Have you already made up your mind where to travel in 2020? If not, this list of the top ten travel experiences I am keen to accomplish this year might give you some food for thought.
It’s a new year and this means, another 12 months to tick off some destinations from my bucket list. Though this year looks like I won’t do a lot of long-haul travel, mostly remaining in Europe, I am looking to accomplish a couple of exiting new experiences.
Truth be told, this list is growing all the time and I am open to last-minute occasions or changing my plans when new opportunities arise. However, putting together a list of destinations and experiences I am keen to seek out throughout the year is helping me to prioritize and accomplish my travel goals.
This does not mean all of these trips will happen this year. But usually, I manage to tick off at least a couple from my annual wish list whilst others might carry on into the next year or even be replaced at the top 10 with other experiences.
In fact, I managed to achieve several of my goals from last year’s list including a road trip through Alentejo in Portugal, a road trip from Quebec all the way to Niagara Falls in Canada, a long weekend in Stockholm, going back to South Africa and squeezing in a couple of culinary weekends in Germany.
Looking to 2020, in no particular order, here are my top 10 travel destinations / experiences I am hoping to accomplish this year.
Going on a trip around Andalusia, Spain
The stunning Alhambra in Granada has been on my bucket list for some time; and I am keen to return to places like Cordoba, Marbella or Sevilla for a good dose of Moorish architecture, excellent local cuisine and drinking some of the local wines and sherries.
It’s also a perfect location for some early summer sun, taking a break from the prolonged cool temperatures in other parts of Europe during April/May.
A trip to Provence or Languedoc in France
My experience visiting the south of France is pretty much limited to the stretch between Cannes, Nice and Menton. So I am quite keen to explore the other side of this region, starting off in Marseille and heading towards Languedoc.
Though I have not sketched out a full route as of yet, stops could likely include the scenic Camargue, Arles and Montpellier. The latter looking like a great gateway into the Languedoc wine region, one of the lesser known but highly recommended French wine-growing areas dotted with a number of splendid chateaux some of which even offer accommodation.
Going to Champagne and the Royal Champagne Hotel in France
Visiting the Champagne in France was one of my top wishes last year, and one that I did not manage to tick off yet! However, I am hopeful to accomplish a visit anytime soon. Much more so since I discovered – and put on my hotel bucket list – the Royal Champagne Hotel in Hautvillers close to Epernay in the latest 50 Best Hotels in the World Condé Nast Traveler Choice Awards.
Returning to Florence, and possibly Tuscany
Could you believe it’s more than 20 years since my last visit to Tuscany? I have no idea how this could have happened!
Well, at least returning to Florence for a long weekend is definitely on my list for 2020. And perhaps I might manage to make it a full week and include a trip into the beautiful Tuscan countryside, re-visiting a couple of the smaller towns like San Gimignano, Greve in Chianti, Montalcino and off course Siena.
Visiting Versailles and staying at the new hotel opening inside the Palace of Versailles this Spring
I already featured the new hotel in Versailles on my recent post 15 awesome new hotels to add to your bucket list.
There is still not much more information about the new hotel, except that bookings for the venue should open in early February 2020.
Having never been to Versailles before, combining a visit with the incredible opportunity to stay overnight and having the compound on an exclusive basis at least for some time during the day is definitely one of my top travel goals this year!
Going on a distillery tour in Scotland
If you follow my blog, you will know that last year I stumbled over a culinary weekend package offered by one of my favourite German countryside hotels. Before this event, I have rarely tasted any whiskies. However, now I am really hooked and keen to learn more about this spirit, its origins and the culture around it.
An where to better start then at one of the cradles of whisky making? Thus heading off to Scotland and exploring a couple of the local distilleries is definitely on the cards for this year.
Adding a couple of German culinary weekend trips
You don’t need to go far for awesome experiences.
Indeed, I had some of the most awesome culinary experiences travelling through the German countryside last year. Thus, adding more weekends away from home exploring more of the continuously expanding culinary travel scene in Germany is firmly on my radar for this year too.
So far, I have booked two hotels in the Mosel wine region for a long culinary weekend away; but will definitely add more from my growing list of Germany-based culinary hotel bucket list throughout the year.
Going to Ibiza, Spain
For the longest time, Ibiza had the reputation to be purely a party island drawing in large crowds that come for lots of cheap booze and cheep accommodation.
Clearly, over the last few years there has been quite a lot of change including a fair number of luxury hotels opening on the island; but with so much other destinations to chose from the island has never made it on my list so far.
This has changed, however after reading a lot of great content about Ibiza over the last year making me curious to go and explore it myself.
Visiting somewhere in the Baltics
The Baltic States still mark a big blank on my list of places I’ve visited so far. Therefore, I am keen to realize a trip to Tallinn or Riga exploring the beautiful historic parts either in late summer of maybe for the local Christmas Markets in December.
Visiting Expo 2020 in Dubai
This is perhaps the most unlikely trip I will do this year. Expo 2020 kicks off on October 20th, 2020 and that does not look like fitting well into possible travel dates this year. But if you do not aim high, you will never achieve anything. Plus the event runs until mid-2021 so there might be some opportunity making it work than.
I have been to Dubai various times and truly love the vibe of the city. There is always something new to explore from new hotel openings to new restaurants, art galleries, shopping and local events.
I can only imagine how a place like Dubai will stage an event like the World Expo; aptly calling it the World’s Greatest Show!
What are your travel plans for 2020? Let me know.