most visited countries tourist overlooking european city

10 Most Visited Countries in the World

What makes these the most visited countries in the world? Is it their natural beauty, historical significance, modern amenities, or a certain je ne sais quoi? Keep reading to find out and explore the world's most popular destinations.

Millions of people travel around the world each year to experience different cultures and create unforgettable memories. But when it comes to tourism, some countries are more popular than others, according to the UN World Tourism Organization.

Take the countries on this list. They welcomed nearly half a billion travelers in 2023. That's almost the entire population of South America! 

So what makes these the most visited countries in the world? Is it their natural beauty, historical significance, modern amenities, or a certain je ne sais quoi?

Keep reading to find out and explore the world's most popular destinations.

10) Austria

austria lakeside village at dusk

26 million visitors (up 106% since COVID)

Tourism to Austria has doubled over recent years, with many visitors, particularly from the UAE, flocking to popular destinations across the country. The capital, Vienna, is home to beautiful Gothic and Baroque architecture, delicious cakes and pastries, vintage coffeehouses, and a world-renowned Christmas market. The rest of the country is just as enjoyable. The Zell am See/Kaprun region experiences snow even during the summer months, thanks to its landmark glacier. Additionally, the cities of Innsbruck and Salzburg (the birthplace of Mozart) are surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges, drawing nature and music enthusiasts alike. Finally, visitors also flock to the Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Tyrol to marvel at the stunning displays of crystal sculptures and learn about the rich history of the world-famous Swarovski brand.

9) Greece

greece santorini blue domes and sea

28 million visitors (up 89% since COVID)

Greece is one of the most visited countries in the world, thanks to its stunning islands, delectable organic cuisine, and 250 days of sunshine. Every year, millions of tourists flock to Greece to explore its ancient ruins, swim in the Aegean Sea's turquoise waters, and experience the warmth and hospitality of its people. Island-hopping through Greece is a popular way to explore the country and get a taste of its diverse landscapes. The picturesque islands of Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete are among the most popular destinations, with their whitewashed buildings, blue-domed churches, and stunning views of the sea. But there are also many lesser-known Greek islands like Ikaria, Thasos, and Milos that may provide a more authentic and laid-back Greek experience. Last but not least, the bustling streets of Athens offer a glimpse into Greece's ancient past, with iconic landmarks like the Acropolis and the Parthenon.

8) Germany

germany Neuschwanstein Castle aerial

29 million visitors (up 144% since COVID)

Berlin is an excellent tourist destination, offering one-euro beers and free museums, iconic murals, and those legendary, leather-themed raves. However, despite being the German capital and home to 3.6 million people, it isn't the most popular tourist destination in the country. That honor goes to Bavaria, a state in the country’s southeast region. Bavaria boasts picturesque towns, fairytale castles, and stunning landscapes that attract millions of visitors annually, especially during the Oktoberfest season. Adventurous travelers enjoy exploring the Bavarian Alps, the Black Forest, and the Rhine Valley for an adrenaline rush. Other famous landmarks in Germany worth visiting include the Cologne Cathedral or Kölner Dom, Neuschwanstein Castle in Füssen (pictured above), and Sanssouci Park and Palace in Potsdam.

7) United Kingdom

edinburgh castle from below

30 million visitors (up 389% since COVID)

The United Kingdom is undeniably one of the most visited countries in the world, and it's easy to see why. Comprised of England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland, the UK boasts a rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, lively cities, and a reputation for being welcoming and friendly. It’s home to some of the most famous global landmarks, including Stonehenge, Big Ben, and Edinburgh Castle (pictured above). The capital city, London, attracts millions of tourists yearly with its diverse range of museums, art galleries, and iconic attractions like Buckingham Palace and the London Eye. Other popular destinations in the UK include the charming Cotswolds, the rolling hills of Scotland, and the historical city of Bath. Visitors can also experience the UK’s unique culture through its traditional pubs, afternoon tea, and famous fish and chips.

6) Mexico

san miguel de allende square with garden maze

38 million visitors (up 20% since COVID)

Mexico attracts around 32 million international tourists and six million domestic travelers each year. This is not surprising considering the country's rich history, delicious affordable cuisine, and lively arts and culture scene. One of the main tourist attractions is the chance to explore the ancient ruins of the Mayan and Aztec civilizations, including famous sites like Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan. Other travelers go to enjoy Mexico’s stunning beaches in places like Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Cozumel. Mexican food is another big draw, with world-renowned dishes like carne asada, mole poblano, and guacamole. Additionally, visitors can partake in iconic festivals and fiestas like Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the Vive Latino music festival, and Cinco de Mayo.

5) Italy

venice canal gondolas and old buildings

50 million visitors (up 85% since COVID)

It is often said that Italians do it better, and perhaps this is true. Why else would Italian cuisine be so well-known and beloved around the globe? Indeed, there is no shortage of reasons why Italy is one of the most popular destinations to visit. For starters, it boasts more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country, with a total of 58. These include the enchanting Val di Noto in Sicily, the impressive porticos of Bologna, and the stunning Amalfi Coast. Tuscany's rolling hills and Venice's glittering canals are just a few more examples of Italy's breathtaking scenery and charm. Other cities like Florence, Rome, and Milan are popular among tourists due to their art, architecture, and fashion, respectively. Oh, and the wine. Buonissimo!

4) Türkiye (Turkey)

cappadocia panorama hot air balloons

51 million visitors (up 69% since COVID)

Turkey's tourism industry has experienced a boom in recent years, partly due to its high-end spa and wellness sector. Visitors to this country of 85 million people can enjoy thermal springs, mud baths, and traditional Turkish hammams (or public steam baths) that have been around since the 15th century. The best part? These amenities and services are generally more affordable than other destinations worldwide, making them a great value for the money. Apart from its wellness and cosmetic offerings, Turkey boasts stunning natural landscapes, delicious cuisine, and a rich history that includes ancient ruins and architectural wonders. From the unique rock formations and hot-air balloons of Cappadocia to the turquoise waters and white sand beaches of Antalya, it's no wonder Turkey is one of the most visited countries in the world.

3) United States

statue of liberty nyc skyline in background

51 million visitors (up 130% since COVID)

As the largest country on this list in terms of population and land mass, the United States boasts an unparalleled diversity of culture and geography. It offers a wide range of attractions, catering to the interests and preferences of many visitors, from bustling state capitals to ancient UNESCO heritage sites. Among the top hotspots for travelers is New York City, home to one of the world's most famous tourist attractions: the Statue of Liberty. Other popular destinations in the US include the National Mall in D.C., the Las Vegas Strip, Disney World, and the Grand Canyon. The United States is also home to the world's busiest airport, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International, which receives approximately 94 million passengers each year.

2) Spain

bull billboard toro de osborne in spain

72 million visitors (up 130% since COVID)

Spain is one of the most visited countries in the world, attracting 72 million tourists every year. It's popular for many reasons, including its rich history, vibrant culture, and affordability. Spain is home to some of the world's most famous landmarks, such as the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the Alhambra in Granada, and the Royal Palace of Madrid. Visitors can experience Spain's unique culture through its traditional flamenco dancing, bullfighting, and festivals like the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, the castells or human towers of Catalonia, and the world's biggest food fight, La Tomantina. Additionally, Spain's stunning beaches, such as those in the Balearic and Canary Islands, are popular with tourists looking for sun, sea, and sand. Finally, Spain's delicious food, including paella, tapas, and sangria, is world-renowned and a must-try for any foodie.

1) France

eiffel tower cherry blossoms panorama

80 million visitors (up 64% since COVID)

Last on our list of the most popular tourist destinations in the world is France. Home of the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris to the exquisite French Riviera, this country of 68 million people has much to offer travelers. In addition to mountains, wineries, famous sights, and dramatic coastlines, France is a food lover's paradise. Travelers enjoy signature dishes like coq au vin, escargots, and bouillabaisse, and any boulangerie (or bakery) in the country is worth a visit for the most delicious bread and pastries. And let's not forget about France’s world-renowned wine, which is a must-try for any wine enthusiast. But what truly sets France apart is its joie de vivre, a certain je ne sai quoi that leaves an indelible impression on visitors, luring them back time and again. 

What About Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America?

Most of the countries on this list are located in North America and Europe. However, there are many fascinating countries in Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East that are becoming more popular among international travelers. These include Japan (24 million visitors), the United Arab Emirates (12 million), Morocco (10 million), and Argentina (7 million).

Can you recommend any destinations not found on this list? Comment below and let us know why you think that place would be a great option for travelers.

Travel Gear From Gravel

Wherever you go, it's good to travel safely and with the best gear for your needs. At Gravel, we specialize in high-quality, sustainable, and versatile travel gear to make your adventures comfortable and enjoyable.

From toiletry bags with multiple compartments to travel blankets that pack down to the size of a grapefruit, our products are designed to meet the demands of travelers who value durability, functionality, and style.

You can browse our collection here and read more travel tips on the Gravel Travels blog.

Laisser un commentaire

Tous les commentaires sont modérés avant d'être publiés.

Ce site est protégé par reCAPTCHA, et la Politique de confidentialité et les Conditions d'utilisation de Google s'appliquent.