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 just the backdrop for the first of our top off-the-radar escapes for 2020.
In Kotor, east meets west, with palaces and cathedrals displaying influences from Venice all the way to the Orient. The ancient streets of the old town make for a labyrinth you’ll actually want to get lost in; 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, before you head up the 1350 steps up to the 6th-century fortress for a breathtaking view of the city and Bay of Kotor.
Recently named a UNESCO City of Design, Dundee on the eastern coast of Scotland glistens with its Victorian sandstone architecture, newly designed waterfront with its thriving restaurant and bar scene (you had us at gin & marmalade cocktail) and the new V&A Museum: the first outpost outside of this iconic institution 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.
From the architectural to the culinary, the “Paris of the East” is a city of exiting contrasts: towering Stalinist architecture lines up next to modern glass monoliths; and traditional pirogues have their place on the menu alongside world-class vegan cuisine in the city’s “milk bars” that used to feed the city’s factory workers, now a favourite of local bankers and pensioners alike.
Get your cultural fix in the Praga district, where the local arts scene has taken over empty backyards, then visit the Soho Factory in the Kamionek district: 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. Backdropped 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 a big draw, and 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; the sleek Design Hotels in the art district of Lafayette are the perfect basecamp.
Mexico's greatest artists have left their mark all over town: here, street art means frescoes by José Clemente, and an Art Deco Casa by Luis Barragán is now home to the modern gallery Travesía Cuatro.
Or take 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 pink facades, impressive palaces and mystical stories of the Maharajas. The traditional culture of Rajasthan (Land of Kings) is omnipresent, but 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 by 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, the trend-setting culture, art and sport, but it’s probably the coffee. Melbourne keeps many of its best spots hidden in the inner city’s labyrinthine laneways (our insider tips for the best bars, street art, cafes and restaurants: Duckboard Place, Hosier Lane, Punch Lane and Degraves Street).
If coffee is a religion, then Melbourne is the Mecca of Third Wave coffee culture. Save 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. 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.
With all the glamour and glitz most people associate with Dubai, it's easy to lose sight of the authentic roots of the Middle East, but a culinary stroll through the Old Town will provide the perfect antidote. The best place to start your tour is at the Arabian Tea House on Al Fahidi Street with a cup of Karak Chai. The highlight is the labyrinthine alleys of the spice souks, which seduce you with the scent of turmeric, cardamom and rose petals.
For an adrenaline thrill, take a jeep ride through the desert and watch gazelles, or make a detour to the recently opened Louvre Abu Dhabi, just over an hour outside of from Dubai.
What to pack