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15 Destinations to Fill Up Your Travel Calendar In 2020

As 2019 draws to a close, it’s time to look forward – at a fresh 365 new days stretching out ahead of you. It’s time to cast your eye over the globe – across all 24,901 miles of it – and decide where you want to go next. However, we understand that with such a rich variety of choice in front of you, narrowing things down might be a bit hard. You may be struggling with how many places you want to see, or there might be entire countries and regions that you may have overlooked. To help you in that endeavour, we’ve put together a list of some of the best places to visit in 2020. Grab your passport, and let’s go!

  1. Bhutan
  2. Almaty, Kazakhstan
  3. Macedonia, Europe
  4. Romania, Europe
  5. Aruba
  6. Luxembourg, Europe
  7. Victoria, Australia
  8. Costa Rica, Central America
  9. Tokyo, Japan
  10. Malindi, Kenya
  11. Sicily, Italy
  12. Bilbao, Spain
  13. Patagonia, South America
  14. Jeju Island, South Korea
  15. Estonia, Europe

1. Bhutan

Let’s start a little closer to home. The glorious Kingdom of Bhutan is a just a border crossing away. However, stepping into it opens up beautiful vistas of mountains, green valleys and incredible tourist attractions. Visit the largest statue of Buddha made of gold and gilding in Thimphu. Trek to the gorgeous Tiger’s Nest monastery, which is perched on a hillside. Experience the best of cheese and chillies when you dig into a plate of Ema Dashi – the national dish of Bhutan. Spicy and comforting – that’s Bhutan.
Best time to visit: March to May

Suggested Read : How To Reach Bhutan From India

2. Almaty, Kazakhstan

Here’s one that might have escaped your notice – and what a pity if it did. This glorious city in Kazakhstan is blessed by the shadows of snowcapped peaks that tower over it. Explore this gentle, green city, with its generous markets, beautiful architecture, museums and more. One experience you must indulge in, is the glorious Russian baths. Grab a towel, slippers and leave your worries behind as you enjoy a Finnish sauna, a Turkish hammam, the steam from a Russian parilka (steam room) and many other rituals before you end with a plunge in a cool pool. Sheer Bliss.
Best time to visit July to August, April to June, September to October

3. Macedonia, Europe

The hidden gem of the Balkan Peninsula, Macedonia is a beautiful holiday spot. Enjoy the glimmer and ripple of the crystal-clear lakes – Ohrid, Prespa and Dojran. Spend some time hiking through the lush national parks – Mavrovo, Pelister and Galichica. Sip on some of the finest red and white wine at one of Macedonia’s best wineries. Dig into plate after plate of stuffed peppers, baked beans, warm moussaka and more. Tour the Roman ruins found in the lovely country, namely Heracela (outside Bitola) and the Ancient City of Stobi. A summer trip will be brightened by the warm and wonderful rays of Macedonian sunshine and blue skies – perfect right?
Best time to visit: June to October

Must Read : 5 places to visit in Europe

4. Romania, Europe

Every traveller looks for a bit of surprise on their trip. Well, Romania will be a revelation. This lovely country houses a unique mix of history, spellbinding natural landscapes, charming medieval cities and gorgeous architecture. Visually, the snow-capped mountains, lush green hills, sandy Black sea beaches will all compete for your attention. The Carpathian Mountains are a spectacular place to indulge in your love for hiking, while the cities will leave architects breathless with their beauty. Enjoy the nourishing and hearty food of the region, spend your time attending festival after festival and get to know the ins and outs of the fascinating Romanian culture. You may not want to come back!
Best time to visit: mid-May to mid-September

5. Aruba, Must Have Destination on Your Travel Calendar

Calling all beach lovers! Aruba awaits, with its white sand beaches welcoming turquoise waters. Snorkel, fly kites, go water-skiing, parasailing, tubing, paddle boarding and swimming in these clear waters. Go diving around the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean – the Antilla, spend a day in the colourful and fluttering company of butterflies at Butterfly Farm. Admire the colourful and vibrant buildings in the capital city of Oranjestad and surrender your nights to the pulsing nightlife, beach barbeques, karaoke pubs and cocktail parties. Even with all of these activities, you’ll still feel like you’ve barely scratched the sandy surface of this beautiful island nation – it has so much to give.
Best time to visit: April to August

6. Luxembourg, Europe

Luxembourg is the ultimate escape – this small European country hides lovely boulevards, medieval streets, verdant parks, gorgeous castles and bustling cosmopolitan cities within its confines. The natural landscapes here are breath-taking, like the lush green valleys of Ardennes, the vineyards that curl near the Moselle river or the rock formations at Mullerthal. Meanwhile, its cities offer insight into this region’s past -from the exhibitions at the Luxembourg City Museum to historical buildings still present in the city. You must take some time to explore the ruins of the castles in the region, including Sheonfels, Mersch, Hollenfels, Septfontaines, Ansembourg and more.
Best time to visit: May to September

Also Read : How to plan a Europe trip on a budget

7. Victoria, Australia

Would you fly around the world for an incredible cup of coffee? If that coffee comes from Victoria in Australia, we’d say go for it! Victorians are fiercely proud of their coffee, but that’s not the only reason you should plan a trip here. This state is stuffed to the brim with elegant artwork – from the refined works at the National Gallery of Victoria to the edgier street art in Hosier Lane. If you’re a sports enthusiast, then you’ve come to the right place. Matches at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Formula One Grand Prix and the Australian Open draw tourists in like moths to a flame. If you’ve saved up your Australian Dollars, then you must spend them at the Historic Block Arcade and Royal Arcade for all the elegancies in life. Victoria will leave you with incredible memories, lovely souvenirs and the scent of freshly brewed coffee.
Best time to visit: March to May, September to November

Recommended Read : Best Places To Visit In Australia On Your Next Holiday

8. Costa Rica, Central America

It wouldn’t be an understatement to call Costa Rica a tropical paradise. Hike through the gorgeous rainforests and cloud forests in the region to see the most unique plant and wildlife that the world has to offer. Indulge your adventurous side with activities like Canyoneering, white water rafting, ziplining, snorkelling, and paddling. If a lazy day at the beach is what the doctor ordered, then Costa Rica’s beaches are the remedy. Waves of turquoise blue waters kiss the white sand, while the palm trees sway and offer shade from the glorious sun. Sink into the tropical flavours of fresh papaya, pineapple, mango, avocado, bananas and plantains or try some new ones like mamon chino, pejibayes, mangosteen, star fruit and more. Whether its adventure, or relaxation you’re looking for, Costa Rica delivers!
Best time to visit: mid-December to April

9. Tokyo, Japan

There are a million reasons to visit Tokyo. Some we’ll describe and other’s you’ll have the pleasure of discovering. This charming city offers the best of both (and all) worlds – with gorgeous wooden buildings squeezed right next to slick skyscrapers. Haute cuisine restaurants lie cheek by cheek with small shack-like restaurants. Visit quirky museums like the Kite Museum or the Parasitological Museum (filled with, wait for it, parasites!). Take some time off to watch a sumo tournament and dine like royalty in the Michelin starred restaurants. Go back in time when you visit the Meiji Jingu – where the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife are enshrined and then slide right back to the present when you visit nightclubs, shops or famous tourist spots like the Tokyo Tower. No matter what time you visit, Tokyo is simply terrific.
Best time to visit: March, April, October and November

10. Malindi, Kenya

Here’s another one that may have slipped by – the small but gorgeous town of Malindi in Kenya. This little gem cannot be overlooked, for a variety of reasons. Let’s say that you’re a history enthusiast, a history buff, a culture vulture, a thrill-seeker, looking for a family-friendly location or are just simply looking to laze about with nothing planned. Malindi has something for everybody. You have the choice of some of the prettiest resorts, where everything from relaxing therapies to chic restaurants to gorgeous swimming pools are available. Step outside these resorts and smooth, sandy beaches, boat tours, scuba diving and other adventure activities await you. If that wasn’t enough, Malindi also has incredible tourist hot spots like Falconry of Kenya, Marafa-Hells Kitchen, Marine National Park, Vasco de Gama pillar and more. How does one small town hold so much potential? Come see for yourself!
Best time to visit: December

11. Sicily, Italy

On the hunt for a paradise island? Well look no further than Sicily. 1,000 kilometres of coastline are waiting to be explored, photographed and marvelled at. Scala dei Turchi, Isola Bella, San Vito lo Capo, Torre Salsa, Lo Zingaro – each beach is a jewel. When you’re done with the beach, head back to the beautiful palazzos and castles (yes, you heard us right) where you can spend your holiday. Enjoy the Arab, Greek and Spanish influences in the local cuisine. Of course, you must enjoy the stunning sunset with a lovely Sicilian wine in hand. If you’ve got time, take a break from the beaches and visit the stunning villages in this island, particularly Castlemola and Sutera. Everywhere you look, there’s beauty to be found – crafted by nature or the hand of man. Sicily honestly doesn’t mean to show off, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be impressed!
Best time to visit: May to June, September to October

Suggested Read : 12 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Italy

12. Bilbao, Spain

If you’re tracing your finger across the northern coastline of Spain, pause for a minute at Bilbao, won’t you? This gem of the Spanish Basque country is a cultural and culinary treat. This city is a tower of flavours, where different combinations of sweet, sour, spicy and salty combine in intricate ways. Once your tummy is full though, burn off those calories with a walk around the Guggenheim (the contemporary art museum), or go surfing at the lovely beaches of Sopelana or Punta Galea. Take a relaxed hike to the top of Pagassari mountain for the gorgeous views or spend a night in one of the city’s pubs, cheering along with enthusiastic football fans. If you’re in the neighbourhood, drive down to the nearby seaside town of Getxo – a pretty and historic port town, or the swankier coastal city of San Sebastian. Whether you’re in Bilbao, or near it – it’s all good!
Best time to visit: May, June and September

Must Read : 12 Best Places To Visit In Spain – The Land Of Setting Sun

13. Patagonia, South America

At every turn, Patagonia serves up a platter of delights. Spot the adorable penguins that waddle across Magdalena Island, or take a beautiful horse ride with a local gaucho (cowboy) in Nequen – this region is simply one breath-taking experience after the other. The Torres del Paine National Park will take your breath away – especially the gem-like lakes proctected by tall, spearing mountains. Take a boat ride to the monstrous Grey Glacier, which stands 30 feet high and is four miles wide. Feeling the chill? Then relax in the warm embrace of thermal baths at Termas Puyuhuapi. Spot the humpback whales as you kayak along the Magellan Straits, go fly fishing in the Junin de los Andes region, enjoy the warm flavours of the traditional dish, Curanto. Honestly, we could go on and on and on.
Best time to visit: November to early March

14. Jeju Island, South Korea

Image Source : blocktribune.com

We know that you have high expectations of your holiday. Jeju Island in South Korea will satisfy those expectations… and then some! Known as the “Hawaii of South Korea”, this volcanic island boasts of beautiful beaches, ever-so-fresh seafood dishes, a unique culture and a lazy, laid back vibe. There are no tall skyscrapers, or bustling crowds – you’ll have hiking and trekking trails to yourself, gorgeous spots for scuba diving where you’ll see unique pink and red corals. Climb to the summit of the imposing Hallasan Mountain, dive with the incredible female-divers of Jeju (who dive without oxygen masks), stroll through the massive lava tunnels underneath the island, experience the unique flavours of Jeju with dishes like Heuk-dwaeji (grilled pork), Jeonbokjuk (porridge), Hanchi Mulhwae (a refreshing soup with cuttlefish, vegetables, soybean, red pepper paste and vinegar).
(Do note, that Jeju is a volcanic island. Although, the volcanos have been dormant for thousands of years, do check in advance for any activity before planning a trip).
Best time to visit: November to February

15. Estonia, Europe

Europe still has some incredible surprises up her sleeve, and Estonia is one of them. Unspoiled, underrated and undeniable unique, Estonia is a must visit for several reasons. Let’s start with the cuisine. Estonia’s cuisine is fresh, organic, healthy and most importantly, delicious. Secondly, did you know that WiFi is available practically everywhere. Which means, if you’re in a beautiful spot in the country, you don’t need to wait to post that picture or tweet – just do it. In direct contrast to its accessibility is its untouched and accessible wilderness. Half the country is covered in beautiful, green forests, all of which are perfect for nature lovers and hikers. If you’re looking to get away from the crowds of other European countries, why not visit Estonia’s beautiful and isolated islands like Hiiumaa, Saaremaa and Kihnu. There are castles to visit, medieval cities to explore, acres and acres of flower filled fields to gape at and incredibly friendly locals to interact with. Go now, before this hidden gem is uncovered!
Best time to visit: May to late August

And there you have it! 15 new exciting spots to add to your travel list in 2020. If you’re already planning your trip, or are simply curious, why not talk to the travel experts at Thomas Cook? We’ll curate, plan and organise your trips in 2020, leaving you to enjoy all the sightseeing, adventures, experiences and flavours of your international vacation. So, step outside your boundaries in 2020, and see what the world has to offer!

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