There’s never a bad time to travel, but 2020 is shaping up to be a fantastic year to see the world. Whether you prefer remote, tropical locales or the hustle and bustle of city life, there are places to go and things to see in the new year. These 20 destinations are going to be hot in 2020, whether it’s because they’ve got special events going on this year or because they’re simply lesser-known places that are finally getting their due. So grab your passport and let’s get going!
Salzburg is a great place to experience a healthy mix of the beautiful Austrian countryside and a little bit of city life as well. There’s really no wrong way to explore the scenic, historical sites of Salzburg, but there are some special events in 2020 that can’t be missed.
What to Do in Salzburg
2020 marks the 100th anniversary for the Salzburg Festival–an annual festival celebrating classical music and theater. In addition to numerous performances, there will be special events and exhibitions to mark the occasion. What better place to experience classical music than the birthplace of Mozart?
Our nation’s capital might be a hotspot for middle school field trips, but there’s lots of history to see and explore that will fascinate you at any age. And there are some special events going on in 2020 specifically.
What to Do in Washington
Because 2020 is an election year, you can bet Washington will be full of hustle and bustle, but that’s not the only reason to visit in the new year. 2020 also marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, and museums across the city have special exhibitions to mark the occasion.
Any and all ancient history buffs should definitely try to make it to Cairo in 2020–because they’ve got something big planned.
What to Do in Cairo
The pyramids of Giza are obviously a bucket list destination in Cairo, but they’re also adding something new to the world of ancient Egyptian history. Assuming that all goes well, the Grand Egyptian Museum will open in 2020 and will feature the largest display of Egyptian artifacts ever assembled–including the remains of King Tut.
La Paz, Bolivia
La Paz has not traditionally been a tourist destination, but the city has been making significant efforts to attract more visitors to the beauty and history of this place. It’s the perfect 2020 stop for travelers who love the mountains AND the city.
What to Do in La Paz
Because La Paz is surrounded by mountains, they’ve installed numerous cable cars that provide an unbeatable view of the city. And once you’ve seen the sights that way, don’t forget to take a stroll down the city’s historic streets filled with lots of authentic shopping and dining.
Kochi is doing everything it can to make a name for itself, and their hard work has paid off. It might not be your typical Indian destination, but it’s one worth visiting in 2020.
What to Do in Kochi
After you land in Kochi’s one-of-a-kind solar-powered airport, you’ll be surrounded by historical buildings, unbeatable views, and lots of authentic food. But the real reason to visit is the street art. You’ll definitely want to check out their biennial art festival in 2020–and it will be hard to miss, considering that pieces are displayed throughout the city.
In the 90s, Bosnia was rocked by the Bosnian war, but efforts have been made to rehabilitate the historical city of Mostar. It’s been a long road, but their progress has made the city an interesting and important destination in 2020.
What to Do in Mostar
2020 marks 25 years of peace for the region, so there will almost certainly be informative exhibits and events about the history of the Bosnian War and its aftermath. However, there’s lots of beautiful sightseeing to be done in town too, especially the historic Stari Most–it’s a 16th-century reconstructed bridge that connects different parts of Mostar.
Guizhou Province, China
Big tech companies like Apple and Huawei have begun building facilities in the Guizhou province of China, and tourists are now starting to take notice of this largely rural region as well. It’s definitely a place you can’t miss in 2020.
What to Do in Guizhou
While the province capital of Guiyang is a buzzing metropolis, there is lots to explore in the countryside here too. Visiting the small, remote villages is like stepping back in time. The farming and textile-based lifestyle of the rural regions in Guizhou can be a relaxing change of pace for some.
The 2020 Olympics might be in Tokyo, but smart travelers will have their sights set on the Tohoku region of Japan instead!
What to Do in Tohoku
This region is incredibly diverse and includes cities, historical sites, natural landmarks, and even ski resorts. You’ll find plenty to do here to please everyone in your group–and most importantly, you’ll be avoiding the unbearable Olympic crowds in Tokyo!
Abu Simbel, Egypt
Tourism to Egypt took a hit in the early 2010s because of the revolution there, but things have slowly been improving, and tourists are starting to return to this historic and breathtaking region. In 2020, Abu Simbel is the place to be.
What to Do in Abu Simbel
The Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx might be the historical sites that get all the love and attention, but Abu Simbel is also a must-see for fans of Egyptian history. Here, you’ll find temples carved from a rock cliff by Ramses II in the 1200s BCE, including towering statues of himself and his queen, Nefertari.
Zakouma National Park, Chad
It might seem silly to travel half way around the world just to go to a park, but Zakouma National Park is worth the effort to visit in 2020.
What to Do in Zakouma National Park
The views here are unbeatable, but the real reason for visiting is the elephants. Only a decade ago, almost all wild elephants here had been hunted to extinction. However, thanks to conservation efforts, their numbers are growing once again, and you can see these majestic creatures with your own eyes. It’s safe to say that you’ll probably run into some other exciting wildlife during your stay at Zakouma as well.
Palmero is a town that feels like nothing’s been touched in hundreds of years, and that’s exactly why you should pay it a visit in 2020.
What to Do in Palmero
While destinations on the Italian mainland might get most of the tourist attention, Palmero has a very nice “out of the way” feel for travelers who want a more intimate experience. In addition to the beautiful, classic architecture of the town, the volcano Mt. Etna is also nearby–for those brave enough to visit!
If your 2020 resolution is to spend more time outdoors, Bariloche in the Patagonia region of Argentina is the destination for you!
What to Do in Bariloche
Bariloche has a population of just over 100,000, so you’ll find plenty of cultural activities to pass your time in this remote wonderland. But really, you’re going to want to leave the city at some point and experience all that nature has to offer here. Whether you’re a mountain climber, a skiier, or simply want to relax by a gorgeous lake, there’s something here for you.
Rwanda was home to a devastating genocide in the 90s, but the city of Kigali has rebounded since then into a legitimate travel destination. 2020 is a great time to explore the past and present of this formerly troubled site.
What to Do in Kigali
These days, Kigali is a bustling city with plenty of shopping, dining, art, and other cultural activities to keep you occupied. However, to really get a feel for the historic significance of this place, a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial is probably in order too.
Morocco has long been a destination for travelers looking for a unique cultural experience, but many didn’t head for the city of Marrakech. That’s all changing in 2020.
What to Do in Marrakech
There’s not many places in the world where you can have a candlelight dinner in the middle of a desert, but that and more is possible in Marrakech. However, there’s lots of history to explore here, too, including Bahaia palace and Saadien’s Tombs.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Jerusalem is an epicenter for the world’s three major Abrahamic religions, but even if you’re not religious, Israel is worth a visit in 2020. Just take a look at Tel Aviv.
What to Do in Tel Aviv
This coastal city is known as a major center for culinary innovation and excellence, so visits to its many restaurants are a must. To experience some of the history of the region, you also will want to head down to the old city of Jaffa at some point.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
If you want the Italian experience without having to brave the crowds of tourists in Rome, the Amalfi coast is the place to be in 2020.
What to Do at the Amalfi Coast
You might be tempted to spend your entire trip here staring out at the gorgeous views of the Gulf of Salerno…and we wouldn’t blame you–it’s absolutely beautiful. But there’s lots more to do here than just watch the pretty waves roll in. The food is obviously a big draw anywhere in Italy, but there are also lots of architectural and natural wonders to explore in this region too.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Land-based vacations are so 2019–in 2020 it’s all about exploring what’s under the sea. And there’s not much of a better place to do that than the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
What to Do at the Great Barrier Reef
Whether you want to snorkel or stay in the comfort of a boat (or helicopter!) you can view the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef in a number of different ways.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
During the 2016 Summer Olympics, we would have rather been anywhere but Rio. But now that the crowds have died down and the city has begun to recuperate, 2020 is the perfect time to visit this Brazilian hotspot.
What to Do in Rio de Janeiro
In addition to being home to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World (Christ the Redeemer statue), Rio has something to offer all tastes and temperaments. There’s plenty of opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Brazil as well as experience its food and culture on the streets of Rio. If you’re there at the end of February, you’ll also get to experience the huge Carnival celebration.
Prague, Czech Republic
If you’re not feeling very tropical in 2020, there’s still plenty of places to explore–including Prague in the Czech Republic. It’s a town with history, culture, and plenty of amazing food.
What to Do in Prague
The Old Town square has been around since the 10th century, and it’s definitely a hotspot for visitors. Merchants, music–this place has it all. Prague also has no shortage of castles and other historical buildings for those who want to experience the past even more.
Saint Lucia, East Caribbean
Saint Lucia is a small island country in the Caribbean that’s the perfect escape for someone looking to leave the worries of 2020 behind.
What to Do in Saint Lucia
Most people come to Saint Lucia for one reason: chocolate. The handmade sweet treats on the island are world-famous, but there’s so much more to do here besides pig out. No matter where you are on the island, the views are going to be stunning, but one can’t-miss spot is Sulphur Springs–billed as the world’s only “drive-in” volcano.