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Every year the World Tourism Organization (UNTWO) releases its list of the top ten most visited cities in the world. These cities are the epitome of travel, leisure, and tourism and offer the world a variety of vacationing experiences. This year the list has added a few new favorites while maintaining some cities that seem to always top the list. So without further ado, here is this year’s list for the top ten most visited cities in the world.
10. Istanbul, Turkey
Tenth place on the list goes to Istanbul, Turkey. This city welcomed nearly 7 million international vacationers in 2010 alone, with those numbers continually increasing year over year. Known across the globe for its incredible and unique scenery as well as food and architecture, Istanbul is also home to internationally celebrated mosques such as Blue Mosque, which is filled with visitors daily. The culture in Istanbul is rich with fragrant foods and marketplaces as well as religious respect, making this town one of the most visited and intriguing cities on the planet. Travel in the autumn months of September, October and November to experience the least amount of crowds (and the best weather) and haggle as well as take in the colorful sights of Istanbul at the Grand Bazaar.
9. Bangkok, Thailand
As the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok offer vacationers a big city life experience blended with unique and rich Thai culture. According to the Thai Tourism Board, over 7 million tourists visit Bangkok each year, making it number nine on our list of the most visited cities in the world. It is here that travelers can eat authentic Thai food, shop in skyscraper shopping centers and malls, purchase goodies from boats along the canal, or visit the Wat Pho temple. Bangkok carries the perfect blend of culture, exotic foods, city life and sà-nùk (fun.) Much like Istanbul, the best time to avoid the humidity and crowds of Bangkok is to visit during the fall months of September and October.
8. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Throughout the world, Dubai is known as a city of glamour, luxury and opulence, and is number eight on the list of the most visited cities in the world. Five star hotels, epicurean restaurants, and high end shopping areas can be found throughout the city, and Dubai also attracts international visitors with one of its newest city skyline additions, the tallest building in the world. Burj Khalifa stands 163 floors high, towering over the city with statuesque elegance and extravagance and adding to the city’s high-end Arab culture. Most vacationers see the city between November and April, but by touring Dubai in May or September, you can avoid the traveling crowds as well as the summer heat.
7. Hong Kong, China
The seventh most visited place on our list falls to the famous city of Hong Kong, China. This extravagant place captures the number seven spot with over 8.4 million international tourists each year. Finding the perfect balance between growth, current trends and time honored traditions, Hong Kong can be a bit of a culture shock because this large city is seemingly filled with flashy neon signs, Asian influenced exotic food, and street vendors. Packed with citizens, businessmen and tourists, this town is always crowded, but by vacationing there in either March or September, you will see less crowded streets and good weather.
6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Welcoming nearly 9 million international vacationers each year, Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur captures the number six spot as one of the most visited cities in the world. Home to a few of the tallest skyscrapers in the Southeast Asia region, this city houses a strong urban life. However, Malaysian culture is also in the forefront of this tourist filled city with historic sites such as the Jamek Mosque displaying pride in the cities heritage. For the best hotel rates, lowest number of tourists and best weather, travel to this top destination city in April, November or May.
5. Singapore City, Singapore
Filled with fantastic architecture, rich cultural traditions, and East Asian influenced food, the city of Singapore finds its self at number five on the list. With over 9 million global visitors each year, this city offers delicious food, world-class entertainment and of course, an escape from city life with lush leafy forests nearby. Go shopping in several high-end shopping areas, chat with monkeys, or take in some incredible entertainment while visiting Singapore during the good weather and low crowd months of May or October.
4. Antalya, Turkey
The country of Turkey has another city on the list of the top ten most visited cities in the world with its large metropolis of Antalya. Captivating the hearts of 9.2 million international tourists a year, this city offers an almost complete escape from urban city life. Instead Antalya provides its visitors with a complete delve into traditional Turkish culture and history. It is here that guests can visit ancient Roman ruins, lounge in the sun, and get their fill on rich Turkish foods. Consider a visit to Antalya Turkey in the months of April, May, September or October for enjoyable weather and limited tourist crowds.
3. New York City, USA
New York City is a long time resident of the top ten travel list, and this year it comes in at number three with nearly 10 million visitors a year. As the cultural hub and melting pot of the United States, NYC offers its guests incredible NYC tours to sites such as the American icon of the Statue of Liberty, the world famous Broadway, the Empire State Building, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) and of course world-class shopping is districts like SoHo and Fifth Ave. Globally renowned restaurants and nightclubs offer a distinct urban city life nestled against beautiful natural outdoor activities, helping New York City sweep the third spot on the list. NYC is always crowded, but for the best sightseeing in New York City and for the best hotel rates, avoid traveling to The Big Apple during the holidays.
2. London, England
London has always experienced a plethora of international curiosity, and this year is no different with this English capital seeing over 14.6 million tourists. London has a rich blend of cultural tradition and historic buildings with modern restaurants, tourist sites and skyscrapers, making it second on the list of the most traveled cities in the world. Visiting during the months of September and October will yield the least amount of crowds and give guests the opportunity to see main attractions like Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and the outlying towns of Bath and Stonehenge during good weather.
1. Paris, France
Paris, France has held the number one spot on the list of “The Top 10 Most Visited Cities in the World” for several years now, so it is now surprise that it is number one yet again. Over 15 million international guests vacation to this city each year and take in the romantic sites of the Eiffel Tower nestled among lovely French bistros, cobblestone streets, and picturesque cafes. Other visiting attractions include sights like the Louvre, Notre-Dame, and of course, the French cuisine. Take in the sight of Paris with cheap flights to Paris during the months of May or September to see the French landscape at its best and avoid larger crowds.
The Most Visited Cities in the World
While a few of the cities that made the list this year are surprises, the top three have remained consistent for the last few decades. The real question is, which of these top ten cities have you been to already and which do you now plan to visit?