All the winners in the 2023 Telegraph Travel Awards

Telegraph readers voted in 20 categories, from best country to finest tour operator
Telegraph readers voted in 20 categories, from best country to finest tour operator - Getty

At Telegraph Travel, we always do our best to recommend good places to visit, the best travel companies to book with and the best places to stay. According, that is, to our own experience. But in the end, it is you, the readers, who are the ultimate judges. It is your experiences which count. So the moment when we get the final results from our annual reader survey is always an exciting and a fascinating one.

We have been reporting your views and judgements almost every year since the first edition of the awards in 1998. But this time, the wait has been rather longer than usual. Our last reader survey was published in November, 2019 – just before the pandemic struck. Two years of disruption and distraction then followed, before travel began to return to more normal patterns. Then, of course, we had to wait a year – to give you time to get back out on the road again.

But now, at last, we can once again reveal the best of the best. Below you will find the results in 20 different categories – from your highest rated tour operators, airlines and car hire companies to your favourite destinations around the world. Over the coming days we will publish an analysis of each award, outlining why the winners have triumphed and taking a deeper look at the data.

We can only compile these results because of your commitment and engagement. Our survey is a long, thorough one which takes time and thought to complete. But almost 30,000 readers have risen to the challenge and provided us – once again – with the most important, influential and independent insight into the world of travel. Into which companies are performing best and which destinations have fired our readers’ imaginations most; which have slipped from the top rankings and which have upped their game.

Those that have excelled in our awards have only done so because they meet your exacting standards. And, as we can see from the sheer numbers and the wide range of destinations and companies which are rated, Telegraph readers are hugely adventurous and experienced travellers. Over the last year, you have explored every corner of the globe and travelled in all sorts of different ways - from cruises to road trips, trekking to trains. You have gone on coach tours, you have been on expeditions to the Antarctic. You have booked with the biggest sun and sand tour operators, the smallest specialist travel companies and you have planned your own adventures. Read on to see what you and your fellow readers’ verdict on the world of travel.

Safari favourite South Africa was named best country
Safari favourite South Africa was named best country - Getty

Best country

Winner: South Africa

Second: New Zealand

Third: Maldives

See our full guide to the best countries

Best worldwide city

Winner: Cape Town

Second: Vancouver

Third: Rio de Janeiro

Best European country

Winner: Italy

Second: Greece

Third: Norway

See our full guide to the best countries

Best European city

Winner: Venice

Second: Seville

Third: Rome

Best short-haul airline


Second: Swiss

Third: Aurigny

First class quarters on an Emirates jet
First class quarters on an Emirates jet

Best long-haul airline

Winner: Emirates

Second: Qatar Airways

Third: Singapore Airlines

Best hotel group

Winner: Ikos

Second: Oberoi Hotels & Resorts

Third: Belmond

Best tour operator

Winner: Audley

Second: Dialaflight

Third: Trailfinders

Best escorted tour operator

Winner: G Adventures

Second: Exodus

Third: Riviera Travel

Best specialist tour operator

Winner: McKinlay Kidd

Second: Inntravel

Third: Kenwood

Best large-ship ocean cruise line

Winner: Celebrity

Second: Cunard

Third: Princess

Celebrity Edge
Celebrity Edge

Best small-ship ocean cruise line

Winner: Silversea

Second: Seabourn

Third: Hurtigruten

Best boutique ocean cruise line

Winner: Viking

Second: Azamara

Third: Saga

Best river cruise line

Winner: Uniworld

Second: Viking River Cruises

Third: Riviera Travel

Best car hire operator

Winner: Auto Reisen

Second: Cicar

Third: Zest Car Rental

A restaurant on board a Brittany Ferries vessel
A restaurant on board a Brittany Ferries vessel

Best ferry line

Winner: Brittany Ferries

Second: Stena Line

Third: DFDS

Best ski holiday company

Winner: Peak Retreats

Second: VIP Ski

Third: Sunweb

Best villa operator

Winner: Vintage Travel

Second: Simpson Travel

Third: Oliver’s Travel

Best cottage operator

Winner: Mr and Mrs Smith

Second: Unique Homestays

Third: Rural Retreats

Best rail holiday company

Winner: Great Rail Journeys

Second: Eurostar

Third: UK Railtours