It’s a big world out there—so big that it can be daunting to decide what international destinations to visit in the course of a lifetime. From natural wonders to man-made masterpieces, from wildlife to cityscapes, the choices are seemingly endless.
But how do you choose your next destination and arrive there before the masses destroy it and convert it to a tourist trap?
We’ve whittled it down to thirty amazing places to see before they become the next hit.
Pick one or pick them all—you can’t go wrong.
1. Manchester, U.K.
Once famed for its towering industry and more recently, vibrant music scene, Manchester is now one of the fastest growing cities in Europe, buoyed by an influx of digital and media companies. Servicing this boom are a number of upscale and design-led arrivals. The new Cultureplex, an ex-railway goods warehouse in the northern quarter, offers up a restaurant, bar, and café, alongside a constantly revolving program of film, visual arts, and performances. Opening this spring, Hotel Brooklyn, inspired by the New York City borough from which it gets its name, is housed in a Victorian brownstone. The team behind Chiltern Firehouse recently unveiled Native Manchester, a new multi-use 166-apartment hotel in the northern quarter.
Meanwhile, chef du jour Tom Kerridge has opened an outpost in the new Stock Exchange hotel, a 40-room Relais & Chateaux property in a storied Edwardian Baroque building. Kerridge’s Bull & Bear restaurant serves smartly prepared British classics, such as crispy pig’s head with celeriac rémoulade. Epicureans are also flocking to Mana, which recently won the city’s first-ever Michelin star. The Nordic-leaning restaurant’s highlight is a 12- to 16-course tasting menu featuring morsels such as barbecued duck broth and lavender or yakitori-style eel with roasted yeast and blueberry.
2. Rijeka, Croatia
With amazing views of the Adriatic coast, blockbuster beaches, and a colorful Baroque heart — not to mention one of the world’s biggest Carnival celebrations — it’s a wonder that Rijeka isn’t better known. But despite ticking pretty much every conceivable vacation box (toss in world-class museums, a bevy of top restaurants, and cinematic hikes in the surrounding mountains), it remains an under-the-radar Adriatic treasure. That’s all set to change in 2020, when Croatia’s third city is honored as a European Capital of Culture. Plenty is planned within the port town to mark the occasion: more than 1,000 official musical performances, literary events, art exhibitions, and parties; the multimillion dollar overhaul of the historic Sugar Refinery building into the Rijeka City Museum; and the addition of Hilton’s new five-star resort, the Costabella, in April. But perhaps most anticipated is the reopening of the ship Galeb (“Seagull”). Used as Tito’s personal mobile home while he was President of Yugoslavia, the yacht — where countless global leaders and celebrities were entertained — is being refurbished and transformed into a museum ahead of Rijeka’s moment in the global.
3. Porto de Pedras, Brazil
Porto de Pedras, gives you a pretty good idea of what heaven might look like. You know, the kind of place where you wake up every morning to a blood red sunrise and palm trees silhouetted against the sky. Between the estuaries of the Camaragibe and Manguaba rivers, on the northern shore of Alagoas, lies a stretch of Brazil’s coast where the ocean water is hot and clear, the landscape is framed by coconut trees and it’s still possible to go for miles without seeing a soul. A place where the full moon rises on the sea and manatees swim free. Where large, colorful houses share the few vestiges of civilization with town squares, where the inns have hot tubs, bungalows with private pools and decks with lounge chairs (with caipirinhas made with key lime or lemongrass at the snap of your fingers). Where the restaurants serve platters of seafood and fish encrusted with ground nuts. Some chilled wine to go with it? Always. We traveled the most charming 12-mile [20 km] stretch of the Ecological Route, part of an environmental protection area on the Coral Coast, and we surveyed all its secrets. Not to mention the natural pools – an added bonus in these parts.
Pedras do Patacho hotel with just 7 bungalows, is located in a wide strip of white sand, warm waters and virtually untouched vegetation. Patacho Beach, located in the middle of the Ecological Route of Alagoas, stands out for its paradisiacal look. The perfect destination for those who value nature and, above all, tranquility.
4. Sicily, Italy
Sicily is mesmerizing, all compact in this beautiful island. Sicily is an authentic place having remarkable sites renowned world-wide. The historic Valley of temples located here consists of the Doric temples standing tall, with the breath-taking backdrop of gardens of olives and almonds. Hamlets’ names Noto are well-known for the ‘Baroque-type’ architecture having facades made of limestone. It is a must-visit place in 2020 for both families, newly-wed ones, and a singleton! It is not every day you get the chance of exploring the unnerving scenery of Mount Etna, which is Europe’s largest and most active volcano. Sicily stands amongst the most preferred holiday destination in the past few years.
A romantic hideaway set on the Bay of Mazzarò, Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea retains all the charm of a private residence.
Built by an aristocratic family in 1919, Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea is a luxurious hideaway surrounded by subtropical gardens. Here on the rocky, romantic, and lush shores of Taormina, moments of pause are plentiful. Perhaps the spa is your preferred spot to ponder? Or perhaps you’d instead prefer to venture out in search of inspiration to Taormina, a “paradise on earth” full of ancient culture, food, and architecture.
5. Tbilisi, Georgia
This city’s creative groundswell has been building for a few years now, with young designers, chefs, architects, and artists — many of whom never knew life under the USSR — lending a palpable energy to the place. Georgian design, its profile boosted by Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia, is on full display at the city’s surfeit of concept stores — find many of them, such as clothing atelier Flying Painter, at the mixed-use development Fabrika, which occupies a Soviet-era clothing factory. And “new Georgian” cuisine is finding its footing as young chefs bring traditional foods into the 21st century, with a glut of wine bars and standout restaurants like Shavi Lomi, Keto and Kote, and Kharcho (located inside a new creative hub and workspace called Art House).
There are also an outsize number of excellent hotels for a city so small. Fabrika houses a colorful hostel, the brainchild of Adjara Group, also responsible for the trendy Rooms Hotels and the soaring, sensual Stamba, opened in 2018 inside an old Soviet printing factory. Next year, Stamba will expand its photography museum, which displays work by Georgian artists. Others followed in Adjara Group’s wake, with the opening of several small properties including a Moxy and the colorful City Wine Hotel, an offshoot of favorite wine bar g.Vino. If all goes according to plan, 2020 will see the opening of a Kempinski in Tbilisi — a gleaming, glass complex on Mount Mtatsminda that will shout to the world that Tbilisi has arrived.
6. Galle, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has long been popular among surfers and adventure travelers. Though the country is still on the mend after last Easter’s bombings in Colombo, a new crop of resorts opening in 2020 make the island nation a luxury destination to be reckoned with. Haritha Villas & Spa, for one, debuts in December. It’s an elegant property located in Hikkaduwa, a resort town known for surfing, beaches, and sea turtles. Guests can enjoy infinity pools overlooking private gardens and one-of-a-kind treatments at the property’s jungle spa.
Alila Koggala, a new sustainable resort located near the city of Galle, is set to open in fall 2020, offering 40 sleek suites and villas, plus guided excursions to nearby rain forests.
7. Barichara, Colombia
Barichara is often described as the prettiest town in Colombia, and not without good reason: it’s a truly lovely little town with stunning architecture, beautiful natural surroundings, and excellent boutique hotels and restaurants. The main church in Barichara is a gorgeous building made of the sandstone that dominates the architecture of the town—it’s particularly lovely at sunset when the stone turns a rich orange. The steps leading up to the church are a great place to sit and watch the world go by or enjoy the beauty of the town. Barichara makes a great base for outdoor pursuits such as white-water rafting, mountain biking and rappelling. Fly into Bucaramanga and take an hour-long cable-car ride over a canyon.
For your accommodation the stylish new Yahri villas, a trio of homes in town, with terraces that provide views of the surrounding mountains.
8. Jaipur, India
The colors, creative traditions, and opulent palaces of Rajasthan are what many of us picture when we think of India — but this coming year, even those who think they’ve been there and done that should plan a return trip. Fall will see the launch of Six Senses’ first India property, the 48-suite Fort Barwara, which is set in a 14th-century fortress south of Jaipur. In nearby Udaipur, the Raffles group is also due to make its Indian debut later in 2020.
Set on a private island in Udai Sagar Lake, the palatial hotel will have a rooftop restaurant, an outdoor pool with gardens, and a capacious spa. Just outside the city, India’s first sculpture park opened at Madhavendra Palace, displaying the work of heavy-hitting Indian artists like Subodh Gupta and Mrinalini Mukherjee in a dramatic fortress setting. And in downtown Jaipur, the recently opened Amrapali Museum Jaipur showcases some of the 4,000-plus Indian gems collected by the founders of the Amrapali jewelry brand.
9. Quito, Ecuador
High in the Andes, the Ecuadorean capital, with its unwieldy urban sprawl and car-centric downtown, has never quite held the allure of Rio or Lima when wanderlust strikes. The city’s been making real strides to address that: Several years ago, Quito moved its airport from the city center to its fringes in an effort to make landings less treacherous and satisfy noise-addled locals, and work is underway to transform the former terminal into a public park. Now, the long-awaited 2020 opening of Quito’s first-ever underground railway line, running 14 miles north-south, promises to truly transform Ecuador’s mountain city, putting once-inaccessible neighborhoods within reach and bringing locals downtown. The city’s skyline is changing, as the likes of Moishe Safdie and Jean Nouvel are enlisted for major new buildings in town. And after last year’s protests caused damage in the area, a community restoration effort has brought the Spanish Colonial Centro Historico back to its former glory.
10. Paros, Greece
Paros is a place overtourism forgot. The rugged Greek island, located smack in the middle of the Cyclades, can only be described as the cooler cousin of more populated islands like Mykonos and Santorini. Part of what makes it so cool.
The newly opened Parilio, a 33-suite high-design hotel that rises from the landscape. A neutral palette graces its interior and exterior, while traditional building techniques elevate the Cyclades’ classic cubic houses. The island is home to those white-washed and blue-roofed buildings Greece is famous for, too, but with far less travelers elbowing you for the perfect Instagram. It’s worth navigating the labyrinthine streets in the town of Naoussa to spot some picturesque alleys, and booking a table at the much-loved Sousouro for a colorful breakfast spread.
11. Cafayate, Argentina
When Argentinian’s want to see a different side of their own country, they head north to the Salta Province. This is a land of contrasts, with towering red rock formations and lush green valleys that are home to the world’s highest altitude vineyards. The pretty town of Cafayate makes an excellent base for exploring what the area has to offer. It’s the perfect place to sample the Salta Province’s iconic empanadas and immerse yourself in the cultural traditions that have inspired generations of musicians and poets.
One of the things not to be missed is the Tren a las Nubes.
The train leaves early in the morning from Salta’s central station and makes the long journey up to the Quebrada del Toro high up in the mountains, so high in fact that the train regularly passes through clouds. By the end of the journey the train reaches a height of 4220m, where there is a viaduct crossing the valley below – quite an engineering spectacle. The journey through the mountains reveals beautifully colored rocks, due to the numerous minerals, and travelers are likely to catch a glimpse of a llama or two.
For your stay, the ubiquitous Patios de Cafayate, amidst the vineyards of the winery El Esteco and with the breathtaking Calchaquí Valleys in the background, the estate’s farmstead – that once belonged to Michel Torino’s family and was founded in 1892 -, is today the soul of this unique hotel that boasts thick walls, corridors with glazed domes, Spanish roof tiles, wrought iron gates, murmuring fountains, colonial water wells and a vast collection of vintage furniture and pictures. A unique and exclusive wine experience in Cafayate. Patios de Cafayate is a must for those who want to enjoy the surrounding landscape, the history and the art of the region, as well as the incredibly welcoming and warm local people.
The hotel’s 32 rooms, located among large colonial-style patios, welcome you with their comfort, their roominess and their antique pieces of furniture, but also with the most up-to-date features and services.
Plan your trip with the help of our travel expert WOPA Travel & Events
12. Zanzibar, Tanzania
Step off the boat or plane onto the Zanzibar Archipelago and you’re transported through time and place. This is one of the world’s great cultural crossroads, where Africa meets Arabia as well as the Indian Ocean.
In Zanzibar Town, the narrow alleys of historic Stone Town meander between ancient buildings decorated with balconies and gigantic carved doors. Meanwhile, on the coast, fishing boats set sail, and in the country side farmers tend fields of rice or the clove plantations that give Zanzibar its ‘Spice Islands’ moniker.
Beyond these little-changed traditions, visitors see a very different landscape. The idyllic beaches are dotted with hotels, and the ocean becomes a playground for diving, snorkeling and kitesurfing.
With its tropical tableau and unique culture, plus an active beach-party scene for those that want it, the Zanzibar Archipelago offers a fascinating and highly enjoyable East African Indian Ocean experience.
Zawadi, a private, intimate getaway beach retreat with only 12 spacious villas & spectacular view of the Indian Ocean. Available for exclusive use.
13. Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan’s glittering capital is already regarded in niche travel circles for its captivating architecture, with the skyline increasingly filling with ambitious, space-age skyscrapers and monuments, including the 150-metre Bayterek Tower and the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, designed by acclaimed British architect Norman Foster. But it is now taking a confident step towards showcasing its cityscape to the world.
For all its grand pretensions, Astana retains something of the Russian and Soviet steppe trading post of its roots. Traces of elegant, pastel-coloured, tsarist merchant mansions; the bustle of the dusty streets; the familiar Soviet grid-avenues lined with birch trees and ugly 1950s housing blocks; Placid, gold-toothed women sit all day at street stalls selling raspberries, cucumbers and varieties of forest berries in cut-off plastic bottles.
St. Regis Hotel with 120 rooms in a palatial, neoclassical design is truly stunning.
14. Palawan, Philippines
Dubbed the “Best Island in the World” by Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler magazines many times, Palawan is undoubtedly a slice of paradise. Travelers from all around the globe fly for the well-known municipalities of El Nido and Coron. While they truly are stunning, the island has so many other lesser-known gems that make it worthy of its title: Port Barton, slowly being discovered by travelers who want to get away from the crowds of El Nido, is the fishing village of Port Barton. About 3h north of the Palawan capital, Puerto Princesa, is a less commercialized, more laid-back version of El Nido. There are no bars and no crazy nightlife, but the evenings and sunset views are serene. Boatmen can be hired for trips to surrounding islands like German Island, Exotic Island, and Paradise Island, as well as to wonderful snorkeling sites.
Araceli, Here, visitors can enjoy the pristine beaches and crystal clear waters people come to Palawan for, but without the crowds. It’s not yet considered a tourist destination, and is surrounded by untouched islands and well-preserved marine life, making it a great place for snorkeling. Visitors can expect close encounters with many sea friends like lobsters and manta rays, which alone are enough to make the two-hour bus ride from Puerto Princesa and four-hour boat ride from Roxas completely worth it.
For your stay, Pangulasian Island Resort, the resort offers 42 individual villas all with a private balcony either on the beach, in the forest, 17 meters from the ground, or with a private pool. With a marine sanctuary right on the doorstep, this place is a divers’ dream. A library, restaurant and bar in the Clubhouse, an infinity pool and a spa are wonderful respites on land.
15. Lille, France
Crowned as the World Capital of Design 2020 for its advances in urban development, the once-struggling industrial city of Lille is on its way to enjoying optimized public spaces thanks to a slew of sustainable design initiatives. It’s also quickly becoming a cosmopolitan oasis with new galleries, museums, restaurants, and boutiques. Among the new art-forward destinations is La Piscine, an Art Deco indoor swimming pool turned art museum that just reopened after a two-year renovation.
The bohemian-chic brand Mama Shelter also debuted a hotel in the city center last summer — its rooms offer sweeping views of the skyline. And jaw-dropping restaurants like Coke, a brasserie and hotel serving French classics beneath ornate moldings and crystal chandeliers, and La Belezza, a new Italian spot from the owners of Big Mamma in Paris, are marrying old Lillois style with contemporary flair.
16. Busan, S. Korea
When in Busan, just look around and let the breathtaking scenery blow your mind! With its magnificent beaches and its historic temples, Busan has legitimately earned its title as the San Francisco of South Korea. Do not miss Haedong Yonggungsa, a temple right beside the ocean, and definitely pay a visit to Dongbaek Island, a very small island with dongbaek trees and evergreens thriving there. At the top of the island, there is a statue and a monument of Choe Chi-Won, a scholar and writer of the Silla Kingdom era. Walk around its newly transformed art districts, do all the vintage shopping you can do, get your beer break in hip and trendy breweries and treat yourself with all the street food delicacies a man can take.
Consider visiting Busan at the beginning of August, when the Seaside Festival takes place at Haeundae Beach, with live music sessions and a highly festive mood.
Stay at the Paradise Hotel, by the beach which is also well situated.
17. Porto, Portugal
Portugal remains a popular getaway — and in 2020, it’s all about experiencing it from the water. Last spring, Viking River Cruises christened the Viking Helgrim, a vessel built for its new Douro itinerary. A few weeks later, Ama Waterways debuted the Ama Douro, which sails between Porto and Vega de Terrón in Spain. This year, Tauck will launch the 84-passenger Andorinha, and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection will christen the S.S. Saõ Gabriel, which has décor that channels the ambience of the Douro Valley. On land, wineries like Quinta do Portal and Quinta do Seixo serve light reds, vinho verde, and the ubiquitous port.
Stay in Porto at recent additions like the Art Deco stunner Le Monumental Palace or the art-filled Torel 1884, whose 12 rooms and 11 standalone apartments feature art inspired by fabrics, materials, and spices from faraway lands.
18. Trinidad, Cuba
Many people argue that Trinidad is one of the best-preserved colonial cities in the whole of Latin America. In fact the architecture and cobbled streets of Trinidad are so highly regarded that the city is now UNESCO listed, protecting it from development and safeguarding its beauty for future visitors. The history of the city is fascinating, founded as it was in 1514 by the Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, and the colonial influence runs deep.
Dance the night away at Casa de la Musica, an open-air bar where the standard of dancing always seems to be pretty impressive.
Visit the beautiful beach at Playa Ancon just seven miles away. You can sit back and watch as the local fishermen go about their business or buy a conch shell from one of the divers to take home as a souvenir.
Avoid the hotels and stay at a Casa Particular, one of those wonderfully preserved private mansions run by its owners, where most likely the patron will be there to make sure you get a nice breakfast and enjoy a nice cigar at the evenings paired with a rum…
19. Antananarivo, Madagascar
Antanavarino, the capital of Madagascar, widely known as Tana, is at the heart of culinary experiences, full of historical interest, as well as the starting point for many day trips, like for instance to Andasibe, Anjajavy and especially the wonderful Anjajavy le Lodge. Look for the historical and cultural elements that have established the city as the home of Malagasy power for three centuries.
In Tana, one can find an amazing variety of African, Indian and western garb, and streets choked with all manner of motorized, human-powered, and animal-driven transport. It is a city of faded glory that still shows signs of a more prosperous past. Its beautiful villas covered by tumbling bougainvillea, palm-lined avenues, Anosy Lake crowned by blooming jacaranda in October, wonderful restaurants and great shopping, can leave no one indifferent.
Enjoy a breathtaking view of Tana on the sunset hour from Lokanga Boutique Hotel, go to Lisy Art Gallery to get your special souvenirs from the red island or visit one of the local market places to look for bargains. Do not live Tana, without visiting Croc Farm, not only home of the huge Nile crocodiles, the biggest predator of Madagascar, but also of some other typical animal species, plants and flowers from Madagascar.
20. Lviv, Ukraine
Most people never heard about this gorgeous gem of a city located in the west of Ukraine.
A UNESCO World Heritage-listed town, Lviv, with its great culinary offerings, artistic flavour and coffee obsession, sounded right for a romantic night but it turned out to be much more than that.
There are around 1500 cafes in the city making it the highest amount of cafes per capita in the world!
You can spend a year in Lviv, visiting cafes only and you still wouldn’t go to them all!
Some of them are really old, cozy and charming and with a great interior that you will want to visit them anyway!
Lviv is a city with a special atmosphere, which more than half a century was ruled by the kings.
This is city of coffee, a city of lions, a city of jazz, rain, chocolate, terraces and passionate tango.
Food is a big deal here; restaurants range from the traditional to the hipster but tend to focus on Ukrainian staples. Coffee shops abound; in the 1600s, a Lviv native was the first person to pair sugar and milk and open a coffeehouse (though in Vienna). Today, you can visit its namesake — “Under the Blue Bottle” — where coffee is prepared on an open fire in copper jugs in a candlelit room.
If you are not a beer person, worry not – liquors are also always in season and every bar you stumble into will greet you with their signature twist. GASOVA LAMPA, for example, serves their selection of spirits in test tubes with the guests having no idea what’s inside until they taste them.
And for a truly unforgettable experience head to GRAND HOTEL. Your stay there, will be full of grandiose emotions and endless care, exceeding your expectations!
“I love you #Ukraine,” Paris Hilton wrote in an Instagram post featuring her arrival at the opening ceremony. We too.
21. Nanyuki, Kenya
Nanyuki serves as a gateway to the Laikipia plateau, one of Africa’s most important wildlife conservation areas. Despite being a market town, it is probably the most cosmopolitan city in the area outside of Nairobi, with visitors who come often here to climb Mt Kenya or to visit the myriad safari parks. UNESCO proclaimed Mount Kenya as a World Heritage Site , one of the most impressive landscapes in East Africa, located right on the equator.
Everyone agrees that the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club Nanyuki is an exclusive retreat. Situated some one hundred and ninety kilometres to the north of Nairobi, on the slopes of Mount Kenya, it has a reputation for relaxed elegance. Many of the world’s famous names, be they royalty, film stars or merely the rich, seek it out as a secluded heaven where, although you do your safari during the day, you always dress for dinner.
Sir Winston Churchill was reputed to have been a founding member. The list of those who joined after the Club opened in 1959 reads like an international Who’s Who, and includes Prince Berhard of the Netherlands, Lord Louis Mountbatten, author Robert Ruark, former US President Lyndon Johnson, Conrad Hilton, Bob Hope Bing Crosby, and a bevy of celebrities.
Today featuring 120 Rooms, Cottages, Suites and Villas is one of the world’s top hotels. Spoil yourself in a William Holden Cottage (170 sqm) and dine as a celebrity at Tusk’s Restaurant.
22. Gdansk, Poland
Gdansk is the city, where you can’t get bored.
Poland’s Baltic seaside city of Gdańsk has sat in the background for years as one of the most underrated cities in Europe. For a long time, this sleeping giant went unnoticed, until recently when the city suddenly became hugely popular with tourists. Gdańsk is a city steeped in history and brimming with activities all year round. If Gdańsk isn’t yet on your list of cities to see before you die, it is high time to include it.
Be ready for one of the most beautiful streets in Europe. Gdańsk’s Długi Targ is basically the main square, although it translates into English as ‘Long Market’. Leading down to it, is the Ulica Długa, or ‘Long Street’. Put simply, it is one of the most photographed streets and squares in Europe and a feast for anyone’s eyes on your first glimpse.
St. Mary’s Basilica in Gdańsk is an enormous Roman Catholic church (located on the aforementioned Ulica Piwna) that contains more red bricks than any other church in the world. In its time, the church was used by Protestants and Catholics and contains a lookout platform at the top – you must walk up the steps as there is no elevator, but the views from the top are tremendous.
Take a stroll along Gdańsk’s beautiful harbour front, and you may just fall in love with this city. Pretty colourful buildings reflect against a river amidst a flurry of local street musicians and aromas from popular restaurants, and in the background boats cruise to and from Hel, Gdynia and Westerplatte.
Situated just off the Crane over the Motława River in Gdańsk, Hotel PODEWILS OLD TOWN Gdansk is a small, luxurious hotel which features spacious and quiet rooms with a marble bathroom with great views at the old town.
For great food and amazing view head to Paco Perez’s (Famous Spanish Chef) ARCO restaurant located at the 33rd floor of Olivia Star building.
23. Lofoten Islands, Norway
The ultimate destination where culture and history meet nature! Fjords, mountains, white sandy beaches, and surprisingly warm water, that’s Lofoten.
A landscape of skerries, red fisherman cabins, lapping waves and the cries of gulls that will ease your tensions away. Not only the endless days but also the midnight sun gives you extra energy and you might find yourself playing golf at midnight, or forgetting to go to bed! Take a stroll in old, charming fishing villages, where creative people settle to find inspiration, active ones to find challenges, wanderers to find peace, where we all find endless beauty.
Jump on speed boats to explore the beautiful nature and watch sea eagles, catch fish up close, take a hike with rewarding world-class views and enjoy a pier-front meal of self-caught seafood. So do not miss Anita’s Seafood. It will blow your head off.
Choose to stay in an authentic fisherman cabin, or a panorama suite with both mountain, city and sea view at the same time.
Our favorite: HATTVIKA LODGE.
Lofoten will take your breath away as there is no place like that elsewhere!
24. Arequipa, Peru
The preserved colonial architecture of “the White City” — so named for its gleaming structures made from sillar, a volcanic rock — earned the historic center of Arequipa UNESCO World Heritage status in 2000. But a dearth of upmarket lodgings has kept this Peruvian destination off most travelers’ radar. Now, the town finally has accommodations befitting the local history:
August saw the opening of Cirqa, originally built in 1540, the year Arequipa was founded, as an inn for guests of the Church of San Agustín next door. The property marries preserved elements of the original parador — high vaulted ceilings, textural stone walls — with contemporary flourishes, such as black-steel-framed windows and a plunge pool.
Further steeped in history is the cuisine at La Nueva Palomino, where a female-led staff cooks hearty stews from heirloom recipes. It’s all best enjoyed while admiring the three volcanoes in the distance (Chachani, Misti, and Pichu Pichu) with a tall glass of chicha, an Andean beer made from corn.
25. Inle lake, Myanmar
Inle Lake is a magical watery world of floating gardens, stilted villages and crumbling stupas. An alluring attraction, where mountains tumble down towards the lakeshore, shaping heaven on earth. Enjoy a full day silent boat trip on Inle Lake – an instagrammer’s dream. Its calm waters are dotted with floating vegetation and fishing canoes, on a scenic hills backdrop. Observe the lake’s unique ‘leg rowers’ – Intha fishermen who row standing up with one leg wrapped around a single oar, leaving their hands free to handle the conical fishing net. Pay a visit to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State, as well as to a traditional silk-weaving workshop which combines wooden handlooms with a blacksmith’s forge. Pass endless floating gardens, where Intha lake dwellers grow fruit and vegetables. Do not miss Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, one of the oldest on the lake, where you can see exquisite Buddha statues, more than 200 years old.
The new SOFITEL is the hotel to stay. Great rooms and amazing views.
26. Papagayo, Costa Rica
Several just-opened eco-retreats are offering more ways to unwind in Costa Rica. Perhaps the most-anticipated is Nayara Tented Camp, a safari-style retreat inside a sloth sanctuary. Adjacent to the famed Nayara Hotel and Nayara Springs resort, the camp debuted in December, and offers 29 family-friendly suites linked by footbridges across the rain forest. Then there’s Kasiiya Papagayo, which opened as an adventure-focused getaway; walkie-talkies and headlamps are distributed at check-in. Its five sustainably built, ocean-facing tents rest on platforms above the local flora, leaving much of the landscape undisturbed.
Farther south is Kinkára Luxury Retreat, built on the slopes of the Talamanca mountain range. The wellness resort’s 31 glamping tents are centered around a thatched-roof yoga pavilion and a garden. Seriously indulgent bathhouses feature indoor-outdoor rain showers; outside, you can take a dip in the waterfalls and wading pools that dot the property.
27. Gokayama, Japan
The remote, mountainous districts of Shirakawa-gō (白川郷) and Gokayama, between Takayama and Kanazawa, are best known for farmhouses in the thatched gasshō-zukuri style. They are rustic and lovely whether set against the vibrant colours of spring, draped with the gentle mists of autumn, or peeking through a carpet of snow, and they hold a special place in the Japanese heart.
Gokayama is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that also encompasses the nearby village of Shirakawa-gō. Both areas are known for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses. These centuries-old houses feature distinct thatched roofs, designed to withstand heavy snowfall. Gokayama is less accessible than popular Shirakawa-gō, and, as a result, its villages are more quiet and secluded.
Other attractions include the thatched roof temple of Myozenji, the Doburoku Festival Museum where you can sample local sake, and the Shiroyama observation point which is the site of a castle ruin and the best place from which to view the whole village.
Our favorite Ryokan in the area is the one and only: Shiroyamakan. When I stayed here I had a stunning experience, wonderful host: the food, the view, the house, the beauty of nature… everything was a magical, unique and beautiful experience I will never forget!”
Plan your trip with the help of our travel expert True Japan Tours
28. Alacati, Turkey
Alaçatı, a small town very close to Izmir, on the west coast of Turkey, on the Aegean Coast is hidden treasure, full of history, beauty and tradition. Having a Greek past, dating back to the 17th century, makes Alaçatı uniquely beautiful and picturesque, bearing a dazzling aura. Though the Greek population of Alaçati was banished in 1914, the place holds up to its Greek essence with its traditional, well preserved Greek stone houses, its bougainvillea-framed cobblestone “sokak” (streets) and its extraordinary cuisine. Although it has been declared as a historical site in 2005, this place remains up to date with windsurfers and flying kite surfers choosing it, for its ideal wind conditions for these sports (there is also a Kite Festival being held annually).
29. Baja Sur, Mexico
Just when you think the Baja buzz has reached a fever pitch, new arrivals make it all the more thrilling. This year, the locus of the excitement has shifted away from the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo up to the East Cape, where a dreamy new 1,000-acre luxury enclave has finally come to fruition near Los Barriles.
The Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas opened in October, with 141 rooms overlooking the placid Sea of Cortéz, and the Costa Palmas Beach & Yacht Club is welcoming members and hotel guests to its pools, golf course, two miles of beachfront, and — should you need a place to park your superyacht — a glittering, lake-size marina. Keep an eye out in 2021 for the arrival of Amanvari, Aman Resorts’ corner of Costa Palmas, with 20 villas and 24 residences. But all of that is merely the gateway to the real draw: An undisturbed corner of Baja where desert, mountains, and water meet.
30. Durban, South Africa
Despite a thriving food scene and tropical beaches, Durban has always lurked in the shadows of Cape Town and Johannesburg. But with the unveiling of Durban’s new seaside promenade, part of a $2.5 billion development designed to rejuvenate the waterfront area, the city is becoming South Africa’s next cultural and coastal getaway to watch. Dubbed the ‘Golden Mile’, the shiny 3.7 mile strip, which is an ongoing development over the next 15 years, will flaunt glistening buildings with apartments, shops, a hotel, and public hangout spaces, plus a hotly anticipated new cruise terminal, which began construction in late 2019 and is set to open in 2021. Beyond the shiny waterfront, the city’s food scene, which is rooted in South Asian cuisine due to the substantial Indian community, thrives. Street food dishes are a must: look for bunny chow (a hollowed out bread loaf filled with curry) at Cane Cutters and lemony pieces of chicken and slap chips (fries doused in vinegar) from Afro’s Chicken. Another key stop: A trip to the newly relocated African Art Centre for clay pots and beaded baskets.
Finally for your stay the stunning OYSTER BOX HOTEL is just breathtaking.
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Story created with passion by Beyond Limits