Ten destinations not to be missed in 2018

From Lucca to Ragusa, from Bled in Slovenia to Sifnos in Greece: hidden wonders

From the extreme north of Norway to the striking shores of the Mediterranean, passing through Lucca in Italy and other less known destinations like Bled in Slovenia or Heidelberg in Germany, here are 10 European cities of great personality, creative, special, to discover or better yet to rediscover during 2018.

1. Ragusa Ibla, Italy – Here is a beautiful Sicilian city with baroque charm: Ragusa Ibla, a UNESCO World Heritage set in the southernmost province of the island of Sicily. Ragusa Ibla is an ancient district of Ragusa, the one located in the easternmost part on a hillock dotted with finely decorated churches and palaces. To capture its most scenic view, you have to climb the highest part of Santa Maria delle Scale, and then descend again into the tangle of whitewashed streets and surmounted by romantic terraces with pot-bellied railings. And then off to dispose of lunch in the footsteps of Commissioner Montalbano. Nearest Airport: Comiso (about 15 km), Catania Fontanarossa (about 100 km).

2. Heidelberg, Germany – 2018 is the right year to discover the romantic side of Germany, in a city still little known by Italians but very famous among Northern European travelers: Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg. The Alte Brücke bridge crosses the Neckar river while the manor, perched on the Königstuhl mountain, frames the village, a stone’s throw from the Odenwald forest. To discover the dungeons of the castle, and then descend into the cellars where the largest barrel in the world is preserved, consisting of 130 oak logs, 8 meters long, 7 wide and with a capacity of well to 221,726 liters! Then, do not miss, Kornmarkt, the most beautiful square in Heidelberg, and a ride to the oldest university in Germany, one where students such as Max Weber and Karl Jaspers have enrolled. Nearest Airport: Frankfurt / Main (95 km).

3. Krakow, Poland – 2018 is the right year to get to know Krakow, the pearl of southern Poland inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Located at the foot of Wawel Hill and embraced by the Carpathian Mountains, this is a city that still bears the aftermath of a sad but formative history, also visible in the shape of its center divided into two parts: Christian to the west, Jewish to the east . This last part opens the door to an authentic world that takes the name of Kazimierz, a neighborhood not to be missed. Then there is the ancient Agiellonian University, frequented by Copernicus and Wojtyla, to name two, and an event to be admired: the Juwenalia Krakowskie, the moment in which the city authorities, in May, deliver the keys of the city to the student community and so a myriad of interesting initiatives are organized. Nearest airport: Krakow-Balice John Paul II (about 10 km).

4. Moscow, Russia – Will host the 2018 FIFA World Cup and welcome the flying taxi. Beyond these two great innovations, the first that will mobilize thousands of tourists from every country and the second that will revolutionize the world transport, the Russian capital is closely linked to the past, the glorious and monumental of the Tsars, and continues to show great pride. Moscow lets its visitors enter the red walls of the Kremlin, among bells, cannons and museums, fills their eyes with the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral and illuminates its face with the golden chapels of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. And then he brings them to learn about Russian art in the Tret’yakov Gallery, to see the ballet in the legendary Bol’shoj Theater and invites them to have a cup of tea with history in the romantic Café Pushkin. Nearest Airport: Moscow Šeremét’evo (about 30 km).

5. Kamares, Sifnos, Greece – Sifnos, a Greek Cycladic island that stays in the shadow of its Mykonos and Santorni sisters but has so much to offer between sunsets, beaches and cities. Among these there is the port of Kamares, one of the most beautiful of the Aegean, perched on a breezy hill and characterized by white houses, wonderful monasteries and romantic windmills. You start the day under the sun of the southern beaches like Platy Yalos, and then you can enjoy the last hours of the day from the Church of Ayia Maria and conclude with a dinner in a tavern typical of Agia Marina. Nearest Airport: Athens-Eleftherios Venizelos, Milos Island National Airport, Santorini Thira (then continue by ferry).

6. Alhambra, Spain – Granada is a marvelous city, an excellent example of Arabian style in Andalusia and a UNESCO World Heritage city, which has inspired artists and writers from all over the world. In part palace, partly fortress, essentially walled city, the Alhambrait enchants with gurgling fountains, sumptuous decorations and a unique atmosphere, magnificent during the day, amazing at night, with the walls illuminated by the pale moonlight. The name of Al-Qal aal-Hmbra means “red fortress”, probably because of the color of the sun-baked bricks of its outer walls … the leitmotif of all the views of the ciudad! Especially in the summer, there may be a queue and the number of daily entrances is limited, so it is good to book in advance. Nearest Airport: Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén (10 km), Malaga Pablo Ruiz Picasso (130 km) .7. Leeuwarden, The Netherlands – This marvelous Dutch city, capital of the northern province of Friesland, will be the European Capital of Culture 2018. Thousands of inhabitants are thus completing the program of a very rich calendar of events, which revolves around the open-minded Frisian concept: ” iepen mienskip. “The centerpiece of the city is the avant-garde Fries Museum which hosts various exhibitions such as the one dedicated to Mata Hari, the Friesian courtesan with an intriguing and mysterious life, and the other which pays homage to Escher, the most popular and brilliant Dutch artist 20th century: from May it is the turn of the exhibition dedicated to 11 Fountains in 11 cities of Friesland and from 17 to 19 August it is the turn of the Royal de Luxe street show, with its iconic giant characters … for a magical tale of the city. Nearest Airport: Amsterdam Schiphol (150 km approx.) .8 Bled, Slovenia – This is the ideal city to amaze and astonish (maybe your own half). Bled, is located in Slovenia and offers the most romantic postcard view in Europe, the one that every lover or dreamer would like to have impressed in their heart and mind, in short, forever. We are talking about the vision – more than real believe it – of a small green island surrounded by the blue of an alpine lake. The small islet is only reached by sea on board a typical boat, the pletna, ferryed by experienced boaters who remain standing for the entire time of the journey. A few minutes and you reach the 99 steps leading to the Church of the Assumption of Mary. Once back on the mainland, you can walk to Bled Castle and admire the breathtaking view, or arm yourself with hiking boots and climbs on the Grajski gric hill. Nearest airport: Ljubljana Brnik (about 40 km) .9. Lucca, Italy – The visit to Lucca is a tour of the flavors, among local recipes, of history, among the many monuments, but also a fun ride, with the most famous cartoon festival in Europe. If you can not visit it for the Lucca Comics & Games, in November, do not despair because the beautiful Tuscan will still dream starting from its fantastic square “closed” Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, nineteenth-century work of the brilliant architect Lorenzo Nottolini. An urban masterpiece that is transformed into the symbol of this city surrounded by the Apuan Alps and the Garfagnana countryside. Another masterpiece are the Walls with the ramparts, the doors and the ancient trees, and also the Towers, like that of the Hours and the Guinigi. The homeland of Giacomo Puccini is to be discovered and knows how to take its visitors to the gorge with the buccellato – its typical dessert – because as a Lucchese adage says: “who comes to Lucca and does not eat the buccellato is like there had never been “Nearest Airport: Pisa San Giusto (about 30 km) .10 Tromsø, Norway – Here nature and culture shake hands leading to a magical world made up of midnight suns and northern lights.We are in Tromsø, a city that leads to the pursuit of strong emotions in the extreme north of Norway, after all, this was one of the most significant stages for the first Arctic expeditions, and from where the Hurtigruten, the Postal, the dream boat of naturalists, photographers or simple travelers looking for the red sunsets of the Barent Sea.The 2018 looks like a year full of winds from the International Film Festival and the Northern Light Festival, two events that attract visited from all over the world. But also full of adrenaline, since you can practice the most diverse sports, from kayaking to sleddog. Nearest Airport: Tromsø Langnes (approx. 5 km).