With a new year underway, now is the time to get the jump on your 2020 vacation plans. Whether it’s Rome, Paris, or Hawaii, there are plenty of time-tested options that are bound to be packed with their usual hordes of travelers. However, instead of opting for go-to choices, sometimes it’s a bit more fun to take a look at what destinations are really hitting their stride in the coming year. The great thing about this is that it offers a balance between pure road-less-traveled isolation and total tourism-packed chaos. Fortunately for you, 2020 will be an excellent year for many underrated locales. Let’s explore a few, shall we?
The gorgeous rocky coasts of Maine have always attracted visitors (its official nickname is Vacationland, after all), but it may not typically be thought of as a legendary getaway. That could be changing, as it’s shaping up to be a highly popular 2020 vacation destination. It’s recently appeared in respected lists from Lonely Planet, Fodor, and Travel & Leisure. This wave of admiration for Maine is often credited to its newly burgeoning food scene, boasting exciting new options not only for its famous seafood, but also its farm-to-table cuisine and breweries.
Ever since it became home to a Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum in 1997, Bilbao has become more beautiful and engaging than ever, yet has still remained overlooked compared to famed Spanish cities like Barcelona. Its time to shine may finally be here, having won a European City of the Year Award in 2018 and recently showing a 402% year-over-year increase in Airbnb bookings. From its architecture to its lovely beaches, stunning cuisine, and the famous Rioja wine region nearby, Bilbao has a lot to offer as a 2020 vacation destination.
Considering its views of the Eastern Alps, medieval and baroque buildings, and bragging rights as the birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg is an enticing vacation destination as it is. 2020, however, will be a particularly exciting year, as this summer will mark the 100th anniversary of the Salzburg Festival. This five-week event features countless performances of music, opera, and drama, showcasing a deep and abundant cultural history. When hungry, head to its food markets bursting with local and delicious meats, cheeses, produce, and more.
With the Summer Olympics being held in Tokyo this July and August, 2020 will be a big year for Japan. Even if you don’t want to brave the bustling city itself during the games, the larger Kanto region that surrounds it is full of gorgeous and culturally rich destinations to consider. One of them is the small, forested city of Nikko, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will see the opening of the Ritz-Carlton’s latest Japan location this year. It’s the perfect place for enjoying nature, admiring ancient architecture, and taking a dip in a hot spring.
British Virgin Islands
Okay, we’re cheating a bit with this one; it’s not exactly a hidden gem. While the British Virgin Islands are a well-known jewel of the Caribbean, they suffered immense damage during hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. In 2020, however, they’re making a graceful comeback. After extensive renovations, several resorts have reopened with impressive new offerings since last year, while efforts to replant indigenous trees have been picking up speed as well. These gorgeous isles are proving once again to make an iconic tropical getaway destination.
Do you have any 2020 vacation destinations in mind that we didn’t cover? Feel free to let us know in the comments. Happy travels!