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10 of the best destinations to visit in 2020

21 January 2020 08:50

Could 2020 be the year you visit Bhutan?

Could 2020 be the year you visit Bhutan?

Capitals of culture, the world's greenest city and a nation that prides itself on happiness are all waiting for you this year...

1. Rijeka, Croatia

The Croatian port, known as the ugly duckling of the Adriatic Coast, is swanning into 2020 as a European Capital of Culture. The galleries and museums – one on board a superyacht – will ramp up their exhibitions to mark the occasion. And the city will celebrate further with a mile-long zipline thrown in for good measure.

After you've taken in the views from the hilltop Trsat Castle to the harbour, you might want to slow things down and enjoy the charm of this busy student city. Combine city break and beach getaway by taking a catamaran to the nearby Cres and Losinj islands.

2. Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver pledged to become the world's greenest city by 2020 – only fitting for the birthplace of Greenpeace. Visitors and Vancouverites can now enjoy an extra 102,000 trees, planted since 2010, as well as miles of cycling and walking networks.

Snowboarders and sunbathers alike can find their fun here, as the city lies between beaches on the Pacific and a mountain range filled with North America's finest ski runs. Those looking to make the most of the metropolis and sample winter sports should head to the Rogers Arena to see the Canucks in ice hockey action between October and April.

3. Tohoku, Japan

While all eyes are fixed on Tokyo for the Olympics, Tohoku, a short bullet-train ride away, offers savvy travellers an unspoiled slice of Japanese culture. Expect pristine forests, thousand-year-old temples and shrines and historic festivals set against a backdrop of dramatic landscapes.

The region records some of the planet's heaviest snowfall and Zao Onsen offers visitors the perfect chance to meet 'snow monsters'. Snow, freezing winds and tall trees combine to create the 'ice trees' that tower over some of the best snowfields in the world.

4. Kochi, India

With the world's first fully solar powered airport, Kochi tops the list for climate conscious travellers in 2020.The south Indian city balances a laid-back lifestyle with a diverse cultural history, as synagogues sit next to Portuguese colonial villas and the remains of the British Raj.

For a unique experience of 'The Queen of The Arabian Sea', head to the Kerala Kathakali Centre. Here, performers in extravagant outfits and outlandish make-up stage traditional dances in an intimate wooden theatre. If you're looking to escape the city, why not head to the region's many beaches where Kochiites share the waves with bottlenose dolphins?

5. Galway, Ireland

Galway is a hub for live music, with winding streets home to colourfully painted pubs filled with fiddles, flutes and drums. Throw in a locally brewed Galway Hooker Irish Pale Ale and you'll be enjoying the west Ireland city in timeless fashion.

Or you could make the most of the city's new European Capital of Culture status and see the nearby Connemara mountains turned green by an impressive St Patrick's Day light installation. Expect concerts, author visits, a bad weather play day and more across the county's 154 events planned for 2020.

6. Zakouma, Chad

One of travel's best kept secrets is the Zakouma National Park in Chad. The Central African state is shedding its reputation as one of the least visited countries in the world and welcoming safari fans keen to catch a glimpse of a rapidly growing elephant population and half of the world's Kordofan giraffes.

The reserve more than doubled in size in 2017, adding over 1,700 square miles to its existing 1,100, in anticipation of growing animal numbers – the elephant herd is expected to hit 1,000 by 2024. The new year offers the perfect opportunity to see an under-the-radar wildlife haven before the crowds pour in.

7. Dubai, UAE

Whether it's shopping in the world's second-largest mall or taking in the views from the world's tallest building, Dubai is a go-to destination for world-leading experiences. This year is no exception as the city hosts the six-month-long World Expo 2020.

The theme, 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future', will see 190 nations showcasing the latest in forward-thinking ideas in sustainability, transport and more. The city will also be opening the Museum of the Future in 2020, an eye-shaped building at the forefront of tomorrow's ideas.

8. La Paz, Bolivia

It may sound odd for a city almost 12,000ft above sea level, but La Paz is on the up. The Bolivian capital is famed for the world's largest cable car system, which opened in 2014 with three lines and will extend to 11 lines in 2020, a sure sign of the country's ambitious plans.

9. Tasmania, Australia

If you're looking for rugged landscapes without the crowds of New Zealand, and an arts and food scene like mainland Australia's without the heat, look no further than Tasmania. A fifth of the wilderness on the island state (around 3.4m acres) is UNESCO listed and ready for keen hikers to tread its paths.

When catching a glimpse of the infamous Tasmanian Devil proves tiresome, there's always the option of indulging in one of the region's many food and drink trails. The Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail takes in the produce of the island's best berry and dairy farms, while the Tasmanian Beer Trail features 20 breweries, including Australia's oldest, The Cascade, built in 1832.

10. Thimphu, Bhutan

If sustainability is high on your travel priorities, Bhutan should be top of your must-see list. The world's only carbon neutral country operates on a 'high-value, low-impact' tourism policy. For tourists this means you'll have to pay a daily fee to protect the monastery-capped hills of the Himalayan paradise.

The nation swaps GDP for GNH or Gross National Happiness and the penchant for positivity can be felt across the country's capital. At over 7,800 feet above sea level, the city literally towers over others in the happiness stakes. Quaint cafés and roofs covered with drying red chillies are found near babbling brooks watched over by a 177ft high Buddha statue.

Trying somewhere new in 2020? Get cover before you go!

Remember your travel insurance before you start a decade of unforgettable travel. At World First we provide worldwide travel insurance, so you can reach all of this year's hotspots without a worry.