Every year excitement levels are high when our adventure-loving friends at Lonely Planet drop their Best in Travel list, and the 2020 edition is no exception.
We love hooking people up with epic travel experiences around the world, so here are the top Best in Travel countries for 2020, and how we can get you there.
It’s no surprise Bhutan has come in at number one for countries to visit in 2020. This Buddhist kingdom is nestled between powerhouses China, India and Nepal and is a little slice of pristine, peaceful paradise. With plenty of forests and dramatic mountain landscapes, this is the perfect place for trekkers or nature-lovers to explore. And, as the only carbon negative country in the world (meaning they actually remove more greenhouses gasses from the atmosphere through various carbon offsetting measures than they produce), they get a big tick from us a responsible tour operator.
2. North Macedonia
Now officially known as North Macedonia, this tiny country is a favourite among foodies, history-buffs, architecture fans and outdoorsy-types… so you could say there’s just about something for everyone! The capital city of Skopje is known for its array of patriotic statues and monuments, as well as ancient Byzantine domes, mosques and Turkish baths. Outside of the city, the Suva Mountains and Treska River are home to some of the country’s prettiest nature walks and caves – don’t forget to fuel yourself with delicious gozleme and baklava before you lace up your walking shoes.
- on our 12-day Western Balkans Uncovered
- on our 15- day Kosovo, Albania & Macedonia Explorer
- on our 22-day Slovenia to Macedonia Real Food Adventure
3. eSwatini (Swaziland)
Another place that has recently changed its name is Swaziland, who now go by the 21st century-friendly, eSwatini. If you’re a wildlife-lover looking to go on a less-frequented safari, then a trip to Hlane Royal National Park is for you. Home to lions, elephants, giraffes, white rhinos, zebras and more, you’ll be treated to the full African safari experience – without the crowds. With a brand-new international airport recently opening and a lot of TLC being given to the roads between the capital city and the game parks, the eSwatini government are certainly doing all they can to make this destination as tourism friendly as possible.
- on our 9-day Kruger & Coast
- on our 12-day South Africa Family Safari with Teenagers
- on our 22-day Kruger, Coast & Cape
4. Costa Rica
We love sustainable tourism more than the average Joe or Joanne, which is why we were so thrilled to see Costa Rica make the list this year. As a country, more than a quarter of their land is protected rainforest and they boast more biodiversity than the USA and Europe combined, so it’s no surprise they’re a poster child for eco-tourism. Thrill-seekers fall over themselves for the chance to zip line over one of the famous cloud forests or have a go at surfing on the Pacific coast. But that doesn’t mean you can’t kick back and relax too – the official motto of the country is ‘the pure life’ and the pace tends to match it.
- on our 8-day Costa-Rica: Raft, Surf & Kayak
- on our 8-day Cycle Nicaragua & Costa-Rica
- on our 15-day Classic Costa Rica
Amsterdam is always worth a visit and in 2020 there are even more reasons to spend some time in this vibrant city. Across April and May events such as Kings Day, Liberation Day and the Eurovision Song Contest are all taking place, so the city will be abuzz with activity. Cycling fans can also enjoy making use of the 35,000 kilometres of bike paths. Not fond of the lycra? Enjoy views of the picturesque canals on foot and see fascinating World War II monuments, like Anne Frank’s house or the Auschwitz Memorial. As next year marks the 75th anniversary of the war ending, these are timely visits to make.
There is a reason why Morocco consistently ranks up there as one of the most popular destinations to visit. In 2020 it will be crowned Africa’s very first Capital of Culture to prove it. Morocco’s bustling medinas, vibrant landscapes and ancient cities are the stuff of legend. The shimmering blue city of Chefchaouen is more than just an Instagrammer’s dream, it’s just remote enough that you get to experience authentic Moroccan culture. Or, further south, you might fancy getting back to nature with a night under the stars, among the wind-carved dunes of the breathtaking Sahara Desert. With a local Berber guide, you can share traditional tajine and stories around the campfire that make for unforgettable memories.
- on our 7-day Mount Toubkal Trek
- on our 12-day Morocco Real Food Adventure
- on our 15-day Best of Morocco
When you visit South America there are the obvious must-sees (Gringo Trail, we’re look at you), but in 2020 Uruguay should definitely be added to that list. It has everything you love about South America – delicious wines, stunning beaches and mouth-watering asado grills to keep you coming back for more. Uruguay is also extremely culturally progressive with a strong promotion of LGBTQI+ rights and a burgeoning sustainable tourism industry that makes the most of the many open spaces and exposed coastlines that are begging to explored. Or, you could just travel from Buenos Aires to Rio, or do the reverse trip, or … any number of other possibilities!
- on our 10-day Best of Argentina, Uruguay & Brazil
- on our 17-day Buenos Aires to Rio Explorer
- on our 51-day Best of South America
So, where to first? Find your perfect 2020 adventure.
Hero image by ewenbell.