When it comes to choosing where to explore in the world, there are a wealth of options. Our friends at Lightfoot Travel, a specialist company offering tailored holiday planning for discerning and well-informed travellers, share their thoughts of the best destinations to visit in 2020.
1. Sri Lanka
After a tough year, Sri Lanka is thanking guests returning to the country in 2020 with cheap flights, relaxed visa rules and improved highways. Stay at Ivory House, a private lakeside villa on Koggala Lake in southern Sri Lanka and visit nearby sandy beaches, discover the area’s richly biodiverse rainforests or enjoy a scenic train ride to Galle. To eat try the Ministry of Crab in Colombo; an award-winning restaurant set in a 400-year-old heritage building which is a must-visit for crustacean fans. From whale-watching on the south coast to safaris on the east coast and tea plantations in the North you won’t be short of things to do.
Japan will play host to the most important sporting event in the world – the Summer Olympics from 24 July to 9 August. But whether your passion is sport, food, culture or adventure, there are plenty of reasons to visit this elegant archipelago. A wave of new hotels are launching across the country with The Four Seasons Otemachi opening in Tokyo and the Aman Kyoto and Park Hyatt Kyoto ready to spoil guests. Tokyo has more Michelin-star restaurants than Paris with Den and Narisawa appearing on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards List. New flight routes will also introduce guests to tropical coastlines, volcanic peaks and hot springs of Japan’s third largest island Kyushu.
Among the record number of hotels opening in London in 2020 is Nobu at Portman Square and The Londoner, which has six floors below ground. Enjoy cocktails at the artful Connaught bar, famed for creating its own gin and then reserve a table at The Clove Club where you can enjoy modern British fare. Or take a seat at the new Davies and Brook restaurant at Claridge’s, which is helmed by Chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park. In 2020, new sections of the England Coast Path will open, making this 3,000-mile track one of the longest continuous trails in the world.
Forbes called Montenegro the Adriatic’s hidden treasure and named it as one of the hottest places to visit in 2020. Discover pretty villages and beaches around the coast or drive inland to see its mountainous and rugged countryside. The arrival of new luxury hotels offer plenty of choice – One&Only has chosen Montenegro as the home of its first European resort. One&Only Portonovi will be set in the heart of Boka Bay, framed by lush mountainside and overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Or stay at Villa One, a three-bedroom villa, which comes with its own hydrotherapy pool. And enjoy wild Adriatic seafood in a former 16th-century flour mill that is now a world-class restaurant.
Brand new flight routes, a high-speed train and luxury hotels will have everyone rushing to visit Morocco. Marrakech has been crowned Africa’s first Capital of Culture for 2020, and a host of new hideaways will open including Anantara Al Houara in Tangier, Fairmont Taghazout Bay, the Ritz-Carlton Rabat in Dar es Salam, and the Ritz-Carlton Reserve and St Regis both in Tamuda Bay. Celebrity chef Yannick Alleno is combining French flare with Morocco spice at the La Grand Table Marocaine in Marrakech. And to see the landscape, hike the Atlas Mountains or ride the new high-speed train from Casablanca to Tangier, which takes you there in less than two hours.
Touted as the ‘new Tuscany’, the rolling hills of Romania, filled with ancient churches and picturesque villages, are set to steal everyone’s hearts in 2020. Prince Charles recently opened a countryside retreat – the Prince of Wales’ Guesthouse – in Transylvania, near the forested hills of Zalan Valley which features a centre to support local crafts. Or stay at the new Corinthia Bucharest, which has taken over a 19th-century building in the capital. For a unique dining experience visit the Attic Lab Bucharest, where Romanian chef Adi Hadean creates highly customised dining experiences in his rooftop restaurant. With ancient monasteries, fortified churches, spooky castles and medieval towns dotting the countryside Romania offers a step back in time with natural beauty combined with a vibrant energy in the towns and cities.
While Indonesia’s star continues to shine, it’s the lesser-known islands of Flores and Komodo that will attract travellers with their wild natural scenery, outdoorsy activities and local culture in 2020. Also worth visiting is Sulawesi with its prehistoric megalithic sculptures, cave paintings and endemic animals. Return to the golden age of travel and set sail on Silolona, a traditional handcrafted schooner, with a modern attitude – you can even request spa treatments. Or book Rascal Voyages which has just announced it will be launching its second yacht in July to the untouched island of Rote. Enjoy a variety of dishes cooked up by your private chef onboard your chosen yacht, and make sure that you see the Komodo dragons at Komodo National Park, especially as rumour has it that the entrance fee will rise from $10 to $1,000!
Those who have already ticked off Uzbekistan are turning to its mountainous neighbour Kyrgyzstan for a break off the beaten track. The mountainous region has remained faithful to its nomadic culture and heritage; experience it by staying in one of the traditional yurts. The Kyrgyz are famed for their hospitality so expect to be plied with bowls of shorpo, a traditional broth as well as hot tea or kumis (fermented mare’s milk). To explore,try the 500-mile-long Issyk Kol Trail Network, which leads you through the famed hiking spots. A horseback riding trail will soon follow.
In Western Mexico you’ll find one of the country’s last beachfront jungles – a raw, untapped side to Mexico. Check into the new One&Only Mandarina, which will boast chic resort-living, tropical relaxation and outdoor adventure in a region famous for its lagoons, rivers, jungle vegetation and endless beachfront. Dine at The Point at the One&Only Mandarina, a clifftop restaurant which will surprise all of your senses. On land enjoy the miles of nature trails that wind through the Mandarina landscape; perfect to discover on foot, on horseback or on a mountain bike. While on water you can kayak or paddleboard along an estuary that is home to flora, fauna and hundreds of migrating birds.
If you are looking for a sustainable break, try Sweden. It has just launched the award-winning Arctic Bath hotel; a minimal emissions holiday island. Sweden is also home to plogging – the new fitness craze of picking up litter on the run! If you can pull yourself away from the spectacular Arctic Bath Hotel, enjoy a food journey at Frantzen in Stockholm where 23 diners at one time are invited to traverse the rooms and floors of a 19th-century townhouse, and sample its innovative 10-course menu en-route. Think Nordic dishes with an Asian twist. If you are looking for an adventure, take part in a photography masterclass in Abisko National Park, explore the snowy wilderness by dogsled, reindeer sleigh or snowmobile, and dine while watching the Northern Lights.
As a client of The Fry Group you have access to a number of additional benefits when choosing Lightfoot including:
- 5% discount on the first holiday booked with Lightfoot Travel for all clients of The Fry Group. This is valid for bookings made throughout the whole of 2020 with a minimum value of USD5,000 excluding flights.
- Free upgrades at particular hotels when available
- Invitations to exclusive events with speakers ranging from polar explorers to world-famous chefs
- Bespoke experiences – go behind the scenes to see the Mona Lisa without the crowds at the Louvre or dine in front of Michelangelo’s David in Florence’s Accademia Gallery
For more information please contact Poppy Whitbread via email@example.com quoting The Fry Group.