What European destinations are hot right now?
By Dan Koday, Jan 2020
Wondering where to plan your next trip across the pond? Some destinations will always hold a top spot on everyone's European travel list, but there are also plenty of other incredible cities you might have overlooked.
Here are our top 10 European destinations for 2020, along with some insider tips for the classics and introductions to some unexpected newcomers.
Visit Krakow's Wawel Castle and art museum, part of the city's UNESCO World Heritage site.
Krakow isn't on most people's radars, but the European destination will certainly surprise you. Home to a large number of students, Krakow's youthful, bohemian energy comes from neighborhoods such as Kazimierz, which bustles with restaurants, bars, shops and art galleries. The city is home to many historic buildings and sites, including the Main Market Square, St. Mary's Basilica, Wawel Castle and the Krakow Barbican, a fortified gateway leading to the Old Town. Another thing we love about Krakow: obwarzanek, the bagel-pretzel combo that you'll dream about long after your trip is over.
Paris is always a good idea, and not just for its iconic landmarks, such as the Champs-Élysées, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. There's an untapped side to Paris that you can find in up-and-coming neighborhoods like Pigalle and in Popincourt and Ménilmontant, the city's 11th and 20th arrondissements. There, you'll find well-heeled Parisian hipsters surrounding themselves with street art, boutique hotels, markets, cafes, patisseries and unique clothing and streetwear shops. LDN.ISTAN, BEAUBIEN and Balibaris are some of the most hyped.
As far as neighborhoods go, East London's moment to shine has finally come in this mega metropolis. Sure, you can still see Buckingham Palace, the Tate Modern and the Tower Bridge, but after you do, carve out some serious wandering time for Shoreditch, Hoxton and Hackney, individually artsy districts brimming with markets, galleries, restaurants and nightlife. For something decidedly sophisticated, consider a romantic date night or night with the crew at the posh Scarfes Bar, where the live piano music is overshadowed only by the creative libations.
Portugal's largest city is quickly becoming a tourist hot spot thanks to its simple but delicious grilled seafood, fado music and its proximity to killer surf breaks in Caxias, Torre and Carcavelos. A great value among European destinations, travelers to Lisbon might also spend time surfing for fresh pastéis de nata (a custard tart) or marveling at the city's historic architecture. One such spot where you can also put up your feet is The One Pálacio da Anunciada. Set in a majestic restored 16th-century palace, the hotel also boasts a rooftop pool.
See the quirky Sigmund Freud statue hanging over the streets of Prague.
The Czech Republic's capital has long been popular with backpackers and other budget travelers for its compact beauty and idiosyncratic sights. Case in point: museums filled with nuclear war bunkers; a John Lennon graffiti shrine; and a dangling Sigmund Freud statue in Old Town Prague that will make you scratch your head. Prague's more common tourist marks, such as Charles Bridge, Old Town Square and Prague Castle, won't disappoint, either.
The home of Oktoberfest, Munich's long been lauded for its stunning Baroque architecture, but its art scene is also top-notch. The Alte Pinakothek is art history in itself; it's one of the oldest galleries in the world. The Neue Pinakothek has all the 18th- and 19th-century classics, and more contemporary works are highlighted at the Pinakothek der Moderne. Umschreibung, the stairway-to-nowhere art installation found inside an office building, is reason enough to bring your best camera equipment.
Walkable white limestone walls (the earliest of which date back to the 600s) and cobblestone streets put Dubrovnik on the map, and after being chosen as filming locations for some of the most popular scenes in "Game of Thrones," tourism is exploding in this storybook city. It's a manageable European destination that can be done is just a few days, and your must-dos must include visiting the awe-inspiring Old Town and the Lovrijenac fortress, a cable car ride up Mount Srd and sunbathing on one of Dubrovnik's rocky beaches.
The Hungarian Parliament building, Fisherman's Bastion and Buda Castle will keep you busy in Hungary's capital, which also means you'll be primed for relaxation at Gellert Bath, an opulent Art Nouveau spa that embodies the local bathing culture.
Finland's capital gets high marks for design at the meditative Kamppi Chapel (known as the "Chapel of Silence") and the Temppeliaukion Kirkko, a church built into rock. And that's even before mentioning Amos Rex (an art museum dedicated to Amos Anderson) and the Design Museum Helsinki. Get a dose of popular Finnish sauna culture in Helsinki at Löyly, a strikingly modern building that houses old-school wood-fired saunas. It's complete with a sun deck and plunge stairs that lead to the icy waters of the Baltic Sea.
See the remains of ancient Greece, including the iconic Parthenon temple, atop Athens' Acropolis.
Come for the Acropolis, stay for a foodie's paradise flush with authentic Greek tavernas, street food and trendy restaurants. The flea market in Monastiraki is filled with every kind of treasure you could ever desire, and if you take up accommodations nearby in Psyrri, arguably Athens' trendiest neighborhood, you won't have to go far to find live music spilling out the local bars.
No matter which of these European cities draws you in, you'll have unique sites to visit and experiences to boast about for years to come.
Ready to get your 2020 travel adventure started? Check out our European vacation packages today!