UK city in Lonely Planet top 10 European destinations 2017

But which one is it...?

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Credits: © Niar / Shutterstock

Planning a summer holiday in Europe but can't decide where to start? You're in luck - Lonely Planet just provided a major dose of travel inspiration as it unveils the top 10 best European destinations of 2017.

Zagreb, Croatia topped the list thanks to its breathtaking architecture, cultural hubs, vibrant culture and thriving urban scene, closely followed by Gotland, Sweden and Galicia, Spain.

See also: Ten places you need to visit in the UK this year

See also: Top 10 long-haul flights with the biggest savings for 2017

However, there's one destination in the round-up that's particularly caught our attention... Leeds!

The UK city took the fifth spot, beating out the likes of sun-soaked Paphos, Cyprus or the picturesque French region of Le Havre.

"Once defined by its industrial past, Leeds is now a confident, cultural hub in the North of England," says UK Destination Editor James Smart. "With major events this year including the reopening of Leeds Art Gallery and the 50th anniversary of Leeds Carnival, there's never been a better time to head to Yorkshire and join the party."

We take a look at Lonely Planet's top 10 European destinations of 2017 - and why they should be on your radar...

1. Zagreb, Croatia

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Despite being the country's capital city, Zagreb is often overlooked by visitors who rush to make the most of Croatia's extensive coastline.

However, the city offers everything you need for an ideal city break with hotspots for local history and culture, beautiful architecture, and a thriving nightlife that's fast becoming a firm favourite with tourists.

Must-see: St. Mark's Church boasts an Instagram-worthy colourful tiled roof, and it's right by a picturesque square ideal for stopping off for a coffee or leisurely lunch.

Cheap flights: British Airways offers flights from £47 each way with London departures, while Skyscanner has flights from £57 from Manchester and returns for £133 from Birmingham.

2. Gotland, Sweden

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This ancient Baltic island boasts spectacular scenery, tranquil sandy beaches and a wide array of historic sites.

It's Sweden's largest island, and continues to be a firm favourite for history buffs thanks to the many church ruins tucked away amidst the town, not to mention its iconic well-preserved medieval city wall.

Must-see: Almost 4.5km long, the Lummelunda Cave is one of the longest caves in Sweden and definitely worth exploring. Nestled in a nature reserve, there are plenty of tours and trails to give you a helping hand.

Cheap flights: The nearest airport to the island is Stockholm County - you can find some cheap fares on TripAdvisor including seats for £36 each way with RyanAir.

3. Galicia, Spain

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The Galicia region hasn't always been a tourist hotspot, but it's becoming increasingly popular with travellers thanks to over 1000km of picturesque coastline which yields pretty fishing villages and hundreds of beaches.

It's particularly great for foodies with a series of mouthwatering local dishes on offer, including some seriously delicious seafood.

Must-see: Pay a visit to the Santiago de Compostela World Heritage Site and make sure to stop by the stunning 11th century Cathedral that towers over the landscape.

Cheap flights: There are no direct flights to Galicia but you can find great deals with a stopover in Madrid on TripAdvisor. Meanwhile there are flights for as little as £35 on Skyscanner to the Santiago de Compostela region.

4. Northern Montenegro

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Nature enthusiasts are sure to be blown away by Northern Montenegro's lusciously green landscape packed with towering pine trees and colourful flowers, not to mention the array of wildlife that calls the area home.

The highlands are ideal for hikers who can take in the spectacular views offered across the wide range of walking and cycling trails on offer.

Must-see: Head to Durmitor National Park and you'll find the incredible Tara Canyon, one of the world's deepest canyons. For a truly memorable experience, take to the water and try whitewater rafting.

Cheap flights: Expedia has a host of round-trips on offer to Montenegro's Tivat and Podgorica airports, while easyJet has flights to Tivat (southwest) from as little as £30.99 each way and Monarch offers flights to the coast.

5. Leeds, United Kingdom

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Leeds has undergone a major transformation in recent years and is firmly establishing itself as a brilliant go-to for a city break.

Not only does it have a thriving nightlife and vibrant arts and culture scene, but the city itself boasts a growing foodie scene thanks to a stellar reputation for its craft beer and wide range of cuisine.

Must-see: The Royal Armouries museum makes for the ultimate family day out as you can easily while away an afternoon checking out the exhibits - not to mention the building itself boasts impressive architecture.

Cheap travel: The easiest way to travel to Leeds is by train - and if you book in advance on Trainline.com you can make some significant savings. If you do want to fly, there are regional flights to Leeds Bradford Airport - for example you can find prices for as little as £22 with Ryanair on TripAdvisor.

6. Alentejo, Portugal

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The Alentejo region is home to some spectacular beaches - and many tend to be quite peaceful in comparison to the tourist hotspots you can find in other regions such as the Algarve.

The coastline is a natural park so you won't find hotels or resorts right by the beaches - but venture further inland and there are some amazing local restaurants serving up exquisite seafood, not to mention the region is also renowned for its wine.

Must-see: The medieval Castle of Marvao towers over the landscape and offers unparalleled views of the coast - not to mention it makes for a great day out.

Cheap flights: You can find return flights starting from £80 on Expedia and Cheapflights.co.uk also has similar prices. Alternatively you can fly into Lisbon for as little as £24.49 each way with easyJet and £33.99 with Ryanair (the latter is based on a Manchester departure).

7. Northern Germany

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If you're planning a trip to Hamburg, you may want to extend your stay for a couple of extra days if only to check out the breathtaking surrounding region.

Northern Germany is famous for its waters; we're talking spectacular lakes, picturesque rivers and a beautiful coast.

Must-see: Make sure to stop by the awe-inspiring Schwerin Palace. Set on a pretty island on Lake Schwerin, you'll feel like you've stepped into a fairytale as you explore the palace's opulent interiors and pristine gardens.

Cheap flights: British Airways offers flights to Hamburg with prices from £41 each way, or you can find offers for as low as £30 each way on Cheapflights.co.uk.

8. Moldova

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If a country of secret wine cellars and cliff-perched monasteries sounds appealing, then Moldova could be your dream holiday destination.

The wineries are definitely worth a visit - the country is home to some of the world's biggest wine cellars - and you can sample some of the delicious red wines that it's becoming increasingly famous for.

Must-see: The Curchi Monastery should be top of your itinerary. Currently undergoing a renovation, it's one of the region's iconic buildings, not to mention it has beautiful surroundings thanks to its location in the Vatici valley by rolling hills covered with forests, gardens and orchards.

Cheap flights: You can find return flights to Moldova for £97 on Cheapflights.co.uk as well as discounted fares on offer on TripAdvisor.

9. Paphos, Cyprus

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Named the 2016 European Capital of Culture, Paphos boasts sun-kissed shores packed with over 5000 years' worth of monuments and historic sites.

Temperatures rarely fall below 24C, there's endless sunshine - and the local food is a dream thanks to pastries, wine and fresh seafood.

Must-see: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient city Kourion is unlike anything you'll have ever seen with amazing features including a Greco-Roman amphitheatre.

Cheap flights: Thomson offers direct flights to Paphos from London, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham.

10. Le Havre, France

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This major port in France's Normandy is the main entry point for ferries arriving in France from the UK.

Sitting on the River Seine, the city's post-war architecture has seen it gain UNESCO World heritage status, not to mention there are plenty of restaurants and bars nearby if you're looking to make the most of that famous French cuisine.

Must-see: Art-lovers should head to the Museum of modern art André Malraux which is home to iconic paintings including Monet's 'Water Lilies'.

Cheap flights: The easiest way to get to Le Havre is by ferry, and you can find some great deals such as £35 each way with Brittany Ferries. If you do want to fly, you can bag returns starting from £91 on Expedia.

To help travellers experience the very best of top spot Zagreb, Lonely Planet is giving away a free chapter download from our Croatia guide, available on its website here.

Best beaches in the world 2017 (TripAdvisor)

Best beaches in the world 2017 (TripAdvisor)


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