‘Travel more’ is common New Year resolution and right now is a pretty good time to map out your year and get a head start on those flight fares. Before you drown in destination scouting, we’ve got some of the coolest places you need to know about in 2020.
At the end of every year, the world’s most renowned travel platforms publish their best destinations for the year to come. We’ve studied the lists posted by The National Geographic (NG), Travel + Leisure (T+L), Conde Nast Traveler (CNT) and Forbes and we’ve shortlisted a few of the most popular destinations that come up in their selections.
Each publication’s selection process differs. Some focus on sustainable tourism, others focus on what’s hot right now and major events taking place around the globe. Whatever the case, the all have something special going on in 2020.
So, without further ado, if you’re looking for travel inspiration to enter the new decade with worldly experiences to remember, what follows is a list of 9 destinations that some of the biggest travel publications want you to visit. And we think they’re pretty great too!
Japan came up numerous times in almost all of the lists. It’s not just that Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Olympic Games this summer, other cities across the island are also expected to gather a buzz. Okinawa is one of them. It’s the “Hawaii of Japan” as Forbes say with sun-kissed beaches and some adults-only retreats.
Okinawans are some of the longest-living people in the world, with the women lasting longer than anywhere else on the global. That’s a pretty intriguing reason in itself for us to want to head there.
Tohoku also made the list with its mountains, hot springs, frosty winters and lakes. If it’s more of a historical feel that you are after, Kyoto is the word. Unofficially the cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto is home to Buddhist temples, palaces, Shinto shrines and gardens, many listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Our very own Katja visited Japan in 2019 and here’s what she wished she knew before going.
The vibrant beach city of Tel Aviv needs little introduction. Its urban city life brimming with vegan hot spots and an active live music scene coexists charmingly with the city’s ancient history. “The UNESCO-designated White City zone,” says Forbes, “is home to more than 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings, the largest such collection in the world.” Need we say more?
A northern-coast town also made Travel + Leisure’s 2020 list. Caesarea is home to archaeological discoveries, Israel’s international golf club, a 2,000-year-old Roman harbour and is a rich snorkelling and scuba diving spot. It’s a Mediterranean coastal town that embodies both time-travelling, with its time-worn ruins, and modern living with its chic neighbourhoods.
No, it’s not Vienna that’s recommended this time, although that’s a rather sweet destination as well. This year the National Geographic wants you to get your ‘Sound of Music’ on and embrace ‘The Hills are Alive’ at the stunning mountain tops of the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. What’s there to do? Be fully immersed in nature with beautiful scenic walks through the Austrian Alps.
Though any other Austrian destination you select, the Travel + Leisure is happy with as they have listed the whole country as a top destination for 2020.
Conde Nast Traveler has put Spain’s Canary Islands on its list and we completely understand why. What’s not to love about white, black and golden beaches? Their special terrain is thanks to its volcanic soil that helps it grow fruit, sugar canes and coffee. Made up of several small islands, some of the most known are Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura but there are several others to explore.
The National Geographic agrees that the Canary Islands are a good travel spot this year but has also added a region in the complete opposite direction. Asturias has a varied rugged landscape with beaches but also wildlife with wolves and wild boars. It’s not a huge touristic choice so it might make the perfect escape from the crowds.
Numerous Mexican cities made the cut for 2020’s top destinations. Puebla, the fourth largest city of the country was one of them with an impressive 350 churches and notable architecture.
For a combination of dessert, water and mountains head to Baja Sur’s East Cape. You’ll now be able to bask in even more luxury as since last October, the Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos opened with 141 rooms overlooking the sea and the deluxe the Costa Palmas Beach & Yacht Club offers members a golf course, a yacht marina and a beach that goes on for 2 miles.
For even more hotel experiences, Hotel Amapa is coming this spring to Jalisco’s Puerto Vallarta in all its boho-chic glory. For an area filled with all-inclusive venues, Hotel Amapa will be a breath of fresh air and the developing infrastructure of the Jalisco region will make it all more accessible. As T + L explains, highway expansions will cut car time extensively. The Costalegre international airport will also open this year, so travelling to Jalisco is about to get a lot easier.
For Forbes, the Mexican 2020 must-visit is the town of San Miguel de Allende. This is a colonial-era city with Spanish-style architecture brimming with cultural festivals and a lively arts scene.
Featured in three of the four studied lists, Australia’s beauty is unmatchable, ranging from buzzing city life to raw vast nature. The devasting bushfires it faced this summer has severely impacted its tourism and we and the Lonely Planet think that we ought to support it by travelling there.
For a coastal road trip, CN Traveler suggests South-eastern Australia. If you don’t want to drive, there is an alternative. Journey Beyond Rail Expeditions launched a new route in December 2019; the Great Southern. It won’t be a short trip but it will take you through Adelaide, South Australia, and Brisbane, Queensland, crossing Victoria and New South Wales.
If a train journey isn’t the adventure you’re looking for, head directly to Brisbane to feed your wanderlust as it’s no. 11 on Travel + Leisure’s list.
The heart-shaped island of Tasmania is already a trendy holiday spot with a rich history and culture. But it has way more than its stunning beaches and mountains. The National Geographic and Travel + Leisure praise its art scene with the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), combining architecture and art. The Tamar Valley’s wines are also something worth exploring this year and there are plenty of new boutique accommodations (such as the seven-suite Ship Inn Stanley that T+L recommends) to rest your feet or get over that wine headache.
Three different Canadian regions are the country’s hotspots for 2020 – two of them are all about nature. The Magdalen Islands, an archipelagos home to cute harp seals, has a variety of activities to offer and stunning landscapes to explore. From craft beer tasting and fish dishes to artisanal sandcastles and white sand beaches.
The Canadian Arctic is the “ultimate destination for travellers” as CN Traveler says. Northern Canada is melting and it is a fear that nature-based exploration might be running out as climate problems are on the rise. As ironic as it sounds, the ice melting has made it easier for cruisers to stop at the Arctic, as CN Traveler comments. So, if it’s raw, frosty scenery you’re after, this is it.
If a city with a rich history and tradition sounds more appealing, New Brunswick is your choice. It’s the only official bilingual province of the country and the locals promise a fun itinerary.
About six times bigger than France, India’s culture, traditions and locations to discover seem to never run out. Leaving Mumbai and Delhi aside for a bit, Rajasthan and Fort Kochi are two of the places to be in 2020.
Fort Kochi, known as the first European settlement in India is an amalgamation of cultures. On the opposite side of the country sits Rajasthan and its region is about to receive numerous changes with hotels, sculpture parks and resort spas opening.
China has been making headlines recently as the coronavirus has spread panic globally, though the country remains a rich land to be discovered with its ancient traditions, vast history and tremendous landscape. When the situation calms down and control is reinstalled, Forbes, T+L and NG have named four regions that stand out in 2020.
It’s no surprise that Beijing made the cut as it’s amongst the top tourist cities of the country. In September 2019, Beijing opened the largest airport in the world and this year more first-time experiences are coming up.
The historical and enormous Forbidden City will open the Qianlong Garden for the first time in 2020. It is the Palace of Tranquil Longevity with bold and extravagant interior design and its opening coincides with the Forbidden City’s 600th anniversary.
Also celebrating this year is Macau honouring its 20th year as a Special Administrative Region of China. Its mixed identity with Portuguese influences makes it all the more interesting. Choose between extravagant casinos, luxury hotels and top-notch restaurants. Thanks to the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, Macau is more accessible than ever, especially for U.S. citizens as it doesn’t require a visa, unlike the rest of China. Check any restrictions here.
The rural Songyang County is a must-visit destination for architecture fans, as is the Guizhou Province home to one of China’s most famous liquors – Moutai.
Plenty of more destinations have been highlighted for 2020, all of them offering something different. Wherever you go this year, remember to travel responsibly, support the local economy and treat each place with respect.
Sources: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/features/best-trips-2020/ https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/best-places-to-travel-in-2020 https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/best-places-to-go-in-2020 https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestravelguide/2019/12/13/forbes-travel-guide-20-top-destinations-for-2020/#2140fa4c73df