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Dundee named must-visit European destination for 2018 by Lonely Planet

Scottish city is the only UK destination to be included in Lonely Planet's list of top 10 European destinations for 2018

Jo Caird
Tuesday 22 May 2018 08:53 BST
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Dundee, with the Tay Rail Bridge in the foreground
Dundee, with the Tay Rail Bridge in the foreground (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Dundee has been included in a list of top European destinations for 2018.

The Scottish city is the only UK entry on the list from guide book publisher Lonely Planet, which also includes Italy’s foodie heartland Emilia-Romagna, the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, and Greece’s Small Cyclades islands.

Dundee, the fourth largest city in Scotland after Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, was included for its growing cultural scene, at the heart of which is a new branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum. V&A Dundee, Scotland’s first design museum, is due to open on 15 September with Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, an exhibition that will explore the vessels that revolutionised travel in the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as Scotland’s role in the design and development of ocean liners.

The museum joins existing local attractions including the Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre, University of Dundee Museum Collections, McManus art gallery and museum, and Dundee Rep theatre. Annual music festivals such as Almost Blue blues festival and the Dundee Jazz Festival see gigs taking place across the city.

Dundee was selected by Unesco as the UK’s first City of Design in 2014. It hosted a second design festival in 2017, with a programme of free events taking place at former print factory West Ward Works.

Louise Murphy of local walking tour company Dark Dundee said: “This is a fantastic boon for the city as well as for Scotland’s Tay Country region.

“This level of global recognition is very special because Dundee is the sole representative of the UK on this list.

“The hard work and efforts of the city are really paying off and we are proud to be working with so many like minded people who have strived to give Dundee her rightfully deserved place as a world class destination.”

Topping the Lonely Planet list for 2018 is Emilia-Romagna, the northern Italian region that gave the world ragù (Bologna), balsamic vinegar (Modena), Parma ham and Parmesan cheese.

FICO, the world’s largest foodie theme park, opened in Bologna in 2017, and direct flights are available from the UK to a number of cities in Emilia-Romagna.

The Spanish region of Cantabria, which borders the Basque Country on the Atlantic coast, was included for its wild, sandy beaches, mist-shrouded mountains and enchanting villages. The Renzo Piano-designed Centro Botín, which opened in the Cantabrian capital Santander in 2017, is helping to reinvent the port city as a cutting-edge culture destination.

Other must-visit European destinations on the list include Friesland in the Netherlands, home to the beautiful West Frisian Islands, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and Slovenia’s wine-rich Vipava Valley.

The tiny Balkan nation of Kosovo appears, selected for its growing culture scene and Ottoman-era history while neighbouring Albania features too, its compact capital Tirana making a splash with its Mediterranean-influenced cuisine, fascinating Communist-era city planning and lively nightlife.

Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, has been popular with stag dos for a while now, thanks to its good value accommodation and dining and wide range of local craft beers. But there’s much more going for it than that, from its eclectic architecture to its fascinating Jewish history.

Other better known destinations on the list are Provence in France and the Small Cyclades, remote outposts of the island group that includes Mykonos and Santorini.

Lonely Planet Best in Europe 2018

1. Emilia-Romagna, Italy

2. Cantabria, Spain

3. Friesland, the Netherlands

4. Kosovo

5. Provence, France

6. Dundee, Scotland

7. Small Cyclades, Greece

8. Vilnius, Lithuania

9. Vipava Valley, Slovenia

10. Tirana, Albania

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