Top 7 European cities to tick off your 2020 bucket list


2020. A new year, whole new decade. Maybe this is the time for the new year new you? Whether it is or it isn’t, one thing we are sure of is that you still have that travel bug! (Not the one that makes you feel unwell, the one that makes you want to travel more!).

You’ve ticked off some of the big names: Rome, Venice, Paris, Berlin. However, there are so many European cities out there, which you really do need to explore. So without further ado, here are 7 top European cities to tick off your bucket list this year that will help feed that travel bug!

1. Galway, Ireland

Named the European Capital of Culture for 2020, Galway is Ireland’s most engaging city. Sitting on the west coast of the Republic of Ireland, this lively city has a contemporary vibe. The brightly coloured pubs have live music playing every day. While there are plenty of restaurants and cafes offering al fresco dining so you can listen to the buskers and watch street performers whilst enjoying a hearty meal.

2. Salzburg, Austria

The city of Salzburg is one of “outstanding value to humanity” and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The narrow lanes and broad squares are decorated in beautiful baroque buildings. The acclaimed Salzburg Festival celebrates its 100th anniversary this year and is the greatest classical music festival in the world. After all, this is the city where W. A. Mozart was born.

3. Nuremburg, Germany

Situated in the southeast, Nuremburg is Bavaria’s second largest city after Munich. Once the undeclared capital of the Holy Roman Empire, this city is steeped in history and culture. One of the most iconic landmarks is the Nuremburg Castle. After the devastation of the Nuremburg Trials, the castle was painstakingly reconstructed using its original stone and has now been returned to its former glory.

4. Marseille, France

This multicultural city in France was awarded the European Capital of Culture in 2013. At the heart is The Old Port of Marseille (Vieux Port), a port that today is adorned with luxury yachts and leisure boats. Lining the streets of Marseille are stylish boutiques and contemporary museums, offering the perfect blend of old and new. While overlooking the city and perched on top of the hill is the magnificent Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille’s most visited site.

5. Valencia, Spain

A beautiful port city situated on Spain’s southeastern coast, Valencia radiates old world charm. This vibrant city has a thriving cultural, food and nightlife scene with it being home to Spain’s largest market, Mercado Central. One of the most popular sights in Valencia is the Turia Riverbed Park. What once saw floods devastate the city has since blossomed into a flourishing park after the river was diverted.

6. Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam is one of the most photographed places in the world. With an elaborate canal system which rivals Venice, visitors are encouraged to explore the city like a local by hiring a bike to get around. If cycling is not your forte, there are plenty of canal boats waiting to take you from one place to another. Amsterdam is full of museums, craft breweries and world famous art galleries, there is something for everyone in this artistic city.

7. Parma, Italy

Named the Italian Capital of Culture for 2020, Parma is famous for its gastronomical delights. It features several protected origin foods; Parma ham, Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) and sparkling Lambrusco wines. Parma was also the original home of balsamic vinegar and Bolognese sauce. One of the city’s most elegant landmarks is The Cathedral of Parma in Piazza Duomo, a striking Romanesque cathedral dating back to the 11th Century.

There you have it. 7 beautiful and sometime forgotten locations that are won’t regret visiting.

If you are ticking off a bucket list for both you and your friends or family, organising group travel can be a bit of a chore. If you really want to explore Europe, rather than fly over half of it and miss out on all the beautiful landscapes, why no travel through it! Hiring a private, chauffeur driven coach really lets you really sit back, relax and indulge in the European surroundings.

Carl O’Neill is the Sales and Marketing Director at The Kings Ferry Group. The Kings Ferry Group offers a VIP travel service, specialising in luxury coach and executive car hire.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.


Comments (14)

  1. Dick says:

    That intro is so accurate, well for me anyway. I thought that I was quite well travelled when it came to Europe. But on this little test I’ve scored 0 out of 7, not been to any of these. Particularly like the look of Galway.

    • Carl O'Neill says:

      We are glad you found it useful! There are so many hidden gems in Europe so we hope you enjoy exploring them!

  2. Sharon says:

    We’re all so keen on our food today that I can see Parma becoming a very popular attraction with foodies. It worries me that some of the bigger cities on the tourist route just play to the tourist stereotypes of pasta, pizza and ice-cream. Parma’s got a lot more diversity and authentic Italian cuisine to offer than that.

    • Carl O'Neill says:

      Nothing beats some authentic cuisine. Of course we love the regular tourist foods if you want a taste of home, but that isn’t what travelling is about! You have to try something authentic at least once on your travels.

      What would you recommend for places to visit just for their traditional dishes?

  3. Jacob Thomas says:

    Great list! I’ve been to 3 out of the 7 (Amsterdam, Valencia, and Nuremberg). Friends have been to Galway and said it was great. I would also suggest mapping out locations ahead of time, then you can research cheap flights or train rides. Once you get to Europe traveling from place to place is very easy. I know since I lived there for 8 plus years.

    • Carl O'Neill says:

      Completely agree. Planning is key to ensuring you get to the right places, at the right times, to get the best sense of the different cultures.

      We do love a little bit of spontaneity though. Quickly going off track to explore that destination you don’t want to miss then getting back to the plan!

  4. Steven Ham says:

    Valencia’s been on my list for a long time. It sort of proves your point that is one of those neglected destinations. I’ve been to Barcelona, Bilbao, Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Madrid, Malaga, Seville and Toledo but somehow still haven’t been to Valencia.

    In the past I’ve looked at flights from London Gatwick to Valencia and they are at good times and reasonable prices so I haven’t really got any excuse not to visit!

    • Carl O'Neill says:

      It is completely neglected. As are many fantastic destinations in Europe. There are just so many to see and not enough time!

      Are you going to plan a trip to Valencia this year then?

  5. Barbara says:

    Thank you for adding Salzburg on your list! As a native Austrian I know Salzburg well but always avoided the crowds at the Salzburg Festival in favor of TV broadcast… the anniversary reminded me that it’s time to see the real thing.

    • Carl O'Neill says:

      You’re more than welcome Barbara. How could we miss it off! What would you recommend to do when there?

    • When in Getreidegasse, visit historic passageways such as Roittner Passage, Schatzhaus Passageway and the Sporer Likoer und Punschmanufaktur. Brunch at Cafe Bazar just across Salzach river for a more offsite experience. Alternatively visit tourist magnet but amazing Cafe Tomaselli, though at 7.00 am right when it opens. Hope this inspires!

    • Carl O'Neill says:

      That’s brilliant thank you!!

  6. Grace B says:

    Austria is beautiful and Salzburg gets a thumbs up from me too. I’ve not been to the festival but I bet it’ll be a corker for 2020. Marseille is another must visit, and the hop on hop off bus is pretty good for checking out different parts of the city. As you say, you’ve pretty much got to go see the Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde while you’re there. Ireland is one I’ve still not been to but I wouldn’t mind a few days there in the nicer weather.

    • Carl O'Neill says:

      Glad you seem to agree with our list Grace. Any plans to head to Ireland this year? Providing the weather is nice of course!

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