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Travel + Leisure readers pick the world’s best cities, casting their votes for this year’s most dynamic, vacation-worthy places.

A
new renaissance is under way in Florence, with the city’s historic center
making room for contemporary galleries and chic aperitivo bars. And all
that work has paid off: this year, Florence rose to the No. 2 ranking among
T+L’s World’s Best Cities.

T+L
asked readers to vote in its 16th annual World’s Best survey, rating
worldwide cities in categories such as attractions, arts and culture, food,
shopping, and value. The
result is a global guide to the cities not to miss this year.

Despite
the challenging economy, travel is up, with more than 270 million travelers
hitting the road this year, according to the Airports Council International. More
travel means more insights into what makes a city great—whether it’s efficient
transportation, affordable dining, or youthful energy—and how cities compare on
a global basis. After all, the thrill of a country is most often reflected in
its city life. “Cities absolutely dominate over countryside experiences for travelers,”
says T+L A-List super agent Priscilla Alexander of Protravel International. “You
won’t have someone going to France and not going to Paris.”

But
increased tourism doesn’t necessarily equate to bigger crowds or higher prices.
Carriers such as United Airlines and Delta Airways are adding more flights to
cities like Buenos Aires (No. 11) to accommodate the growing demand. Nor do you
have to leave the United States to experience a world-class city. Charleston (up
to No. 13 from a No. 18 ranking in 2010) is on the radar of a growing number of
travelers—and Southwest’s new service makes it easier to visit than ever.

Then
there are the iconic cities that inspire you to visit, no matter how
complicated the journey. Take Siem Reap (No. 7). While it’s famous as the
gateway to the 12th-century ruins of Angkor Wat, the city itself offers a lot to
discover—it’s a full-fledged destination with luxurious boutique hotels and an artisans'
collective that’s revitalizing Khmer traditions.

The
complete list of World’s Best Cities for 2011 spans six continents and 24 time
zones. Read on for all the winners, including the frenetic metropolis that took
the No. 1 spot.—Marguerite A. Suozzi

World's Best Cities 2011

Travel + Leisure readers pick the world’s best cities, casting their votes for this year’s most dynamic, vacation-worthy places.

A
new renaissance is under way in Florence, with the city’s historic center
making room for contemporary galleries and chic aperitivo bars. And all
that work has paid off: this year, Florence rose to the No. 2 ranking among
T+L’s World’s Best Cities.

T+L
asked readers to vote in its 16th annual World’s Best survey, rating
worldwide cities in categories such as attractions, arts and culture, food,
shopping, and value. The
result is a global guide to the cities not to miss this year.

Despite
the challenging economy, travel is up, with more than 270 million travelers
hitting the road this year, according to the Airports Council International. More
travel means more insights into what makes a city great—whether it’s efficient
transportation, affordable dining, or youthful energy—and how cities compare on
a global basis. After all, the thrill of a country is most often reflected in
its city life. “Cities absolutely dominate over countryside experiences for travelers,”
says T+L A-List super agent Priscilla Alexander of Protravel International. “You
won’t have someone going to France and not going to Paris.”

But
increased tourism doesn’t necessarily equate to bigger crowds or higher prices.
Carriers such as United Airlines and Delta Airways are adding more flights to
cities like Buenos Aires (No. 11) to accommodate the growing demand. Nor do you
have to leave the United States to experience a world-class city. Charleston (up
to No. 13 from a No. 18 ranking in 2010) is on the radar of a growing number of
travelers—and Southwest’s new service makes it easier to visit than ever.

Then
there are the iconic cities that inspire you to visit, no matter how
complicated the journey. Take Siem Reap (No. 7). While it’s famous as the
gateway to the 12th-century ruins of Angkor Wat, the city itself offers a lot to
discover—it’s a full-fledged destination with luxurious boutique hotels and an artisans'
collective that’s revitalizing Khmer traditions.

The
complete list of World’s Best Cities for 2011 spans six continents and 24 time
zones. Read on for all the winners, including the frenetic metropolis that took
the No. 1 spot.—Marguerite A. Suozzi

Martin Morrell

World's Best Cities 2011

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