My travel wish list: the best destinations for 2020
Updated: Dec 30, 2019
From Lonely Planet to National Geographic: my favorites
My mailbox has been overflowing with must-do destinations 2020 overviews and lists the last few weeks, one more appealing than the other. I picked out the most controversial and personal favorites for you. The list of lists is here!
1. The Silk Route (Lonely Planet)
The Silk Road, an impressive trip through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and China. For centuries, the Silk Road was the connection between east and west, from classical antiquity to the late Middle Ages. A network of caravan routes through Central Asia where trade was conducted between China and eastern Asia and the Middle East with the Mediterranean Sea. Ancient cities, busy bazaars and vast untouched landscapes attract more and more adventurers to these regions every year. A number of countries such as Uzbekistan now also offer visa-free access for a large amount of visitors and transport and infrastructure are becoming increasingly modern thanks to the China's Belt and Road Initiative. The modern version of the Silk Route is more accessible than ever.
2. Cádiz Spain (Lonely Planet)
Cadiz is a Spanish city that has everything to offer: beach, culture, history and good food. But ... I haven't been there yet, how is that even possible?!
You can start your trip with a visit to the impressive cathedral where baroque and rococo influences completely take you in or the wonderful castle of San Sebastián. For lunch you go to the market where you can enjoy a plate of paella, fresh shrimps included of course! You can effortlessly switch from cultural activities to strolling on the beach. La Caleta beach for example is located in the center. This is, according to connoisseurs, the place to be to enjoy the sunset that sets the Gulf of Cádiz in a sweet orange glow. City trip meets beach vacation in Cádiz!
3. Egypt (National Geographic and Forbes)
The Grand Egyptian Museum - the largest archaeological museum in the world - will open to the general public in 2020 and the exhibits will contain thousands of ancient Egyptian artifacts that have never been exposed before. Egypt has been on my travel wish list for a long time, so what am I actually waiting for?
According to National Geographic, Abu Simbel is the place in the deep south of Egypt for a private audience with Ramses II. This pharaoh brought his country to a height of economic and cultural prosperity which you can tell by the temple complex.
Abu Simbel includes two large stone Egyptian temples on the western shore of Lake Nasser. Ramses II had them carved in the 13th century BC. Did you know that the entire complex was completely relocated for the Nasserdam in the 1960s?
4. El Hierro - Canary Island (National Geographic)
I have been to Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote on several occasions and I know that this island group is much more than just beaches, garlic bread and cheap perfumes. Even these tourist hot spots still have hidden gems. El Hierro takes it one step further and has so far remained under the tourist radar.
El Hierro is a UNESCO biosphere reserve of where a mountainous island with 500 volcanoes and the grim character of the landscape can count on much enthusiasm from the seasoned traveler. Think long walks through beautiful pine forests, to places that can be reached only on foot.
Hard winds draw the landscape at El Sabinar, where hundreds of juniper trees give their surroundings their strange shapes. The waters around the island are also richly filled and are perfect for an extensive diving holiday.
© Turismo de Canarias 2015
5. Slovenia (Condé Nast Traveler and Forbes)
With its ideal location between mountainous Austria and Italy, flatter Hungary and the Adriatic Sea, Slovenia looks like a melting pot of the best this area has to offer. From high mountains, over dreamy lakes to a beautiful coastline.
Slovenia is also a destination for water sports enthusiasts. The country has countless rivers where you can swim or go fishing. Rafting and kayaking are also very popular here. Culture and city lovers can enjoy vibrant Ljubljana while in Mirabor, the foodie has free rein in the vineyards and wineries there. Cheers!
6. Tel Aviv - Israel (Forbes)
Tourism in Israel is booming! In the first half of 2019 they wrote down 1.9 million travelers compared to the 1.75 million curious souls in 2018.
Its most interest attraction being Jerusalem where tourist search for all biblical stories and discover the history of our civilization. The modern adventurer seems to be drawn to Tel Aviv as well. Here you will find yourself in a bustling city where you will be bombarded with uber trendy restaurants and bars, you can party until the early hours and enjoy a kilometer-long sandy beach. From there on, day trips to the Dead Sea, the ruins of Massada, Bethlehem and the historic city of Jericho are the better options.
7. Lake District Chili (Suitcase magazine)
Connoisseurs may call this part of Chile the best the country has to offer. Where volcanoes and lakes fight for your attention, as it were.
The Chilean lake area, or Lake District, is located halfway through the 5,000 kilometer long country. In Puerto Varas you can enjoy the view of the Osorno volcano and visit the Vicente Pérez Rosales park. In the Villarica National Park even the hardened trekkers find a scenic climax. That the Lake District is sometimes overlooked by travelers makes it all that little bit more interesting, doesn't it?
8. Galway, Ireland (Suitcase magazine)
Galwat? Perhaps this city does not ring a bell (yet), but in 2020 the lesser-known but bustling Galway will receive the honor of being the European Capital of Culture.
The city is really buzzing with energy and creativity. There is a kind of festive mood all year round. Some come for the live performances in the picturesque pubs, others join the highly acclaimed Galway International Arts Festival every year.
There is also no shortage of fantastic eateries, bistros and exclusive restaurants. From Michelin-starred restaurants to traditional fish & chips - a favorite with locals and tourists alike. And somewhere in between are the trendy culinary pubs and coffee bars of course.
Tired of the city? Near Galway you will find the most beautiful nature in Ireland. We are talking about the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, the Aran Islands and the rugged beauty of Connemara. Only a day trip away from this boho chic party town.
9. Armenia (Suitcase magazine)
The location of this country alone is interesting. Geographically, Armenia belongs to Asia, but from a cultural and historical point of view it regards itself as a European country. This makes the country a cradle of culture and history. Witness the many monasteries, castles and impressive stone crosses.
My favorite on my wish list? Ararat! This province is located in the west of the country, on the border with Turkey. From the steep rocks at the Saghmosavank Monastery you have a phenomenal view of a gorge, carved by the river Kasagh. Khor Virap then again, is 100 meters from the Turkish-Armenian border with the impressive mountain Ararat sitting in the background.
10. Guyana (on almost every 2020 travel list)
A South American background, a colonial past and close to the Caribbean. These seem to me the perfect ingredients for a dream trip !? Yet not many travelers have discovered this country.
Guyana is a land of many waters where a great deal of the jungle has not been explored yet, where one waterfall is even more beautiful than the other and where a mysterious haze of folklore and a vibrant indigenous culture linger. On the border with Venezuela and Brazil lies an impressive mountain where climbers can make the best hiking trips. One day you look for a giant anteater, the next day you enjoy the panoramic views of the Savannah and the villages at sunrise. Breathtaking!
The best from the rest: Dominica (on my wish list like forever), Guatemala (visited in 2018, Oman (was one of my destinations to watch in 2019), South-Tyrol (visited in 2019), Sri Lanka (was one of my destinations to watch in 2019), and of course Japan (for obvious and less obvious reasons). And many more!