A former prison site in Cork has managed to beat out some of Europe's finest tourist attractions including the Eiffel Tower in France and The Roman Colosseum in Italy.

The 2017 World Travel Awards took place in the Marble Hall of the Russia Museum of Ethnography in St Petersburg, Russia on Saturday night. The Awards started in 1993 in an effort to celebrate the best sectors of the tourism industry across the globe.

Spike Island
This year, Spike Island was named as Europe's leading tourist attraction. According to the website, in the last 1300 years, Spike Island has been host to "a 6th Century Monastery, a twenty-four-acre fortress, the largest convict depot in the world in Victorian times and centuries of island homes."

Today the island is home to the 200-year-old Fort Mitchel, a star-shaped Fortress which was once home to over 2,300 prisoners. 

Now a tourist attraction, visitors can explore deep tunnels, scale high walls and study the abandoned prison with a guided tour.

Where is Ireland leading the way in Europe?

  • Cork's Spike Island was named as Europe's leading tourist attraction 
  • Dublin's Sandymount Hotel was named as Europe's leading green hotel
  • Dublin's Convention Centre was named as Europe's leading conference centre.

Ireland's Award Winners

  • Ireland's Leading Boutique Hotel 2017: Hayfield Manor
  • Ireland's Leading Business Hotel 2017: The Shelbourne Dublin, A Renaissance Hotel
  • Ireland's Leading Car Rental Company 2017: Avis
  • Ireland's Leading Hotel 2017: Powerscourt Hotel Resort Spa
  • Ireland's Leading Hotel Suite 2017:  Presidential Suite at Castlemartyr Resort
  • Ireland's Leading Luxury Hotel 2017: Conrad Dublin
The Shelbourne
The Shelbourne Dublin won Ireland's Leading Business Hotel 2017: 

Europe’s Leading Destination
Portugal was voted Europe’s Leading Destination with Turismo de Portugal taking home the prize for Europe's Leading Tourist Board.

This year's European Winners - from the most romantic resort (Monte Santo Resort, Portugal) and leading lifestyle hotel (Rixos Premium Göcek, Turkey) to the leading airline (Turkish Airlines) and leading hotel brand (Hilton Hotels & Resorts) - can be found here.