CLC World’s pick of the world’s top holiday destinations for 2020 will take you from the incredible to the sublime, Europe to Asia, old trade routes and modern seats of power.
Whether you’re ready for a backpacking adventure or city breaks, travelling alone or with the family, there’s a destination for you.
Alongside our travel agent experts, CLC World Travel, we’ve pored over maps and brought our extensive travel knowledge to the fore to bring you our top 10 destinations for 2020.
“Jaw-dropping, stunningly beautiful” is how Simon Reeve, British travel broadcaster and journalist described Costa Rica in his most recent adventure. The soul of Central America, Costa Rica is very focused on sustainable tourism, and while you’re burning jet fuel to get there, you can be reassured by the green tourism infrastructure that is being put in place.
Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world and you can adventure through the wonderful terrain with rainforest hikes, white-water rapid runs, zip-lines through the tree canopies and then recuperate on a sunny beach. You’ll come back understanding the full meaning of Costa Rica’s pura vida (pure life).
Montenegro is a slice of heaven on the Adriatic. The 300km of coastline has everything you could expect of shoreline scenery – walled towns perching precariously on rocks, mountains dipping their toes into crystal waters and the scent of warm pines, wild herbs and blossoms lulling you into a zen-like state.
For the adventurous, the primeval forest of Biogradska Gora and the mountains are worth exploring. Those of a cultural bent will have a European history lesson in miniature with Montenegro’s past as a communist state, flamboyant Orthodox monasteries, mosque minarets and the decorative Catholic churches dotting town and countryside, not to mention Roman mosaics there to be witnessed. You’ll be fascinated by all Montenegro has to offer.
The Silk Road – Central Asia
Follow in the footsteps of the Silk Road traders as you romance your way through blue-domed cities, past crumbling fortresses, unspoilt mountain scenery and summer pastures where yurt-dwelling nomads pitch for a time.
Whether it’s the raw natural beauty of Kyrgyzstan, the gorgeous tiled Registan of Uzbekistan’s capital, Samarkand or Tajikistan’s Pamir Highway, the Central Asian section of The Silk Road will open your eyes to the spread of international commerce, language, culture and art, and your heart to totally new travel experiences.
One of Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel’ destinations for 2020, England is a green and pleasant land of undulating hills, craggy coastline (2795 miles), ancient woodland and beaches that range from golden sand to fossilised rocks.
England’s history is long and rich and everywhere you turn, there’s a reminder of some aspect of this tiny country’s past. Standing stones, castles, medieval cathedrals whose spires scrape the skies, black timbered houses and monuments tell the tale from prehistory, through industrial revolution to the modern age.
From London to York, Bristol to Cambridge, England’s cities take you on an urban adventure. Expect quirky, modern, metropolitan, innovative and lively – which one(s) you pick, is entirely up to you.
2020 European Capital of Culture is Galway’s claim to fame, and rightly deserved as this western sliver of the Republic of Ireland brings ‘bohemian’ to life. Lining its colourful streets are buskers and artists, while pubs heave with live performances.
While the city’s energy will draw you in, the surrounding countryside is ideal for fresh air, activities and the odd stately home. Head out over the bay to the Aran Islands and follow the trails through the rustic landscape between historic buildings before having a bite to eat and a pint in one of the pubs. Ireland is calling you.
Canada is one of those ‘tick all the boxes’ destinations, with cutting edge cities, wonderful wildlife, looming landscapes and out-of-the-way settlements. The people are as diverse as the landscapes with indigenous Arctic peoples, Francophones, British ex-pats and a growing Asian community – it’s a multicultural land.
If you like adventure, then Canada’s vast lands are your rec ground. Capture Grizzlies on camera, kayak in Nova Scotia as whales breach, watch the water tumble at Niagara Falls or stare at the mesmerising Northern Lights. Canada – box ticked!
Such a diverse and huge country needs time to be explored, and if you’re on a time-rich trip around the world, then make India one of your long stopovers. If you’re not lucky enough to have time on your hands, then take this intoxicating country in bite-sized chunks.
Head to the north and the ‘golden triangle’ of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, or south and the increasingly popular Kerala region with its palm-fringed beaches, tea plantations and historic city of Kochi. To the west is the Kolkata, a traditional city with colonial architecture, cultural festivals and oodles of charm. India will entice and fascinate you with her infinite variety.
Washington D.C., USA
The USA’s capital is teeming with museums, iconic monuments and is a showcase of American arts with theatres, art galleries and a history of music including jazz, go-go and punk.
And then there’s the history – it is here that the actual Declaration of Independence sits with the signature of John Hancock scrawled across it; where Martin Luther King gave his “I have a dream” speech and home to the flag that inspired the “Star Spangled Banner”. For a weekend break, Washington D.C. will fill your days.
Two words that immediately spring to mind when considering China for a holiday destination are vast and diverse, which leaves you with the question – where should I go? This is the world’s oldest continuous civilisation, so there’s a plethora of goodies waiting to be discovered.
The Terracotta Army, Great Wall and temple halls of Xiahe are givens, but let’s not forget Buddhist grottoes, desert forts, Shanghai for a night on the tiles and the mix of sceneries from mountains to lakes, bamboo forest to Hainan beaches. Plan well and you’ll be dining off the experiences for years to come.
If you like to have fun among classical ruins, then Athens is the perfect city break playground. Watched over by the temples of the Acropolis, explore this energetic city, where modern rubs shoulders with the ancient, Byzantine and neoclassical.
Be spontaneous, turn down that alley, sit and listen to the musicians, join in the debate. And if you’d like some sea and sand, there are plenty of beaches along the Attica peninsula. Athens has regenerated itself and for a trip that fizzes with excitement old and new, you couldn’t pick a better spot in 2020.
During 2020, CLC World will be bringing you the travel highlights of each destination with a dedicated monthly blog.
There’s also plenty more to read and inspire your wanderlust on our Horizons blog. Make sure you don’t miss out by subscribing to our Horizons newsletter.