For those looking for something truly special to inspire their future travels, Booking.com is unveiling the Most Welcoming Cities on Earth for 2022*. From off-the-radar island escapes, historic cities and architectural marvels to pristine mountain getaways, this year’s 10 destinations have all been selected for consistently providing outstanding hospitality, as evidenced by more than 232 million verified reviews from real Booking.com travellers. Whether it’s an eco-friendly farm stay, a secluded villa, a cosy B&B or a beautiful boutique hotel with all the bells and whistles, Booking.com has surfaced a uniquely outstanding place to stay in each of this year’s most welcoming destinations to make it easier for everyone to explore the range of welcoming, one-of-a-kind experiences on offer in each one.
This stunning Southern Italian city is quite rightfully enjoying its current moment in the limelight. No stranger to being a backdrop for Hollywood blockbusters, it’s also just been recognized as Booking.com’s #1 Most Welcoming City in the world for 2022, according to traveller reviews.
With claims as the world’s third oldest continuously inhabited settlement (after Aleppo and Jericho), Matera has broad appeal amongst a variety of traveller-tribes. Whether it’s history, great food, architecture, or scenery – Matera has it all. The city is dominated by its unique stone features and natural caves, which have been excavated and extended over the past 1,000 years and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. These iconic structures extend beautifully into the types of accommodation the city offers its visitors. For a truly unique and atmospheric experience, the Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita provides cavernous, luxurious private suites in the heart of the ‘Sassi’ UNESCO protected part of the city.
Anyone looking for an active holiday destination should have Bled in their sights. Boasting a stunning turquoise blue lake of the same name, Bled is a great spot for hiking, water sports and biking. Backed by Slovenia’s majestic Julian Alps, the city has also long advocated for sustainable tourism practices, making it a picturesque place for more eco-conscious and mindful travellers.
For those looking to immerse themselves in a bit of local culture during their stay, a traditional Slovenian meal complete with live music and dancing is just the thing. For a truly memorable trip, a sumptuous stay at the Adora Luxury Hotel offers breath-taking views of Lake Bled, its iconic island church and the snow-capped mountains in the distance. The former villa is located right on the edge of the lake, providing close proximity to the area’s walking and hiking trails, including a climb to towering Bled Castle, perched atop a cliff overlooking the lake and said to be the oldest fortress in Slovenia.
Taitung City, Taiwan
Taitung, on the southeast coast of Taiwan, is known for its beautiful beaches, natural parks, and rich indigenous culture, which it is fiercely proud of. With a year-round tropical climate, travellers won’t be disappointed with the weather or the stunning views the city offers up – a particularly noteworthy panoramic vantage point is from Liyushan, which is also sometimes known as Carp Mountain. Taitung has a rich and eclectic culinary scene which is a haven for foodie travellers. A good way to navigate and discover what’s on offer is to visit the Taitung Night Market, which is teeming with street food outlets.
The Little Mansion Homestay is perfect for travellers who appreciate stylish and contemporary surroundings and are keen to be located in the heart of the city, with all the key sights within short walking distance.
Nafplio, a coastal city in the eastern part of the Peloponnessian peninsula, is lauded for its charm and beauty and is only a mere two hours west of Athens. A relatively unknown gem, Nafplio is a great choice for those looking to avoid the throngs of foreign tourists during the summer months, and offers plenty of stunning architecture and historical sites to explore.
A hike to the Palamidi castle will provide visitors with jaw-dropping views of the city’s harbour. And for those wanting to rest their heads in one of the city’s charming, candy-coloured neoclassical villas, a stay at the cosy boutique Aetoma Hotel is a true treat for architecture lovers. The former 18th-century mansion has been lovingly restored to preserve the building’s original details, both inside and out.
Situated in central Spain and only 30 minutes by train from Madrid, the ancient city of Toledo welcomes visitors with open arms and should feature on the itinerary of any enterprising traveller to the region. The city, famed for its tolerance with diverse communities living harmoniously together for centuries, provides good ground for anyone interested in history, culture, and architecture. In particular, during May and June, the Toledo Cathedral is adorned with intricate tapestries celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi and is not to be missed.
Located in the hills overlooking Toledo, the Hotel Boutique Cigarral de las Mercedes is renowned for its epic views of the city, outstanding service and culinary delights. Housed in a former estate, it offers an oasis of elegance and tranquillity, with traditional wood-beamed villas and a world-class full-service spa.
Monte Verde, Brazil
Known as the ‘Switzerland’ of Brazil, Monte Verde is a small village with an underlying, yet undeniable European style and vibe. This quaint picturesque town is sure to bring out the romance in anyone but is also ideal for any mountaineering or nature enthusiasts who are keen to take on the six summits the area is home to.
Located in the Serra da Mantiqueira mountains, the area is well forested and home to many differing types of wildlife, especially birds. If travellers are lucky, they may even spot the Urubu vulture soaring through the skies. For a place to stay, there’s a wealth of alpine-themed lodges and chalets to choose from, with the Kuriuwa Hotel standing out as an excellent choice. Nestled amongst the trees, it features many rooms with private bathtubs overlooking the mountains and even offers authentic, traditional Swiss cuisine.
The medieval city of Bruges is a beautiful and photogenic city for travellers to explore and enjoy. Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’, the city is also carving out a reputation for its generous and warm hospitality. Small enough to explore by foot and famed for its cobbled streets and historical buildings, the entire city centre is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bruges is a delight for the eyes, and visitors to the city can take in the sights by aimlessly meandering along the streets or watching the world go by in the comfort of a canal boat.
To experience some of Bruges’ most iconic culinary delights, travellers can sign up for a Beer and Chocolate Pairing Tour to indulge their taste buds. The beautiful B&B Barabas is located right in the heart of the centre of the city, with cosy, yet stylish rooms and a spacious terrace right on the canal to watch the boats – and the ducks – float by.
Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia
For a taste of island paradise, Nusa Lembongan in Indonesia hits the spot. Long favoured by surfers for its amazing waves and laid-back pace of life, its crystal-clear turquoise seas are a sure-fire draw for any traveller visiting this part of the world. A snorkelling and kayaking experience is a good way to fully appreciate the beauty of the island and its waters. A relatively short hop from Bali, Nusa Lembongan has loads to offer without the crowds – idyllic picture-perfect beaches, exotic cuisine and a rich local culture that will impress even the most seasoned traveller.
The villa 353 Degrees North is a secluded, luxurious escape on Nusa Lembongan with stunning sunset views of neighbouring Bali’s impressive Mount Agung from its private infinity pool and spacious and relaxing boho-chic living areas.
Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal
Ponta Delgada is the capital city of Portugal’s Azores archipelago and is famed for its hot springs and its beautiful, lush surroundings. A beautiful and charming town, travellers can expect narrow winding streets, authentic eateries and unique local architecture featuring the
island’s ubiquitous whitewashed houses.
For anyone wanting to enjoy and experience the natural beauty of the area, a trek along the Serra Devassa Walk is a good option – the circular route takes in volcanoes and scenic lakes and provides ample photo opportunities. The city is small enough to navigate by foot and is dripping with authentic Portuguese charm, which makes it a wonderful place to explore. The eco-friendly Herdade do Ananás farm stay is an excellent choice for the more mindful traveller, with the property taking significant steps to minimize their impact, hence being recognized with aTravel Sustainable badge from Booking.com. Guests can even tour the on-site pineapple greenhouses, for which the property takes its name.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An sits on the central coast of Vietnam and has miles of beautiful white sandy beaches nearby, as well as a bustling and thriving old town. Chinese and French influences can be seen throughout the city, which all blends together seamlessly into the diverse local food scene.
To get a real taste of Hoi An and authentic village life, travellers can take a guided cycling tour to visit local artisans and learn about their craft, from throwing pottery and making traditional reed mats to noodle making and wood carving. After a day of exploring, travellers can settle in for some stylish pampering at the Anio Boutique Hotel, complete with floating cocktails and nibbles in the property’s elegant courtyard swimming pool.
Methodology: The 2022 Most Welcoming Cities ranking is based on the share of properties receiving a Traveller Review Award in 2022 within a given destination. Cities were sorted by the total share of Traveller Review Award 2022 recipients when compared to the total number of eligible properties in that city. Cities also had to have an above average number of winners to be included on this list (50 award recipients or higher) and were curated slightly for geographic spread.