With a new year, comes new opportunities to spend our holiday time in some of the most beautiful places in the world. When you think about it, there is such a variety of gorgeous locations on Earth, it can be tricky to make a decision and book your ticket.
In this guide we have put together our own list of beautiful countries to visit in 2020; and while it was not easy, we hope that you will find some new inspiration in some of the countries mentioned on this list. If you feel there are any others that deserve a mention, feel free to let us know in the comments.
So with that said, sit back, relax and come on a journey around the world with us to the most beautiful countries in the world.
Let yourself become enchanted by Estonia on the Baltic Sea in Europe. The features of its landscape include forests, beaches, bogs and meteorite craters located around the charming countryside. Did you also know that Estonia has more than 2300 islands? The most popular islands include Hiiumaa, Saaremaa and Vormsi which offer coastal views and rich wildlife. There are also many ancient villages to visit where Estonia’s cultural history is preserved in its traditionally constructed village homes and crafts.
Home to some of the friendliest people in the world and some of the most heavenly alpine scenery out there, Canada is a must-see for nature lovers and those that want to truly lose themselves. You can hike for special views of the majestic Rocky mountains in the Yoho National Park or head over to the oldest National Park in Canada, Banff, to witness some of the world’s largest wild animals in the stunning dramatic, glacial landscapes.
Easy on the eyes, friendly on the wallet and warming for the soul. Vietnam is a luscious green paradise with perfectly manicured, stepped terraces and mystical, hazy forests that capture a sense of other-worldly enchantment. For the adventurous food hunters there is such an exciting and tasty local cuisine that will keep you coming back for more. If being inland is not your thing and you want to experience some of the dreamiest blue waters in South-East Asia, take a trip to the coast and float in exquisite transparent waters in complete peace.
In 2019, Japan saw more than 24 million visitors arrive at its shores, itching to discover the treasures of its 8 unique islands. It’s no suprise that Japan is becoming an increasingly popular desitination at a rapid rate – Japan really is like no other country in the world. From its culture and traditions, to its interesting wildlife, there is a different feeling to each island that encourages you experience a bit of everything. If you are feeling adventurous, you can hike up to the summit of the supreme Mount Fuji, or if you fancy more of a wander there are hundreds of intricately designed temples scattered between waterfalls and woodland in the mountainous countryside. For the iconic blossom season, head to Japan between January and April and witness the pastel-coloured trees transform the aesthetic of the parks and forests.
Argentina is a South-American country blessed with vividly dramatic landscapes and wildly variable weather. It is home to the highest mountain outside of Asia, Aconcuga, standing tall at 6,960m – it’s a marvellous wonder of nature not to miss. With such a variation in the terrain from terracota rock formations in the deserts of Talampaya National Park to the glorious icy beauty of the Los Glaciares National Park in the Andes mountains. There is such a vast expanse of land to discover, full of rich wildlife from Jaguars to Penguins to wild Horsses, Argentina truly has a bit of everything, making it a wild experience like you never imagined.
When most people think of Portugal, scenes from its great cities like Lisbon and Porto will often spring to mind. What many don’t realise, is that for a rather small European country, it has a substantial amount of glorious countryside just waiting to be explored. If you visit the Douro wine region, you can witness first-hand, the beautifully intricate terraced vineyards set in the Douro Valley, and get involved in the wine-making process all along the mighty Douro river which flows from neighbouring Spain.
The nation of a thousand islands, crystal blue coastline and a very interesting culture, this medieval treasure trove is a real jewel on the Adriatic coast in Europe. Explore captivating port-towns and wander around ancient fortifications, or head into the countryside and see some of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Europe. From the terrific views of Mount Ucka, to the blue paradise of lakes and waterfalls in the Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia will leave you in constant amazement at it’s bold colours and picturesque views.
Georgia is an interesting country situated in among the mighty Caucasus mountains, on the edge of Europe and Asia. There is so much to be explored from stunning mountain passes snaking around the hillsides to blue lakes and mystical forests. Popular with hikers and horseriders, the Tusheti Protected Landscape is an ethereal world of vibrant pastures and dramatic valleys that transport you back in time with modest, ancient villages sitting atop peaks shrouded in mist.
Poland is a Central Europen country with sensational countryside ranging from forests and caves in its many protected areas. Perhaps the most well known of its beautiful sights is Zakopane, in the very south of Poland. Zakopane is an alpine resort town frequented by lovers of wintersports and outdoor activities. The Tatras mountains, which Poland shares with Slovakia, are a tremendous wonder of European nature, rivalling the Alps with its jagged peaks and dense confierous forests reaching into the clouds.
#11 New Zealand
New Zealand is remote island nation in the Southern Hemisphere, renownded for its divine natural beauty. On its North and South islands, there is a massive selection of alpine scenery, ancient caves and sprawling coastlines. Its enchanting landscapes became known to many after they were featured in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. A long-standing favourite for lovers of the great outdoors, sights such as Mount Cook and the Fiordland National Park offer an endless supply of hiking trails that feature spectacular views of nature’s triumphs.
There is a reason Turkey saw more than 40 million curious visitors in 2019. The country is rich in natural beauty. There are blissfully white, sandy beaches in Antalya in the South-West and alien-like terrains in Goreme at the heart of Turkey. Hot-air balloons have become synonymous with the Cappadoccia region; which is top of the list for millions of couples every year looking to live their own fairytale dream under the soaring sun.
If you want a travel destination that is truly wild and unspoiled, Namibia might be what you are looking for. As one of the least crowded countries on the planet, the name ‘Namib’ literally translates to ‘vast place’ and it’s not hard to see why. The Namib desert is a spectacular way to experience the desert in the African continent, without the potential risks of the Sahara. Not only is the Namib beautiful, but is also old, really old – 80 million years old in fact, making it the oldest desert on Earth. In terms of nature and wildlife, Namibia puts great importance on the preservation of their beloved animals. In Namibia it is not rare to see Zebras, Black Rhinos and Cheetahs in the wild.
When it comes to countries with epic alpine scenery, Austria is blessed with some of the most captivating scenery on Earth. It is a country that is almost entirely mountainous and during the summer, large lushings of vegetation sprawl across its many hills and valleys. Iconic locations such as Hallstatt and Alpbach have often been voted among the prettiest towns in Europe and its not hard to see why. Austria is a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors with so many exciting activities on offer from skiing and snowboarding to paragliding and kayaking, all situated in some truly mind-blowing locations.
It should come as no surprise that Italy made it onto our list. Away from its flamboyant, artistic cities, there is some seriously handsome scenery in the North and South of the country. The Alps stretch from the West of the country towards the North-East where it borders with Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia where the legendary Dolomite range can be explored all year round with a particularly special transformation happening during the Autumn. Don’t miss the chance to relax by the pristine waters of its many lakes like Como, Garda and the sensational Lake Maggiore.
Romania is an Eastern European country like no other. With a culture that has a heavy Latin influence and a warm, comfortable climate, it is reminiscent of a Mediterranean paradise. Aside from its welcoming people and delicious cuisine, its landscapes hold clues to an ancient history of civilisations that left structures behind such as pyramids and henges to take your breath away. Take a trip to the enchanting Carpathian mountains where nature really has taken hold and created a biodiverse land of wonderous beauty. The Bucegi Natural Park and Gradistea Muncelului – Cioclovinafull Natural Park are full of mystical nature scenes and archaelogical mysteries for you to scratch your head over – definitely not to be missed.
One of the true final frontiers on Earth, Kazhakstan is one of the most unknown, undiscovered countries you can visit. Its size is truly gigantic, spanning more than 4,000km from the Caspian Sea in the West, to its border with Mongolia in the East. The Charyn Canyon located in the South-West of the country is an expansive range of beautifully eroded terrain, second only in size to the Grand Canyon, USA – but with far, far less visitors every year. In the South-West of the country, the Aral Sea is a mysterious, irradiated lake which was once the 4th largest inland sea on Earth. If you seek out a guide, you can witness a surreal graveyard of sunken, rotting ships that previously lay stranded when the water level was much higher.
No list of beautiful places would be complete without the unstoppable beauty of Norway. Famed for its epic fjords, such as Geirangerfjord and Lysefjord it gives the visitor a real sense that they have landed in a world from a fairytale. In the land once believed to be the home of trolls, giants and fairies, Norway’s unbelievable waterfalls, grassy gorges and villages seemingly floating on the water provide so many epic opportunities to soak in the beauty. For a truly life-changing experience, head to Northern Norway to witness the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. If you need help finding out where and when to witness one of nature’s greatest phenomena, you can download the NorwayLights app for iPhone and Android users.
If Croatia is known as the country of a thousand islands, Indonesia truly blows it out of the water with more than 17,000 islands, making it the largest island nation on Earth. There is a mesmerizing nature to its extreme beauty and tropical climate that has contributed to it become a favourite with lots of backpackers and travel couples alike. The National Parks vary massively from marine life to open savannahs and even gorgeous coastlines where Komodo Dragons can be seen in their natural habitat. Ubud, in Bali is where you will find impressive stepped terraces and dense jungle with many species of animals not found anywhere else in the world. If you are looking to explore and enjoy Indonesia, do it as soon as you can, as its popularity is only growing.
Spain is a real jewel of the Iberian Peninsula. Interestingly, it features a diverse range of climates from bushy, green forests in the North of the country, to scorching hot plains in the South. In the region of Andalucia, the Sierra Nevada National Park is not only home to a glorious, snowy mountain range, but also Europe’s only desert. Many of the locations in the desert were used in early ‘spaghetti Western’ movies as they bear a striking resemblance to expansive scenes synonymous with the wild west in North America. Much of the North of Spain enjoys an entirely different aspect of wild nature with the Pyrenees being showcased beautifully in Andorra. Not too far from the shores of the Bay of Biscay in Northern Spain you can see stunning landscapes full of mountains, gorges, caves and lakes and important historical landmarks such as Covadonga. Spain is a true masterpiece of natural beauty and offers endless exploration opportunities encouraging you to come back time and time again.
Topping our list is the wonderfully tranquil nation of Scotland in the United Kingdom. We both agree that Scotland has such an individual beauty to its landscapes that it is instantly recognisable from photographs and does not bear resemblance to many other places on Earth. While it may not posess alpine views, tropical vegetation, or even particularly appealing weather, it does host a vibrant selection of glorious landscapes from its highlands, lowlands and pretty islands. It is a dream destination for travellers the world over as mystery and legend draws visitors to its many lochs and castles. Lose yourself hiking around Glencoe in the picturesque Lost Valley or skip stones across the vast waters of Loch Lomond, the largest of Scotland’s lochs. Also not to be missed is the enchanting Isle of Skye where you can explore the wilderness at its finest. While you are there don’t miss a chance to walk along Brother’s Point and take some selfies seemingly on the edge of the world. There are so many reasons you should see Scotland at least once in your lifetime, perhaps 2020 is finally the time to do it!