Lonely Planet Writer

Portugal cleans up with six top prizes at World Travel Awards

Now in its 24th year, the annual World Travel Awards celebrate excellence across diverse sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries. 2017 saw countries like Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia being celebrated for their unique offerings, while Portugal scooped a number of major prizes that will no doubt add fuel to the country’s rapidly growing reputation as a booming destination. Here are some of the noteworthy winners across different categories.

World’s Leading Destination – Portugal

Portugal came away with six top prizes at this year's awards.
Portugal came away with six top prizes at this year’s awards. Image by Smileus/Getty Images

Portugal is experiencing a tourism boom, with the world rapidly becoming wise to what the European country has to offer. Not only was it featured as one of the top 10 countries in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018, Portugal also claimed the title of World’s Leading Destination 2017 at this year’s World Travel Awards. The competition also saw it claiming the title of World’s Leading Beach Destination, Europe’s Leading Destination, while the country’s tourist board also claimed three separate prizes. Lisbon was also named the World’s Leading City Break Destination for 2017.

World’s Leading Cultural Destination – Bolivia

Bolivia was awarded the prize for World’s Leading Cultural Destination. Image by Bartosz Hadyniak/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Boasting South America’s largest percentage of indigenous people, Bolivia’s history and culture are as rich and diverse as its stunning natural landscapes. This year’s competition saw the country claiming the impressive title of World’s Leading Cultural Destination.

World’s Leading Culinary Destination – Peru

Peru is famous for fresh ceviche.
Peru is famous for fresh ceviche. Image by LarisaBlinova/Getty Images

With dishes that include incredibly fresh ceviche served with chili and corn, slow-simmered stews and velvety Amazonian chocolate, Peru has come to be known as the capital of Latin cooking. Its unique geographic and cultural diversity means that ingredients from tropical jungle fruits to Spanish, African and Asian influences can be seen throughout the cooking. Chef Virgilio Martínez’s Lima restaurant Central is currently ranked fourth in the world’s best restaurants, with a recent episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix that featured the eatery helping to spark world interest in the country’s unique gastronomy.

World’s Leading Green Destination – Ecuador

The Amazon Jungle, Yasuni, Ecuador.
The Amazon Jungle, Yasuni, Ecuador. Image by Fotos593/Shutterstock

With its four biodiverse areas, the famous Galápagos Islands, the Amazon Rainforest, the Coast and the Andes, Ecuador has long been a haven for birdwatchers, wildlife enthusiasts and environmentalists. Because of its privileged location in the middle of the world, the country has thousands of exotic and endemic species, including 1600 species of birds, 350 species of reptiles and 400 species of amphibians.

World’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination – Chile

Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile. Image by noblige/Getty Images

Famous for it’s wild, barren and beautiful regions, including the impressive sight of Patagonia’s jagged peaks and pristine rivers, Chile was awarded the World’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination for 2017.

The full list of winners is available at the official World Travel Awards website.