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Audley Traveller
07 Min Read
Plain of Jars

Where to go in 2020: 10 places set to shine

If you haven’t quite pinned down where to travel in 2020, we can help. We’ve picked ten countries or places that we think are particularly worth visiting over the next year.

Some are areas that see fewer visitors than elsewhere but are set to appear on everyone’s travel wish lists. Others are new destinations of ours that we’re excited to show you. You could also travel to see recently opened attractions, or stay in a country that’s raising the bar when it comes to being green. For each, we’ve suggested things you can do there as part of an Audley trip.

10 Destinations for 2020 with Audley

Egypt

Why visit in 2020?

The Bent Pyramid, Dahshur

The Bent Pyramid, Dahshur

Cairo’s sprawling National Museum of Egyptian Civilization displays exhibits from clay pottery and intricate woodwork to jewel-toned textiles and gold necklaces. You’ll also now see the collection of royal mummies here — part of a redistribution of exhibits throughout the city as it prepares for the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum, anticipated for 2020.

For more history, head to the newly re-opened Bent Pyramid of Dashur and explore its 4,600-year-old passages.

What can I do there?

When you’ve finished taking in Cheops’ colossal pyramid in Giza and snapping photos of the mythic Sphinx, take a street-food tour in Cairo with a local. Then, float past ancient cities and rural landscapes along the same route the pharaohs took on a Nile cruise.

Get me there: Explore Cairo’s museums, see the pyramids and cruise the Nile as part of this luxury Cairo and Nile cruise trip idea.

Laos

Why visit in 2020?

Plain of Jars near Phonsovan

Plain of Jars near Phonsovan

What can I do there?

The Plain of Jars is a grassy plain dotted with hundreds of enormous stone jars. Visit and you’ll find they tower over even the tallest person — archaeologists are still debating their mysterious origin.

There’s also a network of thickly forested national parks to trek or boat through, the temple-studded city of Luang Prabang to explore and a series of Cham temples that predate Angkor Wat.

Get me there: This three-week Laos itinerary takes you on an intrepid tour from the northwest Thai border to remote villages and meandering waterways, finishing in the capital, Vientiane.

South Korea

Why visit in 2020?

Pagoda building in Gyeongju

Pagoda building in Gyeongju

If you’re looking for a passport stamp no one else has, this is it. In the realms of up-and-coming destinations, South Korea is slowly creeping up the list, drawing visitors with its complex cultural and historical identity. Make use of its enthusiastic guides, comfortable hotels and insightful tours before everyone else does.

What can I do there?

Sample Seoul’s innovative street food on a guided walking tour, view the demilitarised zone from the Dora Observatory and learn about the Shilla Dynasty and its lasting influence in Gyeongju. Or, tour the volcanic landscapes and rugged coastline of Jeju Island.

Get me there: You can do this small country justice on a thirteen-day trip, going from ultra-modern Seoul to Jeju Island’s volcanic caldera.

Iceland

Why go in 2020?

Goðafoss Waterfall

Goðafoss Waterfall

Iceland’s one of our newest and most exciting destinations. If you visit in 2020, you’ll have the chance to try out activities freshly picked by our Iceland specialists. Many take you away from the usual sights, which can become crowded.

What can I do there?

Take advantage of the country’s geological quirks by heading deep inside a glacier, a lava tube or a volcano, or by snorkeling between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Go hiking, white-water rafting or horseback riding while taking in the island’s volcanically sculpted countryside. Or, look for humpback whales on a boat trip.

Visit between mid-September and mid-March for the best chance of seeing the northern lights.

Get me there: Take in Iceland’s highlights on a road trip during the summer, or enjoy a winter break chasing the northern lights.

Costa Rica

Why visit in 2020?

View to the Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano

What can I do there?

Take a break from the country’s jungle-fringed coastline by white-water rafting or zip-lining your way through national parks.

By car, you can reach areas that often get overlooked by visitors, such as the cloudforest village of San Gerardo de Dota, or the untamed Osa Peninsula. Break up your journey between Tortuguero’s wetlands and Arenal Volcano with a chocolate tasting at Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí.

Get me there: You can explore this safe country at your own pace on a Costa Rica self-drive trip.

Basque Country, Spain

Why visit in 2020?

Ribera Market, Bilbao

Ribera Market, Bilbao

One of our latest European offerings, Spain has many attractions, including Basque Country on the northern coast. Home to an ancient culture, contemporary architecture and a cutting-edge culinary scene, the region boasts a distinctive identity that’s apparent in every aspect of life here, from its exquisite pintxos (the Basque version of tapas) to its enigmatic language (Euskera is the oldest living tongue in Europe).

What can I do there?

Basque people have helped keep their culture alive through txokos, private gastronomic societies where men (and more recently women) gather to cook meals that are both traditional and innovative. It’s difficult to peer inside these secretive bulwarks of local culture, but we can arrange for you to meet with society members and enjoy a family-style lunch at a txoko in Bilbao.

Get me there: Delve deeply into Basque culture on an eight-day trip around the region.

Bhutan

Why visit in 2020?

Taktsang Monastery

Taktsang Monastery

The Buddhist Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has two milestones worth celebrating in 2020: currently the world’s only carbon-negative country, it’s also set to become the first fully organic nation.

On a material note, from spring you can stay in a newly opened Six Senses property in the remote mountain valley of Bumthang.

What can I do there?

Bhutan was a sealed book until the 1970s and so developed a singular culture: everyone, for example, wears national dress. Get a feel of the country by exploring handicraft markets, fertility temples, monasteries and dzongs (monasteries cum military and administrative hubs).

Bhutan’s other major draw is its network of hiking trails traversing unspoiled Himalayan scenery.

Get me there: Experience Bhutan’s cultural and scenic riches on this 11-day highlights tour.

The Silk Route

Why visit in 2020?

Registan Square, Samarkand

Registan Square, Samarkand

It’s increasingly easy to visit countries along the Silk Route: Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan now offer either visa-free access or e-visas. The region has also seen recent transportation and infrastructure investment.

But, the cat’s out of the bag ― the Silk Route is no longer the frontier-like land it once was. Our advice? See it before the crowds arrive.

What can I do there?

Experience a smorgasbord of architecture, scenery, culture and landscapes. Go from the elegantly tiled minarets of Samarkand, Uzbekistan to the high mountain passes of Kyrgyzstan, and stay in a yurt camp with nomads.

Turkmenistan, meanwhile, has the enigmatic ruined city of Merv, along with the fiery spectacle of the Darvaza gas crater.

Get me there: The Silk Route can be sliced and diced in all sorts of ways: here’s a classic trip that takes in both Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Puglia, Italy

Why visit in 2020?

Trulli houses, Alberobello

Trulli houses, Alberobello

Tucked down in the heel of Italy’s boot, Puglia is a sun-drenched region blessed with historical cities, culinary pleasures and largely unspoiled towns, not to mention beaches along the turquoise Adriatic Sea.

Long popular with Italians, it’s only recently been discovered by visitors from other countries. If you want to experience the area before it’s overrun, now’s the time to plan a trip.

What can I do there?

Explore the laid-back atmosphere of the region’s rural villages. The distinctive white conical trulli houses of Alberobello are probably the area’s most distinctive sights — you can’t miss them. We also suggest taking the time to while away some lazy afternoons wandering through quiet villages like Cisternino and Locorotondo.

Get me there: This ten-day tour of Puglia also includes a visit to Matera, an ancient city built into cliff caves.

Lord Howe Island, Australia

Why visit in 2020?

Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island

Just off the coast of Sydney, Lord Howe Island is an often-overlooked alternative to the Great Barrier Reef. This volcanic islet is paving the way towards sustainably managed travel. Visitor numbers are strictly limited to 400 at one time, so its pristine beaches, luxuriant mist forest, and turquoise waters are only ever crowded with wildlife.

What can I do there?

Smothered in native plants and surrounded by waters teeming with aquatic life, Lord Howe Island has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status. You can explore its unspoiled ecosystems via walking tracks ― disturbed only by the wailing muttonbirds ― or by snorkeling, passing vivid orange and pink corals. The island also has several ongoing ecological projects that you can take part in.

Get me there: A two-hour flight from Sydney makes Lord Howe Island a great addition to exploring Australia’s coast, Outback and reef.

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