If you’re looking for travel inspiration for 2020, Lonely Planet is a great place to start. The team at Lonely Planet have asked their writers, editors and their social media network to find out the best places to visit.
Now, the travel experts have released their ‘top 10 countries to visit in 2020’. Here’s the full list – and number two may surprise you.
Located deep in the Himalayas, Bhutan is one of the least visited countries in the world. Part of the reason for this is that the nation keeps strict control on its tourism by limiting the number of visitors and by charging a daily fee.
Enjoy walking mountain trails and taking in the spectacular landscapes and Dzongs (monasteries) in peace and quiet.
As the world’s only carbon-negative country, the Land of the Thunder Dragon is free from crowds and pollution and will become the world’s first fully organic nation in 2020.
England has always been a popular tourist destination, but in 2020 Lonely Planet are highlighting the continued expansion of the English Coastal Path as a reason to visit.
When completed, at almost 3,000 miles long, it will be the longest continuous trail of its kind in the world and visitors will have access to all of England’s coastline for the first time.
- North Macedonia
Previously known as simply ‘Macedonia’, this small Balkan treasure rebranded in 2018 after a decades-long quarrel with neighbours Greece.
The country has long been renowned for its cuisine, ancient traditions and nature, but Lonely Planet also highlights the addition of flight routes to UNESCO-protected Lake Ohrid and the recently launched High Scardus Trail, a 495 km trek along the region’s most dramatic peaks.
The tiny Caribbean island of Aruba is going through a colourful and creative revival, most notably in the cultural hub of San Nicolas.
As with Bhutan, Lonely Planet also highlights the country’s sustainability efforts. It is working towards a ban on single-use plastics and tackling the issue of reef destruction with a proposed ban on certain sunscreens.
Lonely Planet says: “With a flurry of new home-sharing accommodation and experiences on offer, an authentic, more affordable, and sustainable Aruba awaits among its palm-fringed and pristine beaches.”
The recently renamed Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) is one of southern Africa’s least visited destinations.
Since rebranding in 2018, the country now boasts a new international airport and infrastructure between the capital Mbabane and the conservation areas. Enjoy ziplining, white water rafting or the spectacular wildlife of the country in its parks and reserves, alongside varied and lively cultural festivals.
- Costa Rica
One of the leading destinations in the world for sustainable tourism, Costa Rica’s vast biodiversity attracts tourists keen to spot species from sloths to whales.
90% of the country’s energy is now generated from renewable sources, and it is set to join Bhutan as a carbon-neutral destination in 2020. Whether you are an adventurer or prefer something more relaxing there are activities suited to you, from hiking volcanoes to yoga retreats.
As Lonely Planet says, “the catchphrase pura vida (pure life) is more than a saying, it’s a way of life.”
- The Netherlands
2020 will see The Netherlands celebrate 75 years since they gained freedom at the end of World War 2. As well as festivities scheduled for the entire year, the country also hosts the Eurovision Song Contest in May.
Lonely Planet suggests using the country’s superb rail network and heading out of the capital Amsterdam. The pretty town of Utrecht with its excellent museum, beautiful Breda with its gothic Grote Kerk and the UNESCO World Heritage Site at the Wadden Sea are all excellent choices for a day out.
This west African destination might not be on everyone’s ‘must visit’ list but it combines natural beauty with some of the region’s best surfing beaches.
Sapo National Park is the second-largest area of rainforest in West Africa, and visitors can see forest elephants, chimpanzees and the nation’s famous pygmy hippos, no larger than a Shetland pony.
Low-key resorts such as Robertsport offer amazing beaches and, with the country signing a development deal with Norway to stop deforestation by 2020, the paradise looks set to remain safe for generations to come.
Africa’s first high-speed train now links Casablanca and Tangier in just two hours and this, combined with improved road infrastructure, means it has never been easier to get around this north African gem.
Marrakesh will be crowned Africa’s first Capital of Culture in 2020 in celebration of its rich heritage, and while you can enjoy ancient medinas in the likes of Fez and Tetouan, you can also head off the beaten track to Berber mountain villages or deserted Atlantic beaches.
From a long Atlantic coastline to the open spaces of the lowlands, Uruguay boasts some spectacular landscapes.
Lonely Planet says: “With 660km of Río de la Plata and Atlantic shoreline, a burgeoning wine industry, bubbling hot springs and endless rolling rangelands where South America’s grandeur feels seductively tangible, Uruguay has something for everyone.”