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Lonely Planet ’s Best Travel Destinations for 2020 Is Revealed

Nick Mafi

As we near 2020, traveling to places new and old becomes top of mind. But the timeless question rears its head once more: Where to go, and why? Enter Lonely Planet, and its newly released list of the best places to see next year. The book, which is now in its 15th edition, reduces the immensity of the world by categorizing the experiences (such as Top 10 Cities, Top 10 Best Value, and Best Sustainable Trips for Families, to name a few). This, of course, not only makes the job of selecting any new location(s) more manageable but it also allows its readers to be more eco-friendly in travel with sections such as How to minimize your carbon footprint. Below, we take a closer look at several categories from the book that highlight how interesting Lonely Planet’s 2020 selection is. Ultimately, if nothing else, this new book is meant to push us a bit outside of our comfort zone while offering a glimpse into lives and cultures that are different from our own.

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England was selected as one of the best countries to visit in 2020 (pictured here is a section of the Jurassic Coast).
Photo: Shutterstock/Willow Dempsey

With some 195 countries in the world, it can seem a dizzying feat to narrow down 10 nations as the places travelers should focus on in the coming year. Yet, with the proper vetting, a short list revealed itself to the travel guide publisher. “A dozen nations vie for the title of real-life Shangri-la, but Bhutan’s claim has more clout than most,” says Joe Bindloss, a writer for Lonely Planet. “This tiny piece of Himalayan paradise operates a strict ‘high-value, low-impact’ tourism policy, compelling travelers to pay a high daily fee just to set foot in its pine-scented, monastery-crowned hills. The payoff for visitors is a chance to walk along mountain trails unsullied by litter. Bhutan punches well above its weight when it comes to sustainability. It is already the world’s only carbon-negative country, and the kingdom is set to become the first fully organic nation by 2020.”

Top 10 Countries to Visit in 2020

  1. Bhutan
  2. England
  3. North Macedonia
  4. Aruba
  5. Eswatini
  6. Costa Rica
  7. The Netherlands
  8. Liberia
  9. Morocco
  10. Uruguay

Beautiful panoramic sunset view over The Claddagh Galway in Galway city, Ireland

Galway, Ireland, was selected as one of the top cities to travel to in 2020.
Photo: Getty Images

One of the more surprising locations on the list for 2020 is surely Washington, D.C. And while many people will (rightly) assume the U.S. capital was selected in large part because of the 2020 presidential election, there’s much more than meets the eye. “The territory celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment—the law that granted women the right to vote,” says Regis St. Louis, a writer for Lonely Planet. “Iconic museums like the National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of American History, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts will have special exhibitions and programming related to this major milestone in human rights. Tie this in to the presidential election and D.C. will be one of America’s most dynamic places in 2020. Politics aside, Washington’s renaissance is in full bloom. With a revitalized waterfront, newly unveiled eco-friendly architecture, hundreds of newly planted trees, and an innovative floating wetlands system, the city is now looking greener than ever.”

Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2020

  1. Salzburg, Austria
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Cairo, Egypt
  4. Galway, Ireland
  5. Bonn, Germany
  6. La Paz, Bolivia
  7. Kochi, India
  8. Vancouver, B.C.
  9. Dubai, UAE
  10. Denver, Colorado

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Zanzibar (pictured) was selected as one of the top places to travel in terms of best monetary value.
Photo: Explorer/Shutterstock

Top 10 Places That Offer the Best Value For Travel in 2020

How does one break down a value when traveling? That subjective quality makes the measurement difficult to calculate. “Dollar exchange is certainly something that's taken into account, along with cost-of-living markers like the price of food and accommodations,” says Evan Godt, director of content operations at Lonely Planet. “But the overall picture doesn’t consider cost alone. While some of these destinations may be expensive to visit, travelers' money will go further in comparison to similar destinations or than it may have in previous years. For example, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, is often overlooked in favor of Bali. But the low-key scene and reliance on independent travel will means you’re spending less money.”

  1. East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
  2. Budapest, Hungary
  3. Madhya Pradesh, India
  4. Buffalo, New York
  5. Azerbaijan
  6. Serbia
  7. Tunisia
  8. Cape Winelands, South Africa
  9. Athens, Greece
  10. Zanzibar, Tanzania

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest