New year, new decade, new experiences. We set our team the difficult task of choosing their top pick for 2020, which can be quite a challenge when there are so many destinations and travel styles to narrow down from an extensive bucket list. Here are the standout itineraries they have on their radar for the New Year.
As a foodie and a sun lover, Portugal and Spain are right up Georgie’s alley – and this Bunnik tour covers the best of both. From bustling Barcelona it takes you through Northern Spain, a road less travelled on guided tours and a region Georgie is yet to tick off her bucket list (a list topped by Portugal - first chance she gets, she’s going!).
With plenty of two and three night stays along the way, you can really make the most of your time here. Plus, Bunnik are one of the best when it comes delivering small group travel experiences, without the feeling of being on a guided tour. Named the 2019 Best International Tour Operator at the AFTA National Travel Industry Awards, you know you are in good hands.
This particular journey delights the tastebuds with pintxos in San Sebastian and the incredible food markets of Bilbao, Port tastings in the home of fortified wine (Porto and the Douro Valley), and traditional pasteis de nata (Portuguese tarts) where they have been made since 1837. There’ll be time to work off the holiday indulgences, with a walk along a section of the famous “Camino de Santiago” and time to swim and play in Portugal’s stunning Algarve.
Small group touring is the perfect fit for Jemma, and as a lover of the outdoors, experiencing the amazing National Parks of USA is a must-do. Given that this trip showcases the Grand Canyon from a whole new perspective, is packed with hiking trails and camping out under the stars – this one is Jemma’s ultimate adventure.
The impressive walls of the Grand Canyon is a sight that most only glimpse from the canyon rim, but this itinerary takes you deep into its very heart and gives you plenty of time to explore the little side canyons and hidden nooks that others don’t get the chance to see.
With six days winding your way along the Colorado River on a motorised raft through turquoise blue water and white rapids, you’re treated to an experience beyond the ordinary. A real adventure to appreciate a real natural wonder – read more about it here.
This new itinerary for 2020 spends over two weeks exploring Turkey in depth, giving you enough time to see the highlights and tick off some incredible UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but also delve a little deeper.
You’ll get to try out your bartering skills in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, check out the unique geological formations of Cappadocia, and soak in the thermal pools of Pamukkale. History buffs will appreciate a stroll back in time at Ancient Ephesus and Homer's city of Troy, and guests will also get the chance to pay their respects with a visit to Gallipoli.
Beyond the iconic, this tour through Turkey also takes in some lesser known gems. Wander the narrow cobblestone streets of Cumalikizik village, travel along a section of the historic Silk Road, and spend two nights at the gorgeous Turkish beach town of Antalya, steeped in old world charm and nestled perfectly on the aptly named Turquoise Coast.
The Mediterranean boasts plenty of highlights, and Trafalgar’s new (and aptly named) 2020 itinerary hits many of them. From Spain’s vibrant capital of Madrid brimming with art and cuisine to the romantic winding streets of Rome, you will be wowed by the history, scenery, gastronomy and culture of Spain, France and Italy on this 13 day guided tour.
For Hannah, one of the standout stops on this itinerary is the UNESCO World Heritage listed Cinque Terre where enchanting seaside villages spill down the rugged cliffs where they have clung for centuries. Hannah also loves to connect with the locals when she travels, and Trafalgar’s ‘Be My Guest’ experiences are the perfect way to do so. On this itinerary, you’ll get the chance over a traditional lunch in Tuscany (bellissimo!).
With departures from May through to September, this tour showcases the region in all its sundrenched glory – and it can be perfectly paired with a Mediterranean cruise to venture even further (perhaps tack on one of these cruises from Rome at the end!).
In 2020 Tracey has got her eye on an 11 day trip around Uzbekistan with Explore. This adventure takes travellers off the beaten path to discover a bit of the unknown in this intriguing (and absolutely spectacular) pocket of the globe.
Step back in time with a visit the remarkable ancient city of Khiva, admire the stunning domes and minarets of Bukhara’s skyline, and marvel at the mosques, mausoleums and narrow winding alleys of Samarkand.
Being a small group trip capped at just 18 guests, it allows travellers to experience the local life here. Enjoy tours with local guides, admire the architectural masterpieces (as well as the stories behind them) and get an insight into the lives of the nomadic people of Central Asia with a yurt stay and camel ride at Yangikasgan desert camp.
Inspired by Joanna Lumley’s ‘Silk Road Adventure’ series, Central Asia has also caught Yvonne’s eye for the new year. This fascinating (and increasingly popular) region is popping up on trending lists everywhere thanks to its architecture, history, and raw natural beauty – and for our team it is no different!
From traditional villages and ancient ruins along this old trading route to the diverse flora and fauna of its national parks, there are many treasures to uncover in this lesser-travelled part of the world on Bunnik’s Five Stans itinerary.
As well as getting to know this incredible place, you’ll also get an insight into the traditions of the people that call this region home. Catch an eagle-hunting show in Bokanbaevo and enjoy an overnight stay in a traditional yurt (and much, much more). With extra time on her hands in retirement, we’re looking forward to hearing more about this one when Yvonne ticks it off her list!