Top 100 city destinations in the world
Globalization and the internet mean that people will venture outside their backyards more, exploring different cities around the world and sharing their experiences with friends, family, and even strangers online. People in the modern-day, especially millennials, prefer buying experiences rather than buying things, and the growing culture of flexible work schedules are allowing them to do just that.
In 2017, Americans spent about $135 billion on tourism, and many of the most popular cities for tourists rely on the booming industry to support their economies. The influx of international visitors has also forced countries to address issues of overcrowding or crumbling infrastructure in their most popular cities, and it is fostering new relations and alliances between countries looking to exchange visitors.
Using data from Euromonitor International’s 2019 Top 100 City Destinations report, Stacker compiled a list of 100 top city destinations in the world. Each city is ranked by its Euromonitor rank, and the slides display the number of arrivals for both 2018 and 2019. According to the report, an arrival is defined as a tourist from another country visiting the city for at least 24 hours but less than 12 months. Travelers who visited a city more than once and those who visited several cities during one trip are included in the final arrival numbers.
It’s interesting to note that 75% of the cities on the list are located in either Asia or Europe, with Asia claiming 43 of the top 100 cities. The abundance of cultural experiences in each country and the competitive prices make the continent appealing for travel bloggers and people looking to combine work with leisure.
Whether you’re looking to sunbathe at the nicest beaches, try the most exotic and tastiest food, walk through a town’s complex history, or go museum-hopping, this list is a great place to plan your next getaway.
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#100. Bangalore, India
- 2019 arrivals: 2.68 million (19.5% change from 2018 to 2019)
- 2018 arrivals: 2.24 million (25.7% change from 2017 to 2018)
Also known as Bengaluru, this Southern Indian city is considered the tech capital of the country for its lucrative IT industry. This helps make Bangalore one of the most developed cities in India. However, these developments are mainly located in the outer suburbs of the city, as the center of Bangalore is still reminiscent of the British rule of India from 1858 to 1947.
#99. Krabi, Thailand
- 2019 arrivals: 2.39 million (5.8% change from 2018 to 2019)
- 2018 arrivals: 2.26 million (6.5% change from 2017 to 2018)
This scenic region of Thailand boasts some 200 islands off the coast of the mainland—perfect for a day of island-hopping between the different beautiful beaches and fishing towns. Krabi itself offers visitors the chance to explore the limestone cliffs, sea caves, historic Thai temples, white sandy beaches, and the multitude of markets in the area.
#98. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- 2019 arrivals: 2.33 million (2.3% change from 2018 to 2019)
- 2018 arrivals: 2.28 million (1.2% change from 2017 to 2018)
The home of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue and the iconic and vibrant Carnival festival, this South American gem offers visitors a multitude of activities that can appeal to any tourist. Visit the Maracanã, the largest soccer stadium in Brazil. Explore the blue waters of the Ipanema and Copacabana beaches. Take a cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain for the best views of Rio, and finally, end your days by experiencing Brazil’s iconic nightlife.
#97. Rhodes, Greece
- 2019 arrivals: 2.41 million (3.3% change from 2018 to 2019)
- 2018 arrivals: 2.34 million (7.3% change from 2017 to 2018)
The largest of the Dodecanese Islands is a must-see destination for visitors who are looking to relax and take a trip to the past. Construction of the Old Town of Rhodes started in 407 B.C., and the medieval walls, cobblestoned streets, and the restored Palace of the Grand Master will transport you to the 14th century. Medieval and historical themes are also present throughout the rest of the island and seamlessly combine with modern attractions and amenities to bring you a well-rounded vacation.
#96. Porto, Portugal
- 2019 arrivals: 2.49 million (6.4% change from 2018 to 2019)
- 2018 arrivals: 2.34 million (4.9% change from 2017 to 2018)
Porto is yet another city that combines the old, the new, and beautiful beaches. The Ribeira district, which overlooks the magnificent Douro River, is filled with stunning 18th-century architecture, craft stores, ornate churches, and quaint food spots. Before you leave Porto, be sure to try Port wine, a dessert-like fortified wine that Portugal is known for.
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#95. Jeju, South Korea
- 2019 arrivals: 2.28 million (-3% change from 2018 to 2019)
- 2018 arrivals: 2.35 million (-3.3% change from 2017 to 2018)
Jeju Island is known as the “Hawaii of South Korea,” with a myriad of volcanoes, hiking trails, waterfalls, and vibrant flora. Jeju also has a rather dark history, as tens of thousands of people died when pro-communist rebels clashed with the government during the 1940s and 1950s. Visitors can take a Dark Tour, which educates people about grim times in Jeju’s history.
#94. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- 2019 arrivals: 2.57 million (6.8% change from 2018 to 2019)
- 2018 arrivals: 2.4 million (7.1% change from 2017 to 2018)
The beautiful capital of the United Arab Emirates has grown into a modern and developed metropolis, thanks to the city’s vast oil reserves. Abu Dhabi offers visitors a taste of luxury while also paying homage to the region’s rich history and Islamic religion. Explore the beautiful deserts and oasis of the region, visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the largest and most architecturally impressive mosque in the country, have a taste of authentic Arabian coffee, go sailing on one of Abu Dhabi’s waterfronts, and get your hands and arms painted by famed Henna artists to experience this magnificent city to the fullest.
#93. Fukuoka, Japan
- 2019 arrivals: 2.53 million (3.6% change from 2018 to 2019)
- 2018 arrivals: 2.44 million (20.3% change from 2017 to 2018)
For travelers wanting to experience the tastiest ramen, sushi, and fresh seafood, they should make a plan to visit Fukuoka. The city is located on Kyushu Island and is actually two cities combined—Fukuoka and Hakata, and it is a must-see destination during any season of the year. Check out the rich flavors and textiles of the city’s stores and markets. If you’re visiting in the spring, be sure to visit Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine to see 6,000 plum trees blossom all around you, and pay a visit to the Kyushu National History Museum that’s on the grounds of the shrine and explains the history of the famous scholar Michizane Sugawara.
#92. Nice, France
- 2019 arrivals: 2.58 million (4.7% change from 2018 to 2019)
- 2018 arrivals: 2.47 million (6% change from 2017 to 2018)
A sunny, buzzing cultural hub in southeast France, there is no end to activities that people can do in Nice. Located along the French Riviera, Nice is a city of terracotta roofs, excellent dining, beautiful public and private beaches, and museums perfect for history, music, and art buffs. Be sure to check out Lascaris Palace if you're looking to see a fine collection of musical instruments and their history enclosed within an architecturally grandeur palace. Be sure to end your day watching the sunset from Castle Hill, the highest point in Nice that used to house a former military citadel, but is now a must-visit the get the best view of all of Nice.
#91. Batam, Indonesia
- 2019 arrivals: 2.85 million (14.4% change from 2018 to 2019)
- 2018 arrivals: 2.49 million (11.9% change from 2017 to 2018)
Located less than an hour away from Singapore by boat, Batam is a quaint hub of fishing villages on stilts and spas. Visitors can enjoy partaking in a variety of water sports, such as scuba diving and water skiing. Lovers of land sports can enjoy one of the seven golf ranges that Batam is known for. Finally, travelers who are looking to have a more relaxed vacation can soak up the sun on Nongsa Beach, try traditional Indonesian dishes available at the many seafood dining spots, and visit Barelang Bridge, which connects Batam with two fellow islands, Rempang and Galang.
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