The most visited cities in the world attract as much as 47 percent of all the travelers according to Euromonitor International, an independent research think tank. What the research shows is that the most popular cities, including Hong Kong, Bangkok, and London combined, attract more than 72 million visitors a year.
The best cities to visit are often home to some of the world’s most iconic sites and found around the globe, from Asia and Europe to the Middle East and the Americas. For travelers hoping to find inspiration for their next trip, here is a list of some of the top cities in the world to visit.
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1. Paris, France
Paris, France remains one of the most loved cities to visit in the world because it is an iconic destination for grand life events, like milestone vacations, engagements, celebrations, and honeymoons. It is also an easy place to visit for quick getaways, with regular flight schedules and tours available.
Many travelers enjoy Paris for the art and go to see the galleries and museums, like the Louvre Museum and the Musee d’Orsay. Some travelers go to Paris because it is a bucket list destination for many people. They want to see the Eiffel Tower, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Arc de Triomphe in person.
Paris is notoriously a city of romance, so many marriage proposals happen frequently in Paris, and honeymooners enjoy vacationing with a romantic cruise down the Seine River.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Paris: Best Areas & Hotels
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- Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Paris
2. New York City, USA
There are so many elements that make New York City one of the best cities in the world. The city and the Statue of Liberty that travelers see as they arrive is symbolic of the culture and freedom that America stands for. The Big Apple is the financial hub of the United States, with Wall Street and international businesses.
Most people visit New York City just to be a part of the city scene. It is where people go to make dreams come true, with experiences like seeing a Broadway show, watching the famous ball drop on New Year’s Eve in Times Square, and taking part as a spectator watching the elaborate floats go by in the Thanksgiving Day parade.
New York City is where things happen, and travelers enjoy having a taste of that excitement.
3. London, England
There is never a lack of intrigue or interest in London as a destination which is makes it one of the most touristic cities in the world. The Royal intrigue is one of its main draws, as thousands of tourists descend on Buckingham Palace to get a brush with the British monarchy.
Millions of tourists visit London each year and tour the top attractions, like the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Part of what makes London such a treat to visit is its public transport system, which makes it easy to get from one place to another without a car. With so much to see, it is easy to stay mobile in London to visit poplar landmarks in a single day, like the Tower Bridge and the Skydeck at The Shard 800 feet above the city .
London is also revered for its neighborhoods and famous markets, like the Borough Market, operating since the 13th century, and the Camden Market, with small vendor stalls selling food and local goods.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in London: Best Areas & Hotels
4. Bangkok, Thailand
The bustling city of Bangkok, Thailand is one of the top tourist cities in the world, with nearly 24.1 million visitors a year. The city is usually the first stopping point for anyone touring through Thailand. Bangkok has an exciting mix of packed subways, huge skyscrapers, temples, historic architecture, lavish gardens, palaces, and almost nightly sporting events, like kickboxing, that draw thousands of fans.
Bangkok has a lively atmosphere, even during the daylight hours. Travelers on a budget can find cheap entertainment, shopping bargains, and low-cost accommodations especially in the area of Khao San Road.
Travelers with unlimited budgets can find everything on the opposite end of the spectrum, from luxury hotels to extravagant shopping at high-end stores at the Siam Paragon Mall.
The city is also popular for more traditional experiences, like the floating markets and Thai massage parlors where you can get an hour of relaxation for less than $10 dollars.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Bangkok: Best Areas & Hotels
5. Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong is one of the most famous cities in the world. It has remained so for more than a decade and continues to attract travelers. With an estimated 29.2 million visitors a year, the city has a stronghold over other cities in the world when it comes to attracting travelers. Hong Kong is a convenient holiday destination, and its shopping, especially for bargains, is unmatched.
Hong Kong is one of the most popular cities in the world, but it is also one of the most expensive places to travel if you plan to stay in the heart of the city. If you stay just beyond the main tourist areas in places like Jordan or Kowloon, you can find slightly less expensive accommodations.
Some of the other reasons travelers flock to Hong Kong include: an easy public transportation system, so there is no need to drive; massive theme parks; 24-hour dining; the world’s largest skyscrapers; bargain shopping for high-end goods; and beaches and mountains that are quickly accessed just outside the city.
Hong Kong also holds fascination for unusual finds that are just plain interesting, like a 24-karat solid gold toilet inside a Hong Kong jewelry company and a beautiful tunnel of pink flowers located inside the Un Chau Estate public housing complex.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Hong Kong: Best Areas & Hotels
6. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is synonymous with luxury lifestyles. While Dubai is a large global business center, people enjoy vacationing among the rich and the attractions that cater to them. Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and it’s where tourists find some other attractions that are among the largest in the world, like the shopping malls and aquarium.
Dubai’s grandiose fantasy atmosphere is what travelers want to experience. From over-the-top luxury hotels and resorts to the urban green space like the Dubai Miracle Garden, the sights, sounds, colors and other sensory experiences in Dubai are unlike any other destination.
Dubai’s nightlife and world-famous beaches are also draws for visitors, who come to enjoy kicking back among the natural and man-made beauty of this extravagant city.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Dubai: Best Areas & Hotels
The small Asian country of Singapore attracts travelers year-round, and its popularity is growing. The island of Singapore has a stunning blend of historic culture with old buildings nestled in among large skyscrapers. There is a charm between the old and the new in the way that small neighborhood shopping districts exist between the mega luxury shopping malls that Singapore is known for.
The beauty of Singapore is another reason people visit. The Supertrees in the vertical gardens and the artistic green displays in Gardens by the Bay have a wow factor as they light up the city. Singapore is known for its vast amount of green space, with urban gardens like the Singapore Botanic Gardens, National Orchid Garden, and the Cloud Forest.
Besides a visually beautiful location and so many things to do, Singapore is a clean and safe city, which gives it high appeal for travelers.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Singapore: Best Areas & Hotels
8. Rome, Italy
Rome is one of those destinations that sits on many travelers’ must-see someday lists. The culture of Rome and its historic architecture are its main draws. The Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi fountain, and the Vatican usually top the list of things vacationers want to check off their list.
Besides the famous cultural sites, visitors head to Rome for its famous homemade Italian food, from fried artichokes to homemade pasta. Tourists like to try authentic Italian cuisine and feel like a local. The monuments and artwork throughout Rome are also a draw for visitors who want to step inside some of the oldest museums in the world.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Rome: Best Areas & Hotels
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- Top-Rated Museums and Palaces in Rome
9. Macau, China
Macau in southern China has become one of the most visited cities in the world, especially among the rich. There are several reasons for this: First, because Macau has become a thriving investment metropolis, the people traveling for business are also spending time in the city, connecting with the locals and enjoying the more pleasure-filled side of things like shopping, sightseeing, and sports car racing.
The other reasons Macau is popular is because of its culture. Its small footprint of nearly 12 square miles is a multicultural mecca, with a blend of Asian natives and European influences in the people, shops, and local food. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Old Town is a prime example.
Macau is also famous for its beautiful beaches and urban gardens like Casa Garden and Sun Yat Sen Park.
10. Istanbul, Turkey
One of the most famous cities in the world is Istanbul, Turkey, so it makes sense that people want to visit. The city is filled with historic mosques and palaces surrounded by cafés, shops, and chic hotels. The relaxed vibe in Istanbul attracts a crowd that enjoys afternoons hanging out and sipping tea or uncovering a vintage find at a local thrift store.
Visitors enjoy uncovering the historic and modern mix in local neighborhoods. The historic Sultanahmet District and the touristic Istiklal Caddesi area are two examples. Istanbul is also popular because of its elegant scenery. The artistic architecture of the homes along the Bosphorus Strait is one of the most picturesque sites in Turkey.
Accommodation: Top-Rated Places to Stay in Istanbul
11. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur welcomes about 13 million visitors a year. It is a city with museums and ties to its culture in places like the Old Market Square, yet it is balanced by the edgy architecture of the Petronas Twin Towers and mega shopping malls. The city is always “on,” so you can find a nightlife scene anytime of the day as you take in meeting the locals, dining, and watching sporting events.
The appeal of Kuala Lumpur is in part because of its ultra-modern city but also for the natural beauty that surrounds it. There are popular attractions that highlight the wildlife of the region, from the Aquaria aquarium and the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park to the KL Butterfly Park. There are also many elaborate urban parks throughout the city and around the River of Life waterfront.
12. Delhi, India
India is such a big country and is so popular with tourists that several of its main cities are among the most visited cities in the world, including Delhi. One of the reasons Delhi is popular is because it is close to a number of other top experiences in India, so it is a convenient base.
Delhi has many religious landmarks that attract tourists, like the Swaminarayan Akshardham and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. Delhi is known for its markets, selling inexpensive wares and street food, where tourists enjoy finding nice bargains.
Delhi is only a few hours from Agra, where vacationers can take a day trip so see the Taj Mahal.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Delhi: Best Areas & Hotels
13. Tokyo, Japan
The metropolis of Tokyo in Japan is one of the most exciting cities in the world, which is why millions of tourists go there every year. As host of the 2020 Olympics, Japan’s appeal will grow even more. What makes Japan so popular is the whirlwind of eye-popping attractions, from ancient temples and Anime to the Tokyo Skytree broadcast tower.
Tokyo has the world’s most famous and biggest fish markets, and exquisite and artful sushi. Japanese culture is colorful and playful, and that is reflected in Tokyo’s parks, museums, and malls. Tourists are attracted to the opportunity to learn more about traditional Japanese culture with experiences like trying on kimonos.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Tokyo: Best Areas & Hotels
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- Best Time to Visit Tokyo
14. Antalya, Turkey
The Mediterranean Sea sitting against the backdrop of beautiful Antalya, Turkey makes it a desired vacation spot for travelers. From the beautiful sand beaches and warm weather to the waterfalls, cliffs, and sunsets, it is a perfect vacation.
Lara and Konyaalti beaches are the most popular and are easily identified by the many luxury resorts that line the coast. History buffs visit Antalya to explore the ruins of the Aspendos, an ancient city dating back to AD 16. The town is a mix of mosques, ruins, cafés and an old town square where locals congregate.
- Read More:
- Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Antalya
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More Places to Visit around the World: If you are interested in some of the other top experiences in destinations around the world review our articles on the top World Heritage Sites and the best tropical vacations around the globe. If you are planning a special getaway, you will want to read about the most romantic places in the world or the best places to get married and have an unforgettable honeymoon.