Travel Tips

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall… Where’s the Poshest of Them All?

Where’s the best place in Europe for a high-end city break? We reveal the answer based on five data points.

There’s nothing quite like finding the perfect holiday destination – sprinkle on some magic luxury dust and you’ve got the ultimate elite holiday experience. Our new luxury destination index considers the number of five-star hotels, high-end spas, Michelin star restaurants, as well as a safety ranking and local ‘luxury’ demand. 

Considering some of the most travelled-to destinations in Europe the data reveals that per tourist, the Swiss cities of Zürich and Geneva are the best places for luxury city breaks, with Madrid completing the top three. 

The tool below looks at the different data points our team of experts sourced. Use the tool and share your findings with us on social media. 

The top three

The Swiss-German city of Zürich scored in the top five for three factors: not only is it the safest destination in the study, but it has the 2nd highest number of luxury spas and the 4th most Michelin star restaurants per tourist. Just 260km down the road, Geneva achieved 2nd place in the study and came top of the study for its choice of the very best hotels and restaurants. 

Third choice Madrid is the ‘trendier’ option, with the 5th most luxury-related Google searches. The Spanish capital also featured 5th for choice of Michelin star restaurants and 6th for luxury spas per visitor. 

Main category rankings

Luxurious accommodation is paramount to the most high end of getaways. Per 1,000,000 tourists, Geneva leads the way for the number of 5* hotels with 13 per million tourists; Istanbul, London, Edinburgh and Sofia make up the top five.

Geneva’s next top five finish comes in the Michelin restaurant category with more award-winning restaurants per tourist than any city in the study and more than triple the continental average per guest. 

Once you’ve wined and dined and enjoyed a luxurious night’s sleep, top off your holiday with a trip to a luxury spa. Leading the way in this category is Barcelona with 87 4* and above rated spas per one million tourists. Zürich, Sofia, Berlin and Paris make up the top five for luxury spas per tourist. 

Those are the study winners for high-end dining, sleeping, and wellness treatments, but which are trendiest luxury getaway destinations this season? By analysing Google searches, the study reveals that London is the most searched for ‘luxury’ destination followed by Prague (which finished 9th in the study overall) and Amsterdam (which finished 18th). 

Whether your motto is always to go big or go home, or you’re looking to splash out on a once-in-a lifetime luxury holiday, we hope this tool helps you plan your ultimate 2023, European high-end getaway.

Combine a luxurious vacation with a mountain getaway! We recommend the French resorts of Courchevel or Megève, and the Swiss resorts of Gstaad or Saint-Moritz.

Data sources

Tourism Numbers - Euromonitor and desk research
Safety Index - Numbeo 
Five Star Hotels - 
Michelin Star Eateries -
Luxury Research - Keyword Planner

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