Wanderlust celebrates the best in travel at the 2023 Reader Travel Awards

The prestigious ceremony took place at the iconic British Museum, with legendary broadcaster Ben Fogle hosting the celebrations…

Jessica Reid
08 November 2023

For the past several months, Wanderlust readers have been voting in their tens of thousands for the destinations they most desire. Last night (7 November), those results were revealed.

The ceremony for the 22nd annual Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards took place at one of London’s most iconic museums, the British Museum. Hundreds came to celebrate the best in travel for 2023, as well as Wanderlust’s 30th anniversary.

With the magazine’s golden logo illuminated above the Greek Revival style columns and a red carpet rolled out, the museum’s grand entrance was ready to welcome hundreds of travel specialists, writers and celebrities.

Before the main ceremony began, guests were invited to take a virtual trip to Italy through the power of Wanderlust MetaTravel. After returning to reality, they moved on to the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery, which had transformed into a unique event venue. While dining on Italian gourmet cuisine and accompanied by a string quartet, guests could admire the fascinating artefacts surrounding them – including the Rosetta Stone, one of the most famous objects at the museum.

Guests gather in the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery (Wanderlust)

Guests were transported to Italy with Wanderlust MetaTravel (Wandrlust)

Covers – old and new – of Wanderlust were on display (Wanderlust)

Opera singers welcome guests as they take their seats (Wanderlust)

They were then escorted to the ceremony taking place in the remarkable Great Court, where two opera singers serenaded the room with their mesmerising vocals.

Legendary British broadcaster and writer Ben Fogle then took to the stage to present the evening’s much anticipated awards, joined by special guests throughout the evening, such as Simon Calder.

Wanderlust‘s Editor-in-Chief George Kipouros had several moments with the audience, speaking about the future of Wanderlust and the drive to continue highlighting the world’s lesser-known destinations and diversifying travel journalism.

Founding Editor Lyn Hughes also said a few words, reminiscing about the magazine’s journey over the past 30 years and thanking industry friends, tour operators and readers for their loyal support and partnerships.

The Wanderlust team with their 30th birthday cake (Wanderlust)

The results

This year, the Wanderlust Travel Awards celebrated destinations, tour operators and airlines who have inspired and excited our readers in 2023.

The top ten in 20 different categories were all announced during the proceedings, with the top three being awarded Bronze, Silver and Gold accolades.

Readers voted for Croatia as the Most Desirable Country in Europe, while Australia took home Gold for the Most Desirable Country in the World.

The top prize for Most Desirable City in Europe went to Seville in Spain, while the World’s Most Desirable City was awarded to Cape Town in South Africa

Wanderlust’s Founding Editor Lyn Hughes presented an award (Wanderlust)

Ben Fogle and Wanderlust Editor-in-Chief George Kipouros (Wanderlust)

Ben Fogle poses for a photo with one of the evening winners, Croatia (Wanderlust)

Regions were also celebrated, with The Greek Islands reclaiming the Most Desirable Region in Europe title that it previously won in 2021, while the Canadian province of British Columbia also took home the honours for the World’s Most Desirable Region.

Ireland remains the reigning champion for the World’s Most Desirable Island in Europe, whereas Cuba was named the Most Desirable Island in the World.

New for 2023, Wanderlust also awarded countries for being the Most Desirable for Culture & Heritage, Nature & Wildlife, Adventure, Gastronomy and Sustainable Experiences, as well as the Most Desirable Emerging Destination.

Tour operators were also recognised for their outstanding contribution to travel. Among the five Gold winners were Trailfinders, who won Favourite General Tour Operator, and Journey Latin America, who won Best Specialist Tour Operator.

All the results, including the top ten in each category, can be found online here.

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