1/ Catarina Belova
Why do we travel? Some might tell you they love the adventure of seeing new places, others the intrigue of meeting new people, or being exposed to local cultures and cuisines. As the farthest corners of the globe have become increasingly accessible, there is truly something out there for every wanderlust.
To help guide your next vacation, Stacker looked at data from Euromonitor International's Top 100 City Destinations Ranking, which analyzes the number of international arrivals who spend more than 24 hours in a city.
Whether you’re thinking through where to explore in 2018, or just curious about the hottest spots across the globe - read on to see the most popular travel destinations of this year.
2/ SouthWestFL-Gazette // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #50
2017 Historic Arrivals: 4,451,000
Growth Rate since 2016: 11.2%
Canada was just named by Travel & Leisure as their destination of the year for 2017—and with city’s like Toronto, it’s not hard to see why. Rife with green space, cosmopolitan boutiques and restaurants, and a great arts scene, the “6” becomes a more popular destination for travelers each year, with visitors growing a whopping 11 percent in just one year!
3/ Igorkhait // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #49
2017 Historic Arrivals: 4,632,300
Growth Rate since 2016: 2.%
Moscow, the seventh-largest city in the world, comes in at #49, bringing in 4.6 million visitors in 2017. The famous Kremlin and landmark Saint Basil’s Cathedral draw the crowds, but you also shouldn’t miss the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, the largest European art collection in Moscow, and Lenin's Mausoleum, a slightly off-beat stop on the tourist trail.
4/ Max Pixel
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #48
2017 Historic Arrivals: 4,878,500
Growth Rate since 2016: 1.5%
This romantic Italian destination charms visitors with its breath-taking duomo. Fans of the fine arts will swoon over the Uffizi Gallery, and of course Florence’s Galleria dell'Accademia is home to the iconic David. If art and architecture isn’t your thing, the city’s prime Tuscan location means that great wine and rolling countryside is just a short drive away.
5/ Dilif // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #47
2017 Historic Arrivals: 4,977,000
Growth Rate since 2016: 3.5%
Ireland’s capital, Dublin drew nearly 5 million visitors in 2017, likely due to the city’s historic universities, the 13th-century Dublin Castle, and charming neighborhoods like Temple Bar, a cobblestone-paved community lined with cafés, pubs, and art galleries.
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #46
2017 Historic Arrivals: 4,978,600
Growth Rate since 2016: 10.%
One of the world’s oldest cities, Athens saw a 10 percent increase in visitors over 2016. What’s the fuss? The Greek capital has benefited from the unrest of its neighbors in Egypt, Tunisia, and Turkey, who have all been targets of recent terror attacks.
7/ Ankit Agarwal // Flickr
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #45
2017 Historic Arrivals: 5,088,600
Growth Rate since 2016: 17.8%
The famed “Pink City” still captivates visitors nearly three centuries after its founding. The elegant walled city is easy to get around—many of the architectural and historical sites are all located in the city’s center. Don’t miss Tripolia Bazaar, a major thoroughfare lined with vendors selling sweets, jewelry, handicrafts and silky saris among other goods.
8/ Plane Mad // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #44
2017 Historic Arrivals: 5,186,300
Growth Rate since 2016: 10.8%
Formerly known as Madras, Chennai is the soul of southern India. It often gets overlooked in favor of India’s bigger, more glamorous cities, but the Tamil Nadu entertains visitors with a multitude of museums and temples, and cuisine that is solely unique to the region.
9/ Federico Beccari // Good Free Photos
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #43
2017 Historic Arrivals: 5,227,300
Growth Rate since 2016: 1.7%
Founded way back in the 5th Century, Venice is a modern marvel. The whole city is filled with architectural masterpieces and it’s not uncommon to walk into even the most benign building only to find works by Giorgione, Titian, Veronese, and other Renaissance figureheads.
10/ Eduneri // Pixabay
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #42
2017 Historic Arrivals: 5,269,000
Growth Rate since 2016: 2.7%
It takes just one word to explain the popularity of this central Florida city: Disney. The famous mouse attracted more than 5 million visitors in 2017. Nearby Universal Studios and SeaWorld are also popular tourist destinations.
11/ bvi4092 // Flickr
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #41
2017 Historic Arrivals: 5,500,000
Growth Rate since 2016: 5.8%
What was once the romantic city of Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is now a vibrant urban collage, melding the best of the city’s trademark French colonial landmarks to squarely Vietnamese traditions, such as the bustling Bến Thành Market. The moving War Remnants Museum is a must-visit.
12/ B.alotby // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #40
2017 Historic Arrivals: 5,518,400
Growth Rate since 2016: 8.9%
Deeply-conservative Riyadh is best known as the capital of Saudi Arabia and one of the wealthiest cities in the world. A large population of expats make Riyadh a unique melting pot of Saudi traditions blended with modern, international influences.
13/ Evan Bench // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #39
2017 Historic Arrivals: 5,537,600
Growth Rate since 2016: 7.2%
The only city in sub-Saharan Africa to make the list, Johannesburg is rife with history—its Soweto township was home to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, and the former’s namesake museum is a must-visit. Still, poverty and crime are still a problem here, and income inequality remains stark.
14/ Azharsofii // Wikivoyage
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #38
2017 Historic Arrivals: 5,571,400
Growth Rate since 2016: 15.%
Johor Bahru—a southern Malaysian city you likely have never heard of—has seen a rapid rise in arrivals since 2016. An estimated 5.5 million visitors made their way to JB in 2017, invigorating new life into what was once regarded as an overly chaotic, dingy border town.
15/ Angela Ojeda Hyper // Flickr
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #37
2017 Historic Arrivals: 5,581,000
Growth Rate since 2016: 8.8%
There are few cities more beautiful or more romantic than Madrid. From its leafy boulevards to manicured parks, the Spanish capital is beautiful to look at, but also home to incredible substance—rich repositories of European art and and historical artifacts make it easy to see why nearly 6 million visitors stopped by in 2017.
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #36
2017 Historic Arrivals: 5,833,100
Growth Rate since 2016: 4.9%
Affordable, accessible Berlin is chock full of history and culture. History buffs can walk along remnants of the famous wall and visit Checkpoint Charlie, whereas party animals can always find a tiny techno club or bumping beer garden. The city’s also become a growing tech hub in recent years.
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #35
2017 Historic Arrivals: 6,043,700
Growth Rate since 2016: 3.%
As the home of great minds such as Mozart, Beethoven and Freud, this star on the Danube delights more than 6 millions arrivals each year. The baroque streetscapes and casual coffee house culture are a strong draw for most. Don’t skip a slice of Sachertorte!
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #34
2017 Historic Arrivals: 6,074,300
Growth Rate since 2016: 4.%
This West Coast metropolis lures in visitors with perfect weather, a buzzy nightlife, arts scene, and of course, trademark Southern California beaches. From luxury shopping in Beverly Hills to hipster-chic boutiques in Los Feliz, everyone has a place in L.A.
19/ 663highland // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #33
2017 Historic Arrivals: 6,133,100
Growth Rate since 2016: 8.7%
Sometimes overlooked in favor of Tokyo’s bright lights, Osaka is a vibrant, modern city that shouldn’t be ignored. It’s an easy base for exploring the region’s surrounding landscapes, but with enough substance to stand on its own: the main landmark, 16th-century Osaka Castle, is surrounded by the famous cherry blossom trees that burst open every spring, and nearby Sumiyoshi-taisha is one of Japan’s oldest Shinto shrines.
20/ Graeme Churchard // Flickr
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #32
2017 Historic Arrivals: 6,238,300
Growth Rate since 2016: 52.9%
As the gateway to Bali, it should come as little surprise that Denpasar has seen a whopping 52 percent increase in arrivals since 2016. While most visitors head out of Denpasar and onward to Ubud or Seminyak, the capital city is home to the fascinating Bali Museum, relaxing Sanur Beach, and the 10th-century Pura Blanjong temple.
21/ Max Pixel
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #31
2017 Historic Arrivals: 6,457,400
Growth Rate since 2016: 4.6%
This Turkish resort town has dropped in ranking compared to its peers, but still saw an increase in arrivals in 2017. Natural beauty abounds here, with stunning beaches at every turn, as well as the Düden Waterfalls, and Köprülü Canyon, a spectacular canyon perfect for trout fishing and whitewater rafting.
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #30
2017 Historic Arrivals: 6,570,400
Growth Rate since 2016: 3.6%
Cities like Amsterdam have seen a major boom in arrivals over the past decade. One key player? The rise of Airbnb and other home-sharing services. Now, visitors to the ‘Venice of the North’ can live like a local while visiting landmarks such as the Van Gogh Museum and riding along one of the city’s many bike paths.
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #29
2017 Historic Arrivals: 6,687,800
Growth Rate since 2016: -.8%
One of the weakest performing U.S. cities on the list, Las Vegas saw a slight decrease in arrivals in 2017. Despite this, Sin City still remains a popular destination for those who are looking to live a luxe life within one of the city’s many casinos.
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #28
2017 Historic Arrivals: 6,744,400
Growth Rate since 2016: 26.3%
India launched e-visas in 2014, boosting arrivals throughout the country, and Agra saw one of the biggest increases. In addition to the Taj Mahal, the city is home to two more UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Agra Fort in the city and Fatehpur Sikri nearby.
25/ dronepicr // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #27
2017 Historic Arrivals: 6,761,000
Growth Rate since 2016: 16.%
The former spring break hotspot has seen a huge influx of travelers from Europe and Asia, making it the fastest-growing destination in the Americas in 2017. The party-town reputation has given way to new, luxury-focused hotels and dining options.
26/ NahidSultan // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #26
2017 Historic Arrivals: 6,882,500
Growth Rate since 2016: 2.8%
The fast-paced metropolis of Milan should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Visit the Duomo, one of Europe’s largest gothic cathedrals, La Scala, one of the best opera houses in the world, and the dreamy Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, a glamorous mall in a stunning arcade.
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #25
2017 Historic Arrivals: 7,201,200
Growth Rate since 2016: 4.3%
China’s largest city is a modern, buzzing financial hub, but also retains its colonial heritage. The central location makes it easy to tack on a visit to Xian or Beijing.
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #24
2017 Historic Arrivals: 7,313,500
Growth Rate since 2016: 4.2%
This eastern Thai city is known for beaches and resort hotels. What was once a sleepy fishing village is now home to luxurious condos, malls, and buzzing night clubs. Wat Phra Yai Temple is also a popular sight, home to a 59-foot tall golden buddha.
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #23
2017 Historic Arrivals: 7,624,100
Growth Rate since 2016: 8.3%
Barcelona remains the most popular tourist destination in Spain, but has recently been a victim of overcrowding. Visitors are drawn to Gaudí’s fantastical Sagrada Família and other art and architectural relics.
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #22
2017 Historic Arrivals: 7,659,100
Growth Rate since 2016: -14.9%
Seoul’s arrivals saw a sharp decline in 2017, largely due to tensions with neighboring China. Still, Seoul’s ancient heritage and forward-looking future make it a popular destination regardless.
31/ Sarah Ackerman // Flickr
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #21
2017 Historic Arrivals: 8,075,800
Growth Rate since 2016: 3.1%
The second-ranking city in the U.S. based on arrivals, vibrant Miami is a draw for its stunning beaches, vibrant arts district, and distinct Cuban influence. Arrivals stream in for events throughout the year, but December’s Art Basel art fair brings in the biggest crowds.
32/ Moyan Brenn // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #20
2017 Historic Arrivals: 8,550,700
Growth Rate since 2016: 4.5%
The Czech capital draws in nearly 9 million visitors each year. With a bohemian appeal and fairytale charms, Prague draws in tourists who want to explore its trademark castle then spend time wandering the picturesque streets before enjoying a famous Czech beer.
33/ Harold Litwiler // Flickr
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #19
2017 Historic Arrivals: 8,642,300
Growth Rate since 2016: -5.8%
Despite its touristic charms, Istanbul suffered a huge drop in arrivals in 2017. Turmoil in neighboring Syria, ongoing attacks by the Islamic State, and visa issues for U.S. arrivals have hurt visitor confidence in the historic city.
34/ Al Jazeera English // Flickr
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #18
2017 Historic Arrivals: 8,745,000
Growth Rate since 2016: 9.8%
Saudi Arabia has three cities in this year’s ranking and it’s no surprise that Mecca is near the top. Only Muslims are allowed in the city, which draws millions for the annual hajj.
35/ Arian Zwegers // Flickr
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #17
2017 Historic Arrivals: 8,884,900
Growth Rate since 2016: 23.5%
Mumbai jumped five spots in the 2017 rankings, largely due to relaxed visa requirements. Formerly known as Bombay, the largest city in India is chaotic, but home to spirited markets, rich cuisine, and lots and lots of people.
36/ jo.sau // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #16
2017 Historic Arrivals: 9,075,500
Growth Rate since 2016: 5.3%
Founded in 214 B.C., Guangzhou is a thriving port city that’s recently received upgrades across the board. The airport, public transportation, and air quality have all improved tremendously over the past two decades, drawing visitors in to see architecture by stars such as Zaha Hadid and historical landmarks like the Pearl River.
37/ Jack View // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #15
2017 Historic Arrivals: 9,318,900
Growth Rate since 2016: 1.%
Taipei’s skyline is crowned by the unique Taipei 101, a 1,669-foot landmark, designed to resemble a stalk of bamboo. The city saw a small increase in arrivals in 2017, but still dropped one spot in this year’s rankings.
38/ Dilif // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #14
2017 Historic Arrivals: 9,565,500
Growth Rate since 2016: 1.8%
The Italian capital remains the third most-visited European city, behind stalwarts London and Paris. In addition vibrant street life and decadent cuisine, the Eternal City is home to nearly 3,000 years of world-class art and architecture.
39/ Francisco Diez // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #13
2017 Historic Arrivals: 9,713,500
Growth Rate since 2016: 4.8%
The bright lights of always-bustling Tokyo drew in nearly 10 million visitors in 2017, a 4.8 percent increase. In the lead up to the 2020 Olympic Games there’s no doubt that this ultra-modern capital will continue to see arrivals flowing in.
40/ ashcoounter // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #12
2017 Historic Arrivals: 10,257,000
Growth Rate since 2016: 37.7%
Of all the cities on the list, Delhi saw the most dramatic increase, with 2.8 million more inbound arrivals compared to 2016. The 17th-century Old Delhi neighborhood is home to the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid mosque (pictured above).
41/ Diego Delso // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #11
2017 Historic Arrivals: 12,079,500
Growth Rate since 2016: 14.%
The tiny island of Phuket is a draw to Thailand’s many beachgoers. Surrounded by the Andaman Sea, Phuket is home to white sand beaches and luxurious resorts for the beach bums, as well as great diving and rainforest adventures for the outdoorsy set.
42/ Zukiman Mohamad // Pexels
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #10
2017 Historic Arrivals: 12,843,500
Growth Rate since 2016: 4.5%
Breaking into the top 10, Kuala Lumpur saw more than 12 millions arrivals in 2017. Rife with British Colonial-era landmarks, the city’s skyline also punctuated with modern marvels like the Petronas Towers.
43/ SSD Penguin // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #9
2017 Historic Arrivals: 12,962,000
Growth Rate since 2016: 3.1%
Shenzhen, the gatekeeper to Hong Kong, is one of the China’s wealthiest cities. What was once a small fishing village burst into a sprawling city seemingly overnight when China designated the area as the country’s first Special Economic Zone in 1979.
44/ Anthony Quintano // Flickr
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #8
2017 Historic Arrivals: 13,100,000
Growth Rate since 2016: 3.6%
Arguably the center of the universe, New York draws in a whopping 13 million arrivals each year. Manhattan is among the world’s commercial, cultural, and financial centers, but the city’s four surrounding boroughs each have their own distinct personalities and attractions.
45/ Shepard4711 // Flickr
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #7
2017 Historic Arrivals: 14,263,000
Growth Rate since 2016: -.9%
Even travelers who have never been to the City of Lights undoubtedly are familiar with the city’s many landmarks and attractions, ranging from the unmistakable Eiffel Tower to I.M. Pei’s trademark pyramids at the Louvre. Paris saw a slight decrease in arrivals in 2017, likely due to increased fears of terrorism within the EU.
46/ Tim.Reckmann // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #6
2017 Historic Arrivals: 16,010,000
Growth Rate since 2016: 7.7%
The number of arrivals in Dubai surged in 2017, surpassing the 16 million mark. This oasis in the desert is home to some of the world’s best hotels and shopping, as well as increasingly good dining and cultural options. Of course, the city’s also home to Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
47/ kewl // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #5
2017 Historic Arrivals: 16,299,100
Growth Rate since 2016: 5.9%
“Wow, Macau!” is the tagline that Macau’s tourism board often uses to describe this tiny autonomous territory, a special administrative region of China. After all, where else in Asia can you look at Portuguese tiles and eat egg tarts before spending a night playing roulette in a luxury casino?
48/ jjcb // Flickr
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #4
2017 Historic Arrivals: 17,618,800
Growth Rate since 2016: 6.1%
Fast becoming one of Asia’s top destination, Singapore is home to the breathtaking Gardens by the Bay, as well as other cultural landmarks such as the National Gallery and Asian Civilisations Museum. Of course, Singaporean street food is among the best—and most unique—in the world.
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #3
2017 Historic Arrivals: 19,842,800
Growth Rate since 2016: 3.4%
With history that stretches back to the Romans, it’s no surprise that London—a popular hub for finance, business, arts, and culture—breaks into the top three on this list. Visitors love the city’s lush greenery, stellar public transit, and world-class food, hotels, and art.
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #2
2017 Historic Arrivals: 23,270,600
Growth Rate since 2016: 9.5%
Bangkok is always among the world’s top tourist destinations, both as a standalone destination and as a layover for travelers venturing elsewhere in Asia or the South Pacific. From floating markets to golden palaces, there’s nowhere quite like Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit (yes, that is the city’s full ceremonial name).
51/ Estial // Wikimedia Commons
Euromonitor 2017 Global Rank: #1
2017 Historic Arrivals: 25,695,800
Growth Rate since 2016: -3.2%
There’s nowhere quite like Hong Kong. The city saw a small decrease in arrivals in 2017, but not enough to relinquish the top spot. Visitors flock to this former British colony for the architectural landmarks (I.M. Pei’s Bank of China tower is a star) and great shopping, including bespoke tailoring and the famed Temple Street Night Market.