Sydney has been named Australia’s number one holiday destination and the world’s number two vacation city in the ‘Best Places to Visit’ list by a leading global holiday research company.

U.S. News & World Report travel editor, Gwen Shearman said Sydney was a unique destination for international travellers. “Sydney ranks highly for its iconic sites, friendly locals, adventurous spirit and world-class cuisine,” said Ms Shearman. “Few cities in the world can offer the mix of laidback beaches, vibrant neighbourhoods and unique history that Sydney does.”

The city jumped 11 places from its previous world ranking and is topped only by Rome as the world’s best destination for holidaymakers in the 2017 and 2018 rankings by U.S. News. Sydney also moved up one spot to be named the Australia and Pacific region’s top city.

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Sydney well deserved its recognition as a world-class destination. “With our vibrant arts scene, first-class restaurants, cultural diversity and wonderful calendar of events, it’s no wonder Sydney is one of the world’s most loved cities,” said the Lord Mayor.

“Sydney is an ideal holiday destination, a great place to live and a wonderful place to work and study. The City has worked hard to make Sydney Australia’s leading global city and it’s wonderful to see this work recognised.”

More than 37 million people worldwide visit USNews.com each month and the digital research site has been ranking vacation destinations since 2012. To identify top vacation spots worldwide, US News analysed more than 300 destinations using a combination of travellers’ opinions and expert analysis of cities’ sights, culture, people and friendliness, food, shopping, family facilities, nightlife, adventure, romance and accessibility.

This year, Sydney received a 79 per cent approval rating. The top five global destination cities for 2017/18 were: Rome, Sydney, Porto, London and Paris. Top attractions in Sydney listed by the site include: Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Harbour, the Opera House, Darling Harbour, Coogee, Manly and Bondi beaches, The Rocks, Royal Botanic Gardens, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Art Gallery of NSW and the Australian National maritime Museum.

Image: Fireworks over Sydney Harbour – courtesy of City of Sydney