25 Essential Destinations for 2020

National Geographic just released their top 25 destination recommends for 2020. The must-see sites were picked in collaboration with 17 of National Geographic Traveler’s editorial teams across the world and are divided into 4 categories – Culture, City Life, Nature and Adventure.

Take a look at what made this years list. (Source: National Geographic)

Zakouma National Park, Chad

This park is located south of the Sahara desert,and is known for its bustling wildlife. After taking drastic measures to prevent elephant poaching, only 24 elephants have been poached in the last decade at the park. The area’s elephant population is now on the rise for the first time in years. There are also antelopes, hartebeests, giraffes, buffaloes, and rhinos. 

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Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia

Located in eastern Russia, the Kamchatka Peninsula consists of two mountain ranges, with 127 volcanoes — 22 of which are still active. There are also geysers, hot springs, and numerous rivers and swamps. 

The area is known for its severe winters, but cool, wet summers. It is inhabited by the indigenous Korak, Chukchi, and Kamchadal settlements.

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Tohoku, Japan

The Tohoku Region of Japan is known for for its mountains, hot springs, and lakes, but also its severe winters. It’s under three hours by train from Tokyo, which will be the site of the 2020 Summer Olympics.

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The Wales Way, United Kingdom

The Wales Way consists of three national routes that lead travelers through the country, with each route providing a distinct experience. The North Wales Way follows the old trading route along northern Wales, while the Cambrian Way snakes through the mountain regions. Finally, the Coastal Way goes up the west coast of Wales, around Cardigan Bay and various picturesque sea resort towns.

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Grossglockner High Alpine Road, Austria

Located between mountain pastures and meadows, the High Alpine Road (named for the country’s highest peak, the over 12,000-foot Grossglockner) offers a beautiful, scenic walk through the Austrian Alps.

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Tasmania, Australia

The island of Tasmania, currently one of Australia’s trendiest travel destinations, is filled with rich history and culture. There are beautiful beaches along the coast and mountains a few hours inland. Hobart, its capital city, is known for its bustling art scene with the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), which combines art and architecture. The gallery also has a winery and an award-winning restaurant.

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Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

One of the most famous parks in the United States, the Grand Canyon offers a stunning display of eroded rock, and all the beautiful colors that come with it.

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Maldives

Located in the Indian Ocean, these beautiful islands offers sandy white beaches and has a rich heritage that combines Indian, Sri Lankan, Arab, and North African culture. It’s also been leading the charge on climate change since 1987.

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Canary Islands, Spain

This collection of famous islands is a popular tourist destination. The volcanic soil grows bananas, oranges, coffee, sugar canes, and dates. There are two groups of islands: The western islands consist of Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma, La Gomera, and Ferro islands, while the eastern islands compromise Lanzarote, Fuerteventura Island, and six smaller islets. 

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National Blue Trail, Hungary

This popular hiking destination attracts adventurers from all over the world. It became famous after a 1979 documentary was filmed about the trail. 

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Bialowieza Forest, Belarus/Poland

Located on the border of Poland and Belarus, this stunning forest is known for its biodiversity and is home to the largest population of European bison. The forest spans roughly 350,605 acres. National Geographic dubs it “one of Europe’s last true wild places.”

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Kalahari Desert, Southern Africa

This desert spans Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. There are over 400 different species of plants within the desert, and it’s home to lions, leopards, cheetahs, gemboks, meerkats, and more. It is also home to the largest African antelope, the eland.

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Magdalen Islands, Canada

The Magdalen Islands consist of eight individual islands. Each has it own unique culture and unique adventures. There’s also an extremely adorable harp seal nursery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, off the coast of the archipelago.

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Puebla, Mexico

The fourth-largest city in Mexico, Puebla is known for having over 350 churches and stunning architecture. The Santo Domingo church (pictured above) is known for its beautiful, gold-covered baroque structures. It’s also noted for its authenticity, standing out among other, more traditionally tourist-y Mexican regions.

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Parma, Italy

This city is known for it’s food — specifically, cheese and prosciutto. The region is also home to a number of museums and historical cathedrals, like the Parma Cathedral. It was even named Italy’s Capital of Culture for 2020.

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Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

This eastern European destination is known for its old stone buildings and cobblestone roads. There is also a charming bridge which sits above the Neretva River, a version of the 16th century Stari Most (Old Bridge), rebuilt in 2004.

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Fort Kochi, India

Known for being the first European settlement in India, Fort Kochi is a mixture of many different cultures. The display of Chinese Fishing Nets (as seen above) is one of the historic area’s most famous sights.

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Telč, Czechia

While the original city burned down in a fire in 1530, the rebuilt area has now become one of the most beautiful destinations in the Czech Republic. Its historic town center was even designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is also a castle, with beautiful displays of Renaissance architecture. 

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Also known as “The City of Brotherly Love,” Philadelphia is known for its historical and cultural ties to the founding of the United States — and you may have heard that their cheesesteaks aren’t too shabby.

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Abu Simbel, Egypt

This archeological site is the home of two temples built by Ramses II. There are four statues of the Egyptian king situated in the front of the temple. Nearby is another temple, dedicated to Nefertari, and built to be used for the worship of sky goddess Hathor. 

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Mendoza Province, Argentina

The province, located in the high peaks of the Andes Mountains, has three wine regions and some wineries that are over 100 years old.

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Maya Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala

In late 2018, History reported that a recent survey of the region revealed over 60,000 previously unknown structures in the territory, which indicates that the Mayan civilization was much larger than once believed. Before the discovery, it was said to have stretched from south Mexico to Guatemala and Belize. 

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Gobekli Tepe, Turkey

This city is home to what is believed to be one of the world’s oldest temples — the Gobeki Tepe temple is thought to be over 11,000 years old. 

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Guizhou Province, China

CNN reported that Guizhou was one of China’s fastest-growing provinces. It’s also home to Asia’s longest cave and brews one of the country’s most popular liquors — Moutai

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Asturias, Spain

Asturias is located along a rugged coastline and offers stunning sandy beach views. It is also known for its wildlife, like wolves and wild boar that roam the area. The region has not historically seen much tourist activity, making it the perfect place to have an under-the-radar escape.

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