52 Places to go in 2020
50. Transylvanian Alps, Romania
To experience a piece of real wilderness without having to go to the ends of the earth, look no further than Romania. Of all the old-growth primary forest that remains in Europe, 65 percent of it is there. These forests, home to bears, wolves and an incredible array of flora and fauna besides, are found all around the country, but you could do worse than head to the Southern Carpathian Mountains, also known as the Transylvanian Alps, for the full experience. A visit to the Domogled-Valea Cernei National Park, or the Fagaras mountain ranges farther east, offers thousands of acres of truly untouched nature alongside opportunities for hiking, camping, swimming under waterfalls and more. Romania’s very decent roads (one of which, the Transfagarasan, is a destination in itself for motoring enthusiasts) make it possible to reach all of this, even on shorter trips. There’s never been a more important moment to see and celebrate these forests: Despite the efforts of conservationists including Britain’s Prince Charles, who called them “a priceless natural treasure in a continent that has long since destroyed most of its wildernesses,” logging continues, some of it illegal. Travelers coming in greater numbers could have a real impact, sending the message that these trees are worth more alive than dead.