10 Places I’m Dying To Visit In 2020
It’s that time of year!! I love preparing this post every year, because it gets me daydreaming and hardcore planning about where I’m going and all the exciting things I’ll get to do (and let’s face it, eat). And now we’ve got a new decade to do it in.
Where to travel in 2020
I’m a little later than usual posting this, but it’s because I was struggling a bit on how to approach it. The thing is, in the past I’ve truly listed places I was dying to visit in the coming year that I would actually be trying to plan a trip to. But that meant that there were some perpetual entries since I still haven’t gotten around to visiting, say, the Greek Isles or South Africa.
You can see the 2017 list, 2018 list, and 2019 list if you’re interested as well (and heck, let’s travel to the future with 2021, 2022, and 2023 since 2020 was a garbage dumpster fire).
So I’ve approached this a bit differently this year, not only through a lens of places *I’m* dying to visit, but also including a few places I’ve been but I believe YOU should be dying to visit (if you haven’t already been). So this is even more of a “where to travel in 2020” post than normal. Hopefully this gets you travel-giddy and poring through flight options…
So here are ten places I’d recommend to fuel your wanderlust dreams. Are any of these on your list? Consider this my shortlist of where to travel in 2020!
1. Portugal’s Algarve Coast (and more!)
Yes, this one actually is from past but I am totally in love with Portugal and want to explore it more. It truly is on my 2020 list…I didn’t end up getting to catch it last year due to other international work travel, but it’s totally doable in 2020.
The Algarve Coast in the south of Portugal is at the top of the list, but I’d add Porto to this list as well, and the Douro Valley (update: I got to both!). And the Azores, though I think that’ll take more planning.
Basically, I want to see more of Portugal! Lisbon and Porto both won me over with its lovely people, incredibly colorful tiles and whimsical details, delicious food and wine, and now it’s time to explore more of the country.
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I’ve really enjoyed the parts of Eastern Europe that I’ve visited, and really want to spend more time here. In my first draft of this list I realized I had like…three Eastern Europe destinations on it. So I “whoa Nelly’d” myself and pulled it back to just one, but it was super hard to choose.
I’ve heard lots of awesome things about Krakow, Wroclaw, and Gdansk, and mixed but many positive things about Warsaw. I’d love to wander the colorful buildings and soak in more of the (often tragic) history, and as a World War II history nerd maybe even visit one of the devastating concentration camp memorials.
In case you’re wondering, some of the other main picks in Eastern Europe were Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia), and I’m still dying to get back to Prague again.
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3. The Grand Canyon
The O.G., one of the most recognizable sights in the United States. The Grand Canyon is either the second- or third-most visited U.S. National Park (depending on who you ask) and it’s insane that I’ve never been. I feel like most people in the U.S. maybe visited on a family road trip when they were kids, but my family never ended up wandering around that part of the country.
My parents and I finally got around to visiting Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah in 2019, so maybe 2020 is when we’ll finally get our crap together and do the planning required to do a PROPER visit (staying there, some hiking, etc.) to the Grand Canyon.
Well, 2020 was weird, but I finally made it: The North Rim: Grand Canyon Day Trip
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4. Turkey’s Turquoise Coast
So this is one that I really want to put on more people’s radar!!! I’ve been in love with Turkey for a while, but had really just visited Istanbul a couple times before. But I had a big birthday in 2019 and so planned an epic trip to explore more of Turkey, including Cappadocia (previously #1 on my bucket list) and the absolutely stunning Turquoise Coast.
There are a lot of misconceptions about traveling in Turkey, and I’m also not sure tons of people (particularly in the U.S.) realize how amazing the southern coast is. I spent two days in Fethiye and Olüdeniz, and then two days sailing around the Göcek islands, and would come back here over and over.
It’s super affordable, has gorgeous weather, wonderful food, and tons to do. What’s not to love?!
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5. Zhangjiajie Mountains, China
This national forest park is famous as the Avatar Mountains (from the movie Avatar), and just looking through photos of them really blows my mind. @farewhispers and I had hoped to find a way to visit them on a whirlwind trip to Shanghai a few years ago (where we instead were denied boarding due to visa confusion and went to Lisbon instead…) but these are very much on my future list.
The downside is that they are super crowded with Chinese tourists, though still largely unvisited by foreigners. Parts of the experience can be challenging from what I understand due to the crowds and lack of care, but it’s so massive that you can easily escape the crowds and feel like you have this insane landscape to yourself.
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I feel like Malta has been getting a ton of attention lately from both travel bloggers and even just random people I know, so while I considered including it it just felt a little more *done*. But Cyprus has a lot of similarities and seems a lot less discovered.
Gorgeous beaches, interesting history, beautiful weather year-round, a mix of cultures, delicious food…how can you resist?
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This small country has a fascinating blend of cultures, with Buddhist temples and Hmong handicrafts co-existing with French cafes due to its French colonial heritage. It has beautiful untouched scenery, and hasn’t yet seen the hordes of tourists that neighboring Thailand has.
It makes many lists for best places for solo travel in southeast Asia as well. Right now Laos and Vietnam are on my list of where to travel in 2020, so hopefully I’ll actually FINALLY make this happen!
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8. Patagonia, Argentina
When @sjems5 and I spent a week in Argentina a few years ago, I tried SO hard to fit Patagonia into our itinerary but it really just wasn’t possible.
I’ve been dying to go back since then. To see the famous Perito Moreno Glacier would be amazing, and overall the landscapes are supposed to be totally mind-blowing. While I’m not up for a multi-day hike, doing some day hikes in this area would be a bucket list item.
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9. Scotland’s Islands
Tons of people visit Scotland, but I’m always shocked by how few get into the upper Highlands and out into the islands. But THAT’S THE BEST PART!!! My parents and I did a 10-day “Highlands & Islands” roadtrip a few years ago and totally fell in love with the country’s vastly diverse natural beauty.
There are so many places to choose from, and you can’t go wrong. The Isle of Skye is the one that the most tourists visit, and is definitely worth a few days. But I challenge you to go beyond that. Try serene tiny Iona, diverse Arran, whisky-laden Islay, or mystical Harris & Lewis. And with the British pound being weaker, now is a perfect time to plan an adventure.
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10. Vieques, Puerto Rico
I really love Puerto Rico, and find it sad that I haven’t found time to visit since 2013 (!!). And while I’ve spent time in both San Juan and in Rincon on the opposite side of the island, I’ve had Vieques and the island of Culebra on my wishlist for years.
In addition to gorgeous “blue flag” beaches, Vieques has the biggest and brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. I’ve been to one of the other ones in Puerto Rico, but really want to experience this one! I could not for the LIFE of me find a creative commons photo of Vieques so below is a picture of…somewhere…that gives you the idea 🙂
So what do you have on the docket for where to travel in 2020? Where is on your “must” list?? Let me know in the comments!
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