By Flora Stubbs
July 10, 2019
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When it comes to the best European cities in readers’ eyes, one nation reigns supreme. For the third year running, Italy has dominated the top urban destinations on the Continent, occupying the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 7 spots on this year’s list. That’s perhaps unsurprising, given that high-end U.S. travel advisors reported Italy was the most popular international destination for summer 2019.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure 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.

RelatedThe World's Best Awards 2019

In keeping with recent years’ results, Spain again came in a close second. T+L readers ranked Seville in third place, Barcelona fourth, and San Sebastián tenth. Which makes sense, considering the number of Americans visiting Spain in 2019 increased by an extraordinary 21.5 percent over the previous year — spurred on, no doubt, by increased airlift and the country’s strong security record. It seems Spain’s combination of authentic, unspoiled culture, a robust food-and-wine scene, and a great array of museums and other historical attractions proved irresistible to many Travel + Leisure readers. As one respondent said of Seville, “There's so much to do and see, and the city truly has an incredible history. It’s also a great base for day trips to Grenada, Cordoba, and Cádiz. Such a friendly city that’s easy to navigate, plus the food and music and architecture are stunning.”

Portugal’s ongoing tourism boom was also reflected on this year’s list, with Porto ranking at No. 5 and Lisbon at No. 6. And though our readers are definitely drawn to Mediterranean and Iberian culture when they visit European cities, Central and Eastern Europe were also well represented on the list, with Kraków, Prague, Salzburg, and Vienna all ranking in this year’s top 15.

Find the full list of the best cities in Europe below.

15. Vienna

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Score: 84.12

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The Ring, skylark.com, rates from $157/night.

14. Salzburg, Austria

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Score: 84.19

13. Paris

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Score: 84.60

12. Madrid

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Score: 84.88

11. Prague

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Score: 85.22

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Mandarin Oriental Prague, skylark.com, rates from $400.
Includes $100 resort credit.

10. San Sebastián, Spain

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Score: 85.48

9. Istanbul

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WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 85.75

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Four Seasons At Sultanahmet, skylark.com, rates from $400.
Includes up to 46% savings, $100 food & beverage credit.

8. Kraków, Poland

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Score: 85.80

7. Siena, Italy

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Score: 85.88

6. Lisbon

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Score: 86.25

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Bairro Alto Hotel, skylark.com, rates from $378.
Includes daily breakfast, unique dining experience, room upgrade on arrival.

5. Porto, Portugal

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Score: 86.35

4. Barcelona

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WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 86.47

3. Seville, Spain

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Score: 86.65

2. Rome

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WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 87.34

Book This Deal
La Posta Vecchia Hotel, skylark.com, rates from $320.
Includes guided tour of in-house Roman museum, complimentary minibar, $120 spa credit.

1. Florence

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WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 88.26

Is there a more perfect expression of Italian culture than the art-filled medieval streets of Florence? Not according to Travel + Leisure readers, who once again voted it their favorite European city for 2019. Though the design movement in the Oltrarno district is currently being reinterpreted by contemporary artisans, and an emerging generation of experimental chefs around the city, the fact is that very little changes in Florence — which is precisely why our readers love it. As one respondent said, “Florence is one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. It never disappoints, and it never gets old. A cultural and gastronomic treasure, alive with history wherever you look.” There’s also something appealing about the city’s scale — a factor several respondents to our World’s Best Awards survey acknowledged. As one put it, “It’s a very manageable size to explore in a week without the hustle and bustle of Paris or Milan.”

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2019.

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