Which city did you name the greatest on Earth?

Telegraph Travel
And the winner is... - Agnieszka Gaul

The votes have been counted, the results are in. We can reveal that the greatest city in the world is a coastal gem, lying in the shadow of a cloud-hugged mountain. Here wine flows, penguins waddle and – not too far away – majestic beasts roam.

It could only be Cape Town.

To find out the greatest city in the world, we asked you – our trusted Telegraph Travel readers – to let us know your favourite holiday destinations. Over 45,000 readers responded to the Telegraph Travel Awards survey and the South African city pipped Tokyo and Vancouver to the top spot.

We would love to say we were surprised but, frankly, we were not. This is the sixth consecutive victory for Cape Town – a firm favourite amongst Telegraph Travel readers. The rest of the top ten features familiar contenders, although there are a few notable power shifts.

Tokyo has overtaken Vancouver to second place, a spot that Vancouver held for the five years prior. The Japanese capital was fifth the year before and seventh the year before that, making it the favourite to knock Cape Town off the top spot in 2019.

Elsewhere, Seville has seen an impressive rise from 7th place last year to 4th in the 2018 rankings, swapping places with Venice which had sat on the 'top three' podium four times in the six years running up to 2018. The southern Spanish city was 13th three years ago and 9th the year before last, showing a rapid rise in popularity in a small amount of time.

Stalwarts like Sydney, New York and Florence have held onto their top ten spots from last year, with regulars Rome and San Francisco making up 9th and 10th places.

Here's a look at your 20 favourite cities in the world.

Your 20 favourite cities

  1. Cape Town (=)
  2. Tokyo (+1)
  3. Vancouver (-1)
  4. Seville (+3)
  5. Sydney (=)
  6. New York (=)
  7. Venice (-3)
  8. Florence (=)
  9. Rome (+1)
  10. San Francisco (-1)
  11. St Petersburg (=)
  12. Barcelona (=)
  13. Krakow (+1)
  14. Singapore (+1)
  15. Lisbon (+1)
  16. Buenos Aires (+4)
  17. Chicago (+1)
  18. Melbourne (-5)
  19. Istanbul (+6)
  20. Vienna (-3)
Brussels has seen the biggest year-on-year boom in popularity Credit: iStock

Biggest risers

Crunching the year-on-year data, we were interested to see that (with certain unspoken political developments in mind) Brussels has leapt eight spots from 95th up to 87th. Istanbul sees a pleasing return to the top twenty (19th) after falling from 16th place to 25th in 2017 following ongoing security and terror concerns. In the centenary year of the Great War, Ostend in Belgium jumped six places from 98th to 92nd.

  • Brussels (+8)
  • Frankfurt (+7)
  • Dubai (+6)
  • Ostend (+6)
  • Istanbul (+6)
  • Nice (+5)
  • Zurich (+4)
  • Buenos Aires (+4)
  • Seville (+3)
  • Washington DC (+3)
  • Hong Kong (+3)

Biggest fallers

For some cities, the trope "it's the taking part that counts" probably won't cut it. Warsaw, Rio de Janeiro, Prague, Beijing, Dubai, Delhi and Auckland have seen the biggest drops through the rankings since 2017. Auckland's fall from grace is surprising, since New Zealand is Telegraph Travel readers' favourite country by some margin. New Zealand's capital, Wellington, sits higher in the list at 32.

  • Warsaw (-7)
  • Auckland (-6)
  • Rio de Janeiro (-6)
  • Prague (-6)
  • Beijing (-6)
  • Delhi (-6)
  • Melbourne (-5)
  • Madrid (-4)
  • Berlin (-4)
Where will you be going in 2019? Quite possibly Barcelona Credit: iStock

Top cities of the future?

As part of our survey, we asked which cities you are thinking of visiting in the next two years. In a year where Barcelona, Lisbon and Amsterdam have made the news for overtourism concerns, any worries of overcrowding don't seem to have changed Telegraph Travel readers' plans. Keep an eye on Dubai – it's up six places as one of the biggest risers since 2017, and with 5 per cent of readers planning on visiting by 2020, this could be a contender for a future podium position.

  • Barcelona (10%)
  • New York (9%)
  • Amsterdam (9%)
  • Cape Town (6%)
  • Rome (6%)
  • Florence (5%)
  • Lisbon (5%)
  • Paris (5%)
  • Tokyo (5%)
  • Dubai (5%)
  • Sydney (5%)

What makes Cape Town the best city in the world?

By Pippa de Bruyn

Despite bathtubs with no plugs, buckets in showers, requests to reuse cutlery and earnest notes to flush ‘only when absolutely necessary’, Cape Town has done it again. Call me shallow, but it’s rather like dating a mercurial model – we’ll put up with the occasional discomfort for the sheer joy of waking up with a real, natural beauty. Here are ten reasons to love Cape Town.

1. Geography

The original Khoi inhabitants named the iconic flat-topped massif ‘Hoerikwaggo’, Mountain of the Sea, and it is precisely this unique geography – towering mountains that drop, at times perpendicularly, into the vast blue – that is so seductive.

2. Boulders Penguins

The African penguin colony that settled at Boulders beach in 1982 has become a de rigueur stop on every peninsula tour, but those in the know pack a bather and join them in the bracing waters, or watch their antics while sprawled on the beach.

3. Cape Dutch History & Winelands

The oldest winemaking region in the New World is a delight to explore, albeit rather overwhelming – you could spend an entire year sampling your way through more than 500 wineries, from historic Cape Dutch homesteads to modernistic cubes overlooking vineyard-clad valleys.

The oldest winemaking region in the New World is a delight to explore Credit: Getty

4. Table Mountain Cable Car

With some 350 paths to the summit, hiking up Table Mountain is a day well spent but those pushed for time ascend in five minutes via a rotating cable car that provides 360° views of the fast-receding city and the sandstone cliff face that dwarfs it.

5. Museum of Contemporary African Art

Conveniently located next to the departure point for the Robben Island ferries, the MOCAA is the largest repository of the continent’s contemporary art, worth visiting to view the repurposed grain silo that houses it as much as the collection itself.

6. V&A Waterfront

The redevelopment of the city’s industrial docklands into the mixed use V&A Waterfront is considered one of the most successful in the world, not least because – amongst the chi chi hotels, restaurants and shops – is the beating heart of an authentic, gritty, working harbour.

The end of the continent: Cape Point Credit: Getty

7. Cape Point

A 7750-ha nature reserve within Table Mountain National Park, the most southwesterly tip of the continent is oft beset by vicious winds, its sheer, jagged cliffs pounded by a wild Atlantic that devoured many ships prior to the 1859 lighthouse, accessed today via the ‘Flying Dutchman’ funicular.

8. Kirstenbosch Gardens

One of the world’s great botanical gardens, with manicured lawns that blend seamlessly into the dense indigenous forests that carpet the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch hosts sunset concerts in the summer – a backdrop that is worth a picnic, regardless of whose playing.

9. BoKaap

In a city that still suffers a geospatial hangover from apartheid, the predominantly Muslim neighbourhood of Bo Kaap is to be treasured, not least when the plangent call of the muezzin floats across the city, calling the faithful to prayer.

10. Weather

Generally speaking, summers are hot and sometimes windy but temperatures and cloud cover can vary enormously at any particular moment, depending on which side of the mountain you find yourself, or how far you are from the coast. One weather pattern that is predicable: when it rains, the locals rejoice. 

See the full list of winners in the 2018 Telegraph Travel Awards here.