05 Jan Wake Up Here – The Ultimate Travel Guide 2020
Welcome to 2020 in which we journey to a few of the world’s most beautiful destinations. We dreamed up a shortlist of hotspots that have captured our attention and imagination. Alongside the tried-and-true, there is a new league of cities and countries emerging – places that have made their way forefront as we start thinking more critically not only about how we treat our planet, but how we treat each other.
Get your passports ready! Here, our list of must-visit destinations for 2020.
Set foot in Samarkand and you will be instantly transported through its magical architecture. Get lost between soaring minarets and intricately tiled mosaics. Uzbekistan feels like Turkey’s baby brother with vibrant urban centers topped by sprawling, arable interior where some of the freshest produce of the planet is grown. It is generally safe for women to travel alone here, although naturally you have to be respectful of dress codes.
A cosmopolitan desert landscape that blends into the emerald Atlantic, Dakar is a paradise of cool. Elegance meets chaos in this surf-loving city on the coast of Senegal. A glittering vibe, the country’s capital is a mish-mash of cotton candy sunsets followed by late nights spent drinking by the waters edge.
There is something magical about this picturesque town steeped in Provençal culture. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele hosted his cruise show here in 2019, but creatives’ obsession with this inland oasis is nothing new. Artists such as Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh have raved about Arles and its miraculous, Mediterranean light for ages. With cobblestone alleyways and pastel houses surrounded by endless flower fields, Arles is a popular holiday escape for Parisians, and for good reason…
Ask the surfers: something special is happening in Siargao. The teardrop-shaped tropical island in the rarely stepped on south-east of the Philippines is luring legions of right-on sorts to its shores. Fringed with pristine beached, tree frog-green mangrove forests and sweeping groves of coconut palms, Siargao’s little wonder tourism is gathering pace. Less than a tenth of the size of Bali, the island feels the way the Indonesian hotspot did three decades ago: scooters with surfboard racks, convenience stores pour petrol from glass Coca Cola bottles and farmers sell rice at the local market.
Antarctica & the Arctic
If you have seen it all and want to see something mostly white instead, journey to the world’s vast polar regions, where you can go on polar-bear-seeking walking safaris, watch for whales, penguins and seals.
Sitting between the ‘sky’ (the Andes) and the ‘sea’ (the Pacific) Santiago is a city with a spectacular backdrop. The capital has a lively and colorful history and old school charm but is also a modern city with a thriving economy – all the new restaurants, bars and boutique hotels serve as a proof. The city is also a launching point for eco-adventure trips to the Atacama Desert.
Few American cities can match the youthful spirit of Portland, a burgeoning city full of artists and musicians, foodies and innovative techsperts. Wonderfully weird, environmentally friendly and open-minded, the so-called City of Roses is graced with a million distractions – atop its scenic beauty with inspiring backdrop. Get lost and be inspired by the maze of vibrant food stalls, design scenes and vibrant murals.
Central Otago, New Zealand
New Zealand’s Central Otago is deluged with breathtaking scenery. A landscape of rolling hills position it as a playground for snow bunnies – the world-class ski fields surrounding Wanaka are among the country’s best. It is also home to the adventure-rich mecca of Queenstown and those who do not identify as thrill seekers will be taken in by Otago’s vineyards.
With palm-lined boulevards and a distinctive European charm, galleries and gourmet grocers, the UNESCO-listed Rabat is a relaxed city with effortless grace. Its seaside location, at the mouth of the Bou Regreg river, makes the beach central and is filled with locals strumming guitars. Inland, you will find fine historic buildings, a bustling, stress-free medina and an elegant new town.
In Yerevan (ԵՐԵՎԱՆ), 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 with many weird and wonderful variations in between. Armenia’s capital is a city of contrast and a hive of activity. Set your starting point at the Dancing Fountains in Republic Square and wander into any archway to be transported through time…
So what are you waiting for? Let’s explore!