Nominate Your Favorite To Win $300 In March: The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament 2012

February 23, 2012 by Anil Polat  

tournament brackets

This is probably the easiest travel contest and $300 dollars you’ll enter to win all year. The 4th year of The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament begins next week.

All you have to do to enter is name your favorite city in the comments of this post before next Monday, February 27th at 12:00pm US EST.

Clerigos Tower portoCities Already Taken

Since my newsletter subscribers got word of the contest yesterday (they’re always the first to find out but don’t feel left out) these cities are already taken. Each person can choose one city except these and any others listed in the comments section already.

That’s 16 spots taken and 112 remaining. Feel free to choose a second favorite if your city is already taken! Notice also that last year’s champion Porto hasn’t been selected so it’s up for grabs to whomever nominates it first.

The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament 2013: Second Round

Livraria Lello bookstore portoDates, Deadlines, And How The Tournament Works

By next Monday, February 27th 12:00pm US EST we’ll have 128 cities. The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament is a single-elimination tournament. Voting will begin Next Tuesday, February 28th to seed the cities (determining match-ups) and that Friday readers will begin voting that 128 group down to 64. Each week, through voting, the cities will be halved until there is only 1 remaining.

The person who originally picked that winning city will receive $300 from yours truly. And, as I did last year, I’ll visit the winning city before 2013 rolls around.

Voting will happen on these dates, so get your mouses ready!

  • Round of 128: Friday, March 2nd; Round of 64: Tuesday Mar. 6th; Round of 32: Friday, Mar. 9th
  • Sweet 16: Tuesday, March 13th
  • Elite 8: Friday, March 16th
  • Final Four: Tuesday, March 20th
  • Championship: Tuesday, March 27th

The winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 2nd and prize money sent out before the beginning of May.

Winners Come In All Sizes

In 2009 it was Sydney, Australia, in 2010 Zermatt, Switzerland, and last year Portugal’s Porto took the top prize. Those are cities with an average population of 1.9 million and none are in the top 15 of most visited cities in the world. That doesn’t mean that you all didn’t vote them the best and that your favorite doesn’t have a chance, no matter how big or small.

The Passion And People Who Brought Me To The Best City To Visit In 2012: Sarajevo

Remember, click here to the comments to nominate your favorite city before next Monday, February 27th at 12:00pm US EST. Good luck to you all!

Bonus: Sign up now for my RSS feed or daily email updates during the entire tournament month of March and win, I’ll add $50 to your prize.

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  1. Priyank says:

    Hey Anil,
    Lets do Haridwar-Rishikesh, India

  2. JoAnna says:

    If I’m not too late, I’d like to nominate Toronto, Canada.

  3. John Billiris says:

    I choose Denver. Fantastic city, and coming from the East Coast, I can testify that people are “nice” here! One of the healthiest cities in the US, great variety of restaurants, museums, super-close to the Rockies (hiking,skiing..), and 45 minutes from Rocky Mountain N.P. Tons and tons of stuff to do here. And a lot of it is free!

  4. toastedonry says:

    Two nominations:

    Leon, Spain (Awesome tapas, beautiful cathedral and a great college town)
    Quebec City, Quebec, Canada (like a European city in North America. Walled city, poutine, crepes, Chateau Frontenac and great bar/club scene)

  5. Damn this Internet connection! Now all my favorite cities that I had in mind are taken!! Including Cairo? I was even afraid of choosing Cairo, not many supporters there haha 😀

    I kind of missed if Prague is taken or not, if it is then I’ll go for Luxor, Egypt…any Egyptology and history lovers out there?:D

    (I would go for Siwa, Egypt but I know most of the world haven’t even heard of it, too bad)

    • Anil P. says:

      Prague is gone unfortunately but Luxor is yours. I will say though that choosing a lesser known city isn’t necessarily a disadvantage, Zermatt did win in 2009 🙂

  6. tareh says:

    Yogyakarta, Indonesia

  7. Sherry Ott says:

    I honestly have no idea what’s left – but if it’s a duplicate – that’s ok…it just means I’ll vote for it then!
    My pick is Beirut!

  8. Rachel says:

    I’ll nominate my former home of Washington, DC, as it doesn’t appear to be listed yet.

  9. Anil P. says:

    Thanks everyone, keep them coming. 13 hours left to enter…

  10. Earl says:

    I nominate the lovely Ljubljana, Slovenia!

  11. Guanajuato, Mexico – most beautiful city in the world in my opinion

  12. Jesse says:

    Taipei City!

  13. Betsey says:

    Hi Anil,

    It’s disappointing to read that my first choice is taken, but Adventurous Kate has very good taste: Edinburgh is a great city to visit (3 trips and counting).

    Hmmm, London is also already taken. I’ll offer a city where I stopped on a train trip from Edinburgh to London .. York!

    Home of a terrific train museum and I hope to see much more this April.


  14. Adrian says:

    Bran, Romania – Dracula’s Castle is the main attraction here 🙂

  15. Skegness – East Midlands, England.
    Beautiful weather all year round, amazing nightlife, very flat… 😉

    No but really, Vientiane – Laos.

    Wide avenues, chilled vibe, friendly locals. Without a doubt the quietest and most peaceful capital city I’ve been to!

    Maybe they knew I was coming…

  16. Giulia says:

    Beirut, Lebanon! 🙂

  17. alen05 says:

    Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. A multicultural city with beautiful architecture, great culture, delicious cheap food, the bascarsija, city hall, the latin bridge, the tunnel of hope, the sarajevo film festival and olympic mountains surrounding the city. need i say more…

  18. Hulya says:

    Izmir, Turkey. Anjuli’s second pick is my first! Izmir is the best. The ruins, the history, the amazing coastline (try Blue Voyage in the Aegean), the food, the people…Need I say more? One more thing maybe, Virgin Mary spent her last days in Ephesus near Izmir.

  19. SJK says:

    Tallinn, Estonia
    I was there was in college many years ago but it left an impression. Cobblestone streets, water views, and a fascinating language!

  20. Anil P. says:

    Hi everyone, still 2 days for entries to go and 50 spots left. I just wanted to let you know I’ve created a map for the contest so you can see the competition and which cities have been entered. If you’ve already entered a city and don’t see yours here, please email me to let me know.

    Good luck!

  21. Kelley says:

    Honolulu, Hawaii – Aloha!

  22. Kathleen Conner says:

    Valencia. I love this city; it’s relatively close to Madrid and Barcelona and the beaches, but is pretty untouristed. Gardens, architecture, and the beautiful City of Arts and Sciences complex. The people there were NICE, and, as opposed to Barcelona, not burnt out from out-of-towners! =) Oh, did I mention the food?

  23. Beth says:

    Madrid, Spain

  24. Diana Conner says:

    Pamplona, Spain. . . Hemingway was in the air.

  25. Laura says:

    I already nominated Vienna but I’ll also go with Krakow, Poland.

  26. Oh dear I see Budapest has already gone so my next choice is Hanoi, Vietnam and if that’s not available then Budva, Montenegro please 🙂

  27. Arepeace says:

    Tbilisi, Georgia 🙂

  28. I think Budapest is pretty cool – is it taken yet?

  29. Steph says:

    I call San Francisco!

  30. Michael says:

    Is Ushuaia taken yet? If not I’ll grab me some of that 🙂

  31. Anna Stephanie says:

    Some have said that wausau, wi is the gateway of hell. I believe its the gateway to an open mind, a city to relax and be safe in, a real community and a safe haven full of truly genuine individuals who come to act out a lifes dream not live in a fantasy. I truly believe each and every member in our city plays their role and does it well, even up to helping lost individuals find their voice in a world of harsh realities. I nominate wausau, wi not only to visit but to live, just miles away there are all sorts of cities to live your fancies in the city or take a break from reality and live in peace and quite up in the northwoods or upper peninsula, go fishing along the great lakes. Its the United States mini version of the GLOBAL ECONOMY.

  32. Ned .D says:

    I.ll nominate Sarajevo,unic place where east and west are mixed in and place where idea of social life survive.

  33. Anil P. says:

    Hi everyone, the entries are now closed and the first round of preliminary voting will begin tomorrow. Nobody get eliminated, it will just be used to see the cities but the top 25 cities in votes will have the advantage of getting a pass in the first round.

    Good luck and feel free to let me know if you have any questions!

  34. Kat says:

    Hanoi, Vietnam

  35. Nisha says:

    Hi Anil,

    I recommend Siem Reap, Cambodia. 🙂
    Is it gone already? I don’t think so.

  36. Amer says:

    I’ll nominate my former hometown Penang, Malaysia

  37. Marie Fritz says:

    London! Lots to do in 2012! The Olympics, Para-Olympics, the Queens Jubilee, the Chelsea Flower Show! Great year to be there.

  38. Ashley says:

    Am I really the first one to nominate Kyoto? Hopefully I just missed a comment somewhere – cause even if you suffer from temple fatigue (which I do after about two of them), there’s plenty of shops, yummy food and an nice little art scene.

    2nd choice (if Kyoto’s taken): Hiroshima.

  39. prateek sinha says:

    i nominate the city of bollywood and dreams…my city, Mumbai,india

  40. mina says:

    i nominate the city that started a love affair between me and europe (long story), ubud, bali, indonesia

  41. Arepeace says:

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  42. Skott says:

    Hey Anil…If I am allowed to nominate 2 I will nominate Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam if possible…and Marrakech, Morocco. If either of those has been taken, and I am still allowed two….let’s go with Tamale (Ghana)

    If it is allowed, my wife is also under the same email address, but she would pick Hoi An, Vietnam and Santiago, Spain

    Let me know if there is a problem.

    • Anil P. says:

      Hi Skott, I use email addresses to track the entries; do you have a second one to enter in the other city? If so, feel free to leave a comment using that address with your other choice. Thanks!

  43. Michael says:

    I’m going for Buenos Aires, Argentina!

  44. Jo says:

    I’ll go for Macau – charming small city rich in history.

  45. Cat says:

    After moving to Seville, Spain, I’m still completely mesmorized with the city – and I’ll risk having another winner on the Iberian Penninsula. Ham, flamenco, orange wine, Holy Week processions and a colorful April Fair. Tons to love, especially since you’re a fan of neighbouring Granada!

  46. Anil P. says:

    Hi everyone, a quick note that I’m recording all of your city nominations. Unless I say otherwise, I’ve got your cities entered into the tournament!

  47. Roan says:

    Cape Town, South Africa

  48. Neal says:

    Cape Town, South Africa. Most amazing city in the world!

  49. Pauline says:

    I just came back from a whirlwind trip to SE Asia and I really enjoyed Penang, Malaysia. Very friendly locals, amazing food, and awesome places visit! It’s a small city with lots of delightful surprises!

  50. Charles says:

    I suggest Da Lat in Vietnam. Just love that city. It’s small, but still a city.

  51. Barbara says:

    Florence, Italy

  52. Meleena says:

    Havana, Cuba

  53. Carrie says:

    Antigua, Guatemala

  54. Rui says:

    Hi Anil,

    No doubt about this year’s “Best City To Visit”, my pick is obviously Guimarães, Portugal, European Capital of Culture for 2012.
    Abraço { from Portugal,

  55. Michelle says:

    Paramaribo, Suriname!!! 🙂

  56. Vinny says:

    Rio de Janeiro! or how about less known Curitiba?

  57. Sarah O. says:

    Tokyo! It’s open for business economically, and psychologically needs tourists to return. After 13 years, I am returning to Japan and making my first visit to Tokyo; join me!

  58. Stephen says:

    New Orleans, US

    Its got food, music, art, parties, warm weather, and a culture unique even within its own state. Whats not to like?

  59. Joaquin says:

    My city, Barcelona!!

  60. I suggest Montreal for the “Best city to visit Travel Tournament 2012”. Thanks,

    Stéphane Pageau

  61. Valentina says:


  62. I just got back from Porto, which I visited in part because of it winning your contest last year!

    I’d like to nominate Edinburgh, Scotland. Absolutely beautiful city, some of the friendliest people in Europe, Scottish culture abounding, haggis, and plenty of ghosts.

    • Anil P. says:

      Hi Kate, that makes me very happy and one of the reasons I love this contest each year. It does introduce many cities we may not have known as much about and encourage travel there. I hope you enjoyed Porto, I’ll look forward to your posts on it 🙂

      I’ve got you down for Edinburgh, good luck!

  63. Jane says:

    Tel Aviv, Israel

  64. Simon says:

    Manchester, England.

    Manchester Music Scene, known around the world.

    A city that truly does have everything.

  65. Yilmaz says:

    New York City

  66. Aaron says:

    Charleston, SC

  67. Fabio says:

    Valparaiso, Chile!

    The harbor, the hills, the elevators, the wall art. Its markets, its bars, its dogs. Its color and its people. Its empanadas and its completos. To me, there’s no other possible pick!

  68. flipnomad says:

    Phuket, Thailand I love the convenience of a small city and proximity to the nice Thai Islands 🙂

  69. Suze says:

    I’ll go dark horse American city with San Fransisco. Its beautiful (just remember hills stink but when you need a break, stop turn around, and enjoy the view of the bay!) and full of some amazing museums and cultural gems. And incredibly easy to navigate.

    • Anil P. says:

      Everyone loves an underdog, especially in this contest 🙂 Btw, love your optimistic take on the hills!

      • Suze says:

        It also counter balances all the sourdough, dungeness crabs, fresh cheese, and Humphrey Slocombe ice cream! Stuffed my face and still lost 5lbs, I think that alone is worth making it through a few rounds of this 😉

  70. Inga says:

    Liepaja in Latvia, which is not only famous for being a very musical place, but also has a prison in which for 10-15 EUR you will be treated like the soviet spy ( one of the most extraordinary experiences I have had in my life.

  71. Nico says:

    Dubrovnik, Croatia. Couldn’t be a more photogenic or enjoyable city anywhere.

  72. Jason says:

    Berlin, Germany – Excellent museums, history, and an immensely diverse selection of restaurants.

  73. Shane says:

    Beirut. A Middle Eastern city where you can buy decent cheddar cheese.

  74. Julia says:

    I nominate Chiang Mai, Thailand — friendly, gorgeous, and very livable!

  75. Anil P. says:

    Thank you everyone, keep them coming! 61 slots filled and 67 to go…

  76. Melissa Reynolds says:

    Chicago, Illinois

  77. Jessica Fitzgerald says:

    Vernazza, Italy

  78. Jeremy says:

    Fine, I’ll say it.. Las Vegas, Nevada.

  79. Keka says:

    I nominate Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
    the beaches are a piece of paradise… white and thin sand; clear water and beautiful people.
    The Christ statue is gorgeous!
    The Sugar loaf has a view that makes you want to live up there!
    the whole city is beautiful!

  80. Laurence says:

    London. Always amazing 🙂

  81. Amanda says:

    Wellington, New Zealand!!

    Even though Lonely Planet has called it “the coolest little capital in the world,” most people skip Welly when visiting New Zealand, concentrating instead on Auckland to the north or Queenstown to the south. But Wellington is great – lots of culture, cafes, a beautiful waterfront, and one of the best museums I’ve ever been to!

  82. Of course

    Granada, Andalusia, Spain


  83. Lisa says:

    Valetta, Malta

    The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – incredible architecture, archeological sites, museums & monuments and also known for excellent restaurants, cafes and markets.

  84. Anjuli says:

    oh man- there were so many of my favs already taken 🙁 grrrrr…..I didn’t see Ladakh, Kashmir, India- if it is already taken then I’ll do Izmir, Turkey

  85. Sydney, Australia – we need tourism!

  86. T-roy says:

    Medellin, Colombia (because there is a lack of South American cities on the list, and I personally think it’s one of the best cities i have ever traveled to… oh the women and parties here)! lol 🙂

  87. Shawna says:

    Cairo, Egypt. I fell in love with it years ago.

  88. I’m going to go with Yangon, Myanmar. The Tourism Board is really trying to promote it as a destination now that the veil is starting to lift…

  89. Paul says:

    I nominate Baltimore Maryland.

  90. Noa Nadeem says:

    Tehran, Iran