I know, I know – I can’t quite believe it’s time to be discussing next year either. But as the new year creeps scarily closer every day, it’s time to think about the top travel destinations for 2020. I’m sure I’m not alone when thoughts wonder towards where to book my next vacation. Well, we all need something to look forward to, don’t we!? Check out my list below for the top travel destinations for 2020.
Occasionally overlooked by the sheer craziness of Tokyo, Japan’s Kyoto is hotter than hot when it comes to desirable travel destinations. That’s not just because of the Rugby World Cup, either. 2020 brings the pinnacle of all sporting events, the 2020 Olympic Games. As a result, Japan has really had to bring its A game. That means a whole new level of exciting tourism across the country.
Kyoto in particular has seen various exciting hotel openings of late. The ultra chic Ace Hotel has also eyed up Kyoto for spring next year. The city itself used to be the capital of Japan. Set on the island of Honshu, its Buddhist temples, gardens, and shrines are there to be explored. Don’t miss canalside Philosopher’s Walk, particularly in spring with its gorgeous cherry blossoms. The shrine of Fushimi Inari-taisha for those iconic orange torii gates in the forest is another must-visit. Kyoto has tons to offer, and there’s no better time to visit one of the top travel destinations for 2020.
The beautiful Central American country of Costa Rica is making a real name for itself for all the right reasons. By 2021, its mission is to be the first country in the world to eradicate single use plastic. An environmentalist’s paradise, it’s little wonder with such incredible landscapes and scenery. Visitors may want to come to this top travel destination for 2020 to support the cause. Perhaps you can join one of the country’s world-class conservation programmes.
With gorgeous coastline and rainforests, the best thing to do in Costa Rica is to put on hiking boots and explore. You’ll find glorious beaches, volcanoes, and protected jungle with incredible wildlife – there are a whopping 166 protected areas of forest. Don’t miss wonderful Tortuguero National Park to see endangered turtles nesting. After a long day of visiting coffee plantations and soaking in hot springs, rest your head in one of the country’s eco-lodges. Each of these work to protect the surrounding environment.
Not just immortalised thanks to the work of Ed Sheeran, Galway makes it onto the top travel destinations for 2020. This is thanks in part to its proud title of next year’s European Capital of Culture. With all eyes on Galway, the city is set to open its arms to those curious for its culture. This ranges from fun pub atmospheres, iconic fiddle music, a thriving arts scene, and surprising foodie venues. 2020 is set to unveil some magnificent cultural events. This includes art by David Best and an appearance by Margaret Atwood at the upcoming International Women’s Day.
Set on Ireland’s west coast, Galway’s centre is the historical and iconic Eyre Square. Here, friends meet while surrounded by pubs playing Irish folk music, cafes, and art galleries. Head to the Latin Quarter for medieval architecture, and don’t miss the sixteenth century Lynch’s Castle. When peckish, visitors need to try the fresh oysters, mussels, and other wonderful seafood on the menu of the city’s excellent restaurants. Galway is home to the world’s longest running oyster festival, after all.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is a city famous the world over for its ambitious construction projects, standout skyscrapers, and out of this world landmarks. Yet next year, the UAE city will go even further in its pursuits. 2020 will see a number of futuristic projects underway – the first being the World Expo 2020. Taking place across six months, 190 nations will congregate in Dubai to present their ideas on sustainability and mobility. This could encapsulate anything from incredible architecture to flying cars. Don’t miss the Museum of the Future which is also set to open next year, as well as a Europe-themed fantasy resort called the World. All these factors truly make Dubai a top travel destination for 2020.
Activities to for a trip to Dubai must include a visit to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Each night, the fountain at its base puts on incredible displays to music. Don’t miss the incredible Atlantis resort on the Palm with its water park, and the iconic Burj al Arab. This is the famous seven star luxury hotel near Jumeirah Beach. Head to the Dubai Mall for some luxury shopping. The mall even has an Olympic size ice skating rink, and the Mall of the Emirates has indoor ski slopes. For a little more traditional shopping, Dubai Creek has a number of souks selling spices, gold, and textiles. Finally, visitors won’t struggle to find top-class restaurants and chic rooftop nightclubs in this emirate city.
Macedonia is really putting itself on the map, having recently undergone its own image makeover. Formerly known as just Macedonia, the country rebranded as North Macedonia. This was primarily due to ongoing debate with neighbouring Greece. Finally, in 2018, an agreement was signed between the two countries, marking a new movement forward. It also completely altered the perception of the Balkan country, making it a top travel destination for 2020. Visitors should come for the excellent food, tradition, and stunning landscapes. New flight paths to the gorgeous and UNESCO rated Lake Ohrid make it even easier to visit North Macedonia.
In Macedonia, you’ll find lakes, mountains, and gorgeous historic towns boasting Ottoman and European architecture. For a little culture, check out the Balkan capital of Skopje for its Old Bazaar region and stunning architecture. Afterwards, you should check out the Macedonian city of Ohrid with its vast lake and castle. Here, you’ll find the newly launched High Scardus Trail, a 500km trek along the mountains of the area. There are also some beaches, the picturesque Galičica National Park, and a range of sports to participate in. Other Macedonian places of interest include the popular ski slopes of Pelister National Park. Don’t miss the wine country of Tikveš for its excellent wines, tours, and tastings.
I may be a little biased, having lived in Vancouver for two and a half years, but it’s a wonderful city that everyone should explore. With a glorious blend of mountains, forests, ocean, and city, it’s a self-confessed nature’s playground. The turquoise glass of the city’s skyscrapers are framed by the mountains of the North Shore. This shows you just how integrated with nature the city is. In under an hour, visitors can travel from the heart of the city to the peak of a mountain for skiing or snowboarding. As the birthplace of Greenpeace, Vancouver has been leading sustainability, with its Greenest City 2020 Action Plan set to make it a top travel destination for 2020. Surely this will only make it even more beautiful than it already is.
Things to do in Vancouver include cycling the seawall through beautiful Stanley Park. Here, you can get a glance over the best this west coast city has to offer. Who knows, you may even get to see a blockbuster movie being filmed in so-called Hollywood North. Each of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods are unique, from hipster Chinatown to the cobbles of historic Gastown with its iconic steam clock. Don’t miss Granville Island Public Market with its varied array of delicious foods and locally produced arts and crafts. For something a little more adventurous, take the Grouse Grind. Here, you climb the North Shore mountain for amazing views over the city and beyond.
As the country set to be Africa’s pioneering Capital of Culture for 2020, Morocco is currently enjoying its time to shine. With a rich culture and an increasing number of chic, boutique hotels popping up all over the country, it’s a top travel destination for 2020. A new wave of trendy coastal wellness and yoga retreats and surfing hotspots is also causing quite a tourism stir. Improved infrastructure across the country means it’s easier than ever to explore the country, whether by car or rail. Visitors can now travel between Casablanca and Tangier in under two hours thanks to the continent’s first high speed train. Historic medinas in various Moroccan cities from Fez to Marrakech are also getting makeovers. For this reason, there’s never been a better time to visit the Africa country.
Guests should begin their Moroccan journey in Marrakech to experience the country’s mishmash of cultural influences. Explore the medina for the incredibly colourful souks selling all kinds of exotic trinkets. The city of Casablanca is home to the iconic Hassan II Mosque, its famous landmark. Fes meanwhile boasts the stunning medina of Fes el Bali. With a blend of landscapes, Morocco additionally offers deserted beaches and deserts that can be trekked on camel rides over the Saharan dunes. The Atlas mountains are equally as fascinating and perfect for hiking or skiing.
Amazon Rainforest, Brazil
The Amazon has never been more relevant than now. This is due to the pressing conservation that’s required for Brazil to protect the rainforests. The Brazilian Amazon itself offers raw nature, with fascinating wildlife and plants that are nowhere else in the world. By visiting the Brazilian Amazon, a top travel destination for 2020, considered visits will support sustainable travel to the rainforest. This in itself will help to benefit the local communities that live in the Amazon. It will also highlight the gravity of the sustainability issue that’s on our hands.
The Amazon is the globe’s largest tropical rainforest. It features exotic plants, and incredible animal species, from reptiles to jaguars to monkeys. You’ll find these creatures among the incredible jungle and many rivers, including of course the Amazon itself. Visitors can enjoy a little ecotourism. Perhaps a jungle hike or a boat excursion through the traditional villages and meeting some of the region’s tribes. Try and time your visit to the Amazon with the yearly Boi-Bumbá festival for crazy costumes and floats.
Despite being one of Europe’s most important crossroads, only recently has Belgrade really come into its own. Beat the crowds and visit soon, as it will likely become one of the top travel destinations for 2020. Serbia’s capital city, Belgrade, boasts a relaxed cafe culture during the day, and affordable party vibes alongside the Danube by night. Even outside of Belgrade and beyond into Serbia, the country has vineyards, monasteries, and beautiful countryside to explore.
Key things to see in Belgrade include the Beograsdka Tvrđava, a fortress on the Danube. Over the years, it has brought together the Roman, Austrian, Serbian, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires. Visitors need to see Stari Grad, the oldest part of Belgrade. Here, you’ll find mansions that date back to the nineteenth century, and the bustling cafes of Knez Mihailova’s promenade. You can wander the city’s Communist-era Brutalist architecture and check out the Serbian Orthodox church of Hram Svetog Save before catching the ballet or opera at Narodno Pozorište. Finish your night by partying in one of the city’s old taverns in the Skadarlija quarter, or on a splavovi – one of the Danube’s floating nightclubs.
Torres del Paine, Chile
Chile’s Torres del Paine will always be beautiful, but there’s a special reason as to why it’s one of the top travel destinations for 2020. A huge national park with mind blowing mountain and glacier views, in December 2020, visitors are in for a huge treat. This is because there is set to be a total solar eclipse, allowing for a truly unique and rare experience. Towering above the Patagonian steppe, the Torres del Paine offer an iconic image over one of South America’s best loved national parks.
Whether or not you’re a keen hiker, the national park has landscapes from turquoise lakes to forests and blue glaciers. You’ll see all kinds of wildlife, from wandering guanacos to over a hundred species of bird. Chile’s unique national park is an incredible lifetime experience for scenery you’ll never see again, and the clearest of skies. Treat yourself to staying in an eco-camp dome for galaxy views, and enjoy delicious food and wine during your stay.
That’s my list of the top travel destinations for 2020! Where are yours? Let me know in the comments section below.