The Austrian capital was the home and focal point of composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s life for more than 35 years, and 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of his birth.
Back then the city was rightly famed as a center of music and culture, and retains that status to this day, with over 15,000 concerts staged every year.
To celebrate Beethoven’s birthday, there are even more events planned, and even if you’re not much of a classical music fan, this proud city has more than enough to keep you entertained in other ways: flea markets, coffee houses, museums, clubs, galleries and much, much more.
“The Montenegro Riviera” is not a phrase you hear springing readily or often from the lips of a lot of people, but maybe you should be the one to change that in 2020. On the shores of the Mediterranean, you’ll get everything you’d find in the busier resorts of Croatia further up the coast, but with fewer people, a more laid-back atmosphere, and some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.
Visit the stunning old town of Budva; drink in the scenery of the mountains to the east; explore the city of Kotor and the hidden bays that surround it; lie on the long, sandy beaches near Bar in the south; or simply bask on a shady medieval town square somewhere with an ice cream. Perfect.
Sandwiched between Nigeria and Togo, Benin is benefitting from a massive drive by both local and national governments to prioritize tourism. The country is the home of Vodun / voodoo, and it remains a major religion in the country. One of the most stable countries in the region, travelers can visit the ruins of scores of palaces and temples, as well as wildlife sanctuaries.
It doesn’t shy away from the bleaker parts of its history either, with the Door of No Return a monument to those kidnapped, sold and sent to the other side of the world as part of the booming 18th-century slave trade.
The museum in the ancient city of Ouidah, housed in an old Portuguese fort, is as thoughtful and honest a memorial as you’ll see anywhere. A fascinating country, steeped in cultural, religious and political history.
Not as crowded as Krakow and more attractive (in this writer’s opinion) than the capital Warsaw, Wroclaw is a city of mansions, grand squares, baroque palaces and beautiful churches. It’s also managed to position itself as Poland’s cultural hub, with year-round festivals and events, as well as a thriving arts and music scene.
The rest of Europe is slowly waking up to Wroclaw, with many airlines now doing direct flights, so it might be time to visit before the hordes truly get wise to one of Central Europe’s coolest cities.
12 nations across Europe
For the first time in its history, the European Football Championship doesn’t have one official host. Instead, venues from Bilbao to Baku across the continent will host matches, with iconic stadia such as Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, Munich’s Allianz Arena, Copenhagen’s Parken, and Wembley in London among those chosen.
It’s part of the 60th anniversary of the tournament, and with travel across Europe now easier than ever, why not combine a couple of games with an excuse to visit some of the world’s greatest cities?