Warsaw, Athens and Maribor voted Europe’s most attractive tourist destinations in 2023, by European Best Destinations

European Best Destinations has been promoting culture and tourism in Europe with a record of 686,244 votes from 178 countries telling which are their favourites among a selection of cities and destinations which have seen strong growth in exposure on social networks

European Best Destinations is a website created back to 2009. The travel website lists over 400 destinations across the continent with the purpose of promoting culture and tourism to millions of travellers but also to tourism professionals and the media.

Thanks to a partnership with more than 400 tourism offices in Europe and the EDEN Network (Sustainable
Destinations awarded by the European Commission), European Best Destinations claims to be the most visited website dedicated to travel in Europe. It organises a yearly survey to decide the most popular destinations.

In 2023, among over 400 European destinations– including 90 sustainable EDEN Destinations awarded by the European Commission – 21 shortlisted destinations have been selected for their growth of popularity on social networks during the past 12 months, growth of visitors, quality of life, sustainable development and their all-year round cultural offer. From the 686,244 collected votes from 178 countries, 48% came from Europe.

Warsaw recognition

14 European countries made their way into the top 21 destinations. Few capital cities however appear among the top 20. Among the capital cities named among the top 20 are Warsaw, Athens, Copenhagen, London; Prague and Vienna.

Warsaw topped the chart this year, recording 142,081 votes. The Polish capital broke also a record in the “European Best Destination” contest, previously held by Porto in 2017 with 138,000 votes. Warsaw received 68% of the votes from outside of Poland.

The city is described by the jury of European Best Destinations as ” beautiful, friendly, green, open to the world, perfect for a family city break, cultural holidays, shopping experiences, romantic stays. Warsaw, your European Best Destination 2023 has something for everyone”. Warsaw takes over the title from Ljubljana, designated as the European Best Destination 2022.

According to representatives of the Warsaw Tourist Organization, the title will strengthen Warsaw’s position as an attractive tourist destination on the international stage and allow for more effective promotion and marketing of the Polish capital in the coming months.

Southern European destinations are the favourite among voters

Warsaw, Athens and Maribor voted Europe's most attractive tourist destinations in 2023, by European Best Destinations
Ascona Locarno in Tessin is 17th most favourite destination | Credit: Kookay

Most of the awarded destinations by European Best Destinations are cities, ranging from small ones such as Cittadella in Italy or Ascona-Locarno in Switzerland to metropolises such as London or Copenhagen.

A large number of destinations are located in Southern Europe, mostly along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Eight destinations over 20 are located in South Europe with Greece and Spain sharing the podium for the largest number of destinations among the top 20 – Athens, Rhodes and Milos for Greece; Toledo, Tossa de Mar and Soller for Spain.

The best performing country outside of Southern Europe is Germany with two unusual destinations: Essen in the Ruhr area came as the sixth most favourite destination 2023 and Mannheim on the 10th position. Mannheim should benefit of that title as the city welcomes the Federal Horticultural Show 2023, Bundesgardenschau 2023. France was represented with Grenoble, praised for its commitment to the environment, sustainable tourism and culture.

While relatively unknown destinations such as Ascona-Locarno in Switzerland, Maribor in Slovenia, Soller in Spain and Veszprem in Hungary appeared also in the top 20 of the European Best Destinations survey.

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