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Small Aussie town among the most welcoming in the world

Source: Visit Melbourne

A small town just outside Melbourne has been ranked among the friendliest places of 2024.

It has made the list of the 10 most-welcoming “cities” in the world as revealed by accommodation website Booking.com – and the best places to stay while you’re visiting.

Unsurprisingly, major capital cities are absent; instead the list is made up of lesser-known spots.

One of the picks for 2024 is Daylesford, a sleepy holiday town in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria.

Just over 100 kilometres from Melbourne, Daylesford is known for its natural mineral springs, arts scene and spa offerings.

“The area’s landscape, made up of serene lakes and lush forests, makes it the perfect destination for those seeking rest and relaxation,” Booking.com said.

“The Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, perched on the summit of an extinct volcano, is the perfect place for any nature lover. Boutique shops, art galleries and cosy cafes line both sides of Daylesford’s charming main street and embrace the town’s laid-back charm.

“This region of Australia is also well renowned for its local culinary scene and farm-to-table dining.”

pictured is Lake Orchard Villas in Daylesford

The Lake Orchard Villas in Daylesford is the place to stay, according to the site.

Booking.com’s pick for accommodation is the Lake Orchard Villas.

The villas are just moments from Lake Daylesford and the main street, where visitors can explore cafes and shops.

“All villas at the property also boast a two-person spa bath. Guests can also consider taking a scenic two-mile drive to Hepburn Springs,” Booking.com said.

Also on the list

Brazil’s Arraial d’Ajuda topped the list for most welcoming city of 2024.

Arraial d’Ajuda is a district in the municipality of Porto Seguro and is known for its incredible beaches.

Unlike Porto Seguro, which tends to be flooded with tourists, Arraial d’Ajuda has a “calm and serene atmosphere”.

pictured is Arraial d'Ajuda

Beach town Arraial d’Ajuda offers a quiet retreat in Brazil. Photo: Getty

Beyond the beaches, there’s beautiful architecture, boutiques, restaurants and bars for tourists to explore.

Although there’s much to love in Greece – Ermoupoli, which is on the island of Syros, was the pick for 2024.

“What makes Ermoupoli unique compared to other Cycladic towns is its Venetian heart and exceptional neoclassical architecture painted in attractive pastel hues, making this hillside town an eyecatcher on its own,” Booking.com said.

Ermoupoli in Greece offers up stunning architecture. Photo: Getty

Travellers might flock to New York or Los Angeles when heading to the US. But Booking.com has put forward a “true outdoor enthusiast’s paradise”.

Moab in the state of Utah was the only US city to make its 2024 list of most welcoming towns and cities.

There, people can expect to find beautiful natural landscapes of red rock formations and, thanks to the nearby Colorado River, travellers can get adventurous by kayaking or paddle-boarding.

“After an adventurous day outdoors, travellers can relax and enjoy the charming town of Moab by visiting one of the many boutique shops, or choose from one of the many dining options; from taco trucks and bakeries, to breweries and fine dining,” Booking.com said.

Afternoon in the Devil's Garden on the north end of Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. This is Double O Arch with a big window of rock.

Moab is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Photo: Getty

Closer to home, Jaisalmer in India and Fujikawaguchiko in Japan both got a shoutout.

The full list

  • Arraial d’AjudaBrazil
  • ErmoupoliGreece 
  • Viana do CasteloPortugal 
  • DaylesfordAustralia 
  • GrindelwaldSwitzerland 
  • MoabUS
  • UzèsFrance 
  • MazatlánMexico 
  • JaisalmerIndia
  • FujikawaguchikoJapan
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