The dollar is strong in London, making it a surprisingly affordable place to visit in 2019. London’s many free-admission museums add to the affordability factor, with special offerings such as the Christian Dior fashion exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum (extended through August) making them even more appealing this year. From May 24 to October 13, Buckingham Palace will display the largest display of Leonardo da Vinci’s works in more than a century.
Want to tour the city with a guide? Evan Evans has launched several new small-group tours of London this year focusing on themes such as espionage and the Underground. Another reason to put London on your travel short list? The Great Scotland Yard Hotel—formerly the city’s police headquarters where criminals such as Jack the Ripper were interrogated—will open in late 2019.
Where to stay: The Tower features incomparable views of the famous Tower Bridge, plus a central location near several Tube and rail stations.
Named a Capital of Culture in 2018, Valletta has quickly risen as a trending destination, with something for every traveler—7,000 years of history, stunning beaches, watersports adventures (think sea kayaking and paragliding), a delicious—and cheap—food scene, and great nightlife. Hotel prices are reasonable, too.
Time your visit to experience the Malta International Fireworks Festival on April 27; Malta Fashion Week, running May 22 to 29; or the Malta International Arts Festival from June 29 to July 13.
Where to stay: The Excelsior Grand Hotel is a full-service, harbor-front resort with a pool, spa, and on-site restaurant.
City or beach? In Aberdeen, you don’t have to choose. Located on the northeastern coast of Scotland, this city is a spot where you can catch waves and visit a Victorian-era castle in the same day.
Other highlights include the Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail, a fantastic lineup of whisky distilleries, and Instagram-worthy parks and gardens. Another reason to visit Aberdeen in 2019? The U.S. dollar is strong against the British pound, the local currency.
Where to stay: The Citi Hotel has reopened following renovations that include 42 basic, yet modern accommodations. It is located in the center of town and offers cheap nightly rates (plus the option to stay at its adjacent hostel).
“Long a favorite destination of backpackers looking for a cheap bed and lively nightlife, Budapest has come into its own over the past decade,” says Katie Matthews, editor of WheretoStayinBudapest.com. “These days, it attracts tourists of all stripes, but particularly those looking for a lively European city with an impressive cultural offering.”
Budapest is also home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrassy Avenue, and offers a dining scene that’s both impressive and affordable.
Where to stay: Brody House offers whimsical, boho-style guestrooms, some of which were former artist studios and now feature the former owners’ artwork.
Oslo has been named the European Green Capital of 2019. “In 2019 and beyond, Oslo will act as an ambassador for sustainable urban development, sharing and promoting best practices that have been tried and tested in the Norwegian city to inspire others to make meaningful environmental changes,” says David Nikel at Life in Norway.
The city’s clean and efficient public transit system, use of electric cars (electric cars outnumber standard fuel cars here), gorgeous parks, and dense surrounding forest make Oslo an outdoor lover’s paradise.