The new kings of the world

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The Independent Travel

If travel is supposed to be one big party, you should have been on BA flight 247 last night, arriving in Rio in time for breakfast before plunging into the electrifying exuberance of Carnival. For second best (or, judging from the Wanderlust survey, seventh best), fly today to Venice (right); not only is Carnival getting into gear there, but it has been voted the third-best city in the world by the magazine's readers.

The usual choices of Paris, Florence and New York are conspicuous in their absence from this category. The readers have once again voted hard-to-find-and-harder-to-pronounce Luang Prabang, Laos, (the r is silent) as the world's top metropolis. Madagascar, Bhutan and Tibet have nudged Ecuador, the Cook Islands and Guatemala out of the top 10 countries; New Zealand, though, remains the perennial winner of the "where would you like to be most of all?" question.

Yet between the Festival in the Desert in Mali and the Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan, Wanderlust readers find time to watch plenty of television. Tribe retained its title as top programme, with Michael Palin's New Europe second. Palin also earned second place in the travel writer award, just behind Bill Bryson. Online, the rail website is once again the favourite, but voters do not appear to be booking much travel online with the three giant airlines from the UK; British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair do not feature among the best airlines. Singapore is the best long-haul carrier, while Air Berlin is best low-cost airline.

Overall, though, Edinburgh emerges as the most feted location. The Scottish capital makes the top 10 for UK airport, displaces New York as 10th favourite city worldwide, and makes the Festivals category twice.