The Top 15 Cities in Europe in 2017

Prague, Czech Republic
Photo: Getty Images

It’s no secret that readers adore cities in Italy and Spain, which have historically been well represented on this list, and remain so this year. But there’s a new country contending for European metropolitan greatness: Portugal. With both Lisbon and Porto ranked, it is the only other European nation with multiple winners. That’s a reflection of a surge in traveler interest in Portugal, highlighted by T+L’s selection of the country as its 2016 Destination of the Year. 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 ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated cities on their sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value. Florence once again took top honors, as it has done in 10 out of the past 11 years. The city is by no means resting on its laurels, however, making the news multiple times throughout the year with moves to preserve identity while also embracing the future. These include new restrictions on fast-food restaurants and other retailers in the city’s historical center, efforts to fight congestion, and a plan to modernize the Uffizi. The top-ranked city from a country other than Italy or Spain was Budapest. Many readers suggested taking twilight cruises along the Danube to fully absorb the enchanting after-dark lighting of Parliament, the bridges, and the Buda hills. “The night lights of the city and bridges were breathtaking!” one wrote. “If you weren’t in love, you could fall in love very easily!” With new luxury accommodations like the Aria Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton, the city offers more and more places to stay in style. Hearteningly, despite all the adversity that Istanbul has faced, readers still see it as one of the best places in Europe to visit. The climate in Turkey might be uncertain, but a thriving young art scene, wonderful hotels, from the Four Seasons to Soho House, and a dramatic waterfront plan in the works, this jewel of the Bosporus should remain so for years to come.

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15. Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain
Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Score: 87.30

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14. Istanbul, Turkey

Iastanbul, Turkey
Getty Images

Score: 87.40

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13. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland
Getty Images

Score: 87.43

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12. Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy
Simon Watson

Score: 87.66

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11. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic
Getty Images

Score: 87.89

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10. Lisbon, Portugal

The Five Best Things to Do in Lisbon, According to the Locals
Alvaro Leiva

Score: 88.02

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9. Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal
Alvaro Leiva

Score: 88.51

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8. Kraków, Poland

Krakow, Poland
Getty Images

Score: 88.61

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7. Seville, Spain

Seville, Spain
Christopher Testani

Score: 88.91

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6. Siena, Italy

Siena, Italy
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Score: 88.97

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5. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary
Simon Watson

Score: 89.19

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4. San Sebastián, Spain

San Sebastian, Spain
Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Score: 89.52

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3. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain
Gunnar Knechtel

Score: 89.52

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2. Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy
Getty Images

Score: 89.73

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1. Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy
Getty Images

Score: 90.75

It’s the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. What more does a traveler need? Of course you’ll want to go see classic sights like the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, and Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’Accademia. But there’s a modern Florence, too, full of enticing surprises — from the Mercato Centrale, a covered market showcasing Tuscany’s rich culinary bounty, to the sly street art of Clet Abraham, which has begun inspiring visitors to embark upon urban scavenger hunts through the ancient city. As one reader summed up quite brilliantly: “This is a city I can return to again and again, and still find new and interesting sites and activities.”

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