New Zealand has been named the second-favourite destination in the world by readers of Conde Nast Traveller magazine.

The publication's annual Readers' Travel Awards rank everything from cities, countries and islands to tour operators and spas.

New Zealand topped the 'favourite countries' list last year but was pushed into second place this year by Italy, which the magazine's readers identified as having the best food, culture and climate in the world.

Each country was given a mark out of 100, with Italy this year scoring an impressive 95.55. New Zealand's score was 95.18.

Rounding out the top five were Turkey (94.84), Australia (94.47) and France (94.31).

Luxury Glenorchy hotel Blanket Bay was named the best leisure hotel in Australasia and the South Pacific, with Taupo's Huka Lodge, the Wairarapa's Wharekauhau Lodge and Country Estate and The Farm at Cape Kidnappers also making the top 20.

Local carrier Air New Zealand also performed well in the awards, being named second-best airline for long-haul leisure travel.

First place in that category was taken by Virgin Atlantic, with Qantas, British Airways and India's Kingfisher Airlines making up the top five.

Air New Zealand was also singled out as having the best in-flight catering of all the long-haul carriers.

In addition to identifying winners in each category, the travel awards features a 'Top 100' list, which ranks the destinations and experiences according to the score they were given - regardless of the individual categories.

This year's winner is the island of Sicily, which received a score of 95.70 out of a possible 100.

New Zealand's score on the 'best countries' list gave it a spot at number four and Blanket Bay's score of 94.44 in the 'best hotels' category placed it at number 10 on the 'Top 100' list.

Sydney, which has been named among the top 10 cities by the magazine's readers for the last nine years, was the forth-favourite this year.

New York took top honours in that category, with Paris second, Rome third and Barcelona fifth.

Selected results from this year's Conde Nast Traveller Readers' Travel Awards:
Best countries

1. Italy
2. New Zealand
3. Turkey
4. Australia
5. France
6. Egypt
7. USA
8. South Africa
9. Spain
10. Morocco
11. Greece
12. Mexico
13. India
14. Canada
15. Thailand
16. Brazil
17. Argentina
18. Sweden
19. Portugal
20. Kenya

Best cities

1. New York
2. Paris
3. Rome
4. Sydney
5. Barcelona
6. Venice
7. San Francisco
8. Cape Town
9. Hong Kong
10. Amsterdam
11. Florence
12. Vancouver
13. Istanbul
14. Buenos Aires
15. Madrid
16. Rio de Janeiro
17. Prague
18. Berlin
19. Chicago
20. Lisbon

Best long-haul leisure airlines

1. Virgin Atlantic
2. Air New Zealand
3. Qantas
4. British Airways
5. Kingfisher Airlines
6. Singapore Airlines
7. Emirates
8. Etihad Airways
9. Thai Airways
10. Cathay Pacific

Overall best destinations and experiences

1. Sicily (Island)
2. Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, India (Hotel)
3. Italy (Country)
4. New Zealand (Country)
5. New York (City)
6. Maldives (Island)
7. Turkey (Country)
8. Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, Italy (Hotel)
9. Australia (Country)
10. Blanket Bay, Glenorchy, New Zealand (Hotel)

* For a full list of the results, see the Conde Nast Traveller website.