One is known for its endless souks, one for its wild beaches. Another has a reputation for spawning start-ups—as well as for a nightlife scene that is practically unrivaled.
They’re all among the most loved urban centers in the dynamic, dramatic region of Africa and the Middle East.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe—to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated cities on their sights/landmarks, culture, food, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.
Beirut, which came in second, makes its first appearance since 2007. Though it often makes the news for political upheaval, T+L readers praised its fun, food, and history. “A strikingly beautiful city, and full of surprises,” raved one survey respondent.
Israel had two cities on the list: startup-friendly Tel Aviv as well as religious capital Jerusalem. “Jerusalem was a highlight of my traveling life,” said one eloquent reader. “There is nothing like it to move your soul.”
Marrakesh, with its remarkable medina, riads, and hammams, was ranked in fifth place.
But the all-around winner was much farther south. Cape Town took the crown, in part thanks to the sheer variety of experiences on offer in and around the city, from cultural attractions to wineland tours, and from world-class wildlife excursions to fine-dining venues. And while it didn’t hurt that all this has lately come at bargain prices due to the strength of the rand against the dollar, it is surely worth the trip at any price.