Wondering where to go in 2019 and utterly spoiled for choice? We can help you.
Whether you’re a self-appointed yogi, a hippy surfer-dude, or a professional beach bum, we’ve pulled together the most popular 2019 beach holiday destinations our travellers have opted for so far to alleviate the January blues.
STA’s package holidays fuse beach-lounging with outdoor adventures and partying. Read on to discover paradisaical white sandy-beaches, cracking surfing destinations and beautiful hidden coves that we probably should have kept secret… Beach, pleeease.
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Why? Bali is every traveller’s dream, home to an array of dazzling temples, rippling rice terraces, multicultural cuisine, immense volcanoes, gushing waterfalls, gorgeous natural surrounds, surf meccas and banging nightlife in Kuta and Legian.
Where to go in Bali: Surfers should head to Batu Belig Beach for its epic waves and party-goers to Seminyak beach resort. Snorkel to see kaleidoscopic sea life on Nusa Dua’s golden beaches.
When to go to Bali: Shoulder season (May, June and September) is perhaps your best bet, as you’ll get the drier weather, better deals and less tourists than high season (July, August and December).
Intrigued? Check out our Bali packages here.
2. Sri Lanka
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Why? Hellooo, mountainous landscapes, white-sandy beaches, abundant wildlife, tuk-tuks, tea-sippin’, killer hikes, scenic train rides and a top-notch culture. Plus, the Sri Lankan locals are among the friendliest you’ll encounter anywhere in the world, and this is all before you hit the beaches. Only just re-opened to tourism after years of civil unrest, it’s no wonder this untouched island has topped every traveller’s lust list for the whole of 2018!
Where to go in Sri Lanka: Surfers – Arugam Bay on the east coast, or the surfer village and party town of Hikkaduwa on the southwest coast are your calling. Wildlife lovers, head to Marissa or Tangalle on the south coast to get a unique chance to see blue whales in the waves, turtles hatching on the beach and elephants not far away in the neraby Udawale or Yala national parks. The best bit? Since the island is relatively small, it’s super-easy to beach hop around all of these beaches!
When to go to Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka is pretty much a year-round destination, but monsoons affect the climate at different points of the year in different parts of the country. Generally, your best bet for good weather will be to visit between December to March if you’re exploring the west, south coasts, and hill country. As for the east coast, travel to Sri Lanka from Apr/May to September. Nomatter when you decide to visit, there’s always somewhere sunny with great surf.
Why? An oldie, but a goodie, this Asian destination never gets old. And each time we go back, we encounter different experiences, fresh idyllic islands and new favourite beaches. Think towering limestone cliffs, Buddhist temples galore, friendly elephants, even friendlier locals, and the most mouth-watering food. And, with its epic Full Moon parties and bucket-sized cocktails, Thailand is your sociable backpacker’s haven.
Where to go in Thailand: For gorgeous islands and spectacular sunsets, the Andaman side (on the west coast of this long, thin country) is the place to be. Koh Phi Phi may be hibernating for now but Phuket, Krabi, Railay and Koh Lanta still offer the same vibes and landscapes arguably more staggering than their famous brothers.
Over on Thailand’s eastern coast, Koh Samui offers chilled out holiday vibes whereas the idyllic backpacker paradise of Koh Phangan is the place to be for Full Moon, half-moon and pretty much Every-other-kind-of-Moon parties which happen almost nightly. Don’t let Koh Phangan’s ravey reputation put you off though: there’s a lot to this island waiting to be explored.
When to go to Thailand: Wanna hear the best thing about Thailand? It’s a year-round destination. But for a drier climate, we recommend visiting anytime from early November to April, to avoid the rainy season. Seas the day guys.
Get clued up on all things Thailand with our Thailand travel guide.
Why? Probably because Croatia, as a whole, is legit one of the most underrated, and beautiful destinations in the world (sorry, Thailand, we still love you)! Walk in the footsteps of Game of Thrones stars in Dubrovnik’s Old Town, see UNESCO-listed lakes, swim in waterfalls that could compete with southeast Asia’s, and explore sprawling National Parks, jagged mountain ranges and scenic beaches while you island hop around the Adriatic… or party for days in unspoiled paradise. Now home to some of Europe’s best dance festivals, Croatia has overtaken Ibiza as the summer party capital for Europe.
Where to go in Croatia: Literally anywhere! Head to Stiniva Beach in Vis to swim surrounded by limestone cliffs. For beaut bays, beaches and parties, travel to the Pakleni Islands: Hvar, Brac and Vis.
When to go to Croatia: Summer weather is pretty fab in Croatia, but we’d recommend that you head there either from May-Jun or Sept-Oct to avoid the franticness of the school holidays.
Check out our Croatia travel guide for more information, inspiration, cheap flights and tours.
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Why? Crumbly feta cheese, sticky-sweet baklava, tasty moussaka… sorry, just drooled a lil’ bit. Not only is Greek cuisine pretty damn delicious, but the country is also home to stunning beaches, breathtaking islands and ridiculously diverse landscapes.
Where to go in Greece: Potentially the most papped beach in the country, Myrtos beach in Kefalonia island is popular for good reason, with its surrounding cliffs and startlingly blue seas. The creamy sands and crystal lagoons of Balos beach in Crete are home to fantastic snorkelling. See the white volcanic rock Sarakiniko Beach for an alternative beach experience.
When to go to Greece: Flock to Greece in May to see wildflowers and experience less tourists (but colder seas). Travel from June to August and guaranteed that it will be super hot and pretty busy, but ideal for partying. Journey over in Autumn (September and October are your best months) for warm waters, whale watching and sunny days without the summer crowds.
Take a peek at our full Greece travel guide here.
5. The Philippines
Why? Because it’s the new kid on the block when it comes to southeast Asian paradises. Find eclectic landscapes with rippling rice terraces and limestone karsts, glistening lagoons to dip your toes into, amazing diving opportunities and colourful festivals. Oh, and the beaches are pretty awesome too if you were wondering.
Where to go in the Philippines: Yogis should head to the coastal city of Puerto Princesa to zen; for kayaking and limestone crags, El Nido in Palawan is your best bet. For volcanic rocks and white sands, travel to Palaui Island in the Cagayan Valley Region.
When to go to the Philippines: Dry season in the Philippines runs from Nov-Apr, and the sun is strongest in March and April (although be warned guys, it gets hot). Hot to trot, check.
Check out our Philippines adventure tour here.
Desperate to keep the summer vibes going in 2019 as we are? Good – check out the rest of our beach breaks here.