Dancing in Havana (Shutterstock)
List Words : Wanderlust Team | 04 January 2019

19 for '19: Our list of unique travel experiences and celebrations in 2019

From tracking chimps in Rwanda to celebrating Havana's 500th birthday, 2019 has no shortage of once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Which one will you choose?

1: Celebrate the legacy of black musicians in Nashville

Chuck Berry in concert (Dreamstime)

Chuck Berry in concert (Dreamstime)

2019 sees the opening of National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, the only museum in the world to celebrate the impact African American musicians have had on America’s music. Follow the Rivers of Rhythm Pathway for an unforgettable journey from the blues to hip hop and all the other genres in-between.

More information: nmaam.org

2: Tuck into ramen and rugby in Japan

Open air onsen, Japan (Dreamstime)

Open air onsen, Japan (Dreamstime)

The Rugby World Cup comes to Japan in September 2019, with matches scheduled from Tokyo to Sapporo. Watch the match with a sake and a bowl of ramen. And don’t forget the post match onsen!

More information: rugbyworldcup.com

3: Remember Rembrandt in Amsterdam

Night Watch by Rembrandt at the Rijksmuseum (Dreamstime)

Night Watch by Rembrandt at the Rijksmuseum (Dreamstime)

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam marks Rembrandt's 350th anniversary in 2019 with ‘Year of Rembrandt’ – an extraordinary year filled with exhibitions and special events celebrating the work of one of the world’s greatest artists. For the first time, the Rijksmuseum will exhibit all their Rembrandts – 22 paintings, 60 drawings and more than 300 of the finest examples of his prints.

More information: rijksmuseum.nl

4: Celebrate Queen Victoria’s 200th anniversary at Kensington Palace

Victoria as a young woman (Dreamstime)

Victoria as a young woman (Dreamstime)

Celebrate the 200th birthday of Queen Victoria at Kensington Palace, the place she was born and spent her childhood. The brand new ‘Victoria 2019’ exhibition is designed especially to give a unique insight into the early years of this extraordinary monarch.

More information: hrp.org.uk

5: Celebrate the fall of the wall in Berlin

East Side Gallery, Berlin Wall (Dreamstime)

East Side Gallery, Berlin Wall (Dreamstime)

2019 marks 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell and the political landscape of Europe – and indeed the world – was transformed. Celebrate that heady moment when David Hasselhoff serenaded East Germans with his song, 'Looking For Freedom'. On November 9 when Berlin will host a number of events to mark the occasion. The wall falling, that is, not David Hasselhoff singing.

More information: visitberlin.de

6: Have a flutter on England’s oldest horse race

Racing in the Kiplingcotes Derby in 2015 (Shutterstock)

Racing in the Kiplingcotes Derby in 2015 (Shutterstock)

Since the time of Henry VIII, a four-mile countryside course in the picturesque Yorkshire Wolds near Market Weighton has been running the Kiplingcotes Derby. It is England’s oldest horse race and on Thursday 21 March 2019 it celebrates its 500th running. That’s surely worth a small bet or two.

More information: yorkshirepost.co.uk

7: Join the 'stars' as the Grand Canyon celebrate its 100th Anniversary

Man on the cliff in Grand Canyon (Dreamstime)

Man on the cliff in Grand Canyon (Dreamstime)

On February 26 2019, the Grand Canyon celebrates 100 years since it's designation as a national park. To celebrate a year of activities and events have been planned, including the 2019 Grand Canyon Star Party, an astronomical celebration of the dark skies over this natural phenomenon.

More information: nps.gov

8: Go horse riding with Richard Dunwoody in Montenegro

Horse riding in Montenegro (Wanderlust Journeys)

Horse riding in Montenegro (Wanderlust Journeys)

2019 sees the launch of Wanderlust Journeys, a collection of tailor-made holidays for adventurous Wanderlust readers, including an extraordinary horse riding holiday through the stunning back blocks of Montenegro with former champion jockey Richard Dunwoody. Saddle up!

More information: wanderlust.tripsmiths.com

9: Moonwalk at Kennedy Space Center in Florida

Recreation of first moon walk (Dreamstime)

Recreation of first moon walk (Dreamstime)

On July 16, 2019 it will be 50 years since astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Naturally, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida will be celebrating the occasion with a raft of exhibits, demonstrations and activities about historic and future lunar exploration. Or you could head to the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in his home town of Wapakoneta, Ohio for the livelier Summer Moon Festival.

More information: armstrongmuseum.org

10: Join the party as Havana turns 500

Getting ready to party in Havana (Dreamstime)

Getting ready to party in Havana (Dreamstime)

Founded by the Spanish in 1519, 2019 sees the vibrant Cuban capital celebrate its 500th birthday. During this anniversary year, the city will host a series of events featuring concerts, performances and parades that will add an extra sparkle and pizzazz to an already buzzing city.

More information: travel2cuba.co.uk

11: Sign up for the English National Parks Experience

Sheep in the Lake District (Shutterstock)

Sheep in the Lake District (Shutterstock)

Set to be launched in early 2019, the English National Park Experience Collection is designed to give visitors the chance to experience the unique living landscapes and timeless rural life in English National Parks. Expect journeys through the history, culture, countryside and communities in rural England and the chance to experience England’s national parks as never before.

More information: nationalparkexperiences.co.uk

12: Watch a total eclipse of the sun in Vicuña, Chile

A total solar eclipse (Dreamstime)

A total solar eclipse (Dreamstime)

In the late afternoon of July 2, a total solar eclipse will occur over southern parts of Chile and Argentina. There are plenty of places you could watch the eclipse in both countries, but Vicuña, in the Elqui Valley, has one advantage over them all. It is the only place in the world where Pisco can be distilled.

More information: eso.org

13: Pay your respects in north west France

Mont Saint Michel in Normandy (Dreamstime)

Mont Saint Michel in Normandy (Dreamstime)

The 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings on June 6 sees a host of commemorative events in this overlooked corner of France.  Follow the story of the 130,000 soldiers who came ashore here in the D-Day Museum Museum in Arromanche. Or drop by Bayeux to see a tapestry of another famous battle, back in 1066.

More information: normandie-tourisme.fr

14: Pedal Sweden's southern coast

Ales stones, Skane, Sweden  (Shutterstock)

Ales stones, Skane, Sweden (Shutterstock)

June 2019 will see the completion of Sweden’s latest national cycle trail, the Sydkustleden. Expect lush forests, coastal forests, ancient stone rings and some of Sweden’s hippest cities on this 900km network.

More information: VisitSweden

15: Red Sea and red stone in Jordan

Petra from above (Dreamstime)

Petra from above (Dreamstime)

Forget the long schlep from Amman, new flights to the Red Sea port of Aqaba in Jordan is a boon to divers – and adventurers. Not only is some of the best diving in the world just offshore, Aqaba is the perfect base to explore the deserts of Wadi Rum and the ‘lost city’ of Petra, both of which are less than 90 minutes away.

More information: www.easyjet.com

16: Celebrate a half century of jazz in New Orleans

Jazz musicians performing on the French Quarter, New Orleans  (Shutterstock)

Jazz musicians performing on the French Quarter, New Orleans (Shutterstock)

Join some of the biggest names in jazz in funky New Orleans as the city celebrates the 50th anniversary of its legendary Jazz Festival. The lineup is announced in early 2019, but if previous years are anything to go by, expect some big names and some big surprises.

More information: nojazzfest.com

17: Go underground in Italy's European Capital of Culture

Piazza Madonna de Idris in Matera (Dreamstime)

Piazza Madonna de Idris in Matera (Dreamstime)

Explore the ancient cave dwellings of Matera, one of Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2019 and home to people in southern Italy for over 9,000 years. There’s been no better time to explore the ancient hilltop town’s rock-hewn churches, cosy grottos and excellent hiking trails.

More information: matera-basilicata2019.it

18: Meet Rwanda's newest wildlife stars

Alpha male chimp in Rwanda (Shutterstock)

Alpha male chimp in Rwanda (Shutterstock)

Rwanda’s most famous wildlife superstars, the mountain gorillas of Virunga, face new competition with the opening of Gishwati-Mukura National Park in the country’s north west. Made up of two forests, it is home to a group of 20 chimpanzees who live alongside golden monkeys, L’Hoest’s and blue monkeys, as well as a host of colourful birds. A guided responsible chimp and monkey tracking tour will be your highlight of 2019.

More information: visitrwanda.com

19: Spend Christmas in Tallinn

Christmas Fair in Tallinn (Dreamstime)

Christmas Fair in Tallinn (Dreamstime)

Chocolate box Medieval city centre? Check. High likelihood of snow? Check. Magical Christmas market? Check. No wonder Estonia’s gorgeous capital of Tallinn was recently voted the best place to spend Christmas. Why not tell Santa that’s where he’ll find you on Christmas Day, 2019?

More information: visittallinn.ee

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