Destination Travel Blog

10 Surprising Cities to Visit This Year

2019 is the year of the secondary city.

What international travel destinations are visitors flocking this year? crunched flight data from 2018 to determine the cities seeing the most year-over-year growth. And it was clear that U.S. travelers are venturing beyond the primary tourist stops (think London, Paris, and Bangkok) to seek out the culturally rich offerings of secondary cities.

If you’re wondering what to do before traveling, check out these trending destinations for your next trip. All of them saw double- or triple-digit growth from last year.


It’s no secret that Portugal had a major moment in 2018, seeing big boosts in tourism throughout the year. But it wasn’t just Lisbon and Porto attracting crowds – the Azores also wooed tourists with its dramatic landscapes and world-class diving and hiking.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Bangkok’s more laid-back and spiritual sibling, is home to hundreds of Buddhist temples, incredible street food and historic festivals. Visit in November to launch a fire lantern during Loi Krathong, or in April to see the city come alive for Songkran.

Inverness and Belfast

United Kingdom
London remains one of the top global destinations in the world, but flight data proves travelers are venturing farther into the UK to Northern Ireland and Scotland.


For those craving a beautiful Mediterranean getaway without the high prices of the French Riviera or crowds of the Italian coast, Malta could be just the ticket. Its capital city of Valletta, an UNESCO World Heritage site, is surrounded by water and features carefully restored and preserved monuments dating back to the late Renaissance.

Kenai and Kodiak

The Emerald Isle of Kodiak, with its immense National Wildlife Refuge, and Kenai’s legendary salmon fishing are proof that there’s more to Alaska than just Anchorage and Juneau. For visitors looking to experience the best of Alaska, many of the highly-rated cruises will stop at three or four port towns.

Brisbane and Perth

U.S. travelers embarking on the 14+ hour journey to Australia are clearly seeing more than just Sydney’s iconic Opera House. Queensland’s capital, Brisbane, and Western Australia’s Perth both appear on the trending destination list this year.


Ecuador’s capital, Quito, and the Galapagos Islands are both popular tourist destinations, but this year Cuenca saw increased demand. Perhaps word is getting out that its historic city center, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and array of street markets are just as worthy of a visit.


Zagreb may be Croatia’s capital but from a western tourism perspective it’s been playing second fiddle to coastal Dubrovnik for a few years now. But U.S. travelers are starting to take notice of Zagreb’s urban appeal, lighter crowds and affordable prices.


Quite different in terms of climate and personality than the capital city of Bogotá, Cartagena is rich in colonial charm.


For those looking to experience real Spanish culture, Seville will not disappoint. Less touristy than popular Barcelona, locals would tell you Seville is where to find authentic flamenco and tapas.

Check out the full list of Expedia’s Top Trending Cities on the Expedia Viewfinder blog.

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