We all know those iconic, popular travel destinations: France, Italy, England, and, for those ready to travel outside of Europe, there's always Japan, Egypt, and Peru. These places are travel classics for a good reason.
However, even if you haven't been, you might feel like you have after scrolling through hundreds of photos of folks holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, picnicking below the Eiffel Tower, or standing atop Machu Picchu. Sometimes your travel bug is in the mood for something a little different.
Using our own data on the popularity of certain countries around the world, we've come up with what we think will be the top up-and-coming travel destinations for 2020. Each of these countries is spectacular in its own way, and frankly, we can't believe more people aren't flocking to them.
If you start planning now, you can get there before the crowds do. Whether you've done a trip or two abroad and are eager for more or you're scouting out your very first international destination, a trip to one of these destinations is sure to leave you with an unforgettable experience.
When it comes to diversity, Argentina can't be topped. It's home to some of the most magnificent snow-capped mountain ranges in the world, nearly 5,000 kilometers of coastline, world-class vineyards, sprawling cattle pastures, and one of Latin America's favorite cosmopolitan capital cities.
Whatever you're looking for, you can find it in this South American country. In Buenos Aires, you can learn to tango and dine on some of the best steaks you'll ever have. Head over to Mendoza to go on a vineyard bike tour, where you'll try some of South America's most prized wines.
If you want to be floored by nature, check out Iguazú Falls on the border of Brazil, the largest waterfall system in the world, or spend a week trekking through Patagonia, where you'll pass through desert, grasslands, glacial lakes, and icebergs...you can even take a cruise from here to Antarctica.
Travel-Inspiring Tours in Argentina:
Beautiful beaches? Check. Sophisticated cities? Check. Incredible history? Check. Delicious hummus? Check!
Israel is the perfect blend of ancient and modern. One day, you can wander through the winding alleys of Jerusalem, watch the sunrise over King Herod's palace, or float in the Dead Sea. The next day, you can go to a swanky rooftop bar in Tel Aviv overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
If you're a history buff or an art lover, you'll find some of the world's best museums. And did we mention the food? Between the hummus, falafel, and being named the vegan capital of the world, you'll find it hard to stop eating in Israel.
Travel-Inspiring Tours in Israel:
Cuba ends up a favorite destination for nearly everyone who travels there. While it used to be barred for Americans, travel to Cuba has never been easier, especially if you go with a tour. It's no secret that Cuba does things differently than most places in the world, and a trip to this unique country is sure to widen your perspective and change the way you think about the world.
You can't leave Cuba without riding in a retro car, sipping on a mojito with a Cuban cigar in hand, and going to one of the many salsa clubs in Havana. But make sure to explore outside of Havana, too! The rural town of Viñales provides breathtaking views of lush green valleys and the chance to see where the famed Cuban cigars are grown, while the beach resort town of Varadero will have you relaxing on some of the world's most beautiful beaches.
Travel-Inspiring Tours in Cuba:
If you haven't heard of Bhutan yet, you will soon. Visiting this Buddhist kingdom, nestled in the peaks of the Himalayas, is a truly remarkable experience. From cliffside monasteries and Buddhist temples to idyllic palaces and bucket list trekking, it's no surprise that Bhutan is considered one of the highest value tourism destinations in the world.
The hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery, an exquisite collection of temples perched on a 900-meter high cliff, is at the top of the Bhutan must-see list. If you're an avid hiker, you can trek deeper into the Himalayas to truly enjoy their remote beauty. The Buddha Dordenma Statue, one of the largest Buddharupas in the world, is also a sight to behold. Complete your trip with a homestay to truly get a peek into Bhutanese life and culture.
Travel-Inspiring Tours in Bhutan:
Ghana is a favorite amongst travelers due to its beautiful year-round weather, diverse landscapes, abundant wildlife, and relative safety. It's an excellent choice for anyone interested in outdoor activities like surfing, rock climbing, or wildlife parks, but it's also the perfect place to get to know the culture and history of West Africa.
Accra, Ghana's eclectic capital, is widely considered to be one of the safest capital cities in Africa. There, you can visit bustling markets, learn about Ghanaian culture and history at the National Museum, and even hit up a few beaches. Head over to Kakum National Park to hike through a tropical rainforest, or Mole National Park to see elephants, buffalo, antelope, hyenas, and possibly even leopards in their natural habitat.
Travel-Inspiring Tours in Ghana:
Guatemala is a country that is both culturally and ecologically diverse. Whether you're looking for outdoor adventures, culture, and history, or arts and crafts, you'll find it here. Home to more than 20 different Maya groups, this predominantly indigenous country is intensely rich in culture.
Often deemed the prettiest city in Central America, Antigua's colorful colonial architecture will stun you as much as the overarching volcanoes that surround it. Lake Atitlán, the deepest lake in Central America, is also surrounded by volcanoes and has been called the most beautiful lake in the world. Its shores are home to dozens of different Mayan towns where some 23 different languages are spoken and handmade Mayan weaving is everywhere. Further east, you'll find dense jungle, the impossibly blue mineral pools of Semuc Champey, and one of the most majestic of all Mayan Ruins, Tikal.
Travel-Inspiring Tours in Guatemala:
Jordan has become a big traveler favorite in recent years for the magnificent ancient city of Petra. Also known as the "Rose City," Petra is home to awe-inspiring ancient tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs. This 2,000-year old city is surely a bucket list item, but it's not the only reason Jordan is worth visiting.
History lovers will have plenty more to see here, from the Roman ruins of Jerash to the hilltop Ajloun Castle, built in the 12th century. If it's water sports you're after, Aqaba is the perfect place to go snorkeling or diving in the Red Sea. For folks who want a once-in-a-lifetime experience, camping in the vast desert known as the Valley of the Moon, or Wadi Rum, will make you feel like you've landed on another planet.
Travel-Inspiring Tours in Jordan:
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If you're looking for adventure and unique experiences, nothing beats Mongolia. Home to some of the world's only modern nomadic cultures, journeying through Mongolia on horseback and tent camping are popular activities that give you a glimpse of what life is like in the Mongolian countryside.
The gorgeous Flaming Cliffs of Bayanzag and the megaliths carved with ancient symbols at Uushgiin Deer Stones are just two of the natural and archaeological treasures you'll encounter in Mongolia. Meanwhile, the Orkhon Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to plenty of ancient history and the capital city Ulaanbaatar blends the country's nomadic cultures with modernity.
Travel-Inspiring Tours in Mongolia:
From the chance to see the northern lights to going dogsledding with Huskies, there's no place more picturesque than Norway. You can also ski the Lyngen Alps, go sailing through icy fjords, and stay in historic lighthouses, in case you're not convinced that this Nordic nation is overflowing with charm.
Oslo, Norway's capital, is a great place to get your footing while you visit the Viking Ship Museum, wander around Vigeland Sculpture Park, or chow down on some fresh oysters and smoked salmon. After that, go on sailing and fishing through the lovely Lofoten Islands, experience the northern lights in Tromsø, or spot real-life polar bears in the Svalbard Islands, which sit at the edge of the Arctic.
Travel-Inspiring Tours in Norway:
This southern African nation is home to a long and beautiful coastline filled with popular beaches as well as densely biodiverse islands and marine life. It's a brilliant place to learn to scuba dive, and also ideal for an island-hopping trip where you'll encounter white sand beaches, nomadic fishermen, and endless scuba and snorkeling opportunities.
If you're a land lover, head to Gorongosa National Park, where you can spot lions, elephants, hippos, and antelopes. Lake Niassa, the 9th largest lake in the world, is home to more fish species than any other lake on earth, and the seafood anywhere in the country is some of the best you'll ever have.
Travel-Inspiring Tours in Mozambique:
- 8-Day Escape to Mozambique Tour with Nomad Africa Adventure Tours
- 11-Day Mozambique Southern Beaches Expedition Tour with Africa Wild Truck
- 14-Day Mozambique Adventure Tour with On the Go Tours
Each of these up-and-coming destinations offers something unique that you can't get anywhere else in the world. Whether you go to Mozambique, Mongolia, or Cuba, you're bound to learn, grow, and create memories that will last forever.