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World citizens are now travelling more than ever. The latest data published by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) show that international tourist arrivals grew 6% in 2018, totalling 1.4 billion, which was forecasted to be reached only in 2020.
In Europe alone were registered 710 million international tourist arrivals or about half of the total number. Southern and Mediterranean Europe drove the growth; however, the Western and Central European countries remain not only the most visited in Europe but also the top tourism destinations in the world.
This article will show you the top 5 European hotspots and the reasons why these countries are a magnet for tourists.
No European trip is complete without a visit to Lisbon. Generous and enthusiastic by nature, the Portuguese will welcome you with warm smiles and hearty meals. Thanks to an uptick in direct flights in recent years, accessing Spain’s neighbor has never been easier – or more affordable.
When you fly into this Portuguese capital, get ready for a workout: known as the city of seven hills, you can expect to go up and down, down and up – and repeat. Don’t worry, hop-on-hop-off buses and trolleys – like in San Francisco – make it easy to give your legs a break.
It’s easy to see why Dubrovnik has been dubbed the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” Surrounded by ancient stone walls and peppered with orange-tiled roofs, this southeastern Croatian gem is one of the most stunning cities on the Dalmatian Coast. No wonder the television series Game of Thrones chose this as one of its shooting locations.
Dubrovnik’s old-world beauty, captivating tourist attractions (the view from atop Mount Srd is unbeatable), and popular day cruises to the Elafiti Islands make this a hot spot for travelers during summer. And don’t forget the food – it’s almost impossible to pick a bad restaurant. To avoid the crowds, try to plan your trip at the very start or end of the high season, running from May to September, for less shoulder-to-shoulder action. This is also the reason why reading travel reviews is important.
Reykjavik may not be the first place that comes to mind when you’re considering places to visit in Europe, but it should definitely be on your list. While many people fly to Iceland in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights, some travelers choose the summer for endless sunshine. And by endless, we really do mean never-ending: from mid-April to mid-August, there is no darkness in Reykjavik, due to its geographical position.
If you don’t mind blackout curtains so you can reap some rest, this season has some of the most gorgeous hiking trails and overlooks. Picture this: colorful fields of greens and flowers, blue skies juxtaposed against the Blue Lagoon healing waters, and near-perfect 60- to 70-degree weather.
For those who are budget-minded and curious about history, Budapest is one of the best European cities to visit. It’s easy enough to fly into or access by train, and you will feel as if you stepped back in time as you wander through the Gothic, cobblestone streets.
The city’s foodie scene has started to stir since many fusion restaurants marrying western and eastern cuisine have attracted critics, so you won’t leave hungry.
During the summer, this rose-colored city becomes vibrant with colors, attracting tourists and locals alike to its shores. Especially during June and July, you won’t be able to resist soaking up the sun’s rays on the beach after a morning of sightseeing about town.
From the fantastical Sagrada Familia church to the infamous Park Güell, designed by Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona is a rare mix of historical significance and modern practices. As you walk or pedal through neighborhoods, you can stop for tapas, or do as the Spaniards do and take a siesta back at your hotel or Airbnb.