Our Edit Of The Cool New Travel Hotspots To Visit In 2020
Vancouver Island, Canada
Image: Instagram @tourismvancouverisland
Up till a few weeks ago you’ve probably never even heard of the capital of British Columbia. Thanks to Megxit, you do now. Besides trying to spot the ex-Sussex Royals going about their low-key life, it’s Vancouver Island’s pristine outdoors that should get your attention. All around, there’s hiking trails (Tonquin, Botanical Beach, Wild Pacific Trail, Ammonite Falls) of varying difficulty to conquer, natural attractions like the stunning 440 meter tall Della Falls and hip wood-shingled beach towns like Tofinio complete with a laidback vibe and a flourishing vegan/culinary scene that we predict a certain ex-royal couple will sussing out soon enough.
Image: Instagram @georgiatravel
Mark Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia out as the next hot spot to check out. As with most ancient cities, visiting the atmospheric old town is a must. There, natural spring bathhouses rub shoulders with hip alfresco bars, look up and gawk at the picturesque 4th century Narikala Fortres, once a Persian citadel. To stay, forget AirBnb and book in at hip boutique hotels like the Stamba with a glass-bottom rooftop pool and the colourful Rooms that’s housed in a former Soviet-era publishing and printing house. Get planning though; springtime is the best period to visit this east-meets-west city.
Image: Instagram @tokyo_olympics__2020
Skip cherry blossom season this year and plan your trip to coincide with the Summer Olympics (24-Jul to 9-Aug). In true Japanese style, the city has been quietly getting itself ready with a large number of venues (13 for 15 sports) centrally located, so you can still get your Shibuya/Roppongi fix. This Olympics will be a little different from the others. There’s some cool new sports – 3×3 basketball, Madison cycling (team cycling), skateboarding, surfing and freestyle BMX – added, and the return of softball and baseball (this being Japan and all) which will take place at the historic Yokohama Stadium.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Image: Instagram @telaviv
The New York of Israel, Tel Aviv is energetic, fast-paced but also lazy and hedonistic. There’s a long list of reasons to head there but here’s a few good one. Watch for the scenesters as Tel Aviv will become home to a new Soho House in 2020/2021. A new high speed rail now links Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, taking a little over 30 minutes to get to the Holy City. Then there’s the street market action: from Old Town Jaffa’s busy flea market, the heady spices sold at Carmel market to the Antique Second Hand Fair on Givon Square. The gentrification of areas like Jaffa and Florentin, so now vegan eateries sit shoulder-to-shoulder with independent designers and art galleries. And perhaps Tel Aviv’s best attraction, it’s people all out on show along the 14 kilometer stretch of beach during the summer months, passionately playing games of matkot or working on their tan. Really, what are you waiting for?
Image: Instagram @cubatravelnet
While it’s no longer an “off-the-beaten track” destination – Chanel did hold it’s 2016/2017 Cruise shoe there – the allure of Havana continues to draw us in. Blame it on the stunning colonial architecture, the Malecon at sunset, and what seems like one friendly country filled with historic streets, delicious food and just a general good life, good time vibes. Visiting Havana is one of the few places where doing all the touristy kitschy stuff won’t be uncool. Drink the mojitos, visit Hemingway’s haunts, go UNESCO world heritage site hunting. For extra cool points, time your visit to coincide with the Havana World Music festival in March.
Image: Instagram @visitseattle
Now that Singapore Airlines flies direct (14 hours, four times a week) there’s no reason not to gawk at the Space Needle up close. While it’s home to a lot of big tech companies, it’s also a city with easy access to nature. From mountains, an ocean, a rainforest, a desert and even a volcano (hello Mount Rainier). If the weather turns, hide out indoors, there’s 200 art galleries and museums dotted all over, including the awe-inspiring Burke Museum with a 39-foot-long Baird’s beaked whale skeleton. And of course, there’s always Starbucks, this being their hometown and all.
Image: Instagram @visit.dubai
If you’ve never been able to bring yourself to brave Dubai’s challenging elements, 2020 might be the year you give in. Opening in October for 6 months will be the Expo 2020, a modern day World’s Fair where 192 nations gather to show off inventions along the themes of sustainability, mobility and opportunity. Expect cutting edge VR and AI displays, booths touting country-specific soul food, eye-catching art installations and a 360-degree projection dome. Outside of the exhibition, there’s 7 new high-end hotels to check out (including the late Zaha Hadid’s ME by Melia Dubai), plus the long awaited opening of the futuristic Dubai Museum of the Future.
New York, USA
Image: Instagram @hudsonyards
Whether its your first time or your tenth return to the Big Apple there’s always something new to check out. For 2020, if you haven’t already visited the Hudson Yards, get it on your planner. Make a day of it, go nuts snapping selfies at the Snake Park and at the 100th floor Observation Deck, catch a show at The Shed and take your time to admire the 150-foot-tall honeycomb Vessel up close. End the day at the High Line down at the new 20 block section. On show till September 2020 is the 16-foot-tall Plinth (a bronze statue by Simone Leigh) and if the kids are in tow, turn them loose at the Pershing Square Beams, a climbing area of steel beams and girders that’s coated in silicone so the bumps won’t be too painful.
Image: Instagram @morocco
While Marrakech is chaotic, Essaouria has a certain laguid calm to it. Located just two hours from the big city, this easy, breezy seaside town has never been short of admirers: Jimi Hendrix was a frequent visitor, Orson Welles filmed part of Othello and it’s where Daenerys meets her crew of unsullied for the first time. A good place to visit to learn more about the Berber Culture (Yves Saint Laurant was obsessed with it) is the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum housed in a 19th century riad with a wide collection of artefacts. For real life insight though, visit the Had Dra Market that takes place on Sunday. The largest rual market in the region, it’s people watching gold with farmers selling everything from handicrafts to livestock, all while drinking a lot of mint tea.