The inspiration stage is my favorite part of travel planning. These 20 countries to visit in 2020 are a shortlist for travel bucket lists. This list is full of ideas of places to go — some popular and some that often get overlooked.
Over the past two years, I’ve found myself itching to return back to the same countries. You’ll find a few of these countries even in last year’s post but with new destinations to consider. There is something quite magical in the return. So as you plan out your travels for 2020, I’d encourage you to consider slower travel as part of your experience.
For this next year, I’m focusing primarily on what can be discovered here in the states. Alongside, Europe will always be my second priority — it’s where I feel the most inspired and where my family is and from. We’re looking to dive even deeper this year in Europe, to find places that maybe haven’t hit the Instagram feed quite yet. So in 2020, you’ll find a range of all of this and even more (some Asia and Australia as well!).
As you start planning out, take a look at these 20 countries to visit in 2020.
20 Countries to Visit in 2020
It’s number one on the list and purposefully so. Visiting Slovenia this last fall reminded me of why a good ol’ road trip through Europe, sans crowds, is magical. Slovenia is somewhere that doesn’t feel overrun by tourism. True to its culture, its incredible range of outdoor experiences, and some unique destinations, it should be at the top of the list. Especially, if you’re Europe bound.
A tried and true for the traveler who wants to feel a world away from their culture. Japan has a way of pulling you in, and amidst it all, giving you an opportunity to see why the Japanese culture is so special. From major cities like Tokyo to diving into the historic city of Kyoto, it’s a country where you can get a wide range of experiences. I found that getting out into the countryside, like the Kiso Valley or the onsen hills near Kanazawa, make for a well-rounded experience.
Only spending a day or two in the city of Bergen, Norway has moved to the top of my list. It’s a country so surprisingly beautiful, it’s hard to put into words. From remote island getaways to cities booming like Oslo and Bergen, it’s something else. Whether you spend time hiking through valleys or cruising down fjords, it’s somewhere to immerse oneself in nature.
One country that keeps popping up is Armenia. With new flights being released by Ryanair from other major Europe cities, it will be easily accessible for travelers. And for good reason — this country is rich in city experiences and scenic countrysides. Home to the oldest cathedral in the world and natural wonders, you bet I’m itching to get here.
5. Sri Lanka
It felt like Sri Lanka could be spotted on almost anyone’s Instagram feed a few years ago but seemed to slow down the past two years. Sri Lanka is a special place. The southern coast is an animal-lover’s paradise, from safaris in national parks to beachside towns for surfers. Bustling hillside towns and historic forts along the coast means this country is one you could spend a few weeks in.
Another one of those destinations that may have been overrun by “IG tourism” still has parts that haven’t been discovered. Though a visit should include time in the bustling city of Marrakech and a night in the Sahara desert, look to places like Tangier or Essaouira to escape the crowds. Morocco is still a magical place to visit.
Idyllic beaches and clear waters, make this beach destination off the coast of Africa incredible. It’s a bit more remote but once there, you can easily settle in for a week or two of relaxing. It would be an ideal destination to pair with an African safari.
Edinburgh‘s hip scene for design hotels, cool cafes, and unique dining is a great starting point in Scotland. Adventure out a bit further, in the Highlands, and discover even more of Scotland’s history. Castles, pastoral lands, and hotels out of a movie are just a few of the highlights.
Slurping down noodles on a side of a road in Hanoi is something everyone should experience once in their life. It’s these kinds of raw moments in Vietnam that awaken the soul. From climbing the mountains of Sapa to sailing the coast, Vietnam has always been one of my favorite countries ever visited.
Vibrant and colorful, Colombia is changing at a rapid speed. With cities like Bogota and Medellín that showcase its more cosmopolitan growth, they’re now home to world-class restaurants and hotels. Itching out to the coast, Cartagena will always be the jewel of South America. It’s a considered destination, one that takes a bit more care in planning but none the less, enriching.
Though Melbourne and Sydney are both incredible destinations, it’s the areas near these cities that catch my eye. Take the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne for example. An incredible wine region with hidden beaches, and a whole area dedicated to thermal baths. It’s a blissful destination.
Also known as the heart of Asia, this fast-growing country is changing quickly. There’s a variety of cuisine, it’s known for their warm welcome to travelers, and those islands surrounded by crystal turquoise waters.
Forever and always a memory I’ll never forget. Spending two weeks exploring Jordan was incredible. From walking through Petra, floating on the Dead Sea, to eating through Amman, Jordan is one place for the bucket list.
With Lima as a culinary capital, it’s the best starting point in Peru. Once acclimated, making the journey to Macchu Picchu for an opportunity to see one of the greatest wonders in the world.
Off the beaten path for Northern Europe, Estonia is catching travelers who are making their way through Scandinavia. For good reason, the city of Tallinn is both charming and changing. Microbreweries, historic sights, and great restaurants are a few of the highlights here. These 10 incredible things to do in Tallinn are just a few of them.
The third-largest island in the Mediterranean means you have all the perks of say Greece but a totally different experience. With historical heritage, incredible cuisine, and those island experiences we all crave in the heat of summer, Cyprus is a great alternative to other island destinations.
Though Cuba has changed in legalities, you can still go visit on group tours. When I went, the rules were different but none the less one of the best travel experiences. From Havana to Trinidad, Cuba is an exciting and enriching place to visit. If you’re looking to go, take a peek at our friends Coast to Costa for group tours.
Malta has been one of those missed destinations in Europe when it comes to island escapes. It may be a bit further to reach but in return, you get something magical. Crystal blue waters in coves, diverse cities with a historic past, and countryside towns more charming than ever. It’s the perfect year-round destination in Europe.
So many ways to get outdoors and pair it with truly incredible cosmopolitan cities. This is what makes Canada unique — not to mention their contagious friendliness. Some destinations include the changing city of Victoria, ski-destination of Whistler, and of course, a truly Quebecois experience in Montreal.
20. United Arab Emirates
Home to Abu Dhabi and the newish opened Louvre, it’s a city of wonders. From mosques, towering skyscrapers, and beaches, the UAE is one to put on the list.