- Telegraph Travel is showcasing the best destinations and holidays for 2020 to help you find your perfect break.
- Our writers Annabel Fenwick Elliott, Greg Dickinson and Simon Parker are in Sharm El Sheikh, Porto and Cape Town – follow them live on Twitter (Annabel, Greg and Simon) and Instagram (Annabel, Greg and Simon).
- Consumer expert Nick Trend is answering your queries, unearthing the best travel offers and providing holiday recommendations. Leave your questions at the bottom of this article or Tweet using #SunshineSunday.
- To help you find your ultimate adventure, our 1,000 Dream Trips is open to non-subscribers until Monday morning – start your holiday search.
- We also want your travel tips for 2020. Where will you be going, and where would you urge other readers to visit – or avoid? Leave your comments at the bottom of the article, or Tweet using #SunshineSunday, and we will share the best.
It's goodnight from me
And that is that. Thanks again for all your tips and questions. Feel free to keep posting comments and queries at the bottom of the blog – we'll do our best to answer them on Monday morning. Happy travels in 2020!
Come on in, the water's lovely
Greg wins this challenge. Poor chap.
Oh blimey. Is anyone else glad they aren’t @Greg_Dickinson right now – getting in the North Atlantic in January?— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) January 26, 2020
Here’s how he got on with the fourth and final task on #SunshineSunday. He definitely wins the final challenge. Thanks for joining us – happy travels in 2020! pic.twitter.com/NsJ4J4cmSt
Thanks so much for joining us on Sunshine Sunday – we hope you've found inspiration, or at least a little light relief. There's just one last thing to take care of: the final challenge for our three roving reporters in Cape Town, Sharm El Sheikh and Porto. We asked you whether they should enjoy a well-earned cocktail or jump into the freezing cold ocean? Was the answer ever really in doubt?
For the final #SunshineSunday task, we are putting it in your hands. Should our roving reporters @annabelmaud, @Greg_Dickinson and @SimonWIParker a) Put their feet up and have a nice cocktail, or b) Get in the sea right now?— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) January 26, 2020
All-inclusive holidays are back
The old-fashioned all-inclusive holiday was in decline a few years ago. According to the ONS, they accounted for around 54 per cent of all holidays taken in 1999, but by 2010 that had fallen to 39 per cent. That slide appears to have stopped, however. Around 18.17m all-inclusives were taken by Britons in 2018, out of 47.04m holidays – 38.6 per cent. Despite the collapse of Thomas Cook suggesting otherwise, there is still clearly widespread demand for all-inclusive breaks. Here's our pick of the best for 2020.
Best of the rest
Here's a few more of the best offers to our 20 destinations for 2020:
- Sunvil offers a tour starting in Lisbon, including a visit to the fishing village of Cascais, and followed by three days in Porto and wine tours of the nearby Duoro Valley. It costs £1,237 per person based on a May departure. The price includes flights, accommodation, breakfast and first class train travel from Lisbon to Porto.
- Caminos offers an eight-day tour of Portugal, including three days in Porto and two days drinking wine in the Duoro Valley, with plenty of boat rides and scenic walks, from £550 per person.
- Regal Dive offers a seven-day trip to experience the rich aquatic life Sharm El Sheikh is renowned for. It includes the chance to explore Ras Mohammed Marine Park and dive to several shipwrecks. It costs £775 per person including flights, transfers and accommodation.
- Trailfinders offers a 10-night guided tour that covers Chile, Argentina and Patagonia. Start the journey in Santiago and move your way through Punta Arenas/Puerto Natales, Torres del Paine National Park, Mirador las Torres, then El Calafate and Perito Moreno Glacier before finishing the tour with a night in Buenos Aires. It costs £3,449 per person and includes flights, accommodation, half-board and all local transport.
- Inntravel offers a six-night walking holiday exploring the Black Forest from May to October. The choice of walks takes in Feldberg-Fachau, Alpersbach and Kirchzarten. Prices start from £895 and include accommodation, meals and luggage transfers.
- America As You Like It offers a 10-night trip to see New England in the fall, visiting the White Mountains, Southern Vermont’s Green Mountains and ending with a stay in the Berkshires. The trip costs from £1,545 and includes flights, accommodation and car hire.
Can you keep a secret?
There's a reason why so many people flock to Tuscany, Provence and Andalusia – because they are gorgeous. But there are still uncrowded corners in Europe's most popular regions. Our experts know where to find them – but please don't tell everyone.
- Forget Chianti – these are the five hidden corners of Tuscany you should visit
- The five secret corners of Provence you must visit
- Forget Seville – these are the five hidden corners of Andalusia you should visit instead
- Five secret corners of Umbria that tourists haven't discovered
- Who needs Barcelona? Five secret corners of Catalonia you should visit instead
Norway, South Africa, Japan or America?
You've been voting on Twitter for your favourite holiday destinations – with Norway, South Africa, Japan and the US coming out on top. But which of these four is number one?
Where would you most like to go in 2020?— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) January 26, 2020
You've been voting for your favourite destinations – with Norway, South Africa, Japan and the US coming out on top. But which of these is number one? Have your say! #SunshineSunday@visitnorway@SouthAfrica@Visit_Japan@VisitTheUSA
The best offer for Canouan
This exclusive island isn't the best bet for budget travellers in the region (see our Caribbean island guide) but this package is reasonably priced for what's on offer:
- Scott Dunn offers seven nights at Mandarin Oriental Canouan from £4,250pp including ocean view accommodation, bed and breakfast, flights and transfers.
Reggae beats on Bequia, perfect picket fences on Mustique, the glowering volcanic presence of St Vincent – the 32 islands that make up St Vincent and the Grenadines are a rich mix.
Of all the islands, Canouan looks set to hit the headlines in 2020. Last year, Mandarin Oriental opened its first resort on its eastern shore. And this year, cool newcomers will start drawing in a fresh crowd. Aman Hotels is said to be joining the fray in 2020, while Soho House is putting down roots in the former Tamarind Beach Hotel and Yacht Club. Canouan is the Amerindian word for turtle – a moniker that could apply to any of the islands. Hawksbills swim freely in the crystal blue waters; tortoises and iguanas lounge in the mangroves; hummingbirds flit among the frangipani flowers.
Simon has just had a close encounter with a sea lion in South Africa.
Where we're going in 2020
Many thanks for all your holiday recommendation. Now it's the turn of team Telegraph Travel. Me? I'll be embracing the train with flight-free trips to Girona, Lausanne, Como and San Sebastian. As for my colleagues...
I'm getting married in early July, so 2020 is a big year for me. Will we be hopping on a plane bound for the Seychelles for some all-inclusive luxury immediately after the wedding? Absolutely not. We'll be heading straight down to Cornwall, to my favourite beach on the north coast. Not only is this corner of the country lovely in early July, but most of the schools won't have broken up yet, so we should be able to soak up some of the glorious English summer in relative peace before the crowds descend. It's all about timing.
Every year is the year of the train for me, but in 2020 it looks as though I'll have lots of company (thanks, Greta). Eurostar is promising to make the return journey from Amsterdam to London as seamless (and change-free) as the outward one which is definitely something I'd like to test. To coincide with the hosting of the Olympics, the Japanese are introducing a new improved Bullet Train – a nice nod to when they last hosted the Olympic Games in 1964 and introduced the first Shinkansen train to an astounded world. I'd like to try that too, but not actually during the Olympics (too busy, too expensive, too hot; autumn is a much nicer time to visit).
Some serious foodie forays are high up on my list for 2020. First back to my old uni stomping ground of Nottingham for a meal at Sat Bains, and then to Antwerp in Belgium to suss out the best restaurants in the city. Any trip planned around food is a good one in my book.
2020 is about escaping the crowds. I intend to reconnect with our Gallic neighbours this year and shall be venturing into ‘La France profonde’, to Limousin. And to northern Italy, to Verona and its surrounding countryside.
Annabel Fenwick Elliott:
This year I'm going: skiing on my own (bit weird), back to South Africa (I'm addicted) and possibly to Indonesia. Destinations I would recommend: South Africa (Cape Town, Kruger and/or, more unconventionally, the Kalahari up north). The Fleurieu peninsula in South Australia, a marvelously under-visited region. Lapland (Swedish portion better than Norwegian and Finnish in my opinion). Namibia, before it gets too popular. The Seychelles, more characterful than the Maldives. Where to avoid: Bali – hugely overrated. Where I really want to go: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, or Uzbekistan – one of the ‘stans’. Russia by train. Kenya. Chile. Oman. Utah. Give me a desert or a canyon and I'm happy.
Our reporters are waiting patiently for their final challenge. But first, some shopping.
Annabel found this creepy souvenir:
Greg found Cristiano Ronaldo:
Speaking of France...
Anthony Peregrine's top tip for 2020 is Valence. He explains:
This Rhône valley is the best French food destination of 2020 – and Valence (pop: 63,000) is the town to head for. It has been feeding travellers for a long time and top-class vittles flow in from all around: Rhône wines, fruit and veg from the Drôme plain, freshwater fish, and meat from the Massif Central. Take these ingredients to their culminating point and you arrive at Maison Pic where, between the wars, king-sized grandad André already had three Michelin stars. More recently, his granddaughter Anne-Sophie has regained them at what is one of France’s finest, and dearest, tables.
But Valence also has a squad of young chefs bursting through to the sunlit uplands. In the jazz-tinged Flaveurs, Baptiste Poinot’s talent for improvisation has bagged a Michelin star, as has Masashi Ijichi’s marriage of Japan and the French south at La Cachette. More trad eateries also thrive and the Saturday morning market on Place des Clercs is unmissable. It all comes to the boil with the Valence en Gastronomie festival in September, but is wonderful at any time, and is minutes from the mountains.
The best summer holiday in France?
What do Laura Leinweber and Telegraph Travel's France expert Anthony Peregrine have in common? They both love France's "Deep South", a Catalan territory known as "Roussillon". For tips, see Anthony's guide.
Which destinations are at the top of your wish list? The stunning hilltop villages of Provence? The glorious Garden Route from Cape Town? The Taj Mahal and the desert palaces of Rajasthan? Wherever you dream of travelling, trips to special places such as these need careful planning. That is why Telegraph Travel launched Ultimate Itineraries – bespoke trips planned by our expert writers, so you can be sure that your dream holiday will live up to the billing. They include Japan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Iceland, Provence – and many more.
And in Cape Town...
Simon's approach has been a little less action-packed. He wandered down to the beach, had a nice glass of wine, ate a giant sandwich, and now he's looking at maps.
It’s @TelegraphTravel#SunshineSunday and I’m exploring Cape Town. Just found this @British_Airways Concorde route map from 1990 in a Kalk Bay thrift store. The #travel nerd in me wants to buy it... 480 Rand (£25) bargain? pic.twitter.com/mxEEGhfrrG— Simon Parker (@SimonWIParker) January 26, 2020
Over in Sharm El Sheikh...
After four years in the wilderness, Sharm El Sheikh is finally welcoming British travellers again. Today, our reporter on the ground Annabel has been underwater and up in the air – and she will writing a full report on the mood of the Red Sea resort for Telegraph Travel next week.
The best offers for Marrakech
- Pettitts offers a self-guided trip to Marrakech where you can explore the many palaces, mosques and gardens at your leisure. It costs from £695pp and includes flights, a private car and driver, sightseeing with a local English speaking guide, and accommodation.
- Spaces are still available on the 11-day Morocco: Cities & Empires trip that Martin Randall has scheduled Oct 03-14. The guided tour explores Morocco from Marrakech to Tangier, taking in the Atlas mountains and the imperial cities of Fez and Meknes. It costs £4,580 per person and includes flights, transfers, accommodation, most meals and all admissions.
‘Watch in awe as the city rushes past’
Marrakech a great bet for a sunny city break – and there's never been a better time to go, says Paula Hardy:
As Africa’s first Capital of Culture in 2020, the Pink City is on the road to a rosier future. The Medina is just emerging from an extensive facelift, its 1,000-year-old walls wearing a glowing mud mask and its Jewish quarter restored, while the shops, doors and alleys of the souks have been refitted, repaired and paved. The art scene, too, has exploded, with ground-breaking new galleries such as Macaal (Morocco’s first contemporary African art museum), Comptoir des Mines Galerie and Dada Marrakech.
Foreigners have long been entranced by the city’s colours, light and creativity, and now the children of the Moroccan diaspora are returning home, starting a new renaissance. Seek it out at Riad Yima, the teahouse of pop art artist Hassan Hajjaj, and fusion restaurant L’Mida; enjoy it in the playful modern ceramics of Bouchra Boudoua and the sustainable beauty products of The Moroccans; admire it in the hyper-creative couture collections of Artsi Ifrach and Amine Bendriouich. And expect much more to come, because Marrakech is just getting started.
Hold the front page
Breaking news from Porto...
Where celebrities are going this year
We asked. They revealed all.
I might be on the wrong side of 40 but I’m still up for a challenge in 2020. My next goal? Walking in the Chilean Andes.
Being Australian, my preferred religion is sun worship. This year I’ll be chasing rays on a walking holiday on the Amalfi coast, exploring the Galapagos (swimming with sea lions is best way for a girl to look slim!) and sailing in the Whitsunday passage (anyone who isn’t fun will be made to walk the plank).
Where will I be travelling in 2020? I’d love to steal myself away to Antarctica for a while if possible. Ernest Shackleton – my hero – is buried there.
Despite my love of staying put, I’d love to go diving in Raja Ampat in Indonesia. I haven’t managed to do that quite yet. I’m more than happy to get thrown in the ocean at any time.
The final challenge – it's up to you
Do you want to see our reporters enjoy a well-earned drink or jump into the freezing cold ocean?
For the final #SunshineSunday task, we are putting it in your hands. Should our roving reporters @annabelmaud, @Greg_Dickinson and @SimonWIParker a) Put their feet up and have a nice cocktail, or b) Get in the sea right now?— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) January 26, 2020
The best offer for Thailand
Here's a great package that offers top-end luxury at a reasonable price:
- Scott Dunn offers a trip to Thailand with a comfortable mix of city, jungle and beach. It includes opportunities to visit iconic sites in Bangkok before leaving the crowds behind to explore Khao Sok National Park. The holiday ends with beach time in Koh Lanta. From £2,900 per person for 11 nights, including flights, private transfers and five-star accommodation.
Time for Thailand
Nick Trend has a few words of wisdom for anyone in search of long-haul value for money:
The best long-haul destination this year – for sheer value for money – is likely to be Thailand. Although the pound has had a poor run against the baht over the last three or four years, it has rallied strongly in the last six months and generally the cost of living, accommodation and eating out in Thailand is low. Also critical is the cost of flights. Because so many airlines fly via Bangkok (one of our 20 best destinations for 2020) fares are kept relatively low. So if you are looking for an exotic holiday in 2020 or some last minute winter sun, Thailand is an excellent bet.
Cute penguins, giant rabbits or Nemo?
For our third Sunshine Sunday challenge, we asked our three reporters to find some local wildlife. Simon in Cape Town gets a silver medal for visiting the sun-loving penguins of Boulder's Beach. But Annabel in Sharm El Sheikh takes gold for finding Nemo. Greg in Porto is disqualified – those rabbits aren't even real!
Simon was spoilt for choice for this challenge. Once again rising to the challenge on #SunshineSunday, is he waddling to the top of the leaderboard?— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) January 26, 2020
Task three: Photograph some wildlife. #SunshineSundaypic.twitter.com/PxPTBZXubY
1,000 Dream Trips
Do you know about Dream Trips? We've chosen 1,000 great holidays and added a clever filter so you can find the ones that suit you. What's more, it is open to non-subscribers until Monday morning – so start your holiday search.
Europe's best value summer holiday?
Nick Trend urges anyone looking for an affordable summer holiday to consider Portugal:
Getting value this summer isn’t just about the strength of the pound against the local currency, it’s also about the price of flights and the local cost of living. Overall, for a sun-and-sand holiday (and also for a city break) Portugal comes up trumps. A recent Post Office price survey found it to be one of the cheapest options for day-to-day costs, and there is a huge choice of flights from the UK – especially to the Algarve. With the pound much stronger against the euro than last summer, Portugal seems like an excellent bet for 2020.
See our guide to the best seaside destinations in Portugal, or for more tips on classic European summer holidays, see our pick of the 40 best for 2020.
Top tips from Telegraph readers
More travel suggestions for 2020 from our knowledgeable readers.
Amanda Niemer says:
Go on a cooking, dancing or painting holiday. Especially great if you're single. I'd really like to do the Silk Road. And Tasmania. But avoid Barcelona, I hate it. And Beijing.
Charles Allison says:
We went to Bavaria one October to visit King Ludwig's castles. We also went up the Zugspitze. What we didn't realise in our ignorance was that there were superb autumn colours to see.
Adam Turner says:
Slovenia for nature, adventure sports and cheap luxury digs (around Lake Bled). Chicago for a big US city break full of fast food (go for Italian beef sarnie over deep dish pizza), sports games (Cubs) and live music. Panama for idyllic islands (San Blas), sunsets and spectacular bus rides.
Rachel Mills says:
Get thee on an adventure in Britain. Walking a section of the South West Coast Path is pretty special and the scenery of the Lizard Peninsula is unbeatable. With a heavy heart I’m giving up travel in India for the time being. I need a break from the poor air quality and people chucking rubbish out of car/bus/train windows.
Where to find La Dolce Vita
Not in London – but what about Sicily? Nick Trend is still answering your travel queries. Leave a question at the bottom of this article or Tweet using #SunshineSunday.
How about Sicily? Great food and wine; fantastic cultural sights; good beaches and some lovely villas. There should be more than enough to please everyone. And at the end of September it is still beautifully warm and sunny. Here's our expert guide: https://t.co/pT3G0bu3EX— Nick Trend (@travellingtrend) January 26, 2020
The 50 best adventures for 2020
For more once-in-a-lifetime holidays, see our guide.
The best offer for Bhutan
Trips to Bhutan don't come cheap thanks to its costly $200-a-day tourist tax, but we've found one option that offers good value for money.
- Travel the Unknown has a 15-day escorted tour that explores Bhutan from east to west, including a hike up to the Tiger's Nest. It costs £3,395pp, including accommodation, transfers, meals, and an English-speaking guide; flights extra.
‘This most laid-back of nations will entrance you’
Few tourists make it to the Kingdom of Bhutan, another of our 20 best destinations for 2020. Will Robson writes:
Touching down on the world’s diciest runway may be a white-knuckle introduction, but this most laid-back of nations will soon entrance you with its “slowly, slowly” approach to existence.
Most of Bhutan is forested: oak and walnut trees draped with moss and orchids overhang deep gorges of rushing emerald-coloured rivers. A quarter is nature reserve, where the golden takin (a goat-like mammal) hides and eagles wheel above sacred peaks.
Buddhism defines life in Bhutan, with more than 2,000 temples. Hike up to the beautiful Tiger’s Nest monastery that clings to a mountainside above Paro, or join the four-day Tshechu festival crowds in the ancient capital of Punakha. The brilliant colours of flags and traditional costume, the beaming, noisy families picnicking on chilli and rice, and the sight of ceremonies unchanged in a thousand years, overload the senses.
Lunch served in an ashtray
Over in Sharm El Sheikh, our reporter Annabel Fenwick Elliott has been trying a local delicacy with an off-putting name...
Secret seaside: Italy's forgotten beach destinations
Overtourism remains a key issue across Europe, so Telegraph Travel is dedicated to uncovered the best unsung holiday options across the continent. For those heading to Italy, there's the Salento peninsula in southern Puglia. It's the country's answer to Cornwall: a place of ancient cultural traditions, not all of them diluted into tourist attractions. For more suggestions, see our guide.
Australia needs you
It has been a dreadful few months for Australia, but now it needs tourists more than ever. Telegraph Travel's inimitable columnist (and Aussie) Kathy Lette writes:
Amid the heartbreak and horror of the cataclysmic fires it’s important to remember that most of Australia has not been affected and remains breathtakingly beautiful. Plus, our tourism industry needs the financial defibrillator of British visitors more than ever.
My favourite places include Kakadu National Park, as wild as it is wondrous; the Kimberley, where there are fewer people per square kilometre than almost anywhere else in the world; Byron Bay, where whales breach in the deep while pods of dolphins shoot the waves; and the Jurassic-Park-like forests and pristine white beaches of Tasmania.
Thailand or Japan?
Time for another poll! So far you've voted for Norway, the US, and South Africa – what about these four?
Time for our fourth #SunshineSunday poll: Which of these four lovely places would you most like to visit in 2020?— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) January 26, 2020
The 50 best family holidays for 2020
Lots of you are asking about family holidays. Be sure to take a look at our pick of the 50 best.
California for £279 return
Nick Trend has had a look at Virgin's January sale to find the best offers – and it seems they've gazumped BA's £369 flights to LA.
Virgin has further reduced fares in its current sale. Eye-catchers include returns from London to San Francisco (from £279), Delhi (£434) and Antigua (£399).
Meanwhile, in Cape Town...
Simon Parker has won the second Sunshine Sunday challenge, hands down. We asked our roving reporters to track down a local delicacy. Just look at what Simon found.
The best offers for Croatia
Here's our pick of the packages:
- Classic Collection is offering the four-star Hotel Miramar in Opatija from £1,820 for seven nights b&b in a deluxe sea view room including flights and transfers, based on a May 20 departure.
- Regent Holidays offers a fly-drive tour taking in the historic town of Pula, with its Roman amphitheatre and forum, Porec, with its Byzantine mosaics, and the islands of Res, Mali Losinj and Krk, before an overnight stay in Rijeka for a taste of the port’s burgeoning cultural scene. From £1,380 for 11 nights b&b, including flights and car hire.
‘Brimming with energy and attitude’
Another of our 20 best destinations for 2020 is Croatia – or, to be precise, Rijeka and the Kvarner Gulf. Linda Cookson explains:
Stuffed with students, and brimming with energy and attitude, the Croatian city of Rijeka pipped Dubrovnik and Split to the title of 2020 European Capital of Culture, and is thriving in its newfound recognition. But the ace up its sleeve is the glamour of its coastal location – bang on the edge of Croatia’s dazzling blue Kvarner Gulf region. Its elegant 19th-century resort Opatija, a former hideaway for royalty and arty luminaries, is just 15 minutes from Rijeka. Opatija slipped into genteel obscurity as visitors defected to neighbouring Istria and Dalmatia. But now that Rijeka’s small airport is open for international flights, the Gulf is firmly back on the map. So, too, are its fairy-tale islands. Ravishing Rab, with its medieval walled town jutting into the Adriatic like the prow of a ship, is the undisputed jewel in a glittering crown. Or visit herb-drenched Losinj for laid-back “wellness” retreats.
For more tips on where to go in Croatia, see our guide to its seaside highlights.
Greece is the word
I can't think of anywhere better than a Greek island on a hot day with cold beer
Hi Rob. It's such a lovely island - but quite big, so you'll definitely need a hire car to get around. The best beach is at Myrtos, Fiscardo is the prettiest port and it's fun to book day trips over to the deserted beaches on the west coast of Ithaka. https://t.co/vnkLZ0blDb— Nick Trend (@travellingtrend) January 26, 2020
Where you're going in 2020
Two more suggestions here (via Twitter) – one exotic, one less so.
Kirsty Bowen says:
The most awe-inspiring sight I’ve seen is Petra, and the rest of Jordan is fascinating too. Enjoy a day at Petra, a journey through Wadi Rum, and then a float in the Dead Sea.
Julia Hammond says:
Come to Essex – we have wide sandy beaches, ancient woodland, beguiling villages and bucolic pubs. Best of all, many visitors think we begin and end with Dedham and Mersea, meaning there’s no shortage of places to find a spot to yourself.
I've explored both – and they are equally lovely.
The world's most beautiful bookshop?
It's in Porto
Did you know that the opulent, labyrinthine Livraria Lello in #Porto inspired J K Rowling when she was writing #HarryPotter?— Greg Dickinson (@Greg_Dickinson) January 26, 2020
Just stunning (and your €5 ticket price can go towards the price of a book!)#SunshineSundaypic.twitter.com/89sMYOY3tL
California for £369 return
Nick Trend has been casting an eye over BA's January flight sale to find the best offers.
British Airways has some good offers on sale until January 30. A couple which caught my eye were New York from £262 return and Los Angeles from £369, including car hire for a week (though check what extras you may need to pay on the car). Peru from £408, Tokyo from £541, and Chicago in premium economy at £571 return also look tempting.
40 holidays that offer guaranteed sunshine – and adventure
Take a look at the big holiday round-up in today's Sunday Telegraph. From cycling through medieval towns to embarking on an epic trail of Indochina, Sarah Baxter has a sun-filled break to suit every taste. See her selection here.
Keep your travel questions coming in!
Our Nick Trend loves nothing more than offering holiday advice (and a good water slide)
Our Spain expert, Annie Bennett also recommends Playa Blanca as a family resort on Lanzarote, which also has a water park: https://t.co/wbzLOTDs9Z— Nick Trend (@travellingtrend) January 26, 2020
Raise a glass to Cape Town
Simon Parker is making us very angry now...
It’s #SunshineSunday in summery #CapeTown. Glass of delicious rosé for just ZAR 45 (£2.40) - grown and bottled just a few miles away. Am I allowed to be having so much fun, @TelegraphTravel? pic.twitter.com/8OjfpnS7Vf— Simon Parker (@SimonWIParker) January 26, 2020
The best offers for Japan
It's hard to beat these holidays, one for the sports obsessed and another for a taste of traditional Japan.
- Fleewinter offers a nine-day trip to Japan which combines visits to Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto with experiences ranging from tea ceremonies to hot springs. It costs from £1,987pp and includes eight nights b&b, local transport, entrance fees, guides and some meals.
- On trips with Team GB Live, fans will arrive in Tokyo in time for the Olympics Opening Ceremony, and are guaranteed to meet Team GB legends and athletes in person. Ticket combinations ensure viewing of multiple sporting sessions and prices are from £5,855pp including international return flights, tickets to the Games, hotel accommodation.
‘Seduces and surprises in equal measure’
Japan is ready for another year in the spotlight. Danielle Demetriou writes:
The contrasts of Tokyo have long seduced and surprised in equal measure – and its allure will shine brighter in 2020, as it counts down to hosting the Summer Olympic Games. The city is currently in a state of suspended anticipation. Flurries of new hotels are opening, vast urban developments are being unveiled, and long-standing infrastructural upgrades are being completed.
Those keen to escape the Olympic crowds (and summer humidity) have countless options – and top of the list should perhaps be Hokkaido, the northernmost main island, famed for its flower fields, fresh seafood and cooler summertime climes. Closer are the former ancient capital of Kyoto, and Osaka, known for its food and lively atmosphere (with direct BA flights from London) – both just a couple of hours by bullet train from Tokyo.
Getting high in Porto, Cape Town and Sharm El Sheikh
We've dreamt up a few challenges for our roving reporters. Number 1? Get as high up as you can.
Right, it's time for task one on #SunshineSunday.— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) January 26, 2020
This morning we challenged Annabel, Greg and Simon to get as high up as they could.
This is what happened...
America or Chile?
South Africa and Portugal are winning in our first two polls. Here's number three.
Time for another #SunshineSunday poll: Which of these lovely places would you rather visit this year?— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) January 26, 2020
Where celebrities are going this year
We asked. They told. And Andrew Flintoff has set his sights very high.
On my 80th birthday next year I am going fly-fishing for a week, in Scotland. That is my aim. At the moment I have a shoulder that doesn’t work, so casting the rod is a little tricky, but my plan is to be sufficiently better to do this.
I’d love to go to South Africa. I’ve always loved Cape Town – it’s got an awesome variety. There are not many places you can lie on a beach, go on safari, see penguins and climb a mountain all in one city.
Top of my list for 2020 is Argentina. Ever since that scene in Roman Polanski’s Bitter Moon, I’ve wanted to dance the tango. My other half isn’t so keen. I’ll have to dance with a local. He can sit and watch.
In 2020, I’d love to visit either of the Poles. Looking further ahead, I wouldn’t mind booking myself on to one of those commercial space travel ventures.
Time for Turkey?
Looking for great value in 2020? Nick Trend suggests Turkey:
The pound has taken a battering against many currencies since the Brexit referendum, but the good news is that it’s rallied recently and there are also still some currencies which offer excellent value. In Turkey, for example, the pound has gained more than 20 per cent in the last 12 months against the lira and roughly doubled since the referendum. Istanbul is exceptional value for a city break, while the Turquoise Coast eastwards from Bodrum is a great place to find bargain beach holidays. The challenge is to find cheap flights to airports like Istanbul, Bodrum and Dalaman. Try skyscanner.net to compare fares.
For more tips on where to go, see our guide to Turkey's best seaside destinations.
A hotel for cats
Greg Dickinson has just found Porto's greatest attraction.
The best UK offers
Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Wilderness Scotland has a seven-night all-inclusive walking tour between May and June for £1,895 per person. Walkers can spot red deer and golden eagles while hiking the peaks of Lewis and Harris, the most rocky of the Outer Hebridean islands. The price includes full-board, accommodation, all transport and an expert guide.
The National Trust has an incredible selection of characterful holiday cottages in some of the most beautiful parts of the British coast. Look out for last-minute 15 per cent discounts on the website.
For something really quirky, take a look at the Landmark Trust, which offers stays in historic properties – including towers, forts and castles.
‘Why fly when we have it all on our doorstep?’
Speaking of flight-free holidays, the British coastline was another of our 20 best destinations for 2020. Richard Madden says:
Staycations have never been so popular. As the planet heats, we are all looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprints. Why fly halfway around the globe when we have it all on our doorstep? Due to a happy accident of tectonic plate movement, volcanic activity, and the rise and fall of oceans over billions of years, Britain has some of the most diverse landscapes of any country of a similar size in the world. And nowhere is this diversity more compelling than around its edges.
Highlights include the South West Coast Path, regularly voted “Britain’s Best Walk”, and the Norfolk Coast Path – both of which are famous for their numerous creeks, bays, estuaries, lakes, lagoons, beaches, cliffs, coves and woodland valleys. Then there are our magical offshore islands. In the south we have the Isles of Scilly with their tropical gardens, remote beaches and other-worldly vibe, the eight contrasting Channel Islands, and the often-overlooked Isle of Wight. In the mystical north, the Hebrides, the Shetland Islands and the Orkneys have stunning coastlines, white-sand beaches and prehistoric remains such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Neolithic houses of Skara Brae in the Orkneys.
It is the age of flight-shaming and Greta Thunberg – but is anyone actually cutting down on flying? Have your say on Twitter, and for flight-free inspiration take a look at our map below. Did you know that Biarritz is just seven hours and 32 minutes from London by train?
Nick Trend is answering your travel queries – and recommends Nice for a slice of flight-free February sun. Tweet using #SunshineSunday or leave a comment at the bottom of the blog.
Hi. Nice is nice in February. Not hot, but warm and usually sunny and there is a great carnival! Fast rail links via Paris https://t.co/hkYfGoxo1x— Nick Trend (@travellingtrend) January 26, 2020
Where you're going in 2020
More suggestions from our well travelled and discerning readers.
Linda Morris is looking east:
I would urge anyone to visit safe Uzbekistan. Khiva, Bhukara and Samarkand, with their stunning Islamic architecture, beautiful textiles, ceramics, friendly people and Silk Route history. Avoid anywhere where the masses go.
Emma Reed is looking west (and south):
Go to Chile, for the buzz and vivid street art covering every wall in Valparaíso to the feeling of insignificance stargazing in the hush of the Atacama Desert.
The forgotten Costas: Spain's secret seaside destinations
Nearly 16m of us visit Spain each year, but that doesn't mean you can't find a quiet corner to lay down your towel. How about Monsul, in the Cabo de Gata-Níjar National Park? For more suggestions, see our guide.
Then and now: Britain's favourite holiday destination
Back in the Nineties, France held the honour. More than 9.5m Britons made the short trip across the Channel in 1995, according to the ONS – this rose to 11.9m in 1999. But soon after the turn of the century Spain stole its crown. It welcomed 8.2m UK travellers in 1995, 10.4m in 1999 – and 13.8m in 2005. In 2018 the figure was a whopping 15.6m. Spain reigns supreme.
Italy has also risen up the rankings. It was our seventh favourite option in 1995; now it is third. Portugal is up three places (ninth to sixth); India two (17th to 15th).
There are five new entries. The lofty rankings now held by Poland (ninth) and Romania (13th) are partly due to immigrants from those countries returning to visit friends and family. Poland joined the EU in 2004 and Romania in 2007. But the rise of the UAE (now 16th), Mexico (18th) and China (20th) can be explained by their growing popularity as holiday destinations.
For the most part, however, it’s a case of plus ça change. The top 10 in 1995 contained Spain, France, Italy, Ireland, the US, Germany, Portugal, Greece and the Netherlands. It still does. Read our full report.
Where great explorers go on holiday
You've scaled Everest, and you've crossed Antarctica on foot, so where do you go to relax? For Sir Ranulph Fiennes, it's Scotland:
If I could take a holiday with my family, not mountaineers, it would be to Sutherland in north-west Scotland to see the wildcats. I do love to see animals being saved from extinction. There are only 1,000 or so prowling about, so we'd have to be lucky.
I've never been more jealous
I'm in the office. Simon Parker, one of our three roving reporters, is in Cape Town.
#SunshineSunday has coincided with high #summer in #CapeTown and on my dash around the city I’ve called into one of the very best #cricket pitches.— Simon Parker (@SimonWIParker) January 26, 2020
I know @Telegraph@TelegraphSport readers love their #cricket. How’s that for a view? ☀️��☀️��☀️�� @TelegraphTravelpic.twitter.com/oVOrYefFGB
The best offers for Pakistan
Inspired by Emma Thomson's endorsement? Here are two holidays to Pakistan that offer real value for money:
- Native Eye offers an escorted tour that shows visitors the culture, natural beauty and vistas of Northern Pakistan including the forested Rama Valley, wild Deosai Plateau, the world’s fastest moving glacier, and opportunities to experience local festivals and bazaars. It costs £2,599 per person for 16 days for a May departure; £2,799 for August. Single supplement £275. The price includes meals, accommodation and activities.
- Wild Frontiers offers a 16-day Hindu Kush Adventure that gets off the beaten track in Northern Pakistan, meeting Kalash people, visiting Chitral, walking around Ayun, driving up to Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor all while absorbing singular mountain scenery. It costs £2,795 and includes accommodation, transfers, full-board, guide and entrance fees; flights cost extra.
Be sure to check the Foreign Office advice carefully before booking.
‘Prepare to have your expectations confounded’
For a holiday in 2020 to surprise your friends, there's Pakistan – a country on the brink of a tourism boom. Emma Thomson, who visited last year, explains:
2019 marked a positive shift and the trend looks set to strengthen. Imran Khan, the cricket legend-turned-prime minister, implemented an e-visa system making entry much simpler and faster, British Airways resumed direct London-Islamabad flights after an 11-year hiatus, and it was given the royal stamp of approval when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent a week travelling around the country in October, marking the first royal visit in 13 years.
Prepare to have your expectations confounded. This is a land of fairies, shamans, blinged-out Bedford trucks, and the world’s best apricots. Its landscape is sculpted by gnarly glaciers, mint-blue rivers, and vast cauldrons of snow-capped mountains, of which 108 – more than Nepal and China combined – are over 7,000 metres high. You can meet the pagan tribes of the Kalash valleys, snack on Swat valley strawberries, stay in immaculately restored former palaces, uncover Silk Road remnants, and shop for raw rubies and lapis lazuli in the markets. Precautions and specialist travel insurance still need to be taken, but open-minded visitors travelling with a good operator will have no regrets.
South Africa or Morocco?
Let's have another poll. Poor France is getting stuffed in the first one.
Poll number 2. Which of these fine countries would you most like to visit in 2020? #SunshineSunday— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) January 26, 2020
Sharm's answer to Oxford Street
Hands up if you knew there was a branch of Selfridges in Egypt. Thanks Annabel.
The science behind why we feel better when it's sunny
Telegraph Travel's Ben Ross has put on his lab coat and safety goggles:
Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies, vital for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Most of us could do with getting more of it, and if children are badly deficient they get rickets (bone deformities and pain) while adults get the grown-up equivalent: osteomalacia.
During the great British summer, we should be able to get all the vitamin D we need from sunlight. Unless, that is, you spend all of your daylight hours, as I do, cooped up in an office. Your skin needs to be exposed to ultraviolet rays in order to receive enough energy to make vitamin D, you see. It doesn’t work through windows. You need to get out there and, er, expose yourself.
I know what you’re thinking: oily fish. But apparently it’s hard to get enough vitamin D from food. Yes, it’s present in salmon and mackerel, red meat and egg yolks, and your Special K comes fortified with bonus vits, but good old sunlight does the job best.
Vitamin D production isn’t the only benefit we gain from the sun’s rays: moderate sunlight is also said to improve mood by boosting serotonin levels in the body, which reduces the risk of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Sunshine tends to make us happier and more optimistic, and holidays add to our joie de vivre as we spend time with our nearest and dearest.
Go on holiday – your body will thank you.
1,000 Dream Trips
For those struggling to find travel inspiration, Dream Trips is the answer. It features 1,000 great holidays and a clever filter so you can find the ones that suit you. What's more, it is open to non-subscribers until Monday morning – so start your holiday search.
The world's classiest McDonald's?
Our man Greg Dickinson has found an unusually ornate branch of the fast food chain.
Where you're going in 2020
The travel tips from readers are flying in on Twitter.
Martha Whatley has found heaven in Italy:
Avoid the tourist hotspots Parma and Bologna and head to Borgo Val Di Taro, home to the most incredible porcini mushrooms, a charming town that is surprisingly busy and some great, unassuming restaurants. For amazing pizza al testo, which is cooked under a cast iron bell (get the pizza with lardo on top of it, life-changing) head to Corchia, or for mountain recipes using porcini try Manubiola in Berceto. Foodie heaven.
Richard Jowett prefers snow to sunshine:
Spitsbergen has to be one of the greatest places to visit – 800 miles from the North Pole, the remoteness has to be experienced to be believed. Pretty expensive but certainly a place to visit once in a lifetime.
Steve Brown is looking east:
Anywhere in Japan, starting with the red-crowned cranes in Kushiro.
Send us your travel questions!
Our travel expert Nick Trend is itching to answer your questions. Tweet using #SunshineSunday or leave a comment at the bottom of the blog.
Hi Jacqui - depends what you mean by authentic, but how about New Orleans? Great food, great music, warm winters ... Our guide is here: https://t.co/ilLiUJ2tQJ— Nick Trend (@travellingtrend) January 26, 2020
The best offers for Guyana
We've found two great packages to Guyana – one for budget travellers, another for those in search of a little more luxury:
- Dragoman's Guyanas Explorer costs from £1,245 for 21 days, as well as a ‘kitty’ cost of US$1,030. The total covers transfers, accommodation, meals when camping and activities but not international flights. Departs April and September.
- Journey Latin America offers an escorted tour exploring Brazil, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. The exhilarating trip starts in Rio de Janeiro, driving to the Guyana border via a night in Boa Vista and includes a chance to visit Georgetown as well as Kourou space centre and Iles du Salut. It costs from £4,827 with flights included (£3,882 without) for 16 days including transfers, bed and breakfast, excursions and full board for three days. Departs October.
‘Underrated Guyana is a rarity more precious than gold’
Another of Telegraph Travel's 20 best destinations to visit in 2020 is Guyana, the antidote to overtourism. Sarah Marshall explains:
In a world so connected, it’s hard to imagine there are places still under the radar. But Guyana, a tangled mass of pristine rainforest on South America’s north-eastern tip, is one of the few spots on scratch maps likely to have its shiny foil intact. Take jungle treks in search of magnificent harpy eagles and goliath bird-eating spiders, enjoy boat rides amid rolling arapaima fish and learn about the culture of the Macushi tribe. Almost 80 per cent of the country is covered in rainforest, home to thousands of plant and animal species, but the real attraction is wilderness itself. Teetering over the lip of Kaieteur Falls still feels like a discovery: in the absence of barriers, a misty valley stretches into infinity, and the only crowds are flocks of swifts darting through cascades of water to roost. Even though it’s one of South America’s greatest wonders, this mighty cataract receives as many visitors in a year as Machu Picchu gets in a day. At a time when overtourism is becoming overbearing, remote, underrated Guyana is a rarity more precious than gold.
France or Norway?
Which of our 20 destinations for 2020 would you most like to visit? Vote in our Twitter poll.
Which of these European countries would you most like to visit in 2020? #SunshineSunday— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) January 26, 2020
Where will you be going in 2020?
You can share your travel tips using the comment box at the bottom of the article. Where will you be going, and where would you urge other readers to visit – or avoid? We're already received lots of suggestions on Twitter, and I can certainly concur with David Myring:
It's Mykonos for me. Mykonos Airport that is, then the first ferry leaving the overcrowded, overpriced capital of glitz and kitsch. Naxos, Amorgos, Serifos and Koufonisia are my islands of choice, but there are at least 20 Cycladean paradises that have hardly changed in decades.
He's not wrong. I'd add Tinos to that list too.
Meanwhile, in Porto...
It certainly beats London Victoria
Today, on #SunshineSunday, I am completing a series of tasks in #Porto. These will be live from 12pm on @TelegraphTravel.— Greg Dickinson (@Greg_Dickinson) January 26, 2020
In between tasks I will be Tweeting as I explore the city, seeing its wonders...
including what is, almost certainly, the world's sexiest train station. pic.twitter.com/qyXFxUyjRy
The best offers for South Africa
We've found two packages for 2020 that we think offer superb value for money:
- Llama Travel has a 10-night trip which explores Cape Town and the Garden Route, including a chance to see southern right whales in Hermanus, visiting Knysna, Oudtshoorn and Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands. It costs £1,899 per person including flights, accommodation and all transfers and excursions listed in the itinerary.
- Kuoni offers Safari and The City, a seven-night trip that starts with four nights in Cape Town followed by three nights at Kariega Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape. It costs from £2,495 per person based on July and August departures and includes international flights, accommodation, bed & breakfast in Cape Town and full board at Kariega.
‘The indisputable champion of the sub-Saharan safari’
It's cold and grey in London – but not in South Africa, one of Telegraph Travel's 20 best destinations to visit in 2020. Why go this year? The wildlife offers one good reason. Simon Parker explains:
Still basking in the glow of its 2019 Rugby World Cup triumph, Africa’s southernmost superpower will in 2020 reaffirm itself as the indisputable champion of the sub-Saharan safari. Just one year after welcoming its founding pride of lions, Samara Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape is celebrating the birth of its first cubs. In KwaZulu-Natal, the &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve will launch a first-of-its-kind Night Eye Experience, allowing khaki-clad night owls to unlock the shadowy mysteries of the African bush, with infrared cameras. Further north, the not-for-profit luxury Lepogo Lodges camp on the banks of the Limpopo will be the first in Africa to offset the carbon footprints of each and every one of its guests.
And then there's Cape Town, of course. Telegraph readers voted it their favourite city on the planet for the seventh year running in our 2019 Travel Awards.
Happy Sunshine Sunday!
Telegraph Travel has the cure for your January blues – a day of holiday inspiration, advice and fun to help you decide where to go in 2020. For the next eight hours, we'll be offering tips on the best destinations, unearthing the best offers, and answering your questions on all things travel. Leave your queries in the comment box below.
To make things interesting, we've sent three of our reporters to sunnier climes. Annabel Fenwick Elliott is in Sharm El Sheikh, Greg Dickinson is in Porto, and Simon Parker is in Cape Town – and we'll be giving them a series of tasks to complete later today. Follow us on Twitter to see how they get on.