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Where in the World? 7 Cities to Visit in 2020

It’s that time of year again. Time to sit down with my 2020 travel calendar and get planning a few adventures. As you’ll see, there are some exciting cities making their way onto the list, covering at least a couple of continents.  

Here are my seven cities to visit in 2020. And a few of the highlights I’m hoping to catch while I’m there.

7 Cities to Visit in 2020

1. Dubai

Why Dubai?
2020 is a big year for Dubai. It’s hosting the World Expo, an extravaganza of cutting-edge technology, architecture and entertainment. And The Museum of the Future is also due to open in 2020 with yet more mind-boggling technological wonders on display.

I’ve visited Dubai before. But that was ten years ago and on a short business trip. So I didn’t get to see much. This time around, I’m determined to get to know Dubai a little better.

What’s on the List?

Architecture
When I say I’m interested in architecture, people tend to presume I mean ancient, historical stuff. But I’m fascinated by modern architecture too. And Dubai is a place that seriously pushes the boundaries. Camera at the ready, I’ll be trekking around town seeking outbuildings, rooftops and even some shopping malls with architectural x-factor.

Bastakiya Quarter
Time for a history lesson. Away from glass skyscrapers and cutting edge developments, Bastakiya Quarter is the oldest standing residential area of Dubai, with winding alleyways I can’t wait to get lost down.

Souks and Markets
It’s all about the bling down at the Gold Souk – 380 stalls, most of them selling jewellery. And it’s a shiny spectacle I can’t wait to see.

2. Moscow

Why Moscow?
Moscow is my new favourite city. I visited for the first time in April 2019 and instantly fell in love with the place. Bizarrely, despite the fact I was only there for four days, I feel like I made lifelong friends. I now have a mini Moscow family.

I’m looking forward to catching up with them. And seeing some more of the city. I squeezed the absolute maximum out of my four days in Moscow. Sleep was for wimps. But I barely scratched the surface.

What’s on the List?

Red Square
I’d like to see Red Square first thing in the morning when it isn’t heaving with tourists. Getting a one-on-one experience with St Basil’s, the Kremlin and the beautiful (yes, really) GUM shopping mall is a must.

Sparrow Hills
This green hilly area, across the river and one of the highest points in the city, is high on my list. Great views of Moscow are a given. And the area is also home to one of Moscow’s most iconic buildings, the Moscow State University. 

The Bolshoi Theatre
I’m a huge fan of classical music and ballet. But on my last trip to Moscow, I only saw the Bolshoi Theatre from the back seat of a cab. This time around I want to walk around the building and get a glimpse of the grand interior.

3. New York

Why New York?

New York is another old favourite. Rocking up at Soho House in NYC feels like coming home. But I’m always up for a revisit.

The city changes so much, which sounds like a cliché. But NYC is constantly on the move, like no other city I’ve ever experienced.

The old Meatpacking District got a revamp and it’s now the playground of the rich. Williamsburg wasn’t even really on the map a decade ago and now it’s one of the most fashionable ‘hoods in the city.

What’s on the List?

Williamsburg & Brooklyn
Williamsburg and Brooklyn are two NYC districts that I haven’t spent nearly enough time in. They’re still up-and-coming to an extent. And I can’t wait to wander the streets, check out the architecture, and find some new foodie highlights.

The Guggenheim
So, I’m embarrassed now. But – confession time – in the 15 times I’ve visited NYC, I’ve never actually been to the Guggenheim. In my defence, I have tried – on three separate occasions. But it was always closed for refurbishment or a conference. This time I’m determined to get inside and see some bloody art.

Chelsea Food Market
An oldie but a foodie goodie. I love Chelsea Food Market and always try to chow down there at least once when I’m in NYC. You can’t go wrong with a few tasty Cull & Pistol oysters at lunchtime.

4. Abu Dhabi

Why Abu Dhabi?

I’m combining a jaunt in Abu Dhabi with my trip to Dubai. (The two cities are under an hour’s drive away from each other.) Abu Dhabi is another city I caught a fleeting glimpse of some years ago. So a return trip was always in order.

This time around I want to get a real sense of how the old and new rub shoulders in this city. I’m travelling in January so, as well as seeing the sights, I’m planning on soaking up a bit of sun to tide me over through the rest of the cold, rainy London winter.

What’s on the List?

Sheikh Zayed Mosque
This is one of the most famous mosques in the UAE. And, whilst I visited last time, I just didn’t get enough time to wander its beautiful courtyards and long, arched hallways.

The Grand Prix Track
I’m not a particular fan of the Grand Prix. But Yas Island, where the circuit is located, is like a mini city. There’s tons of contemporary architecture to indulge my snap happy tendencies. And a marina with all the associated restos and bars.

Museums and Galleries
Forget Paris. I’m going to be upping my culture at Abu Dhabi’s own Louvre gallery. Manarat Al Saadiyat is another cultural space on my list – partly (I’ll be honest) for its impressive honeycomb façade.

5. Hamburg

Why Hamburg?

Hamburg is another revisit. (What can I say? I’m a well-travelled guy!) I was there years ago creating a concert film for Spotify and it was love at first sight.

The only problem was the weather. It was evilly cold – it hung around minus 10 the whole time I was there – so I only spent 20 minutes at a time out on the streets. This time, I’m travelling at a more sensible time of year and can hopefully get to know the city better.

What’s on the List?

The Reeperbahn
Hamburg’s answer to London’s Soho, The Reeperbahn is a hub of restaurants, bars and clubs. It also boasts a spot of musical history as The Beatles played a number of Reeperbahn bars before finding fame. The Waterfront
When I last visited Hamburg, the old waterfront was being redeveloped so I can’t wait to see what they’ve done with the place. Old warehouses and industrial buildings have been given a new life as boutiques, restaurants and even the architecturally impressive Elbphilharmonie, an amazing looking concert hall.

6. Berlin

Why Berlin?

Berlin is a city close to my heart. As a place where Eastern Europe meets Western Europe, it feels like I have a lot in common with the place. In the dozen or so times I’ve been there, I’ve certainly always felt very at home.

I’m due a trip back this year; to recharge my batteries, catch up with friends and visit a few of my tried and tested foodie haunts.

What’s on the List?

Dudu Restaurant
One of my all-time favourite Berlin restaurants. It serves Asian fusion cuisine and it’s a seafood and sushi lover’s paradise. I’m already dreaming of the Crunchy Dudu Roll, my favourite dish on the menu!

The Wall
As much as the Berlin Wall is a huge tourist attraction and even though I’ve been there tons of times, I like to walk down what’s left of the wall and think about its history. The Iron Curtain played a big part in my life as a kid growing up in Budapest. Mitte Neighbourhood
Mitte is Berlin’s central neighbourhood, packed with amazing restaurants and bars. I tend to rest my head at Soho House Berlin. Obvs, being a Soho House establishment, the service is great. But the building is also incredible. It used to be the old Communist party HQ and I love wondering what conversations took place within those walls.

7. Marrakech

Why Marrakech?

A new city for 2020, Marrakech has been on my radar for a crazy long time. I even had flights booked once but had to cancel because of work commitments. So this trip is a long time coming.

It feels like good timing though, as Marrakech will be crowned Africa’s first Capital of Culture in 2020. So I’m hoping there’ll be some extra cultural goodies to enjoy.

What’s on the List?

Bô Zin Restaurant
Bô Zin has been recommended to me by a number of friends. It sounds right up my street. Sumptuous design. Moroccan flaves with an Asian twist. Cocktails. DJs. And al fresco sips and sups out in the garden. 

Beautiful Riads
I’m planning on staying at a few different places in Marrakech in order to see a few different sides of the city. Which means I get to stay in more than one beautiful, architecturally stunning riad. Can’t wait!

Markets & Souks
From what I’ve seen, there’s no better place to soak in the soul of Marrakech than in its markets and souks. The late night spice market at Jemaa el-Fna is high up on my list. As is wandering winding souk streets in the medina. So there you have it – 7 cities to visit in 2020. Stay tuned for the lowdown on hotels, cafes, bars and restaurants at all of the above.

So there you have it – 7 cities to visit in 2020. Stay tuned for the lowdown on hotels, cafes, bars and restaurants at all of the above.

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