rounded-up the 20 destinations to watch in 2020, from
Portland to South Tyrol, Galway to Yerevan, Pittsburgh to
South America’s best-kept secret, this jungle nation is
sandwiched on the upper part of the continent between Venezuela,
Brazil and Suriname. As the only English-speaking country in South
America (having gained independence from the UK in 1966), it’s
easier (linguistically) to navigate than its surrounding
Spanish-speaking nations – and, with flights from NYC’s JFK airport
timed at just five hours it’s a more “doable” destination than you
might have anticipated.
Stretching nearly 4,300km from top to toe, Chile is,
unsurprisingly, a land of extremes, boasting diverse landscapes and
abundant wildlife. Beyond the capital, vibrant cities such as
Valparaiso offer colourful cliffside houses and quirky charm, while
the Atacama Desert is a go-to for salt flats and stargazing.
England is an old hand in escapism. Famous for its country
retreats – be it a cottage in the Cotswolds or a
distillery-adjacent stay in Somerset – and coastal towns, it’s
economic downturn is likely to make it a hit with international
visitors in 2020, while UK nationals are likely to opt for
staycations next year (to save both pounds and the environment). If
Cornwall isn’t calling you, opt for a city break in Manchester –
where the food scene and hotel offering is expanding at lightning
Portugal’s islands are a wilderness of secret surfing beaches,
thermal pools, eco-conscious hotels and volcanic drama. Nature
rules this dramatic archipelago of nine volcanic islets 1,500km off
the coast of Lisbon so hiking, whale-watching, visiting crystalline
lagoons and ancient vineyards are all on the agenda. Flores, Faial
and Pico are our favourite islands.
The hipster’s heartland, Portland is a burgeoning city full of
artists and musicians, foodies and innovative techsperts. Quirky,
environmentally friendly and open-minded, Portland is graced with a
million distractions – atop its geographical blessings (hello lush
Pacific Northwest). Set up on the east side of the city and get
lost in the maze of food stalls, craft stores and vibrant
With world-class hiking, idyllic scenery (its mythical
landscapes inspired the fantasies of J. R. R. Tolkien) and
intriguing local culture, South Tyrol is a perfect adventure
playground. With the rugged good looks of the Alps and the charm of
the Riviera, the spa town of Merano and ancient Bolzano are the
destinations on which to set your sights.
A cosmopolitan desert landscape that juts into the emerald
Atlantic, Dakar – the westernmost point of continental Africa – is
a paradise of cool. The surf-loving city (paddle into the waves of
the Almadies Peninsula) on the coast of Senegal is a bevvy of
cotton-candy sunsets followed by late nights spent drinking by the
There is some serious creative buzz surrounding this inland
oasis. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele hosted his cruise show here in
2019, but the Arles obsession is nothing new. Artists such as Pablo
Picasso, Etel Adnan, Joan Mitchell and Vincent Van Gogh have raved
about Arles and its magical, Meditteranean light for aeons. It’s a
popular holiday escape for Parisians, and for good reason; Arles’
incredible cultural offerings are second to none.
With a climate that guarantees warm winters and
not-too-scorching summers, otherworldly volcanic landscapes and
golden beaches, it’s surprising that, until recently, package
holidays have had a monopoly on the Canary Islands. Lanzarote is
surprisingly cool – the surf set are moving in – and the smaller
isles of La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera are natural beauties
with some excellent places to stay.
Jutting out into the ocean, this stretch of the of Mie
Prefecture offers a portal into Old Japan. It’s home to a giant
complex of Shinto shrines including Ise-Jingū, Japan’s most sacred
Shinto shrine, believed to have been founded in the 3rd century.
Travel along the coast for seaside views and lunches of seafood
harvested by traditional amulet-wearing female shellfish
New Zealand’s Central Otago is inundated with breathtaking
scenery. A landscape of dusted peaks and weathered rocks position
it as a playground for snow bunnies – the world-class ski fields
surrounding Wanaka are among the country’s best. It’s also home to
the adventure-rich town of Queenstown, and those who don’t identify
as thrill seekers will be taken in by Otago’s vineyards.
This Austrian city buzzes year round thanks to musical pilgrims
who come seek out Mozart’s birthplace and the setting of The Sound
of Music. In summer, the famous Salzburg Festival transforms the
charming city into a party featuring galas and performances by
revered international stars. In the winter months, we’re hankering
for Salzburg’s mountain scenery (read: gorgeous Alpine vistas) and
charming city centre, which is a Unesco World Heritage site.
Often passed over for other sparklers on the coast, such as
Croatia and Montenegro, North Macedonia’s star is now burning
brighter than ever, with lakeside Ohrid proving particularly
popular. All cobblestoned walkways, old-world charm (every corner
of Ohrid’s Old Town is garnished with bougainvillea and ivy) and
sitting at the intersection of three national parks, it’s an easy
sell for hikers and bikers in search of their next adventure.
Andy Warhol’s hometown is making waves thanks to a new wave of
young talents keen to continue the late artist’s legacy and
champion a cutting-edge art scene. With interesting restaurants
that stay true to themselves and a thriving tech sphere,
Pittsburgh’s tourism scene is about to explode.
While it’s close to the Greek mainland, many tourists pass by
Kea en route to Oía et al. Though Athenians are fond of weekending
here, it seems to have otherwise escaped attention – until now.
With idyllic coves, vineyards crawling over mountainous masses and
some of the best wreck diving in Greece, this island in Cyclades
archipelago in the Aegean Sea is one to visit before the crowds
After visiting the centuries-old street market in Galway city on
a Saturday afternoon, where countless food stalls are sandwiched
between arts and crafts stands and buskers playing merry Irish
tunes, it will come as no surprise that this small but busy Irish
city has been named the European Capital of Culture for 2020. The
county’s majestic rugged coastline also makes a strong case for
exploring more of the “wild west”.
The heady blend of classic Portuguese architecture and African
drum beats renders a wholly intoxicating image of Bahia. More than
900km of coastline, paradisaical islands and idyllic coastal
villages attract vacationers and divers, while the spectacular
Chapada Diamantina National Park and Unesco World Heritage-listed
sites draw intrepid travellers inland.
With palm-lined boulevards and a distinctive European charm,
galleries and gourmet grocers, Rabat is attracting savvy travellers
who are bypassing Fez and Marrakech. Its seaside location, at the
mouth of the Bou Regreg river, means that the beach is central.
Inland, you’ll find fine historic buildings, a bustling,
stress-free medina and an elegant new town.
On South America’s southern frontier, nature reigns supreme.
Patagonia’s jagged peaks and pristine rivers have established
tourist trails in the northern stretches, but elsewhere wilderness
still rules. The area covers some 400,000 square miles, so you’ll
need to plan ahead. Our advice? Hone in on Chilean Patagonia – a
collage of islands, inlets and labyrinthine channels.
In Yerevan traditional pandoks (taverns) crowded with locals
compete with European-style wine bars; Soviet-era buildings
shoulder modern structures; and fashions range from hipster to
babushka. Armenia’s capital is a city of contrasts and a hive of
activity. Set your starting point as the Dancing Fountains in
Republic Square – it’s the best introduction to the city.