Gondolas and the Grand Prix, Windstar Wind Surf
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Gondolas and the Grand Prix, Windstar Wind Surf
bluejayphoto/istockphoto

Spot On

Each year brings a new crop of up-and-coming destinations around the globe, places that are suddenly getting their time in the spotlight. 2020 will be no different. For the year ahead, travelers appear to be looking to places that allow them to immerse themselves in nature and to escape overcrowding, trends that were also prevalent last year. Here are 18 destinations around the globe that travel industry insiders say will be trending in 2020. (Looking for destinations closer to home? Be sure to check out The One Thing You Must Do in Every State.)

Related: 20 Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences Worth the Extravagant Price Tag

Funchal, Portugal
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Madeira Island, Portugal

While Portugal has been attracting its fair share of tourists for years, the Madeira Islands, an archipelago off the northern coast of Africa, have yet to truly be discovered by the masses. The cluster of four islands — well-known for wine production as well as being home to stunning mountains and an eternal spring climate — are ready for the tourists to arrive. A handful of new hotels have opened on Madeira Island (the main island) and there's new island infrastructure making it easier to explore the ruggedly beautiful landscape.

Porto Moniz
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Madeira Islands: Must See Attraction

How often in life will you come across an opportunity to experience black-lava bathing pools? Don't miss your chance to enjoy them on Madeira Island. Located in Porto Moniz, slightly more than 45 minutes outside the island capital of Funchal, the calm saltwater pools are surrounded by lava walls.

Galway, Ireland
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Galway, Ireland

Named one of the top places to visit in 2020 by Fodor's, Galway's charms include cobblestone streets, mouthwatering restaurants (including a few Michelin-starred options), charming shops, and plenty of live music at the many, many pubs. The city is also Europe's 2020 Capital of Culture, meaning there will be much to see and do here in the year ahead as Galway puts its best foot forward hosting events, art projects and other festivities designed to highlight Galway's culture and people.

Galway City Museum
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Galway, Ireland: Must See Attraction

Galway City Museum provides an in-depth look at the city's intriguing history and heritage. Exhibits cover everything from prehistoric and medieval Galway to what the city looked like in the 1800s. There's also a café at the museum that offers views of the nearby Spanish Arch, which dates back to the late 16th century.

Republic of Georgia
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Republic of Georgia

For those seeking an affordable up-and-coming destination in 2020, the Republic of Georgia represents yet another notable option, says Maggie Turansky co-founder and lead writer for The World Was Here First, a site devoted to off-the-beaten-path journeys. "Nestled in the Caucasus, Georgia has a lot to offer visitors including incredible mountains, beautiful coastline, and cosmopolitan cities," Turansky says. "Georgia is also known as being the oldest wine-producing nation in the world, with a wine tradition that dates back more than 8,000 years."

Sighnaghi
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Republic of Georgia: Must See Attraction

Often referred to as Georgia's most attractive town, the beautiful hill community of Sighnaghi is located in the heart of the country's Kakheti region, an area known for its viticulture, Turansky says. "Colloquially referred to as the city of love this walled town is incredibly picturesque and romantic, surrounded by vineyards," Turansky says.

Patagonia, Chile and Argentina
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Patagonia, Chile and Argentina

Located on the southernmost reaches of South America, Patagonia is a place of rugged beauty where there are few inhabitants but an abundance of breathtaking sites ranging from the Andes Mountains to grasslands and deserts. It is a destination that allows for truly getting (far) away from it all. Travel company Contiki, which caters to 18- to 35-year-olds, says the far-flung region has been increasing in popularity of late, making it the company's nomination for one of the best new places to vacation in 2020. "People just love the combination of hiking and being rewarded with sights of white glaciers and deep blue lagoons," said Contiki's Laura Condrut said.

Torres del Paine National Park
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Patagonia: Must See Attraction

With so much magical natural beauty, the top sight in Patagonia largely depends on the interests of the visitor. However, Torres del Paine National Park in Chile is easily among the most photographed and striking attractions. The sprawling 877-square-mile park is a place where visitors can take in such varied sights as virgin forests, ice fields, glaciers, and picturesque valleys.

Related: 30 Beautiful Destinations for Taking Photos Around the World

Sossusvlei to Swakopmund, Namibia
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Namibia

Receiving a spate of publicity in 2019 including being mentioned by The Wall Street Journal, and appearing on the feeds of numerous travel influencers, Namibia is another up-and-coming destination for 2020, according to the experts at Contiki. The Southwest African destination is particularly popular among travelers seeking a break from crowds and wanting an opportunity to explore stunning natural beauty. The country is home to Africa's deepest canyon as well as intriguing rock art sites and plenty of wildlife. "Namibia is quickly turning into one of the best African spots to visit lately, especially due to its beautiful landscapes, amazing safaris and traditional communities," Contiki's Condrut says.

Etosha National Park
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Namibia: Must See Attraction

The location of a salt pan that was formed more than 100 million years ago (and is so large it's visible from space), Etosha National Park is one of the most well-known attractions in Namibia. The park is also said to be the country's most impressive wildlife sanctuary, where lions, leopards, elephants, and rhinos are all regularly spotted.

Gondolas and the Grand Prix, Windstar Wind Surf
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Montenegro

While hordes of tourists have found their way to neighboring Croatia, far fewer explore Montenegro, says Brit Boone, travel expert and founder of Meanderbug, a social enterprise that partners with local families in the country to develop travel experiences. Montenegro is dotted by medieval villages; awe-inspiring, rugged mountain landscapes; and more than a few picturesque beaches overlooking the Adriatic.

Kotor
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Montenegro: Must See Attraction

A walled city on the Adriatic surrounded by mountains, Kotor has been recognized by The New York Times and CNN as one of the top places to visit in Montenegro. The city's old quarter traces its roots to the 12th and 14th centuries. Its many cobblestoned streets are lined by medieval churches, cafés, and colorful homes.

Ukraine
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Ukraine

The HBO series "Chernobyl," based on the real-life nuclear plant explosion of the same name, was the surprise hit of 2019 and renewed interest among adventure travelers for some of the sites showcased in the show including northern Ukraine, says Bealby of Wild Frontiers. One of the least well-known countries in Europe, (at least from a travel perspective), Ukraine is a former Soviet nation where travelers will find ancient castles, picturesque countryside and UNESCO-protected towns that ooze charm.

Lviv
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Ukraine: Must See Attraction

A city that hosts more than 100 festivals annually, Lviv, is widely described as one of Ukraine's most beautiful destinations. Just 45 miles from Poland, the city's brightly painted buildings are among the highlights here. There's also a plethora of galleries and museums, making it a cultural hub in Ukraine.

Mongolia
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Mongolia

Between 2018 and 2019, Wild Frontiers' bookings to Mongolia more than doubled, says Bealby, who suggests the country is another up and comer for 2020 and beyond. The world's most sparsely populated country, Mongolia is a legendary nomadic nation with a history dating back to the Mongol Empire and the famed warrior and conqueror Genghis Khan. The country is dominated by vast, undeveloped landscapes, deserts and deep blue skies, an ideal destination for outdoors lovers. "Travelers are seeking more opportunities to get in touch with nature in wilderness destinations," Bealby said.

Altai Kazakh Eagle Festival
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Mongolia: Must See Attraction

Among the top attractions in this stunning country is the annual eagle-hunting festival. "One of the last great nomadic spectacles, the Altai Kazakh Eagle Festival takes place in the far west of Mongolia, where up to 50 eagle hunters show off the dexterity of their birds, alongside camel races and horseback games," Bealby explained. "Other highlights include the ancient rock art of Tavan Bogd National Park and an ever-changing scenery including alpine lakes and dazzling glaciers."

Brisbane, Australia
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Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane has been busy laying the groundwork to put itself on the map in a big way with globetrotters. To date, that effort has included a $135 million expansion of Brisbane Airport's northern international terminal, which allowed airlines to increase their service schedules. In addition, Qantas has announced it will begin offering non-stop flights from Chicago and San Francisco to Brisbane in 2020. As for what to see once you arrive, Brisbane offers a mix of outdoor recreation, nature, wildlife, and culture. The laid-back city is among those on Fodor's 2020 Go List. The publication called it an up and coming destination that's downright irresistible.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
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Brisbane, Australia: Must See Attraction

With the future of koalas in serious danger, perhaps consider paying a visit to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in the Brisbane suburb of Fig Tree Pocket. Created in 1927 to provide a safe refuge for sick, injured, and orphaned koalas, the facility offers visitors an opportunity to connect and learn, while also aiming to inspire guests to make changes in their lives to help protect wildlife and habitats. The facility also offers premium full-day tours that provide behind the scenes access to the animals.

Chad
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Chad

Chad gained independence from France in August 1960, meaning 2020 is the 60th year of its independence, says Bealby, of Wild Frontiers. "The fifth-largest country in Africa, Chad is huge and largely untouched by tourism," Bealby added.

Lakes of Ounianga
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Chad: Must See Attraction

Chad's Lakes of Ounianga, a UNESCO World Heritage site made up of 18 interconnected lakes, are a striking expanse of blue in the otherwise barren desert, Bealby says. Visitors to the region also encounter some of the oldest rock art in the Sahara and the eerie Martian-like sandstone formations of the Ennedi Massif, which have been carved over time by wind and water. "This is a trip for the truly adventurous, where they are likely to see few other people, never mind tourists," Bealby says.

Oman
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Oman

Ten years after the Arab Spring, the Middle East is experiencing a resurgence, says Bealby, and Wild Frontiers reports passenger numbers to Oman have now surpassed pre-Arab Spring levels. The country has not been troubled by the militant Islamist violence that has impacted some of the neighboring countries in the region and offers visitors the opportunity to explore mosques, castles, museums, and traditional souqs (marketplaces) selling silver, gold, and more.

Wadi Bani Khalid
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Oman: Must See Attraction

For a geographically unique experience, explore Wadi Bani Khalid, a desert oasis outside Muscat where there are emerald pools surrounded by palm trees and red rock cliffs. The area is also home to tiny villages and colorful date plantations.

Armenia
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Armenia

Suddenly experiencing an uptick in interest among travelers, Wild Frontiers reports bookings to Armenia have increased more than 100% in 2019 compared to 2018. "Visitors are attracted by its churches, monasteries, lush forests and craggy mountains," says Wild Frontiers' Caucasus expert Natalie Fordham. "The popularity of Georgia has helped raise the profile of the Caucasus region in general, and now travelers are discovering the delights of Armenia, particularly those who want to get away from other tourists." Small enough to cover in a week, Armenia is an ideal destination for hikers and culture lovers, Fordham says.

Monastery of Geghard
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Armenia: Must See Attraction

A country seemingly overrun with dramatic and picturesque mountainside monasteries, perhaps the top sight among them is the Monastery of Geghard in the Upper Azat Valley. The complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, includes several churches and tombs, many of which are cut right into the surrounding rock. It is said to be an important illustration of the peak of Armenian medieval architecture. As an added bonus, the monastery is surrounded by a breathtaking landscape that includes towering cliffs.

Uzbekistan
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Uzbekistan

Interest in the Silk Road is at an all-time high, and the central Asian nation of Uzbekistan is the quintessential Silk Road country, says Wild Frontiers Silk Road expert Dan Waters. "Now that the Uzbek government has made it easier for tourists to visit, we are seeing demand increase further," Waters said. "Uzbekistan is also benefiting from the current geopolitical instability in Iran, as it offers similar architectural delights to Isfahan and Shiraz in its Silk Road cities of Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva." The three Silk Road cities have been restored and feature dazzling minarets, domes, and mosaic works of art.

Khiva
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Uzbekistan: Must See Attraction

Don't miss the walled city of Khiva. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, archaeological evidence suggests the city may have been established as early as the sixth century. Later, in the 17th century, it became a slave market, and today it contains some of the best-preserved Islamic architecture throughout all of Central Asia.

Belarus
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Belarus

Another destination travel industry insiders say is experiencing a recent spate of interest, Belarus, and its capital Minsk, have traditionally been among the least explored destinations in Europe. "Recently, we've started to receive more and more requests for assistance in Minsk, which is one of the indicators that the country itself is becoming a popular destination," says Anna Petrashkevich of MeetnGreetMe, a platform connecting international visitors with locals who provide concierge travel services. Lonely Planet has also recognized the country as a sudden "it" destination. Some of that interest may be tied to Belarus' relaxed visa requirements, Petrashkevich says. Or perhaps its uptick is linked to the country's many attractions ranging from castles to a vibrant arts and café scene.

Related: 18 Countries Where It's Easy to Get a Last-Minute Visa

Nesvizh Castle
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Belarus: Must See Attraction

Castles, castles, and more castles. Among the most memorable of these is Nesvizh Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in a town of the same name. The castle is considered the most beautiful in Belarus with its interior incorporating a range of architectural styles including Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Classicism, Neo-Gothic, and Modernism. The castle sits on an estate amid landscaped grounds, gardens, and ponds.

Ethiopia
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Ethiopia

The location of one of sub-Saharan Africa's fastest growing economies, Ethiopia has been working hard to shed its image as a nation plagued by famine and instability. As part of that goal, the country rolled out an ambitious tourism marketing plan years ago designed to make Ethiopia one of the top tourist destinations in Africa by 2020. The effort appears to be paying off. Ethiopia's fledgling tourism industry grew by a staggering 48.6% in 2018 alone, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

 Fasil Ghebbi
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Ethiopia: Must See Attraction

There are spectacular man-made sights and stunning spectacles of nature to behold when visiting Ethiopia. When it comes to the manmade, don't miss the Gondar region's medieval palace complex Fasil Ghebbi, which was established in the late 16th and 17th centuries and includes palaces, churches and monasteries. As for the country's natural beauty, consider spending a night at Simien Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's home to baboons, monkeys, leopards and more.

South Korea
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South Korea

This country may not yet be a hotspot for the average American traveler, but that's exactly why you should consider visiting now, says Condrut of Contiki. "While it's not necessarily on everyone's radar, it has increased quite a lot in popularity recently," Condrut said. Although quite small in size, South Korea offers a vibrant culture, great street food, and a mix of modern and ancient cultures, she added.

Gyeongju
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South Korea: Must See Attraction

There are many intriguing sights in this East Asian nation including picturesque towns and villages scattered throughout South Korea's countryside. Perhaps one of the most notable towns is Gyeongju. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom, which dates back to 57 B.C. Gyeongju is a place where visitors can explore traditional architecture, Buddhist art masterpieces, royal tombs, temples, and a museum housing more than 16,000 artifacts.

Raja Ampat, Indonesia
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Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Skip increasingly overcrowded and over-packaged Bali, a destination that's also facing environmental pollution challenge. Try venturing a bit further afield to visit the islands of Raja Ampat. Nothing short of a pristine paradise, Raja Ampat is an archipelago made up of more than 1,500 tiny islands, cays, and shoals. Here visitors will find lush jungles, pristine beaches and impossibly bright turquoise waters.

Raja Ampat, Indonesia Reefs
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Raja Ampat, Indonesia: Must See Attraction

Raja Ampat is a diver's paradise. The remarkable biodiversity in the seas surrounding the islands includes hundreds of varieties of hard coral and mollusks as well as more than 1,000 species of coral fish. Research conducted by the Nature Conservancy and Conservation International found that about 75% of the world's hard coral species live in Raja Ampat's Bird's Head Seascape region.

Pakistan
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Pakistan

Though long challenged by political instability, Pakistan has been gaining momentum for a few years now and with the recent visit and royal seal of approval from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, experts at Wild Frontiers predict the destination will continue to be one to watch in 2020. Underscoring their prediction, Wild Frontiers reports having a 20% increase in passenger numbers to the destination between 2018 and 2019. "Pakistan is perhaps the ultimate adventure travel destination," says Wild Frontiers founder Jonny Bealby. "It offers ancient civilizations stretching back 4,000 years, exciting cities like Lahore with its forts, mosques and palaces, but most of all, it offers an incredible scenery, particularly in the north where the three greatest mountain ranges collide."

Karakoram Highway, Pakistan/China
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Pakistan: Must See Attraction

Pakistan is a great place for trekking, mountain biking, rafting or just cultural tourism, Bealby says. Among the country's most notable experiences is driving the Karakoram Highway, a stunning stretch of road that Lonely Planet describes as epic and a feat of engineering. The road makes its way through the striking Karakoram mountains and provides unforgettable views along the way.

Related: 22 Bucket List Roads to Drive Around the World

Sardinia, Italy
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Looking Back: The Best New Places to Vacation from 2019

Looking back at the travel trends of 2019, the focus among globetrotters was on destinations that allow for more authentic travel experiences, and similar to 2020, places where they could escape from overcrowding. While these destinations may have been the hot new spots of this past year, if you didn't have a chance to visit them, they're still worth adding to your bucket list. 

The Lost Coast, California
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The Lost Coast, California

A remote stretch of northern California beyond the end of State Highway 1, this mostly undeveloped and natural region was given its name after going through significant depopulation in the 1930s. Today, the Lost Coast is home to the nearly 25-mile Lost Coast Trail, which is on the bucket list of many avid hikers. In fact, with no major roads to access this region, the Lost Coast is mostly explored by foot or bike.

The Lost Coast, California: Must-See Attraction
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The Lost Coast, California: Must-See Attraction

Black Sands Beach is a picturesque and unusual sight. The northern end of the beach offers great beachcombing while the southern end is home to Little Black Sands Beach. About 45 miles south of Eureka, the entire area is protected by the Bureau of Land Management and is part of the King Range National Conservation Area.

Lake Ohrid, Macedonia
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Lake Ohrid, Macedonia

While Greece's ancient history and fabled islands often steal the lion's share of the travel world's attention, 2019 may be time for its neighbor to the north, Macedonia, to shine, says Lindsay Bradley, co-founder of The Vacation Project. Specifically, Bradley is referring to the Lake Ohrid region of Macedonia. The lake, which straddles the mountainous region between southwest Macedonia and eastern Albania, is known for its pristine waters, beautiful vistas lined by monasteries, and also its nightlife. One of Europe's deepest and oldest lakes, think of it as the Lake Como of the Balkan Peninsula.

Lake Ohrid, Macedonia: Must-See Attraction
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Lake Ohrid, Macedonia: Must-See Attraction

While Lake Ohrid is surrounded by many charming small towns, do yourself a favor and spend some time exploring the small resort city of Ohrid. The atmosphere of its old quarter is unforgettable. It's a community made up of medieval churches, monasteries and open-air ruins, all of which mixed with the town's traditional houses with red-tiled roofs.

Boracay, Philippines
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Boracay, Philippines

An often-overlooked island destination in Southeast Asia, Boracay is increasing in popularity, according to Bradley of The Vacation Project. Its charms include "one of the best white sand beaches in the world, terrific bars, possibly the best nightlife in the region, and of course, great places to stay," Bradley said.

Boracay, Philippines: Must-See Attraction
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Boracay, Philippines: Must-See Attraction

White Beach, along Boracay's west coast, is one of the top attractions here. Renowned for its stunning natural scenery, the beach is also popular for swimming and snorkeling in its shallow waters.

Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Bosnia and Herzegovina

A nearly landlocked country (except for a 2-mile stretch of coast line), Bosnia and Herzegovina is a Balkan Peninsula country dominated by medieval villages, rivers, lakes and the Dinaric Alps. "It's one of those places that you can't believe isn't overrun with tourist once you visit," said Bradley of The Vacation Project. Up until now, its uber-popular neighbor, Croatia, has been attracting all the crowds.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Must-See Attraction
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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Must-See Attraction

The country's capital of Sarajevo is home to a very well-preserved old quarter that includes such landmarks as the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque, which dates back to the 16th century. Its Latin Bridge, meanwhile, is the location of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, an act that ignited World War I.

Cape Verde, Africa
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Cape Verde, Africa

As a small collection islands on a volcanic archipelago off the coast of northwest coast of Africa, it can be easy to overlook Cape Verde. But once you set foot on islands like Sal or Sao Vicente, you will never overlook this country again, said Bradley of The Vacation Project. "Volcanoes give islands like Sao Vicente an otherworldly landscape," Bradley said. "Fresh caught seafood at local restaurants also exhibits out of this world qualities." Come here to meet some of the nicest people in the world, and while you're here, enjoy hiking, walking, and swimming in settings like you've never seen.

Cape Verde, Africa: Must-See Attraction
Courtesy of wikimedia.org

Cape Verde, Africa: Must-See Attraction

On the island of Santiago, don't miss Cidade Velha and its fortress Forte Real de São Felipe, which offer a step back in time. Cidade Velha dates back to 1462 and is the oldest settlement in Cape Verde. Forte Real de São Felipe, meanwhile, is a 16th century structure situated on a plateau above the town center. In 2009, it was made a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Coast of El Salvador
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The Coast of El Salvador

From Costa Del Sol to El Tunco beach, this tiny nation's coast is completely overlooked compared to its other more famous Central American neighbors, said Bradley of The Vacation Project. "The Pacific coast is a paradise for surfers and beach loungers alike," she said. "Shrimp pupusas on the beach are a must from the restaurants that dot the Costa Del Sol beach."

The Coast of El Salvador: Must-See Attraction
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The Coast of El Salvador: Must-See Attraction

Travel about 37 kilometers from San Salvador to El Tunco for world-class surfing that hasn't been discovered by the masses yet. The area has become a big draw for those in search of fun, sun, sea, and live music, which ranges from reggae to salsa and rock concerts. And while you're there, enjoy $1 beers at the area's laid-back bars and watch the sunset.

Kuelap, Peru
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Kuelap, Peru

The crown jewel for travel to Peru has always been the Inca enclaves of Cusco and Machu Picchu. The vast majority of inbound leisure travelers find their way to these popular locations, said Brian Bultema of Dargui Tours & Destination Management. But some lesser-known Peruvian destinations have recently been receiving their due attention, among them Kuelap. A walled settlement in the mountains of Peru, Kuelap was built in the 6th century. Since a cable car to the settlement was opened in March 2017, visitation has doubled each year, but there are still only about 120,000 annual visitors, Bultema said.

Kuelap, Peru: Must-See Attraction
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Kuelap, Peru: Must-See Attraction

In this case, Kuelap is its own must-see attraction. Built 600 to 900 years before Machu Picchu. There are more than 550 structures on the site and its walls, 10 to 20 meters high, are made with finely worked limestone blocks. But while you're in the area, you may also want to consider taking in the Gocta Cataracts, a picturesque, perennial waterfall, Bultema said.

Bavaria, Germany
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Bavaria, Germany

Germany's famed city of Berlin has been a hotspot for years now. But Greg Geronemus, co-CEO of smarTours, expects Bavaria to steal the show in 2019. "Travelers are starting to notice more of what Germany has to offer and in particular Bavaria," Geronemus said. What does Bavaria offer exactly? An opportunity to escape the never-ending chaotic news cycle and travel back to medieval times, the region's history stretches back to its earliest settlement in the 6th century.

Bavaria, Germany: Must-See Attraction
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Bavaria, Germany: Must-See Attraction

One of Geronemus' favorite Bavarian towns is the former imperial town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, where highlights include narrow towers, twisting alleyways, and ornate oriel windows. Visitors will also find timber-framed houses beautifully decorated with hanging baskets as well as colorful gardens. And don't miss the exploring the town's numerous historic churches.

Southern Cambodia
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Southern Cambodia

For those seeking to escape the crowds of iconic Angkor Wat, southern Cambodia offers a host of new luxurious properties (such as Jaya House River Park), many of which opened at the end of 2018, others scheduled to open early 2019, said Wild Frontiers' U.S. director Andrea Ross. "There's something very special about getting away from the main tourist sites in Cambodia and getting to see this country away from the crowds," Ross said. "It used to be that Cambodia was a three-day add-on to a trip to Vietnam or Thailand, but with these new properties and just overall infrastructure improvements in the country, we're seeing Cambodia taking off as a single-destination vacation."

Southern Cambodia: Must-See Attraction
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Southern Cambodia: Must-See Attraction

Kampot, a city on southern Cambodia's Preaek Tuek Chhu River, has become a hotspot to get away from the crowds and enjoy some adventures. Known for its pepper plantations and salt fields, the city is also home to many buildings that were constructed during the colonial period. This past year, the city hosted its first kite surfing festival, Ross said. Paddle boarding and hiking are also on the activity list here.

French Guiana
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French Guiana

The epic novel "Papillon" is considered to be a modern-day classic, telling the tale of a prisoner incarcerated in the French penal colony of Devil's Island, in French Guiana. And as it turns out, 2019 will be the 50th anniversary of the book's release, which just may help put this intriguing destination on the map, said Bealby of Wild Frontiers. "French Guiana, along with its neighbors Guyana and Suriname, receive the fewest number of overseas visitors in the continent," he said. "Yet intrepid travelers are rewarded with pristine rainforests and high chances of jaguar sightings."

French Guiana: Must-See Attraction
Courtesy of wikimedia.org

French Guiana: Must-See Attraction

Located in Kaieteur National Park, Kaieteur Falls are the world's largest single drop waterfall by volume of water flowing over it. The 741-foot-high falls are in the Amazon rainforest. The combination of height and water volume is said to make Kaieteur one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world. As a comparison, Kaieteur is about four times higher than Niagara Falls.

Bulgaria
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Bulgaria

Recent years have seen Croatia and Albania become hotspots, but now it may now be Bulgaria's turn to take the Balkans' spotlight. "Over the years Bulgaria has been influenced by the Roman, Greek and Ottoman empires, and it has a host of ancient ruins to prove it," Bealby of Wild Frontiers said. "It also has a scenery of mountains, lakes, and a long Black Sea coastline."

Bulgaria: Must-See Attraction
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Bulgaria: Must-See Attraction

The ancient city of Plovdiv will be the European capital of culture in 2019, introducing a host of overseas visitors to its delights. Plovdiv is one of the oldest cities in Europe and has a Roman theater, amazing food and wine, and excellent bars and restaurants.

Kyrgyzstan
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Kyrgyzstan

Most people can't spell it or point it out on a map, but Kyrgyzstan is one of Wild Frontiers' fastest growing destinations. "For many people today, travel is about getting as far away from the modern world as possible and enjoying nature. Kyrgyzstan offers the stunning natural beauty of Son Kul Lake and the Mountains of Heaven, combined with a nomadic way of life based around staying in yurts, horse games and clear mountain air," Bealby said. Forget Wi-Fi, this is a place to truly get off the grid and enjoy nature, making it a great destination to unplug from work emails and social media.

Kyrgyzstan: Must-See Attraction
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Kyrgyzstan: Must-See Attraction

Described as one of the most beautiful countries on earth, if you make it to Kyrgyzstan don't miss taking in the Mountains of Heaven (Tian Shan), which stretch grandly across the country's length and breadth. The lush mountains are dissected by sweeping steppe lands, primal forests and turquoise lakes. They're also home to glaciers, deserts, and alpine meadows.

Lagoon Coast, Mozambique
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Lagoon Coast, Mozambique

Thanks to the recent opening of the Maputo-Catembe Bridge (the largest suspension bridge in Africa), it has suddenly become easier to access the rare, untouched and stunning stretches of coastal wilderness in southern Mozambique. The Lagoon Coast is a wildlife haven and home to turtles, sharks, dolphins, and hundreds of bird species.

Lagoon Coast, Mozambique: Must-See Attraction
Courtesy of White Pearl Resorts

Lagoon Coast, Mozambique: Must-See Attraction

Created in 1960 in an effort to save elephants that had been so badly impacted by poachers, Maputo Special Reserve (formerly known as the Maputo Elephant Reserve) includes a variety of open plains, freshwater lakes and dune forests. The variety of ecosystems in the reserve provide habitats for birds ranging from albatrosses to eagles and terns.

Uluru in Northern Territory, Australia
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Australia’s Northern Territory

While most Americans are very familiar with Sydney and Melbourne, far fewer have heard of Australia's Northern Territory, a vast and relatively undiscovered region down under. Also known as NT, the Northern Territory offers an authentic Australian adventure and experiences that are unavailable anywhere else in the world. The region is made up of desert landscapes, and in the Red Centre, the iconic sandstone monolith Uluru or Ayers Rock.

Australia's Northern Territory: Must-See Attraction
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Australia’s Northern Territory: Must-See Attraction

From the domed rock formations of Kata Tjuta to the cliffs of Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park, there are many "must-see" attractions here. But perhaps one of the most unforgettable is Arnhem Land, one of Australia's (and the world's) last true frontiers, said Mandi Hefflinger of Tourism NT. "It has remained the property of the Aboriginal peoples who have resided there for millennia, and requires a special permit for visitors to enter," Hefflinger said. "Arnhem Land is home to incredible scenery, rugged coastlines, remote islands, rivers teeming with fish, rainforests, and one of the most authentic cultures in all of Australia."

Setouchi Region, Seto Inland Sea, Japan
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Setouchi Region, Seto Inland Sea, Japan

The location of the upcoming Setouchi Triennale art festival in April, Japan's stunning Setouchi Region includes the Seto Inland Sea and some 3,000 islands, many of which barely see visitors. During the festival, several of the islands will feature art exhibits.

Setouchi Region: Must-See Attraction
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Setouchi Region: Must-See Attraction

Naoshima Island or "Art Island" has been described as one of the most remarkable art and architecture destinations in the world. The island is dotted by structures designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando. Don't miss the Benesse Art Site Naoshima, which showcases artwork, as does the island's Chichu Art Museum.

The Falkland Islands
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The Falkland Islands

A remote southern archipelago, the Falkland Islands are small and the sparsely populated neighbors of Antarctica. Darshika Jones, Intrepid Travel's regional director for North America, said the islands are gaining favor with travelers who are drawn to their remote lands teeming with wildlife that's more accessible than Antarctica. There's also some effort taking place behind the scenes among several countries to establish a new weekly scheduled air service to and from the Falkland Islands. With new flights on the horizon, Jones said the destination will likely be easier than ever to get to in 2019.

The Falkland Islands: Must-See Attraction
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The Falkland Islands: Must-See Attraction

At Volunteer Point, travelers will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spot penguin colonies, including king (Aptenodytes patagonicus), gentoo (Pygoscelis papua papua), and magellanic (Spheniscus magellanicus) penguins. Explore the area on foot, snapping photos of some of nature's most enchanting birds.

Hong Kong's Southern District
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Hong Kong’s Southern District

One of Hong Kong's 18 districts, the Wong Chuk Hang neighborhood was originally a fishing village. In 2016, the area underwent something of a rebirth and is now known as Hong Kong's creative epicenter. The suddenly hip and trendy neighborhood offers views of the South China Sea and is a great way for visitors to experience another side of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's Southern District: Must-See Attraction
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Hong Kong’s Southern District: Must-See Attraction

One of the best ways to take in the views in this neighborhood is via a comfortable perch at Komune, a rooftop bar that is a day-to-night venue. The terrace offers sweeping views that encompass Repulse Bay (one of the most expensive residential areas of Hong Kong) and the South China Sea.

La Serena, Chile
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La Serena, Chile

Located in northern Chile, La Serena dates back to 1544 and is the second-oldest city in the country behind Santiago. It also happens to be on the path for a total solar eclipse on July 2, 2019, according to Jones. Revel in the beauty that the city has to offer while witnessing one of the most amazing natural occurrences in our world. With low-cost flights from Santiago, Intrepid experts say this destination is not one to miss in 2019.

La Serena, Chile: Must-See Attraction
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La Serena, Chile: Must-See Attraction

With the total solar eclipse coming to La Serena in 2019, make sure to check out The Paranal Observatory, an astronomical observatory located in the Atacama Desert. By total light-collecting area, it is the largest optical-infrared observatory in the Southern Hemisphere.

Sardinia, Italy
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Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia is another destination that's suddenly trending, said Loren Siekman, founder of Pure Adventure Tours, who says there has been a big increase in demand for visiting the Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. With over 1,000 miles of coastline, sandy beaches, and rugged landscape that includes Bronze Age stone ruins, the island offers a fascinating getaway.

Sardinia, Italy: Must-See Attraction
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Sardinia, Italy: Must-See Attraction

The tiny town of Carloforte on the islet of San Pietro is one of Siekman's top recommendations for those who make it to Sardinia. "It's an out of the way place that's rich in tradition surrounding its tuna fishing and wine production," Siekman said.

Finnish Lapland
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Finnish Lapland

Lapland is Finland's northernmost region, the perfect winter destination for travelers to check out the Northern Lights away from the crowds. The area is a yet-to-be discovered winter wonderland, said Jones of Intrepid Travel. Home of the indigenous Sami people, Lapland is a place full of pristine peaks and snow-dusted woodlands.

Finnish Lapland: Must-See Attraction
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Finnish Lapland: Must-See Attraction

A more than 2,300-foot mountain in the municipality of Kolari, Ylläs (Yllästunturi in Finnish) boasts some of the longest downhill skiing runs and visitors can also immerse themselves in the indigenous Saami culture. It is also home to a reindeer farm that's been operating since 1861, and travelers can visit with the family that runs the farm and learn about their daily routine.