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Most Visited Cities in the World | 29 Popular & Touristy Places 

From the futuristic streets of Tokyo to the historical sites of Rome, it’s safe to say there are some breathtaking destinations to visit. As much as it may seem a cliche, the most visited cities in the world are as popular as they are for a reason, so how about finding out why? 

Whether you’re searching for buzzing things to do in NYC or hoping to find a cultural awakening in Kuala Lumpur, I’ve got you sorted. These destinations may be busy, but you can still find hidden gems amongst modern life’s hustle and bustle.

So strap in because this worldwide journey is bound to be unforgettable!  

29 Most Popular Cities in the World You Have to Visit

While the most touristic cities in the world have their charms on full display, some places surprise even the most travelled explorer.

Some of these are the world’s safest cities, so they’re a real win-win for activities and peace of mind. It’s time to inspire your next vacation by looking into the most visited places in the world.

1. Hong Kong, Hong Kong

hong-kong-cityscape most visited cities in the world

Image by Simon Zhu on Unsplash

With roughly 29 million visitors annually, there’s no denying Hong Kong is the most visited city in the world. It may be best known as a global trade hub, but this bustling metropolis offers more than just business opportunities and trendy shopping options. 

Enjoy everything from the street markets of Mong Kok to riding the world-famous Star Ferry. Admire the dazzling display of city lights from Victoria Peak or enjoy the 3.5-mile scenic gondola ride on Ngong Ping 360.

No matter what you do in Hong Kong, you can’t miss a walk along the Ping Shan Heritage Trail. 

Next Read: Follow my journey through the city with my Hong Kong travel blog.

2. Bangkok, Thailand


Image by Waranont (Joe) on Unsplash

Despite recently being surpassed as the most travelled city in the world, Bangkok still brings in around 24 million visitors each year. Thailand may be a cheap vacation spot, but it’s more than that.

The first thing you’ll notice is its unique blend of technological advancements and traditional architecture pairing perfectly. One thing that draws in the crowds is the floating market, where you can find fresh produce and some authentic dishes to indulge in. 

You can tour Bangkok’s temples for a culturally rich experience when you’re not enjoying the city’s effervescent nightlife. And if you’ve got the time, admiring Wat Arun at sunset is an unforgettable experience.

3. London, United Kingdom

37 Stunning Landmarks of London Not to Miss by a Londoner Story Poster Image

From Buckingham Palace to St. Paul’s Cathedral, my home town is a melting pot of history and intrigue that 19 million yearly visitors can’t get enough of. You can stroll through countless parks (Hyde Park is a standout). Or enter a little bubble at the London Eye and admire the city’s skyline from above. 

You could visit the Globe Theatre for an authentic Shakespearian experience. Or hop from one trendy cafe to the next at the Borough Market. And with the Changing of the Guard and Westminster Abbey still to cover, there are many things to see on a London tour

There is so much to do in London – I never get bored living in this amazing city. There are London landmarks, unusual experiences in London, London bridges and so much more.

4. Macau, Macao


Image by Jimmy Woo on Unsplash

Also known as the Vegas of Asia, Macau is a never-ending rollercoaster of casinos, food, and culture that 18.8 million annual visitors adore. This is where Asian and European flavors collide beautifully — it was a Portuguese colony until 1999.

Admire the ruins of the Renaissance facade at St Paul or explore the bustling streets of the UNESCO site at Senado Square. You may as well check out the casino scene at Venetian Macao.

To make the stay more memorable, soak in the city views from Fortaleza do Monte, which also happens to be the home of the Macau Museum.

5. Singapore, Singapore

Singapore Travel Guide Attractions Activities
Gardens by the Bay

You may have noticed a trend by now: Asia easily has the top tourist cities in the world. So it’s a no-brainer that the technologically advanced Singapore draws in roughly 18.5 million visitors annually. 

Exploring Singapore’s classic attractions like the Gardens by the Bay and the vibrant enclave Kampong Glam should be on everyone’s itinerary. Alternatively, if you’re looking to splurge, shopping along Orchard Road or feasting on a Michelin-starred meal at Marina Bay Sands will elevate your experience.

Top Tip: Grab a Singapore Pass for quick access to over 40 attractions across the city.

6. Paris, France

notre dame de paris
notre dame de paris

Planning a Paris trip can be daunting, especially when the City of Lights expects 17 million visitors yearly. Considering it’s only six miles across, one wonders how many people can simultaneously be in this tiny city. 

With the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Cathedrale Notre Dame all smushed close to one another, the city is very walkable. You can admire the city’s beauty during a River Seine cruise. And with 118 Michelin-starred restaurants in one city, good food is never far away.

Living in London, I have visited Paris many times. Read more about it in my articles on Paris Monuments, where to watch the sunrise in Paris, Paris at night and the best hotels in Paris with views.

7. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai Old and New

Boasting the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, it’s no wonder Dubai attracts 15 million visitors each year. It’s also the one place you can snowboard in the desert at Ski Dubai. It is an amazing city.

Shop til you drop at 1200 stores in the Dubai Mall, enjoy a beachy haven at Palm Jumeirah, or enjoy some good old history in the Al Fahidi neighborhood. You can also snap some iconic photos at the Dubai Frame or admire massive sculptures at the Miracle Garden.

This city takes everything to the extreme, so even spending three days in Dubai may not be enough to see everything.

8. New York City, United States


Image by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

If you’re looking for the most prominent tourist cities in the world, they don’t get bigger than New York City. It welcomes 13.6 million people yearly thanks to New York attractions like Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, and Times Square. My best friend lives in New York and I have visited many times. Like London, it is hard to get bored in NYC.

As it’s the City That Never Sleeps, you may as well make the most of its nocturnal drawcards, like a show on Broadway or an evening walk along the High Line. With so much to see and do, it’s a good idea to grab a guided sightseeing tour.

And check out some of my articles on New York including historical sites in NYC, Travelling solo in NYC, most beautiful places in NYC and where to get the best view of Brooklyn Bridge at night.

9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Petronas Towers
Petronas Towers

What is the most visited place in the world for its eclectic spread of street food? Around 13.434 million visitors annually would strongly agree with Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. 

When you’re not spending the day in Kuala Lumpur exploring its trendy neighborhoods like Taman Paramount, consider catching an authentic Malaysian show at PUSAKA. If it’s tasty street eats you seek, look no further than Jalan Alor.

Top Tip: Kuala Lumpur also offers the perfect opportunity to explore the Batu Caves and admire a firefly colony.

10. Istanbul, Turkey


With boutique hotels, soul-enriching food, and plenty of history, Istanbul attracts 13.433 million visitors yearly for all the right reasons. It’s a place where historic architecture is at its finest, case in point the Blue Dome, Hagia Sophia, and the Basilica Cistern.

Allow your shopaholic tendencies to be met as the sweet smell of spices fills the walkways of the Grand Bazaar. And when you thought you’d seen it all, the Topkapi Palace shows the stunning tile work the city is notorious for.

It is also the perfect entry city if you are looking to explore beyond Europe. I have visited Istanbul a couple of times and will happily go back again. Check out my articles on Istanbul and Turkey: 3 day Istanbul itinerary, 7 day Turkey Itinerary, Cappadocia Itinerary and Gallipoli day trip.

Top Tip: Grab an Istanbul highlights tour to see the city to its fullest.

11. Delhi, India


From the flavor-filled streets of Chandni Chowk to the magnificent Akshardham Temple, Delhi’s 12.6 million annual visitors can confirm it is a must-see. Just remember it is one of the most polluted cities in the world, so it’s not the cleanest getaway.  

Despite this, you can find bliss in the picturesque Garden of Five Senses. How about enjoying the light and sound show at the Red Fort? This monumental palace is also the perfect example of the Mughal Empire at its prime. 

Top Tip: Experience the old and new of Delhi on this private guided tour.

12. Antalya, Turkey


Image by Dima Pima on Unsplash

Say goodbye to a jam-packed metropolis and hello to the coastal resort city of Antalya. Roughly 12.4 million tourists visit the crystalline Mediterranean waters of Antalya, and you’ll never hear a bad word about this place. 

Antalya is one of the most traveled to cities in the world for a beachside oasis. Simply look at the picture-perfect Konyaalti Beach and the historic Hadrian’s Gate for some stunning examples.

Many of the city’s attractions are found in the Old Town Quarter. But Antalya is also the gateway to the Pamukkale Hierapolis and Cleopatra’s Pools, two sites you’d be silly to miss. 

13. Shenzhen, China


Image by Vincent Chan on Unsplash

Many mistake Shenzhen as part of Hong Kong, but it’s a different city. It welcomes roughly 12.2 million annually. I can almost guarantee that most of them visit the Meridian View Centre for a stunning view of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen divide.

It’s more than just Hong Kong’s neighbor city, and the vibrant array of works at the Defan oil painting village will prove just that. While Sea World offers a fun experience of the city, you can also hop just out of town to the Nanshan Mountains for an eclectic countryside escape. And there is some fantastic shopping on the border with Hong Kong.

14. Mumbai, India


Image by Raj Rana on Unsplash

Mumbai invites around 10.59 million visitors yearly thanks to its delectable food scene and filming industry. As the home of Bollywood, the Mumbai Film City is bigger than Hollywood, and it’s the perfect place to learn a little more about the city’s culture.

Speaking of culture, for a truly unique experience, you can also take a boat ride to Elephanta Island, where you’ll find ancient Buddhist caves. And if you want to dig into a spicy blend of Indian cuisine with a twist, head over to Bombay Canteen.

PS: If you’re strapped for time, you can always join this Mumbai sightseeing tour.

15. Phuket, Thailand


Image by Miltiadis Fragkidis on Unsplash

What is the most popular place in the world for a cheap vacation that 10.55 million visitors will agree with? That’s easy. It’s Phuket, the gateway to all the best bits of Southern Thailand.

From its pristine turquoise waters along Freedom Beach to a nightlife only Bangkok can rival, Phuket has lots to offer. You can also admire the 147-foot-tall Big Buddha or cruise through Phang Nga Bay to James Bond Island.

And if you’re a lover of all things big and small, a tour of the elephant sanctuary just outside the city is what you need.

16. Rome, Italy

Rome Colosseum pink flowers

If you want to visit the most popular city in the world for sightseeing, look no further than Rome. This historic metropolis welcomes roughly 10 million people a year, and it would be more if it were a bit more affordable, that’s for sure.

From the Pantheon and the Colosseum to Trevi Fountain and the Roman Forum, Rome’s no shortage of magical monuments. Then there’s the Vatican City with St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Sistine Chapel — technically, it’s an independent state, but everyone sees it as part of Rome. 

It’s safe to say you’ll run out of time before you run out of things to see in Rome. Having visited the eternal city seven times, I totally agree! Read more about Rome in my articles on Rome monuments, bridges in Rome, fountains in Rome and how to skip the line for Colosseum tickets.

17. Tokyo, Japan


From a city laden with history to one lightyears ahead of the rest, Tokyo is an epic destination that 9.9 million yearly visitors embrace. If you spend a day in Tokyo in spring, you’ll see the beautiful cherry blossoms in full force. 

Snap some memorable photos and shop your way through Shibuya Crossing. Or discover the experiential worlds at TeamLab Digital Art Museum. You can even enjoy a Tokyo go-karting experience for the best way to see the city at night.

As I write this article I have just returned from my second trip to Tokyo and I plan on going again! You might enjoy reading some of my articles on Japan including Japan landmarks, 10 day Japan Itinerary and 2 Day Kyoto Itinerary.

PS: Tokyo also has the most Michelin-star restaurants compared to any city at 203. 

18. Pattaya, Thailand


Image by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

From a quiet fishing village to Thailand’s most sought-after resort city, Pattaya has had a quick glow-up, with 9.6 million visitors annually. It’s a city everyone visits for its stunning weather and magical beaches, but there’s way more to this city than meets the eye. 

You can explore the Chanthaburi Sapphire Mines or zipline through the canopy on the Flight of the Gibbon. And if you’re looking to explore Pattaya’s epic landmarks, visit Wat Phra Yai and the unique floating market. 

19. Taipei, Taiwan

view over taipei from 101 Taipei Taiwan
View over Taipei from 101 Taipei

Seeing the city from the top of Taipei 101 will give you a fundamental understanding of why 9.59 million people visit annually. This may be a city, but it’s packed with outdoor activities, from hiking up Elephant Mountain to strolling through the Daan Forest Park. 

If you want an authentic experience of Taiwanese cuisine, then the Shilin night market is the place to be. And for those wishing to melt all the stress of getting to Taipei away, hop into the Beitou Hot Springs. 

You might enjoy reading my article on the most visited places in the world.

20. Mecca, Saudi Arabia


Image by Tasnim Umar on Unsplash

Roughly 9.56 million people visit Mecca every year to learn more about Islam or to explore the wonderful side of this religion. It’s a city packed with historic architectural wonders, from the Grand Mosque of Makkah to the iconic cloth-covered cube, the Kaaba.

Then there’s the epic Clock Tower Hotel that dominates much of the city skyline, which is one the best places to eat.

Note: As this is an Islamic state, please follow the dress codes when visiting religious sites.

21. Guangzhou, China


Image by Wally Yang on Unsplash

If you’re looking for a little Asian persuasion, consider visiting Guangzhou. Roughly 9 million like-minded travelers visit this magnificent port city, boasting the neon-lit Canton Tower and the bustling Huacheng Square.

Some people visit Guangzhou to spend a couple of days at the Chimelong Tourist Resort. This place has it all, from sprawling safari parks and a diverse bird sanctuary to one of the best amusement parks in the world.

That’s all fine and well, but if you want to explore the city more, I highly recommend visiting the trendy Redtory art complex.

22. Prague, Czech Republic


Image by Anthony Delanoix on Unsplash

Prague is a city with some of the most famous bridges you’ll ever set your eyes upon. You could even say roughly 8.9 million tourists visit the city each year to snap some photos at Charles Bridge. 

Okay, there’s more to the city than just a bridge over the Vltava River. For example, you can indulge your senses at the boutique cafes along Wenceslas Square. Or admire the height of Gothic architecture at Prague Castle, with its stained glass windows and striking turquoise roof.

With so much to see, an evening cruise along the Vltava River is an unmissable activity calling your name.

There is much more to the beautiful Czech Republic than just Prague (although Prague is great!). Check out my articles on the Czech wine scene in South Moravia and the Czech Spa region.

23. Medina, Saudi Arabia


Image by Alfdhallul Ziqri on Unsplash

Medina is not short of stunning architecture from the expansive Al Masjid An Nabawi mosque to the equally impressive Masjid Quba. If you don’t believe me, consider trusting the 8.5 million annual visitors to this breathtaking city in the Uhud Mountains. 

While it’s mainly visited as a spiritual place of worship, it also has some unique attractions, like the soul-enriching Al Ula Farms. You can even discover the centuries of Medina history at the Dar Al Madinah Museum or enjoy a shopping spree at the Old Bazaar. The options are endless!

24. Seoul, South Korea


Image by Mathew Shwartz on Unsplash

Planning the ultimate Seoul itinerary is no easy feat, and I’m sure the 8.4 million yearly visitors would agree. There’s no shortage of things to see, from the beautiful maple tree-lined Changdeokgung Palace to the aroma-filled Gwangjang Market.

It’s also the gateway to the Demilitarized Zone of South Korea, one of Seoul’s best day trips. If you want to dive into the modern side of life in Seoul, visit the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art. And don’t forget to quench your thirst at the Suyeonsanbang Tea House.

25. Amsterdam, Netherlands


Image by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

From some of the most beautiful bridges to unforgettable museums, Amsterdam definitely earns its popularity. Roughly 8.3 million people visit the city each year to admire the stunning canals that create a web of cycle-worthy bridges and streets.

Whether you visit the Van Gogh Museum or venture into the trendy art district of Jordaan, you’re bound to have a whale of a time. You can always experience Amsterdam in true Dutch style with a classic wooden saloon cruise through the winding canals as you feast on traditional gouda. Does it get any better than that?

26. Agra, India


Image by Arun Geetha Viswanathan on Unsplash

Being home to one of the world’s most iconic landmarks — the Taj Mahal — Agra would always make this list. But it’s much more than just one magnificent palace; roughly 8.13 million annual visitors can attest to that.

You can discover the height of the Mughal Empire at Agra Fort. Or enjoy simple beauty — and stunning Taj Mahal views — from the Persian-style Mehtab Bagh Gardens. And for an awe-inspiring experience, the tomb of Akbar the Great is an absolute must-see.

27. Miami, United States


Image by Gautier Salles on Unsplash

For expansive beaches and the best sunsets in Florida, around 8.12 million people visit the splendid city of Miami each year. It’s a place where the mural-covered Wynwood district and fabulous Miami Beach draw in the crowds.

But there are some hidden gems you’ll also love. Like the 84-acre Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden or the Pérez Art Museum Miami. And don’t forget to admire the distinct selection of Art Deco buildings in Miami’s skyline during a sunset cruise through Biscayne Bay.

28. Osaka, Japan


Image by Nomadic Julien on Unsplash

The modern city of Osaka attracts 7.8 million annual visitors, which holds true to its traditional routes. Surrounded by the eclectic Nishinomaru Gardens, the mighty Osaka Castle bursts to life come the cherry blossom season.

And if you want to experience the city’s modern delights, stroll through the restaurant-laden streets of the Dotonbori District. Some quirky attractions exist, like the Instant Ramen Museum and Legoland Discovery Centre. And don’t miss Osaka’s famous food market Kuromon. I visited recently for an amazing lunch.

In other words, you simply have to add Osaka to your epic Japan itinerary.

29. Barcelona, Spain

Basílica La Sagrada Familia exterior
Basílica La Sagrada Familia exterior

Last but certainly not least, you have the Gaudi-inspired streets of Barcelona, which welcomes 6.7 million annual tourists. It’s a city where architecture is at the forefront. Visit La Familia Sagrada or Casa Batlló to catch my drift.

How about walking through the magical mind of Gaudi’s Park Güell? And in a city where football is a way of life, the Spotify Camp Nou is a must-visit. You can also enjoy the lively atmosphere of the Gothic Quarter, famous Barcelona landmarks or soak up some sun at one of the many stunning Barcelona beaches.

FAQs About the Most Touristy Cities in the World

You now know about all the most traveled places in the world, but you may still have questions. Here are some interesting facts to know.

What is the Most Visited City in the World in General?

Hong Kong is easily the most visited place in the world, with roughly four million more visitors than the next closest city, Bangkok. 
If you want to know what is the most popular city in the world for UNESCO World Heritage Sites, that’s Cordoba. Although it’s not amongst the most visited, it does have the highest number of acknowledged heritage sites of any city. 

What is the most visited city in Africa?

Cairo in Egypt is Africa’s most popular tourist destination, with the average annual visitors sitting around 5.7 million.

Which South American City is the Most Visited?

As far as cities with the most tourists in South America go, it’s a bit tougher to call. Argentina’s Buenos Aires tends to take the cake with roughly 2.6 million annual visitors, but Peru’s Lima is just a little behind with 2.5 million.

Final Thoughts on the Most Visited Cities Worldwide

So there you have it, the top visited cities in the world, with a little eye-opener into why each is such an attractive destination. Whether Asia is your place of choice or you want to splurge in the historic cities of Europe is now up to you.

I covered all the costs involved in writing this article on the world’s most popular cities. However, this article contains affiliate links. That means if you click through on some of the links and end up making a purchase I may receive a small commission.

But before you book those flights. How about discovering the most dangerous cities in the world to narrow your options even more?

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