As the world continues to open back up, there’s nothing better than having a warm and friendly welcome when you travel to a new place. Queue Booking.com’s annual report on the Most Welcoming Places on Earth, a list of the world’s friendliest places based on data from the 11th annual Traveller Review Awards.
To rank the world’s friendliest and most welcoming cities and regions, Booking.com tapped into over 240 million verified customer reviews. The list was based on the amount of awarded accommodations in each city, excellence in staffing, cleanliness, safety and more.
“It’s that personal attention to detail when checking in or sharing helpful recommendations to explore the destination like a local that demonstrates how our partners show up and shine for travelers in a multitude of ways, each and every day,” Arjan Dijk, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Booking.com said in a release.
The Most Welcoming Places on Earth list was broken into two categories: the 10 most welcoming regions and the 10 most welcoming cities.
Coming in at the top of Booking.com’s most welcoming cities list was Polignano a Mare, Italy, an Adriatic destination with beautiful beaches and white houses. The city is known for its cliff diving, the iconic Grotta Palazzese (a restaurant set in a sea cave) and the singer Domenico Modugno, who wrote the catchy song “Volare.”
Coming in at the top of Booking.com’s list of the most welcoming regions was La Rioja, Spain. Set in the northern part of Spain, Rioja is surrounded by mountains and known for its rich wine culture. It has also been called “the orchard of Spain,” thanks to its distinct microclimates that make it perfect for growing grapes and more.
The only U.S. destination to make the list was North Dakota, which was named one of the most welcoming regions on earth. With its wide-open spaces and many national and state parks, North Dakota is a paradise for outdoors lovers. One of the top places to visit is Theodore Roosevelt National Park, an area that the 26th president of the United States used to love.
Read on for the lists of Booking.com’s 10 Most Welcoming Regions on Earth and the 10 Most Welcoming Cities on Earth.
The 10 Most Welcoming Regions on Earth
- La Rioja, Spain: a rich wine region in Northern Spain
- Epirus, Greece: a mountainous part of mainland Greece between Macedonia and the Ionian Sea
- Oberösterreich, Austria: an area in upper Austrian that’s traversed by the Danube River
- County Down, United Kingdom: Ireland’s most easterly county; it contains part of Belfast
- Mures, Romania: a county in the historical region of Transylvania
- Marlborough, New Zealand: New Zealand’s largest wine-growing region is home to the world-famous Sauvignon Blanc
- Ninh Binh, Vietnam: an oasis for nature lovers in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam
- Limon, Costa Rica: a lush Caribbean province with jungles, mountains and beaches
- Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada: an Atlantic Province made up of the island of Newfoundland and Labrador on the mainland
- North Dakota: a midwestern state dominated by the Great Plains
The 10 Most Welcoming Cities on Earth
- Polignano a Mare, Italy: a picturesque town on a limestone cliff above Italy’s southern Adriatic coast, in the Puglia region
- Hualien City, Taiwan: a laid-back city with many beautiful parks on the East Coast of Taiwan
- San Sebastián, Spain: a seaside destination catering to foodies in Spain’s Basque Country
- Dresden, Germany: the capital city of the German state of Saxony, with lots of culture and history
- Klaipėda, Lithuania: an historic port city where the Baltic Sea meets the Danė River
- York, United Kingdom: a city that transports travelers to medieval England
- Ushuaia, Argentina: the most southern city in the world and the gateway to Antarctica
- Porto De Galinhas, Brazil: one of Brazil’s best beach destinations
- Mexico City, Mexico: a city filled with museums, ancient ruins, sprawling parks and art galleries
- Gold Coast, Australia: a surfers paradise south of Brisbane