voting ballotSydney, San Francisco and Florence all topped the list of the world’s best destinations in Condé Nast Traveler’s 21st annual Readers’ Choice awards, which were announced last week.

The luxury travel magazine tallied votes from more than 32,000 readers, who gave their feedback on over 9,000 hotels, resorts, airlines, cities, and cruises.

The survey asked readers to vote on a scale of one to 100 according to various criteria including ambience, friendliness, culture/sights, restaurants, lodging and shopping.

Sydney, Australia ranked number one as the best city overall, and New Zealand as the best country in the world to visit, scoring an incredible 99.22 points for scenery, 96.47 for safety and 96.86 for value for money.

San Francisco beat out Charleston, South Carolina and New York City to win the top U.S. city award for the 16th year in a row.

Florence outranked compatriots Rome and Venice to snag the best European city award, and Bangkok won best Asian city. Other winners include Buenos Aires as best city in the Americas, and Cape Town won best Middle Eastern/African city.

There were some surprises in the best U.S. airline category, with Virgin America, JetBlue and Midwest airlines snagging the top three spots. The only legacy airline to make it into the finals was Continental. Not so surprising was the fact that Singapore Airlines won best international airline, an honor it has held every year except in 1994.

Honors were also bestowed on Crystal Cruises as best large-ship cruise line, Hertz as best car rental agency, and Maui as the world’s best island destination.

The complete list of winners and runners-up will be released to the public in the November issue of Condé Nast Traveler.

Links: Opodo News, Family Travellogue, A Luxury Travel Blog, Visa Bureau

By Karen Elowitt for

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