If wanderlust fuels your spirit, and exploration ignites your soul, then you’re likely already dreaming of all the places you’ll visit in 2020. The hardest part of being a traveler is narrowing down your options and choosing where to go next.
Traveling to a place that’s rich in natural beauty is beneficial for the body, mind, and soul. Here are five of the most unexpected and astonishing landscapes to visit in 2020.
When most people think of Tuscany, they have the misconception that it’s a small, generalized area in Italy. However, Tuscany is a vast region that covers almost 9000 square miles in the middle of the country. It’s not just vineyards and villas; Tuscany is home to some of the most incredible ancient cities in Europe.
While in Tuscany, you’ll want to visit Firenze. This ancient city is known as the Cradle of the Renaissance and houses some of the world’s most exquisite pieces of art. The leaning tower of Pisa is also in Tuscany, located in the town of the same name.
While the architecture and amazing Tuscany homes are highlights of the area, the surrounding landscapes are what make this part of the world so incredible.
Head to the ancient city of Volterra, a scenic hilltop town, where you can watch the sunrise over the rolling hills from the top of a medieval structure. The sun glowing through the mist is ethereal and awe-inspiring.
Travel the Chianti Classico route to see small towns, groves of olive trees, and grapes that will someday be some of the finest wine in the world. Take a Vespa through Val d’Orcia, the iconic imagery of Tuscany and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renowned for its beauty.
Finally, no trip to Tuscany is complete without visiting Elba Island. This incredible beach boasts white sands and crystal-clear water, reminiscent of a tropical, Central American beach.
Sacred Valley, Peru
Machu Picchu is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and one of the most recognizable vistas. However, the area surrounding Machu Picchu is one of the world’s overlooked hidden gems.
The Sacred Valley, also known as the Umbrumba Valley, is nestled among the Andes mountain range, just north of the city, Cusco. It’s known as the heart of the Incan empire.
This lush area boasts incredible plantlife and thriving fields. With raging rivers and towering cliffs, there’s plenty to do for those who appreciate both adventure and relaxation. The early morning sun against the elaborate Incan architecture and ruins is indescribable. Watch the moon rise over the mountains and lose yourself in the southern constellations.
For an exhilarating experience, paraglide over the Sacred Valley to see everything from incredible heights. You can also stay in a Skylodge– a glass capsule on the side of a cliff. For the full experience, trek the Inca trail and immerse yourself in the lush surroundings for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Nyaung Ohak, Myanmar
Myanmar often gets disregarded as a travel option for wanderlusters. This culturally-rich country often gets overshadowed by Thailand and Vietnam to the south. It lacks the tourism dollars to properly promote the area, making it largely untouched and authentic.
While there are plenty of impressive areas in Myanmar, Nyaung Ohak is perhaps the most astonishing. It’s challenging to get to Nyaung Ohak, which just makes the experience that much better.
Walk amidst the isolated, centuries-old temples of the area and witness the perseverance of nature. Many of these crumbling ruins have been overtaken by the jungle plants, lending an air of mystery and intrigue. You’ll feel like an ancient explorer discovering something new and untouched, yet old and wise.
While in Myanmar, you would be remiss to skip Old Bagan. This area is more accessible, meaning more tourists, but still worth seeing. With more than 2000 towering temples punctuating the landscape– some which date back a thousand years– this area is home to hundreds of hot air balloons which drift over the towers. When you see it, you’ll think you’re dreaming.
Olympic Peninsula, USA
Some of the world’s most astonishing landscapes are just outside your front door. The USA’s Olympic Peninsula in Washington State is one of those areas.
The Olympic National Park offers 73 miles of coastline along the Pacific Ocean, where incredible rock structures create amazing silhouettes in the sunset. This diverse ecosystem has rainforests, mountainous highlands, scenic lakes, and an untouched, wild feel.
While on the Olympic Peninsula, you’ll want to experience the Bogachiel Rainforest, Shi Shi Beach, the Lyre River, and Bailey Range. This is the ideal trip for someone who wants to experience natural beauty first hand through hiking and camping in one of the most unexpected ecosystems in the world.
Lofoten Islands, Norway
Norway is a country that’s no stranger to incredible landscapes and sights to behold. This northern realm boasts astonishing mountain ranges, dazzling fjords, and quaint towns under the majestic Northern Lights.
Lofoten Islands are the best of what the country has to offer. This region is above the Arctic Circle, making it less traveled by tourists who visit Norway. Plan on flying on a charter from Oslo to get to this remote region, in conjunction with an hours-long drive from the northern airport.
While this staggeringly beautiful region is in the Arctic, it’s unseasonably warm due to anomalies caused by elevation and water currents. In this untouched area, you can kayak from island to island in the otherworldly fjords, and experience the Northern Lights clearly. Walk along the phenomenal beaches, hike to see incredible views, and stay in a Rorbu– a traditional fisherman’s cabin.
The best view in the Lofoten Islands is arguably at the peak of Svolvaergeita, also known as The Goat. This pinnacle rock juts almost 1900 feet over the town of Svolvær on the island Austvågøya, one of the largest Lofoten Islands. Brave climbers will even jump from one pinnacle to the other. The gap is only five feet, but it feels immeasurable once you’re up there.
Travel is an investment. Yes, you invest money and time, but it’s an investment in yourself. With travel, you learn about other cultures and experience sights different from what you see every day. Visit some of these astonishing landscapes in 2020 for a life-changing experience.
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