New Year Wanderlust? These Countries Should be on Your List to Visit in 2020.

January 9, 2020
7 mins read

Choosing a holiday destination is not always easy but taking some time off, away from the workplace, should not bear a second thought. We all deserve a break, physically and mentally, and at Staff Treats we believe in rewarding ourselves for the time and effort put in during the year.

Which is why we’ve compiled a list of destinations to inspire you for your travel plans in 2020 so that you are one step closer to that well-deserved holiday.

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Slovenia

You only have to watch the opening sequence of the Chef’s Table feature on Hisa Franko to realise the breathtaking and majestic beauty of Slovenia’s mountain ranges, landscapes, forests, coastal towns and rivers.The head chef, Ana Ros, put the country on the gastronomic map (and arguably the tourist map too) after being voted as The World’s Best Female Chef in 2017.  If you’re a foodie, you’ll want to add a stop to the Soça Valley so you can visit the world’s 38th best restaurant

The colorful capital city, Ljubljana,  is known as the city of dragons and boasts more dragons than museums as well as an interesting array of bridges adorned with dragons and love locks. The medieval streets are colourful and easy to navigate. If you decide to base yourself in the city but still need a nature fix, Lake Bled with its turquoise blue water is worth a visit and is only 55km from Ljubljana.

Plan right as Slovenia’s seasonal climate means snowy winters and moderate temperatures in the summertime. In the winter months, majestic mountains offer great skiing holidays. Local pastries like Premurska Gibanica, will provide the energy you will need. If skiing isn’t your thing, head to what is known as the Slovenian Riviera - some 47km of Adriatic Sea coastline. Slovenia is also well situated to visit it’s surrounding neighbours, being Austria in the North as well as Italy, Hungary and Croatia.

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Jordan

A peaceful land-locked country, Jordan is rich in history dating back to the Roman times. It is home to world-famousUNESCO World Heritage Site, Petra, a sandstone city carved into the mountain. History buffs will also enjoy the ancient Roman city of Jerash, which is best to experience on foot as you will be able to walk the same paths as the Romans and Biblical figures. Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a mix of ancient and modern markets as well as traditional mosques in the old quarter. The city has a thriving street art community which has brought much colour to the city.  

Wadi Rum is an area of desert with a stunning landscape of golden dunes and rock formations where you can sleep in the desert while enjoying traditional Jordanian food which is much like a Middle Eastern banquet with fresh bread, falafel, rice, lamb, olives, yoghurt, tahini, sage and mint.

After all the cultural sites, take a few days of R&R at The Dead Sea, the perfect place to relax and be pampered. When booking through our discount portal at LastMinute.com, you can get 7.5% cashback at the Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa.

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Uruguay

A hidden jewel, Uruguay lies between Brazil and Argentina and is the second smallest country in South America. For a mid-year break, visit between March and November when there aren’t as many tourists. A predominantly Spanish speaking country, it still boasts buildings from the colonial era with both Portuguese and Spanish influence as well as many art deco buildings. 

It’s a small country but it does not lack in the activity department. Vineyards, wineries, beaches, horse riding, bike tours, boat tours and surfing are all leisurely activities to consider. If you’re a football fan and have exhausted the vineyards, beaches and historical sites, we highly recommend attending a local football match while you’re there. Uruguayans, like most South Americans, are crazy about football.

If you’re a creative at heart, visit the Fundación Pablo Atchugarry, a sculpture park created by one of Uruguay’s most renowned artists and the park’s namesake, Pablo Atchugarry. There’s definitely something for everyone in this small country!

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Vietnam

When speaking to Vietnamese people, it’s inspiring when they say ‘we look to the future, not the past’. As a country they were occupied by the Chinese for 1000 years and thereafter by the French for 500 and suffered through the war with America. This has had a big impact on the architecture and cuisine in the country.

Being a long thin country, it borders China in the North, Laos in the West and Cambodia in the Southwest and has a coastline of roughly 3500km. If you’re wanting to escape the cold, avoid the North from November through to January, as it can get chilly, although walking in the mountains and seeing the terraced rice fields is well worth the cooler climate. This area is called Sapa and is home to a diverse mix of ethnic minority groups who adorn themselves in their traditional, colourful costumes.

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is situated 4 hours south of Sapa. We recommend staying in The Old Quarter, with its narrow streets and ratio of human to motorbike at 1:1. Getting around in Vietnam is really affordable with the e-hailing app, Grab. It functions much the same as Uber except you have the option to take a GrabBike if you want to experience the city like a local. As you travel down to the south of the country, Danang and Nha Trang are popular for their beaches but also not to be missed is the ancient port town of Hoi An, where strings of lanterns romanticise the streets. Slightly inland from Hoi An and also in Central Vietnam is the city of Hue, which until 1945 was the capital of Vietnam. The Imperial City and the Forbidden City houses majestic temples, pagodas and ancient tombs that were used by the Emperors and their numerous concubines.

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Sri Lanka

We suggest blocking out a minimum of two weeks leave to see this island full of friendly people, however four weeks is recommended if you’d like to see both the north and south of the country.

Direct flights are available from London to Negombo Airport. If you book flights via our discount portal you’ll earn up to 12% cashback when you book with ebookers. There are a variety of ways to travel depending on your budget, tuk tuks are great for short trips, the local buses are extremely affordable and an adventure in themselves and you absolutely can’t leave Sri Lanka without doing the world’s most beautiful train ride. From Colombo we suggest you make your way to  Kandy, the cultural capital. From Kandy, take a day trip to Sigiriya Rock, a massive volcanic rock situated on flat terrain where advanced hydrological systems were implemented, for their time.

Next, take the scenic train ride to Ella passing through plantations, rural villages and waterfalls along the way. Book in 2nd class as that’s where you’ll have the opportunity to feel the cool mountain breeze as the train passes through the highlands. The hiking trails in Ella are a great way to watch the sunrise. The trails are well marked so you can navigate the route yourself using apps like Maps.Me

From Ella make your way to Mirissa, a coastal town in the south of the country where you can snorkel and surf. Before returning to Columbo stop at Galle, a wonderfully preserved colonial city from the Dutch period.  

We hope our suggestions have left you feeling inspired and ready to book your next trip. You can save on all aspects of travel through the Staff Treats discount portal. Our dedicated concierge team is available to help you through the process. If you’re not a member but you want to access our travel benefits, sign up now.

Written by Amy Roberts

Content creator forever living out a suitcase, eating vegetables, and ogling over indoor plants.

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