Top 10 Most Visited Cities in the World

As tourism is showing a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the world continues to become more interconnected, more people are starting to explore the globe again. The number of international visitors across the globe has recently surpassed the billion mark. But there are of course many different types of vacation. Some prefer beach holidays in closed-off resorts, others prefer a vacation out in nature as far away from civilization as possible. But for most people traveling at least to a huge part means getting to know new cities and exploring the culture and people of different cities around the world, making city travel definitely among the most popular types of travel worldwide.

While almost all cities have something worth visiting, certain cities attract more visitors than others and are absolute tourism hotspots. The most visited cities in the world usually manage to attract people from around the world through a unique blend of history and historical monuments, culture, and/or modernity, along with many other possible factors that make a city stand out in the world.

The following ranking lists the top ten most visited cities in the world, based on the number of foreign visitors they managed to attract last year.

Note: This ranking ranks the ten most visited cities, click the following for the ten most visited countries in the world.

Top 10 Most Visited Cities in the World 2024

the 10 most visited cities in the world ranking

1. Istanbul

The Bosporus in Istanbul with the Asian side of the city in the background

~ 20.2 million visitors

Location of city:
Istanbul Province, Turkey
Most visited attraction of city:
Grand Bazaar (market)

Istanbul is the most visited country in the world. Istanbul is Turkey’s most populous city and one of the largest cities in the entire world. Istanbul is an ancient city with a more than thousand years long history. The city lying at the Bosporus Strait is a historical gem that bridges two continents, Europe and Asia. This very unique position of the city, straddling two different continents, makes it a melting pot of diverse cultures, traditions, and cuisines, making the city known worldwide and greatly fascinating to people from around the world.

The city boasts iconic landmarks including the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, which are a testament to its rich history. The bustling Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, offers a unique shopping experience and is the most visited attraction of the city and the most visited market in the world. The city’s vibrant nightlife and food scene also contribute to its huge popularity among travelers from many corners of the world.


2. London

The Thames River in London with Westminster Palace and ‘Big Ben’ in the background

~ 18.8 million visitors

Location of city: England, UK
Most visited attraction of city:
British Museum (museum)

London comes second among the most visited cities in the world. London is the by far largest city and the capital city of the United Kingdom. Known for its many globally known historic landmarks, world-class museums, and diverse food scene, London is a city that caters to a multitude of travelers. Visitors flock to see sights like the historic Tower of London, the iconic Tower Bridge, the majestic Buckingham Palace, the grand Westminster Palace and Big Ben, as well as the more modern but already widely popular London Eye.

The city’s museums, including the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Tate Modern, are among the best in the world and offer free admission. The British Museum is the largest in the world and represents the most visited attraction in the city. London’s diverse food scene, with everything from luxurious Michelin-starred restaurants to vibrant street food markets, adds to the city’s big touristic appeal.


3. Dubai

Dubai with the Burj Al Arab and the skyline with the Burj Khalifa in the center background

~ 16.8 million visitors

Location of city: Emirate of Dubai, UAE
Most visited attraction of city:
Burj Khalifa (skyscraper)

Dubai is the third most visited city in the world. As the largest city in the United Arab Emirates and one of the fastest-growing and developing cities of the current century, the city epitomizes luxury and modernity. It is widely known for its stunning skyscrapers, luxurious hotels, and extravagant shopping malls, but the city is equally popular among beach holiday travelers through its access to the Persian Gulf and all-year-round sun. The city is also known and cherished for its cleanliness and high degree of safety.

Dubai’s impressive skyline is famously dominated by the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world and the city’s most popular attraction, but only one of the many sights to behold. The city’s luxury hotels, such as the Burj Al Arab, and luxury shopping malls, such as the Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, house high-end luxury brands from around the world. The city’s man-made islands, including the Palm Jumeirah, are another testament to the city’s big ambition and technological prowess.


4. Antalya

Antalya with the Taurus Mountains in the background

~ 16.5 million visitors

Location of city: Antalya Province, Turkey
Most visited attraction of city:
Kaleici (old town district)

Antalya follows in fourth place among the most visited cities in the world. Antalya is located on Turkey’s southwestern coast and is the country’s fifth-largest city. At the same time, it is the main city alongside the so-called ‘Turkish Riviera’, a major holiday region. The city is known for its stunning Mediterranean beach, the bordering Taurus Mountains, but also its rich history. Millions of tourists each year arrive in the city, especially in the summer months, attracting sun-seekers and history buffs alike.

The city’s stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife are likely the main appeal among tourists. Antalya’s old town, Kaleici, with its narrow, winding streets and Ottoman-era architecture, offers a glimpse into the city’s past, on the other hand, and thus adds to the city’s tourist appeal.


5. Paris

Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the center

~ 15.5 million visitors

Location of city: Ile-de-France, France
Most visited attraction of city:
Louvre Museum (museum)

Paris completes the Top Five of the most visited cities in the world. Paris is the by far largest and the capital city of France It is world-renowned for its art, fashion, architecture, and food. Known as both the “City of Light” and the “City of Love”, Paris, with its long history, is home to numerous iconic landmarks that belong to the most photographed places in the world. Millions of tourists every year flock to see the Eiffel Tower, perhaps the most photographed and recognizable structure in the world, Moulin Rouge, and the Notre Dame Cathedral. The city’s Louvre Museum is the world’s most famous art museum and the most popular among the many popular sights in Paris.

The city’s many charming neighborhoods, such as Montmartre and Le Marais, are also very popular among residents and tourists alike, and perfect for strolling and soaking in the city’s atmosphere. Paris’s culinary scene, with its many different patisseries, bistros, and wine bars, represents another major draw for tourists from all around the world.


6. Hong Kong

Hong Kong with the Victoria Harbour separating downtown Hong Kong and Hong Kong Island

~ 14.7 million visitors

Location of city: Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, China
Most visited attraction of city:
Hong Kong Disneyland (theme park)

Hong Kong comes in sixth place in the ranking of the most visited countries on Earth. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China, It is known for its impressive skyline, bustling streets and street markets, and its over 200 city islands. Hong Kong is also known as an “East meets West” city, thanks to its past as a British colony, through which the city is now a large melting pot of cultures. The city also includes Hong Kong Disneyland, which is the by far most popular theme park and most visited attraction in the city.

Tourists also enjoy the panoramic views of the city from Victoria Peak, explore the bustling Temple Street Night Market, and sample the city’s famous dim sum. The city’s museums, such as the Hong Kong Museum of History and the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, offer insight into the city’s past and culture. Hong Kong’s vibrant nightlife and shopping scene also heavily contribute to its popularity among international travelers.


7. Mecca

Mecca with the Masjid al-Haram mosque and the Clock Towers in the background

~ 13.5 million visitors

Location of city: Mecca Province, Saudi Arabia
Most visited attraction of city:
Masjid al-Haram (mosque)

Mecca is the seventh most visited city in the world. Mecca, located in western Saudi Arabia, is the holiest city in Islam. Every year, millions of Muslims from around the world travel to Mecca to perform the so-called Hajj pilgrimage to the city, thus turning the city into one of the most popular destinations due to religious reasons. The city’s Masjid al-Haram, the largest mosque in the world which includes the Kaaba in its center, the most sacred site in Islam, is unsurprisingly the city’s visited attraction and quite literally a must-visit site for Muslim visitors.

Aside from the mosque, Mecca also includes the Clock Towers complex located right by the mosque, which is the tallest clock tower and one of the tallest buildings overall in the world. While Mecca is an important destination for Muslims, much of the city, including its most significant sights, is not accessible for non-Muslims, as they are prohibited from entering the areas, signified by the Mecca Gate, an arch gateway monument signifying the boundaries of the “Muslim-only” areas of the city.

8. Bangkok

Bangkok with the Grand Palace and the downtown skyline in the background

~ 12.2 million visitors

Location of city: Central Thailand, Thailand
Most visited attraction of city:
Grand Palace (royal building complex)

Bangkok is eighth among the most visited cities in the world. Bangkok is the largest city and the capital city of Thailand. The city is known all over the world for its bustling nightlife and the city’s very unique and fascinating vibe. Tourists also come to Bangkok for its ornate temples, the many street markets, and the delicious street food. In short, tourists appreciate the vibrancy of the city and the blend of tradition and modernity, it offers. The Grand Palace, the opulent royal castle complex and historic seat of the Kings of Siam and Thailand, is the most visited sight of the city.

Millions of tourists every year also explore the city’s historic Buddhist temples, such as Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew. The city’s vibrant nightlife, with its rooftop bars and night markets, offers visitors also an attractive night-time. Bangkok’s high affordability compared to many other popular tourist destinations certainly also contributes to its popularity among tourists.


9. New York City

View on the Manhattan borough of New York City seen from the Hudson River

~ 11.7 million visitors

Location of city: New York, USA
Most visited attraction of city:
Times Square (square)

New York City ranks ninth among the most visited cities in the world. New York City is the by far largest city in the United States and the most filmed and photographed city in the world. Seen in countless movies and series, millions of people from all around the world have it on their bucket list to see the city in real life. The bustling city is often referred to as “The Big Apple” and is known for its many iconic skyscrapers, diverse food, and world-famous cultural scene. Times Square represents the single most photographed place in the city and is usually considered a must-go for tourists.

Central Park, probably the world’s most famous urban park and located right in the heart of NYC’s Manhattan borough, is another tourist magnet. Visitors can also take in spectacular panoramic views of the city from the Empire State Building or the One World Trade Center, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or any other of the countless museums the city has to offer. The United States’ arguably most iconic monument, the Statue of Liberty, is also located in the city. It really is no wonder that millions of people desire to visit the city that famously “never sleeps”.


10. Cancun

The tourist quarters of Cancun between the Caribbean Sea and the Nichupta Lagoon

~ 10.8 million visitors

Location of city: Quintana Roo, Mexico
Most visited attraction of city:
La Isla Paradise Experience (shopping mall)

Cancun completes the Top Ten ranking of the most visited cities in the world. Cancun is located on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in the southeastern part of the country, on Mexico’s Atlantic coast. Cancun is particularly well known for its beautiful Caribbean beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. The popular resort city is considered a paradise for beach lovers and party-goers alike. The La Isla Paradise Experience shopping mall is also usually considered a must-go by tourists and the single most visited attraction in town.

The city’s popularity among tourists is also due to the wide range of tourist types the city attracts. Visitors can visit the city to relax just as well as they can come to party or do both. The city offers many high-class luxury resorts as well as many more affordable hotel options, thus being an attractive destination for tourists of different budget ranges. Cancun’s diverse food scene, with its delicious Mexican cuisine and fresh seafood, further adds to its appeal.


The 10 Most Visited Cities in the World:

Location:Number of annual visitors:
1. ISTANBULIstanbul Province, Turkey20.2 million
2. LONDONEngland, UK18.8 million
3. DUBAIEmirate of Dubai, UAE16.8 million
4. ANTALYAAntalya Province, Turkey16.5 million
5. PARISIle-de-France, France15.5 million
6. HONG KONGSpecial Administrative Region of Hong Kong, China14.7 million
7. MECCAMecca Province, Saudi Arabia13.5 million
8. BANGKOKCentral Thailand, Thailand12.2 million
9. NEW YORK CITYNew York, USA11.7 million
10. CANCUNQuintana Roo, Mexico10.8 million
Updated as of February 2024.

The ten most visited cities in the world based on the annual tourist number of international arrivals in the city. Source: Euromonitor & official tourism offices/departments of cities, where available.


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