Your guide to the best intrepid travel destinations for 2020

These destinations will get you out of your comfort zone and make 2020 all about unique experiences.

Every travel mag worth a damn has been publishing its own ‘must-see destinations in 2020’ to round out the year.

And, sure, Gdansk is cool. And Vienna’s pretty hip right now.

But if you’re the type of traveller who craves physical challenge, culture shock and just the right amount of risk, you’ve probably felt a little neglected.

So, to make things right, here’s battleface’s recommendations for the best places to visit for the more intrepid traveller.

1. Ainaro, East Timor

The beaches to the east of capital Dili are a draw in tiny Timor Leste. But for a more rewarding experience, hire a four-by-four and hit the interior – specifically, the district of Ainaro where the country’s mightiest peak – Mount Ramelau – towers over the surrounding landscape.

2. Taghazout, Morocco

Visitors to Morocco are spoiled for choice when it comes to the hustle and bustle of big cities. But for something a little less hectic, head down the coast to Taghazout for a beach hangout worthy of its reputation as the country’s top surf spot.

3. Moynaq, Uzbekistan

If derelict and rusting old boats sound like your cup of tea, then former sea port and now semi-ghost town Moynaq may be the place for you. The receding Aral Sea has stranded this northern city inland, giving it an eerily abandoned quality, home to just a few thousand remaining residents.

4. Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Wild, rugged, breathtaking – there are many words to describe the wild east of Cambodia (encompassing both Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri), but few do this glorious part of the world justice. Dusty tracks, dense forest and ramshackle villages provide the charm.

5. Rason, North Korea

In case Pyongyang is too mainstream for you, check out Rason – the hermit kingdom’s attempt at a commercial hub. Adventurer and journalist Tommy Walker took a trip there earlier this year. Check out his account here.

6. Socotra, Yemen

Boasting more than 700 endemic species of flora and fauna (i.e. not seen anywhere else on the planet) gives Socotra a real ‘lost world’ feel. Although politically part of Yemen, its location 210 miles southeast of the mainland means it has managed to escape the country’s devastating civil war.

7. Kuélap, Peru

Machu Picchu has long been a magnet for tourist droves, so take advantage of Peru’s alternative ancient sites. The walled settlement of Kuélap, located in the southern Amazonas region, gets a fraction of the visitors – and offers fascinating insights into the Chachapoyas culture.

8. Lofoten, Norway

The jagged peaks and arctic fjords of Lofoten, in the far north of Norway, are the perfect place to fulfil all your viking fantasies. Just swap out a long boat for a kayak and you’re all set. Perhaps with a decent warm coat, that is.

9. Isle of Skye, Scotland

Skye, off Scotland’s west coast, is everything you could imagine from a Hebridean island: windswept, rugged and boasting some of the most spectacular scenery in the British Isles. Sights to be conquered by the intrepid are jagged rock formation The Old Man of Storr and the Cullin mountain range.

10. Ouidah, Benin

The birthplace of voodoo (or vodun, as it’s known there), Benin is steeped in history, charm and just another mystery to make it interesting. And perhaps no location is better to throw yourself into that than the city of Ouidah, in the south of the country.

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Jack Davidson is a nine-year digital nomad who's made his home in such far-flung locations as Cambodia, East Timor, Colombia and Hungary. He writes on a variety of topics relating to travel, travel insurance and financial matters for globetrotters and occasional wanderers alike. Jack is also the host of battleface's podcast When It Hits The Fan.