Over half a million of travelers from 182 countries have voted for the European Best Destinations 2022. Out of over 400 destinations, discover the 20 most voted destinations awarded the title of “Best European Destinations 2022”.
Here below is a list of the top destinations to visit, according to European Best Destinations. Hopefully you will find inspiration among for a city break, a sunny vacation, a romantic getaway, shopping, culture or immersion in nature.
1. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana was voted the European Best Destination 2022. A city for curious and adventurous souls, Ljubljana is a treasure trove of exciting secrets and natural joys. The proud green capital of Slovenia invites all vagabonds who are hungry for culture, art, entertainment, and large green areas, which provide a relaxed atmosphere.
It’s not just travelers from all over the world who visit Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Whole delegations of mayors, environmental advisers and town planners visit Ljubljana to understand the green miracle of this unique capital in Europe. Earlier than other European destinations, Ljubljana opted for a pedestrianized historic center. In its heart, while strolling from a trendy boutique to an authentic store, a trendy restaurant or a trendy café, you can hear birdsong.
The conglomerate of colorful history and natural heritage adorns the great heart of Ljubljana. Your first visit will definitely not be your last. Ljubljana’s authentic charm is most enjoyed by those travelers who keep coming back for the wonderful culture, cuisine and varied city life.
2. Marbella, Spain
Capital of the sun in Europe, Marbella is the preferred destination for travelers looking for relaxation, shopping, refined hotels and restaurants, also local handcrafts, golf, outdoor sports, elegance and refinement for unforgettable holidays.
Thanks to the work carried out by the City Council, Marbella also attracts more than ever digital nomads, sports enthusiasts, gourmets, but also companies and investors. Marbella develops sustainable and responsible tourism of very high quality and is an example of good practice at European level.
Indulge your taste buds in a Michelin-starred restaurant or tapas bar in the historic center of Marbella. The authentic alleys with thousands of flowers and plants hanging on the walls and balconies are the inimitable signature of this destination which has been number 1 in your heart for decades. Marbella’s warm microclimate and year-round sunshine make it an outdoor sports paradise. This sunny destination is also first ranked among the most prestigious & exclusive destinations in Europe.
3. Amiens, France
Ideally located in the heart of the Paris-London-Brussels triangle, Amiens is a lovely town ranking as the 4th greenest city in France. As the only French city to have three UNESCO heritage listings and dominated by its imposing cathedral, Amiens shines with its stunning architecture and natural heritage. Amiens was the source of inspiration for Jules Verne when he settled here in 1871. The famous author left his mark on the city; his influence is visible in every corner of the streets in Amiens.
Amiens is also home to an international garden festival to be discovered in the famous Hortillonnages site voted the most beautiful City Park in Europe. The Hortillonnages, a 300-hectare green paradise in the heart of the city, can also be explored on foot, by bike, in a rowing boat, in a kayak or even on a paddle.
Don’t miss the must-see Musée de Picardie, hop on a bike and head to Amiens Zoo, a real island of biodiversity where endangered species are protected in the peace of nature. Get on the little touristic train or take a horse-drawn carriage ride: both take you through Saint-Leu, a typical historic district marked with colourful houses. This is an ideal place to taste some local specialities such as “ficelle picarde”, or to have a drink in the evening on one of the many terraces along the Somme river.
4. Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Plovdiv is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe and one of the most ancient in the world. As the main cultural centre of Bulgaria, Plovdiv deservedly won the title of European Capital of Culture 2019.
The city is home to impressive monuments of antiquity – the 1st-century theatre, the Roman Stadium from the 2nd century, the Ancient Forum, fine examples of Roman mosaic heritage, seen in The Bishop’s Basilica of Philippopolis (4-6th century) and in The Small Early Christian Basilica (4-6th century), and others.
Plovdiv Old Town, the city’s finest gem, is a cultural phenomenon that enchants with its beautiful and richly decorated Revival houses. Thanks to the economic and cultural impulse carried by the Mayor of Plovdiv, Mr. Zdravko Dimitrov but also the Deputy Mayor in charge of Culture & Tourism Mr. Plamen Panov and the Tourism Department of Plovdiv this destination is also ranked first among your Best Cultural Destinations in Europe 2022. Plovdiv has also been the most voted Bulgarian destination since the creation of this competition in 2009.
5. Leuven, Belgium
Leuven is a picturesque city in the heart of Belgium and an ideal destination for an exciting all year round city break with your friends, family or individually, a destination awarded among the “European Best Destinations 2022”.
Thanks to its rich and varied offering in heritage, art, culture, science, beer, gastronomy and shopping, this town is an invite to stroll and discover. It’s very easily accessible and everything lies within walking or biking distance. The moment you walk out of the Leuven Railway Station, you can already feel the radiation of a hip & urban vibe in an historical setting, guaranteed to draw you into its vibrancy. 157 nationalities from all walks of life call it home and are the beating heart of this 21st century-old university town.
This attractive destination is also on the first place of the podium of the Best Open-Minded Destinations in Europe, a ranking of destinations actively working on accessibility, social diversity, solidarity, tolerance, respect and living together.
Enjoy shopping in attractive, car-free shopping streets, from eco fashion to major chain stores, from markets with local products to souvenir and gift shops. You are in the land of chocolate, beer and gastronomy so don’t forget to drop by one of the many cozy cafés and charming restaurants you can find one around every corner. Home to the legendary and world-famous Brewery Stella Artois, Leuven has an incredibly rich brewery history (goes back to 1366!). It’s without a doubt the capital of beer. Experience the local breweries in action and enjoy a wonderful beer after your tour.
6. Oradea, Romania
Oradea is a city that fully enjoys each season and pumps live energy in a surprising architectural landscape, becoming one of the region’s best-known destinations for slow and stress-free tourism. Situated on the western Romanian border, at only 490 km from Vienna, Oradea breathed in the influence of the occident in every moment of its long history. The architectural patrimony in Oradea is so unique that the city has been voted the most beautiful Art Nouveau town in Europe.
Oradea is the city of the young, of health and relaxation. It was voted the “Most beautiful city in Romania”. Boosting an incredible events agenda that spread all year long, Oradea is the perfect destination for city break tourists. Cultural addicts can enjoy an impressive range of exhibitions in local museums and unwind during one of the Philharmonics or Oradea National Theater performances. The Nymphaea Aqua Park is the perfect place to ‘recharge your batteries’, offering a whooping area of 7 hectares, 10 water slides and 15 pools.
7. London, United Kingdom
London brings together like no other destination, traders, business people, eccentrics, artists, creators, designers and more. Its tourist offer goes well beyond Big Ben, the London Eye and Madame Tussauds, which will always delight young and old. London is also an atmosphere, parks of rare beauty ranked among the most attractive city parks in Europe.
Head for Portobello flea markets and colorful houses that are the backdrop to legendary films like “Notting Hill”. Discover the eccentric and colorful neighborhood of Camden Town. Stroll between the tidy commercial streets of Regent Street and Oxford Street to the designer, artistic and independent shopping districts of Carnaby Street or Covent Garden; do not miss the gay and LGBTQ district of Soho and marvel at the theater posters hosting world renowned musicals.
There are a thousand good reasons to visit London this year. Our favorite times to discover London is in spring and summer. It’s less crowded and the parks in the city center and surrounding areas like Richmond Park, are sublime with flowering plants ancient trees and deer roaming freely.
8. Nijmegen, Netherlands
Nijmegen is the oldest city in the Netherlands with a city center full of important historical locations. And it’s not just a rich cultural history that Nijmegen has to offer: a large number of students, numerous events and festivals, unique hot spots and cosy restaurants all add up to an unprecedented liveliness in the city. Just put your feet in the sand at our city beach next to the river Waal, or relax at one of the numerous sidewalk cafes.
A large array of both chain stores and small and unique specialty stores will complete your Nijmegen experience, whether you’re here for a day or for the entire weekend. And don’t forget to have a drink and a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants and cafes.
This year treat yourself to a city break combining nature, culture, shopping, outings, gastronomy in one of the most sparkling destinations in Europe. Nijmegen is the Dutch destination that has received the most votes since the creation of this competition, ahead of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. It is also ranked Best Youth Destination in Europe.
9. Lahti Region, Finland
The city of Lahti is a gateway to the Finnish Lakeland – the largest in Europe. Finland has over 188,000 lakes and the water is the cleanest in the world. Lahti is located only an hour north of the capital Helsinki, the international airport and port and just 2.5 hours away from St Petersburg by train.
As European Green Capital, Lahti is a frontrunner in climate work and a pioneer in sustainable and smart solutions. In the Lahti region, you can experience pure and diverse nature sustainably.
From Lahti the waterway opens up from local lake Vesijärvi to the pure Lake Päijänne which is the second biggest lake in Finland, providing drinking water to the whole Helsinki region. 74% of the city area is covered by forest, while 11% consists of bodies of water. The best tap water in the world, filtered and purified naturally by the Salpausselkä ridges, is an everyday luxury for the people of Lahti. A Lakeland Finland holiday is all about relaxing in connection with nature.
A Finnish traditional sauna, swim in open pure lakes, slow walks in the forest and nights in a private lakeside villa are essentials for every visit. The Lahti region is one of the busiest cottage holiday destinations in Finland. This year, Lahti was also awarded the title of European Best Sustainable Destination 2022.
10. Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is a well-known destination for travelers looking for a change of scenery, authenticity, culture, traditions and a certain sweetness of life. Cosmopolitan city, straddling two shores and two continents, sparkling generous city, Istanbul remains, surprisingly, a city on a human scale. Steeped in an incredible historical past, it is teeming with exceptional sites such as the Topkapi Palace, the Maiden’s Tower and its legends, and sumptuous mosques open to curious visitors.There are plenty of off-beat sites for those who really want to soak up the native culture and leave tourist crowds behind.
A short trip across the Bosporus on one of the city’s typical ferries will land you at Üsküdar, a bustling town with many important examples of Ottoman architecture and some great food shopping. If you want to go further afield, the Bosporus ‘villages’ have much to offer: wooden Ottoman houses and the village ambience of Arnavutköy, the fortress of Rumeli Hisari with its unforgettable views over the water and fresh seafood.
11. Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is considered one of Italy’s hidden gems as well as the perfect place for a honeymoon or a marriage proposal and the whole Amalfi Coast awaits you for sunny, gastronomic, romantic, utterly unforgettable holidays. With its steep cliffs resembling the cliffs of Madeira in Portugal, the Amalfi Coast stretches for more than 50 kilometers of breathtaking landscapes. The traditional fishing villages of the Amalfi coast are incredibly colorful and utterly charming as they nest like eagles in the cliffs on the rock spurs.
Come and visit it outside the high season; in spring, lemon trees perfume the sea air of the Amalfi Coast and in September-October the incredible vineyards carved out of the cliffs come alive. Rightly considered a jewel of Italy, the Amalfi Coast is a legendary destination, a mythical vacation spot that has turned the heads of illustrious heroes such as Ulysses bewitched by the sirens. Amalfi, Ravello, Positano, colorful villages await you during your stay on the Amalfi Coast.
12. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is the perfect destination to discover in 2022. Many travelers have left the big cities, wishing to escape the crowds for secondary, lesser-known destinations. The result? Prague, like Lisbon, Venice and London, are much more pleasant to visit nowadays.
Don’t hesitate for a second to put this romantic destination at the top of your travel wish-list. Do you like discovering cities away from the crowds? Wake up a little earlier than usual, at 5.30 am-6am, and walk around Prague before city life starts up again. Discover its markets, cafes, restaurants at dawn, watching the sun rise over the most beautiful monuments of Prague. This little tip will cost you nothing (other than a few hours of sleep) and will allow you to see Prague from a different perspective.
13. Rome, Italy
A true open-air museum, Rome is utterly fascinating. People obviously come here to discover “Roma Caput Mundi” the capital of the world and the power of the Roman Empire. We marvel at the Colosseum, considered one of the 7 wonders of Europe, or at the Spanish Steps, considered one of the best places for a marriage proposal.
Obviously ranked as your best destinations to visit in Italy, Rome has been regularly on the podium of your best destinations in Europe for over 10 years. Rome is much more than a city, so why not extend your stay for a few days and discover the province of Rome.
The province of Rome is a matching frame for the many treasures of the capital and the surrounding area has, more or less directly, experienced the influence of the history of the Eternal City. The region has a great deal to offer: sea, nature, good food and villages rich in history and art. Sea, hills, lakes, rivers and vineyards: the surroundings of Rome offer a kaleidoscope of diversity and attractions for nature lovers.
14. Bavaria, Germany
Bavaria is Germany’s most visited region and one of the favorite destinations for travellers new to Europe. A historic region, with its many legendary castles ranked among the most beautiful castles in Germany, such as the “Neuschwanstein Castle”, a fairy tale castle located a few kilometers from Munich Airport, Bavaria is also a modern and open-minded region.
Bordering on Austria and Switzerland, Bavaria has an incredible history and traditions that fascinate travelers from all over the world who come to discover the Oktoberfest, a colorful event combining tradition, funfair, regional gastronomy, songs and dance in Munich, its capital.
Green and rich in wild flora and fauna, Bavaria offers the largest forest in Europe for those looking for a trip combining nature, outdoor sport, culture, gastronomy and history. Traveling in winter? Do not miss the best ski resorts in Germany; the most stunning, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Oberstdorf are located in Bavaria.
15. Athens, Greece
Travelers will return time and time again for the Acropolis or the Temple of Poseidon and will also discover much more than historic sites in Athens, a youthful city resolutely turned towards the future.
During your stay, be sure to visit the Varvakios Agora, an amazing indoor and outdoor food market. This is the perfect place to mingle with the true Athenians and experience the unique ambience of this authentic market. You will love to stroll with them through the Monastiraki neighborhood teeming with bars, cafes, restaurants, markets, small shops, flea markets and Greek handicrafts.
Take a walk and leave the city center to visit the Athens’ seaside, its restaurants and fish markets or take refuge in the green oasis of the” National Gardens”; 16 hectares of pure nature await you in the heart of the Greek capital. Kids will love the small zoo where they can see pretty little Greek goats, chickens, peacocks and other feathered animals.
16. Clonakilty, Ireland
Clonakilty is one of Ireland’s top sustainable tourism destinations.
The city was founded by Richard Boyle, Great Earl of Cork in 1588, and is usually flush with color from the traditional shop fronts to the many flowers and plants blooming along the narrow bustling streets. A number of festivals take place in Clonakilty every year including the West Cork Rally, an International Guitar Festival and the Michael Collins Festival. Music, good food and a bit of ‘craic’ (good time) can be had in the many hostelries in this delightful town.
A long list of restaurants, cafés and bars, all serving the very best of what West Cork has to offer, will make sure you are well looked after while the wide range of amenities, leisure activities and attractions will ensure your experience of Clonakilty is truly memorable.
17. Vienna, Austria
Vienna is an ideal destination for romantics: what better than a horse-drawn carriage ride followed by a visit to the Royal Palaces of Vienna? And in the evening, a waltz to the sound of Strauss’s Blue Danube to transport you to the time of the Empress Sisi?
Vienna is also the perfect city for a sparkling, original city break for friends, families, lovers and singles. An openly gay-friendly city (you’ll remember Conchita Wurst was from Vienna), it is also one of the safest cities in Europe. The feeling of security is very high and these cities are known for their quality of life and low crime rate.
We love Vienna in spring and summer, with its parks classified among the most beautiful city parks in Europe; its amusement park “The Prater” in the heart of the city is considered to be one of the best places for a marriage proposal.
18. Lucerne, Switzerland
Lucerne is a real postcard destination that attracts travellers from all over the world. 2022 is probably the best time to find out as it has been less crowded since the pandemic. Geographically, it lies in the heart of Switzerland and, historically, the Lake Lucerne Region with the world-famous city of Lucerne (or Luzern) is Switzerland’s birthplace. Its landscape is shaped by the spectacular Alps covered in a magical blanket of snow in winter. You could say that the Lake Lucerne Region is a “pocket-size version” of Switzerland.
No other region offers so many memorable Swiss vacation moments in such a small area: enjoy a raclette (cheese fondue) on a winter boat trip on Lake Lucerne, spend a day in the snow in the foothills of the Alps with a panoramic view of the mountains or take a gentle winter stroll through Lucerne, the “Festival City” and “Christmas City” in the heart of Switzerland.
Enjoy memorable excursions on a paddle-steamer on Lake Luzern, soak up pure nature on the close-by mountains and relax in the mild climate of the “Lucerne Riviera” with its great offers of wellness hotels. The idyllic lakeside villages of Weggis and Vitznau on the shores of Lake Lucerne on the sunny southern flank of Mt. Rigi offer a variety of holiday experiences.
19. Graz, Austria
Although the second-largest city in Austria with a quarter of a million residents, Graz is by no means a “big city” and you can drift happily for hours and hours in the lanes.
Comfortable footwear goes easy on busy feet here. In the historic old town with its roads, streets, squares and courtyards there’s lots to explore and even more to be enjoyed, for Graz is also the culinary capital which you should not only see but taste as well. You should obviously use your sense of taste and smell, because in no other city is “Austria’s delicatessen” as omnipresent as it is here.
Austria is a very trendy destination for history buffs, culture and shopping. It is also a premier destination for those looking for sustainable tourism destinations like Landlust and Mostviertel. It also attracts travelers looking for the most beautiful Christmas markets in Vienna, Graz, Innsbruck or Salzburg.
20. Crete, Greece
This Greek island bathed in sunshine and warm winds is an ideal destination for lovers of wild life but also for far niente and relaxation. Come drink your raki (cretan brandy) while enjoying a typical meal; it is said that the secret of longevity of its inhabitants is its gastronomy.
Visit the historical sites of Petras and Kommos, dive into the warm blue waters of Matala or Falasarna. Stay in the legendary city of Heraklion or in the beautiful port cities of Chania and Agios Nikolaos.