For the fourth year, the European Consumers Choice Organization gives a chance to all European travelers to vote online for their favorite European town and give their reasons for their choice. The main purpose of this competition is to draw attention to the Winning City’s natural and creative assets and attract a large number of tourists not only from Europe but worldwide.
This year, 20 selected European towns have entered the competition for the prestigious title of Best European Destination 2013. Participants voted online during a three weeks period. Competition results have shown that Istanbul is the favorite European destination 2013.
The second place was taken by Lisbon (with only 439 votes behind Istanbul), followed by Vienna, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Madrid, Valletta, Nice, Milan and Stockholm.
Think twice when choosing your next European Destination 2013!
Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents. Standing at the crossroads between east and West, Istanbul has something to offer for every visitor: from ancient Byzantine houses to spectacular mosques and form excellent shopping options to vibrant and energetic nightlife. Don’t worry about accommodation when traveling to Istanbul, because it has a great number of hotels to suit everyone's budget and taste, whether you're after old-fashioned grandeur or modern simplicity. This year, Turkey celebrates the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic by Ataturk; during this event will be opened the Marmaray tunnel under the Bosphorus linking Europe and Asia and the Ataturk Cultural Centre in Taksim. Go to this link to find a list of what to do, see, taste and buy when traveling to Istanbul.
If you want to feel the sun’s power for real, then choose Lisbon this year. The almost constant presence of sunshine and the River Ragus, paints the city in thousands of colors – highlighting Lisbon’s tourist attractions. Lisbon is a city which will keep entertained even the most sophisticated visitor. Best known for its colonialist history, ornate Manueline architecture and tradition of Fado music, Lisbon is a corner of paradise for history buffs, but the spectacular hilltop vistas, pleasant year-round weather and the true "café culture are great for the more energetic tourists.
Vienna is known all over the world for its rich art and culture. About three new cultural centers will be opened this year: the Chamber of Art and Wonders in the Kunsthistorisches Museum shines with a new splendor, the MuTh – the new concert hall of the Vienna Boys’ Choir in the Augarten invites visitors to regular performances, and the Stadtpalais Liechtenstein offers art of the Biedermeier and Classicism periods. Another two events which you shouldn’t miss are the Konzerthaus’ 100th anniversary and the 30th birthday of the ever-young Danube Island Festival – the biggest, free, open-air event in Europe offering to its visitors a colorful mix of rock and pop concerts.
Barcelona is a very welcoming city, a collection of multi-faceted and diverse cities. Under its modern architecture, visitors will be surprised to find its historic Gothic center almost intact. You shouldn’t split shopping from sightseeing when traveling to Barcelona, because wherever you go, you’ll see that shops are part of the city life. And while you discover unforgettable sights, you'll be welcomed by the window displays of leading international brands, modern designer shops and traditional shops that have been there since time immemorial. Those looking for fun and leisure can walk among sharks, stroke dolphins, take a head-spinning ride on a roller coaster or enjoy the magnificent views of Barcelona and peaceful atmosphere of the parks.
5Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam is home to almost as many bikes as residents. Besides friendly weather, fresh air and lush vegetation, Amsterdam is a very romantic place: the cobbled streets, narrow alleys, watery maze of canals, the historic city centre and the more than 30 parks and public gardens make it a perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Don’t be afraid to walk at night because Amsterdam is ranked one of the top 25 safest cities in the world, with a far lower crime rate than many other popular European capitals. Many don’t know but Amsterdam is an amazing beach destination as well. The beach can be reached whether by train, bus or ferry. Don’t miss the Zandvoort and Bloemendaal aan Zee for a Dutch-style beach party.
Madrid is a very active, vibrant and entertaining during the day, but even more so at night. Either you travel for business or leisure, for a long or short vacation, the Spanish capital has it all: spectacular art, excellent shopping options, energetic nightlife, tasty gastronomy and imaginable options for leisure. Thanks to its modern and cosmopolitan flare and to the friendly and passionate character of madrileños, the Spanish capital makes everyone feel right at home while providing them with some of the world’s most interesting tourist attractions. More than eighty museums and about two thousand architectural monuments including historical and artistic will help you understand better the European and world history.
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Valletta is the smallest capital in Europe but it is very picturesque and has a very rich and impressionable history and culture! In 1980, Valletta was officially recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is a Baroque masterpiece, almost surrounded by the turquoise blue waters of the Marsamxett and Grand Harbours. It surprises its visitors with a huge collection of lavish art and architecture, as well as a fascinating historical legacy. The most impressive attractions are the St John's Co-Cathedral, Auberge d'Italie and Provence and the 16th-century Casa Rocca Piccola.
The seaside city of Nice is very popular among couples, honeymooners and sun-worshipers. The beaches in Nice extend uninterrupted for more than four miles. Like many other beaches on the French Riviera, the Nice beaches are pebbly and in some areas they slope down to the sea at quite an angle. Nevertheless the views over the Mediterranean Sea are amazing and there are a lot of things to do on the beach. But besides beaches, Nice boasts a smorgasbord of museums and galleries, which are largely free to enter. Then there’s the Old Town. With its labyrinth of alleyways and narrow streets, it’s a delight to get lost in.
If you want to find out all about Italian culture, history and way of life, than Milan is the city you must visit. Enjoy the elegance, style and the atmosphere of Italy while visiting the imposing marble Duomo, the spectacular architecture of the churches, palaces and museums. A beautiful contemporary art and architecture will surround you everywhere. Milan is also a place where design and fashion have made their home that is why visitors will find here incredible shopping options. If you are a music lover, you can’t miss La Scala. Many other orchestras and venues cater to all musical tastes, from chamber music to jazz.
Stockholm is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and the place where fashion, technology, music, film, design and game industry feel like home. It is a place where creativity grows, and where dreams and new ideas are realized. But most of all – a very welcoming city! Stockholm boasts also a beautiful natural setting: it is built upon a series of bays, rivers and waterways of 14 roughly connected islands containing an assortment of architectural and cultural oddities. The air and the water are clean and fresh and you’re always surrounded by nature. Wherever you look, there’s water, crystalline clear water in which you can practice all types of activities including fishing and even swimming in the middle of town.