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Where will you discover? Hot Destinations for 2020

Whether you're planning a trip just a short hop away or something more far-flung, our team have rounded up the destinations we think should be explored in 2020.

Hot Destinations for 2020

A new decade is looming – where will it take you?  Maybe 2020 will be the year that you’ll explore little-visited Georgia, go beyond the tourist trails in Greece or whizz around Japan by bullet train.

Wherever you want to explore, we can help you put together a bespoke itinerary and look after all the big and little details. Take inspiration from our ideas below and get in touch to start planning your next adventure.

Georgia

The lowdown

  • Getting there

    You can fly direct to Tbilisi in under 5 hours, but we recommend Turkish Airlines via Istanbul.

  • When to go

    April to October are considered the best months. Visit in September and October for the wine harvest in areas such as Kakheti.

  • Getting around

    There are local minibuses known as Marshrutkas but we recommend a chauffeur driven car plus a private guide for sightseeing.

  • Top Tip

    If you are interested in food then you will appreciate the tasting menu at Culinarium, a Tbilisi restaurant run by Tekuna, Georgia’s most well-known chef.

Little-visited with a fledgling tourist industry, Georgia is a small country that makes a surprisingly big impression.

Georgia lies at the intersection of Europe and Asia, bordered by Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and the Black Sea. The gateway is through its capital city Tbilisi, layered in history and now buzzing with cool cafes and wine bars. A flurry of stylish new hotel openings adds another reason to visit this charm-laden city and we  recommend a few days to wander Tbilisi’s labyrinth-like streets, stopping for bowls of dumplings or a glass of Georgian wine.

From here, discover a land largely untouched by tourism, where caves reveal mysterious monasteries and dramatic, forested mountains are topped with snowy, mist-swirled peaks. Travel along the Georgian Military Highway – one of the Caucasus’ most spectacular journeys, on a road that snakes through hilltops reaching a high of 2,000 metres.

Read more about what Georgia offers as a destination, and contact Matt to plan your tailor-made journey.

Laos

The lowdown

  • Getting there

    There are no direct flights from the UK. The quickest connection is via Bangkok taking around 15 hours.

  • When to go

    Laos has a monsoon climate featuring a dry and a wet season. The dry season lasts from November to May.

  • Getting around

    Real Holidays will arrange a private driver and guide, and your itinerary may also involve the odd boat!

  • Top Tip

    Laos is an excellent choice for families. Activities such as hiking, kayaking and jungle explorations will appeal to enthusiastic teens.

  • Extend your trip

    Extend your journey through Laos with a visit to the laid-back south, visiting the coffee plantations and waterfalls of the Bolavean Plateau, and the 4000 Islands.

Landlocked Laos is a natural bedfellow of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam as part of a South East Asian tour but we feel that Laos is very much a destination in its own right. The pervading air of Buddhism gives this country a tranquillity mirrored in its welcoming people, and its towns are an atmospheric mix of colonial architecture and temples. Laos’ countryside offers slow-paced exploration in areas little-visited by tourists where immersive and culturally rich experiences await.

Enchanting Luang Prabang will always be a great draw but we recommend looking beyond this to the lesser-seen spots of Northern Laos. Discover stunning scenery from cascading waterfalls to fascinating hill tribes and bright-green paddy fields plus of course, the mighty Mekong River.

A particular highlight is to spend time in remote and picturesque Muang La, approximately five hours north of Luang Prabang. At a peaceful eco lodge, soak up views of the Nam La River and a glorious patchwork of green rice fields and palm trees. Here you can head out on foot or bike to discover small villages built into the terraces of the hillside.

Read more about the highlights of Northern Laos or get in touch with Rob to discuss visiting Laos, or combining with Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam for a longer journey.

Cuba

The lowdown

  • Getting there

    Direct flights depart from Gatwick twice a week with Virgin taking 10.5 hours.

  • When to go

    The best weather is between December and April, which is peak season. August to October is hurricane season and best avoided.

  • Getting around

    We recommend a chauffeur driven car plus a private guide for sightseeing, or adventurous visitors can self-drive.

  • Top tip

    Take a dance or music lesson, whether salsa, rumba or drumming, it’s a fun way to tap in to the rhythm of Cuba.

Traditionally a Real Holidays favourite, Cuba exploded with US tourism five years ago. However, with new restrictions on American travel to Cuba, now is an excellent opportunity to experience this colourful destination. And with the steady rise of small stylish places to stay, you can catch Cuba on the cusp of change.

Buzzing with both Caribbean and Latin influences, Cuba is full of character and charm from the crumbling colonial streets humming with salsa to the white-sand beaches lapped by turquoise waters. Wherever you go in Cuba, music will accompany you from roof-down cars, open windows and hidden bars. Salsa forms the backbone of many a melody, often with spontaneous Spanish singing. Evenings see cities like Havana and Trinidad come to life with live bands, atmospheric jazz singers and two-stepping dancers performing an impromptu Cuban rumba, best enjoyed in a smoky bar with a Mojito nearby.

Read more about our highlights of Cuba or get in touch with Sophie for first-hand experience of travelling in Cuba and to plan your own trip to this fascinating country.

 

 

The Greek Cyclades

The lowdown

  • Getting there

    Access to these islands is via ferry from Mykonos, Santorini or Athens.

  • When to go

    May through to October, walkers would appreciate early or late season to avoid the summer heat.

  • Getting around

    Greek ferries are very frequent and Real Holidays can arrange the tickets in advance. Car hire on the islands is inexpensive.

  • Top tip

    Try the revithada while on Paros, made with locally grown chickpeas braised in a traditional wood oven. While on Folegrandros, walk up the winding path to Panagia Church which is perched on a hill above Hora to enjoy the sunset.

We love a holiday that starts at a bustling port, and there’s something rather special about heading to an island that is only accessible by sea. The Cyclades offer just this, and the lack of direct flights mean the islands retain their sleepy, authentic feel with little of the price-elevating that occurs on flashier neighbours Santorini or Mykonos.

It’s possible to hop from one island to another giving you a peaceful passage around the lesser-seen Cyclades, where charming hotels await, rural life remains unchanged for centuries and dazzling beaches are devoid of tourists. We recommend starting your island-hopping adventure on tiny 8-mile Folegandros to experience sleepy Greek village life. A stop at Milos is recommended for its sensational beaches, here you can spend your days wandering from sandy inlets to authentic tavernas. Staying on Sifnos is a must for those with foodie inclinations as it is fast becoming known for its impressive food scene. Lastly, stop on pretty Paros for (relative) activity: water sports by day and authentic nightlife in the warm, drawn-out evenings.

To design your Greek island hopping holiday, get in touch with Sarah, our resident expert who has been organising trips to Greece for over 20 years, resulting in expert knowledge of both the better-known regions and other far-less-visited corners of the country.

Japan

The lowdown

  • Getting There

    You can fly direct to Tokyo from London's Heathrow airport in approximately 11 hours.

  • Best For

    We can tailor your trip to who is travelling - so video games for teens, ramen tours for foodies and sumo for sports enthusiasts.

  • When To Go

    Avoid the crowds and peak prices of cherry blossom season (March & April) and plump for warmer May or autumnal October.

For an immersive holiday in a culture so very different from home, Japan is a whirlwind.

From buzzy, neon-lit Tokyo to historic Kyoto, you’ll find a huge range of experiences that will show you the eye-opening world of Japan. Start in Tokyo where, depending on your inclinations, you could have tea with a geisha, take a video games tour, have lunch in a robot restaurant or slurp ramen in the city’s best noodle joints. Kyoto, by contrast, has a slighter slower pace. It’s here that you browse artisan shops, where centuries-old crafts like lacquerware and paper-making are visible today, and the city has some of Japan’s most beautiful shrines and temples.

Heading to the countryside in Japan will show another important part of their culture – where getting out into nature is a way of life. Fly by Mount Fuji in a bullet train, then get up close to the Japanese Alps on hikes through forests where steams trickle. Stay at a traditional ryokan where steamy onsens await.

To plan an adventure in Japan, speak to a member of the Real Holidays team.

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