If you’re trying to get over the winter blues, planning your next holiday can be the perfect way to escape. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, there’s plenty to choose from. This year’s list of top ten counties to visit from Lonely Planet could be just the inspiration you need.
So, without further ado, here are the top destinations for 2020.
Until recently, Bhutan was rarely visited or talked about among tourists. But that’s slowly changing. Even now, the Himalayan country carefully restricts the number of tourists. It results in an exceptional experience for those that make the journey. You can expect to walk mountain trails, visit monasteries and take in the culture without the crowds you’d expect in other destinations. With strict rules around preserving nature and the way of life, the beauty of Bhutan is set to remain. It’s a unique destination that really does give you an opportunity to escape.
You don’t even have to set foot on a plane to see amazing sights. Taking spot two this year is England. It’s easy to overlook what our own country offers tourists but from stunning landscapes to historical buildings, England’s got a lot to offer and a staycation could be perfect for 2020. One of the key reasons England makes it on to Lonely Planet’s list is the coastline. The England Coast Path continues to open up this year, which will create the longest continuous trail of its kind in the world at 3,000 miles. Why not make plans to explore part of it in 2020?
3. North Macedonia
The tiny nation of North Macedonia in the Balkans is ideal if you’re looking for natural beauty. The stunning Lake Ohrid and the historic town on its shores has already made a stamp on the map for tourists. But there’s plenty more if you stray off the usual track. The national parks offering quiet walking trails and beautiful views. The country has a rich and fascinating Greek, Roman and Ottoman heritage to explore if you’re a keen history and culture buff too.
Keen to head to an island paradise this year? Aruba might be just what you’re looking for. Located in the southern Caribbean Sea, it has, as you’d expect, pristine beaches and palm trees. For relaxation, it’s perfect. For when you’re ready to get off the sun lounger, there are plenty of activities to try, such as diving and snorkelling, whilst the towns can provide a festival atmosphere to enjoy day or night, particularly in the unique city of San Nicolas, which is just a short trip away from the compact capital of Oranjestad.
Formally known as Swaziland, eSwatini is packed with culture and adventure. However, one of the biggest draws to visiting this country in 2020 is the impressive wildlife. Visit one of the wildlife reserves and you have a chance to encounter all the big five – elephants, rhinoceros, leopards, buffaloes and lions. If a safari is on your bucket list, eSwatini is an excellent place to plan a holiday. For those looking for an adrenaline rush, there’s plenty on offer, such as rafting and ziplining, whilst the lively local culture will completely immerse you during your stay here.
6. Costa Rica
Another top destination for wildlife is Costa Rica. For a small country, Costa Rica has incredible diversity that can be explored across its rainforest waterways and palm-lined beaches. If you’re looking for a laid-back trip, the beaches, spas and towns are ideal. If you’re hoping to get active, the lively town of San Jose can provide a great base, plus you can walk up volcanoes and take part in adrenaline-filled activities too. Whatever your holiday style, be sure to plan some time exploring this slice of tropical paradise.
7. The Netherlands
Not too far from home, the Netherlands is a great destination if you’re looking for a short break but there’s enough to do across the country if you’re hoping to get away for longer. Amsterdam, of course, has long been a vibrant city on the list of many travel lovers. Mixing the traditional and the new, the Netherlands is an excellent destination to explore, especially by bike. Boasting more than 35,000 km of cycling paths, you can get out of the city and find lesser-known attractions without having to worry about public transport or hiring a car too.
Situated in West Africa, Liberia is still a little-known tourist destination but there are two big reasons to visit here. First, there are beaches that are perfect for relaxing and surfing. Then there are the lush, dense forests that are home to an abundance of wildlife. The Sapo National Park is known as one of the best in South Africa and is home to chimpanzees, forest elephants and the famous pygmy hippos. If you’re a fan of shopping, the bustling markets are the place to head for souvenirs to take home with you.
Morocco is known as the gateway to Africa and it’s steeped in history to explore. It’s an excellent choice if you’re a fan of delving into a new culture and the history of a destination. Ancient Medinas, think historic city centres, are places where you can spend hours exploring, sampling the food and sipping coffee in a street café as you watch the world go by. Marrakesh, which is Africa’s first Capital of Culture in 2020, is a vibrant place to consider but so too are other cities, including Fez, Tetouan and Essaouira.
Finally, we head to South America with Uruguay. Located between Brazil and Argentina, it’s the continents smallest country. You can choose between cosmopolitan areas with plenty of attractions for tourists, picturesque coasts and vibrant areas to party in the evenings. But don’t forget to take a step off the beaten track to go wildlife watching and view the natural beauty of Uruguay too.