100 best places on Earth for 2020

Travel

(CNN) — Helen Fanthorpe has traveled plenty — attempting to salsa in Cuba and visibly awestruck by the Taj Majal in India — so her bucket list is especially well-thought out.

“People always want to know the next hot destination,” said Fanthorpe, who’s based in London.

She called out to Rough Guide experts inside and outside the company to recommend “brilliant places for 2020, places that would be big news in 2020, just opened up, up and coming, back on the tourist map and places that are completely unmissable and timeless.”

She also wanted a mix of type of destinations, including cities and countries, natural, landscapes and wildlife, ruins, paying homage to famous places worth visiting.

This list has inspired her, since she’s only been to 26 places on it. CNN Travel asked her to share her bucket list from the book, so she told us where she wants to go next, in her own words.

Tokyo, Japan

Gardens like this one at Sensoji Temple provide restful place amid the hustle and bustle of busy Tokyo.

Gardens like this one at Sensoji Temple provide restful place amid the hustle and bustle of busy Tokyo.

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Tokyo — and Japan more generally — might be top of my bucket list, and I’m actually planning a trip there in autumn 2020. Tokyo is at once the home of cutting-edge technologies, glassy skyscrapers, alien robot shows, pulsating nightlife and fresh sushi, serene gardens and Buddhist shrines. There’s always something newer, brasher, weirder in Tokyo. I can’t wait to go and experience the city for myself. I suspect it’s like nowhere else on Earth.”

Yellowstone National Park, United States

A herd of bison gather in the Hayden Valley at Yellowstone National park.

A herd of bison gather in the Hayden Valley at Yellowstone National park.

JREden/iStockphoto/Getty Images

“Steaming pools of blue edged by green, yellow, orange and brown, thundering waterfalls and spewing geysers — the classic images of volcanic Yellowstone are enough to catapult it on to most bucket lists! I love wildlife and dramatic landscapes, so Yellowstone has got it all. Seeing grizzly bears, buffalo and horned elk in their natural habitat would be incredible.”

Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue, Mongolia

The world's largest statue of Genghis Khan is in Mongolia.

The world’s largest statue of Genghis Khan is in Mongolia.

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“I have a couple of friends who’ve traveled the Trans-Siberian Railway. I’ve never done a train journey of that length myself, but I think it’s a really atmospheric way to travel — and it’s also better for the environment. One friend stopped to visit the Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue in Mongolia. This is one of the more bizarre spots in the book — this vast, 44-meter hulk of steel in the middle of the Mongolian steppe. It sparked my imagination because the landmark feels totally incongruous with its surroundings, but is also a testament to how important Genghis Khan still is for the Mongolian people.”

Easter Island

Easter Island is home to these hulking rock statues carved centuries ago.

Easter Island is home to these hulking rock statues carved centuries ago.

tankbmb/iStockphoto/Getty Images

Easter Island feels like a totally justified ‘once-in-a-lifetime-experience’ sort of place to me. It’s remote (more than 2,000 kilometers from the nearest inhabited island) with nearly 900 moai statues scattered along the coastline. The thought of these hulks of rock — carved into human form centuries ago, probably to honor ancestors — surrounded by nothing but grass and the ocean sounds like such an awesome sight.”

Lahaul and Spiti, India

The famous Chandratal Lake captures the unimaginable beauty of Lahaul and Spiti.

The famous Chandratal Lake captures the unimaginable beauty of Lahaul and Spiti.

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“Striking, icy and remote, the scenery here is breathtakingly beautiful. Being right next to Tibet, the area’s benefited from Tibetan influence, too. I traveled around India for several months about a decade ago, and totally fell in love with the country. I also think there’s something enticing about an area that has just become more accessible. Why go skiing with the masses in France or Italy when you could go skiing in virgin Lahaul-Spiti?”

St. Petersburg, Russia

Pertergof Palace is home to this large fountain ensemble.

Pertergof Palace is home to this large fountain ensemble.

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“St. Petersburg is, in my mind, the classic canal city. It’s got 44 islands, beautiful pastel palaces, more than 400 bridges, imposing mansions, churches with colorful onion domes and landscaped gardens and parks. The architecture just sounds unbeatable. I’m also fascinated by the history of the USSR and if you look beyond the palaces, there’s Moskovsky district, with Stalinist neoclassical architecture, and fun finds like the interactive Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines.”

Beirut, Lebanon

Travelers are coming back to Beirut.

Travelers are coming back to Beirut.

ramzihachicho/iStockphoto/Getty Images

“Beirut has spent much of its recent history being defined by the troubles in the Middle East — which in turn impacted tourism here. But in a world where overtourism is becoming more of a problem and where adventurous travelers are seeking out the most interesting places to eat, shop and gallery hop, that just makes Beirut even cooler. I haven’t traveled much in the Middle East; it’s a region I’d love to explore more. “

Saxon Switzerland, Germany

The sun rises over Bastei rocks and the Bastei Bridge in Saxon Switzerland, Germany.

The sun rises over Bastei rocks and the Bastei Bridge in Saxon Switzerland, Germany.

rusm/iStockphoto/Getty Images

“The first time I looked at a picture of Saxon Switzerland (actually in Germany), the pinnacles reminded me of somewhere I’d been in China (the Stone Forest near Kunming). I was surprised to learn that these strange rock formations, surrounded by lush countryside and wooded hills, were actually in Europe. Being London based, I love finding great places to visit close to home. It’s just an extra draw that these landscapes featured in Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel.”

The Alhambra, Spain

The Alhambra Palace and fortress complex glows during sunset in Granada.

The Alhambra Palace and fortress complex glows during sunset in Granada.

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“I’m a massive fan of Islamic art. I think the detail, geometry and colors are just sublime. The Alhambra is meant to be one of the most impressive examples of Moorish architecture and ornamentation the world over, which is why it makes my bucket list.”

Namibia

Dead remains of an acacia tree provide a stark image at Namib-Naukluft National Park.

Dead remains of an acacia tree provide a stark image at Namib-Naukluft National Park.

Matthias Toedt/dpa/AP

“There are plenty of safari destinations in Africa, but Namibia looks particularly special. You can see lions, elephants, giraffes and oryx, but there are also the arresting landscapes of the oldest desert in the world. Sand dunes stretch for miles and Deadvlei (a white clay pan cradling a black petrified forest) would be incredible to visit.”

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