England has been named one of the hottest countries to visit next year in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2020 list.
The travel publisher has revealed its top picks of countries, cities, regions and best-value destinations that it thinks are set to shine bright in the year ahead.
Lonely Planet’s travel experts have also selected the best new openings, new places to stay, new food experiences, and sustainable trips for families.
In fact, “sustainable” has been the watchword for this year’s results, “ensuring travellers will have a positive impact wherever they choose to go”.
Included due to its ever-expanding England Coast Path – which, once complete, will be almost 3,000 miles, making it the longest continuous trail of its kind in the world – England claimed the number two spot in the hottest countries category.
Bhutan in South Asia was crowned number one, thanks in part to plans to become the first fully organic nation by 2020.
North Macedonia in the Balkans came third (2020 sees the addition of flight routes to Unesco-protected Lake Ohrid); followed by Aruba in the Caribbean; and eSwatini, the south-east African nation formerly known as Swaziland.
Salzburg, Austria, which celebrates the centenary of its world-famous festival of music and drama next year, was dubbed the best city to visit in 2020.
Washington DC, USA, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment – the law that granted women the right to vote – next year, is in at number two.
Cairo, Egypt, Galway, Ireland and Bonn, Germany, were named third, fourth and fifth respectively.
The best regions section was led by the Central Asian Silk Road, which is now easier to visit thanks to better access to visas and has invested in huge transport and infrastructure improvements.
Le Marche, the eastern Italian region between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea, took second place; Tōhoku, which constitutes the northeast region of Japan’s Honshu island, was ranked third.
When it comes to value, the Indonesian islands of East Nusa Tenggara placed top – Lonely Planet picked them based on their pristine, quiet beaches and world-class diving scene.
Closer to home, Budapest in Hungary snagged second place for value. According to the experts, visitors should “explore buzzing wine bars, edgier ‘ruin bars’ in atmospheric old buildings and mod takes on the city’s renowned cafe culture”.
This latest list follows some controversial destination recommendations included in the 2019 rankings.
As The Independent reported at the time, Zimbabwe came third in the best countries category; this, despite women being subjected to increased violence in the troubled African nation, alongside intensifying hyperinflation.
Sri Lanka was named the hottest destination to visit, just four months before a terror attack on Easter Sunday saw the south Asian country placed on the Foreign Office’s “no-go” list for more than six weeks (the FCO has since withdrawn the travel warning).
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