Bordeaux has been named the best European travel destination for 2015 in an online competition that attracted nearly 250,000 votes.

Click the second image for a Bordeaux city map

Bordeaux beat off competition from Lisbon and Athens, which came second and third respectively in the competition, organised by travel firm European Best Destinations. The company works with around 150 tourist offices in cities across Europe.

Its online contest received 244,696 votes for 20 European candidate cities. Bordeaux won with 17% of the total votes.

Its victory is a promising sign for those seeking to develop wine tourism in the region, and particlarly for the wine cultural museum, Cite des Civilisations du Vin, which is due to open next year.

Stephan Delaux, Bordeaux tourist office president, told Decanter.com that the victory in the contest reflects the ‘evolution of Bordeaux over the past 15 years’.

Traditionally, downtown Bordeaux was often overlooked in favour of the surrounding vineyards. But, since receiving UNESCO World Heritage status in 2007, the number of tourists visiting the city has risen by 35% to around 5m per year.

The 2014 competition winner, Porto, saw a rise in tourist numbers of 16% in 2014, although it is hard to draw a direct correlation with the competition itself.

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Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux