Ah! It’s that time of the year again when travel resolutions are formed, and a list of dream destinations is conjured up; when the year that is leaving, leaves behind a hope for a travelsome new year.
And if you are in search of destinations that are offbeat, funky, magical and mesmerizing, you have come to the right place! Here’s a list of 12 countries that are perfect for the Middle East travellers!
In the coming year 2020, you will find yourself hiking up to some of the highest peaks of the Himalayas and exploring the greatest depths of the Pacific Ocean; you will find yourself reveling in the festivities of a vibrant carnival and hot air ballooning over some of the most ancient architectural marvels known to mankind.
You might also find yourself awestruck while taking in the beauty of the northern lights. And you for sure have to visit a beautiful gem in Europe, the size of which is not even one fourth the size of UAE, and yet which packs a whole lot of adventure, adrenaline and natural beauty.
Where To Travel In 2020 – 12 Must-Visit Destinations!
See-sawing ambiguously on the cusp of change, there couldn’t possibly be a better time than 2020 to visit the golden land of Myanmar, once a powerful kingdom of South East Asia. As you inch across this extraordinary country, experience your being feel a tad dizzy by the sheer stillness of time and how every nook and cranny exudes a charm that remains untouched, authentic and truly special.
Visit Myanmar to see a place like no other; to stare in disbelief at thousands of sacred, glittering pagodas stretching out across the Bagan plains; to get consumed by the simple pleasures of travel as you meander through quaint villages and waterfalls peppered across the emerald hills and plateaus. Visit Myanmar to see what rural Asia felt like back in the day; to get devoured by the unadulterated, mystical Buddhist aura of the country, and the infectious smiles of local villagers who remain innocently oblivious to the rapid modernisation transcending beyond.
Visit Myanmar before modernisation catches up and strips the country off its rustic, primal beauty. Visit Myanmar NOW.
Best time to visit Myanmar
November to February. This when is the weather in Myanmar is most pleasant – devoid of rainfall and the harsh summer sun.
For the next destination, we have set our sights on a beautiful, faraway place that is steeped in culture and history and is guaranteed to be a transformative travel experience for you. Think glistening Shinto shrines and majestic Buddhist temples, neon lights of a futuristic metropolis and sleek, needle-nosed Shinkansen bullet trains, snow-capped mountain peaks and cherry blossoms! Welcome to Japan, the land of the rising sun, that’s overflowing with unforgettable experiences which will awaken your senses and stir your hearts!
Come July and August 2020, millions of tourists will be descending on Tokyo for the Summer Olympics, making it the best time to plan a Japan holiday if you’re a sports enthusiast. If not, you can hop onto a Shinkansen train and head to one of Japan’s most famous natural wonders, Mt Fuji to experience its scenic splendour. Your next stop should be the cultural heart of Japan, Kyoto, where the traditional Japan is well-preserved. Kyoto is the best place to experience Zen gardens, graceful geishas, the calming tea ceremony, and the famous rows of red tori gates!
Best time to visit Japan
March – May are the spring months, best time to witness the pink Cherry Blossoms (sakura season), burst into bloom across the country. Visit Japan in July – August for the Summer Olympics. The autumn months (koyo season) of October – November are best for a budget trip to Japan, the rates are low, yet the vistas are stunning, as Japan starts glowing in hues of yellow, golden, orange and red!
3. The Netherlands
You really don’t need reasons to visit the Netherlands. The beautiful country is well-known for its sprawling tulip fields, lush-green gardens, gigantic windmills, world-famous museums, gorgeous cycling routes, and ancient canals. So, what makes it the must-visit place in 2020? This year, the Netherlands will celebrate its 75 years since the end of WWII. Travelers can look forward to special events, exhibitions, and festivals which will be held round the year.
Watch the entire nation turn into a huge party place with the King’s Day celebration. This national holiday not only brings the Dutch together, but people from all over the world come to witness the craze. It is also the year when the most loved singing competition of Europe – Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Rotterdam; it’s the fifth time that the Netherlands will be hosting it. So make sure you don’t miss the bus, as it is going to be one hell of a ride!
Best time to visit the Netherlands
April to May – It’s when the tulips are in their full glory. King’s Day on April 27, Liberation Day on May 5. Eurovision Contest on May 13. July to August – It’s the peak tourist season.
The jaw-dropping coastal stretch of the Adriatic Sea, Venetian villages, majestic canyons and 117 beaches! That’s right! Though Montenegro is not just for the beach bums. Wondering what are the other things to do in Montenegro? Hold your breath, because there’s so much! Its verdant mountains and beautiful trekking trails cater to the adventurous hikers as well. Prokletije, Komovi and Rumija are some of the best hiking trails. Adventure spirits can also engage in whitewater rafting, jeep safaris, canyoning and zip-lining. It is also home to the Durmitor National Park, a majorly underrated national park, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yet another must-visit UNESCO-protected heritage site is Bay of Kotor. See the Tara Canyon – Europe’s largest and deepest canyon (82 km). For the history geeks, Kotor Old town is a gem as it has Venetian architecture.
This Balkan country’s small size perfect for complete exploration. The party town Ulcinj is just about 250 km away from the nature trails in Plevlja. The nightlife is energetic, you’ll find the liveliest beach party scenes here in Montenegro. Budva in Montenegro also hosts the annual Sea Dance Festival in August at Buljarica beach. The festival has been voted best European medium-sized festival. To witness the annual Fašinada festival – the festival of rowboats, plan a visit around mid-July.
Best time to visit Montenegro
Between April and September. Though it gets very crowded in July and August
What better way to enter 2020 than by visiting the happiest nation in the world! A heaven for designers and metalheads alike, Finland has the clearest air and the calmest presence. Be it Helsinki’s awesome coastline or the Santa-themed Rovaniemi, this Nordic nation appeals to the pleasure-seeker in you.
For many, skiing in Finland would take the ball home while for some, the 40 national parks this country flaunts may be of interest. However, the star attraction of Finland is the spellbinding Aurora Borealis (or the shimmering Northern Lights). Laying in your own bed and watching the Northern Lights dance in the sky, these mesmerizing Lappish scenery have made it to every Nordic explorer’s bucket list!
Best time to visit Finland
Finland in winters is a brave move, though late December and early January can be very rewarding. It’s the summer months (June-August) and late autumns (September) that really livens up the country.
Serbia is a part of the Balkans that is not as crowded as its neighbours like Croatia. An undiscovered gem, Serbia has had a Turbulent history. The country is a living and breathing heritage site. To take a dip in its history, visit the Belgrade fortress. It has immense historical and architectural significance as more than 100 battles have been fought here.
Serbia also has lots of tranquil monasteries like the Zica Monastery and Studenica Monastery (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Hidden in Vojvodina, you’ll find the Fruška Gora National Park with farms on the scenic hilltop, vineyards and calm monasteries. And all of it is away from the bustling city and old towns. Other must-visit places are the natural red-rock formations of Đavola Varoš or the Devil’s Town, the imposing Vratna Gates – the bridges of three natural stones and the Uvac canyon.
Apart from great experiences and things to do, Belgrade has a legendary nightlife. It also features in National Geographic’s list of “Top 10 cities for its Nightlife”. Known for its warm hospitality, the capital also hosts most famous European festivals like EXIT and Guca – world’s largest trumpet festival. It also hosts Nisville – an international jazz festival. Serbia is known for its “Banjas”. Banja is Serbian for the word spa. After you’ve taken a deep dive into the history and culture of Serbia, you can go ahead and indulge and rejuvenate yourself in the lavish thermal springs and Turkish baths.
Best time to visit Serbia
March through May and then September through October. Avoid the heat of June, July and August.
2020 is set to thrust Morocco as one of the best tourist destinations. The energy and history of this African cultural hub, along with its amazing handicrafts, carpets, sweet Moroccan mint tea, the charming riads (traditional Moroccan homes that capture the true essence of its culture) and the new and improved transportation call out to visitors from all around the world. And if you’re a UAE citizen, Morocco is visa-free for up to 90 days!
Whether it’s the ‘Royal City’ of Rabat or the dreamy Casablanca or the to-be-crowned Cultural Capital, Marrakech, Morocco is set to display its rich culture and heritage all over the world.
With improvements such as Africa’s first high speed train while still maintaining the solitude of Berber mountains and the Sahara deserts, Morocco in 2020 is hard to miss!
Best time to visit Morocco
While Summers can be relatively hot for some, Springs (March-May) and Autumns (September-October) in Morocco are mesmerizing. Septembers are less touristy with a wide range of activities and festivals. Winters (November-January) can get a bit tricky too, but only if you’re exploring the villages.
If there’s a South American nation that you must explore in 2020, it’s got to be Brazil. A nation of vivacious and gorgeous people, that’s teeming with natural beauty, beaches and rainforests, the infectious beats of the samba, a vibrant culture, round-the-year celebration, and delicious food, Brazil really does have it all! Adding to its welcoming nature is the latest visa announcement by Brazil’s government – no visa needed for citizens of UAE, US, Japan, Australia, Canada, India, and China!
We’d be at a loss if we try to make a list of must-have experiences in this sunny land, for there are so many! You could head to the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City) of Rio de Janeiro where the iconic and towering statue, Christ the Redeemer, welcomes you with open arms to Rio’s sensational beaches, and its frenzied carnival fever. If Rio’s on your list, the last week of February 2020 is when you should plan your holiday to witness the bronzed and toned Samba dancers, and soak up the celebratory mood of the Rio Carnaval that no other carnival in the world can match! Need more reasons to experience Rio? UNESCO has declared it as the World Capital of Architecture for 2020, so expect more celebrations around the year as the city showcases its distinctive culture and architecture.
But why stop at Rio. You may explore the bustling megapolis, São Paulo that is devoid of any tourist traps, charming you instead with its authentic grit, captivating cosmopolitan nature, and one of the most vibrant and pulsating nightlife scenes in the world! The true cultural hub of Brazil, Sao Paulo is not just home to more than a hundred museums but has gradually transformed into an outdoor art museum with its alleys and even neighbourhoods becoming a canvas for stunning street art/ graffiti!
Best time to visit Brazil
The best time to visit Rio is during its summer months from December to March, with temperatures hovering between 29° – 31°C in the daytime, perfect to cool down on the beach and get bronzed. The nights are cooler, touching 23°- 24°C. The month of February is when Rio is literally buzzing with Carnival fever, so get ready to get seduced by Samba!
9. Sri Lanka
A land of mountains and beaches, of thrill and bliss, of wild and conquered, of sleepy villages and throbbing cities! A land of contradictions, that’s what Sri Lanka is. A beautiful chaos of juxtapositions, spices, nature, manmade marvels, spirituality and coastal magnificence, all packed into one. And the best part is, it is just a 4.5 hours flight away from UAE!
Boasting of being the country with the highest biodiversity density in Asia, this pearl of the India Ocean is home to not one, not two, not even ten, but 22 National Parks. Some must visit ones include the Yala National Park, the Udawalawa National Park and the Horton Plains National Park.
Water sports are also one of Sri Lanka’s USP! Surfing, snorkeling, white water rafting, kayaking, canoeing and scuba diving down to the coral reefs are must have experiences in the country. Sri Lanka is also one of the most challenging game fishing locations.
Best time to visit Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a year-long destination because of its warm tropical climate. However, keep in mind the country’s rainfall pattern – it rains in April and May, but only in the south-west and central regions. October to December is the retreating monsoon season and affects the entire country.
One of the smallest countries in the world, everything about Luxembourg is BIG! A beguiling patch of land wedged between the biggies of Northern Europe – Germany, France, and Belgium – welcome to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg – a tiny nation that packs a massive punch.
In 2020, while everyone is busy exploring regular, routine Europe, there just might be enough reasons for you to catapult yourself bang into the charm of Luxembourg. Being right in the heart of Europe, you can imagine the kind of influences it boasts of – be it culture, languages, history, architecture, food, sports and what not. Comparatively unadulterated by tourism, this country is the stuff of fairy-tales. Captivating medieval castles, lush forests, rolling hills, sublime villages, wow architecture, and its picturesque capital of Luxembourg City sitting majestically on a clifftop, overlooking the Alzette River silently meandering below. Oh, and yes, it’s the world’s second-richest city, and also, the last remaining Grand Duchy State in the world!
Best time to visit Luxembourg
March to September. March is when the respite from the chilly winter begins. July and August are the warmest months. September and October see the onset of Autumn and are ideal for wine tasting!
Bhutan might be a small speck on the world map, but the efforts taken by this last Himalayan Kingdom for a sustainable living is beyond compare! One of the happiest countries in the world, Bhutan has emerged as the go-to destination for travelers who seek tranquility of nature. This great Himalayan nation is a must-visit destination in 2020. Visit it for its strikingly beautiful landscapes (Gangtey Valley, Dochula Pass), legendary monasteries (Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Rinpung Dzong Monastery), and breathtaking Himalayan treks. The Kingdom of Bhutan is also home to some of the most vibrant festivals. Paro Tschechu, Thimphu Tschechu, and Haa Summer Festival draw tourists in huge numbers.
“The Land of Thunder Dragon” is the only carbon-negative country in the world, and one of the greenest. The country believes in reducing its carbon footprint by regularly planting trees and give way to electric vehicles. With its ‘High Value, Low Impact’ tourism policy, as a traveler, you will have to pay a daily fee (except for nationals of India, Bangladesh, & Maldives). The same policy also ensures that there is no huge influx of tourists, meaning, you can soak in the beauty of Bhutan in all its true glory without to worry about overcrowding.
Best time to visit Bhutan
March to May – Valley flowers are in full bloom. October – Clear skies to view the Himalayan peaks best for trekking.
12. Tasmania, Australia
Surrounded by the picturesque Pacific Ocean, Australia’s island state of Tasmania is altogether a different world full of colonial history and natural beauty. With 5,000 kilometers of coastline that consists of over 45,000 hectares of marine reserves, you will never face any shortage of underwater explorations during your visit.
Tasmania’s capital city of Hobart is a cultural hub that appeases one and all. From its artsy cafes to its intriguing museums, from its geeky university vibe to its fun-filled festivals and events, from its understated gastronomy to its proximity to quick getaways to Australia’s wilderness, Hobart is a must visit for anyone in search of an offbeat destination to visit in 2020.
Top tourist attractions on the island of Tasmania include Cradle Mountain, the Mount Field National Park, the Freycinet National Park, the MONA Museum, Mount Wellington, the Port Arthur Historic Site and the Beerbarrel Beach.
Best time to visit Tasmania
From December to February (Australia’s summer season) to enjoy the outdoor activities. To enjoy the snow, visit between June and August.