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Most visited cities in the world

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the most visited cities in the world

I wondered what are the most visited cities in the world. As I learned, to my surprise despite new travel trends emerging every year, tourists are still inclined to return to tried and tested destination.
Hence Paris, London, Dubai, New York, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok are in the first 10. even with plenty of off-the-beaten-path destinations that need to be explored.

The Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index usually releases annual ranks of the 200 most visited cities based on how many international overnight visitors these set to receive in last year. Euromonitor International (global market research company) release another list, and that was the base for this post.

Rank by
Euromonitor
CityCountryArrivals 2019
(Euromonitor)
1Hong KongHong Kong29 million
2BangkokThailand25 million
3LondonUnited Kingdom19.2 million
4MacauChina20.6 million
5SingaporeSingapore19,7 million
6ParisFrance19 million
7DubaiUAE16.3 million
8New York CityUnited States14 million
9Kuala LumpurMalaysia14 million
10IstanbulTurkey13.4 million
11DelhiIndia12.6 million
12AntalyaTurkey12.4 million
13ShenzhenChina12.2 million
14MumbaiIndia10.9 million
15PhuketThailand10.5 million
16RomeItaly10 million
17TokyoJapan9.9 million
18PattayaThailand9.6 million
19TaipeiTaiwan9.5 million
20MeccaSaudi Arabia9.5 million

What are the most visited cities in the world?

1.Hong Kong, China

Surprisingly in the sense of political upheaval, Hong Kong is the most visited city on the planet as of 2019 (with 56 million arrivals). Though it is part of China, the city has its own set of laws and regulations that allows tourists from across the globe to visit without a new visa, thus making it an ideal city and place to experience Chinese culture with fewer restrictions. 

Hong Kong is also known for its breathtaking atmosphere that never sleeps. Contrary to a misconception, the city is not just about skyscrapers and business buildings, it is also a destination with incredible sandy beaches, beautiful hiking (like Tai Tau Chau at Shek O), a vivacious arts scene, series of ancient temples, and unique cultural identity.  Hong Kong

the most visited city

Victoria Harbor is one of the most famous landmarks in the city and the highlight of any visit to Hong Kong. 

2.Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand’s capital was previously the most visited city in the world. Bangkok is one of the most highly developed cities in Southeast Asia, yet it still manages to tightly preserve its historical traditions and architecture that dates back many centuries. We visited Bangkok with kids few times and cannot wait to go back there.

It has everything you want in a holiday destination hustle and bustle of the street markets, delicious and cheap food and historical Thai landmarks like the Grand Palace or Wat Arun.

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The second most visited city

3. London, Great Britain

London, the capital of Britain, is one of the most famous cities which attract more than 30 million international visitors in 2019.

Despite also being among the most expensive cities, it has lots of great free museums.
Notable landmarks in London include the London Eye within walking distance from the giant Ferris; there are Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, the London Aquarium and Trafalgar Square, among others.

Believe or not London is home to 35 bridges.

4.Macau, China

Macau is known as the Las Vegas of Asia. Aside from its large, high roller casinos, theme parks and luxurious hotels, the city has plenty of attractions that have managed to attract around 30 million visitors.

Travelers usually flock to the old town, which is listed as a heritage site by UNESCO and depicts a perfect blend of Chinese and Portuguese architecture. This is also the area where you can sample the Macanese delicacies, which are inspired by Chinese, African, and Portuguese cuisine.

5. Singapore 

Singapore is one of the safest and cleanest city, thanks to the strict rules about littering and spitting.

The city-state is also ranked up with other nations/cities in terms of cultural and religious diversity.

During your travel to Singapore, you should put a visit to The Gardens by the Bay high on your list. If you are visiting Singapore with kids you should go to the Singapore Zoo is known worldwide for its ‘open’ captivity design.

6. Paris, France

France in general is a charming travel destination thanks in large to its beautiful landscapes and the world’s most famous landmarks. As the most visited country in the world with 90 million tourists, Paris accounts for more than 30% with more than 35 million tourists annually. 

The city is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in Europe. The Louvre is the largest museum in the world and features some of the most important artwork in history, including the Mona Lisa portrait. 

However, nothing defines Paris so perfectly as the Eiffel Tower. It the symbol of the French people and nation, which for many years was among the most powerful countries on the planet.

7. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai is a place where nothing is impossible, where everything has to be “the greatest”. Its as well the most westernized city in the Middle East

Everything here is designed for tourist or to show off. After visiting Dubai, which should be on everyone bucket list, it will be hard to surprise you with modern landmarks. The tallest building in the world – Burj Khalifa, the Only 7-star hotel, biggest shopping malls, biggest aquarium all you will find in here.

However, expensive Dubai is, it is a safe place and well prepared for families. We lived here for three years, and whenever we got bored with the skyscrapers, we could always escape to the desert or travel toneighboring Oman.

8. New York City, United States

New York – the City that never sleeps do you need more to encourage you to visit? Everyone will find something for themselves, so it’s no wonder that this city attracts over 13 million tourists a year.

Great museums, Broadway, Manhattan and Central Park there are landmarks which we all know from various movies and want to see.

9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia welcomes an average of 13 million international visitors every year and is the sixth most popular city in terms of overnight visitors last year. 

Kuala Lumpur is known and revered for its diverse community of Malay, Chinese, and Indian residents. Because of this diversity, the city is never short of festivals and celebrations throughout the year.
The Petronas Twin Towers are the most recognizable landmark in the city which has lots to offer.
In KL almost everyone speaking English it is a perfect and easy holiday destination.

10. Istanbul, Turkey

Straddling two continents of Europe and Asia, Istanbul is the most popular city in Turkey and one of the most visited in the world with an annual record of 13.4 million. 

Throughout its history, the city has been the seat of three major kingdoms in history – Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman, making it one of the rarest cities where Christians and Muslims coexist peacefully. 

Despite its array of attractions, nothing personifies Istanbul like the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque

11. Delhi, India

New Delhi is the capital city of India and in recent years has been receiving around 13 million visitors each year.
Most travelers come here to shop in its numerous street markets and bazaars, including the famous Chandni Chowk, Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort, and Qutub Minar are just a few of Delhi’s tourist attractions.

While there you must see the famous Taj Maha

12. Antalya, Turkey

The picturesquely situated capital of the Turkish Riviera is the largest city on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Surrounded by a range of mountains, in many places descending almost vertically into the sea, it tempts with a huge number of monuments and new hotels located next to a wide, sandy beach

In 2019, about 15 million tourists visited the city of Antalya

13. Shenzhen, China

Hard to believe but as recent as 1990, Shenzhen was just a cluster of small fishing villages with no sign to suggest it would be the global megacity that it is today and now receives about 12.2 million tourists every year.

One of the most interesting things about Shenzhen is its collection of the most popular landmarks at a park called Window of the World. Here you can get to see the Louvre of Paris, Colosseum of Rome, the Houses of Parliament of London, and Paris’s Eiffel Tower among others

14. Mumbai, India

Previously known as Bombay, Mumbai is in the top 30 most visited cities with 6 million tourists every year.  Mumbai is busy and full of contrast having on one side people living on the street and on other Bollywood stars enjoying vibrant nightlife scene.

Mumbai has a special place in our hearts as we lived in here for a year and we got our successful IVF.

15. Phuket 

With about 9.89 million visitors, Phuket is among the most popular destinations. The island is the largest in Thailand in the Andaman Sea. Phuket is known around the globe for its sea activities and numerous viewpoints for its magnificent landscapes. 

16. Rome, Italy

The capital of Italy, Rome, is the third most visited destination in Europe. The main and undoubtedly the most important reason for coming to Rome are monuments. The Eternal City is a real open-air museum. It offers many attractions and the most delicious food.

Rome with ubiquitous cafes, pizza, ice cream and fountains, a perfect family European city break destination, plus it offers various day trips.

17. Tokyo 

Tokyo is perhaps the most colourful city in the world! It receives around 15.2 million visitors who annually come to shop, learn, and explore its temples and hot baths. And don’t forget to eat in one of Michelin star restaurant which this city has 229 – more than any other city.

18.Pattaya 

The coastal city of Pattaya is the 15th most visited in the world with 9.4 million tourists every year. This Thai city is known as sin city due to its crazy nightlife and the sex industry. Nevertheless, Pattaya is also known for its sand beaches. 

19. Taipei, Taiwan

More than 11 million people visited Taipei in 2019, which was a 7 percent growth from the previous year. The city is known for its Taipei 101 building, which was at some point the highest skyscraper in the world. 

20. Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Unlike all the cities on this list, only Muslims are allowed to enter Mecca. Nonetheless, more than 3 million pilgrims from across the world visit the city every year during the month of Dhu Al-Hijjah in Hajj, 2 million in the month of Ramadan, and about 4 million throughout the year for Umrah. 

20 cites you should visit


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Ania James

photographer, traveller, mother of twin girls, wife, worldschooler, rulebreaker

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