Aussies name top 50 favourite destinations

Everyone has a favourite place. After surveying industry experts on their favouite destinations, Travel + Leisure magazine invited Australians to vote on their dream lists of top spots throughout the world.

The Pyramids of Giza, Parisian temptations, African safaris and Greek Island adventures all scored top marks in our survey of the world's best travel experiences.

Travel + Leisure asked readers for their all-time top 50 destinations, categorised into most popular countries, cities, regions, journeys and icons, and the results revealed many clear favourites and a few surprises, too.

For everyone, there's no place like home for the number one country spot, but at the same time a thirst for European adventures and global icons is evident. There were also some exciting results among readers' nominations for something special, ranging from running the Midnight Sun Marathon in Tromso, Norway, Moscow's Red Square and walking through the Old City of Jerusalem.

Readers were asked to vote for their top choice, based on a list voted by members of the travel industry published in our January/February edition. We also asked readers to nominate their choices for destinations not on the list, plus their recommendation for their tip for a special travel place.

Australia remains the number one destination among readers, but interestingly home turf choices remain less popular in other categories such as regions and journeys. Europe was a strong player across most categories, with Paris hitting the top spot for favourite city, and the three nominated European regions taking the top three spaces.

TOP TEN COUNTRIES

1. Australia

2. Italy

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3. France

4. New Zealand

5. US

6. Thailand

7. Turkey

8. India

9. Greece

10. Japan

TOP TEN CITIES

1. Paris

2. New York

3. Florence

4. London

5. Sydney

6. Prague

7. Barcelona

8. Bangkok

9. Tokyo

10. Dublin

TOP TEN REGIONS

1. The Greek Islands

2. Tuscany

3. French wine districts

4. The Canadian Rockies

5. The Antarctic

6. Tasmanian Wilderness

7. Kakakdu

8. The Kimberley

9. Byron Bay

10. The South Australian wine districts

TOP TEN ICONS

1. The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

2. Machu Picchu, Peru

3. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

4. Uluru, Australia

5. Taj Mahal, India

6. The Vatican, Italy

7. Petra, Jordan

8. Empire State Building, US

9. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain

10. Borobudur, Indonesia

TOP TEN JOURNEYS

1. An African safari

2. The Amalfi Coast from Positano to Ravello, Italy

3. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

4. Sailing the Mediterranean

5. Driving the Great Ocean Road, Victoria

6. The Trans-Siberian railway

7. Sailing Antarctica

8. Highway 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles, US

9. The Trek to Everest Base Camp

10. Driving Route 66, US

Reader suggestions for something special ranged enormously in breadth of geography and adventure. New Zealand rated highly, with the White Island, Milford Sound and Matai Bay among suggestions. Elsewhere, there were nominations Asian destinations such as Luang Prabang and Pingyao in Northern China. Closer to home, the Great Barrier Reef, Lord Howe Island and Leura in the Blue Mountains were also mentioned.

* "The place that most inspires my sense of adventure is the Glen Coe mountain range in Scotland. My youth was spent a short distance from these mountains and it took me a number of years to appreciate the majesty that they portray. I have travelled extensively but find it hard to capture the level of excitement that I get when I return." S.N.

* "There is something horribly delectable about a week in Las Vegas - no shorter, no longer. If you can ever tire of the bright lights and debaucherous 24/7 behaviour, you can hire a car (or helicopter if you've won enough in the casinos) and visit the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon." J.S.

* "The most beautiful place that I have ever been to is Lake Louise, Canada, in winter. Everything is covered in a thick blanket of beautiful white snow. The lake has frozen over and you can skate through ice castles that have been built that are the size of a small house. They hold Ice carving competitions at Christmas time, which are displayed through the grounds of the hotel. For me, this is the most wonderful place on earth." C.R.

* "Any street corner in Vietnam watching life as it happens: a man with a cup of petrol to sell, another sharpening knives; women cooking food, selling cigarettes [or] no-chance-in-hell raffle tickets; families coming together to eat; a man crouched carving wooden stamps or working under a lamp fixing watches, bicycles being ridden with ridiculous loads of glass panes, pigs, dogs or ducklings for market. Nothing great is going on, its just another day but the industriousness of it all is so compelling." D.C

For the overall results of the survey, including the views of the industry experts, visit www.travelandleisure.com.au.

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