Netherlands, Aruba land on Lonely Planet top 10 destinations

Windmills and flowers
Windmills and flowersPhoto: lsantilli/DepositPhotos

Aruba and Netherlands are two of the best destinations to visit in 2020, according to travel guide Lonely Planet's annual list of the best countries to visit. In the top 10 countries, Aruba is in fourth place and the Netherlands in seventh.

The travel guide obviously mentions Aruba's "palm-fringed and pristine beaches", but also praises the island's cultural hub of San Nicolas and its sustainability efforts. According to Lonely Planet, Sint Nicolas is "relishing in a colorful and creative revival, with international and local artists adorning street walls and pop-up carnival experiences extending the happy vibes beyond the annual festivities". Aruba is also a testing ground for multiple countries' renewable energy solutions and is working to ban all single-use plastics and reef-destroying sunscreens next year. 

Next year is a good time to visit the Netherlands, because 2020 will be a year of celebration for the country. Not only is it the 75th anniversary of liberation after the end of the Second World War, but the Netherlands is also hosting the Eurovision Song Contest next year. "April and May are the months to visit, as you can take in King's Day, Liberation Day and the Eurivision Song Contest", Lonely Planet said. And while "vibrant Amsterdam always deserves a visit", the travel guide urges tourists to make use of the "excellent train network, and the over 35 thousand kilometers of bicycle paths to explore beyond the cities. 

The Dutch tourism and congresses office NBTC is proud of the Netherlands' spot in the top 10, and pleased that Lonely Planet emphasized that the country is more than just Amsterdam, general manager Jos Vranken said to NOS. "The fact that more places are receiving attention is a step in the right direction. We would therefore like to see travel brands such as Lonely Planet paying more and more attention to the sometimes less well-known or obvious places."

The top 10 countries to visit:

  1. Bhutan
  2. England
  3. North Macedonia
  4. Aruba
  5. eSwatini (formerly Swaziland)
  6. Costa Rica
  7. The Netherlands
  8. Liberia
  9. Morocco
  10. Uruguay