Travel guide giant Lonely Planet has listed Dundee as one of its top 10 European destinations to visit this summer following its ‘head-turning’ £1bn waterfront redevelopment.

The city, famed for its heritage industries of jute, jam and journalism, features in the international travellers’ bible as a place of growing cultural interest and for its thriving creative scene.

The listing is likely to be a considerable boost to the city by the Tay, where the first-ever V&A museum located outside London will open in September.

Council leader John Alexander said: “Being on a shortlist of 10 places in Europe to visit in the next 12 months is a tremendous badge of honour for Dundee & is fitting recognition of the work that so many people have put in over many years to get us to where we are now. But the work is not yet complete.

“We are just over half way through a 30 year masterplan to completely transform the waterfront and re-connect the Tay with the heart of the city. Development land is already being earmarked for hotels, residential, retail & leisure uses by some of the world’s top brands including AC by Marriott. We’re a thriving cruise ship destination, a hub for creative industries, media & life sciences and a UNESCO City of Design that is committed to fairness and social justice. Dundee is determined to succeed & our ambitions for the city & its people are sky-high.”

The listing sees Dundee ranked alongside Italy’s food heartland of Emilia-Romagna, Greece’s Small Cyclades islands and the Northern Spanish region of Cantabria.

Describing the city, Lonely Planet’s writers praised a creative scene that “increasingly attracts some of the UK’s most visionary talent”, building on its selection by UNESCO as the UK’s first City of Design in 2014.

The recognition forms part of Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe 2018, compiled annually by the travel company’s European experts to reveal their pick of the most exciting and underrated destinations to visit across the continent. This year’s list highlights some of the best lesser-visited regions, alternative city breaks and hidden gems that in-the-know travellers should be planning their next trips around.

Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe 2018

  1. Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  2. Cantabria, Spain
  3. Friesland, the Netherlands
  4. Kosovo
  5. Provence, France
  6. Dundee, Scotland
  7. Small Cyclades, Greece
  8. Vilnius, Lithuania
  9. Vipava Valley, Slovenia
  10. Tirana, Albania

The list reflects the growing trend among city-breakers to steer away from the heavily touristed cities such as Paris and Barcelona to focus on off-the-beaten track and increasingly popular destinations, which offer the likes of ‘foodie tourism’.

For example, Emilia-Romagna in Italy – the birthplace of ragù, prosciutto di Parma, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese – is named as the top spot as Europe’s number one destination this year.

Lonely Planet’s spokesperson and Editorial Director, Tom Hall, said: “For those looking to beat the crowds in Europe this summer, Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe reveals our hotlist of destinations that provide a great alternative to traditional favourites. Our travel experts have crossed the continent to discover Europe’s most outstanding, underrated and overlooked places that are worth exploring right now.”

 “Whether you’re looking for a cultural city break, spectacular scenery or a buzzing foodie destination, there is something for every taste. You can find all of these things in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, which flies under the radar compared to some of Italy’s bigger hitting destinations, while the other picks showcase some of the places that in-the-know European travellers are excited about right now.”

Referencing the selection of Dundee, Mr 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.”