Wanting to travel the entire world will definitely make one long bucket list. Planning a trip requires a lot of research on destinations, events, cultures, etc. ... and very few people have the time and financial means to go through that entire process for a simple vacation.
Lonely Planet has devised a "system" to make your decision easier regarding which countries and cities to visit in the coming year. By "asking everyone, from our writers and editors to our online family of social media influencers, and amid fierce debate, the list is whittled down by our panel of travel experts." The end result is four "Best in Travel" categories, each with 10 locations: The Top 10 Countries, Top 10 Cities, Top 10 Regions, and Top 10 Value.
For the year 2020, two Arab countries and two Arab cities made it to three of the four lists, and it's far from being a surprise. These destinations are some of the most aesthetically pleasing, creative as well as cultural in the region.
Let's begin writing your 2020 travel bucket list:
"Morocco is a gateway to Africa and a country of dizzying diversity."
The only Arab country to have made it to Lonely Planet's "Top 10 Countries" in 2020, Morocco stands in at No. 9 among the Netherlands, England, and Costa Rica.
The country is well known for its four historically imperial cities: Marrakech, Fez, Meknès, and Rabat. The four areas are currently being rejuvenated and restored to host more tourists. Marrakech, specifically, has been crowned the first African Capital of Culture 2020 due to its ample ties with age-old culture, architecture, and art.
"It may be but a slim wedge of North Africa's vast horizontal expanse, but Tunisia has enough history and diverse natural beauty to pack a country many times its size."
Taking the seventh spot on Lonely Planet's "Best Value" in 2020 is Tunisia. After suffering economic difficulties leading to public debt, unemployment, security threats, and volatile oil prices, the country is making use of tourism to build itself a leg to stand on. This means the most beautiful of areas, locations, and nooks and crannies can be visited at relatively reasonable prices.
If culture and tradition is what you seek, head to Tunisia's historic Medina and ancient Carthage, the bright blue and white beach town of Sidi Bou Said, or even the home of one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces Star Wars in Djerba Island.
"Cairo is chaos at its most magnificent, infuriating and beautiful."
Egyptian archaeologists have been uncovering so many historical artifacts that the only option was to open even more museums, most notably the Grand Egyptian Museum. This alone has landed Cairo the third place on Lonely Planet's "Top 10 Cities" in 2020.
The Grand Egyptian Museum is not only the newest but also the grandest of museums in Cairo; even better, it is located a stone's throw away from the famous Giza Pyramids. To make things more and more exciting, Egypt opened a domestic airport - Sphinx Airport - in Giza earlier this year to make trips to Red Sea resorts and the ruin-filled city of Luxor seem like a quick taxi ride.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
"The future is now in Dubai!"
Dubai ranks ninth in the world - and second Arab city - on Lonely Planet's "Top 10 Cities" in 2020. Events upon events and then just a smidgen more that no one should miss out on. The most prominent of which include:
- The six-month-long Dubai Expo 2020: Millions of people will be gathering to experience sustainability and mobility showcases from 190 countries in some of the most jaw-dropping pavilions ever seen.
- The Museum of Future displaying next-generation wonders in a calligraphic eye-shaped building.
- "A Europe-themed fantasy resort on an artificial archipelago called The World is gearing up to welcome its first guests to such only-in-Dubai phenomena as underwater bedrooms and year-round snow."