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Where are you headed in the new year? What are the cool places to visit on a luxury vacation in 2020? Based on the numerous lists of where to go in 2020, here’s our curated list of the top 10 best (and hottest) luxury travel destinations in 2020. 

what are the cool destinations for a luxury vacation in 2020?

Where to next? Without question, trips to London, Paris, LA, Tokyo and lots of other glittering cities are a fantastic idea. Any time. Any year. You don’t need us to tell you that.


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With this list, our aim is to share some of the more provocative, off-the-radar, lesser-known luxury travel destinations that are surfacing on multiple of lists of where to go in 2020. Many of these are new to us, too – and we totally want to hit the road and check them out.

the top 10 luxury travel destinations in 2020

1. Japan. 

Japan is hosting the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, and it’s starting to feel like everyone we know is planning a trip there in the new year. You can certainly opt for Tokyo. But travel experts have highlighted numerous other locations that you should explore in Japan that are slightly less-well-known. Here are a few examples.

the greater Kanto region.

With Mount Fuji as a backdrop, take a bike ride around Lake Yamanaka, a hike through the Aokigahara forest (which poetically means “Sea of Trees”), or have a campfire dinner at the glamping resort Hoshinoya Fuji overlooking Lake Kawaguchi.

hottest travel destinations 2020

The hottest travel destinations in 2020: Hoshinoya Fuji in Japan. Courtesy Photo.


Three hours by train from Tokyo, the six northernmost prefectures on Japan’s main island of Honshu offer spectacular natural wonders and immersive cultural experiences. You’ll find pristine forests, gorges and crater lakes, thousand-year-old temples and shrines, and historic local festivals.

hottest travel destinations in 2020

The hottest travel destinations in 2020: Tohoku Japan. Courtesy Photo.

Koyasan and Ine.

From April 5 to November 1, 2020, “nomadic hotel” 700,000 Heures will take over two sites in Japan – a temple in Koyasan and a traditional house in Ine, a fishing village near Amanohashidate. Activities will include mochi pounding (a Japanese sweet made from rice), visits to hidden bars, learning the art of Japanese gardening, calligraphy classes and fire ceremonies.

best travel destinations 2020

The best travel destinations in 2020: nomadic travel company 700,000 Heures will make its next stop in Japan.


Kyoto welcomes a new round of luxury hotels just in time for 2020. Hotel Fauchon will open in 2020 in the central Shimogyo-ku district. The Ace Hotel is set to launch in spring 2020. Aman Kyoto has just opened, with a property that features moss-covered meditation gardens and wonderful views of Mount Hiei. 

best travel destinations 2020

The best travel destinations in 2020: the steps to Tengamine Garden at the new Aman Kyoto. Courtesy Photo.

2. Hungary.

Hiking is the new yoga, so why not embrace it in 2020 with a trip to the National Blue Trail? Running about 700 miles from the western border with Austria to the northeastern village of Hollóháza near Slovakia, the Blue Trail is a web of paths labeled with white-and-blue-striped trail signs. Europe’s first long-distance trail, it’s part of the nearly 6,500-mile European long-distance walking route E4, which begins in Spain and ends (with ferry connections) in Cyprus.

best travel destinations 2020

The best travel destinations in 2020: the National Blue Trail in Hungary.

3. Wales.

Wales has become an epicenter of adventure travel in the UK. Venture there to hike Mount Snowdon. Surf at Adventure Parc Snowdonia. Or try “coasteering” (a new adventure sport that combines rock climbing, cliff jumping, snorkeling, and more) on the Pembrokeshire coast.

best travel destinations 2020

The best travel destinations in 2020: Snowdonia National Park in Wales. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

4. Tasmania.

Australia’s southernmost state is now one of the country’s fastest-growing tourist destinations. It’s sufficiently remote and sparsely populated to provide a true “off-the-grid” vacation. You’ll find 2,000-year-old trees and Tasmanian devils (of course). Nearly half the state has been designated as national park land.

best travel destinations 2020

The best travel destinations in 2020: The Overland Track in Tasmania.

5. Mendoza Province, Argentina.

What could be better than a vacation that involves snow-capped mountains and the world’s best Malbec? Argentina’s Mendoza province has both. The region’s other varietals include Torrontés, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Mendoza’s three main wine regions—Maipú, Lujan de Cuyo, and Uco Valley—are strung along Argentina’s iconic Ruta 40 (one of the longest highways in the world). The Spanish introduced grapes here in the 16th century, and some wineries are more than a century old.

The best travel destinations in 2020: Mendoza Province Argentina.

6. Parma, Italy.

This northern Italian city has been named Italian Capital of Culture for 2020. On the agenda are special programs in local venues. Including the Labirinto della Masone, home to a bamboo maze billed as the world’s largest. And the Palazzo della Pilotta, an unfinished 16th-century complex home to the city’s art museum, Galleria Nazionale.

The best travel destinations in 2020: Parma, Italy.

7. Kyrgyzstan.

The topography of this land-locked country is 95 per cent stark craggy mountains. An ancient trade route, the landscape is dotted with prehistoric and Silk Road sites. The word Kyrgyz means ‘40 tribes,’ and the culture is traditionally nomadic, with people living in yurts. The newly-opened Issyk Köl Trail Network is a 506-mile network of hiking trails. Most of the routes pass alongside active yurt camps and high-altitude jailoo pastures, where local shepherds bring their flocks to graze during the summer months. 

The best travel destinations in 2020: Kyrgyzstan yurts. Photo Credit Vlad Ushakov.

8. Botswana.

Filled with fossils and Stone Age artifacts, Botswana’s Makgadikgadi salt pans are the remains of an ancient lake. The expanse covers more than 6,200 square miles of the Kalahari Desert. In the dry winter season, visitors ride quad bikes to the Lost Island of the Boababs, or camp under the stars. The rainy summer months are the chance to see migrating zebras and flamingos, meerkats and brown hyena. May 2020 is the 25th anniversary of Jack’s Camp, and an updated version of the original camp will debut, powered exclusively by solar.

The best travel destinations in 2020: Botswana. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

2020 should also see the opening of the Xigera Safari Lodge (Red Carnation Group’s flagship safari camp) in the Okavango Delta. And Wilderness Safaris is upgrading DumaTau in the Linyanti region for an August 2020 opening. Making this the perfect year to add Botswana to your list.

cool luxury vacation 2020

Where to go for a cool luxury vacation in 2020: Botswana’s Makgadikgadi salt pans.

9. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

The Cayman Islands are ever more popular, and if you haven’t visited, this is the year to go. If you hustle up, you can still make the Cayman Cookout 2020, where the world’s most talented chefs and wine and spirit experts will gather from January 16 to 19.

Where to go for a cool luxury vacation in 2020: Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands.

Otherwise, plan to visit and enjoy strolling the island’s Seven Mile Beach. Take a boat out to Sting Ray City, where you can swim with and observe hundreds of stingrays in the turquoise water. In addition to the Ritz Carlton, the Marriott and the Westin, soon there will be a Grand Hyatt Grand Cayman along with boutique hotels like Locale and the Kimpton Seafire.

10. The Canary Islands.

Located just off Africa’s Atlantic coast, the Canary Islands of Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote offer some of the best stargazing on Earth. The astronomical observatory on Mount Teide sits atop the highest peak in Spain. Time your trip for a night with a new moon and revel in seeing the Milky Way. One of the year’s biggest natural shows will be the Geminid meteor shower on December 13, 2020, with 120 shooting stars per hour.

cool luxury vacation 2020

The hottest travel destinations in 2020: Tenerife, The Canary Islands.

the hottest luxury travel destinations in 2020

That’s it! Our top 10 picks for places to see and cool luxury vacations to take in the new year. Are you in? Where are you heading in 2020?

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For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter hereAnd see luxury in a new light.

Pamela Thomas-Graham

Pamela Thomas-Graham is the Founder & CEO of Dandelion Chandelier. She serves on the boards of several tech companies, and was previously a senior executive in finance, media and fashion, and a partner at McKinsey & Co.