In the past decade, traveling might have become everyone’s favorite hobby. People are traveling more than ever, and the travel industry is getting a lot of profit.
Everything looks great if we look at things from this perspective. But the major disadvantage is that it becomes more and more difficult to find places that the masses of tourists have not converted them into some overcrowded and over touristy destinations.
2020 is the year that will break all the records in terms of traveling, so a list of 20 hidden gems that you can explore in the next decade is always welcome.With the help of other international travel bloggers, I have compiled a list of 20 great and lesser-known places around the world. These are places gathered from 5 continents and put together to make the Top 20 hidden gems to visit in 2020.
Top 20 hidden gems to visit in 2020
The Aescher – Ebenalp – Switzerland (EUROPE)
For centuries the Aescher- Wildkirchli up at the Ebenalp has been one of the most unique and stunning destinations in the Appenzellerland and should be without a doubt amongst the MUST-see locations in Switzerland.
Enjoying the short hike from the Ebenalp to the Aescher – Wildkirchli with a view of the spectacular rugged Alpstein mountain range in the north-east part of Switzerland.
Standing in front of the Aescher -which is nestled on a rock face -with this jaw-dropping wild scenery will leave you in awe and poses the question; is this place real?
You can easily visit this place with a cable car ride from Wasserauen / Appenzell and a 15 min hike down from the Ebenalp, through the Wildkirchli caves along a cliff walk.
Mobile, Alabama – USA (NORTH AMERICA)
The quaint southern city of Mobile, Alabama, sits in a prime location on the Gulf Coast but often gets passed over in favor of New Orleans. The two cities have much in common, and if you’re not looking for a wild party, then Mobile might actually be the better option for you.
Full of French-inspired architecture like wrought-iron balconies and huge mansions from the pre-Civil War era, visiting downtown Mobile is like stepping back in time.
If possible, try to visit in the spring, as this is when the two biggest festivals of the year take place. The first is Mardi Gras, which is celebrated with parades of decorated floats ridden by costumed locals who throw beaded necklaces and moon pies to the excited crowd.
Mobile’s Mardi Gras is actually the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States, and it was Mobilians who brought the tradition to New Orleans! While plenty of partying does go on, it’s a family-friendly affair here and is very popular with the local school kids.
The other celebration not to miss is the Azalea Trail Festival, which takes place in mid-March when the azalea bushes all over town burst into bloom with white and pink flowers.
Local high school girls dress up in pastel, frilly hoopskirt dresses and look like the epitome of the Southern Belle. Many of the historic mansions are open to the public for special events during the festival.
By Wendy at thenomadicvegan.com
Providencia – Colombia (SOUTH AMERICA)
Many travelers decide to include San Andres in their Colombia Itinerary, but only a few of them have heard of Providencia, a paradise island situated 100km away. What a pity!
Although very close in the distance, the differences between them are disturbing. It’s like comparing brownie ice-cream with broccoli ice-cream. Yuck!
Also known as Island-of-seven-colors, Providencia is the perfect example of what an island life experience should be on holiday. Upon arrival, rent a scooter or a cool Mula – Golf car – and pick every day a new secluded beach.
Sit under the palm trees with your Coco Loco cocktail in one hand and contemplate the mesmerizing ocean with its different shades of blue. Also, the third biggest reef in the world surrounds Providencia.
It’s an experience you don’t want to miss. Let your sunglasses on the white-sand beach and grab your snorkel. Enjoy!
By Thomas at tomplanmytrip.com
Caramoan Islands – Philippines (ASIA)
One of the Philippines most secluded and off the beaten track destinations are the pristine Caramoan Islands. Found in the Bicol region of the country, are a collection of deserted islands, characterized by powdery white sands and stunning rock formations.
The best way to spend your day is to island-hop from one quiet spot to the next, snorkel in hand, ready to explore the turquoise waters and abundant marine life. The Caramoan Islands have remained a hidden gem, known to locals only because of their inaccessibility.
From the capital, Manila, it takes an hour flight to Legazpi, followed by a three-hour drive to Sabang Port and lastly a two hour (bumpy) speed boat ride to the Caramoan peninsula.
By Roshni at thewanderlustwithin.com
Musandam Peninsula – Oman (THE MIDDLE EAST)
Jutting into the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway that separates the Arabian Peninsula from Iran, you will find the tiny Omani exclave of Musandam. It is separated from the rest of Oman by the United Arab Emirates.
The waters around Musandam are some of the most spectacular in the world. The Hajar Mountains, which run up the length of Oman and the eastern coast of the UAE, dramatically end as you reach the strait. These giant fjords are frequently referred to as “the Norway of Arabia”.
The easiest access point is from the regional capital of Khasab, a few hour drive north-east of Dubai. From here, you can board a traditional dhow for a dolphin-spotting sightseeing tour around the waters of Kumzar, or the more adventurous may like to try snorkeling and diving.
There are many small secluded beaches where you can camp overnight, or simply roll your sleeping bag out on a dhow, for one of the most unique Arabian experiences under the stars.
By Keri at familytravel-middleeast.com
Pucon – Chile (SOUTH AMERICA)
On my month-long trip around Chile, I kept pinching myself several times a day. I had arrived in my absolute paradise: wide landscapes with majestic mountains, endless views of lakes, rivers and of course the ocean.
One of my highlights of this trip was Pucón in the region La Araucanía in the south of the country. Being located directly on lake Villarrica and surrounded by active volcanos, Pucón has become a great destination for adrenaline seekers.
Although this is what I usually strive to do, I decided to give myself a break and enjoy a day in one of the most impressive outdoor spas I’ve ever come across. The Termas Geometricas is not accessible by public transportation, so you need to book a transfer from your accommodation.
Bring a good book and a bathing suit and relax in one of the many different pools with different temperatures. It’s a unique place that you shouldn’t miss on your travels through Chile.
By Viktoria at chronic-wanderlust.com
Stone Town – Zanzibar (AFRICA)
Most people go to Zanzibar to enjoy the white beaches and, generally, to relax. But this little island also has its historical part that is worth exploring. Stone Town is the historical part of Zanzibar capital – Zanzibar city.
And it is well-known for its little streets where everyone is getting lost, and I highly recommend to use google maps here. So, what is to see in Stone Town? This place is known as the birthplace of Freddie Mercury, and you can visit the place where he was born.
You can also see an Old fort of Zanzibar, which is now a museum, where you get to know more about the life in Zanzibar, during the time of Sultans and Christian missionaries. And, since we are talking about Sultans, you should also visit the Sultan Palace.
Perhaps the most interesting and heartbreaking museum there is the Anglican Cathedral, which was built on a place that used to be a slave market. You will learn about how slaves were treated but there is also a big part of the exhibition that is dedicated to modern slavery.
If you are more interested in this part of history, you can take a boat and visit Prison Island, where you can find even more information. Enough with depressing places! The greatest thing you can do is go snorkeling since the underwater wildlife here is really amazing.
Generally, Stone town is now a dangerous place, just be aware of your belongings as pickpocketing is quite common. Otherwise, I would recommend staying one night here, so you have enough time to explore the city.
Husavik – Iceland (EUROPE)
For any North Iceland itinerary, the isolated fishing town of Husvik is a must. It is the oldest settlement in Iceland and is known for its whale watching tours in Skjálfandi Bay.
Up to 23 species of whale, including the Blue Whale, as well as large colonies of puffins, can be found in the bay, which can be seen on one of the many whales watching tours on offer.
Once you returned to dry land, take a wander around the colorful heritage buildings and pop into a cafe for a hot chocolate. But if you really want to warm up, head to the geothermal baths of Geosea with steaming pools overlooking the bay across to snow-capped mountains and the Arctic Circle on the horizon.
If you peer very closely over the edge of the cliff, you might even see some of the famous whales also enjoying a swim.
By Jenny at travelynnfamily.com
Rapolano Terme – Italy (EUROPE)
Who has not dreamt of visiting the picturesque rolling terraces and hilltop villages of Tuscany? In reality, it is rather challenging to avoid the countless tourist crowds and to find a still authentical experience of the Italian countryside with all its glory.
Rapolano Terme is one of these magical places. Located in the Siena province of Tuscany region, this five-thousand inhabitant town is surrounded by gorgeous natural resources.
As the name suggests, the town is also home to thermal springs, already used by the ancient Romans. The quiet and peaceful local life is by no means boring.
Rapolano Terme has a lot to offer, from breathtaking hiking or biking trails, wine tours, local spa through to theatre plays and weekly jazz jam sessions. The food and beverage offer will not leave you disappointed, especially at those friendly non-touristy prices.
Being based in Rapolano Terme, you can easily venture out for daily trips to the famous cities of Florence, Siena, Arezzo or Montepulciano – all within an hour’s drive. While others will struggle to find a parking spot, you will already be enjoying a glass of wine under a pollution-free starry night.
Pamir Highway – Tajikistan (ASIA)
Central Asia is one of the Lonely planet’s top destinations for 2020. An area that still sees few tourists and is full of hidden gems. One of these places is the Pamir highway in Tajikistan. The second highest highway in the world offers spectacular views into lush green mountain valleys, barren lunar landscapes, and deep blue lakes.
The road runs from Dushanbe in Tajikistan to Osh in Kyrgyzstan. Although possible in 3 very long days it is better to take your time. You will need at least a week to be able to do some of the beautiful side trips such as the ancient forts along the border with Afghanistan, mineral hot springs, ancient petroglyphs, and several glittering lakes.
The Pamir mountains not only offers stunning nature but is also very rich in culture. There are several ethnic minorities alongside the Tajik and Kyrgyz people. The homestays on the Pamir highway give you a unique insight into life in the Pamirs.
By Ellis at backpackadventures.org
Addo Elephant National Park – South Africa (AFRICA)
South Africa has many wildlife viewing options on offer, but the Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape is one of the only parks you can self-drive.
To be able to discover this park at your rhythm and speed gives you the real – Made in Africa feeling.
The park itself is not big but I would still recommend planning at least 2 days. Whether you choose to lodge within the park (early booking recommended), or if your preference lies with one of many accommodations around the park, what is sure is that you will love your Addo Elephant Park experience.
And as the name already gives away the secret, you will see Elephants, not one, not 10 but most probably close to 50 to a 100. If the time is right, and they are all heading to the big waterhole, you will be up for an unforgettable spectacle.
By Corina at packedagain.com
Poznan – Poland (EUROPE)
If you’re looking to get off the beaten path in Europe, you’ll love Poznan. Located in Poland’s Wielkopolska region, this little beauty is the fifth-largest city in the country, yet a very underrated one.
One of the most notable things about this city is the exquisite architecture. You’ll find it in ordinary residential buildings, as well as in the dreamy streets of the Old Town and landmarks like the Imperial Castle and the Old Town Hall. The intricate architectural details, along with the abundance of colors, are irresistibly charming.
Poznan is also home to many museums, parks and gardens, open-air markets, shopping malls, incredible traditional Polish restaurants, and the cutest cafes, so you can see how diverse it is.
It is an excellent destination for a weekend getaway, and can even be the starting point of a road trip through western Poland. There’s no shortage of things to do and see in Poznan, and 2020 is the perfect time to discover this hidden European gem.
By Or at mypathintheworld.com
Mozambique Island – Mozambique (AFRICA)
If you’re looking for a beautiful tropical island with a slow pace of life, a fascinating history, and hardly any tourists, then Mozambique Island (Ilha de Moçambique) might just be the perfect place for you.
That is, as long as you don’t mind taking a long, uncomfortable bus ride to get there. The reason that Mozambique Island is not overrun with tourists is probably because it’s so difficult to reach. But I promise it’s absolutely worth it!
In fact, once you finally make it here, you might never want to leave. That’s exactly what happened to my husband and I when we visited. We had planned to continue on to another archipelago of islands further up the coast.
But, thanks to a combination of exhaustion from the 36-hour bus ride from Maputo and captivation by the beauty of Mozambique Island, we decided to spend all our remaining time in the country there.
Once the capital of a large Portuguese colony in southern Africa, Mozambique Island is now a sleepy backwater filled with crumbling colonial buildings that are the epitome of faded grandeur.
Most of these colonial buildings are in Stone Town and now stand empty, while the local population lives on the other side of the island, in a place known as Reed Town. It gets its name from the makeshift houses, some of which are made of reeds.
The people here certainly aren’t wealthy, but they always seem to have a smile on their face and are happy for any excuse to throw a party. We were lucky enough to stumble on a street food festival, where we got to try lots of delicious Mozambican food.
And every evening we walked out to the pier to enjoy some of the most incredible sunsets I’ve ever seen.
By Wendy at thenomadicvegan.com
Guiyang – China (ASIA)
Guiyang is the capital city of Guizhou province and is truly a hidden gem in Southwest China.
Just like the better-known cities of Beijing and Shanghai, Guiyang is a large and ever-growing Chinese city, with towering neon-clad skyscrapers, and modern shopping malls on every corner.
However, unlike the country’s more popular destinations, the city has retained much of its authentic local culture and has been largely untouched by Western tourism. Therefore, very few of the locals speak a word of English and are so surprised when seeing a foreigner.
Guiyang itself is a fascinating city to visit to experience authentic Chinese life, from watching the women meet up to dancing on the street and older men meeting in the park to fly kites, to trying the delicious local foods such as BBQ or hotpot and singing the night away at a KTV karaoke house.
The city is also a great place to base yourself to explore wider Guizhou Province which is home to the Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village, the largest gathering place of the minority Miao people in China and one of the areas where you’ll find traditional culture best preserved, as well as one of the largest waterfalls in China (Huangguoshu) and many other breathtakingly beautiful natural wonders.
By Emily at londoncitycalling.com
Durmitor National Park – Montenegro (EUROPE)
Durmitor National Park in Montenegro is the biggest hidden gem you should visit in 2020. This national park contrasts deep green forested areas and large canyons with stony, rocky hiking areas, and wide-open meadows.
Durmitor is most popular during the winter months, which means during the summer you can find yourself alone, not too far from the entry points. Outdoor lovers of all types will enjoy exploring this park.
Whether on foot, via one of the numerous hiking trails, white water rafting through the Tara Canyon, ziplining over the canyon, or taking it easy alongside the Black Lake, near the town of Žabljak.
By Erin at curiouslyerin.com
Schafberg Mountain – Austria (EUROPE)
There are many interesting places in Europe. Charming towns, architectural wonders, stunning cities – there is definitely something to choose from.
Most people have visited countries like France, Italy or Spain, and many tourists dream of going there or have already been to some of those places. But, if you’re not one of them and you are looking for a unique place to visit in 2020, you should consider Austria.
One of the most interesting places in Europe is Schafberg Mountain, a place where you can enjoy some of the best views in the whole continent!
Apart from going on a hike and visiting a hut on top of the mountain, you can also go for a ride on a Schafberg cog-rail! It’s the steepest, steam cog-railway in Austria, going to the top of the mountain – 1,783 meters. A great way to explore this hidden gem in Europe.
By Darek at darekandgosia.com
Lviv – Ukraine (EUROPE)
When I first saw photos of Lviv, I was convinced this city had to be located in central Europe, probably somewhere in Austria. I was wrong, but only partially.
While Lviv now is part of Ukraine, it once belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and that’s why the architecture resembles so many cities like Vienna and Budapest.
When I arrived on an old Soviet night train, which was the perfect mini-adventure for me, I was overwhelmed. The city was even more beautiful than I had imagined.
The old part of Lviv is mostly a pedestrian area, and walking around feels like a journey through time.
Make sure to get a bird’s eyes view from the top of Castle Hill, visit the impressive Lychakiv Cemetery and get a bit freaked out in the Yard of Lost Toys.
By Viktoria at chronic-wanderlust.com
Cape Maclear – Malawi (AFRICA)
Cape Maclear is a magical place, a hidden gem of Africa on the southern shores of Lake Malawi. Pristine waters, thriving with colorful fish, a beach alive with locals busy in their daily activities, and a surprising funky night-life.
Cape Maclear is a small village, and although its activities are centered on tourism, it is the place on Lake Malawi, which offers the most immersive experience in the local culture.
Cape Maclear also offers great diving. Getting to know and admire the Malawian cichlids, unique to this lake, is one of the most interesting things to do in Malawi. The snorkeling is also great, and by renting a kayak you can explore the two nearby islands, pretty wild and beautiful places. Don’t miss the sunset, as it is one of the most beautiful in the world. You’ll agree once you see it.
By Daniele & Elena at cycloscope.net
Cascais – Portugal (EUROPE)
The high-end coastal town of Cascais is located just north of Lisbon and counts as a true Portuguese gem. Picture-perfect Cascais was once a summer retreat for the royal family and managed to keep that sophisticated look and feel intact.
From the stately mansions to the former aristocratic palaces dotting the palm-fringed lanes, you’ll find yourself in a refined setting. Sightseeing and shopping are just part of the fun, thanks to the city’s many intriguing museums and its elegant Cidadela Art District within the old walls of the citadel.
Cascais also features a spectacular coastal biking trail, leading visitors from the marina and via the Boca do inferno rock formation to gorgeous Guincho beach.
To top that off, there are lots to explore beyond Cascais as well: Its privileged location along the Estoril coast also makes it perfect for exploring the enchanting Sintra castles and Lisbon’s hip Belem district
By Sarah at cosmopoliclan.com
Jujuy – Argentina (SOUTH AMERICA)
Jujuy is a tiny province in Argentina’s rarely visited northwest region. While popular with locals, it has managed to stay below the radar for most international visitors. This mountainous region is characterized by its red, rainbow-colored mountains and valleys.
The indigenous population is unique to the rest of the country and may remind you a bit more of Bolivia than tango loving, steak obsessed Argentina.
Visit small villages like Purmamarca, Uquia, and Humahuaca. Visit Incan ruins in Tilcara, and shop for handwoven treasures in the artisanal markets.
Try the local stews and dishes that were heavily influenced by the Andean traditions brought by the Incans. You’ll see plenty of quinoa, goat cheese, and corn in the local gastronomy here. Most importantly, Argentina’s northwest is home to the country’s best empanadas!
Jujuy is also home to some of the best Argentina hikes and being nearly undiscovered, you’ll have the trail all to yourself. Trek across Mars-like terrain and through the red and orange slot canyons. Bring a picnic lunch of empanadas, and enjoy the stunning views.
By Erin at solsalute.com