Summer In Europe: Best Beaches, Islands And Hotels, Winners Of World Travel Awards 2019

Portugal has been the big winner in this year’s World Travel Awards, which has unveiled its lists of Europe’s best tourist destinations for 2019.

Known as the Oscars of tourism, the World Travel Awards named Portugal for the third consecutive year as “Europe’s Leading Tourist Destination,” with the Algarve region getting its own award as the “Leading Beach Destination” and the country’s capital, Lisbon, selected as “Europe’s Leading City Break Destination.”

The river in Aljezur, a medieval town founded by the Moors...
The river in Aljezur, a medieval town founded by the Moors in the 10th century, in the Algarve region, southern Portugal. LIGHTROCKET VIA GETTY IMAGES

The announcements were made during a gala ceremony on the island of Madeira, which, along with Porto Santo and Desertas, form the Madeira archipelago and was voted “Europe’s Best Island Destination.”

With its blue skies, crystalline waters, scenic hikes, subtropical climate and rugged landscape, Madeira, located in the north Atlantic Ocean, is a popular year-round vacation destination with nearly 1.5 million tourists visiting every year.

Touring the island of Madeira
A panoramic view of the village of Curral das Freiras (Valley of the Nuns) from the Curral das Freiras viewpoint located at an altitude of 1,095 meters on Madeira Island, Portugal, which won the title of ‘Europe’s Best Island Destination’. NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
Touring the island of Madeira
A picturesque view of Sao Vicente, a municipality along the north-west coast of the island of Madeira. NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
Lisbon in pictures
The Pena Palace in Lisbon, Portugal, selected as ‘Europe’s Leading City Break Destination.’VYACHESLAV PROKOFYEV/TASS

“Europe’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction” was accorded to another Portuguese hotspot: the Passadiços do Paiva in the Arouca Geopark, with its eight-million-plus kilometers of walkways through beautiful, “untouched” natural landscapes recognized by UNESCO as a Geological Heritage of Humanity.

In total, Portugal basked in 39 accolades, including several hotel categories such as Best Business, Design, Luxury, All-inclusive, and Romantic hotels.

A footbridge seen with a step section in the walkways.
A step section in the Paiva Walkways located on the left bank of the Paiva River, in the municipality of Arouca, district of Aveiro, Portugal, voted ‘Europe’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction.’ There are 8 km of courses stretching between theLIGHTROCKET VIA GETTY IMAGES

The Portuguese airline TAP was voted Europe’s leading airline heading to South America and Africa.

Other winners in Europe include the Russian city of St. Petersburg, selected as “Europe’s Leading City Destination” Madrid as “Europe’s Leading Meetings and Conferences Destination” and Batumi, Georgia, “with its mix of Belle Epoque and contemporary splendor” as “Europe’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination.”

Church of the Savior on Blood in Saint Petersburg
View of the Church of the Savior on Blood in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The church was built between 1883 and 1912 at the location where Alexander II was assasinated. PICTURE ALLIANCE VIA GETTY IMAGES

The hotel winners include the Hilton Hotels & Resorts, voted “Europe’s Leading Hotel Brand,” and the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, winner of “Europe’s Leading Business Hotel Brand.”

In the newcomer categories, the InterContinental Sofia in Bulgaria was named “Europe’s Leading New Hotel,” L’Oscar Hotel in London as “Europe’s Leading New Boutique Hotel,” the San Clemente Palace Kempinski in Venice as “Europe’s Leading Luxury Wedding Resort,” Pestana Porto Santo All Inclusive Beach & Spa Resort in Portugal as “Europe’s Leading All-Inclusive Resort.”

In other categories, Venice Simplon Orient-Express won as “Europe’s Leading Luxury Train” and Turismo de Portugal as “Europe’s Leading Tourist Board.”

Poster for the luxury train Simplon Orient-Express linking London to Constantinople via Calais, Paris, Lausanne, Milan, Venise, Trieste, Zagreb, Belgrade and Sofia, the sleepers International Compagny (India Mail) , 20's
Poster for the luxury train Simplon Orient-Express linking London to Constantinople via Calais, Paris, Lausanne, Milan, Venise, Trieste, Zagreb, Belgrade and Sofia. GETTY IMAGES
Venice Simplon - Orient Express in Bulgaria
The legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express at the Bulgarian border train station near Svilengrad on its way back from Istanbul to Venice. The train is one of the worlds most famous and luxury trains and an attraction for the locals. NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES

Established in 1993, the World Travel Awards (WTA) rewards leaders in the tourism, airline, hotel and hospitality sectors around the world, selected through an online poll involving consumers from the general public and thousands of professionals from the tourism and travel industry worldwide.

It covers 130 categories from transportation – air, cruise, car and rail – to attractions, destinations, hotels and resorts, meetings and conventions, agencies and operators, and travel technology providers.

The event in Madeira was part of the WTA Grand Tour 2019, a series of annual industry galas held across the globe annually.

Other 2019 ceremonies take place in Montego Bay (Jamaica), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Mauritius, La Paz (Bolivia) and Phu Quoc (Vietnam), with regional winners advancing to the Grand Final to compete for the world categories.

Grand Final winners will be announced at a ceremony in Muscat (Oman) in November of this year.

All the WTA results are here.


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