Top 10 Countries to Visit in 2020
My tastes and obsessions with countries changes pretty rapidly. I’ll find a new piece of a place and “have” to go there as soon as possible. This is my list of the top 10 countries to visit in 2020. I probably won’t make it to many of them, but even one is an exciting accomplishment. Check out my list below~
2019’s List: 1. Guatemala, 2. Faroe Islands, 3. Turkey, 4. Bhutan, 5. Israel, 6. Mongolia, 7. Armenia, 8. Georgia, 9. Greece, 10. Vietnam.
1. Faroe Islands (Denmark)
While last year I was blown away by becoming enamored with Guatemala at the last moment, the Faroe Islands are here to stay. I have wanted to visit these islands for three or four years now. Like most places I have a strong desire to visit, it started with music. I found Eivor’s music and that was it. Just like with Korea, I suddenly had to go. I really thought I was going to make it there in 2019, but alas, I moved to South Korea 😛 Poor me!
Those stunning vistas and adorable towns will have to wait! I would really love to spend an extended period of time relaxing, exploring, and writing in the Faroe Islands. Maybe I’ll finally finish editing that book I wrote…
Top Places of Interest: Much like last time, I would like to see every one of the islands. I’d also like to stay overnight on the Puffin Island Mykines. I am getting closer to the age where I’ll be able to rent a campervan (25) and I am tempted to wait until I can explore everything much easier. I’d also love to ride a helicopter to one of the islands, as it is one of the cheapest countries to do so as it is sometimes the only way to get from one to the other!
Guatemala has dropped to second place but that doesn’t change the fact that I really, really want to go. It’s just gorgeous. And over the course of 2019 I’ve grown more interested in not just the hippie yoga programs in Lake Atitland, but also the Mayan ruins. My adventurous spirit would love to head out on one of these treks and use my lack of bug-fear to my advantage. It’s also a lot cheaper to visit than the Faroe Islands so maybe I’ll make it?
Top Places of Interest: Lake Atitland remains up there, but more than ever I’d like to see some Mayan ruins. El Mirador sounds like the type of challenging yet rewarding trek I’m eager for. Topoxte is also an interesting sounding place as it’s on an island in the middle of a lake and that just sparks all of my imagination!
Wow! Uzbekistan went from a place-name I had to remember to complete my goal of learning all the countries, to a place I desperately want to see. A contingent from Uzbekistan came to Andong, South Korea, to perform at the mask festival. The music had me tearing up in the stands. Weirdly, it was the highlight of my trip. I am really tempted to try to head here for my summer vacation and really freak out my family in the process (even though many solo female travelers report it as very safe!). The Silk Road is a story I feel like I’ve been circling in my efforts learn more history and geography than American schools bother with. I want to experience it for myself!
Top Places of Interest: Samarkand looks like a storybook. Hence why it is the top of my Top 5 Cities to Visit list as well. Bukhara and Kiva offer more of the amazing architecture and Kiva some great desert scenes.
Bhutan is still in the same spot! I really want to go but it just doesn’t seem feasible. While I can completely agree with the Bhutan government’s plan to preserve their culture and points of pride, the $200 a day price tag is too much for someone like me. Especially since I like to actually “see” the country and be there for more than just a few days. Additionally, when I go, I’d really love to visit the out-of-the-way villages, which often require quite a lot of treking that I’m probably not ready for.
Top Places of Interest: While the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is the most well known, and many people try to time their visits with festivals, I don’t care a ton about seeing these. While Tiger’s Nest is surely the most impressive, there are many monasteries in the country, such as the one pictured above, that are also gorgeous. I mainly want to experience some of the many cultures that live in Bhutan, and visit out of the way places like Laya. Oh, and hotsprings, because that’s a known obsession of mine!
Mongolia has moved one space forward! Mongolia has long fascinated me. But the cities never held interest, given that they are primarily USSR ugly block style. But my fascination continued this year after reading On the Trail of Genghis Khan. I learned about ancient stone monoliths scattered throughout the country which I hadn’t heard anything about. Now, in addition to the nomadic lifestyle I want to experience and the gorgeous scenery, I want to also see these ancient sites!
Top places of Interest: I really wish to see a variety of landscapes. Of course I want to see the Gobi, but Mongolia in my mind is less about the places and more about the journey through it!
I fell in love with Armenia very suddenly about two years ago. It went from a country I had pretty much never heard of to one I hope to visit soon. It’s the oldest Christian nation in the world, which is something I feel doesn’t get it much fame. It was certainly a surprise for me to learn!
Top Places of Interest: I think the architecture is fascinating. To me it seems like a blend of many influences and I haven’t seen anything like it elsewhere (I believe it’s called Brutalist architecture, as my quick Google search shows…). I’d love to see some of the monasteries, such as Haghpat, and the city of Goris which features some amazing scenery and cave dwellings (and it’s also close to the most famous monastery Tatev), and Lake Saven.
Like many places in Europe, Greece was never really on my radar. After my spectacular trips to Italy and the UK I’ve realized I need to check out more! I’ve always loved those gorgeous photos of Santorini but the talk of over-tourism and expense put me off. As it is, I would really love to find a few people to go on a sailing trip around the islands with me. I stupidly did not join the sailing club when I was at school in Florida but I was pretty stressed and ropes and abundant water probably weren’t good for me to be around anyways….
Anyways! Top Places of Interest: I’ve got to say, despite always wanting to see more of countries than their capitals, Athens seems much like Rome in its Museum without Walls kind of vibe. Delphi is a must as I am always interested in mystical fantasy type locals. Then I’d love to island-hop. See Naxos, Ion, Folegandros, and Crete of course.
To be honest, I’d not really heard anything about Tunesia. When I realized all of the amazing historical sites along with the desert scenes and living-underground-in-the-desert-unique-architecture, I realized I need to go!
Top places of interest: Close to the capital of Tunis (which I want to see too!) are the ruins of Carthage. Being able to visit a place that holds a bit of a “myth” status in my head would be awesome. We hear about visiting the pyramids and the Colosseum and we hear about Carthage but not that the ruins still exist or where they are. Matmata for those desert dwellings, Kairouan Medina and Sfax which look straight out of Prince of Persia/Aladdin. Chebika, the mountain oasis which doesn’t even look real because it looks too much like a site you’d see in a movie.
I learned a little about Timbuktu this year and it sparked a new interest for me. US education isn’t the greatest and is alarmingly America-centric. I have to make up for the deficiencies in my worldly education in my 20s now. I don’t know a ton about Mali but because of my interest in Timbuktu I’ve started learning!
Top Places of Interest: Of course, Timbuktu. Currently the town is threatened by encroaching desertification and, much like Venice to water, is projected to be swamped by sand in the future. Seeing this historical confluence of trade from around the world is on a countdown, hopefully I’ll get the change to see it. The other places I’d like to see are Djenne, where the entire town is made of mud of which the pictured Grand Mosque is made. I’d also like to go down the Niger river to encounter the native wildlife!
Romania was a last-minute slide onto this list. But it’s been climbing the mental ranks for awhile. I don’t know why it’s taken so long to show up here. I like weird natural rock formations like the one pictured above (Mt. Rarau) . I like mysticism/things that evoke it, and the town of Sibiu with it’s houses-with-eyes definitely does that. Bran Castle, AKA Dracula’s castle is interesting even without the story behind it. And I like beautiful towns to just exist in, which Sighisoara and Timisoara. Can you tell this has been the latest travel craze of mine?
And that’s my top 10 countries to visit in 2020! I hope it gave you some great travel ideas for this year 🙂
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