I have a GIANT and ever-growing list of places I want to visit. My list is a mix of the ‘originals’ like Amsterdam and up and coming hotspots like Porto – there are always new places emerging to add to my list. It’s not like you have a list you go to these places and viola… Done!  That is the beauty of travel, there is so much to see it can last a lifetime.

Europe is gorgeous – in winter and summer, all year long. Coming from the UK we have so many European destinations literally on our doorstep, flights are cheap and quick and when you get there you are in for a treat. The cities are old, and so picturesque. Immerse yourself in the buildings around you, enjoy the different vibes of each city, visit the museums, wander the streets and take loads of pictures! These cities are rich in culture and have so much to offer whether you are into history or just want to see the famous landmarks.

Europe is a small continent and with the well set-up and reasonably priced transport links it means you can be shopping in Paris one day, floating down the Grand Canal in Venice the next and watching a sunset in Santorini a few days later. If you need more reasons to visit here they are: the food is great, the Christmas markets are wonderful and finally tourists are welcomed with open arms.

I used to always plan holidays to far flung destinations like the Caribbean but since spending some time in Italy earlier this year I realised how many amazing places are so close to home! Most of these destinations can be done over a weekend if you are short on time and some can be doubled up for example Porto and Lisbon.

When looking at new destinations I like to look at pictures to get a sense of the place. Then I usually do a bit of online research and order a lonely planet guide book to read before I go.

What follows is a list of places I want to visit in 2020 and I used Unsplash to get these free images.

Copenhagen

Lonely planet named Copenhagen the no1 city to visit in the world in 2019!  The city is amazing right now with a mixture of great people, food and things to do and see. Copenhagen is a city designed to be enjoyed by bike, with large parts of the roads dedicated to cyclists.

  • It has the best restaurant in the world – Noma.
  • It has a hippie commune with 850 residents. It’s like walking into another world!
  • Copenhagen’s trendy Meatpacking District is home to numerous restaurants, bars and markets people everywhere look like models!
  • You are always near the sea – people call it the Venice of the North.
  • The Danes are big on Hygge and it’s all about candles blankets and good friends!
  • It’s so clean, everyone speaks English, the airport is amazing, they have wonderful coffee, and they made a beach that looks like it could be in the Caribbean.
  • Tivoli a world-class amusement park comes to life in the centre of Copenhagen. More than two dozen rides await you, in addition to live entertainment and more than 30 eateries.
  • Those colourful buildings that you see in all pics of Copenhagen, I want to go just to see these never mind all of the above! Nyhavnis a 17th-century waterfront, canal and entertainment district, it is lined by brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century townhouses and bars, cafes and restaurants. The canal harbours many historical wooden ships.

After writing this and watching the travel man episode on Copenhagen I have booked to go there next year! It just looks SO good.

Lisbon

Lisbon is the capital and largest city in Portugal. I have also read that it is the cheapest city break destination in Western Europe. We have all seen beautiful pictures of Lisbon all over Instagram with its cobbled streets, charming yellow trams, sea views, glossy tiled facades and red roofs.

  • Príncipe Realis the neighbourhood of the moment. It’s a hotspot for Lisbonites, with lots of great bars to choose from.
  • The most charming way to tick off a few sights is by riding the number 28 yellow tram as it rumbles through Lisbon’s prettiest and most historic streets.
  • Get a map of the city, a pair of flat shoes to help with the cobbles, and walk everywhere.  Lisbon is really not big and pounding the streets will get you under the skin of the place.
  • Lisbon is supposed to have amazing food and when I go I have been told to do a food tour.  Time Out Market looks amazing, some of Lisbon’s best culinary experiences can be found here, from outlets of Michelin-starred chefs to exquisite melt-in-the mouth hams and cheeses. There are also a number of castles and an impressive looking monastery to visit.

Porto

When you think of a holiday in Portugal, it’s usually either a city break in Lisbon or a week on the beach somewhere in the Algarve. But Porto, further north, on the banks of the Rio Douro, is fast becoming the destination of choice for being cheaper and having the best of both, surrounded by gorgeous beaches and having plenty of wine bars, nightclubs and shopping in the city.

  • Quaint cobbled streets and traditional architecture, Porto is the perfect weekend away for those seeking a slow city break, soaking up the views whilst trying the specialist port wine.
  • Porto is a sophisticated and authentic city and in almost every street you will find buildings adorned with traditional azulejo blue and white tiles. Meaning ‘polished stone’, the beautiful azulejo tiles are symbolic in Porto and can be found on many buildings.
  • Porto’s Ribeira District is the oldest region of Porto and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. At night there are people playing music in the street as peole walk along the water and decide where to eat dinner.
  • Porto displays some really cool street art .. but not typical graffiti, I would love to see the rabbit installation by Portuguese artist Bordalo II.

Budapest

The pictures of Budapest make me want to book a trip right now… the buildings look incredible….The Hungarian Parliament Building is one of Budapest’s most iconic structures. If you walk down the banks of the River Danube at night you can watch the sunset transform this building– it looks absolutely stunning. Then there is Buda Castle (beautiful historic building right in the heart of the city), Vajdahunyad Castle, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Fisherman’s Bastion, chain bridge and city park.

  • Budapest is most famous for its outdoor baths. You can visit them day or night over the summer months. Daytime is good for a nice chill swim and night is for the crazy parties.The parties are insane, you won’t experience anything like it anywhere else in the world.
  • While in Budapest you have to try goulash.  You’ll find goulash almost everywhere in the city but read reviews to find out the best places to eat!

Montenegro

Montenegro is a small country in the south-east of Europe, next to Croatia and opposite of Italy. This is the seventh smallest country in Europe with less than a million inhabitants.

Montenegro is fast becoming a popular tourist destination with a lot to offer. Mountains, canyons, rivers, lakes and forests, many new 5 star hotels and high end restaurants.

Montenegro’s Boka Bay is made up of clusters of pretty seaside towns, the most popular being Kotor, Herceg Novi, Tivat, and Perast. The best way to experience this UNESCO-protected area is by boat.

Malaga

Forget Madrid and Barcelona in 2020 visit Malaga, one of the most beautiful cities along Spain’s Costa del Sol. The once shabby port city has had a makeover and it’s worth exploring.

  • Apparently the city gets over 300 days of sunshine per year with temperatures averaging around 25C throughout the year.
  • The architecture is beautiful and it boasts scenic beaches and hikes to its century-old castle structures, stylish harbours and excellent restaurants.
  • With its direct location on the Mediterranean Sea, Málaga offers some of the best seafood in the country and many companies offer food tours through the city to sample a variety of tapas.
  • Málaga has around 15 beaches – one of the best is El Pedregalejo (about 30mins walk from the town centre) It is one of the coolest neighborhoods in and there are a number of excellent restaurants and nightlife options.

Seville

Seville is a lovely city in the South of Spain, which is also the capital and largest city of the region of Andalusia. It has its own international airport so is very easy to get to. If you are short on time Seville can also be visited on a day trip from Madrid.

  • Largest gothic cathedral in the world. Amazing skyline to admire and photograph.
  • Authentic flamenco shows, amazing tapas
  • Barrio Santa Cruz this colourful neighbourhood is bursting at the seams with history. Its vibrant buildings, packed tapas bars and central location make it a must on any Seville itinerary.
  • Seville Cathedral, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. 

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