Dundee among Lonely Planet's top 10 European destinations for 2018

The new V&A museum is set to open in September.The new V&A museum is set to open in September.
The new V&A museum is set to open in September.

The days of Dundee being Scotland’s “overlooked” city are over, according to an influential travel guide that has named the city as one of the best places in Europe to visit this year.

Scotland’s fourth largest city is the only place in the UK to make the annual list compiled by Lonely Planet, alongside other travel hotspots in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

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Experts at the travel company, known for its series of guidebooks, praised Dundee’s “head-turning” urban redevelopment as well as its dynamism and friendliness.

Writers also hailed the creative scene in the city, which they said was now attracting the UK’s “most visionary talent” following its selection in 2014 as the nation’s first Unesco City of Design.

Dundee recently launched the V&A, which is expected to generate international interest when it opens in September as Scotland’s first design museum. Traditionally known as the city of “jute, jam and journalism”, Dundee has in recent years reinvented itself and been named on numerous lists of up-and-coming travel destinations.

Last year the Wall Street Journal described it as “Scotland’s coolest city” and ranked it alongside Madagascar, Shanghai and Grenada in a list of the best places to visit in 2018. Dundee was one of five UK cities initially vying for the European Capital of Culture 2023 title before being ruled out late last year.

Lonely Planet editorial director Tom Hall said: “While visitors have always been assured of a friendly welcome, Dundee has often been overlooked by travellers to Scotland, but that should be set to change.

“The opening of V&A Dundee is a really exciting moment that marks the city out as well worth a visit, but throw in nationally important museums and attractions and its dynamic, creative spirit and travellers will find a city boasting plenty to discover.”

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The city is also at the centre of Scotland’s burgeoning computer games industry, with a course at Abertay University being named the best in Europe for the past four years.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of tourism agency VisitScotland, said some visitors from the UK and abroad “may not have thought to explore” Dundee in the past.

The city finished sixth in the Lonely Planet list, which was headed by the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna.