Top 5 unique travel places around the world for 2020

From Senegal to Uruguay to Kyrgyzstan, here is a list of some of the most unique places to visit in 2020!

From Senegal to Uruguay to Kyrgyzstan, here is a list of some of the most unique places to visit in 2020!

With the start of 2020, and our return to classes, work, and daily schedules after the holidays, many are already dreaming of a new and exciting adventure for the new year. Travel, with all the excitement, unknown adventure, and thrill that it entails, remains almost integral to the human experience. Whether it be in our own neighborhoods or in a faraway country, travel will always teach us lessons on openness, humanity, and faith.

As a tribute to a new and exciting year, here is a quick list of unique travel destinations for 2020 – in the hopes that this might inspire some to look beyond comfortable resorts and safe city-scapes and more towards lands of historical importance, colorful cultures, and inspiring adventures.

Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia

Mountains near lake Kelsuu in Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan is often overlooked when it comes to the hidden gems of Central Asia. Part of an ancient network that once was the bustling heartbeat of the Silk Road, Kyrgyzstan now lies quietly amongst grand mountains, rolling hills, and sparkling hidden lakes. Its people, largely from a nomadic background, still hold true to  many of their traditions – including horseback riding, archery, and hunting with eagles.

A woman competes in archery on horseback near Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan.

Surrounded by the majestic Tien Shan mountain range, some of the most awe-inspiring places to visit in Kyrgyzstan are the Issyk-Kul Lake with its emerald-blue clear waters, the Ala Archa National Park with grand views of the surrounding landscape, the ancient tower of Burana where a colorful Silk Road city once stood, and the Song Kol Lake, most easily accessible by horseback through timeless meadows and lush rolling hills.

Senegal, West Africa

Fishing boats in Ngor Dakar, Senegal.

Laying comfortably on the coast of West Africa next to the Atlantic Ocean, Senegal has both historic as well as cultural importance in the region. With a colorful mixture of Senegalese as well as French influences, the nation is home to a wide array of adventures – from the lively rhythm of the capital Dakar to the allure of its tropical beaches, Senegal will never fail to disappoint those wanting a full-rounded travel experience.

A local family in a carriage in St.Louis, Senegal.

Many who do get to experience travelling to Senegal are constantly surprised by the variety of sights and adventures in the country, with some of its most alluring spots including the rose-colored Pink Lake, also known as the Retba Lake, where salt harvesting is a booming trade, or the incredibly diverse Saloum Delta National Park where natural wildlife is thriving, or the Lompoul Desert, where dusty red sand-dunes loom as far as the eye can see. Finally, a visit to the sombre Goree Island is a must, where a deeply painful memorial stands where what was once the centre of the Atlantic slave trade marked its dark place in our collective memory.

North Macedonia, Southeast Europe

Ohrid Lake in northern Macedonia.

Landlocked but nestled comfortably between the tourist-laden hotspots of Greece and Kosovo, the nation of North Macedonia is one of southeast Europe’s best kept secrets. Boasting quiet hiking trails, quaint towns of rustic beauty, and semi-abandoned old churches overlooking sparkling lake-side views, North Macedonia is the perfect setting for a uniquely cultural and nature-infused travel adventure.

Horses in Mavrovo National Park, Macedonia.

Although small, the country has plenty to offer in terms of sights and experiences, from cobble-stoned villages to hiking trails amongst gentle hills – it has almost everything to offer the curious traveller. Some of North Macedonia’s most memorable and awe-inspiring sights include Matka Canyon, with its deep-blue lake waters walled by grand cliffs, the historical Church of St. John at Kaneo that overlooks the vast Lake Ohrid, the Mavrovo National Park which boasts the country’s highest snow-capped peaks and majestic hiking trails, and the ancient city of Stobi, built in the 7th century by the country’s long-gone Kingdom of Paeonia.

Namibia, Southwest Africa

Damaraland, Namibia.

Despite being an enormously diverse landscape that towers over the Atlantic Ocean as well as the rest of southwestern Africa, Namibia is often overlooked for its more popular neighbor of South Africa. Unique in its own way and boasting deep-orange deserts, stunning coastlines, and thriving cultural identities, Namibia stands proud as a powerful land of stark beauty and thunderous natural scenes of wonder.

Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia.

With incredibly colorful sights, experiences, and peoples, Namibia is a region in it of itself – the raw beauty and heart-pounding scenes of nature are enough to change one’s view of how we view the earth. Some of the country’s most awe-inspiring places to visit include the Namib-Naukluft National Park with its bright orange desert and towering dunes, the Epupa Falls along the border with Angola and the thunderous waterfalls that stretch over a mile long, the Fish River Canyon Park with one of the world’s largest canyons looming enormously over the turquoise Fish River, and the Etosha National Park, where the vibrant wildlife of flamingos, zebras, and wild antelope roam freely along the vast waterholes.

Uruguay, South America

Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay.

An almost sleepy and more traditional sister of neighboring Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay offers vast arrays of cultural experiences, stunning landscapes dotted peacefully overlooking the coast, and laid-back people who quietly celebrate their authenticity and history in South America with a proud devotion to being one of the region’s most colorfully unique nations.

Local gauchos in Minas, Uruguay.

With charming villages, mouth-watering street food, sweeping views of the Atlantic, and a deeply traditional gauchos culture, Uruguay remains a jewel in the vastness of South America. Some of the country’s most awe-inspiring experiences include the sun-bathed town of La Paloma along the ocean with its charming white-sand beaches, the Santa Teresa National Park with its forested delights of wildlife and hiking trails, the historical colonial town of Colonia del Sacramento and its cobbled-stoned alleys filled with the faded memories of both Spanish and Portuguese influences, and the cowboy region of Tacuarembo that boasts a gaucho tradition that dates back centuries.