Brilliantly bohemian: Galway tipped in the 'Lonely Planet' guide to best cities
Galway is the fourth-best city on the planet to visit in 2020, according to 'Lonely Planet' - ranking ahead of global stars like Dubai and Vancouver.
The "brilliantly bohemian" city features as one of the top 10 cities in the guide's 'Best in Travel 2020', an annual collection of travel destinations, trends and experiences.
Galway is "arguably Ireland's most engaging city", the guide says - a place "brimful of imagination" where "brightly painted pubs heave with live music" and "cafés offer front row seats to watch buskers perform".
It singles out experiences like live trad music at Tig Cóilí, or Tigh Neachtain's pub, "where timber walls frame a roaring fire and locals crack gentle jokes".
"Groundbreaking flavour combos" are also tipped at chef Enda McEvoy's Loam restaurant - which this month won the Michelin Guide UK & Ireland's first ever Sustainability Award.
Salzburg in Austria is the world's number one city to visit in 2020, the travel bible says, while Washington DC is ranked second, and Cairo in third place.
Galway will also be a European Capital of Culture 2020, a "year-long, city-wide, arty party" which 'Lonely Planet' says will "supercharge" the visitor experience next year.
Patricia Philbin, head of Galway 2020, called the award "a fantastic endorsement of this incredible place on the western edge of Ireland and at the heart of Europe".
The accolade follows the recent announcement of a new €10.2m Atlantic Museum Galway, which Fáilte Ireland says will "transform the Spanish Arch district of Galway".
The three-storey, interactive museum is an upgrade of the current Galway City Museum, and will highlight the influence of the Atlantic on the people, cultures and traditions of the City of the Tribes.
The square between the Spanish Arch and the museum will be remodelled into a new public space as part of the development.
There will be a new viewing point on top of the arch allowing visitors to look over the Latin Quarter, Galway Bay and the River Corrib.
The project will open for the 2022 tourist season.
Tourism Ireland welcomed 'Lonely Planet's' announcement and said it would use the accolade in a major PR push for the city and county.
In other tips, 'Lonely Planet' named Bhutan as its top country to visit, the Central Asian Silk Road as its best region, and Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara as best-value destination.