For 30 years, we have been delighting passengers with unique tours to fantastic destinations across the globe. To assist you in planning your next big adventure, we are pleased to present our top destinations for 2020, specially selected to inspire your travel plans for the year ahead.
1. Silk Road
First on our list must be the Silk Road, crowned the number 1 region to visit in 2020 by Lonely Planet. The Silk Road has been growing in popularity in recent years and with good reason. One of the most important trading routes of ancient civilisation, the Silk Road was once travelled by such legendary figures as Alexander the Great and Marco Polo. Merchants and adventurers from across the globe journeyed through harsh landscapes trading silk, perfumes and spices, bringing an eclectic mix of rich cultures to this fascinating region. From stunning architecture in Uzbekistan to the world-famous Terracotta Warriors in Xian, there is a plethora of extraordinary places to explore.
View our remarkable Silk Road journeys here.
Adventure travellers are always searching for somewhere off the beaten track. In a world where even the most remote places are becoming more accessible, this is no easy task. Described by Conde Nast Traveller as a ‘true off-grid escape’, Kyrgyzstan may be the hidden gem you’ve been looking for. From culturally rich Silk Road market towns like Osh to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the sacred Sulayman Mountain, there is plenty to inspire even the most experienced traveller. Kyrgyzstan also boasts natural beauty in the form of awe-inspiring lakes and mountainscapes; in the countryside you can still find Kyrgyz nomad traditions such as eagle hunting used in practice today.
Explore Kyrgyzstan on our Republics of the Silk Road tour.
3. Kochi, India
India’s unique blend of history and culture have enticed travellers for centuries and in 2020, the city of Kochi takes the spotlight. A part of Southern India’s dramatic coastline, the distinctive giant Chinese fishing nets that billow from massive teak and bamboo poles along the beautiful natural harbour are still in use today. However, while Kochi maintains strong links to its past, it has also proven itself to be forward thinking. In 2015, more than 46,000 solar panels were installed at Cochin International Airport, making it the first fully solar-powered airport in the world and gaining the city a UN Champions of the Earth award.
Delve into Kochi’s culture for yourself on our Madras Mail tour.
Armenia’s capital city, Yerevan, has a rich history; it was occupied as early as 6,000 BC and was seized by a succession of conquerors, passed back and forth between the Turks and Persians until being taken by Russia in 1827. It became the capital of Soviet Armenia in 1920 and, following the demise of the Soviet Union, the capital of the new nation of Armenia. Today, the city boasts a delicious food scene with bookshop cafes and traditional restaurants in abundance. Outside of the city, extraordinary mountains, medieval monasteries and a huge, dazzling blue lake make Armenia one of our top destinations for 2020.
Armenia is a highlight on the Caspian Odyssey.
Nestled in the Alpine region of Europe, Slovenia is often overlooked in favour of classic Italian destinations and the increasingly popular Croatia to the south. However, from the enchanting Lake Bled to the delightful city of Ljubljana, Slovenia shines as a holiday destination in its own right. A combination of ancient architecture and modern charm, Ljubljana is a must-see on your 2020 travel list. One of the greenest cities in Europe, there is a restriction on car traffic in the city, so pedestrians and cyclists are plentiful. A quiet, tranquil visit is an almost certainty.
Join us on the Balkan Odyssey to see the best of beautiful Ljubljana.
6. North Macedonia
This year saw the end of a decades-old dispute between Macedonia and Greece as the former agreed to change its name to ‘North Macedonia’ in a bid to separate itself from the Greek region of the same name. In return, Greece have agreed to drop their objections to the nation’s entry in the European Union. Aleksandar Donev, Macedonia’s former director of the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism said of the change: “It sets us free to be present with a much clearer and positive vision for our future.” Indeed, North Macedonia has now not only caught the attention of the press but also of travellers seeking somewhere fresh to explore. Visitors will find untouched urban spaces amongst a wealth of natural beauty, with the capital city, Skopje, offering an Old Town with tiny shops amongst mosques with ceramic-tiled interiors.
Tick North Macedonia off your list with us on the Balkan Explorer.
7. Bratislava, Slovakia
Often overlooked, Slovakia boasts castles, mountains and a capital city emerging as a bucket list item for travellers through Europe: Bratislava. Marvel at the city’s blend of medieval and Gothic old town energised by creative locals opening new boutiques. Expect lively bars and quaint cafes as you stroll through the cobbled streets of 18th century pastel buildings and take in the stunning Bratislava Castle perched high above the city on a hill overlooking the Danube. A sure blend of historical interest and modern vibrancy awaits in this increasingly popular city.
Join the Central European Classics tour to explore Bratislava for yourself.
Rapidly increasingly in popularity – and the fastest growing holiday destinations for UK travellers – the very mention of Romania conjures up images of Transylvanian legend and Dracula. Indeed, looking up at Bran Castle, perched high atop a 200-foot-high rock, there is an air of mystery surrounding this infamous 14th century castle. Further north is the city of Sighisoara, rumoured to be the birthplace of Dracula. However, Sighisoara has more to offer than myth and legend. It is a World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved fortified medieval towns in Europe, with colourful houses and ornate churches lining its cobbled streets.
Uncover the myths and legends with us on Castles of Transylvania.
Of course, travellers today are increasingly concerned with finding destinations that are environmentally conscious. Switzerland has long been considered ‘green’ and with these sentiments in mind, the country finds itself in the spotlight as a holiday destination for 2020. Its efforts surrounding clean air and climate concerns mean it has topped the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), produced by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. The city of Zürich is consistently recognised as one the world’s most liveable cities, maintaining a balance of natural beauty with its pristine river alongside a thriving urban scene as a global centre for banking and finance.
Take in the tranquil beauty of Zurich on our Grand Alpine Express journey.