Read our ultimate guide to the top 10 most visited cities around the world and why travelers love them.
Wondering which cities travelers visit the most? With so many destinations to choose from, some countries consistently draw tourists every year. Our list of the 10 most visited cities in the world includes seven cities in Asia, two in Europe, and one in North America.
In this article, we’ll explore the ten most visited cities and why travelers love them.
Table of Contents
1. Bangkok, Thailand
With over 22 million visitors in 2018, Bangkok tops the list as the most visited city in the world. This bustling metropolis is Thailand’s capital city. With a population of 8.3 million people, Bangkok is a city of contrasts.
The cosmopolitan city and modern establishments sit alongside temples that are hundreds of years old. Bangkok is home to over 300 temples. The main attraction in the city is Wat Phra Kaew, a Buddhist temple built in the 1700s. Attached to the temple is the Grand Palace, a former residence for Thai royalty.
Wat Pho is another Buddhist temple that travelers often visit. Originally built in the 16th century and since restored, this temple holds the largest reclining Buddha, measuring 15 meters high and 46 meters long. The grounds of this temple cover almost 20 acres.
Visiting Bangkok is best done in their dry season, which lasts from December to February. Much of the rainfall the city receives comes between May and September. Expect warm weather here, with the temperature ranging from 25-30 degrees Celsius year-round.
Chatuchak Weekend Market brings many visitors as it is the largest open-air market in all of Asia. Whether you’re looking for food, clothing, plants, handicrafts, or antiques, you’ll be sure to find it at Chatuchak.
Bangkok is also known for its delicious food, which is fresh, sweet, spicy, and salty all at once. Outdoor food stalls and night markets provide great value and let you sample a variety of Thai specialties like Pad See Ew (stir-fried noodles) and Kai Jeow (Thai omelet).
2. Paris, France
Known as the City of Light, Paris was the second-most visited city, seeing over 19 million visitors in 2018. The capital city of France, it is famous for its history, art, and cuisine. The city itself has a population of just over 2 million, with the surrounding urban area totaling 10 million.
No visit to Paris would be complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Built in 1887, this tower reaches over 300 meters. Inside the tower, you’ll find art exhibits, restaurants, and observation areas to view the city and its Seine River.
The cuisine in Paris has a reputation of its own. The city has an unending array of bakeries, cheese shops, and restaurants to enjoy. Visitors can enjoy croissants, macarons, eclairs, and more at one of the city’s patisseries.
Art lovers will find the museums and galleries in Paris to be top-notch. The Musee du Louvre with its iconic glass pyramid is one of the top destinations. Housing over 35,000 pieces of art, it is one of the largest collections in the world. The Musee d’Orsay is another place to see an impressive collection of art.
Historic churches are another draw for visitors to the French city. Perhaps the most famous is Notre-Dame de Paris, a medieval cathedral. The Church of Saint-Germain-des-Pres is the oldest church in Paris, built in the 6th century.
3. London, United Kingdom
Very close behind Paris is London, the capital city of the United Kingdom. In third place, London saw 19.09 million visitors in 2018. The city is home to famous landmarks such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the Tower of London.
London offers a plethora of galleries and museums for history buffs and art lovers. The British Museum is the most visited in the city. The National Gallery is also impressive, with over 2,300 works of European art. Visitors will also enjoy viewing over 80 million specimens of the natural world at the Natural History Museum.
Buckingham Palace, home to the British Royal Family, is an attraction many visit to witness the Changing of the Guards. The palace was originally built in 1703 and consists of an incredible 775 rooms. The grounds also feature spectacular outdoor gardens.
Many visitors to London take in a world-class performance at one of its many theatres. Shakespeare’s Globe hosts plays from April to October. Lovers of musical theatre will want to check out one of over 40 venues in the city’s West End.
4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
With 15.93 million visitors in 2018, Dubai is the fourth most visited city in the world. Located in the Arabian Desert on the coast of the Persian Gulf, it is a metropolis of almost 3.5 million people. Temperatures in Dubai reach an average of 40 degrees Celcius in the summer.
Dubai is a land of stark contrasts, featuring traditional cultural practices alongside modern, futuristic developments. The city is famous for being home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Opened to the public in 2010, this skyscraper reaches an astonishing height of 830 meters.
Shopping is a common pastime in Dubai and an ideal way to escape the heat in the summer. The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping center, featuring 1300 stores as well as an ice rink and an aquarium. Visitors will also enjoy exploring the world’s largest indoor amusement park, IMG Worlds of Adventure.
Nature lovers will want to explore the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Here you can see animals like gazelles, oryx, snakes, and lizards in an area covering over 55,000 acres.
An island, a city, and a nation, Singapore provides a unique destination. The fifth most popular destination in the world, it saw 14.67 million visitors in 2018. Located in Southeast Asia, the city’s climate is that of a tropical rainforest.
Home to over 5.5 million people, Singapore’s population is diverse in culture and religion. The city has four official languages and features a mix of modern buildings and nature. Singapore is known as the City in a Garden, protecting ecosystems and increasing sustainability.
Several museums showcase the cultural history and art of the Asian continent. Most popular are the Asian Civilisations Museum, the National Gallery Singapore, and the National Museum Singapore.
Nature lovers will want to visit the incredible 200-acre Singapore Botanic Gardens. This Unesco World Heritage Site features a variety of themed gardens. One of the most unique is the National Orchid Garden that houses over 1000 types of orchids.
The cuisine in Singapore is influenced by Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, and other flavors. Seafood is very popular in the city, especially crab and prawns. You’ll want to try the famous durian fruit. While tasty, the smell of this fruit is so pungent it is banned in some buildings and on public transportation.
6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The sixth most-visited city in the world is Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. This fast-growing metropolis saw 13.79 million visitors in 2018. Its hot and humid climate sees temperatures reach as high as 38 degrees Celsius in the summer.
Tourists will enjoy visiting the National Museum which holds a large collection of art and history. The Islamic Arts Museum houses over 7,000 pieces of Islamic art from all over Asia. Visitors will also want to check out the National Art Gallery of Malaysia.
The Petronas Towers are the tallest pair of towers in the world, offering impressive views of Kuala Lumpur from the 86th-floor observation deck. The multilevel Thean Hou Temple also provides stunning views of the city.
KL Forest Eco Park covers 23 acres and is one of the oldest forest reserves in Malaysia. Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park is the city’s largest park, covering over 200 acres. It includes a butterfly park, an orchid garden, a bird park, and a sculpture garden.
Plenty of options exist in Kuala Lumpur for those seeking entertainment. The Performing Arts center offers dramas and musicals, while the Istana Budaya features choir, dance, and orchestra performances. Jazz fans will enjoy the performances at Bobo KL or the Saxophone Store.
7. New York, United States
The only American city in the top ten, New York is the seventh most popular city to visit in the world. In 2018, 13.6 million people visited New York. The fast-paced city is at the center of the biggest metropolitan area in the world.
The Empire State Building, reaching 1,454 feet, features two observation decks that offer stunning views of the city. For many, this iconic building is the symbol of New York City.
Fans of art and history will find no shortage of exhibits in New York City. Some favorites are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Guggenheim Museum.
If you’re looking for entertainment, the city has plenty of options. There are over 40 Broadway theatre venues to choose from or you can opt to catch a performance by the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet, or the Metropolitan Opera.
When you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle, head to Central Park. This park covers over 800 acres and includes gardens, a lake, an outdoor theatre, and a zoo. There are outdoor concerts in the summer and you can ice skate during the winter.
8. Istanbul, Turkey
A city that straddles both Europe and Asia, Istanbul is number eight on the list of the world’s most visited cities. The most populated city in Europe, Istanbul is the cultural center of Turkey. Over 13 million people visited Istanbul in 2018.
Visitors to Istanbul will want to see major attractions like the Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofya museum, Kariye Museum, and the photogenic Blue Mosque. See the stunning architecture at the Suleymaniye Mosque, Dolmabahce Palace, and the Hagia Sophia Mosque.
Istanbul’s Old City is home to the Grand Bazaar, one of the biggest covered markets in the world. A major landmark, the Bazaar sees over 250,000 visitors each day and has been operating since the 1400s.
The Bosporus Strait can be enjoyed on a ferry ride. From here you‘ll enjoy views of the surrounding city.
Turkish cuisine features a delicious variety of foods including meat kebabs, stews, and vegetable dishes. Popular desserts include baklava, rice pudding, and almond cookies.
9. Tokyo, Japan
Ninth on the list of most-visited cities, Tokyo is the center of Japan and the most populated metropolitan area in the world with over 37 million residents. Almost 13 million people visited Tokyo in 2018.
Another city that combines the modern and the traditional, Tokyo is home to many historic temples. The Senso-ji is Tokyo’s oldest temple and one of its most famous. Founded in 645, it is dedicated to the bodhisattva of compassion.
Tokyo National Museum features the world’s largest collection of Japanese art including Buddhist sculptures and ancient pottery. The National Museum of Nature and Science features exhibits showcasing the nature and history of the Japanese islands.
Also don’t forget Disneyland Tokyo, and the amazing DisneySea theme park, in our view of visiting 4 of the 6 Disney resorts easily the best Disney Theme Park.
Beautiful gardens abound in the city. Visitors will want to see the Koishikawa Korakuen, the Rikugi-en, and the Hama-rikyu Onshi-teien gardens. The city is also home to the Toyosu Market which is the biggest fish and seafood market in the world.
10. Antalya, Turkey
Seeing 12.41 million visitors in 2018, Antalya is the 10th most popular city to visit in the world. Located in southwest Turkey, this city is the gateway to the Turquoise Coast, so named because of its stunning waters.
The old town, Kaleici, is perfect for exploring. You can stroll along the cobblestone streets, visit the main square and check out the art galleries and shops. The Old Harbour is another lovely place to visit and enjoy the view of the sea.
Konyaalti Beach provides a perfect place to enjoy the sun and sand. Enjoy the view of the mountains while lounging by the water. Lara Beach, Mermerli Beach, and Kaputas Beach are other great options.
History buffs will enjoy the Antalya Museum, particularly the archaeological sections. The museum features over 5000 exhibits from the Paleolithic, Early Bronze, and Hellenistic Ages.