It’s the dawn of a new year and also the start of a brand new decade – 2020 means you’ve got a blank slate of exciting opportunities right in your lap. And while you’re busy reading every wrap-up list and recommendation slideshow that comes your way, here’s one more to bookmark for reference all year long!
We compared what our friends across the Internet are saying about where to go and what to do in 2020, and asked our resident Travel Experts for their hot take as well. What we’ve put together is a no-nonsense, wanderlust-filled list of standout countries that will bring new adventures, meaningful experiences and no regrets for you this year.
So, without further adieu, here are seven travel destinations that promise you an unforgettable 2020.
It’s been a couple of years now that people have been talking about Bhutan and for good reason. The country proudly boasts a nearly untouched natural landscape that will stun even the most well-travelled among us. Already the world’s only carbon-negative country, taking a breath of fresh air means something entirely different in Bhutan.
Nestled tightly in the Himalayas, you’ll find plenty of mountain trails capable of delivering you some awe-inspiring views, like those of Paro Taktsang – also known as Tiger Nest – it’s an iconic sacred Buddhist monastery that sits cliffside. There’s also the chance to see ornate palaces from as far back as the 17th century and national parks that are home to rare and exotic wildlife like the Himalayan black bear and red panda.
If you’re hoping to make 2020 the year for some spiritual respite, a visit to the world’s real-life Shangri-La is in order. Find a place where escaping it all is part of the package and choose Bhutan for your next tour. You’ll be apart of a small but intrepid list of travellers who’ve been privileged enough to cross this one off the list.
See Also: Our 10 best 2020 tours to Bhutan
As the country gears up to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, there are even more reasons to make this year the one where you finally step foot into the Land of the Rising Sun. We love Japan for its historic atmosphere and magnificent natural landscapes and you will too!
There’s an endless collection of experiences that cater to everyone’s unique holiday requirements. If you’re keen to finally “reach new heights” consider visiting in summer and trekking the famous Mount Fuji. Or perhaps you want to time your visit with winter so you can enjoy the world-class slopes of Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands or loosen up those muscles in a famous hot spring-like Jozankei Onsen.
Of course, there are also the classics to enjoy. Cities like Tokyo and Kyoto never fail to astound visitors from around the world with their balance of modernity and tradition. Pair all this with a culinary scene that isn’t just sushi and sake, and you’ve got a country that celebrates the curious amongst us.
Keen to visit in 2020? Take a look at hundreds of tours that include experiences like overnight stays in mountain monasteries and cooking classes in the country’s capital.
See Also: Our 10 best 2020 tours to Japan
Mainstream travellers started catching on to Morocco as a bucket list destination a few years ago but we’re certain 2020 will solidify it as the tourism juggernaut it deserves to be. So let’s make a list of what’s calling to us in Morocco, the unofficial gateway to Africa!
As foodies, one of the reasons we love Morocco is because of its hearty regional dishes (like tajine) and flavourful spices. However, there are also epic outdoor adventures awaiting travellers in places like the High Atlas Mountains, and surfers who spend their holiday catching waves will find unexpected beach paradises like Essaouria.
The countryside also offers opportunities to spend time with the Berbers, descendants of the pre-Arab inhabitants of North Africa. Join a tour, and you’ll find yourself introduced to local Berber communities. With a translator in tow you can easily learn about their culture, language, history and traditions.
And last but not least, see what makes cities like Casablanca and Fez so iconic. From their maze-like medinas – where shopping for souvenirs is on an entirely different level – to tanneries that date back to the 16th century, history comes to life in Morocco and the time to embrace its charms is here.
See Also: Our 10 best 2020 tours to Morocco
If you’re hoping to reconnect with nature this year, Costa Rica is the answer. It’s where tropical backgrounds are the norm, as is exotic wildlife, robust coffee flavours and the relaxing wellness retreats waiting for travellers beachside.
Lock eyes with a toucan or monkey while exploring the dreamy cloud forest region of the country in Monteverde. Stroll across suspension bridges up in the forest canopy and find yourself completely and utterly face-to-face with Mother Nature while discovering the biodiversity of one of earth’s most beautiful places.
And also perfectly on theme with a nature-filled holiday is the country’s own sustainability efforts. Currently, 90% of Costa Rica’s energy is created by renewable sources, and they’re on track to become one of the first carbon-neutral countries this year. Play your part by choosing to spend vacation time in a country that’s going above and beyond to make a difference to our global climate crisis.
Just in case activities like hiking volcanoes, surfing and zip-lining through lush hilltops isn’t your thing, Costa Rica is also home to cities tailor-made for an escape. In San Jose, spring-like weather conditions are more or less eternal, and Puerto Viego is a colourful party town for anyone wanting to let loose. While there’s something for everyone in Costa Rica, the natural beauty and jungle life definitely come first place.
See Also: Our 10 best 2020 tours to Costa Rica
If you’re keen to see a bit of Europe this year but find yourself short on time, Ireland is your new best friend. Easily enjoyed in under a week, the Emerald Isle is full of pursuits that balance adventure, nature and history with ease. Of course, one visit won’t be enough, but you’ll be able to cross off more than a few must-sees.
The only road trip you’ll need for 2020 is along the Wild Atlantic Way, a 2,500 km route that you can tackle in parts during your first visit. Embrace the elements along this sprawling route and enjoy discovering small-town life, coastal landscapes and secluded beaches across the country.
So, what do you think? Is your year ready for a dose of green and a healthy serving of Guinness? Just remember that in Ireland the weather is always a bit unpredictable – you’ll need to keep that in mind no matter what time of year you visit. That being said, spring is a safe bet for sunny and temperate conditions, so it makes perfect sense to prioritize your visit for the first half of the new year.
And the sooner you visit, the faster you can start conquering your resolutions. Just make sure your trip itinerary includes a stop at the Blarney Castle where the famed Blarney Stone is located. As the legend goes, those who hang upside down and lay their lips on the stone is bestowed the gift of gab, which will help to ensure you get everything you want and more out of 2020.
See Also: Our 10 best tours in 2020 to Ireland
There is so much more to the United Kingdom than Brexit or London, so let’s make this the year you finally discover everything this island nation has to offer. Encompassing England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the UK is home to some of history’s greatest minds and most significant moments.
But what can you expect from to see on a trip here? How about rolling green hills, understated small towns and glimmering coastlines made even more magical thanks to the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a lot to see and do, and while you’ll be hard-pressed to fit it all into one trip, we promise that no matter what you include on your itinerary, it will take you by surprise.
From underground attractions in Wales (ancient cave dwellings, anyone?) to Scotland’s Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle, the UK is where history, legend and nature come together for your best journey yet.
Maybe you’ve read through our list and find yourself at an impasse, so many amazing places, so little time – how are you meant to choose? Lucky for you we’ve saved (one of) the best for last and this one’s a destination that’s prime for nature enthusiasts, tango-lovers and foodies alike. Say hello to Argentina!
Home to one of the world’s most impressive networks of waterfalls, Argentina is teeming with extraordinary natural wonders that put travellers in the centre of it all. For example, visitors to the Argentina side of Iguazu Falls can enjoy kilometres of trails that will take you in and out of lush forests and within arm’s reach of the waterfalls themselves.
If you’re in search of something a little cooler, then Glaciar Perito Moreno will not disappoint. You can witness the soaring beauty of this glacier in Los Glaciares National Park. And thanks to the park’s extended network of steel catwalks and platforms, Perito Moreno is one of the world’s most impressive and accessible glaciers.
You want a city escape with fiery music, and experimental takes on classic dishes, Buenos Aires, the country’s capital, is an essential stop on your 2020 adventures. Argentinians know their way around beef, and their steaks will wow your tastebuds. You can end your night in Buenos Aires by visiting a tango bar and working off your dinner in a flurry of dance moves taught to you by local experts.
Oh and if you also like your holidays to include world-class wine, that won’t be a problem here – just head to Mendoza (Argentina’s wine country). You can learn how the grapes are grown and cared for in the thick of it all. We promise once you’re walking alongside the farmers, hearing their stories firsthand, a glass of Malbec will taste all the more satisfying.
Another perfect destination for the traveller who wants to see and do it all in 2020, Lonely Planet calls Argentina a “cocktail of wanderlust,” and if you look a little closer, it’s easy to understand why. Get a taste of it for yourself on tour this year.
See Also: Our 10 best tours in 2020 to Argentina
So what do you think of our list? Were there any surprises you weren’t expecting? Are we missing a destination you feel deserves to be in the spotlight this year? Tell us in the comments! In the meantime, we’ll be planning our own perfect 2020 trip by finding the right tour on TourRadar.