All eyes on Braga

By Cristina da Costa Brookes, in News, Travel, Good News · 19-02-2021 01:00:00 · 6 Comments

The city of Braga has been voted the best European destination to visit in 2021, collecting a total of 109,902 votes from internet users, with a remarkable 72 percent of participants from outside of Portugal.

European Best Destinations’ is an organisation based in Brussels, Belgium, which promotes culture and tourism in Europe and has recognised since 2010 the most modern and attractive cities to visit in the European Union.

This very special year they “asked travellers a simple question to which more than 600,000 travellers from 192 countries around the world answered: Where would you like to go on holiday in Europe as soon as it is safe to travel?”.

Braga won first place with 109,902 votes, measurably more than 31,000 votes from the runner up city which was Rome. This means that Braga won with 28.8 percent of votes from its own country and 71.2 percent of votes from the rest of the world.

In this edition, Braga was the favourite destination of travellers from the United Kingdom and Brazil and one of the top destinations for travellers from the United States of America, France and was found to be the preferred destination of Spanish travellers.

Every year the organisation receives a vote from the Vatican, which this year was also deposited in the Bracarense candidacy. “From now on, Braga will be even more present in the most reputable tourism publications around the world, which will make the city an increasingly sought-after destination for millions of travellers,” said the Mayor of Braga, Ricardo Rio.

Of the 20 voting destinations, the top 15 will appear on the ‘European Best Destination’ website, so it can be visited by travellers who use that information to choose their tourist destinations. The Chamber of Braga stresses that this page is the most visited in terms of tourism in Europe, with an audience of more than 5.5 million travellers. As in 2019, Braga was the only Portuguese destination nominated to receive this distinction. The fifteen “must see” destinations were Braga, Rome, Cavtat, Florence, Sibiu, Paris, Kefalonia, Kotor, Soca Valley, Canary Islands, Tubingen, Dordogne Valley, Tahiti, Capri and Ghent.

Ricardo Rio said that the vote is “the crowning of an unquestionable work of international affirmation of the Braga brand”. The mayor highlighted the support for this candidacy by many Portuguese citizens around the world, in addition to the commitment of the city itself, the institutions and the Bracarense people. “It is a result that fills us with pride and will certainly have extremely positive repercussions on tourism and the local, regional and national economy over the next few years,” he said.

Braga’s candidacy was supported by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the Secretary of State for Tourism, Rita Marques, the Regional Tourism Entity of Porto and Northern Portugal and the Tourism Association of Porto and North (ATP), as well as several municipalities, entities and citizens.

“Braga has something to offer each of us. Braga will appeal to lovers of history and architecture. Braga is also a must-see destination for gourmets, but also for shopping addicts (with one of the largest shopping centres and a wide range of independent shops in the city centre).” Braga is also a must-see destination for spirituality with sumptuous churches, monasteries and shrines. Braga is also considered to be one of the happiest cities in Europe and has some of the best quality of life in the world, not to mention how romantic the city itself is. Moreover, the city is also committed to sustainable tourism and is part of the network of cities with zero CO2 emissions.

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Any survey to do with tourism will be skewed by the Portuguese swamping the results. Officially on Government orders!
A few years back I was amongst many hundreds of Portuguese, only the original contact known to me - an employee in Portuguese Regional Tourism: emailed urging us to cast a vote for Portugal in a tourism survey.
Very sophisticated - the email did not just have the link to go to to vote but a selection of "English" phrases to mix and match to generate different gushing comments.
Of the Portuguese names near mine that I briefly scanned - all had come through Hi5, an internet networking service that I have never used. Anyone else been roped in this 'shotgun' way to vote for Portugal?

By Sybil Wright from USA on 21-02-2021 07:54

I guess Braga has the bragging rights for 2021! Lol

By Saul Madeira from Other on 20-02-2021 07:07

Es muy hermoso quiero volver

By Mónica Isabel from Other on 20-02-2021 02:21

We have been to Braga several times and can't wait to return there as soon as travel restrictions are lifted. The people, the culture and the excellent restaurant scene make it one of our favorite places in Portugual. Congratulations Braga!

By William McCollough from USA on 20-02-2021 05:03

I've been to Bom Jesus many times but I never ventured into the city itself. I will next time.

By Tony B from USA on 19-02-2021 02:26

Can't wait to visit the town in May! Something to look forward to!

By Paula from Algarve on 19-02-2021 02:09
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