Tripadvisor’s 2020 Trending Destinations

While we can’t quell our wanderlust right now, we can still dream about travelling. The destinations below have been the top trending ones and are more or less on the less beathen path. Some of the destinations are absolutely gorgeous and are going right into my bucket list. So here you go…

Kochi, India
Also known as Cochin and the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi lies in southwest India, in the stare of Kerala. One of Kerala’s most visited destinations, make sure you don’t miss Kochi’s backwaters, a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast as well as the Kochi Fort and the Marine Drive. Make sure you visit the Hill Palace, Kerala’s largest archaeological museum as well as the Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace and the Bolgattu Palace on Bolgatty Island. You can also visit the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations in Kochi which is the Jewish Synagogue, also known as the Paradesi Synagogue as well as the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica.

Luzon, Philippines
The largest and most populous island of the Philippines, where the capital city of Manila is located, Luzon is a good first stop to explore the Philippines. I have written more about Luzon here and here and so you can read more about the island there. The northern region of the most populated island in the Philippines is where you’ll find mountains, coastlines, tropical forests, and rivers including the stunning Banaue Rice Terraces. Central Luzon is known as the rice granary of the Philippines and South Luzon is home to Metro Manila as well as the Taal Volcano as well as the sheer beauty of the Batanes. Of course you can’t miss the world’s best island of Palawan

Porto, Portugal
The town that gave the country (and port wine) its very name, Porto is Portugal’s second-largest metropolis after Lisbon. Sometimes called Oporto, it’s an age-old city that has one foot firmly in the industrial present. The old town, centered at Ribeira, was built on the hills overlooking the Douro River, and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 14th-century São Francisco church is a main attraction, as are the local port wine cellars, mostly located across the river at Vila Nova de Gaia.

Porto Seguro, Brazil
Located in the far south of Brazil in Bahia, Porto Seguro holds a distinctive place in Brazilian history. In 1500 it was the first landing point of the Portuguese navigators, principally Pedro Álvares Cabral, who is regarded as the European discoverer of Brazil. In this quaint city, make sure you check out the historical downtown area in Cidade Alta which is National Heritage Mounument as it was one of the first towns in Brazil. Don’t forget to visit the Monte Pascoal National Park which was created in 1961 to preserve the place where Brazil was discovered by Portuguese warriors and the first city-owned park in Brazil, the Recife de Fora Sea Park. The ruins of what many consider to the Sao Franciso church at the Gloria Hillock and the Nossa Senhora da Penha Matrix Church are not to missed as is the Jaqueira Indigenous Protection Reservation

Gramado, Brazil
The small Brazilian village of Gramado is a quaint and woodsy respite on the Rota Romântica or the Romantic Route, a scenic route that runs through 13 municipalities located in the mountainous Serra Gaúcha region of the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. Gramado is located southeast of Caxias do Sul and east of Nova Petrópolis in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the Serra Gaúcha region. The Lago Negro or Black Lake is the most known, visited green area of Gramado. Created in 1953, it was the biggest woods of the Hydrangeas’ Region and is formed by damming a creek to create a U-shaped lake with pine imported from Germany’s Black Forest planted around the lake’s rim. The Festival de Gramado, which is a major South American film festival is Gramado’s most important event. Other important festivals in the village include the time when hydrangeas blossom in late spring and Natal Luz or the Christmas festival, which is the largest in Brazil.

Lombok, Indonesia
If you are looking for a more laid back holiday with fewer people than you find in Bali, then head to Lombok which is across the Lombok Strats from Bali. Forming a part of the Lesser Sunda islands, Lombok is roughly circular, with a “tail” comprising of the Sekotong Peninsula. Lombok is surrounded by many islets, locally called Gili. Lombok is home to gorgeous beaches and world-class diving spots, plus endless hiking options. The most developed tourism area of the island is on the west coast of the island and is centered about the township of Senggigi. You can also take a ferry from Bali to Lombok and it takes around four to five hours to make the crossing.

Da Nang, Vietnam
Da Nang is laid-back and friendly coastal city at the mouth of the Han River and on East Sea coast. It is close to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Imperial City of Hue, the Old Town of Hoi An, and the My Son ruins. The My Son ruins is an archaeological site dating back more than a thousand years and is located in a remote forested valley once contained in excess of 70 style temples and stupas. Many statues, sculptures and reliefs recovered from My Son are today kept in the Museum of Cham Sculpture, in Da Nang. The Marble Mountains are rocky limestone outcrops jutting out of the beach just south of Da Nang. Paths lead to the top of the forested cliffs, providing views of Non Nuoc Beach and the South China Sea. Non Nuoc Beach is a white sandy beach on the outskirts of Da Nang that today, along with the My Khe beach, are home to expensive resorts. The Ba Na Hills is a mountain resort with a 5 km-long cable car system which carries guests up to the peak at 1487m above sea level. Da Nang is also well known for its amazing food and many tourists go on culinary tours while in the city.

Zakynthos, Greece
The Ionian Islands are splendid, cinematic paradise. The waters are bluest blue, the sands are achingly silky and smooth and everything looks heavily photoshopped. Zakynthos is the third largest of the Ionian Islands, and is also called the “The Flower of the Levant”. Famous Zakynthos landmarks include the Navagio beach, a cove on the northwest shore isolated by high cliffs and accessible only by boat. Numerous natural “blue caves” are cut into cliffs around Cape Skinari, and accessible only by small boats. Keri, on the south of the island, is a mountain village with a lighthouse. The whole western shore from Keri to Skinari contain rock formations including arches. The northern and eastern shores feature numerous wide sandy beaches, some of which attract tourists in the summer months. The Marathonissi islet, also known as “Turtle Island” near Limni Keriou has tropical vegetation, turquoise waters, beaches, and sea caves. The Bochali hill above the town of Zakynthos contains a small Venetian castle.

Tel Aviv, Israel
A youthful, modern metropolis with a diverse population, Tel Aviv dates back to 1909. Its name means “Tell of Spring”, symbolising both ancient legacy and renewal and its UNESCO-designated Bauhaus architecture has won the city the moniker “The White City”. Also known as ‘the city that never sleeps’ and ‘party capital’, Tel Aviv is known for its thriving nightlife, young atmosphere and famous 24-hour culture. Tel Aviv’s beaches are often ranked as some of the best beaches in the world. Hayarkon Park in the city, is the most visited urban park in Israel, with 16 million visitors annually.

Krakow, Poland
Beginning life as a stone age settlement, Krakow is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland dating back to the 7th century and is situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland Province. Krakow’s Old Town was declared the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world. Major landmarks in the city include the the Wawel Castle with the Zygmunt Bell, the Main Market Square with St. Mary’s Basilica, the Sukiennice Cloth Hall, the National Art Museum, the Kazimierz District and the medieval St. Florian’s Gate with the Barbican along the Royal Coronation Route. They city has 28 museums and public art galleries, among them the Czartoryski Museum featuring works by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt as well as the EUROPEUM – European Culture Centre and the Archaeological Museum of Krakow whose collection highlights include the Zbruch Idol and the Bronocice Pot.

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Island of Malta, Malta
The largest of the three major islands that constitute the Maltese archipelago, Malta is sometimes referred to as Valletta referring to the capital, to distinguish the main island from the country. Valletta is a lively, bustling city with many buildings dating back to the 16th century and teems with cathedrals, palaces and forts. The impressive Grand Harbour offers a dramatic arrival. The top archaeological attraction is the UNESCO-designated Hypogeum temple ruins, a macabre, 5400-square-foot underground necropolis and the world’s only underground prehistoric temple.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Sometimes called by it’s old name of Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City or HCMC as it is abbreviated is Vietnam’s most populous and bustling city that sets the cultural and economic pace for the country. The city boasts charming French colonial architecture and wide boulevards, usually thronged and choked with traffic. Tourist attractions in HCMC are mainly related to periods of French colonisation and the Vietnam War. The War Remnants Museum shows the Vietnam War through Vietnamese eyes and don’t miss the impressive Jade Emperor Pagoda. Be sure you make time to visit the frenetic Ben Thanh Market for food, flowers or frogs. A boat ride tour through the Mekong Delta, past rice paddies and houseboats is a once in a lifetime experience.

Cusco, Peru
Incan majesty and Andean baroque exist side-by-side in Cusco’s stone streets, epitomized by the Qoriacancha palace and the church of Santo Domingo flanking the Plaza de Armas. The city was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th century until the 16th-century Spanish conquest and in 1983, Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO with the title “City of Cuzco”. The walled complex of Sacsayhuamán built in about 1100 and the remains of the palace of the Incas, the Qurikancha or the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Virgins of the Sun which still stand should be visited as is the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. The major nearby Inca sites are Pachacuti’s presumed winter home, the Machu Picchu, which can be reached on foot by the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or by train; and the “fortress” at Ollantaytambo. Less-visited ruins include the Incahuasi, the highest of all Inca sites at 3,980 m and Vilcabamba, the capital of the Inca after the capture of Cusco. In this high-altitude melting pot of Amerindian and mestizo culture, you’ll find extraordinary textiles, lively summer festivals and archaeological wonders.

Buenos Aires, Argentina
The birthplace of the tango is, like the dance itself, captivating, seductive and bustling with excited energy, Buenos Aires is the capital and the largest city of Argentina. Strongly influenced by European culture, Buenos Aires is sometimes referred to as the “Paris of South America” and its atmospheric old neighbourhoods are rife with romantic restaurants and thumping nightlife. Buenos Aires’ European heritage is evident in its architecture, boulevards and parks. Cafe Tortoni, the city’s oldest bar, will transport you back to 1858, and the spectacular Teatro Colon impresses just as it did in 1908. The most popular tourist sites are found in the historic core of the city, in the Montserrat and San Telmo neighborhoods. Latin America’s shopping capital offers the promise of premium retail therapy along its grand, wide boulevards.

Vienna, Austria
Vienna which is Austria’s capital is also the country’s most populous city and its cultural, economic, and political centre. Major tourist attractions in Vienna include the Imperial Palaces of the Hofburg and Schönbrunn which are also home to the world’s oldest zoo, Tiergarten Schönbrunn and the Riesenrad in the Prater. Vienna has more than 100 art museums, the most popular ones being the Albertina, Belvedere, Leopold Museum in the Museumsquartier, KunstHausWien, Bank Austria Kunstforum, the twin Kunsthistorisches and Naturhistorisches Museum, and the Technisches Museum Wien. Modern attractions include the Hundertwasserhaus, the United Nations headquarters and the view from the Donauturm. Cultural highlights of the city include the Burgtheater, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Lipizzaner horses at the spanische Hofreitschule, and the Vienna Boys’ Choir, as well as excursions to Vienna’s Heurigen district Döbling. Vienna is also very well known for its coffee house culture and while there, take some time to sit down in one of these palatial, yet welcoming cafes and people watch while drinking their delicious coffee and eating the Sacher Torte.

Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
Part of the North African region and located in the Atlantic Ocean, Fuerteventura is the second largest of the Canary Islands and was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in May 2009. Major places of interest include Corralejo and El Jable to the north which are made up of fine sand dunes whilst the south is filled with long beaches and remote bays. The constant winds blowing onto the beaches provide a paradise for windsurfing. Surfing is common on the west and north coasts where there are large waves. Windsurfing is common around Corralejo and Playas de Sotavento and wave sailing which is windsurfing on the waves on the coast along the northern half of the island. El Cotillo is a small fishing village in the north-west of the Island famous for a very long beach to the south of the village and few very calm beaches to the north. The northern beaches frequented by snorkeling enthusiasts and sun worshippers alike are referred to as lakes by the locals. The island is also home to one of the two surviving populations of the threatened Canarian Egyptian vulture.

Mexico City, Mexico
Rising from the ruins of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, Mexico City, the capital and the largest city of Mexico is not only the most populous city in North America, but is both the oldest capital city in the Americas and one of two founded by indigenous people, the other being Quito, Ecuador. The city offers a unique collision of contemporary city life and historic preservation. The Centro Histórico or it’s historic centre and the floating gardens of Xochimilco are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and must see sites in the city. The most recognizable icon of Mexico City is the golden Angel of Independence on the wide, elegant avenue Paseo de la Reforma, modeled after the Champs-Élysées in Paris. The Chapultepec Castle, which now a museum and the Palacio de Bellas Artes, should not be missed. The city has about 170 museums, over 100 art galleries, and some 30 concert halls, so there is something for everyone. The nightlife, the shopping and the history make it a must-see regardless of your travel style.

Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai, meaning ‘New City’ in Thai is the largest city in Northern Thailand which has been in existence since the 13th century. This city which has more than 24 Buddhist temples is a treat to the eyes. Make sure you don’t miss the imposing Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, the city’s most famous temple dating back to 1383, which stands on Doi Suthep, a mountain to the north-west of the city, at an elevation of 1,073 meters. Also visit Wat Chiang Man, the oldest temple in Chiang Mai, dating to the 13th century and which houses two important and venerated Buddha figures, the marble Phra Sila and the crystal Phra Satang Man. Another important temple is the Wat Phra Singh which is located within the city walls, and which dates to 1345. This temple offers an example of classic Northern Thai-style architecture and houses the Phra Singh Buddha, a highly venerated figure brought here many years ago from Chiang Rai.Other than the temples, the National Museum and the Botanic Gardens are great places to soak up some local culture and to breathe in the delicate fragrance of Thai orchids. If you can make it around November, make sure you are there for the Loi Krathong festival also locally known as Yi Peng, held on the full moon of the 12th month of the traditional Thai lunar calendar, being the full moon of the second month of the old Lanna calendar. Every year thousands of people assemble floating banana-leaf containers or krathong decorated with flowers and candles and deposit them on the waterways of the city in worship of the Goddess of Water. Lanna-style sky lanterns locally called khom fai or kom loi, which are hot-air balloons made of paper, are launched into the air. These sky lanterns are believed to help rid the locals of troubles and are also used to decorate houses and streets. Of course, you can’t visit Chiang Mai without exploring the famous Night Bazaar.

Fes, Morocco
Fez or Fes is the second largest city in Morocco and home to the oldest exisiting, continually operating university in the world – the University of Al-Karaouine, founded in 859. Morocco’s spiritual capital, the walled inner city of Fes consists of Fes el-Bali and Fes el-Jdid which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fes el-Bali is the site of the famous Qarawiyyin University and the Mausoleum of Moulay Idris II, while Fez el-Jdid is the site of the enormous Royal Palace, still used by the King of Morocco today. Walking in the old walled city will transport you back to medivial times. Visit the ancient maze-like quarters of the Medina to Fes el-Bali and the four imposing Gates of Fes, with their distinctive Moroccan tile work. Shop the local local craftwork, with colorful Moroccan slippers, leatherwork, metalwork, rainbow-glass lamps, and tiles in Fes el-Bali and walk up the steep hill just outside the city ramparts, to the Borj Nord area for the best views over Fes el Bali.

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Budapest, Hungary
The capital of Hungary, Budapest is actually two cities Buda and Pest which straddle the Danube river. The central area of the city along the Danube River is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has several notable monuments, including the Hungarian Parliament, Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, Gresham Palace, Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Matthias Church and the Liberty Statue. Among Budapest’s important museums and cultural institutions is the Museum of Fine Arts. Other famous landmarks include Andrássy Avenue, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Heroes’ Square, the Great Market Hall, the Nyugati Railway Station built by the Eiffel Company of Paris in 1877 and the second-oldest metro line in the world, the Millennium Underground Railway. Further famous cultural institutions are the Hungarian National Museum, House of Terror, Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Hungarian State Opera House and National Széchényi Library. Over 15 million gallons of water bubble daily into Budapest’s 118 springs and boreholes. The city has the largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament building in the world. The city of spas offers an astounding array of baths, from the sparkling Gellert Baths to the vast 1913 neo-baroque Szechenyi Spa to Rudas Spa, a dramatic 16th-century Turkish pool with original Ottoman architecture.

Zanzibar Archipelago, Tanzania
The Zanzibar Archipelago, located in the Indian Ocean 15 miles off the coast of Tanzania, is a breathtaking spot to escape from the world. You’ll enjoy clear, turquoise-blue water; shallow sandbars perfect for wading; and many small, nearly deserted islands virtually unvisited by tourists. Explore the World Heritage Site of Stone Town, Zanzibar City’s old quarter and the heart and soul of the island. Or just go beach to beach between tiny fishing villages—each one’s better than the next. Head out to the Jozani Forest, a vast and scenic spread of green which is the last indigenous forest left on Zanzibar or make a 30-minute boat trip to Prison Island which provides a fascinating glimpse into the island’s slightly dark past. For foodies, the Forodhani market, a night-time food market in Stone Town is a must. For a dose of culture, drop by the Palace Museum or as it’s commonly known as the Sultan’s Palace as well as visit the House of Wonders, a visually stunning historic building in Stone Town hosting interesting exhibition and offering a brilliant insight into Zanzibari and Swahili culture.

Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena, a gorgeous fishing village on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, has excellent beaches, a historic old town (that’s entirely walkable) and beautiful colonial architecture. In 1984, Cartagena’s colonial walled city and fortress were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Make sure you catch the colonial architecture with Andalusian style roots within the walled city as well as the convent, cloister and chapel of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria de la Popa, located at the top of Mount Popa and the Palace of Inquisition, the Cartagena Gold Museum, the Las Bóvedas and the Clock Tower. Of the twenty fortresses comprising the walls in the district of Getsemaní, today 16 are still standing, preserved in good condition. Out of the city, go to the Las Islas del Rosario, which are one of Colombia´s most important national parks and can eb reached in an hour or less from de city docks.

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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh is renowned for its heritage, culture and festivals. One of the most beautiful cities in all of the UK, Edinburgh rises from the wide Firth of Forth to a high, rocky pinnacle crowned by the stone walls and towers of Edinburgh Castle. The festivals Edinburgh hosts include the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which welcomes more than 1,000 authors, to the sparkling Christmas Markets and the Edinburgh Fringe, the world’s largest festival of the arts. Take long walks around the centre to explore the World Heritage Sites of the Old Town and New Town, as well as all the area’s museums and galleries. Then stop for a delicious meal made from fresh Scottish produce before heading out to take in one of Edinburgh’s many events — including the famous summer festivals of culture, or the Winter Festivals of music, light and ceilidhs.

Cebu Island, Philippines
From the cosmopolitan metropolis of Cebu City and the white-sand beaches of Mactan to the electric-blue waters of Kawasan Falls and the whale sharks of Oslob, it’s easy to see why Cebu Island is one of the Philippines’ top destinations. Its capital, Cebu city, nicknamed ‘The Queen City of the South’ is the oldest in the Philippines. The Spanish influence in the Philippines can still be felt in the Basilica Minore de Santo Niño, where a glass-covered niche holds a precious statue of the Christ Child that commands countless devotees throughout Cebu. This devotion reaches its peak during the Sinulog Festival that takes place in the middle of January every year. The waters around Cebu are known for their biodiversity; famous dive spots around the area, like Sumilon Island and Moalboal, attract thousands of experienced divers every year.

Moscow, Russia
The political, scientific, historical, architectural and business centre of Russia, Moscow, on the Moskva River displays the country’s contrasts at their most extreme. The ancient and modern exist side by side in this city of 10 million. In its historic core is the Kremlin, a complex that’s home to the president and tsarist treasures in the Armoury. Outside its walls is Red Square, Russia’s symbolic center. It’s home to Lenin’s Mausoleum, the State Historical Museum’s comprehensive collection and St. Basil’s Cathedral, known for its colorful, onion-shaped domes. Try to catch the ballet or the circus at the Bolshoi theatres. Another interesting Moscow sight is the Moscow Metro which with its incredible interiors is the world’s most beautiful subway system, just avoid the morning and evening rush hours.

1 thought on “Tripadvisor’s 2020 Trending Destinations

  1. As the biggest island in the Indian Ocean, Madagascar is famous for its diverse wildlife, breathtaking views of nature, delicious local food, lush rainforest, and majestic islets. This island country promises an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience that many travelers return again and again.

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