Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul

Top 10 European Destinations in 2013

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!

1Istanbul, Turkey

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.

2Lisbon, Portugal

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.

3Vienna, Austria

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.

4Barcelona, Spain

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.

6Madrid, Spain

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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