To me, a new year means new places to see. I love following the industry to see what destinations will be trending. I scoured travel publications and blogs to discover up and coming places to visit. I have compiled a few that came up across multiple lists or caught my attention as one of the Top Places to Visit in 2020.
As a Sound of Music fan, Salzburg has always been on the top of my bucket list. 2020 is a great year to visit because the Salzburg Festival is turning 100. One of the world’s greatest classical music festivals is always a wonderful celebration of opera, classical music and drama. To celebrate the anniversary Salzburg will be pulling out all the stops with special exhibitions and events taking place all over the historic centre – concerts, plays, readings, Mozart matinees, and more. Top billing, as always, will go to Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Jedermann, based on a medieval morality play and performed in all its glory in Domplatz. So dust off your dirndl or lederhosen, book your tickets months ahead, and get ready to sing in the hills.
Another centennial celebration is happening this year, right in the United States. Washington DC is getting ready to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment – the law that granted women the right to vote. Iconic museums like the National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Women in the Arts will have special exhibitions related to this major milestone in our history. The revitalized waterfront, new museums, and an exploding food scene give even more reasons to visit. Green roofs, hundreds of newly planted trees and an innovative floating wetlands system have the city looking more beautiful than ever.
The year 2020 is when Cairo’s Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) is set to be the date – inshallah (God willing) – in Giza. Exhibits that have been traveling the world like Tutankhamun’s remains will find a permanent home in this state of the art museum. Travel advisories set by the US state department for travel to Egypt have been lifted within the past few years and Giza’s newly inaugurated Sphinx Airport will make it even easier to visit this majestic city.
Each year a different city is crowned the European Capital of Culture. The brightly painted pubs teeming with live music and cafes that offer front-row seats to watch buskers perform earned Galway, Ireland the honor for 2020. To celebrate the city’s calendar will be packed with activities like street spectacles, live and digital art as well as world-class music, theatre and dance.
With the opening of 11 new cable-car lines this year La Paz will be home to the world’s largest cable-car system. Down below, the once-drab city is racing towards a more radiant and inspired future. Everyone from a flamboyant self-taught architect to the budding chefs leaving new culinary schools is thriving here – due to a renewed sense of pride in Bolivia’s indigenous roots. Avoid the crowds of tourists in Macchu Picchu and Rio De Janeiro and head to La Paz for the authenticity we all crave.
With so many tourists flocking to nearby Costa Rica and Belize adventurers have begun looking for someplace off the beaten path. With many eco-retreats popping up in recent years Panama, an idyllic isthmus has been put back on the radar. From coffee farms and cloud forests to ruined Spanish forts and footprint-free islands, Panama has what many Central American tourist destinations have to offer without the hoards of people. The marine park has one of the largest coral reefs in the Pacific and visitors can swim with eagle rays, humpback whales, hammerhead sharks, and endangered Green Olive Ridley turtles. Adventurers can find plenty to do with historic city tours, ziplining through rainforests, hiking to hidden waterfalls and more. It is also a great location for a relaxing vacation with some of Central America’s most pristine beaches.
The British Virgin Islands has made an inspiring comeback from 2017’s hurricanes, and the beauty and adventure that always made the destination such a draw for travelers can still be found in abundance. With over 50 islands in the archipelago, BVI is a Caribbean destination with the seclusion lacking from neighboring islands. After losing 90% of tourism due to the storms the island retreats that used to be reserved for the uber-rich are now within many more budgets.
Another area that recently had U.S. State Department warnings lifted is Lebanon, where tourists can visit its crumbling crusader castles and intricate mosaic-paved streets. With the restrictions lifted adventurous tour operators are introducing exciting itineraries for 2020, opening up Lebanon’s world-class restaurants, shortbread-sand beaches and ancient ruins for exploration.
A melting pot of religions, traditions and cultures, Lebanon’s appeal is perhaps most apparent in Beirut, where a burgeoning arts scene draws in young creatives and alternative business owners. Add to that fine-sand beaches, a sprawling network of mountains and expansive, lung-cleansing cedar forests, and it’s not hard to see why Lebanon’s on the list.
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