Where to travel in 2020
Ten cities that should definitely be on your travel bucket list this year
Our new year’s resolution is to travel to each of these ten cities. From Scotland to Poland, Australia to India, we’ve found ten destinations that should be on everyone’s travel list for 2020. Discover savage coastlines, glittering metropoles, unending desert and some of the best tequila you’ve ever had — straight from the source.
With its steep green slopes rising out of the Adriatic sea, you would be forgiven for thinking you were lost in the fjords of Scandinavia. The postcard-perfect bay of Kotor in Montenegro is the backdrop for the first of our top off-the-radar escapes for 2020.
In Kotor, east meets west. The UNESCO World Heritage listed old city dates back to the 12th Century, with palaces, cathedrals and fortresses showing influences from Venice across to the Orient. Start your day aimlessly exploring the ancient, labyrinthine streets of the old city, then fuel up on grilled octopus drizzled with olive oil and served with sarma (cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat), or salted sheep's cheese and crunchy vegetables; you'll need it for the 1,350 steps that will take you up to the 6th-century fortress, where you're in for a breathtaking view of the city and Bay of Kotor.
Even in the face of political uncertainty, one thing is for sure: Beirut will leave you wanting more. The “Paris of the Middle East” is a uniquely hedonistic city where there’s a surprise around every corner, from Ottoman and French-style buildings to breathtaking glass towers by the likes of Herzog & de Meuron and Foster + Partners.
Start off with a stroll down Bliss Street in Hamra, then continue eastward through Downtown to Gemmayzeh, a bohemian neighbourhood known for its innovative dining, world-class nightlife and vibrant art scene. For those with money to burn, Aishti by the sea is a shopping mall like no other, with the world’s best luxury brands under a rooftop spa and art gallery.
If shopping and nightlife isn’t enough of a draw for you, Lebanese food surely will be. Shawarma and falafel can be found the world over, but you won’t do any better than at one of Beirut’s many street food corners or small family-run cafes. For a slower dining experience, Baron serves a Mediterranean-influenced, European-executed menu using local produce (think freshly-caught scallops in miso butter, or roasted halloumi with grapefruit and pistachio).
Recently named a UNESCO City of Design, Dundee on the eastern coast of Scotland glistens with its Victorian sandstone architecture, newly designed waterfront with a thriving restaurant and bar scene (you had us at gin & marmalade cocktail) and the new V&A Dundee: the first outpost outside of this iconic museum outside of London, designed by star architect Kengo Kuma.
Start with a hike up Law Hill — a dormant volcano — for a breathtaking view over the city, its surrounding fishing villages and the ocean dotted with thousands of rocky outcrops. Back at sea level, cruise along the Tay river for an afternoon of dolphin-spotting, then enjoy some modern Scottish cooking at Encore (hello, beef, Guinness and oyster pie).
From the architectural to the culinary, the “Paris of the East” is a city of exiting contrasts: towering Stalinist architecture stands proudly next to modern glass monoliths, and traditional pirogues are served alongside world-class vegan cuisine in the city’s bar mleczny (milk bars). These still-government-subsidised remnants of Communism offer the most authentic — and cheapest — dining experience in town.
Get your cultural fix in the Praga district, where the local arts scene has taken over empty backyards; the Soho Factory in the Kamionek district is an unmissable creative factory and neon museum. After dark, Warsaw’s parties give Berlin and Tbilisi a run for their money: SMOLNA is home to the best techno in town (and many visiting Berlin DJs), and once day breaks, Luzztro is the place to keep going for minimal sounds and after-after-parties.
The beards, the craft beer, the organic vegetables: Portland, Oregon was hip before the first hipster ordered the first fair-trade flat white. Framed by the everwhite Mount Hood, and with hiking trails and forests in the middle of the city, Portland is full of surprises.
Head downtown for rooftop bars, second-hand record stores, farmers markets and a great (and surprisingly affordable) food truck scene: from fried chicken to lobster rolls and chocolate chip cookies with smoked almonds, Portland’s food trucks will keep your tummy – and your wallet – full.
With one of the most exciting fine dining scenes around — and two of the world’s top 10 best restaurants — Lima is the unrivalled culinary capital of South America, if not the world. Ceviche fans, in particular, will be spoiled for choice, from the many cheap and cheerful cevicherias dotted throughout the city, to the finest ceviche-sushi-fusion at Maido.
Though the food scene alone is worth a visit, Lima is much more than a bright star in the culinary sky. It’s a surprising and lively city where the old meets the new: pre-Incan ruins are easily accessible from the city, and the city's many museums and galleries showcase established and up-and-coming Peruvian and Latin American artists.
Mexico's second largest city is not on everyone’s radar, but that’s kind of how Guadalajara likes it. It’s a city for the urban explorer: less showy than Mexico City, Guadalajara doesn’t reveal itself on first glance, rather, it rewards those who put in the work (preferably by bike or on foot) with some true gems
Set up basecamp in one of the sleek Design Hotels in the art district of Lafayette, where you'll discover street art frescoes by José Clemente, and an Art Deco Casa by Luis Barragán, now home to the modern gallery Travesía Cuatro. From here you can set off on a day trip to Tequila and taste liquid gold in shimmering blue agave fields. Back in Guadalajara's restaurants, you’ll find that same first-class tequila brilliantly combined with roasted pineapple and charred baby corn, served on local handmade ceramics.
The Pink City — which recently received UNESCO World Heritage status — enchants with its impressive palaces and mystical stories of the Maharajas. The traditional culture of Rajasthan (Land of Kings) is as omnipresent as the blush-hued façades, yet Jaipur has developed into a cosmopolitan centre that attracts more and more young creatives every year.
For a truly authentic experience, stay in one of the many smaller, family-owned boutique hotels. Not only will you have access to fascinating histories spanning several generations, you’ll also get to meet young textile and jewellery designers attracted to the city's status as an arts centre.
What makes Melbourne so liveable and the Melbournians some of the happiest people in the world? It could be the lush green of the Garden City, or the world-class culture, art and sport, but it’s probably the coffee. If coffee is a religion, then Melbourne is the Mecca of Third Wave coffee culture.
Melbourne keeps many of its best bars, street art, cafes and restaurants hidden in the inner city’s laneways (our insider tips: Duckboard Place, Hosier Lane, Punch Lane and Degraves Street). Or save yourself the hunt through the CBD and head to Brunswick Street, Fitzroy’s golden mile of great shopping, better food and some of the best coffee in town (if not the world).
Take in as much southern hemisphere sunshine as you can and enjoy a sundowner (sunset drink) at one of the city’s many rooftop bars: Naked for Satan and Madame Brussels should be on your list.
Cape Town, South Africa
No list would be complete without Cape Town. With the breathtaking Table Mountain as a backdrop and cobalt blue waves meeting into creamy white beaches, the city has beauty, depth and a relaxed cosmopolitan atmosphere in spades.
Township Art Tours are a perfect way to discover Cape Town. These intimate walking tours will take you through the heart of Woodstock. The district is now more exciting and vibrant than ever: once run down, its indie boutiques, artists' studios and larger-than-life murals are now set amid magnificent Victorian architecture.
What to pack