2020 #TravelGoals: Discover the Top 10 Most Welcoming Places on Earth
AMSTERDAM, 14 January 2020 – After a long journey, nothing beats a warm welcome, friendly smile or helping hand. With a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, Booking.com is connecting travelers with great travel providers across the globe. For the second year in a row, Booking.com is revealing the Most Welcoming Places on Earth alongside its Traveller Review Awards 2020*. Discover the best in hospitality with a trip to one of our ten friendliest destinations around the globe, from Goreme, Turkey; Phong Nha, Vietnam; Doolin, Ireland and many more, where a warm welcome is simply a way of life.
It’s no wonder that a Turkish city tops the scoreboard as the most welcoming place on earth, as visitors are treated as “God’s guest” in Turkish hospitality. Discover the beauty of the ancient town Goreme in the famous Cappadocia region, which has been dubbed the Most Welcoming Place on Earth for the second year in a row. Once you have enjoyed the city’s hospitality and are ready to explore, adventure beckons both above and below, discover the labyrinth of Kaymakh Underground City and watch the floating hot air balloon studded skies in awe. Experience the natural wonder of the iconic “fairy chimneys,” savor delish Turkish cuisine and wine, and even stay in a troglodyte home - a cave dwelling - for a truly unique hospitality experience.
Where to stay: Stay in the Charming Cave Hotel, located in the heart of Goreme, with rooms being built into volcanic rocks with vaulted ceilings and a traditional Turkish décor. Take advantage of traditional Cappadocian meals prepared with organic products in the restaurant. Try and book a room with a terrace, as this is perfect for viewing the illuminating rock formations at night.
Tatranska Lomnica, Slovakia
Breathe in the fresh mountain air during a trip to the quaint town of Tatranska Lomnica, nestled among the High Tatras Mountains. An ideal vacation for skiing and hiking enthusiasts of all abilities, Tatranska Lomnica is home to an abundance of stunning, natural backdrops; from glistening glacier lakes Popradské Pleso Tarn and Morskie Oko, to the Tatras National Park and the Obrovsky Waterfall. This picturesque mountain resort is also home to Lomnický štít, one of the highest peaks in the High Tatras Mountain region - perfect for adrenaline junkies.
Where to stay: Villa Buky is an idyllic homestay in the town of Tatranska Lomnica. Guests feel right at home with a fully-equipped kitchen, spacious rooms and can enjoy the panoramic mountain vistas from the terrace or balcony. Guests are welcome to bring their furry friends along, as this accommodation is pet-friendly, and a cheerful host will be on hand to offer local tips.
Phong Nha, Vietnam
Phong Nha in Vietnam is home to rolling hilltops of rice paddy farms, a diversity of flora and fauna and indigenous wildlife. Yet it is by far the best-known for its majestic underground world of caves, with the famous Hang Son Doong being one of the world’s largest caves. Travelers on a budget have the option to explore the public caves of Paradise, Phong Nha and Dark Cave, where they can discover underground rivers, jungle landscapes and even a temple. After exploring the caves, take a scenic trip on a traditional dragon boat along the Son River, visit the wildlife rescue center and botanic gardens and trek the Non Mooc Eco trail.
Where to stay: Vu's Homestay boasts a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a bar and shared lounge, which is the perfect place to meet fellow travelers. This homestay also offers a tasty breakfast, hospitable staff and bike and car hire availability, ideal for exploring the nearby sites.
The picturesque town of Kobarid may be surrounded by mountains, however, thanks to its lush vegetation, waterfalls, gorges and emerald-hue rivers, it has more of a Mediterranean than Alpine feel. For travelers seeking an active trip, Kobarid offers a range of activities including: rafting, kayaking, fly fishing, mountain biking, paragliding and hiking. Active travelers will love Kobarid’s scenic landscapes and can unlock their inner explorer by trekking the Kobarid Historical Trail, the Soča Valley, the Julian Alps and sailing along the beautiful Soča River. For something a little more relaxing, take a trip to the Kobarid Museum, and then visit one of the many restaurants to sample the traditional Tolminc cheese.
Where to stay: Peacefully set on the slopes of Kuk Mountain, Chalets Nebesa features breath-taking views of the Soča Valley and boasts a Finnish aromatherapy and chromotherapy sauna. Guests can take in the impressive views through the floor-to-ceiling windows in each chalet, or from the terrace and get local tips from the kind and responsive hosts.
Cochem, Germany offers travelers historic architecture, rolling vineyards and the scenic Moselle Valley. Explore Altstadt, which has colorful half-timbered houses, winding narrow streets, boutique shops and a market square. Take in the history with a trip to one of the medieval castles, Reichsburg Cochem and enjoy the food and wine in one of the many restaurants lining the riverbank.
Where to stay: Feel at home in Villa Sonnenblick and take in the scenic river views from your garden patio. Travelers can benefit from this host-led stay, as helpful host Anke provides guests with a welcome pack and is on hand to share information and offer local tips.
The charming Irish coastal town of Doolin is located just three hours from the bustling capital of Dublin, but offers travelers a glimpse into traditional Irish culture. Legend has it that Doolin was the home of Irish music, so visitors should not miss going to one of the many pubs for a pint of Guinness and a good craic (an Irish expression for fun). Explore the dramatic natural landscapes and walk the Doolin Coastal Trail to view the majestic Cliffs of Moher and breathe in the fresh, salty sea air. Take a day-trip to the neighboring three Aran Islands for even more local charm, where the residents still speak the native Irish language.
Where to stay: The delightful Doolin View B&B, which boasts views of Doolin Village and the Cliffs of Moher, is situated just a ten minute walk from traditional Irish pubs and restaurants. Enjoy a full Irish breakfast overlooking the cliffs, friendly and hospitable staff, and sit by the open fire in the lounge, perfect for warming up after a windy coastal walk.
Taitung City, Taiwan
Soak in the rich culture and history of Taiwan with a trip to Taitung City by visiting the many Taoist temples and shrines. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the Peinan Cultural Park, Taitung Forest Park and walk along the Taitung Jialulan Coast, then relax and rejuvenate in the Zhaori Hot Springs. Savor Taitung’s rich culture, home to seven aborigine tribes and learn about local legends and folklore. For culture vultures, the Makapahay Cultural Festival, which takes place in the summer, is one to add to your itinerary, as tribes invite visitors to the village to learn about their culture.
Where to stay: The 40Inn Backpackers Warehouse hostel provides affordable accommodation in a central location, a short walk from the Taitung Railway Art Village and the Taitung Zhonghe Temple. Booking.com travelers rate this property highly for its pleasant atmosphere and helpful staff.
Schenna is the perfect blend of Italian Alpine charm and Mediterranean lifestyle, with its snowy slopes and nearby sunny town of Merano. Schenna is a great gastronomic getaway, from cozy mountain inns to luxurious Michelin-star dining, travelers are drawn to try the traditional South Tyrolean cuisine and hearty Italian classics. The rural area of Schenna provides farm to table dining, with its regional farm produce and farmers markets. After eating until your heart’s content, savor delicious wine from the sun-drenched vineyards and visit the museum of Castello Rametz to learn more about the wine from this region.
Where to stay: Dipped in the Val Passiria Valley is the family-run Mountain Lodge Prennanger, which is a short drive from the town of Schenna. Enjoy the Alpine-style rooms and sample authentic South Tyrol specialties at the onsite restaurant, Prennanger.
Monte Verde, Brazil
When travelers think of Brazil, they often conjure up images of year-round sunshine, white sandy beaches and tropical rainforests; however, the small mountain village of Monte Verde is one of the rare places where you may see a glimpse of snow in Brazil. Monte Verde is a hidden gem, not far from the bustling city of Sao Paulo, offering a peaceful atmosphere and a paradise for mountaineering. Top hiking trails nearby include Trilha da Pedra Redonda and Pedra Partida.
Where to stay: The blissful Pousada Jardim da Mantiqueira guesthouse is the perfect base for travelers looking to explore the natural beauty of Monte Verde. Start the day with a hearty breakfast and then after your energetic hike, let your aches and pains soak away with a dip in a hot tub. This guest house is situated in the best area of Monte Verde, and visitors love the polite and friendly staff.
Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
Starry-eyed travelers must add Lake Tekapo to their travel bucket list, part of the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve and one of the Most Welcoming Places on Earth for a second year in a row. Lucky travelers can catch a glimpse of the Southern Cross, Milky Way’s satellite galaxies and the Southern Lights, the Southern Hemisphere’s answer to the Northern Lights. The ideal time for viewing these spectacular sights is between April and September. Dubbed New Zealand’s most beautiful view, another must-see site is Lake Tekapo itself; this turquoise-colored lake is surrounded by pink and purple fields of Lupins and a mountainous backdrop.
Where to stay: Tekapo Luxury Apartments provides a perfect home-away-from-home, with spacious rooms, a fully-equipped kitchen and a large terrace and balcony, perfect for gazing at the starry-night skies. Booking.com travelers rate this property highly for its helpful host, providing local tips on activities and best food spots in the area.
* The most welcoming places on earth were determined by the total share of Traveller Review Awards 2020 winners, when compared to the total amount of eligible properties in that city (accommodation only). Cities also had to have an above average amount of winners to be included on this list (90 award recipients or higher) and were curated for geographic spread.