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Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Italy
Photograph: Shutterstock

This Italian town has been named the friendliest place in the world

From Italian coastal towns to sprawling South American metropolises, these destinations have been named the world’s most welcoming

Ed Cunningham
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Ed Cunningham
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There are few things quite as comforting as travelling somewhere really, really friendly. Knowing that you’re welcome. Getting great advice everywhere you turn. Seeing smiles all around. Especially if you’re travelling on yer own, all that stuff makes everything that bit nicer.

But which destinations are the friendliest? To find out, Booking.com has dived into over 240 million reviews by users to reveal the ‘most welcoming places on Earth for 2023’. The site then put together a ranking of destinations where you’re most likely to receive the best hospitality.

And top of Booking.com’s list was... Polignano a Mare! A town on Italy’s Adriatic coast known for its spectacular clifftop location and white pebble beaches, Polignano a Mare also happens to be home to a bunch of supremely welcoming restaurants, hotels and guesthouses.

Next up in the ranking was Hualien City in Taiwan, known for its night markets and areas of natural beauty, and San Sebastián in northern Spain, a globally-revered hub of Michelin-starred restaurants.

Here are the top ten most welcoming destinations in the world, according to Booking.com.

  1. Polignano a Mare, Italy
  2. Hualien City, Taiwan
  3. San Sebastián, Spain
  4. Dresden, Germany
  5. Klaipeda, Lithuania
  6. York, UK
  7. Ushuaia, Argentina
  8. Porto De Galinhas, Brazil
  9. Mexico City, Mexico
  10. Gold Coast, Australia

But Booking.com didn’t stop there. The site also named the most welcoming regions in the world. Those were:

  1. La Rioja, Spain
  2. Epirus, Greece
  3. Oberosterreich, Austria
  4. County Down, UK
  5. Mures, Romania
  6. Marlborough, New Zealand
  7. Ninh Binh, Vietnam
  8. Limon, Costa Rica
  9. Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
  10. North Dakota, USA

If you’d like to find out more about the study, you can see more details here. And Booking.com isn’t the only place to have ranked welcoming tourist destinations. Can you guess which country was named the friendliest in Europe?

Did you see that this UK city has been named one of the world’s friendliest destinations?

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