Our top 10 destinations for 2020
Want to experience something totally unique? Let us lead you in the right direction.
It’s a cliché, but there is nowhere like Japan. And no matter how many times you’ve been, you’ll always find something new to marvel at. At the moment, the country is enjoying its status as a sporting capital following last year’s Rugby World Cup and this summer’s Olympics. But if sport isn’t your thing, Tokyo’s food scene is still unrivalled, while the contrast between ultra-modern Japan and its ancient culture never ceases to be fascinating. We also love nothing better than going for a stroll around neighbourhoods like Harajuku, Shimokitazawa and Daikanyama.
QT TIP: Experience the life of a monk by sleeping overnight in a shrine in the likes of Koyasan, Kyoto or Nara.
A distinctly different part of the Caribbean, Belize – located on the eastern coast of Central America – is becoming an excellent destination for luxury-minded travellers. The reasons are simple: great year-round weather, a friendly welcome and a growing number of fantastic hotels. This year, Marriott’s exclusive Autograph Collection debuts its first Belize property, the Alaia Belize, while Leonardo Dicaprio’s eco resort, Blackadore Caye, welcomes guests for the first time.
QT TIP: Regularly on National Geographic’s ‘great caves’ list, Actun Tunichil is a must for people who like a little exploration on their travels.
The undoubted capital of country music, Nashville has always attracted music lovers from around the globe. Must-sees include the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium and smaller music spots like the Listening Room and Bluebird. Our favourite time to go is June, as the Country Music Awards are in town, and the city is awash with music and musicians. And with Quintessentially Travel, you can choose exactly who you want to see.
QT TIP: Explore the nearby Shelby Bottoms Greenway trails and you might see the elusive and colourful golden pheasant
You’ve explored the Norwegian fjords, cycled the streets of Copenhagen and marvelled at the price of a beer in Stockholm. Where else is there? Well, when it comes to the Nordic countries, there’s only one choice for the adventurous traveller: the Faroe Islands. Located directly north of Scotland, this mostly rural archipelago is an excellent advert for sustainable tourism. While most people stay in the capital, Tórshavn, it’s the distinctly rustic pleasures that make the place such a must-visit: namely endless life-affirming views and challenging walks around the dramatic landscape.
QT TIP: While the air-dried mutton may take some getting used to, you can treat yourself at Koks, the nation’s only Michelin-starred restaurant.
China’s most diverse province, Yunnan is home to 25 of China’s recognised ethnic groups. As such, it has a unique culture that can be seen in everything from its architecture to its food. Located in the south-west of the country, the land is peppered with mountains and landscapes that embody the word ‘dramatic’ – check out the Meili Snow Mountain range for proof.
QT TIP: Make sure you incorporate Yuanyang territory into your journey – it’s been a UNESCO world heritage site since 2013, and it’s famous for the biggest rice terraces in the world.
New Mexico, USA
Sante Fe has been on the radar of in-the-know travellers for a few years now. And it’s no wonder: this vibrant, creative city was once part of New Spain. The architecture is ‘Spanish Pueblo Revival’, and the feel is somewhere between Madrid and Buenos Aires. If you’re looking to leave the city and get in touch with the land, book a trip to Taos, or investigate the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, 42,000 acres of lunar-like desert on the eastern edge of the Navajo Nation reservation. But whatever your preferences, a trip to New Mexico is a holiday that satisfies all the senses.
QT TIP: Like to see the world from a new angle? Visit in October for the nine-day Balloon Fiesta.
If you like beautiful, yet mostly undiscovered scenery, you’d be wise to check out the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. Located on the northern coast of Brazil near São Luís, this intriguing destination is characterised by its endless sand dunes, which cover an area of 380,000 acres. The sand is carried from Brazil’s interior by the Parnaíba and Preguiças rivers. And there’s so much of it, some dunes reach up to 40m in height. During the rainy season (which runs from January to May), the hollows between the dunes fill with water to create stunning deep-blue lagoons.
QT TIP: Take a trek from Lençóis and visit Cachoeira da Fumaça, one of Brazil’s tallest waterfalls.
Deer Valley and Park City, USA
It’s getting harder and harder to find a genuinely exclusive ski experience. That’s why we’re such big fans of Deer Valley and Park City. One of the venues for the 2002 Winter Olympics, Deer Valley was ranked as the number-one destination by the readers of SKI magazine in 2017. Just 35 minutes’ drive from Salt Lake City, the twin resorts boast runs of every kind, plus over 50 bars and restaurants: meaning your après-ski is every bit as impressive as your on-piste endeavours.
QT TIP: Check out Park City’s High West distillery makers of the finest bourbon and rye. Just the thing to warm you up after a day on the slopes.
Turquoise Coast, Turkey
Less crowded than Mykonos or Rhodes, but with so much to keep the upmarket traveller happy, the Turkish Riviera is a place that’s on the up. Located on the west coast of Anatolia, the Riviera takes in resorts like Bodrum and Kusadasi, and with temperatures into the mid-20s as late as November, it’s ideal for some winter sun. The luxury hotels here are also a major draw: witness the stunning Bodrum Edition for proof.
QT TIP: Combine your stay in Turkey with a spot of Greek island-hopping. Kos is only 45 minutes by ferry from Bodrum.
Todos Santos, Mexico
Baja California is one of Mexico’s most interesting areas – a strip of land nearly cut off from the rest of the country (the name means ‘Lower California’). Todos Santos – ‘All Saints’ – typifies this. Once known as Mexico’s best kept secret, this town in Baja California is criss-crossed by tiny cobbled streets and full of boutiques, secret bars and restaurants. In fact, Todos Santos is so beautiful that it’s a government-designated pueblo magico, just one of 100 settlements to receive the honour.
QT TIP: There’s no better place to try surfing for the first time. We recommend Playa Los Cerritos beach, where you’ll be able to catch some waves.
If you’d like to visit any of these destinations, please get in touch.