Published on December 9, 2019

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Photography by Yolanda Edwards

Yolanda Edwards is living our dream life. The founder of travel publication Yolo Journal has a habit of unearthing of the best hidden gems, from where to get a really good cocktail in Paris (Cravan, she says) to how to experience a true Robinson Crusoe feel (take a trip to an island off the coast of Tasmania, of course). So when it comes time to plan our own 2020 getaways, suffice to say she’s a real font of wisdom, which is why we tapped her to share the five destinations she’s most excited about for the coming year. Get ready to experience a serious case of the travel bug. You’ll want to start booking your flights ASAP. 

Sonoma Coast, California

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Photography by Purplexsu/Getty Images

If you only have 48 hours…make it a road trip. “So many people get as far as Bolinas, Point Reyes, and Inverness, but the drive north of there, up toward Jenner and then inland to Healdsburg via the Russian River, is probably the prettiest drive you can take. It’s a landscape you’d expect to see in Ireland or Scotland. Think: cows grazing, with the Pacific Ocean in the background.”

Make a reservation…at numerous hot spots.Along the drive, stop at Hog Island for its oysters, or if you’re further up the coast, check out Timber Cove for lunch. Build in a stop at the new House of Flowers just outside Healdsburg—it’s one of the coolest tasting rooms I’ve ever seen, and its wines are from the Sonoma coast and Russian River.”  

Go off the beaten path…in Jenner. “It has a cute little coffee shop that’s on the river, and if you’re up for it, you can take out a kayak right there.” 

Don’t forget to pack…a neck pillow, for when it’s your turn in the passenger seat and you want to catch some z’s. 

Médoc, France 

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Photography by Yolanda Edwards

If you only have 48 hours…chase waves. “I’m super-partial to this area—I love it so much we ended up buying a house there! It’s the wine region that is north of Bordeaux, and while many know it for the famous châteaus like Lafite and Margaux, most don’t know that it has a great surf and beach scene.” 

Make a reservation…at Maison d’Estournel. “Definitely check it out for a lovely lunch in the middle of the vineyards.” 

Go off the beaten path…for an epic meal—and experience. “For a very local vibe, head to one of the shrimp farms for amazing flambéed shrimp and fries. Our favorite is Le Gam’guette.” 

Don’t forget to pack…a corkscrew for impromptu beach or vineyard picnics featuring the best red wine the region has to offer. 

Sicily

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Photography by Cataldo Popolo Lanazza/Getty Images

If you only have 48 hours…go sightseeing. “I love the Baroque town of Noto and the beaches that are just nearby.” 

Make a reservation…wherever the concierge tells you to. “There are always new restaurants opening in Noto, so ask the hotel for the best place to go, and it will also book your beach club chairs for you. I love La Cialoma for lunch. You sit outside on the water and eat the freshest seafood. Don’t miss the bottarga, which is a local specialty.”

Go off the beaten path…with a relaxing stay at a historic hotel. “My favorite places are Country House Villadorata and Seven Rooms.”

Don’t forget to pack…a good read that can take you right from chilling in your villa to lounging on the beach. 

Milos, Greece

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Photography by Yolanda Edwards

If you only have 48 hours…hit the Mediterranean. “I’m so in love with this island, and it’s one that’s not too difficult to get to. There are so many different beaches (white sand, colored red rocks, and wild ones you have to drive 45 minutes on a bumpy road to get to and there isn’t a soul there), plus beach clubs with cocktails and great food.” 

Make a reservation…at Paleos Bakery in Plaka (though you don’t technically need one). “You have to get the orange cake.” 

Go off the beaten path…to enjoy the sunset. “While you’re in Plaka, go to the church at the top to catch it. My favorite place to stay is Skinopi Lodge, which is super-chic and has the best sunset views you can imagine.” 

Don’t forget to pack…sunscreen! SPF is a must in any part of Greece (even in the off-season).

Abruzzo, Italy 

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Photography by Yolanda Edwards

If you only have 48 hours…Head to Campo Imperatore. “It’s one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever been to—all you do is drive around and see the magnificent views. The landscape is epic (more like the Himalayas or Montana), and you can also see the dramatic Rocco Calascio church.” 

Make a reservation…at Mucciante for lunch. “Buy meat and bread from its store, then grill it outside and eat picnic-style, with the landscape as the backdrop.”

Go off the beaten path…to spend the night in a medieval village. “Sextantio Albergo Diffuso in Santo Stefano di Sessanio is a rustic inn that has done such a thoughtful renovation—plus, it’s just outside the park.” 

Don’t forget to pack…a camera to document the sprawling hills and the picturesque setting. 

See more travel tips:
What Happens to Your Body When You Fly
10 Travel Pros on the One Item They Never Board a Plane Without
This Is How We’ll Be Traveling in 2020

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