Ancient town of Matera (Sassi di Matera) at dusk, Basilicata, southern Italy

Like fashion, things are “out”, then they’re “in”, and sometimes they swap back around a few times. Timing is everything in travel, from planning tips to avoid overpriced peak seasons to when monsoons typically hit and sometimes a destination is just right. These five European cities and regions are having their time in the proverbial sun in 2020, so it’s high time to visit…

Frigiliana is a popular day trip for visitors to the seaside resorts of the Costa del Sol in southern spain. It has been voted the prettiest village in Spain several times.Frigiliana, Spain

Greece is always a thrill, but accommodation prices and summer crowds require a chill pill these days. Despite becoming the second most visited country in the world in 2019, Spain still some areas which manage to capture idyllic charm and Mediterranean vibes without insane crowds.

There’s perhaps no place that screams “perfect” better than Frigiliana. With nearby beaches like Playa De Burriana and hikes in the Sierra De Tejada, you can pretty much have whatever you like, all while enjoying low key meals and photogenic towns while avoiding crazy prices. Fly into Malaga or Granada and bring your sunglasses, this place is cool.

Ancient town of Matera (Sassi di Matera) at dusk, Basilicata, southern ItalyBasilicata, Italy

You’re right – this isn’t a city, or even a town, it’s a region in Southern Italy. But it’s noteworthy right now because it’s was named by the European Union as the cultural capitol of Europe for 2019 and you should get there in 2020, before the rest of the world does.

This is a region with striking juxtaposition to the overcrowded streets of Rome and Venice, where true rural Italian charm shines and cliffside living rivals the most charming spots in Greece. Fly into Bari and explore by car or train, but don’t expect too much hospitality in Matera, where the mayor proclaimed the town doesn’t want any tourists

Best Time Visit EuropeKrakow, Poland

Hipsters really excel in the arts of cocktails, coffee and fun and medieval history has nothing to do with hipsters, but somehow they all come to work together in Krakow. The city has developed a reputation as one of the best spots for nightlife, daytime adventure and great drinks both with alcohol and sans at any time.

On top of welcome libations and buzz, there’s immensely potent history and stunning medieval architecture to explore. With easy flights from most European hubs, it’s an easy weekend trip and one that offers extremely good value for money at the moment.

boats in a harbor

Cornwall, United Kingdom

Whether this gorgeous part of the world remains a part of “Europe” remains to be seen, but if you’re smart, you’ll go see it in 2020 regardless. Cornwall and its surrounding towns bring the England most tourists don’t expect, but will totally love.

Gorgeous sandy beaches and epic cliffs like something out of Game Of Thrones are just the start, and Michelin starred fine dining pubs like Paul Ainsworth’s No. 6 in Padstow win over even the least forgiving foodies. You can train or drive, but there are also flights from Gatwick in London, which make turning this an easier side trip easier than you might expect. Go in summer and pray to whatever god or dog you worship for sunshine.

a city with many buildingsVilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius went viral last year by declaring itself the “G-Spot” of Europe. They went a step further too, clarifying that “Nobody knows where it is, but once you find it, it’s amazing”. Yeah, they did that. But honestly, it’s true. Vilnius is a little slice of baroque heaven, away from the never ending crowds of Dubrovnik and other more popular areas in neighbouring countries, with its own youthful excitement.

Food draws inspiration from the best of the Mediterranean and Scandic countries, with Russian twists and up and coming chefs are everywhere, at prices anyone can get behind. Day trips to towns like Trakai are absolutely stunning too, with views that rival Lake Bled in Slovenia, with a fraction of the already fractional crowds you’d find in Lake Como. Go now, people will figure this one out soon…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Will Brexit mean the UK is no longer part of Europe? Does Europe = EU? (ie Switzerland). Maybe I’m being dense…

    1. Correct. Europe is a political entity, not a continent. Switzerland, Norway, and Russia are not part of Europe.

  2. Europe is firstly a geographical continent, that even includes the European part of Russia. Any political uses of the term is secondary. I think you may be thinking of the European Union, which is a different thing (political).

  3. Surprised to learn to learn of Cornwall’s new city status. Congratulations Cornwall on being downgraded from a county.

  4. I’m pretty sure Lithuania isn’t a neighboring country to Croatia (Dubrovnik). One is a Baltic country; the other, Balkan.

  5. I just came back from my Krakow trip. I can confirm that Poland is a great travel destination for 2019. Turns out there is a lot of people who never been to Poland 🙂

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