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50 Best Places
to Travel in 2020

What makes a place worth visiting right now? That’s what we at Travel + Leisure ask ourselves when compiling our annual list of the 50 best places to travel. Is it a show-stopping new hotel? A once-in-a-lifetime celebration? A critical mass of game-changing restaurants?

Whether you’re traveling solo or planning a family vacation, here are the 50 best places to visit in 2020.

BY TRAVEL + LEISURE DECEMBER 09, 2019

Arequipa, Peru

RICHARD JAMES TAYLOR

What makes a place worth visiting right now? That’s what we at Travel + Leisure ask ourselves when compiling our annual list of the 50 best places to travel. Is it a show-stopping new hotel? A once-in-a-lifetime celebration? A critical mass of game-changing restaurants?

For definitive answers on the best vacation spots of the moment, we hit the books, scouring tourism statistics, scoping out major events, charting new flight routes, and logging hotel debuts. We take stock of the most compelling new restaurant openings, scroll through the Instagram posts of our most well-traveled pals, and mine our inboxes for tips. We also survey our vast network of travel experts — T+L’s A-List travel advisors, first, plus trusted writers, hospitality insiders, and other industry pros — to see what places they have their eyes on.

The result is a list of must-visit vacation destinations, and with something to suit every interest — food, shopping, culture, history, and nature — one is bound to spark your wanderlust. We’ve got traveler favorites like Costa Rica and Austria, which are making waves in the months ahead. There are vacation spots still flying under the radar, like a tiny coastal surf town in Denmark, or Guyana, a South American idyll that has a fraction of the crowds of its neighbors. There are even places in your own backyard worth a closer look — who would’ve guessed just a few years ago that Oklahoma City would become this red-hot?ADVERTISING

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So, we ask you: where will your travels take you this year? On a wine-soaked river cruise through Portugal? To a ryokan-style luxury hotel in a serene corner of Kyoto? To a chic cabin in Maine for a feast of oysters plucked fresh from the sea?

Ahead, Travel + Leisure’s 50 best places to travel in 2020, listed in alphabetical order. If you already have travel plans lined up for the coming year, share your vacation destination picks with us on social media with #TLBestPlaces.

1. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa's Unity Park

MICHAEL TEWELDE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

For much of the past four decades, Menelik Palace loomed over Addis Ababa as a symbol of imperial imposition. Now, nearly two years into his term and with a Nobel Peace Prize already under his belt, the country’s reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has opened the 19th-century palace to the public and tapped local artist Elias Sime to build a public garden, slated to open midyear alongside the once-forbidding space. It’s the latest sign that something has shifted in Ethiopia’s capital — and thanks to a major expansion of Addis Ababa’s airport that’s tripled capacity and brought new routes, U.S. travelers can easily witness the change firsthand. Last year, Sime and his partner, the curator and cultural anthropologist Meskerem Assegued, opened the Zoma Museum after a 20-year planning and building process. Situated in the Mekanisa neighborhood, the museum blends Ethiopia old and new, using vernacular architecture as a backdrop for contemporary art — including some of Sime’s own pieces. In its attention to both traditional and modern influences, Zoma parallels the aims of Addis Foto Fest, a biennial photography festival that will be held again in December 2020. Until then, find work by the country’s finest artists on display at institutions such as St. George GalleryAddis Fine Art, and LeLa Gallery—Hannah Giorgis

2. Arequipa, Peru

Arequipa, Peru

RICHARD JAMES TAYLOR

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. —Scott Bay

3. Asheville, North Carolina

Chow Chow event, in Asheville NC

REESE MOORE/COURTESY OF CHOW CHOW

With a small-town feel and big-city cultural cred, Asheville, North Carolina is home to artists, musicians, and food and drink entrepreneurs who were making microbrews and serving farm-to-table meals long before such things were de rigueur. Now the mountain town is becoming more traveler-friendly than ever, with new offerings that showcase the sophisticated side of Appalachia. The Asheville Art Museum reopened in November with 70 percent more gallery space, including a new wing and rooftop sculpture garden. Last September, the city hosted the inaugural Chow Chow, an Appalachian food festival featuring chefs like Katie Button and John Fleer. There’s a slew of new watering holes, like cocktail bar and live-music venue Asheville Beauty Academy and neighborhood cocktail joint the Golden Pineapple. And Beer City still lives up to its nickname, with new openings like Burial Beer Co’s Forestry Camp Restaurant and Bar, set on a former Civilian Conservation Corps compound; Cultura, a restaurant from the Wicked Weed Brewing team; and Dssolvr, a taproom that goes beyond beer with experiments in cider, mead, wine, and more. Downtown, the Foundry Hotel and Hotel Arras both arrived in 2019, adding lively, urbane alternatives to the scene. —Lila Harron Battis