With 2020 fast approaching, you can’t help but think about your next summer holiday. But with so many places to choose from how do you pick the perfect destination? We’ve compiled a list of the 10 countries you need to travel to in 2020, from the ancient Pyramids of Giza to the Mayan ruins of Tikal, each destination has something to offer and will have you asking yourself why you didn’t visit sooner!
1 – Bosnia & Herzegovina
First up on our list is Bosnia & Herzegovina. 2020 marks 25 years of peace in this Balkan country, making it the perfect year to visit to experience everything Bosnia has to offer. Start your journey off in Sarajevo. This capital city is brimming with history from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to the more recent impact of the Bosnian War. Visit the Galerija 11/07/95 which relives the harrowing story of the Srebrenica massacre that took the lives of over 8,000 innocent civilians or the War Childhood Museum that tells the story of children’s experiences during the war. But Sarajevo isn’t just all about the past, this city also has a bustling café and foodie scene. Treat yourself to some Bosnian coffee at Art Kuca Sevdaha or enjoy some Bosnian cevapi for lunch at Zeljo. Outside of Sarajevo head to Mostar to see the famous Stari Most bridge that has been there since the 1500s. Spend an afternoon exploring the medieval city and then venture 12km outside to Blagaj Tekija, one of Bosnia’s most holy sites and home to an ancient group of Dervishes. End your trip by travelling 40km south of Mostar to Kravica Waterfall, here you can enjoy a dip and cool down after all that travelling.
2 – Egypt
Egypt is a destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list. The country may have hit headlines in the past few years for all the wrong reasons, but it is having a much-needed comeback in 2020. Start off your trip in Cairo where the new famed Giza Grand Egyptian Museum which is set to open in 2020 will leave you mesmerized. This museum is set to display treasures from Tutankhamun and offer you panoramic views of the Giza Pyramid. Be one of the first tourists to step through the doors and see never seen relics from Ancient Egypt. Fancy a change of pace? Head to the grand bazaar in Cairo called Khan el-Khalili where you can try your luck at haggling for some souvenirs and watch regular Egyptians go about their daily business. After seeing the capital make your way to Luxor and Aswan and marvel at the ancient Valley of the Kings, the final resting place for Pharaohs from 16th to 11th BC. After immersing yourself in all that history you deserve some rest and relaxation at the Red Sea Riviera. Here you can relax by the beach, go diving and explore some of the best wreck sites in the world and treat yourself to some Egyptian cuisine from one of the many restaurants in Hurghada.
3 – Guatemala
Guatemala is fast becoming a firm favourite with backpackers and regular tourists alike. Sandwiched between Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador it is a prime spot to start your journey in Central America. It is the perfect place to get off the beaten track and explore Mayan ruins without the crowds and cost of Mexico. Begin in Guatemala City and immerse yourself in the colours and flavours of the Mayan capital. Go shopping for colourful fabrics and enjoy some of the finest coffee in the world. Explore the historic centre of zones 1 and 4, see the Presidential Palace and experience Guatemala’s hipster scene with fine dining and plenty of galleries. After getting acquainted with the basics head to Antigua, this colonial city oozes cobbled streets, colonial architecture and old-world charm. No trip to Guatemala is complete with a stop off at Lake Atitlan, this mystic lake is surrounded by volcanoes. There are some stunning Air BnB options here that will have you rethinking any preconceptions you may have had about Guatemala. From here, finish your trip off by visiting the Mayan ruins of Tikal, set deep in the jungle and much quieter than Chichen Itza, you can feel like a real-life Lara Croft.
Bhutan has been voted the top country to visit in 2020 by Lonely Planet. This country is the first in the world to be completely carbon neutral and values sustainability and low-impact tourism in line with their ancient Buddhist traditions. Bhutan wants to preserve its heritage whilst also opening to tourists, to do this it charges a daily $250USD fee for visiting the country, but this price includes guides and accommodation. You cannot travel Bhutan solo and will need to have a guide. This is to ensure that the Bhutanese people benefit directly from the tourist trade and that any environmental impact by tourists is limited as numbers remain controlled. Because of this, Bhutan is often referred to as a real-life Shangri-Lai, as there is nowhere else like it in the world. Top destinations in Bhutan include the capital, Thimphu, Paro for the famous Paro Taktsang Monastery and the Royal Manus National Park which is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, Asian elephants, one horned rhinos, leopards, Himalayan Black Bear and if you are very lucky you might catch a glimpse of the rare Ganges Dolphin.
5 – North Macedonia
North Macedonia was previously known as Macedonia but changed its name after an agreement in 2018 with its neighbour Greece. This Balkan country is often left out of itinerates by tourists doing the Balkan trail but not anymore! It boasts plenty of attractions such as the stunning Lake Ohrid, complete with ancient monasteries and boardwalk. The bustling capital city of Skopje which has medieval architecture, an old bazaar and an up and coming foodie scene. One of the best ways to experience this is through a walking food tour of the capital where you can stop off at popular restaurants to enjoy authentic Macedonian cuisine and wine.
6 – The Cook Islands
Want an alternative to the Maldives? 2020 is the year to visit The Cook Islands. Located in the South Pacific, think white powdered beaches, seas teeming with marine wildlife and plenty of Polynesian hospitality. What sets The Cook Islands apart from many other similar destinations is their dedication to creating a sustainable tourist infrastructure. They actively work to achieve renewable energy targets and have recently set aside over 1 million kms of ocean as a conservation area. Spend your days relaxing by the beach, island hopping around the archipelago, perfecting your diving skills amongst the coral reefs and immersing yourself in Polynesian culture at Te Vara Nui Village.
7 – eSwatini
Formerly known as Swaziland, the Kingdom of eSwatini is in South Africa. Often overlooked by tourists, the kingdom is trying to change this and has opened a new international airport and improved conservation efforts. Give the crowded safaris in South Africa a miss and head to eSwatini, where you have the choice of four national parks. If you are passionate about rhinos, then eSwatini is one of the best places to see them in the wild. The kingdom has a strong anti-poaching policy and you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of white and black rhinos in the Mkhaya Reserve. You can even experience a rhino trek, where you can get on the ground and get close to these endangered animals. If that’s not enough adventure for you, you can also go white water rafting, zip-lining, horseback riding and camp out under the stars at one of the Kingdom’s National Parks.
8 – Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan has made travelling easier by recently releasing an online E-Visa. This country in the Caucasus has plenty to offer for a holiday in 2020. Explore the futuristic city of Baku complete with towering skyscrapers and contrast it with a stroll through the old city with its baroque and gothic architecture. Tea is a big deal in Azerbaijan, make sure to visit a tea house in the capital. If you are looking some adventure, then there’s no better place to hike the Caucasus mountains. Whilst there stop off at some traditional mountain villages to get a feel for Azerbaijani traditions and customs. A visit to Azerbaijan must include a trip to the country’s mud volcanoes. They have more mud volcanoes than any other country on earth, which has given Azerbaijan the name of the Land of Fire.
Have any of these countries tempted you? If you are booking a holiday this year, why not skip the ques at the baggage reclaim and ship your bags direct to your destination. Not only will you save on costly baggage fees, but you won’t have to worry about carrying your suitcase through the airport. My Baggage is a door to door shipping service that ships luggage direct to your destination, fuss-free. Interested? You can find out more or get a quick quote here.