Let’s look at what the experts are recommending as the top travel destinations for this new year. I perused seven lists to come up with a consensus and discovered that for 2020 the field is wide open. All of the sources drew information from a network of experienced travelers and writers for a collection of 178 must see places. (Don’t worry, I won’t highlight all 178.) There is something for everyone whether you like to enjoy nice resorts, sample local cuisine, immerse yourself in nature or in culture and museums.
The bottom line is get out there and explore the world. We’re here to help with information and inspiration. One author reminded us that it was fairytale guru Hans Christian Andersen who said, “To travel is to live.”
- Conde Nast Traveler
- Forbes (with 2 lists including budget travel locations)
- Harper’s Bazaar (check out the digital magazine with your library card)
- Lonely Planet
- National Geographic (check out the digital magazines with your library card)
- Travel+Leisure (check out the digital magazine with your library card)
The following places received the most mentions.
With the 2020 Summer Olympics coming up, there are numerous new hotels and restaurants opening. Many of the recommendations also mentioned the history and culture. Specific areas touted were Kanto, Kyoto, Nikko and Tohoku. Reviewers comments included descriptions like “a broad swath of history as well as a beautiful natural setting” and “the whole effect is one of simplicity and understatement.” About Tohoku, “…emerging as a breath of fresh air for the crowd-weary adventurous visitor…”
There are many things to recommend this country especially the areas of Kochi, Madhya Pradesh, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. Besides exotic settings like palaces and fairytale architecture, there are beautiful mountains and forests, wildlife (think tiger-spotting), the arts, history and a solar-powered airport. Of Kochi Lonely Planet said, “this city keeps a tight grip on its heritage while wholeheartedly embracing its new found cool.” National Geographic said, “the oldest European settlement in India is gaining notice as a buzzing new arts hub.”
Recently relaxed visa requirements and the desire to improve its reputation since the Olympics made this destination popular. Of particular mention are the Brazilian Amazon (the natural world at it purest and home to some of the world’s rarest plants and animals), Bahia with its rich Afro-Brazilian heritage and Rio de Janeiro. One reviewer said about Rio de Janeiro, “I fell in love with its friendly, laid-back people, the gorgeous beaches and the intoxicating rhythms of samba and bossanova…”
Canada is long known for its pristine wilderness and natural world. The Canadian Arctic has places man has not walked upon for more than 500 years. Other attractions mentioned are the vineyards of Kelowna, British Columbia, the harp seal nursery of Magdalen Islands and the Acadian culture and history of New Brunswick.
Popular places in this vast and intimidating country include Beijing, which has seen a surge of new developments. In the Forbidden City, the historic Qianlong Garden will be opening for the first time ever. Forbes contributor Alexandra Talty said, “Being one of China’s largest cities, I thought it would come at a hefty price but it was way more affordable that I thought it would be.” Other areas mentioned are Guizhou, the Silk Road and Songyang County (a rural area that has quietly become an architecture lover’s dream.)
The areas of Cadiz and Asturias are highlighted for gastronomic triumphs. Referring to Asturias one reviewer said, “…nowhere else in Spain can you find so many flavors, such incredible variety, in such a small area.” The Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago, drew raves for their beaches, mountains, diversity of ecosystems and walking trails. Starting in Spain and moving into Portugal, Douro River cruises are a popular new thing that’s gaining momentum.