Britain’s favorite seaside holiday destination was announced, with a Spanish tourist hotspot taking first place.
In a new poll, Valencia beat out other famous cities and resorts to be Brits’ favorite coastal destination in Europe.
The figures were published by consumer advocates Which? compiled. which asked more than 3,500 members to rate their experiences of coastal cities across Europe.
The locations were evaluated on 12 different criteria, including quality of beaches, seafront promenades and marinas, attractiveness, food and drink, and value for money.
With an impressive destination score of 91 percent, the Spanish port city of Valencia topped the rankings.
Visitors praised the city’s beaches with a full five out of five stars and it was the only Spanish destination in the survey to receive full marks for value for money.
It also received a full five stars for the quality of its tourist attractions, shopping facilities, friendliness and attractiveness, and even four stars in all other categories.
Valencia was a less obvious choice than Barcelona (84%), but visitors benefited from comparatively fewer tourists and busy but uncrowded streets, earning the city a five-star rating for peace and quiet.
It also boasts a renowned dining scene and an intriguing mix of historic and futuristic architecture, which one respondent praised as “amazing, even away from the city center.”
In second place are Venice and Porto with a target value of 88 percent.
While the former drew criticism for high prices and crowds, earning it two stars for value for money and tranquility, visitors were nonetheless mesmerized by the “magical” view and unique architecture.
It was rated five stars for its appeal and tourist attractions, which include the famous St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace and the chance to explore the city’s canals by gondola.
Portugal’s second city, meanwhile, was described by respondents as “quaint” and earned a full five-star rating for its marina, friendliness and value for money.
The Costa del Sol in Spain and the Algarve coast in Portugal accounted for a significant proportion of the most visited cities, but the values varied significantly.
The highest-scoring destinations on the Costa del Sol included Nerja (83%), a low-rise town with whitewashed buildings perched high on a cliff, and Estepona (82%).
Estepona is praised for its “pristine old town” and earned five stars for its palm-lined promenade and tranquility, a quality not always associated with the Costa del Sol.
Still, the city is only a forty-minute drive from Fuengirola, one of the worst-rated destinations in the survey.
Fuengirola finished second to bottom in the poll with a target score of just 66 percent.
It received a series of mediocre three-star ratings in most of the remaining categories, with the highest four-star rating being for safety.
Tavira in the Algarve finished third overall with a target score of 87 percent.
One traveler described the place as “beautiful and unspoiled” and respondents gave it five stars for its marina, value for money, friendliness, tranquility and safety.
It also received four stars for its attractiveness, quality of its tourist attractions, and food and drink, with several respondents praising its “excellent restaurants.”
Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel said: “If you’re planning your next vacation and you’re looking for a piece of sea and sun, our survey results show that it’s well worth looking beyond the most popular destinations.”
“The Costa del Sol for example has a lot more to offer than its most notorious resorts, with some of the highest rated resorts like Nerja and Estepona having a more relaxed vibe than places like Fuengirola.
“In the meantime, it might be worth swapping a city trip to Barcelona or Lisbon for one to Valencia or Porto, both of which were top rated by visitors.”
Meanwhile, according to another Which? the best seaside town in the UK. Opinion poll.
And this coastal UK city is home to dolphins, whales and puffins, as well as impressive castles.