If you’re thinking of doing some travelling after graduating, then a quick Google search of where to go will tell you to visit places like Amsterdam, Ibiza, Sydney, Paris, Barcelona, New York and Rome. Now, we’re not saying that there’s anything wrong with these destinations – but isn’t it nice to try something a bit different? Particularly when you have just graduated, this is the perfect chance to take time out and travel to destinations that you may not expect to visit when you’re older. That’s why we’ve suggested some slightly more unusual travel destinations that really do have it all – great culture, nightlife, architecture, history, food and wildlife.

Heading East

Thinking of heading East? Then these are our top five picks for travelling to this side of the world in 2019.

Saint Petersburg, Russia

A couple of the destinations we recommend are former rather than current capital cities – and St. Petersburg is one of these. Founded in 1703 and the imperial capital for two centuries, St Petersburg is steeped in history and boasts amazing architecture – including the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and The Hermitage (The Winter Palace).

However don’t think that these two iconic buildings are all that this great city has to offer – far from it in fact. St. Petersburg is still considered to be Russia’s cultural centre, boasting venues such as; Peterhof Palace, built by Tsar Peter to outshine Versailles, the Mariinsky Theatre which hosts opera and ballet, and the State Russian Museum, showcasing Russian art, from Orthodox icon paintings to Kandinsky works and the Street Art Museum, for more modern art.

Once you’ve soaked up all of the culture on offer during the day, there’s plenty of nightlife to make the most of. After all, it’s also a large city – the fourth most populated city in Europe in fact (population 5.3m+).There’s plenty of great organised pub and bar crawls you can sign up to, or TripAdvisor-recommended bars include Beergeek Craft Beer Bar, wine bar Na Vina or club & bar Commode if you need a couple of places to start.

“It’s a bar, it’s a club, it’s your best mates cool apartment where everybody’s mates come to listen to music, drink and have a good time.” – TripAdvisor reviewer on Commode, St Petersburg
Kyoto, Japan

– TripAdvisor reviewer on Commode, St Petersburg
Kyoto, Japan
View this post on Instagram

В Киото я остановилась у подруги ⠀(начало во вчерашнем посте) ⠀ Мы гуляли по старым уютным улочкам, пили терпкий зелёный чай. На каждом углу в Киото нас поджидал, как старый знакомый, какой-нибудь древний деревянный храм с загадочной историей, а японские бабушки вели с нами неторопливые беседы о погоде, когда мы покупали свежие овощи в лавках. ⠀ В Киото было очень спокойно, и иностранцы, как и я, приехали сюда, чтобы переждать и посмотреть, как будут развиваться события с Фукусимой. Считалось, что в Киото безопасно и радиация «не дойдёт», а в худшем случае можно будет экстренно покинуть Японию из аэропорта в Осаке. ⠀ Чтобы успокоить родных, я купила билет домой. Рейс был в пятницу : Петербург через Гонконг. ⠀ ⠀ А в четверг я осознала: «мой паспорт остался в Токио.» Он преспокойно дремлет в левом нижнем ящике деревянного комода моей токийской квартиры. ⠀ Мелькнула мысль попробовать сделать новый паспорт в консульстве в Осаке, но поняла – не успею. ⠀ Чувство беспомощности, досады и разочарования накрывало меня, почти как цунами. ⠀ Я купила билет на скоростной поезд до Токио. ⠀ Через три часа я шла по токийскому району Нихонбаси. Солнце заливало Токио тёплыми лучами. ⠀ Город был абсолютно пустой и абсолютно умиротворённый. Как будто все лишнее отпало. ⠀ Я шла по пустынной улице и редкие прохожие-японцы смотрели на меня откровенно с удивлением.⠀ ⠀ «Все иностранцы уехали. Что она тут делает?» ⠀ ⠀ Я зашла в квартиру, солнечные лучи как-то особенно уютно осветили мою небольшую комнату. ⠀ И я решила. ⠀ Больше не буду никуда спешить. ⠀ Продолжение следует. Ждёте? Помните это время в России? #истории_на_татами #японцы_на_татами #япония

A post shared by Зоя 🇯🇵Лайфхаки Из Японии (@tokyo_tatami) on

Forget Tokyo, it’s all about Kyoto. Kyoto was once the capital of Japan and is a city on the island of Honshu. It’s famous for its numerous classical Buddhist temples as well as gardens and imperial palaces. If you want to go to a historical, authentic location in Japan (that is also perfectly Instagrammable!) then this really is one of the very best places to visit. In fact, only Rome has more world heritage sites than Kyoto, but unlike Rome, Kyoto has a calmness that allows you to really enjoy the sights and culture.

The city is also known for formal Japanese traditions such as kaiseki dining and geisha girls often found in the Gion district. The food here is also amazing, with the city boasting a variety of authentic Japanese restaurants including Menbakaichidai and Teppan Tavern Tenamonya.

Better still, if you do want to head to Tokyo, then you can do so by train (and via Mount Fuji!)

Byron Bay, Australia

View this post on Instagram

Is it me or does Australia have some of the nicest beaches in the world? I had such a wonderful time in this beach town of Byron Bay. The community is made up of great little shops and cafés that creates an awesome atmosphere. The beach is a nice spot for surfers and backpackers. There is also a nice lighthouse on the top of this viewpoint to check out as well. Who would’ve known that a volcano from 23 million years ago would create such a beauty. . . . . #byronbay #brisbane #australia #aussiebeaches #visitnsw #byronbaylighthouse #explorensw #byronbaylife #exploreaustralia #visitaustralia #newsouthwales #visitqueensland #discoverqueensland #queensland #mynikonlife #zeisscameralenses #sonyalpha6500 #brisbanecity #brisbaneanyday #thisisbrisbane #roamtheplanet #brandonau

A post shared by ʙʀᴀɴᴅᴏɴ ᴀᴜ 🌎 (@brandonau) on

Sydney is great n’all, but there’s no doubt that Byron Bay really is one of the most beautiful places in Oz. If you want great weather, picturesque scenery and amazing wildlife – all topped off with great nightlife and friendly Australian vibes, then add Byron Bay to your bucket list.

View this post on Instagram

Life is way too short for bad vibes. ☀️

A post shared by Ines Cuvellier (@inescuvellier) on

This coastal town has a population of ~10,000 and is a popular vacation destination known for its beaches, surfing and scuba diving sites. It’s home to the iconic Cape Byron lighthouse and you can expect to see dolphins off the coast, or between June and November head to viewpoints such as the Captain Cook Lookout to spot some humpback whales. Bored of the beach? No problem. Head to Nightcap National Park to explore World Heritage-listed rainforests.

Busan, South Korea

If experiencing Korean culture is on your to-do list, then Busan should be too. Busan is a large port city in South Korea known for its beaches, mountains and temples. Many Koreans visit Busan on holiday, making it a great, authentic Korean location to visit.

Busy Haeundae beach features the Sea Life Aquarium plus a Folk Square which plays host to traditional games such as tug-of-war. For bars and great views of diamond bridge, visit Gwangalli Beach. For history and culture, visit the Beomeosa Temple – a Buddhist shrine founded in 678 A.D. which sits at the base of Geumjeong Mountain, which has spectacular hiking trails.

Singapore

View this post on Instagram

🎆🎆🎆 The city looks even better at night #singapore

A post shared by ROZ (@rozannapurcell) on

An island city-state off southern Malaysia, Singapore is the fifth-wealthiest Southeast Asian Nation by GDP. There’s so many great things to do and see here, it was even hard to shortlist them to be included here.

Ranked the number one thing to do in Singapore is ‘Gardens by the Bay’ followed by the Singapore Botanic Gardens, but there’s also Chinatown, Marina Bay, Orchard Road and the Singapore Zoo to name just a handful of ‘must-see’ attractions.

With Singapore being such a wealthy city, it is also very sophisticated. Expect great food, bars, clean streets, efficient public transport and bustling street markets.

Heading West

If you’re looking to head west instead of East, then we’ve shortlisted five cities to put on your bucket list.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This seaside city is famous for its Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, but also sprawling favelas (shanty towns), so take care when visiting. Don’t be put off though, as there is so much to see while you’re here. The best time to visit is during the Carnival, which takes place in either February or March (be sure to check before you book!). The Carnival dates back to 1723 and is considered to be the biggest carnival in the world, with two million people per day taking to the city streets to celebrate.

View this post on Instagram

Бразильский Карнавал 2019 от 2940$ с человека 🔥🎉✨🎊 ⠀ Мы приглашаем вас в невероятное путешествие в Бразилию! Вас ждет карнавал в Рио, водопады Игуасу и отдых на лазурном берегу Ангра-душ-Рейс — насыщенная программа для искушённых путешественников! Карнавал в Рио-де-Жанейро проходит один раз в год, в самый разгар бразильского лета и он внесён в Книгу Рекордов Гиннеса как крупнейший в мире! В празднике участвуют до 5 млн человек и самые известные школы самбы из Латинской Америки🔥 ⠀ Детали, полная программа и бронирование по телефону 044 490 73 73 📲 ⠀ Подарите себе незабываемые впечатления вместе с YANA Luxury Travel 🧡 ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #rio #riocarnival #riodejaneiro #brazil #карнавалврио #карнавал #yanaluxurytravel #luxurytravel

A post shared by YanaLuxuryTravel (@yana_luxury_travel) on

Amazing things to see include Christ the Redeemer, Santa Teresa, Sugarloaf Mountain, Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon and the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Gardens.

New Orleans, USA

This Louisiana city based right on the Mississippi River is a gem. It’s known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and amazing food. The culture in this city is almost unique thanks to its melting pot heritage of French, African and American cultures.

If you’re flexible on dates, attend during Mardi Gras, as this late-winter festival sees the city become consumed with raucous parades and street parties.

After the nightlife is over, take in the beautiful architecture and visit some amazing (and free!) tourist hotspots including Frenchman Street, the French Quarter, the Garden District and St. Louis Cathedral.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin’s history dates as far back as the 13th century, so it’s no surprise that there is plenty of historical landmarks to see when visiting. Top tourist spots include the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag building, Berliner Philharmonie, the East Side Gallery, Museum Island, Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Cathedral and Charlottenburg Palace – and that is just scratching the surface.

With so much to fill your day with, you might wonder how you can expect to spend your evenings. From clubs to classical music, Berlin has it all. The city boasts charming cinemas, vintage ballrooms, and a whole host of renowned clubs and bars.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland’s largest and capital city, Reykjavik is still relatively small with a population of less than 200,000 people.

View this post on Instagram

When I was young, I used to spend hours and hours outside. Climbing trees, riding bikes, making mud pies, rescuing hedgehogs, running, skating, playing, jumping, dancing… Feeling the grass beneath my feet, the fresh air on my face, the rain on my skin (I am in England, after all 😂). And it’s only now I’m older that I realise how much joy all of these things brought me. Simply exploring. Navigating my own way through this world. Being present in every moment. So when I become part of beautiful landscapes like this, those childhood feelings of unadulterated happiness return and remind me to fill my waking moments with all the things I love. Because those feelings are priceless and no matter how old I get, the world will always be my playground 🌎

A post shared by Rosie (@edgeandflowyoga) on

The city has an excellent reputation for arts and culture, but it’s worth visiting this city to use it as a base when taking amazing day trips across Iceland. With such a vast range of varied activities, we’ve bullet pointed just a few that we would highly recommend:

  • Golden Circle Day Trip
  • A trip to The Secret Lagoon
  • Northern Lights Expeditions
  • Southern Iceland Glaciers, Waterfalls and Beaches Tour
  • Whale-Watching
  • Iceland Volcanoes tour
  • Ice Cave Experiences
  • Snorkeling Experience at Silfra Fissure in Thingvellir National Park
  • Snowmobiling on Langjökull Glacier
  • Visit the Game of Thrones filming locations

When it comes to keeping yourself busy within the city, there’s no shortage of things to do here either. You can catch some culture at the beautiful Harpa concert hall, go for beers at Kaffibarinn, dance at Paloma (the place to go for underground music) or dine at DILL – regarded as the city’s best (but perhaps smallest) restaurant.

Havana, Cuba

There’s nowhere on this earth quite like Cuba, and Havana is truly iconic. Another city steeped in history with amazing, 16th century Spanish colonial architecture to boot, a trip to Cuba should be on everyone’s bucket list.

If you’re looking to explore the history of this city, then check out Old Havana – which is home to cobbled plazas, civic mansions, museums, gallaries, restaurants and churches. In this area of Havana you’ll find the Museum of Fine Arts and the Nuestra Señora de la Merced, which is a presidential palace housing exceptional exhibits at the Museum of the Revolution.

View this post on Instagram

Представяме ви първата ни авторска програма за 2019г.- “Да се изгубим в Хавана”. 🍹💃🏾🥥 🇨🇺 Това пътешествие е за всички, които в списъка с мечти са записали с една дума – КУБА! Куба не е дестинация. Тя е емоция, чувство, любов, музика, цветове, танци, страст. А Хавана – това е сърцето на Куба! Неповторима, чаровна, своенравна, малко разрошена от времето красавица, скрила зад цветните си дрехи много тайни и неразказани истории! Тя гостоприемно ще ни посрещне с плътен аромат на димяща кубинска пура, с глътка силен ром, с галящи сетивата латиноритми! А после ще ни омагьоса в нейния вечен танц, ще ни качи на прекрасен стар автомобил и ще отпрашим в посока Малекон! Накрая ще ни изпрати много тъжна, но задължително с усмивка, истинска, неподправена, с подадена ръка, но не за сбогом, а с надежда, че скоро пак ще се върнем! ,,Има много причини да посетиш Куба и нито една да си тръгнеш от тук…,, e казал някой. Защо ли? Това късче земя е накарало Христофор Колумб да възкликне "Това е най-прекрасната земя, която някога е виждало човешкото око", акостирайки за първи път на бреговете ѝ. Куба е тази, която е вдъхновила Хемингуей да напише "Старецът и морето". Едно кътче… не просто асоциация за море и слънце, а една истинска прекрасна история за музика, извираща от сърцата на кубинците, за танца, за любовта на хората към живота. Наричат Куба Перлата на Антилския архипелаг… Парла, която очаква своите ценители…Каним ви заедно да полюбопитстваме защо е толкова необикновена тази страна, защо усмивката е запазена марка на кубинците, защо всеки от завоевателите на Куба е искал ,,тя да бъде само негова,,. Има толкова много въпроси, чийто верни отговори може би ще намерим заедно! http://www.toptrip.bg/view.php?id=128

A post shared by Tempora Travel Agency (@temporatravel) on

A walking or bike tour is the best way to see the city in all of its bustling, sun-bleached glory, but hailing a classic American car collective taxi is an experience not to be missed. Of course, Cuba is famous for its cigars too so if you have time, get tickets for a factory tour.

When it comes to food and drink, there’s no shortage of cafes and bars around whenever you need to stop for a refreshment.