. And a cruise is an ideal way to experience that. 3. Train in the Canadian Rockies
The Rocky Mountaineer luxury railroad experience marries the glamour of world-class travel with the breathtaking scenery of the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. 4. Towns of the Caribbean
Often your point of arrival to a Caribbean island, its capital city may be your first taste of a destination, but it should not be your last. 5. Columbus, Ohio
Like its namesake, Columbus is all about exploring. 6. Cliff-diving in the U.S.
Looking to take a high-speed dip? Cliff-diving can turn up some of the most scenic spots, ideal for photo ops, in addition to offering the kind of thrill you only get from jumping into the abyss.
CRATER LAKE, OREGON Not only is Crater Lake considered one of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous spots in the world, with its true blue hue and forest setting, it’s also one of the most refreshing dives you can take. Temps near the surface hover at a chilly 55 degrees, and with a depth of nearly 2,000 feet, you don’t have to worry about hitting rock bottom.
HAVASUPAI FALLS, ARIZONA Waterfall jumping is a gentler alternative to cliff diving: the churning water softens the landing. Set in the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, it takes a 10-mile hike to get to this gem with turquoise blue waters and a red, sandy bottom. For decades, young men of the Havasupai tribe took to the falls as a rite of passage. Today, adventure seekers take on the hike to jump into these crystalline waters with plenty of low-to-mid level cliffs for beginners.
Kahekili’s Leap | Hawaii The mother of all jumps: Legend has it that in the 1770s, Kahekili, the Birdman King, spearheaded the sport by making his warriors leap from the top of the 63-foot falls into shallow waters below to prove their loyalty. While the lore might lure you to Kahekili’s Leap in Lanai, this is one of the most dangerous dives and recommended only for pros.
ST. MARY’S GLACIER The glacier-fed lake at St. Mary’s offers several low- and mid-level spots to take the leap. Work up a sweat on the 1.8-mile loop trail before cooling off in the icy waters. Make sure to look up – you may just see people skiing down the glacier. 7. Slovenia
Slovenia is home to some of the most beautiful places on the planet. It also leads the world in sustainable tourism. 8. Bratislava, Slovakia
The charming city of Bratislava is located on the shores of the Danube river, bordered by Austria and Hungary. Nearly all of its 18 th-century Old Town is a pedestrian zone, making it a perfect destination for touring on foot. The bustling district features historical buildings, quaint houses and notable churches as well as diverse restaurants, lively bars and cafés, and plenty of shopping opportunities. 9. Leavenworth, Wash.
Located a scenic 2.5-hour-drive from Seattle, the Bavarian-themed mountain town of Leavenworth sits nestled at the base of Washington’s north central Cascade Mountains. This quirky, hospitable destination features unique architecture, a downtown maypole, thriving outdoor recreation scene, an ever-expanding culinary lineup and an active arts center at Sleeping Lady’s lovely mountain resort. 10. Boise
The state of Idaho has always been known for its dramatic natural beauty, making it a much favored destination for visitors from around the world. And the state capital of Boise has equally come into its own, thanks to an ongoing urban renaissance that has added a wide variety of experiences.
10Best is a part of the USA TODAY Network, providing an authentically local point of view on destinations around the world, in addition to travel and lifestyle advice.