European Best Destinations is a travel website that promotes culture and tourism in Europe, reaching more than 6 million travellers. This year, the website asked travellers a simple question to which more than 600,000 travellers from 192 countries answered. Where would you like to go on holiday in Europe as soon as it is safe to travel? The winners have been declared European Best Destinations 2021.
So here are destinations that travellers have put at the top of their wishlist – places they are eager to
discover when the health situation allows for travel again. The competition for European Best Destinations 2021 garnered more than 600,000 votes from 192 countries. 61% of votes are from Europe, 39% from outside Europe.
Foreign travellers showed a strong interest for a return to Europe and the winning destination got 109,902 votes. For the 5th year in a row, two sustainable tourism destinations (Cavtat in Croatia and Soca Valley in Slovenia), have been included in the competition. Their high rankings demonstrate that sustainable destinations can be among the most attractive ones in Europe.
20 destinations to win European Best Destinations 2021 title:
1. BRAGA, PORTUGAL
Braga is known as the city of the Archbishops (for centuries the Archbishops were holders of both, temporal and spiritual power), or known as the Portuguese Rome, because of the faith of its people, for its number of religious manifestations, churches and shrines. The city also boasts of beautiful landscapes (Bom Jesus, Sameiro), fantastic gastronomy and a sizeable university population.
2. ROME, ITALY
The Eternal City and the surrounding region have a great deal to offer: sea, nature, good food and villages rich in history and art. Sea, hills, lakes, rivers and vineyards: the surroundings of Rome offer a kaleidoscope of diversity and attractions for nature lovers. Read our Rome guide for how to explore the city like a local.
3. CAVTAT, CROATIA
Cavtat, near Dubrovnik, is located in Konavle region – fondly called the Croatian Tuscany. The picturesque laid-back town is possibly the most famous place in Konavle and is situated only 18 km from Dubrovnik. Its old town centre hides many lovely cafés and restaurants. It has a stunning waterfront lined with palm trees and has been described as closely resembling Saint Tropez.
4. FLORENCE, ITALY
The historic centre, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an open-air museum where you can admire the facades of the basilicas and cathedrals that form its unmistakable skyline, and see the palaces that tell the story of the city’s history: from the birthplace of the Renaissance to the capital of Italy, to the first half of the 20th century when Florence became a hub for the avant-garde. Visit the Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery, Bargello National Museum, Palazzo Pitti and Medici Chapel.
5. SIBIU, ROMANIA
6. PARIS, FRANCE
Paris hardly needs an introduction. If you want to explore life beyond the usual landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the majestic Louvre, etc, check out our photo guide to Paris for a different perspective of the glamorous city.
7. KEFALONIA, GREECE
Located south of the islands of Corfu and Lefkada, this stunner in Greece is famous for its sandy coves. Don’t miss Myrtos Beach, Antisamos beach, and Melissani Lake, ranked among the best nature wonders in Greece. Also not to be missed: Xi Beach & the colourful fishing village of Asos.
8. KOTOR, MONTENEGRO
Kotor, a cultural and natural world heritage site is located in a secluded part of the Boka bay. In 2000, Boka Kotorska bay became a member of the club of the most beautiful bays in the world. Lonely Planet‘s Best in Travel yearbook for 2016 has named Kotor as the number one city to visit in the world.
9. SOCA VALLEY, SLOVENIA
Soča river, which flows at the foot of the Julian Alps, has carved an exhilarating valley and has some of the most gorgeous waters in Europe. The region is divided into three municipalities: Bovec, Kobarid and Tolmin. Part of the area is inside the Triglav National Park. The valley is a paradise for water sports on the river Soča (rafting, kayaking, canoeing, canyoning, etc.) and for paragliders, rock climbers, hikers and mountain bikers. Marked trails lead to numerous natural landmarks, like the gorges of the Soča and Tolminka, and the Kozjak waterfall.
10. CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN
11. TUBINGEN, GERMANY
12. DORDOGNE VALLEY, FRANCE
In the summer, swim or canoe the clear waters of the Dordogne river, the only river in France to be part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. From cave paintings to Roman occupation, or from the Hundred Years War to the Renaissance, all have shaped the landscape you see today.
The Dordogne Valley boasts of 5 of the Most Beautiful Villages in France, including Collonges-la-Rouge, a fairy-tale like village built in red sandstone. The sacred city of Rocamadour clings to the cliff, and the basilica Saint-Sauveur and the crypt Saint-Amadour are both listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
With its limestone plateaus, the region is also home to an infinite number of cliff dwellings and adorned with extraordinary stalactites, stalagmites and prehistoric drawings. Another must-see is The Gouffre de Padirac, the biggest chasm in Europe featuring a boat journey 103 metres under the surface.
13. TAHITI, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Located in the Pacific Ocean, we could do with a holiday on the magical, secluded Tahiti. Tropical and lush, these 118 islands and atolls are surrounded by crystal clear blue waters, authentic island culture, and unique French Polynesia style. Tahiti is renowned for white-sand beaches, turquoise lagoons and varied landscapes ranging from coral atolls to volcanic mountain peaks.
14. CAPRI, ITALY
The playground of the rich and famous, the exquisite island of Capri, off the picturesque Amalfi Coast in Italy, features stunning beaches, rugged mountains, upscale villas and resorts. One of the most memorable visuals of Capri is the Faraglioni — the cluster of three rock formations jutting out of the ocean at the edge of the island’s coastline.
15. GHENT, BELGIUM
Ghent is a delight for beer lovers. Enjoy a pint at a bar along the canal or just a walk in the charming city. Ghent is romantic, dynamic and young and definitely a good change from Bruges which tends to be overrun by daytrippers.
Loved the European Best Destinations 2021? Check out Europe‘s natural wonders for more.