7 mins

Widen your horizons: 9 epic trips to 2020's unexpected destinations

Try somewhere unexpected this year with these fantastic tours to exciting destinations, offering thrilling sights, breathtaking landscapes and incredible hospitality, just without the crowds...

El Nido, Palawan Province, Philippines (Shutterstock)

1. Discover Tunisia, North Africa’s best kept secret

Ksar Ouled Soltane near Tataouine in southern Tunisia (Shutterstock)

Ksar Ouled Soltane near Tataouine in southern Tunisia (Shutterstock)

With its glittering coastline, epic desert interior and extraordinary historical sites, Tunisia is set to become North Africa's hottest destination. This action-packed 12-day tour with Intrepid will introduce you to all the best bits, including Tunisia’s underrated, but totally delicious, cuisine.

You’ll wander through waterfront medinas where the scent of jasmine floats on the sea breeze, explore World Heritage-listed Roman ruins without the crowds and trek through the Sahara with Berber guides, sleeping under the stars in a remote desert camp.

Incredible landscapes. Hospitable locals. And a North African cuisine, blended with the flavours of Italy and Spain. Tunisia has it all.

Trip: Tunisia Expedition

Who: Intrepid

Type: Small group

When: Apr, May, Jun, Sept & Oct

How long: 12 days

How much: From £1,845 (exc. flights)

2. Experience South-East Asia in a nutshell in the Philippines

World heritage Ifugao rice terraces in Banaue (Shutterstock)

World heritage Ifugao rice terraces in Banaue (Shutterstock)

Get off the beaten track and discover a South-East Asian country with it all on this 16-day adventure through the glorious islands of the Philippines with Selective Asia.

With its white sand beaches, ancient rice terraces and traditional villages, the Philippines offers the best of the region in one compact package. From the Insta-friendly rice paddies of Banaue to the well-preserved Spanish colonial town of Vigan, you’ll enjoy everything the main island of Luzon has to offer before heading south to Palawan, famous for its pristine beaches and dramatic limestone formations.

Go now before the secret gets out.

Trip: The Philippines: Highlands To Islands

Who: Selective Asia

Type: Tailor-made

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 16 days

How much: From. £3,016 (exc. flights)

3. Take a road trip through revolutionary El Salvador

Colonial town of Suchitoto in El Salvador (Shutterstock)

Colonial town of Suchitoto in El Salvador (Shutterstock)

Be amongst the first to discover the unspoilt landscapes and incredible hospitality of El Salvador on this ‘revolutionary’ road trip through this incredible Central American country with Journey Latin America.

Owing to its complicated recent history, El Salvador is still establishing itself as a tourist destination. But with the help of knowledgeable local guides you’ll truly get under the skin of this fascinating country, learning about its extraordinary history, taking in its breathtaking landscapes and meeting the friendly local people.

Sure, the roads can get a little bumpy at times, but as you drive through vast coffee plantations, past active volcanoes and empty beaches and along the legendary ‘Route of Flowers’, you’ll be rewarded with the holiday of a lifetime.

Trip: Signature El Salvador: Revolutionary Road Trip

Who: Journey Latin America

Type: Tailor-made

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 11 days

How much: From £2.014 (exc. flights)

4. Cycle through beautiful Bavaria

Cycling in Bavaria (Shutterstock)

Cycling in Bavaria (Shutterstock)

The crowds might flock to European favourites Italy and France, but those in the know head to somewhere in-between – to the storybook towns and natural beauty of Bavaria, Germany.

This cycling holiday with Exodus is the best way to enjoy this surprisingly diverse region. You’ll ride on a mixture of cycle paths and side roads with little traffic, passing through traditional Bavarian villages to reach Lake Ammersee, the first of many lakes along your route.

Your first few days will take you uphill to the foothills of the Bavarian Alps to King Ludwig’s fairytale castles. The return to Augsburg, takes you along the River Lech, and along parts of one of the oldest tourist routes in the world, the Romantic Road, mainly on flat terrain.

Who knew such wonders were hiding in plain sight?

Trip: Lakes & Mountains Of Bavaria Cycling

Who: Exodus

Type: Self-guided

When: Regular departures throughout the year

How long: Eight days

How much: From £1,015 (exc. flights)

5. Encounter Eritrea, Africa’s Art Deco gem

Off to the camel market in Keren (Shutterstock)

Off to the camel market in Keren (Shutterstock)

With everyone heading to Ethiopia, consider visiting neighbour Eritrea instead: a compact country offering dramatic landscapes, fascinating history and surprisingly good coffee.

Starting in the capital Asmara, famous for its Italian style cafes and charming Art Deco buildings, you’ll spend ten days exploring this fascinating country. You’ll attend the famous camel market in Keren, wander through the historic ruins of Qohaito and soak up the sun and sand of an untouched stretch of the Red Sea coast near Massawa.

This is an extraordinary trip through a truly exciting part of Africa. 

Trip: Eritrea Discovery (10 Days)

Who: Undiscovered Destinations

Type: Small group

When: Feb, Apr, Oct & Nov

How long: 10 days

How much: From £2,885 (exc. flights)

6. Uncover the real Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan

Old and new in Baku (Shutterstock)

Old and new in Baku (Shutterstock)

Go beyond the glitz and glamour of the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, and discover a land of historical and natural wonders, on this small group tour with Regent Holidays.

After exploring both the modern and ancient charms of Baku, you’ll head inland to Ganja and the historical town of Sheki, as well as the little visit spots of Qabala (Gabala) and Lahij. The real highlight, however, will be the three days you spend in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, a remote and disputed enclave where time has stood still.

Trip: Azerbaijan & Nakhchivan Uncovered Group Tour

Who: Regent Holidays

Type: Small group

When: May

How long: 11 days

How much: From £2,740 (exc. flights)

7. Discover perfectly proportioned Paraguay

Jesuit ruins of the Mission of La Santissima Trinidad, Paraguay (Shutterstock)

Jesuit ruins of the Mission of La Santissima Trinidad, Paraguay (Shutterstock)

Landlocked and overlooked, the (relatively) tiny South American country of Paraguay is a place of remarkable contrasts. It is a land of remote wildlife reserves, restored colonial towns and untouched landscapes, perfectly suited to history, wildlife and culture buffs alike.

This 12-day tour with Journey Latin America is tailor-made to introduce you to the best Paraguay has to offer. You’ll explore the colonial era charms of its quirky riverside capital, Asunción, before heading to the bird-filled wetlands, saltpans, lagoons and thorn forests of the Chaco.

In the mountains, you’ll discover the ruins of once glorious Jesuit missions. And all the while, you’ll be warmly welcomed by the youthful and optimistic population, determined to ensure you remember your stay in their remarkable country.

Trip: Signature Paraguay: The Missions And The Chaco

Who: Journey Latin America

Type: Tailor-made

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 12 days

How much: From £3,975 (exc. flights)

8. Take a walk in the Andorran Pyrenees

Observation deck Roc Del Quer, Andorra (Shutterstock)

Observation deck Roc Del Quer, Andorra (Shutterstock)

Discover the hidden charms of walking in Andorra, the tiny mountainous country nestled deep in the Pyrenees, on this eight-day small group walking holiday with Exodus.

Andorra offer superb summer walking without the crowds. Based in the alpine village of Soldeu, you’ll spend your days trekking through protected valleys, meadows and glacial landscapes. Highlights include Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage glacial valley, the majestic Andorran valleys of Vall del Riu and the Incles and the Sorteny Nature Reserve, a botanical haven with over 700 species of flora.

Trip: Walking In The Andorran Pyrenees

Who: Explore

Type: Small group

When: Jun to Aug

How long: Eight days

How much: From £801 (exc. flights)

9. Explore Kosovo, Europe’s newest country

Prizren, Kosovo (Shutterstock)

Prizren, Kosovo (Shutterstock)

First recognised as a country in 2008, the tiny Balkan country of Kosovo is a beguiling mix of ancient traditions, orthodox churches and majestic mountains.

This tailor-made tour with Regent Holidays is designed to take you to its very heart, travelling by local buses and private cars and experiencing its fascinating history and incredible hospitality first hand.

You’ll explore Kosovo’s main cities of Pristina, Prizren and Gjakova as well as some of its most charming rural corners. Of course, any visit to Kosovo would not be complete without sampling the delicious local cuisine. You’ll tuck into hearty traditional dishes in the mountain village of Drelaj and mouth-watering trout in Istok (Istog).

Trip: Essential Kosovo

Who: Regent Holidays

Type: Tailor-made

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: Eight days

How much: From £1,110 (exc. flights)

Related Articles