The 2019 hotlist

A to­tal so­lar eclipse, two World Cups, sev­eral new flights and walk­ing trails, and big birth­day cel­e­bra­tions from Ha­vana to the Grand Canyon – here are 40 des­ti­na­tions worth check­ing out this year

The Guardian - Travel - - Front Page -

Ja­pan The Rugby World Cup heads east

Seven­teen years af­ter it co-hosted the foot­ball World Cup, Ja­pan stages the ninth Rugby World Cup from 20 Septem­ber, the first in Asia. Host cities range from Sap­poro in the north to Ku­mamoto on the sub­trop­i­cal is­land of Kyushu – and all are linked by bul­let trains. The most poignant is Ka­maishi Re­cov­ery Me­mo­rial Sta­dium, built on the site of schools de­stroyed in the 2011 tsunami. The fi­nal will be held in Yoko­hama on 2 Novem­ber. More tick­ets go on sale on 19 Jan­uary – it’s vi­tal to regis­ter for an ac­count in ad­vance (rug­by­world­cup.com).

The Grand Canyon Grander than ever …

The cen­te­nary of the cre­ation of the Grand Canyon na­tional park will be marked on

26 Fe­bru­ary with a con­cert, talks and an oral his­tory booth for vis­i­tors to share their park mem­o­ries. Com­mem­o­ra­tive events will take place through the year, in­clud­ing an Earth Day cel­e­bra­tion in April, a week of stargaz­ing par­ties (22-29 June) and a Na­tive Amer­i­can her­itage day in Novem­ber. Party hats aside, vis­i­tors can also ex­pe­ri­ence the park by hik­ing, bik­ing or raft­ing through it. On 31 March, Amer­i­can Air­lines starts a new di­rect daily flight from Heathrow to Phoenix, Ari­zona; BA al­ready has a daily ser­vice.

Jor­dan A new Red Sea gate­way

Easy­Jet’s Novem­ber launch of di­rect flights from Gatwick to Aqaba, on Jor­dan’s 20km of Red Sea coast, opened up a new route into the coun­try from the south. Well-pre­served co­ral reefs off the coast of Aqaba of­fer ex­cel­lent div­ing, with end­less colour­ful fish. But Aqaba is also a gate­way to the spec­tac­u­lar desert land­scapes of Wadi Rum, 40 miles away, and less than two hours from Pe­tra. Those who fly to the cap­i­tal, Amman, in the north, will find a blos­som­ing food and arts scene. Last year saw the first Amman Street Food week (in April, dates for 2019 tbc), cel­e­brat­ing cui­sine from Jor­dan and neigh­bour­ing coun­tries.

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