The Discoverer Picks for the Best 2020 Destinations
The Discoverer Picks for the Best 2020 Destinations
If you're anything like us, you're eager for the start of a new decade of travel. From embracing rising travel trends to the chance to explore thrilling new destinations, a new year brings with it the promise of great adventure. We asked our audience which cities they were most excited to discover in 2020, then did a little digging of our own to find some up-and-coming destinations to present our list of top destinations to visit in 2020!
You've been to the biggest cities in America and even taken a trip to Hawaii. Now what? Here's an idea: leave the lower 48 for a chilly adventure in Fairbanks. The main city in Interior Alaska (read: the state’s ruggedly beautiful central region) is among the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights, not to mention a two-hour drive from mighty Denali — which would sound like more of a trek were this not the biggest state in the country by far. A small-town vibe gives the city a welcoming atmosphere, making out-of-towners feel welcome as they acclimate to this diamond in the rough. Hop on a dog-sled for a Northern Lights excursion in the winter, and hike the rugged terrain on foot or experience Native American culture and modern art in one of the city's fascinating museums.
If it’s thrills you seek, start your Antananarivo excursion by trying to pronounce its name. (Pro tip: locals call it Tana for short.) Madagascar's capital and largest city is home to rugby, incredible wildlife, and tours of the natural environs just beyond city limits. The country is famed for its lemurs — it’s the only place in the world they’re native to, after all — and you’ll have plenty of chances to see them and other creatures at Lemurs’ Park, Madagascar Exotic, and Tsimbazaza Zoo; the truly adventurous can even go on a 13-day safari across the entire island nation. If you prefer to stick to the city, explore the capital's colorful colonial buildings and dine in style at some of the best restaurants on the continent.
Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen — anyone visiting China has a lot of options when it comes to cities, and more than 100 of these metropolises are home to at least a million people. If that sounds overwhelming, go for something slightly smaller but just as culturally rich: Dali. Its history is alive in everything from the Three Pagodas and Shaxi Ancient Town to Zhoucheng Village and Dali Ancient Town (that’s right — there’s more than one ancient town to visit!). Among all the antiquity, there’s also natural beauty to behold (Cang Mountain), curated exhibits (Dali Municipal Museum), and the alluringly named artificial township Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils film city. However long you think you need to see everything in Dali, add a couple extra days to your trip just to be sure.
A picture is worth a thousand words — unless it’s of Whistler, in which case it’s invaluable. Though just 90 minutes away from Vancouver, the most sought-after ski resort in Canada might as well be its own world; the scenery is so stunning, in fact, that it’s been used as a filming location in everything from “The X-Files” to “Twilight.” Being postcard-pretty isn’t the only reason this town of 12,000 attracts more than two million visitors on an annual basis. Mountain-biking is popular in the summer and the annual film festival, which aims to be a kind of mini-Sundance, takes place every December. Most of us rely on our camera phones on trips, but few places reward a real DSLR like Whistler.
As the number of global travelers rises each year, intrepid explorers are venturing further beyond their comfort zones than ever before. So while Tallinn might not immediately occur to most people as a high-priority destination, Estonia’s capital and largest city demands a second look. Gorgeous in a way you'll have trouble believing is real, it has a medieval vibe and modern sensibility; the country has been called the most digitally advanced in the world, in part because it holds elections online and offers e-residency. The language barrier might be difficult — Estonian is one of the Finno-Ugric languages, which tend to give non-native speakers trouble — but you’ll have no trouble finding English speakers in this multicultural hotspot. Stroll the city's unbelievably gorgeous Old Town, passing through the iconic Viru Gates to get to spots like Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and Town Hall Square. Take a break with some local craft beer that's sure to rival Germany's famed brews and enjoy the views for an afternoon — or a few days.
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