From The Netherlands to Uruguay, this unusual list offers the best countries to visit in 2020, according to Lonely Planet
The English coast is a stunning stretch to visit when you’re done with the hectic pace of London. Take walks on charming piers, look for marine life in rockpools, visit ancient cliffs, and even find some stunning beaches here. In 2020, new sections of the England Coast Path will continue to open. When finished, at almost 3000 miles, the path will be the longest continuous trail of its kind in the world. Some of our favourite destinations along the coast are Cornwall, Dorset and the cliffs of Dover for gorgeous days out.
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North Macedonia – or simply Macedonia – enjoys a revamped international image. This tiny nation in the heart of the Balkans boasts of great food, traditions and nature, and now adventurere is on the cards as well. Visit the Unesco-protected Lake Ohrid and the recently launched High Scardus Trail, a 495km trek along the dramatic peaks.
In Aruba’s south, San Nicolas is known as Sunrise City. Here international and local artists color the city’s street walls and offer carnival festivities. Aruba plans to implement a ban on all single-use plastics and reef-destroying sunscreens in 2020. With home-sharing accommodation and experiences, Aruba offers palm-fringed and pristine beaches with sustainability at the destination’s heart.
Southern Africa’s most underrated spot is brimming with culture, adventure and wildlife. The Kingdom of eSwatini was formerly known as Swaziland and boasts of a new international airport, improved roads and conservation areas. The diverse landscapes within its parks and reserves offers excellent adventure opportunities like zip lining, trekking, whitewater rafting and even rhino spotting (for eg at Mkhaya Game Reserve).
Costa Rica is the poster child for sustainable tourism. It’s vast biodiversity offers sloths in trees, red-eyed frogs, and whales in the Pacific. This tropical paradise scores high on conservation. Ninety percent of the country’s energy is created by renewable sources, and it may become one of the first carbon-neutral countries in 2020. Hike volcanoes, go zip lining, or soak in the tranquility at a yoga retreat. Pura vida (pure life) indeed.
2020 marks 75 years of freedom since the end of WWII and the Netherlands is in celebrations mode. From Amsterdam enjoy the excellent train network to explore the stunning cities. April and May are best to take in King’s Day, Liberation Day and the Eurovision Song Contest. There is a network of over 35,000km of cycling paths to explore attractions beyond the cities, such as Unesco World Heritage Site the Wadden Sea. So much more than just Amsterdam!
Lesser-known Liberia is brimming with natural wonders. Think stunning beaches, some of West Africa’s best surf at resorts such as Robertsport and Sapo National Park, the second-largest area of primary rainforest in West Africa. In these dense forests, you can see chimpanzees, elephants and Liberia’s famous pygmy hippos – no larger than a Shetland pony. A groundbreaking deal with Norway to halt all deforestation by 2020 looks set to preserve this natural treasure.
Morocco has sustainable-yet-stylish lodging, restaurants serving up seasonal produce and coastal wellness retreats mixing up yoga and surfing. With Africa’s first high-speed train. you can zip from Casablanca to Tangier in just two hours. Ancient medinas are getting a makeover in Fez, Essaouira, Meknes, Tetouan and Marrakesh (first Capital of Culture in 2020) to celebrate its rich heritage. Berber mountain villages, deserted Atlantic beaches and far-flung desert outposts offer a sanctuary from the crowds.
With 660km of Río de la Plata and Atlantic shoreline, a growing wine industry, hot springs and rolling rangelands, Uruguay has something for everyone. The country has also proudly championed a progressive social agenda in recent years – from marijuana legalisation and the open embrace of LGBTQ+ rights to the promotion of sustainable tourism. But what visitors remember most are Uruguay’s laid-back, welcoming and down-to-earth people and the subtle but profound beauty of the country’s landscape – from the long, untamed Atlantic coastline to the boundless open spaces of the lowlands.