European Best Destinations, an independent organization based in Brussels that promotes tourism in Europe, worked with 300 tourism offices and the European Commission’s sustainable tourism operation, Eden Network, to ask over 600,000 travelers from 192 countries around the world where they would most “like to go on holiday in Europe as soon as it is safe to travel?”
Almost 40% of the voters were from outside Europe, indicating a strong desire to visit Europe again this year.
Voters were asked to choose their top destination from a list of 20 shortlisted European places: Braga, Cappadocia, Calpe, Canary Islands, Cavtat, Capri, Cornwall, Dordogne Valley, Florence, Ghent, Kefalonia Island, Kotor, Lofoten Islands, Paris, Rome, Sibiu, Soca Valley, Tahiti Islands, Tübingen, and Vienna. The top five for 2021 include Braga, Rome, Cavtat, Florence and Sibiu.
Over 100,000 votes went to the northern Portuguese city, putting it in the top spot.
As the home of Portugal’s first cathedral and a multitude of churches, shrines and historic monuments, Braga is often referred to as the “Portuguese Rome.”
For history and architecture lovers, Braga’s beautiful and well preserved historic center is a major draw.
It’s a university town so it’s lively and fun too with modern shopping streets and a reputation for fantastic gastronomy.
For history buffs, Vila Gale Collection Braga is a good accommodation choice.
Housed within a 16th-century former hospital, the four-star hotel has maintained the building’s historic structure and has carefully restored elements such as the original vaulted ceilings.
It’s no surprise that the Italian capital was in the top five. “Roma Caput Mundi” (Rome is the capital of the world) is true for a city that shaped Europe’s culture like no other.
Rome is one of the best open-air museums, with the world’s largest amphitheater, The Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
And no visit to Rome would be complete without going to The Vatican Museums, famous for their sculptures, frescoes and paintings, and the main attraction, the Sistine Chapel housing Michelangelo’s glorious ceiling frescoes.
If your budget allows, stay at one of Rome’s most luxurious addresses, the Hotel Eden, with a Michelin-starred rooftop restaurant and gorgeous spa.
For sea, sun and nature lovers, Cavtat, located in Konavle region, has been called the Croatian Tuscany.
The Italian influences can easily be spotted in this picturesque charming town.
The old town center has plenty of cute cafes and excellent restaurants while the sparkling, palm tree lined waterfront is reminiscent of Saint Tropez.
And a short bus or boat ride will bring you to Dubrovnik, another Croatian gem.
A great accommodation choice is the 19th-century Villa Pattiera, a cozy, twelve-room family-run boutique hotel on the promenade that also has an excellent seafood restaurant.