Europe is the region of the world most visited by tourists. There was a time when some of its most beautiful countries were behind the Iron Curtain, but since the 90s the continent has opened wide to the curiosity of travellers.
What are the most visited countries in Europe? Here's the list.
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There are no surprises on this list. France the tops with almost 90 million visitors a year. What attracts France? The cuisine, the wines, the castles, the art, the Parisian streets… One can return to France twenty times and continue discovering destinations.
For example? Paris It is an elegant and beautiful city. Renting a public bike and going for a ride is highly recommended. It has museums, artistic events, parks, neighborhoods, churches, fashion… the list is very long.
But France exists beyond Paris, so to the list we must add Annecy, with its multicolored houses and its canals, Colmar, with its combination of French and German architecture, in Alsace, Viviers, in the south of the country, in Provence, the well-known Lyon, through whose streets you can also bike, Burgundy, to the north, a true pearl with the Comatin Castle open to the public.
Beaune it is a charming city to go to on Saturdays to enjoy the local market. It has the best wines and the cuisine is excellent. Eze It is in the south of the country and it is a picturesque French village, it looks like something out of a story. Cannes is another popular destination, especially if you like movies. It is also a good starting point to explore the French Riviera and discover Nice or even Monte Carlo.
And finally the Loire Valley and its castles. You can sign up for a tour and leave early in the morning to see at least three of these historic mansions. It's worth it if you don't have a car or don't plan to rent one.
France is followed by Spain with almost 83 million visitors a year. It is also a destination with history, culture and gastronomy.
Spain It has 47 sites that UNESCO has declared World Heritage, Exceptional Atlantic and Mediterranean beaches, medieval villages, castles, festivals, churches...
La gastronomy It includes paellas, tortillas, ratatouille and local and regional varieties to which good wines are added. Impossible to pass through Spain without increasing some kilograms.
The trip to Spain must include Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, obviously Madrid, national capital, Seville, Grenada, but there are also exquisite places in Galicia, Extramadura, Andalusia… And it is that Spain is wonderful.
Per year it is estimated that about 62 million people visit Italy. If you like the history of the Roman Empire, it is the best destination of all. Rome It is a city that can be explored on foot and that at every step offers memories.
The Roman ruins are the pearl of the Italian capital, but also its streets, squares, museums, bridges, neighborhoods and of course, the Vatican. It is best to go in spring or autumn, when it is more pleasant to walk outdoors.
Obviously, Italy is much more than Rome. Amalfi Coast she's lovely too Venice, Florence, elegant Milan, Pompeii. Peeto, Siena and the list goes on. The truth is that in countries like Italy, or Spain or France it is impossible to review everything or cover everything in a single trip. You have to do several!
One foot in Asia and one in Europe. This is Turkey. Almost 46 million people visited the country before the pandemic. For me Turkey offers a mix of sensations to the traveler, due to that Asian air that flies over it.
Istanbul It is the mecca of Turkish tourism, with its Ottoman and Byzantine architecture, its typical Middle Eastern food, the pleasant climate, the markets, the views of the Bosphorus… Added to this is the city of Ephesus, with its Greek ruins, the cappadocia valley that can be flown over in a balloon, pamukkale terraces, the Armenian ruins of Ani, all its museums…
Almost 39 million visitors, which is not little. Its main destinations are Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne and Frankfurt but obviously a little more research is enough to discover small towns or villages here and there.
The medieval legacy in Germany is very interesting so if you like castles there are several that are still standing: the Löwenburg Castle, the Wartburg Castle, from 1067 and one of the oldest in the country, the Marksburg Castle, the only one that was never destroyed on the Rhine, surviving 700 years, the Albrechtsberg Castle, beautiful gothic castle, the Reichsburg Cochem, the Heilderberg, the beautiful Lichtenstein Castle, the Schweriner, the Hohenzollern and the popular Neuschwanstein Castle.
To the castles you can add the Cologne Cathedral, the Aachen Cathedral, the Reichstag building, the Leipzig Zoological Garden and the popular and well-known Oktoberfest, for example, worse also the Cologne carnival and the Berlin Film Festival.
The United Kingdom is visited on average by 36 million people The United Kingdom includes Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. It is a very complete destination, although in my opinion it lacks gastronomy.
Otherwise there are landscapes, castles, museums and charming cities. After all these islands have played a very important role in the world history of the last centuries. London itself is the most visited city in the country, concentrates cultural life and has the best museums. Let us remember that the English have been an empire and have taken treasures from all the places they have dominated...
Apart from London, people visited the Roman baths and the streets of Bath (if you like Jane Austen stories you have to go here), the Canterbury Cathedral, Charming Cotswolds, Warwick Castle, Stirling Castle, Stonehenge, Scottish Highlands and then, within each country of the kingdom, the most popular.
Austria receives about 30 million visitors. It is an elegant country, on the same wavelength as Germany. Here you will find cSpectacular castles, beautiful cities, gardens, ruins, monuments...
The Roman past meets the Middle Ages, the Alps are filled with winter resorts, Innsbruck attracts travelers all year round, Vienna and its museums are also a magnet, Salzburg with its attractions related to the film the rebel novice, Hallstatt, Graz, Saint Anton am Arlberg, Linz, Bad Gastein, Ischgl, Zell am See…
One might think that Greece is at the top of the most visited countries in Europe, but no, we find it here, at number eight on the list. It receives more or less the same number of visits as Austria, around 30, 31 million.
Greece is the cradle of Western civilization so all its ruins are its main treasure. The Acropolis, the Meteora Monasteries, the ruins of Delphi, the Temple of Ephesus, Thessaloniki, Crete... There are cities and islands to choose from, each with beaches, castles, quaint villages and ancient ruins. In fact, there are more than 200 islands to explore.
In addition, Greece has a unique gastronomy, between local and with Turkish and Italian influences. It is a great destination to try cheeses, wines and fish and seafood. In addition to the fact that Mediterranean cuisine is famous for being balanced and healthy.
Almost 25 million people visit Russia. It is one of the largest countries in the world and it is really difficult to appreciate it by making a single visit. That first trip usually includes Moscow and St. Petersburg, but of course Russia has much more.
In Moscow you have to visit the Kremlin, the Bolshoi Theater, the tomb of Lenin. We must not forget the Hermitage Museum, the buildings of Soviet architecture, the Kazan Cathedral and, if we move further, it is worth knowing the Lake Baikal, Kizhi Island, the Valley of the Geysers or Mount Elbrus.
Russian gastronomy? Hmm, no big deal.
It is a charming little country, with almost 23 million visitors a year, always before the pandemic. The main destinations within the country are Porto, Odemira, Sintra and Faro. Portugal is a mix of cities, castles, palaces, old picturesque villages like Sortelha, the waterfalls of the Azores...
If you like history there are many sites and museums to visit and remember the times when Portugal was a colonial empire.