Does your wanderlust need satisfying? The world is out there, just waiting to be explored by the adventurous, free-spirited and curious. What makes a great vacation destination? Well, that depends on your taste as a traveler. Maybe world-class restaurants or wild and extreme outdoor activities float your boat? Or perhaps historical monuments or areas of great natural beauty are more your cup of tea? No matter what your preference, or whether or not you are a seasoned adventurer or someone just in need of a relaxing family break, there are all kinds of interesting destinations to choose from. Check out some of these destination ideas, and book yourself the holiday of a lifetime for the new year!
There is much more to the Islas Canarias than sitting on sunny beaches – although the volcanic sands and climate conditions (tropical and desertic but moderated by the sea and the trade winds) mean that many visit for that exact reason. However, more and more tourists are heading inland on islands such as Lanzarote and Tenerife to hike through the peculiar, almost lunar landscapes which sometimes give way to lush meadows and rugged coastal cliffs. This natural diversity is the result of an astounding range of mini-ecosystems. The smallest and most overlooked of the islands is El Hierro, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a Global Geopark, which boasts striking vegetation, epic Atlantic views and some of the best diving in Europe courtesy of La Restinga-Mar de las Calmas.
A classic destination for any globetrotter, Niagara Falls sits on the US-Canada border and is great to visit year-round and, once there, visitors can go day or night. Summer is the most popular time to visit owing to the warmer climate. On many peoples’ bucket list is a ride right to the heart of the action on the Maid of the Mist boat which goes as close to the water as possible. Of course, even from afar, Niagara Falls is just as dramatic. The falls have been known to freeze in winter, offering a different kind of dramatic view. It’s worth noting that due to heavy tourism the area surrounding the falls is not a wilderness, but is, in fact, teeming with restaurants, tourist centers, and even a butterfly sanctuary! Visitors coming to Niagara should also take into account the cost of traveling to the location of the waterfall from New York or Canada, and the popularity of the area, especially in the summer months. It can get crowded, but it remains a firm favorite amongst travelers.
Chilean Lakes District
Located just to the north of dramatic Patagonia (which straddles Chile and Argentina) but slightly less rugged and forbidding, the Lakes district nonetheless offers incredible dramatic views, amazingly clean air as well as outdoor pursuits such as white water rafting, mountain biking, and fishing. You may have missed the solar eclipse this December, but the region provides stargazers and amateur astronomers unparalleled views of the night sky. And although it feels wild and untamed, there are some creature comforts, including the iconic Hotel Antumalal or the Vira Vira lodge, both of which offer high-end dining, but with a focus on sustainable farm-to-table methods and locally sourced, traditional recipes. A must for outdoor and culinary adventurers!
Japan looks set for a booming year of tourism in 2020. Hosting the Olympic Games means that Tokyo is assured a record visitor footfall which is likely to be spectacular. However, even if you love bustling crowds you may find yourself in need of some respite. Happily, there are many places to visit just a stone’s throw away from the capital, such as Nikko. Less than two hours north of Tokyo by train, Nikko is a historic town set in an area of exquisite beauty, dotted with UNESCO heritage sites and full of interesting wildlife and flora. Lake Chuzenji is beautiful and is surrounded by hiking trails that take in the views as well as nearby hot springs and waterfalls. There are also many Buddhist temples, as the area was an early stronghold for the religion. Luxury hotels nearby host tourists with an excellent array of cuisine and drinks, including the high-quality whiskeys for which Japan is becoming renowned.
Once overlooked and in the shadow of other iconic Australian destinations, recent years have seen the island of Tasmania firmly establish itself as a tourist favorite. It retains its raw, natural beauty and wild landscape, home to ancient trees, glorious views and rugged coastline, not to mention unique wildlife, such as the Tasmanian Devil. Tasmania’s relatively small size (it takes four hours to drive from one side to the other) means that the attractions are accessible, despite being wild and untamed – nearly half the state is designated as a National Park. It isn’t a surprise that more and more visitors are flocking to Tassie!
There are always more things to add to your bucket list and some of the examples we presented above merely scratch the surface. With so many exciting destinations worldwide to suit anyone – from solo travelers to families, from those in search of adventure to those looking for relaxation – now’s the time to plan your getaway for 2020!