The Best City to Visit Travel Tournament is here for 2016 and this year you can win not only for yourself, but your city as well. The prize to the person who chooses the winning city is $500 US dollars – in addition, I’ll donate that same amount to a charitable organization in the winning city.
To enter, write your favorite city in the comments of this post before Sunday, February 28th 8:00pm US EST.
Votes Going Social In 2016
Like last year, entries will be grouped by region so that cities from the same country will compete against each other in the early rounds. Also, I’ve made voting a lot easier than it’s been in past years, through your Facebook accounts so there’s no need for logins or email addresses.
The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament is a round robin style competition, with voting every week during the month of March. I’ll take the first 64 cities you nominate, which will be halved every round by your votes.
Cities Already Taken
Those of you who caught this post in time got the first picks in this year’s tournament. It’s one city per person so scan the comments underneath this post, look for the city you want to nominate, then type it in if someone else hasn’t already claimed it.
- London, England – (Brian)
- Targu Mures, Romania – (Razvan)
- Washington D.C., U.S.A. – (Yilmaz)
Please keep in mind that many comments automatically go into moderation where they remain invisible until they’re approved. Selections are still first come, first serve, keep checking back to see if you got the city you wanted or need to pick an alternate.
Important Contest Dates
The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament 2016 runs right through the beginning of April with week-long voting rounds starting on Tuesday, March 1st. Remember, voting early is one proven way to get ahead in the tournament, here are a few other strategies you can learn from previous winners.
- Tuesday, March 1st: Round of 64
- Tuesday, March 8th: Round of 32
- Tuesday, March 15th: Sweet 16
- Tuesday, March 22nd: Elite 8
- Tuesday March 29th: Final Four
- Tuesday, April 5th: Championship
The winner of this year’s tournament will be announced on Tuesday, April 12th and prize money sent (or delivered in person by me) to you by July 1, 2016. Those are quite a few dates to keep up with – the best way not to miss anything is to get my posts sent directly to your inbox.
Where You Pick, I Go
As always, I’ll visit the winning city, with a few surprises in mind this year when I arrive. I’m looking forward to seeing your selections and getting ideas for some travel plans in 2016. Good luck everyone and don’t forget to nominate your favorite city in the comments below!
Other than creating your own travel blog it’s tough to share discoveries you’ve made during a trip – like finding one of the world’s best coffee shops in Sibiu – with people in a useful fashion. On the other side, it’s not the easiest to find local secrets online in one place, so we often fall back on generic guide books, trying to guess what’s not been turned into a tourist trap by the time we’ve read it.
How TripVerse Solves Both Problems
TripVerse is a free app available (download on iOS and Android) which lets you check in to spots like restaurants, write your own review, and places them on a travel map automatically. In essence the idea is to create a crowdsource custom travel itineraries (although you can search for specific users’ recommendations as well). Important information like addresses are also added automatically by the app so you don’t have to do much to tag a place as being somewhere you think is worth visiting.
It’s worth noting that all of the information on TripVerse is available offline so you don’t need an Internet connection once you’ve specified a location such as a day in Vilnius, Lithuania. Also, you don’t necessarily need to contribute – I suspect a lot of the entries on TripVerse will be added by a small percentage of users, pretty much like any digital platform where you can consume or create.
From now until Monday, December 14th however TripVerse is giving you an great incentive to sign up and create a few trips of your own.
Win A Nexus 5X Phone
An update to one of the best Android phones of its time, the Nexus 5, is Google’s Nexus 5X. It’s one of the best travel phones than many of these hardcore travelers carry and TripVerse is giving one away.
Contest Entry Requirements
The Nexus giveaway is based on a point system, where being more active on TripVerse gives you more points (i.e. chances) to win the phone. Here’s what you need to do and how to earn more points:
Once you’ve done that you can earn more points by creating a trip with at least 5 activities on TripVerse (5 points). For some more easy points, click below:
Sharing the trips you’ve created on your Facebook and Twitter feeds also earns you 4 points each. You have until Monday, December 14 to enter and the winner will be selected at random on December 16, 2015. You’ll get the phone at most 3 weeks after than. Good luck to all of you!
The first reaction I get when I tell people traveling to eastern Europe that they must visit Craiova, Romania, is a genuinely interested “huh?” Craiova, the 6th largest city in Romania, has a remarkably enthusiastic population of 270,000 working diligently on social media to promote it as a tourist destination. Although I met the reasons you voted Craiova the Best City to Visit of 2014, here’s what that city (which is in rapid travel destination transformation) looks like under the summer sun.
Looking around the Craiova Art Museum, once the active Constantin Mihail Palace, now gearing up to host a number of pieces of artwork from Romanian sculptors and painters.
Big meal, with polenta, of course.
Inside the Madona Dudu Church, whose structure was partially rebuilt in 1844 to repair earthquake damage sustained a decade prior.
Walking around the Parcul Nicolae Romanescu (Romanescu Park) which has small monuments, cafes, and street food stalls scattered throughout. There’s enough organization so you don’t feel lost but at the same time are exploring, as there’s a lot to be discovered (and eaten) inside.
A look into Craiova’s City Hall, open to the public when there aren’t any active sessions or debates taking place.
Nearby, along the Danube River about a 40 minute drive away is Europe’s tallest rock sculpture. This depiction honors Decebalus, (87-106 A.D.), who was able to preserve Dacia’s (the precursor to modern Romania) independence against Roman rule through three wars.
A streak of independence still flows through the blood of most Craiovans, who are proud of a heritage they want to share in the most modern ways. At least once a month many of the city’s bloggers gather at Club Q, essentially turning into a large meet and greet open to everyone. In the time since I took these photos, a large pedestrian area has been opened, lined with a number of virgin bars, restaurants, and cafes all anticipating new business. (Facebar in particular has really grown into one of the best places to eat, drink, and party in town.)
Craiova is easy to reach by train from Bucharest (about 4 hours and $15) or backward nodding Sofia, and Wizz Air recently began flights a number of cities including London, Rome, and Barcelona. You’ll find that Craiova is right in the middle of a special zone for travelers – a place you should add to your plans if you’re looking for an inexpensive but unique experience in Europe.
The 2015 Best City To Visit Travel Tournament was the one where the Romanians, whose city’s Sibiu and Craiova won in 2013 and 2014 respectively, looked most vulnerable. There was a very close call with Granada in the Final Four – had the local media campaign begun an hour earlier it’s likely Targu Jiu would have lost. Instead, Targu Jiu passed Granada by 3 votes and eventually Boston, to be named 2015’s Best City To Visit by you.
Same Country, Different Results
Although it’s the third Romanian win, three things still hold true about The Best City tournaments: no Champion city has ever won back to back contests and no city has ever won the tournament twice. Finally, and most exciting for me, is that no city I have ever visited before has won. Since I always head to the winner of the best city contest before the year is up, I’m especially looking forward to planning my first trip to Targu Jiu some time in 2015.
Next Year’s Tournament Will Be A Big One
I’ve already have a few things in mind for the 2016 Best City To Visit Travel Tournament, including a big prize. You’ll have to wait until next February to find out the specific details but the best way to get first word on how 2016’s contest could send you traveling is to sign up for my free bi-monthly newsletter.
Congratulations again to The Best City To Visit of 2015, Targu Jiu as well as Damian, who originally picked the city. You’ll have $300 coming your way soon! Again, thank you to all of you who nominated the other 63 cities as well as those who voted. Your participation is what makes the contest come to life every year!
Let me know your recommendations if you’re from or have been to Targu Jiu in the comments below. When or what events would you suggest I visit, what should I eat, see, and eat?