BEIRUT: Lebanon’s capital ranked 20th in the world’s best cities according to Condé Nast Traveler’s 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards.
In the organization's 26th annual rankings announced Wednesday for its November 2013 issue, Beirut came in above Paris, which ranked 22nd, as well as Venice and Barcelona which jointly took 24th place.
Beirut tied with Spain’s town of Sevillefor 20th place.
The biggest number of readers – 80,000 – voted for this year’s destinations, which included the world’s best hotels, islands, airlines and cruises.
According to the magazine, the Lebanese capital has “much to offer the adventurous traveler,” from “exotic cuisine and cocktails” to the “most exclusive clubs in the world.”
One reader went so far as to call Lebanon’s capital “the Paris of the Middle East,” a title the cosmopolitan city had been renowned for before the Civil War.
Readers also noted the city offers a “tapestry of sects, religions, and lifestyles that provide a feast for the mind of the intellectual.”
Voters named San Miguel de Allende in Mexico as the world's top city. San Miguel de Allende swiped the title from last year’s city of Charleston, South Carolina, which this year tied for fifth place with Spain’s San Sebastian.
Budapest and Florence tied for second place, as five Italian cities and three Spanish made it to the top 25.
The Austrian city of Salzburg made it to fourth place.
Beirut also ranked first in the top five cities of the Middle East, surpassing occupied Jerusalem, which ranked second for its cultural attractions, markets, and history.
It also came above Dubai, which made it to fifth place, and which readers described as an “interesting mix of Eastern and Western culture” where “everything is the biggest, fastest or best in the world.”