Fodor's Travel Reveals Winners of Inaugural "Best of Europe" Survey

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Results include Fodorites’ European Favorites in 18 Categories: New Hot Spots, Arts & Culture, Food & Wine, Best Value Destinations, Best for Families, Friendly Locals and More

News Image, the leading name in travel guides, today announced the winners of its first “Best of Europe” survey, naming the best locations in Europe across 18 categories as ranked by visitors. Averaging visits to 3.5 countries and 7.1 cities per person in the last two years, these avid European travelers recommended destinations based on select criteria including: food and wine, art and culture, family travel, best value, and more. The inaugural survey revealed that Italy and France remain ever popular, but also yielded a few surprises:

  •     Iceland was voted Europe’s emerging hot spot and now is the perfect time to visit as 2012 marks the best time in more than 50 years to see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring wonders: the Northern Lights.
  •     Those looking for the best value should visit Spain, which is rich in culture, but won’t break the bank.
  •     Grab the kids and head to St. Andrews, Scotland, which was voted as the best destination to visit with your family.

“Our traveler-selected top European getaways are an eclectic mix, from Ireland’s friendly cities and charming countryside to Croatia’s gorgeous beaches and fantastic food and wine,” says Arabella Bowen, Executive Editorial Director, Fodor’s Travel. “Fodorites’ recommendations will guide those traveling to Europe to the best destinations based on their interests, travel season, budget, or length of vacation – whether they have a week or only a long weekend.”

Fodor’s Travel has remained the expert on Europe since Eugene Fodor published his first guidebook, On the Continent, in 1936. This first-ever Fodor’s Travel “Best of Europe” survey reveals that Fodorites continue to be regular European travelers; 73 percent of respondents vacationed in Europe over the past two years and nearly all will be taking a trip back in the near future, planning to see an average of 8.5 cities in the next 24 months. Some survey highlights include:

New Hot Spots to Visit in Europe
The survey revealed that Fodor’s travelers are venturing past the traditional European highlights and heading to new hot spots in droves, with Iceland leading the way as the most popular new destination. Other emerging destinations from the survey span Europe, from buzzy cities like Berlin and Edinburgh to lesser-traveled locales like Croatia’s Dubrovnik and Greece’s Crete.

Other hotspots now providing travel inspiration, include Dublin, Ireland and Salzburg, Austria.

Europe's Best Value Vacation Destinations
Spain, Austria, and Ireland are the best places for travelers to stretch their Euros, providing high style for a fraction of the price. All these picks provide unique hotels, affordable shopping, and restaurants and nightlife that won’t put travelers over budget.

More great values include Greece, Belgium, Turkey and Hungary.

Best Places to Visit For Art & Culture in Europe
Whether you like to view the classics in Rome or trend towards modern art installations in Basel, Switzerland, Fodor’s Travel users ranked Europe’s best arts and cultural destinations. The revealing list includes traditional favorites like Florence and Paris, plus a few surprises, like Spain’s Granada, the site of the Moorish Alhambra palace.

Additional highly-rated cultural centers include Cambridge, England, with its famed university, beautiful architecture and numerous museums; Spain’s Córdoba, where travelers can tour the medieval Mezquita mosque; Bilbao, home of Frank Gehry’s Museo Guggenheim Bilbao; and Barcelona, featuring Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia cathedral and the Museo Picasso; the Danube Valley’s castles and Roman ruins, and Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, known for its music festival, in Austria.

Best Places to Visit for Food & Wine in Europe
Fodor’s travelers enjoy the finer things in life, from top-rated restaurants and authentic cafes to quaint villages and award-winning wineries. Unsurprisingly, perennial foodie favorites Burgundy and Tuscany came out on top, but some unexpected newcomers on the scene include Austria’s Danube Valley and Croatia’s Istria.

Other indulgent destinations include Rome, Florence, Milan and the Amalfi Coast in Italy; Paris, Provence, Champagne, Normandy and Lyon in France.

Best Places for Family Vacations in Europe
Traveling well with children requires preparation and patience, but it helps if you’re traveling to a kid-friendly destination. Fodor’s travelers ranked the Scottish city of St. Andrews as the top family-friendly vacation spot, followed by Southwest Ireland, and Iceland. All three destinations have plenty of outdoor activities, are accessible by train or car after arrival and aren’t crowded, easing the journey for parents.

Other great places to travel with kids include the Austrian and Bavarian Alps; the Peloponnese in Greece; Spain’s Costa del Sol and Germany’s Rhineland.

The Friendliest Places to Visit in Europe
Ireland continues to live up to its reputation for smiling faces, voted by users as the friendliest place to visit in Europe. Additional European countries where welcoming locals are part of the draw include Antwerp, Belgium, Italy’s Tuscan countryside, Germany’s Bavarian Alps, and Luxembourg.

For two weeks in January, 2012 invited visitors to participate in a survey on travel to Europe. The survey was hosted and tabulated by Research Results, Inc. and was designed to identify where respondents had travelled in Europe and rate the places they had visited across 18 different categories. In addition, the survey asked respondents to identify where they are currently planning to travel in Europe within the next 2 years. Fodor’s tabulated the results from 2,446 completed surveys to determine the top traveler recommended destinations in each category.

Find the Fodor’s Travel complete “Best of Europe 2012” list along with relevant destination guides at

About Fodor’s –
Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House, Inc., is one of the world’s leading providers of travel information. Covering over 7,500 worldwide destinations, Fodor’s guidebooks and website,, have provided the most up-to-date, accurate information for travelers since 1936. Written by a vast team of global correspondents, Fodor’s provides travelers with engagingly written, locally reported, and absolutely indispensable travel guidance. Visit

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