Even as we just entered a new decade, travel is becoming easier and easier each year. Broadening the mind and widening perspectives, lots of us love to spend time immersed in another culture and country when we get the chance. If your new year’s resolution is to travel more and see the world’s hotspot destinations, check out our top 20 places to visit in 2020.
But wait just a second… the first article including our first 20 recommendations is here: make sure you’ve not missed out on these amazing places to visit in 2020.
#21 Salzburg, Austria
Lonely Planet‘s TOP must-visit destination for next year is Salzburg in Austria, and it is not difficult to see why.
Salzburg makes for the perfect city break or a weekend getaway; it is a quaint romantic city with beautiful skylines, delicious Austrian food, and lively nightlife. As the birthplace to the world-famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, this is a city that is enriched by its history and culture.
The Salzburg Festival is the most popular festival of opera and concert, and it always features a breath-taking program. In 2020, the festival will be celebrating its 100th year, and it is expected to be bigger than ever!
#22 Kyoto, Japan
With its traditional tea houses and legendary cherry blossoms, Kyoto offers a snapshot into Japanese history. It is a city that is rich in culture, with tons of museums and galleries as well as centuries-old architecture and places of worship.
If you are planning a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, spring is an excellent time to visit, with the cherry blossoms in full bloom.
Kyoto is a magical place to stay awhile – its not for nothing that it features among our favorite cities worldwide!
#23 South Island, New Zealand
The adventure capital of the world, New Zealand offers breath-taking landscapes, dramatic scenery, and otherworldly charm. The South Island is exemplary of the stunning geographical diversity of the country, with a total of ten national parks. It is also home to New Zealand’s largest mountains, as well as the largest glaciers in the entire nation.
There is so much to see and do, and many choose to visit the area to get involved with action and adventure sports, including bungee jumping, skydiving, mountain climbing and so much more. We whole heartedly recommend a boat trip to see Milford Sound up close, and it’s here where you’ll discover some of the best views on the island.
For anyone interested in traveling to New Zealand, you HAVE to check out these TOP 10 travel destinations in New Zealand! We bet you didn’t know about the beautiful glowworm caves in Waitomo (and OMG… it’s one of the 12 coolest places on earth you have to see TOO? Well, what d’you know!).
#24 Costa Rica
From volcanoes to dense rainforests, to miles of sandy beaches, Costa Rica has to be one of the continent’s most beautiful countries.
Committed to protecting the environment, Costa Rica offers world-class conservation and an abundance of wildlife, flora, and fauna, making for a more conscious travel choice. Did you know that around 27% of the area of Costa Rica is protected?
And if you’re searching for the perfect way to spend your evenings, Puerto Viejo offers delicious food local to the area and an excellent party scene with live reggae music to boot! Other cool places in Costa Rica to slow down are in Monteverde and Santa Elena.
Offering an arctic adventure like no other, Greenland is fast becoming a popular tourist destination for those who like to keep things chilled.
If you enjoy hitting the slopes or playing in the snow, Greenland offers skiing, sledding, kayaking, snowboarding and so much more. Only 18.9% of this country is not covered by an ice cap – this is a country with a dramatic frozen landscape like no other.
Plus, if you are really lucky, you may even have the chance to spot the awe-inspiring Aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights – more on that later!
But if you are looking for a break from the Arctic Circle, Nuuk is the capital of the country and makes a great alternative. Be aware that there are no roads between each town though and you are usually advised to fly directly to your destination though.
#26 Kolhumadulu Atoll, the Maldives
Also known as Thaa Atoll, this area consists of 66 islands. There is only one resort in this location and it’s an area that is very much unspoiled by tourism.
There is lots of history to be discovered around the islands including the grave of Sultan Osman I and the ruins of the palace of Mohammed Imaaduddeen II, the founder of one of the Maldives’ longest-ruling families.
Along with its white sands and clear waters, diverse marine life means that Thaa Atoll is also the perfect location to try scuba diving. You will have the chance to spot so many different colorful species, including manta rays, sharks, surgeonfish and so much more.
The Maldives romance and luxury in the flesh! Of course, it’s not the cheapest destination but if you’re feeling like surprising your sweetheart with a romantic trip (maybe for next Valentine’s Day?) then you should definitely bring this to the table!
#27 Egadi Islands, Sicily
In part 1 of our TOP 40 places to visit in 2020 we already mentioned Sicily as an amazing spot to see next year. But we just HAD to highlight the attraction of the Egadi Islands extra, which are, incidentally, easily accessible from the mainland Sicily. Backpacking, anyone?
Also known as the Aegadian Islands, this must-visit holiday destination is just off the coast of Trapani. These islands are simply ideal for a relaxing holiday!
With beautiful white beaches, delicious Italian cuisine, and a warm and friendly atmosphere, the Egadi Islands are also rich in history and culture.
#28 Goa, India
With beautiful golden sandy beaches and clear waters, Goa offers a dazzling beauty like nowhere else.
An amalgamation of Indian and Portuguese culture, it is a popular holiday destination which welcomes many million visitors per year.
Once known as the hippie paradise of India, Goa is a center of spirituality, with retreats throughout the state. It also has a vibrant nightlife and ranks amongst the top ten cities in the world for its after-dark scene.
#29 California, the United States
Californian Gurls may be undeniable (it’s Katy Perry people, keep up), but what exactly is so special about California itself that it’s one of our favorite places to visit in 2020?
To be fair, as one of the largest, most populous and most diverse states in America, it’s not THAT surprising that it’s got so much to offer a curious traveler like yourself.
For starters, lying smack in the Pacific region of America and boasting a coveted mediterranean climate, it’s hardly unpleasant to spend time in! Which is handy since California happens to be home to some veeeery nice beaches.
Besides this array of beaches, you’ve got Glacier Point, Death Valley National Park and Golden Gate bridge to name just a few major attractions.
- Glacier Point: Rising a whopping 7214 feet above sea-level, this spectacular sight practically BEGS you to bring your Insta game with you. And it’s not too hard to get to either.
- Death Valley National Park: Clue’s in the name – this place certainly offers a harsh (but incredibly beautiful) landscape to explore.
- Golden Gate Bridge: It’s golden, it’s a bridge. Fabulous photo opportunity right there. So make sure to take a detour on your way to check out San Francisco.
Plus … Disneyland.
(BTW, anyone interested in discovering more of America, check out its coolest cities first!)
#30 Bali, Indonesia
SO MANY BEACHES. Reason enough for its spot among our top places to visit in 2020. Wanna know something even cooler? Many of the beaches on the north and west side of the island have black sand… It’s formed with help from Bali’s (still active) volcano, Mount Agung – or Mother Mountain for those of you in the know. Basically Lava meets water and creates basalt fragments small enough to be considered sand. Crazy!
It’s situated in the Lesser Sunda islands of Indonesia, but there is nothing ‘lesser’ about this destination.
Average temperatures of 30°C (86°F) could almost fool you into thinking beach time is all year round, but we recommend you stick to the months between May and October – the dry season. Fair warning though, this is also the most expensive time to travel to Bali.
Once you’re here though, you can keep your expenses to a minimum – while enjoying Bali to the max. Try amazing local food at restaurants called ‘warungs’ – like ‘asi goreng’ (fried rice) for a smaller price tag.
And by the way, if you travel stomach first, check out these 9 vegan friendly cities for foodies – we promise they’re amazing for vegans and non-vegans alike!
Bonus: Bali is well known for its artistic culture – so our tip for sustainable travel is to remember to put money back into the local community where possible – by buying art from local artists rather than big foreign companies for instance!
In part I of our top 40 places to go in 2020 we already mentioned Berlin as one of the fave places of this year. And fair enough – this multicultural city has a great culinary scene, the flea markets are awesome and, of course, the crazy nightlife offers a lot.
But let’s talk about other super cool and rather more relaxed places in Germany (because there are a lot!).
If you are here in summer the Baltic Sea is where you could spend your sunny days! There are great islands with beautiful beaches, for example, Rügen (Germanys biggest island). There are also inhabited and uninhabited islands, and bays which are not that crowded. Warnemünde, Kiel and Lübeck are among some other interesting places near the coast.
But Germany also has cool city trips to offer: think Hamburg with its famous harbor or Freiburg with its sunny and almost Mediterranean climate (plus a really great cycle path making a good day trip opportunity through the Breisgau region). Other beautiful cities are Cologne, Munich (and Berlin obviously!).
Did you know that Germany is a perfect country to travel with the whole family? The 600 kilometers long fairytale road from Hanau to Bremen will show you and your kids a lot of attractions from the Brothers Grimm fairytale. Super exciting!
At the risk of getting overly nerdy on you, here’s a couple of impressive facts. Norway ranks both highly on the inequality-adjusted HDI AND the Global Peace Index. Last year (2019), it even ranked amongst the top 10 on the World Happiness Report.
And it’s no less impressive in terms of geography. Here’s a little hint: its various climates and its position of the Gulf Stream mean it has some completely insane weather anomalies.
Places to for the bucket list include:
- Pulpit Rock which, rising 600 meters above the water below, has awesome views. Hard to get to though.
- Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf in Bergen with its brightly colored houses and historic roots promises an enticing visit.
- North Cape, the northernmost point of Europe, with a 307 meter high cliff which rises high above Barents Sea. Also the PERFECT place to see the Northern Lights.
- Tromsø is also a great choice – both for the Northern Lights and the city itself.
Check out this forecast to see if the magical Aurora is likely to appear while you’re here!
P.S. Norway also features on our list of the 12 coolest places – in the world…
#33 New York, United States
This one featuring as one of the best places to visit in 2020 won’t come as a surprise to anyone. The Big Apple is the metropolis that promises it all: impressive high rises, vast expanses of green in Central Park, not to mention the real-life scenes from the likes of Gossip Girl and Friends.
But you’ll soon realize there’s more to NYC than Times Square (admittedly – impressive), the Empire State building and the Statue of Liberty.
A walk on top of the old converted High Line (now the Elevated Park) is an absolute must for anyone wanting to see the city from above.
Do we have a couple of other tricks for the savvy traveler, you ask? Why yes…
- The Empire State Building isn’t the only way to see the city from spectacular heights. A high rise hotel bar on the top floor will offer similar views with the bonus of including that famous building itself in its panorama.
- Beware the tourist traps. You don’t need to pay for a boat trip around the Statue of Liberty – there’s a perfectly good, FREE ferry which cruises right by this French lady on its way to Ellis Island.
We don’t think it’ll surprise anyone to see New York is one of the best shopping destinations for Christmas – but where else features..? Find out now!
It’s legendary for its friendly citizens, maple syrup obsession and an oddly prominent love of hockey. Yep, Canada is one of our places to visit in 2020.
As one of the largest countries by mass, Canada’s terrain and climate varies massively throughout the country. It also means that Canada has some awesome – and very varied – national parks.
Take Gros Morne National Park for example. Its ancient rocks have helped geologists discover how the oceans and continents alike were formed, and it’s a paradise for biology-lovers too. Wildlife features moose, giant whales and black bears, just to mention a few.
But if you’re hoping for more of an urban landscape, consider traveling to Montreal. It’s full of French influence – right down to its very own Notre-Dame.
The perfect time to visit Brazil is… now! Okay, let’s say that the perfect month is maybe February or march. Why? In Brazil, it’s getting loco during the time of Carnival!
In Rio de Janeiro especially, you’ll join one of the best parties worldwide if you decide to join in with Carnival. Known as the biggest festival worldwide, Samba dancers with colorful costumes and drummers await you, creating an amazing musical atmosphere in the Sambadrome. But the whole city goes crazy during these six days. It’s not just the Sambradome promising a huuuuge party but the streets too are full of the rhythms of the samba-enredo, samba de bloco and marchinha.
Other cities which celebrate the Carnival in Brazil include: São Paulo, Vitória, Recife or Salvador and other places.
But it’s not just the carnival that will convince you to visit Brazil. Imagine the many many different landscapes that the fifth biggest country worldwide has to offer: Large coasts with beaches, desert-like regions, the Amazon and many awe-inspiring waterfalls (for example the Iguazú waterfalls).
This is one of the most diverse places in the world and NEEDS a visit!
#36 Dublin, Ireland
In part 1 of the 40 best travel destinations for 2020 we mentioned Galway in Ireland. This beautiful place will become the 2020 European Capital of Culture. Pretty impressive, right? But we’re not done…
Not far away (around two and a half hours by car) you can reach Dublin, the capital city of Ireland. It’s definitely one of the most romantic cities -with its quaint brick buildings, galleries and laid-back charm you and your significant other will have the time of your life (something for the Valentine’s Day perhaps!?).
#37 Cornwall, England
It’s not just the best place to get a pastry in the whole of England (controversial, we know) – Cornwall has a little more going on then you’d think. This coastal town sits on the English channel and the Celtic Sea and possesses a (chilly) rocky beauty.
Poldark fans will be happy to know that they’re earily able to follow in Ross’ footsteps by taking the three day tour outlined here. And, to be honest, even if you have no idea what or who we’re talking about here, the tour is still worth doing simply for the beautiful landscapes it will take you through!
Head to St Ives or Falmouth (second largest natural harbour IN THE WORLD by the way) to see some classic English architecture and get closer to the history of the place.
So if you’re here for more than a good old fashioned Cornish pasty, you’re in luck.
Cuba is definitely one of our favorites when it comes to vacation feeling! Where do we even start? Their hospitality, the cool parties or the amazing beaches?
Let’s start with Havanna and the old town Habana Vieja. Here especially you’ll find vibrant buildings typical of the country and Salsa music in the streets to lull you. What’s more, you’ll have the possibility to drink cocktails at any street corner. Another really cool aspect are the live bands playing inside many bars and restaurants. Picture this, you’re eating and drinking, and you get this amazing extra on top! One of the best experiences EVER..
A few hours away from Havanna you’ll reach the Viñales valley, here you can take walks through the tropical landscapes and discover small huts and farms.
And since we’re now in ‘Cuba-vacaciones’ mode let’s talk about the beaches here: white sand and crystal-clear turqouise water is already inviting, but an extra are the little peaceful bays. One of our faves is Cayo Jutias (oh hello… postcard potential!)
The conclusion: Vamos… Cuba is definitely a bucket list must-have!
#39 Praia da Ursa, Portugal
This one is an Instagram fave. Why? The landscape is just so incredible! Think about a silent, almost lost beach and spectacular rock formations. Add some sun and a good book. Equals fabulous.
But, let’s just say.. the journey is not the easiest: from Lisbon, you can take the train (which takes 45 minutes) to Sintra, a smaller city (by car you’ll need 30 minutes). Once you arrive there you can visit the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park including the Sintra mountains. The park is approximately 145 km².
To reach the Praia da Ursa you need to head towards Cabo da Roca. Make sure that you are okay to walk a little way since the journey is not always easy.
Other cool (although more crowded) places: Praia da Adraga, Praia das Maçãs and Praia do Magoito.
#40 TOP Places to visit in 2020? It’s your call.
Like part I of the TOP 40 places to visit in 2020, we’re asking you for your top recommendation.
We love to know what you think – what destinations you like? What did you see? What did you like (or what didn’t you!)?
Happy vacationing 🙂