Laravel is a mixture of all the good features from other prominent frameworks like .net and ROR.
Laravel is usually considered as PHP on Rails.
Here is a list of features what makes this framework better than the others:
1. Awesome documentation - Laravel is developer friendly. Taylor never releases a version of Laravel without a proper documentation. If you dig into Laravel API, you will find consistent coding style and briefly explained methods and classes. The style of coding and writing comments is very detailed and consistent.
2. Migrations - Migrations are the code representation of your database schema. The development team is free from menial tasks of sharing SQL dumps with the new developers that come on board or maintaining the database consistency across all the team members.
3. Database Seeding - Seeding frees developers from the task of manually populating dummy/test data. This is very helpful while developing APIs or web services. Faker library is commonly used to seed database with fake data.
4. Eloquent - Eloquent ORM is so far the best ORM that I used. It has clean syntax and is very easy to understand.
5. Blade - Blade is Laravel's rich template engine. Writing HTML is very joyous using Blade. The syntax is clean and easy to pick up.
6. Elixir - Elixir is a gulp wrapper for running automated tasks. Day to day tasks like compiling SASS/LESS, minifying scripts/css and running PHPUnit tests are taken care of automatically.
7. Laracasts - Laravel has Laracasts, a lovely Laravel tutorial site developed and maintained by Jeffery Way. It is updated daily with new content and great tutorials. It is commonly referred to as a video documentation of Laravel.
8. Authentication - You don't need to write authentication code for every new app that you create. Basic authentication system is already implemented in a new install of Laravel.
9. Pagination - One of the killer features of Laravel. It paginates data from the database automatically. It is very useful when building web services and APIs.
10. Validation/Form requests/Authorisation - Validation classes to validate data in HTTP requests are also pre written in Laravel. Form requests makes it a piece of cake to use Validation and Authorisation in Laravel apps.
11. Artisan CLI - Awesome tool to run common commands like creating a controller, seeding database and running unit tests. Creating your own custom commands is also quite simple.
12. Dependency injection - This makes unit testing quite easy promoting TDD and BDD style of coding. It also promotes code reuse.
13. Integrating 3rd party services - Laravel readily integrates major 3rd party web services like Mandrill, Stripe or IronMQ.
14. Forge - Laravel creator Taylor Otwell also created a service called Forge to make deployment of Laravel apps painless and fast.
15. Directory structure - Laravel's default directory structure is well suited in most of the scenarios and you won't need to change it. Even if you need to it is quite easy to do so. It follows PSR-4 autoloading standards.
16. Awesome community - Laravel community is very friendly and helpful.