Why should you include Baku and Bucharest on your travel bucket list as Euro 2020 host cities?
Euro 2020, the first Euros tournament to be held in different locations, would have been a one-of-a-kind event even if the epidemic hadn’t occurred.
While some supporters have been able to travel to games, the most of us are sitting at home, dreaming about green lists and the lifting of travel restrictions. When that happens, why not take a cue from some of the lesser-known host cities that are now experiencing a wave of football fever?
Baku and Bucharest are two excellent mini-break options…
Some may be surprised to learn that Azerbaijan is eligible to host the Euros, but the country on the Caspian Sea began participating in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008 and is a member of UEFA.
Baku, the capital city, is a political, geographical, and architectural crossroads, with as many modern skyscrapers as historic ramparts.
The Heydar Aliyev Center, a Zaha Hadid masterpiece midway between the Sydney Opera House and an IKEA sofa, is at the heart of the tourist circuit, while the UNESCO-listed Old City, rich with 12th century stone towers and palaces, is surrounded by crumbling city walls.
The three glittering glass Flame Towers tower above the city, casting much of the center in shadow. Azerbaijan is known as the “Land of Fire,” and the three gleaming glass Flame Towers loom above the city, casting much of the center in shadow.
Baku, which is continuously expanding, is becoming increasingly well-stocked with hipster cafes and high-end retail establishments, and its tourist numbers will undoubtedly increase over time.
Travelers tend to make only a passing visit to the Romanian capital, which is sometimes confused with and overshadowed by Budapest, Hungary’s capital. Instead, they head northwest to the green valleys and alpine fortresses of Transylvania.
They’re losing out on a lot, because Bucharest makes up for its lack of overt charm with magnificent suburban churches and vibrant nightlife.
The Museum of the Romanian Peasant is a fascinating, if often depressing, place to visit, with exhibits on the recent communist peasantry’s struggles as well as centuries of serfdom, as well as the popular Cismigiu Garden.
Because of its sheer size. (This is a brief piece.)