The New Year is right around the corner and with it comes a chance for change. Whether you’re aiming to change the way you travelled in 2019 or are simply hoping to travel more, we support your goals.
That’s why we wanted to find out where the hottest travel destinations for 2020 are. From Asia to Africa and all over Europe and North America, you’ll find that travellers are swapping tickets to well-travelled spots in favour of hopping on small rickety trains and heading off into unknown territories that are far less-travelled. Experiences are more important than things, and in 2020 the big experience will be to travel.
In order to rank the world’s 50 hottest travel destinations we looked at a few things:
- Previous posts regarding the Hottest European Destinations for 2020, the Hottest Caribbean Destinations for 2020, and our various bucket list posts that continually rank travellers’ most popular bucket list destinations
- Data taken from comments, posts, and trending travel hashtags on Instagram
- Statistics and research from various travel polls, booking data and travel industry trends
And, of course, we listened to our audience. We kept our finger on the pulse of all their travels, trips, desires, and comments this year. The result? A fantastic lineup of the 50 hottest travel destinations for 2020, with a few unique spots making the list that you’ll absolutely want to check out.
Hottest Travel Destinations For 2020How do these rankings work?
Mozambique’s capital city ranked on our list of the 50 Best Places to Celebrate New Year’s Eve. However, the city is so awe-inspiring and unique that it’s easy to see why visitors are beginning to flock to Maputo. It uses Indian Ocean views, Portuguese colonial charm, abundant biodiversity, and modern Mediterranean vibes to paint a picture of an idyllic coastal city bursting with life.
Following the recent opening of the Julian Alps Hiking Trail and the irresistible allure of the iconic 12th-century Ljubljana Castle, Slovenia is slated to receive record numbers of tourists in 2020. Home to one of the most burgeoning European wine scenes, Slovenia offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the hidden mysteries of Ljubljana while enjoying a delightful culinary culture that’s sure to impress.
Eco-tourism is one of the biggest travel trends in 2020. The environment, and protecting it, has moved from a fringe issue for many to become one of the most important factors in planning a trip. And, with the Arctic sea ice now declining at a rate of 12.8% per decade, it seems that travellers want to get a chance to visit before it’s gone. Towering mountains and dramatic fjords make Greenland a great travel destination for any adventurous traveller.
As Rwanda Air prepares to offer direct flights to Kigali from the JFK airport in New York next year, the Rwandan capital continues to increase in popularity amongst nature-hungry travellers all over the world. The country is opening its fourth national park, Gishwati Mukura, next year, along with numerous luxury lodges for visitors after a bit of a luxe retreat.
Kauai’s North Shore parks have reopened after a devastating series of floods and landslides in 2018. The reopening acts as a welcome to eager tourists aching to get a chance to snap their photos and enjoy their hikes. American Express even notes that member bookings using the card have gone up 39% in the last year, making it one of the hottest travel destinations for 2020.
Airbnb reported that they saw a 167% increase in interest for Luxembourg bookings in 2020. Not only is the entire capital city a UNESCO World Heritage site, but the charming canals, medieval castles, and world-class culinary culture all make it quite appealing. We rank this travel destination as one of the best for a romantic getaway. Restaurant Chiggeri in Luxembourg City houses 2,200 different wines, which is more than any other restaurant in the world.
Similar to Aruba, Curacao is a Dutch Caribbean island, most famous for the iconic multi-coloured houses that line the island’s main port. Here, you can enjoy perfect weather pretty much year-round, excellent diving, and stunning desert flora and fauna. The best part? Curacao’s airport is pretty big, which means there are frequent flights and it’s easy to find cheap airfare.
The island of Chiloé made our list of the 50 Best Islands in the World this year. And, there was so much buzz surrounding it that it easily made our list of the hottest travel destinations for 2020. It’s the second biggest island in South America, with rich scenery and quaint palafitos, colourful houses built on stilts above the water. There are also colourful wooden churches you can visit, 16 of which have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
More than 1.5 million visitors descend upon Washington, DC each year to admire the 3,000-plus cherry blossom trees that bloom each spring. However, in 2020, the city’s expecting even more visitors, and for a variety of other reasons. Following the recent impeachment of the US president and the impending election, politically-savvy travellers will want to be here for the historic moments that will ensue and ultimately alter global politics.
History buffs, rejoice! Sarajevo is one of the world’s hottest tourist destinations for 2020, meaning that you don’t have to look for an excuse to visit the Bosnian city any longer. Surrounded by Dinaric Alps, the city is a lively cultural hub that will delight any traveller interested in museums and stories. As the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which was one of the events that started World War I, the city still seems somewhat preserved in the past yet still offers modern comforts.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual review, tourism to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa grew by nearly 50% in 2018. But, that’s only part of what makes it such a hot tourist destination. Ethiop’s infrastructure is growing so fast that it’s got one of the continent’s fastest-growing airlines, ensuring you’ll be well-connected for your visit.
St. Lucia recently earned the top spot in the Caribbean for couples looking for romantic beaches and secluded hotels. The variety of activities available for couples here is what makes it one of the best Caribbean travel destinations in 2020, we think. From remote fishing villages and impressive reef-diving resorts to volcanic beaches and luxury resorts, there’s something here for everybody, even if you’re travelling alone.
Mirroring the underground club scene you might find in a city such as Berlin and mixing it with an undeniably rich cultural heritage, visitors are beginning to open their eyes to the wonderful travel opportunities in Lebanon. Saudi Arabia lifted a travel ban to Lebanon this year, which might account for its popularity in 2020. But, we’re pretty sure it’s also got something to do with the fantastic food, ancient treasures, and the fact that it was the destination of the first traveller recorded history, King Gilgamesh.
Eugene had a 213% year-over-year increase in bookings for 2020, according to Airbnb. And, this comes as no surprise, considering how popular the Pacific Northwest is as a travel destination for both Americans and international travellers alike. And, Eugene is the perfect place to begin your journey through the region. It’s less crowded than major cities like Seattle and Portland and offers visitors a pretty great organic food scene.
From the East Cape to Guadalajara, one thing seems for sure: travel experts all over the world view Mexico as one of the best countries to visit in 2020. However, Mexico City seems to top the list of travellers in terms of cultural heritage, things to do, and sheer Instagrammability. Explore historic murals by Diego Rivera and settle in for some of the most flavourful food in the world.
Scandinavian Airlines offers a deal where kids fly free, making Stockholm a great travel destination for families travelling with children. Museums are also free for children under 18, ensuring the entire family can enjoy diving into the city’s culture and history. Combine that with the fact that the Swedish Krona continues to decline and you’ve got yourself one intriguing and (somewhat) affordable European destination for 2020.
Looking for the best beach in the Caribbean? With over 7,000 islands and therefore over 7,000 coastlines to compare, it’s hard to pick a winner. But, travellers agree that Darkwood Beach in Antigua is one of the best. Head to Antigua in 2020 if you’re looking to escape from reality. Beaches feel exclusive, secluded, and oh-so-relaxing. Not convinced? Check out the Instagram photos of Valley Church Beach and Runaway Bay.
Cannabis tourism is one the rise and it’s certainly playing a major role in travel trends for 2020. As recent as 2016, the Colorado Department of Revenue said the state attracted some 6.5 million cannabis tourists. And, while there’s more to Denver than just weed, it’s part of what makes it one of the hottest travel destinations for 2020. It also ranked pretty high on our list of millennial-friendly cities and digital nomads.
Serving up a delightful fusion of Greek, Roman, Ottoman and Soviet influences, Sofia is perhaps one of Eastern Europe’s best-kept secrets. It’s a peculiar mixture of Communist-style buildings and colourful modern design, but if you visit Sofia with an open mind you’ll absolutely fall in love with it. Why? There’s a cool up-and-coming artsy scene, with stylish cocktail bars and events happening year-round.
What’s not to love about stunning coral reefs, chilled vibes, and pink and white-sand beaches? Barbados is developing so rapidly that it’s become one of the hottest travel destinations for 2020. From the Unesco World Heritage-listed capital to the thumping nightlife and energetic festivals, there’s not much that Barbados doesn’t have to offer travellers. We suggest that you try to find flights now, as prices increase during the spring months.
Travel influencers ensured Salzburg was seen by millions of Instagram users in 2019. Nearly every one of the world’s most popular travel couples visited the Austrian destination to show off the stunning views of baroque buildings and the Eastern Alps in the distance. 2020 marks the 100th year of the iconic Salzburg Festival, making it a great year to finally visit the birthplace of Mozart. You know you wanted to anyway.
From art to history to family fun, Kansas City is a vibrant gem in America. Dive into its thriving, creative arts scene, eclectic mix of entertainment and die-hard sports and drool-worthy barbecue. And, for international visitors making a point out of travelling to as many US states as possible, this city makes it easy to cross off two at once. It straddles both the Missouri and Kansas state lines.
Forget about Amsterdam. In 2020, tourism to the Netherlands is all about the equally-intriguing and beautiful city of Maastricht. Airbnb reported that it saw a 55% rise in interest for 2020 compared to last year, ensuring that you’re not the only traveller eyeing the quaint canals of the city. The popularity, however, is likely due to the fact that it’s one of the locations hosting the European Fine Art Fair next year.
Similar to Madrid and Barcelona, we believe that visitors in Portugal are a bit over it when it comes to the two largest cities of Lisbon and Porto. This makes Braga one of the hottest European destinations for 2020. Braga is located just an hour away from Porto by train. And, it’s home to cosy, winding streets and a truly remarkable Gothic cathedral. Sunsets here just seem so much sweeter than anywhere else in Portugal.
Tourism in Cuba has surged ever since it re-established its relationship with the American government in 2015. Cuba is also one of the most affordable beach vacations for travellers from North and South America. From the historical streets of Havana and the country’s rich cultural heritage to some of the most remarkable beaches in the Caribbean, you have to head to Cuba to enjoy this paradise for yourself.
Mombasa seemed to serve as Kenya’s go-to coastal retreat for years. In 2020, it’ll pass the torch onto Malindi, a coastal down found tucked away, almost hidden behind a string of tropical beaches. Indian Ocean views and unique Swahili architecture likely account for part of the reason why Airbnb has recently seen a 88% increase in interest in Malindi for 2020 compared to 2019.
Vancouver recently topped our list of the Friendliest Cities in Canada. So, it comes as no surprise that it’s slated to be one of the hottest Canadian tourist destinations in 2020. The city has an amazing multicultural community who band together to make visitors feel welcome and safe at all times. Locals are quick to offer assistance to tourists and the community vibe makes socialising in Vancouver simple.
As mentioned, eco-tourism is going to be one of the biggest trends in travel in the coming year, if not the entire decade. As Costa Rica is the country undoubtedly most associated with ecotourism, San Jose is a great spot for eco-friendly travellers to enjoy the country’s well-protected natural beauty. Volunteer at a local charity or simply enjoy exploring local rainforests and jaw-dropping volcanoes.
Centuries-old history envelopes the sleepy yet modern town of Bratislava. Slovakia is just one of the European countries we predict will see an increase in tourism in 2020. Bratislava feels as if it belongs in a fairytale book and the fact that you’re not surrounded by tourists with cameras around their necks make the city feel that much more magical. Check out the Bratislava Castle, the UFO tower and St Martin‘s Cathedral for stunning views and unique cultural insights.
According to the city’s statistics, the number of total flights, air passengers, and international visitors is up nearly six to seven per cent in Boston. In 2020, the city will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower arriving on the shores of Massachusetts, which is likely to cause a steep increase in visitors from near and far. It’s also hard to beat the open-air markets and baseball culture.
We’re cheating a bit with this one, as the entire island of Bali is one of the world’s hottest destinations year after year. This year, however, we’re calling it; Canggu will be the hottest spot on the island. It’s currently ranked as the second-best place for digital nomads in the world, which plays a huge part in travel trends and trips. Digital nomads seem to be fuelling the popularity of this Indonesian island, which offers everything from monkey forests and temples to quality surf and cuisine.
Tourists have long since traversed the remarkable Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini. Cruise ships pass by there each year. This year, it’s going to be all about visiting Athens. The super-sunny capital city is one of the most culturally-impressive and well-preserved cities in the entire world, making it one of the top European destinations for travellers looking to enjoy the perfect mixture of great nightlife, spectacular food, and rich history.
Colombia is far from the war-torn country that media and Narcos portrays. Tourism to the South American country has surged 300% in the last decade. And, while visitors seem to test the waters in cities such as Bogota and Medellin, the coffee region is where you’ll want to head first. It’s full of small coffee farms where you can learn about the process of coffee cultivation. When visiting Salento, make a day out of hiking through the breathtaking Valle de Cocora. There, you’ll be able to see the tallest palm trees in the world.
Last year, Bilbao won the title of the European City of the Year. And, it’s not hard to see why. From the iconic Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum to the numerous restaurants serving Basque-inspired cuisine, it’s recently evolved into one of the most culturally intriguing cities in Europe. That’s likely why bookings on Airbnb have increase 402% for 2020 compared to in 2019.
In terms of the hottest Caribbean travel destinations for 2020, the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba takes the top spot. The island paradise, which locals and tourists alike have deemed “One Happy Island,” embodies everything you’re looking for out of a Caribbean tropical vacation. And, Eagle Beach is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.
As the 2020 European Capital of Culture, Galway certainly tops any list of the must-visit travel destinations for the next year. The 18th-century Eyre Square acts as a central point at which rich history, Irish folk music, and brightly-painted pubs extend outwards and into the veins of the rest of Ireland. Due to the fact that it’ll act as the European Capital of Culture for the entire next year, expect a year-long party full of art, festive fun, and cultural events.
As digital nomads continue to shape the travel industry, the top destinations in 2020 and beyond will increasingly be spots that are nomad-friendly. Chiang Mai is one such spot, currently taking the No. 3 spot, just behind Bali, as one of the world’s best cities for digital nomads and ex-pats. The city makes cashless travel easy and is home to a variety of unique cultural festivals all throughout the year.
Interest in Airbnbs in Cape Canaveral has increased by 136% in 2020 compared to 2019. The reason? It’s hard to say for sure, but it’s likely due to the fact that, in 2020, it’ll host NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. Locals and tourists alike are eager to snag a spot in place before it’s too late. Plan on seeing more travel photos from Florida’s Space Coast next year, as Cape Canaveral is poised to attract a lot more visitors.
Norway’s famous, Instagrammable fjords are one of the most popular places that travellers to gawk over on Instagram. However, Fjord Norway meets many of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s criteria for destinations. The Norwegian government ensures that fishing, hunting and drilling for oil are all well-regulated in Bergen and beyond, pushing the city to the top of our list for the hottest travel destinations for 2020.
About ten years ago the Moroccan Department of Tourism wanted to be one of the top 20 tourist destinations by 2020. Next year, they’ll likely meet that goal. From Casablanca to Tangier and all the way to the blue city of Chefchaouen, you’ll see many more travellers immersing themselves in Moroccan culture next year. The blue-washed buildings of Chefchaouen serve as a stunning backdrop for Insta photos, which, honestly, plays a big part in travel planning these days.
If you follow the Instagram couple community then you’ll know that most couples recently made trips to Croatia this year. Dubrovnik, in particular, provides travellers with an almost romantic setting in a fairytale town along the Adriatic coast. Head over to the nearby town of Cavtat for truly breathtaking scenery and to remove yourself even further from the tourist scene. Here, you can enjoy lots of watersports, horseback riding, and nature hikes. Oh, and, of course, the numerous Game of Thrones filming locations.
The Carolinas are heating up in nearly every way possible. You’ll find some of the the United States’ best restaurants here along with some of the world’s most impressive and beautiful hiking trails. And, Asheville, which is nestled into the Blue Ridge Mountains, couldn’t act as a more perfect jumping off point from which to explore the landscapes, restaurants, and charming hotels in North Carolina. Appalachian culture is so intriguing, however, that you might not want to leave.
We’ve long been fans of the hilly country and historical charm of the entire country of Romania, which Airbnb reports will see a 298% rise in interest for 2020. From the cascading Carpathian Mountains to the numerous centuries-old castles that line the countryside, Romania is a country with plenty to offer any kind of tourist. However, Brasov possesses a unique charm that seems to have disappeared from major cities in Western Europe. And, horror buffs will love the chance to tour Dracula’s Castle in the nearby town of Bran.
Expedia’s recent reports show that travel to Australia is causing most major cities to see a 5% to 20% increase in visitors next year. However, they’re not headed for age-old hotspots such as Melbourne and Sydney. Instead, they’re opting for more unique travel experiences, like exploring southeastern Australia by van. In 2020, plan a roadtrip through Australia’s wild, winding coast and outback. Or, opt for spending a few days in Adelaide and then hopping on a Great Southern train adventure.
It’s no secret as to what makes Tokyo one of the hottest tourist destinations for 2020. The 2020 Summer Olympics are expected to cause such a surge in visitors that the Narita airport is building a temporary terminal to help welcome them all. However, the city seems to also be attractive to the millions of tourists eager to tour all of Japan as well. According to Virtuoso, bookings are up 42% year over year for trips all over Japan.
There’s no denying that tourism in Canada is alive and thriving. Expedia reported astounded year-over-year growth across the entire country. In fact, Canadian cities took 15 of the top 20 spots in 2019. However, in terms of what modern travellers are looking for, Montreal is one of the hottest travel destinations for 2020. As the third best city for millennials and third friendliest city in Canada, it’s easy to see why. Funky festivals, a raging nightlife, and lots of tolerance for visitors make Montreal pretty great.
Based on booking trends, Milwaukee is the hottest travel destination in the world for 2020. It saw a whopping 729% increase in bookings on Airbnb for 2020 compared to 2019. Maybe it’s the allure of Lake Michigan in the summer. Or, perhaps it’s the fact that the city’s home to some of the world’s best breweries. Whatever it is, it’s clear that travellers all over the world have their eye on Cream City.
We’re not kidding about digital nomads shaping travel trends in 2020. From Instagram influencers to remote workers getting a taste of various cultures and countries throughout the year, these jet-setting individuals have a huge influence on travel destinations. That’s part of why Buenos Aires ranked as the third hottest travel destination in 2020. It’s currently the best city for digital nomads. And it’s the 15th sexiest city in the world.
Honestly, we suggest visiting any city in the Philippines next year. A thriving culture of local cuisine and some of the friendliest people on the planet make it a great spot to start any travel adventure. However, Palawan made our list of the world’s best islands for a reason. It feels untouched, with white sandy beaches and tropical jungle. El Nido is a cluster of 45 islands just off the tip of Palawan that you can explore, too. It’s famous for the Secret Lagoon. Swim through a hole in the limestone rocks to enter a hidden bay with crystal clear water and soft sand.
Budapest is about to become one of the world’s most visited cities. Brimming with intriguing architecture and rich cultural heritage, Budapest still feels slightly untouched by tourists. This weighed heavily on our decision to it rank it as one of the absolute hottest travel destinations for 2020. Check out local ruins bars, enjoy a river cruise along the Danube, or meet locals on a walking tour. This city truly has it all. And, the local exchange rate makes it an ideal vacation spot for travellers on a budget.