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Galway named as one of the best cities to visit in 2020

Photo: Galway 2020 head of tourism Bridgette Brew, Nóirín Hegarty, VP Digital Content, Lonely Planet, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, and Galway 2020 CEO Patricia Philbin © Galway 2020

European Capital of Culture 2020, Galway in the west of Ireland, home of “The Galway Girl” and the Claddagh Ring, has been named the fourth best city in the world to visit next year by Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2020. The travel media company described Galway as "brilliantly bohemian" and "arguably Ireland's most engaging city". Galway features fourth in the list of top cities for 2020, with Salzburg, Austria, named the number-one city. Washington, DC, USA, comes second, with Cairo, Egypt, in third place.

The accolade comes as the city prepares for its year as European Capital of Culture 2020, which Lonely Planet describes as a "city-wide, arty party". Tourism Ireland was made aware of Galway's good news in advance, and is now rolling out a promotional campaign across Britain, the USA, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

"We have a new video highlighting Galway and the programme for 2020," Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said. "We have extensive social media work going on with our 5 million fans around the globe, and it will feature on which has 23 million unique visitors every year."

In perfect timing for Galway’s European Capital of Culture 2020 designation, visitors to Galway can expect to experience the city and county’s best year yet, with a year-long programme of extraordinary street spectacle, live and digital art as well as world-class music, theatre and dance.

Speaking after the announcement, Galway 2020 CEO Patricia Philbin said, “It’s official – Galway is the place to be in 2020! Right across the city and county momentum is building and preparations are well underway. The Lonely Planet Best in Travel accolade is a fantastic endorsement of this incredible place on the western edge of Ireland but at the heart of Europe. As 2020 approaches we are inviting people from around the world to come and experience Galway in this special year.”

Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s VP of Experience, describes Galway as “exuberant, vibrant and full of imagination. Galway in 2020 will be home to a year-long celebration and amplification of culture and creativity which travellers will love.”

Top ten cities in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2020 are:

  1. Salzburg, Austria
  2. Washington DC, USA
  3. Cairo, Egypt
  4. Galway, Ireland
  5. Bonn, Germany
  6. La Paz, Bolivia
  7. Kochi, India
  8. Vancouver, Canada
  9. Dubai, UAE
  10. Denver, USA

Further information:


Christina Gehlen
Tel.: +49 (0)221 912772-19
Fax: +49 (0)221 912772-27

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