In Depth

The best places to visit in 2020

Whether it’s food, scenery or culture you’re looking for, your next holiday could be right here...

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In the middle of a bleak British winter, it’s easy for the mind to wander to thoughts of holidays past; of warmer climes, exotic food and fascinating culture.

But why wistfully concentrate on where you have been when 2020 is just around the corner and the world is waiting for you? Whatever your tastes and requirements, there are a host of exciting countries and cities to explore. Here's our pick of the best places to visit in 2020:

For summer: Georgia

The former Soviet nation of Georgia has been an up-and-coming destination for years now, with spectacular scenery, unique cuisine and some of the finest (and least known) wineries in the world.

But it’s still far from a tourist trap, with even the capital Tbilisi continuing to exude an authentic Georgian atmosphere that should be experienced before the outsiders take over.

Any time of year is good for a visit, but Georgian winters can be harsh, and the country’s warm summers are the perfect time to explore this quirky frontier of Eurasian culture.

For winter: Zanzibar, Tanzania

Down in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean lies Zanzibar, a minuscule archipelago of white sand, palm trees and near-perfect weather all year round. 

After a short rainy season in November – and occasionally December – comes a glorious dry season in January and February characterised by warm days, temperate nights and light breezes off the sea.

Escape the post-Christmas slump with a trip to Stone Town, where Arab, Indian, British, Portuguese and Tanzanian cultures have collided in one spectacular, bizarre hub.

For food and drink: Northern Cyprus

Northern Cyprus is a challenge to get to owing to its unrecognised status, but those intrepid enough to make the trip are in for a serious gastronomic treat.

Here, Turkish cuisine smashes head first into Greek Cypriot staples, with pide stuffed to bursting with sucuk sausage and classic Turkish lamb koftas served with copious amounts of Cypriot raki brandy. 

Predictably, there’s a serious emphasis on halloumi, and visitors can expect to see the salty cheese on anything from pizza to pasta to burgers - and against all the odds, it really works.

For romance: Slovenia

Slovenia is probably not many couples’ first pick when seeking out ultra-romantic destinations, but it not only contains some of Europe’s most breathtaking natural landscapes but also plays host to the capital Ljubljana, a gorgeous city with wonderful Viennese Secession architecture and an ideal atmosphere for a couple to explore.

After, head north to Lake Bled for some stupendous mountain views; the western end of the lake has great camping and luxury glamping opportunities.

For culture: Jordan

Despite being surrounded on all sides by active conflict zones, Jordan has remained safe and calm, and thus has successfully preserved some of the most astonishing architectural and historical heritage sites of any country in the world.

Nabatean, Roman, Greek and Umayyad ruins can all be seen here practically piled on top of one another, many of them complemented by excellent in-depth museums.

Starting in Amman, visitors should head to the impeccably preserved Roman city of Jerash, before heading south to the iconic Petra and the Bedouin wilderness of Wadi Rum for a real nomadic experience.

For luxury: Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva isn’t known for offering visitors a lot of bang for their buck, but those who can afford to splash the cash will be living a life of luxury.

In the centre lies Rues-Basses, which is packed full of high-end brands, designer boutiques and jewellery shops, while nearby Les Paquis is home to a plethora of luxury hotels and Michelin-star restaurants.

Meanwhile, the southern district of Carouge is a great choice for wine bars, craft beer pubs and more first-class eateries.

For backpackers: Tirana, Albania

Take your run-of-the-mill city break, dial every aspect of it up to 11 and you’ll end up with Tirana, one of the maddest and most exhilarating cities in Europe.

Swarms of cars zip through massive junctions at light speed, family-run cafes overflow with euphoric locals and nights on the town rarely stop before the early hours.

In particular the Ottoman-era Et’hem Bey Mosque is well worth a visit, as is the Piramida, a unique triangular building that was built as a monument to Albania’s communist leader Enver Hoxha.

Order a plate of tave kosi casserole on Skanderbeg Square, wash it down with a glass of the local Shesh i Zi wine and listen to the adhan (the Islamic call to prayer) waft through the city.

For city life: Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos, comprised of upwards of 21 million inhabitants if its suburbs are included, is a goldmine of tourist attractions waiting to be discovered by foreign markets, from the New Afrika Shrine to the frantic Eyo Festival.

This hectic but joyous city has become famed in recent years for its vibrant arts scene, extensive nightlife offerings and high quality – and cheap – food. 

For travel off the beaten track: Belize

Sun. Rainforests. Mayan ruins. Islands. Beaches. Rum. Chocolate. Hot sauce. No tourists. That is Belize in a nutshell.

For years, Belize has laid low in the Central American tourist scene, dwarfed by its formidable neighbours Mexico and Guatemala.

But as a result, when trekking through its dense jungles or ascending the steps of ancient Mayan monuments, it feels like you have the whole country to yourself.

For hiking: Bhutan

The tiny kingdom of Bhutan is not only packed with stunning Himalayan peaks dotted with Buddhist monasteries, but it is also far ahead of the curve when it comes to the climate crisis. It is already carbon neutral and plans to be the first fully organic nation by 2020.

Those looking to see the country on foot will be treated to some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world, and many of the monasteries accessible to tourists contain a treasure trove of ancient Buddhist art.

Visitors to the kingdom will have to pay a hefty $250-per-person-per-day surcharge to the government, but this fee is all-inclusive and covers accommodation, food, transport and an official guide.

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