Travel Weekly Readers Choice 2016

Destinations: Europe


Thanks to cultural, political and linguistic ties with the U.S., and the fact it simply makes for a jolly good holiday, England draws both first-time and repeat U.S. visitors for its rich cultural legacy; contemporary attractions; the bustle of cities such as London, Birmingham and Manchester; and the enchantment of its countryside.


France draws about 80 million visitors annually to its landscapes of lavender in Provence; charming villages in the French Alps; eternal, sophisticated Paris on the Seine; and 10,000 chateaus, abbeys and manor houses. France has 6,000 museums, including the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou, and is host to 1,000 festivals every year


From fairytale Saxon towns and villages once behind the Iron Curtain to the sophisticated atmosphere of Munich and Cologne, Germany offers leading attractions such as Munich's Oktoberfest; the multicultural, pan-European hotbed of Berlin; and ski resorts and mountain villages in Bavaria and the Alps. Germany is also an increasingly popular river cruise destination, with journeys exploring its castle regions and Bavarian Christmas markets


Ireland's haunting landscapes, historical villages and castles and friendly, witty people who welcome tourists with hometown warmth have always attracted tens of thousands from the U.S. every year. Strong governmental support has spurred efforts such as Ireland's Ancient East, the eastern coast's answer to the Wild Atlantic Way offering a range of experiences outside of Dublin.


Renowned for centuries for its beauty and the arts, whether in small, medieval hill towns, seaside villages or cities such as Florence, Milan, Rome and Venice, it's no wonder that Italy is the world's fifth most-visited country. Each Italian city has a wealth of architecture, paintings and sculptures as well as a celebrated lifestyle revolving around food, fashion and fun.


One of Europe's cultural centers, Spain is home to dozens of beautiful cities and towns. Moorish architecture can be found in the Great Mosque of Cordoba and Granada's Alhambra; Barcelona boasts buildings by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi, including La Sagrada Familia; Burgos, Toledo and Leon display the Gothic style of the 13th century in their cathedrals; and Madrid, its vibrant capital, is home to one of the world's most famous museums, El Prado.

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