The world famous travel guide Lonely Planet has announced its ten best destinations cities for 2020, featuring famous and less well-known places that are offering up something special this year. From the heady heights of La Paz to the futuristic vision of Dubai, there’s a city here for every kind of traveller. The only question now is which one to visit first…
1. Salzburg, Austria
Topping Lonely Planet’s list is the hometown of composer Mozart, who graced the city with his presence more than 250 years ago. Known as Austria’s ‘second city’, Salzburg was also the setting for The Sound of Music. 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the Salzburg Festival, a celebration of classical music, opera and drama, with plenty of special events plants for the bicentenary. Music aside, there’s always plenty to see in this picturesque Alpine city – the Baroque architecture of city centre has earned it a spot on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
2. Washington, USA
The US capital always has a lot going on for it, but 2020 will be a particularly busy year for the city. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment (which granted women the right to vote), and there’s also the not insignificant US presidential election in November. If you miss any of the big events, there’s still a wealth of history to be found in museums and monuments around the city, plus a revitalized waterfront and plenty of excellent bars and restaurants.
3. Cairo, Egypt
Chaotic, crowded but ultimately magnificent, Cairo is a must-visit for lovers of ancient history and culture. The Pyramids of Giza are the obvious sightseeing stop, but the city has so much more to offer than these famous monuments. The UNESCO-endorsed city centre, the thriving foodie scene and the famous Souk Al Khayamiya are all worth a look. This year the city opens what will be the worlds’ largest museum, the Grand Egyptian Museum, which will become the permanent home of King Tutankhamun and his burial treasures.
4. Galway, Ireland
Despite its history dating all the way back to the 12th century, it’s Galway’s contemporary energy that makes it so attractive as a tourist destination. The city has something of a bohemian vibe – due partly to its large student population – with live music, theatre and brightly painted pubs all adding to the artsy vibe. This year Galway has been dubbed a 2020 European Capital of Culture, which will add plenty of arts and entertainment events to the city’s calendar.
5. Bonn, Germany
Another city famous for its connection to a classical composer, Bonn is the birthplace of none other than Ludwig Van Beethoven. In fact, this year marks what would be his 250th birthday, so expect a huge line-up of special events for the occasion including concerts, exhibitions and competitions. The former West German capital also offers galleries, cafes and rich craft beer culture.
6. La Paz, Bolivia
There’s a lot to love about Bolivia’s third largest city and home to the country’s government. La Paz is a vibrant jumble of pedestrians, marches and colourful markets. Above all of this you’ll find the Mi Telerifico, the world’s largest cable car system, which acts as the city’s subway. In recent years, La Paz has had a surge in indigenous pride that has seen chefs embracing local ingredients and tradition, resulting in an exciting food renaissance.
7. Kochi, India
Sitting close to the southern tip of India, Kochi has always been something of a mix. Here you’ll find a blend of cultures due to the various European powers that have occupied it over the years, offering up English style villages, Dutch houses and mosques alongside artsy cafes and hip galleries. The city has also become a mix of old and new, recently embracing renewable energy in a big way and launching the world’s first fully solar-powered airport.
8. Vancouver, Canada
Sitting pretty between the mountains and the sea, Vancouver is an ideal holiday spot for those wanting both urban and natural attractions. The city itself boasts a stunning seawall walk, vibrant neighbourhoods and a thriving restaurant and bar scene, all framed by mountain views. As the birthplace of Greenpeace, the city leads in urban sustainability, with an expanded walking and cycling network and more than 100,00 trees planted in the past ten years.
9. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
This desert city has become synonymous with the futuristic and fantastic, with a soaring skyline that features the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Dubai seems to be unending in its development, with a plethora of new projects on the cards. On the calendar for this year is the six-month long World Expo 2020, during which 190 countries will showcase the latest in technology and sustainability.
10. Denver, USA
The Colorado state capital is known as something of a boomtown, and with a new phase of growth underway it’s a great time to visit. Hip hotels are emerging among inventive restaurants and bustling food halls and the Elitch Gardens Theme Park is expanding its offerings with new rides and installations. Other cultural offerings include the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the 16th Street Mall and the Denver Zoo.