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Europe here we come

by Bernard O'Shea

It’s round about this time of the year that itinerant members of the human species in the southern hemisphere contemplate the annual migration north to warmer climes. Some head for popular hunting grounds such as London, Paris and Berlin, others seek pastures new. Here are our suggestions for those planning an European jaunt this year.


Denmark’s second-largest city is one of Europe’s Capitals of Culture this year. It’s got beaches, funky modern buildings, a charming old town and a thriving cafe/restaurant scene.

Photo: Jonas Hoholt/Visit Aarhus

Photo: Jonas Hoholt/Visit Aarhus

 READ: Visit Aarhus.


The Hungarian capital is the grand old dame of the Danube. There is so much here to see and do. Bring your bathing suit, it has one of the best assortments of spas in the world.

READ:  Bath time in Budapest and My own grand Budapest Hotel.



Ever been into an ice cave in a glacier? This charming French resort has one, plus a casino and magnificent alpine scenery. It’s at the base of Mount Blanc and, yes, there are cable cars.

READ: Cutting it fine in Chamonix



The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, meticulously rebuilt after the Second World War reduced to the city to ruin, is the obvious attraction, but the Polish capital has great parks, monuments, museums and shopping.

READ: Conquered by Warsaw.



This small Spanish city (its population is about 100,000) is a marvel to explore – its atmospheric walled city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s the star of many Spanish historical films and TV shows.

READ: Surprising Spain



Austria’s third-largest city lies on a bend in the Danube river. The city came alive as Europe’s capital of culture in 2009 and has not looked back.

READ: What’s not to like about Linz?



A long-term rejuvenation plan is paying off for this progressive city, which recently won the Romanian selection contest to be a European Capital of Culture in 2021. It has another interesting claim to fame: it was the first European city to have its street lit up by electric light, in 1884.


READ: The temptations of Timisoara



The Slovak capital also served as the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary for more than 200 years – so many kings and queens were crowned here it’s known as Coronation City. But it has a pleasant, modern vibe too.

READ: The buzz of Bratislava

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