LISBON, Feb 18 — A World Heritage city synonymous with port wine has been crowned the best European destination of 2014 for its “postcard-perfect views,” friendly locals and gastronomy.
In a poll of 228,690 respondents organized by the Brussels-based Europeanbestdestinations.org, the coastal town of Porto, Portugal—the second biggest Portuguese city after Lisbon—received the largest consensus and the most number of votes at 15 per cent.
The digital campaign was launched via social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Flickr and attracted the greatest number of votes since the competition began in 2009.
Average voters were between 20 and 40 years of age and nearly evenly split, with 56 per cent female voters and 44 per cent male votes.
The top 10 cities were chosen from a pool of 20 destinations.
Porto was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 for having preserved its 2,000-year-old historical and architectural heritage.
And voters in the online campaign agreed, praising its character, the city’s rich traditions, friendly locals, and flowing port.
According to Portugal’s official tourism website, the best time to visit the city is in June, when “sardines start to get fat,” days stretch longer and the city prepares to throw the biggest festival of the year honoring its patron St. John the Baptist on June 23 to 24.
The hundred-year-old tradition is also known as the longest night of the year in Porto and includes street festivals, fireworks and barbecued sardines and meats.
Meanwhile, Porto took the top spot, beating other nominees like Zagreb, Vienna, Nicosia, and Budapest.
Here are the top 10 European destinations for 2014:
1. Porto, Portugal
2. Zagreb, Croatia
3. Nicosia, Cyprus
4. Vienna, Austria
5. Budapest, Hungary
6. Madeira, Portugal
7. Milan, Italy
8. Madrid, Spain
9. Berlin, Germany, and
10. Rome, Italy. — AFP