It’s that time again when guide books and magazines are publishing their list of best holiday destinations for the year ahead. We’ve done the legwork, so you don’t have to: Here’s our definitive list of the top eight places to tick off in 2020.
Aruba, Dutch Caribbean
Palm-fringed beaches coupled with a creative revival in the charming coastal town of San Nicolas are two great reasons to visit Aruba. The tiny island’s ambitious sustainability credentials are another. Aruba is working to implement a ban on all single-use plastics and reef-destroying sunscreens in 2020. The island has also announced an ‘election disconnection’ facility; primarily aimed at North American visitors wanting to escape the election noise, the luxury, off-grid, properties will no doubt be music to the ears of Brexit-weary Brits too.
The popularity of Morocco’s Red City shows no sign of waning. A host of improvements have seen both the old town Medina and other districts spruced up, including the opening of new retail district, M Avenue. In 2020, Marrakech assumes the title of the first African Capital of Culture. There’s plenty to take in on a culture trip, including recent additions the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum. Or simply go to enjoy some winter sun, delicious cuisine and cleansing hammams.
The Land of the Rising Sun has enjoyed plenty of recent attention thanks to the Rugby World Cup, something that’s set to continue as it gears up to host the 2020 Olympics. Tokyo is the epicentre of Japanese food and culture, boasting some of the world’s most weird and wonderful museums and an incredible variety of cuisines. Visitors can tuck into Korean pancakes, Indian curry and Chinese steamed buns. The city also boasts more Michelin stars than any other city.
Dubai is set to put on a spectacular show in 2020. The World Expo arrives in October, its first outing in the Middle East. Nearly 200 countries are set to take part in the event, which will showcase the latest visions in sustainability and mobility. The Museum of the Future is also slated to open in 2020, whilst the The World, a fantasy resort on an artificial archipelago two miles offshore, will be welcoming its first guests with underwater bedrooms and year-round snow.
Utrecht, The Netherlands
The Netherlands will mark 75 years of freedom since the end of WWII in 2020, with a host of events taking place throughout the year. Whilst Amsterdam struggles to cope with the constant deluge of tourists, lesser-known destinations such as Utrecht are amply qualified to step up to the plate as the place to head. Rough Guides lists its picturesque canals (without the crowds), a striking nineteenth-century castle and thriving arts and culture scene as part of the appeal.
Epitomising Canada’s adventurous West Coast lifestyle and urban cool, Vancouver has been described as ‘the supermodel of North American cities’ by USA Today. It’s widely recognised as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, enjoying both snow-capped mountains and stunning coast. The birthplace of Greenpeace will be showing off the results of its ‘Greenest City 2020 Action Plan’, including an upgraded public transport system and vast, scenic cycling and walking network.
With a compelling contrast of cultures and striking setting on the tropical Malabar Coast, Kochi is firmly established as one of India’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s also an important centre for Keralan arts and in 2020 hosts the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the largest art exhibition in India and the biggest contemporary art festival in Asia. Other reasons to visit include colonial architecture, delicious food and Ayurvedic spas aplenty.
Lonely Planet calls it ‘brightly bohemian’. Galway will be putting on its best performance as the region takes on the role of 2020 European Capital of Culture. Starting in February with a week of ‘fiery celebrations’ the year-long programme will involve more than 1,900 events across 154 projects. This combined with a booming food scene, lively pub culture, rich heritage and wild Atlantic scenery all add up to make it a must-visit holiday destination.
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