The Most Visited Countries in the World

March 18, 2024

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View of the city skyline of Paris, France

There are many reasons why tourists choose to visit certain countries over others. Some of these reasons include historical landmarks, interesting architecture, a rich culture, large festivals and sporting events, breathtaking landscapes, good weather and beautiful beaches, exotic wildlife, and world-class outdoor activities.

Some countries rely on the tourism industry for their economies, attracting tens of millions of international visitors a year. But what are the most visited countries in the world?

The World Tourism Rankings, compiled by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, ranks the world’s countries based on the number of international visitors they receive each year. Read on to find out the 10 most visited countries based on the latest data revealed for 2022.

1. France

Bonifacio, Corsica
Bonifacio, on the island of Corsica

With 79.4 million international tourist arrivals in 2022, France is the most visited country in the world.

Like all of the entries on this list, France has something for every type of traveler. With its excellent skiing, sandy beaches, world-class vineyards, remote chateaus, gourmet restaurants, and luxury fashion stores, it’s no wonder so many tourists visit France each year.

Some of the most popular places in France include the French Riviera, the Loire Valley, Provence, the French Alps, the island of Corsica, and, of course, Paris, Europe’s third-largest city.

The country also boasts many tourist attractions such as the iconic Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, Arc de Triomphe, Chateau de Chambord, and the Picasso Museum.

2. Spain

National Museum of Art of Catolonia
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (National Museum of Art of Catolonia)

The world’s second-most-visited country is Spain, which received 71.66 million international visitors in 2022. 

Each year, millions of tourists flock to the cities of Madrid and Barcelona to experience their rich histories, stunning architecture, top museums, and vibrant nightlife. However, tourists first started coming to the country for its consistently mild climate and sandy beaches — and they continue to visit for these reasons today.

Spain’s most popular mainland coasts include the Costa Brava, the Costa Blanca, and the Costa del Sol, which are home to renowned resorts like Benidorm and Marbella. The country’s Canary Islands, with their year-round sunshine, and Balearic Islands also attract huge numbers of international tourists each year. Despite being relatively small, the Balearic island of Ibiza is a major party destination where the world’s best DJs play to crowds of thousands during the summer at famous clubs like Amnesia, Space, Privilege, DC10, and Ushuaïa.

Many tourists also visit Spain in the winter, thanks to its numerous ski resorts in locations all over the country, such as the Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada.

3. United States

Times Square, New York
Times Square, New York

The United States was visited by 50.87 million tourists in 2022, putting it in third place on this list.

Thanks to the dominance it has over TV and movie culture, the US is instantly recognizable for symbolic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Times Square in New York, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. Because these iconic landmarks are known all over the world, seeing them first-hand is on the bucket lists of many travelers.

4. Türkiye

Antalya Old Harbor
Antalya Old Harbor

In 2022, 50.45 million people visited Türkiye from abroad.

The country’s capital city, Istanbul, has thousands of hotels to accommodate the sheer number of tourists it receives each year, who visit the city for landmarks like the Blue Mosque, the Galata Tower, the Grand Bazaar, and the Spice Bazaar, as well as for shopping malls, museums, and cultural and sporting events.

Türkiye also attracts huge numbers of visitors to its beach resorts along the Aegean and Mediterranean Sea coastlines. Most of these are located in the south, on the Turkish Riviera, particularly near Antalya, which is often referred to as the tourism capital of Türkiye. Other resort towns include Alanya, Bodrum, Didim, and Fethiye.

Türkiye is also known for its medical tourism, offering high-quality healthcare that costs considerably less than it does in other countries.

5. Italy

Aerial view of Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy

Italy is the world’s fifth-most-visited country, attracting 49.81 million international tourists.

Some of the country’s biggest draws are its history, art, architecture, religious sites, cuisine, fashion, and landscape. It has 58 UNESCO World Heritage Sites — the most of any country — and thanks to its rich history, there are countless cultural artifacts for tourists to discover.

Rome, Milan, Venice, and Florence are some of Italy’s most popular cities for culture lovers, while outdoorsy types visit for its excellent skiing and hiking opportunities in the Alps, Dolomites, and Apennines mountain ranges.

Italy also has multiple seaside resorts along the Mediterranean Coast. However, the Amalfi Coast is arguably the most popular coastline in the country. 

6. Mexico

Cancun, Mexico
Cancun coastline

Sixth place goes to Mexico, which saw 38.33 million international visitors in 2022. 

The North American country has attracted tourists for decades thanks to its rich cultural heritage, fascinating history, warm climate, and world-famous cuisine.

The cities that attract the most tourists are Mexico City, the largest city in North America; Cancun, which lies on the Caribbean Sea coast; and the resort of Cabo San Lucas. An abundance of marine life, including sharks, rays, and striped marlin, makes Cabo San Lucas a popular scuba diving spot.

Mexico’s peak tourist seasons are in December and August. However, the week before Easter and Spring Break is also a popular time, with large numbers of US college students also visiting the country.

7. United Kingdom

Buckingham Palace, London
Buckingham Palace, London

The seventh-most-visited country in the world is the United Kingdom, with the number of tourists visiting in 2022 totaling 30.74 million.

The UK’s most visited cities include London, Edinburgh, York, Canterbury, Manchester, and Liverpool. Despite being relatively small, Oxford and Cambridge are also popular due to their universities, which are recognized all over the world.

There are 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK, including the Tower of London, Stonehenge, and the city of Bath. Other significant tourist attractions include the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, and Edinburgh Castle.

International tourists also visit the UK for its famous festivals, such as Glastonbury, Notting Hill Carnival, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

8. Germany

Marienplatz, Munich
Marienplatz, Munich

Germany had 28.46 million visitors in 2022, making it the world’s eighth-most-visited country. 

Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich are among the country’s most visited cities, with around six million people visiting Munich each year to join in the Oktoberfest celebrations.

Germany’s most popular landmarks are the Cologne Cathedral, the Reichstag in Berlin, and the Hofbräuhaus in Munich. Others include the Drosselgasse in Rüdesheim, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and the medieval towns of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

9. Greece

Santorini, Greece
Colorful houses on the island of Santorini

In ninth place is Greece, with 27.84 million international tourist arrivals.

One of the biggest reasons why Greece is so popular with tourists is that it is one of the oldest countries in the world, which means it has an incredibly rich history. Home to five of the ten oldest cities in Europe and two of the ten oldest cities in the world, there are numerous archaeological sites scattered all over the country — especially in the country’s capital, Athens. Some of the most famous of these include the Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and Plato’s Academy.

Greece’s mainland also has a long coastline, as well as many islands, making it one of the world’s top beach destinations. The islands of Corfu, Crete, Kos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, and Zante are particularly popular with sun-seeking tourists.

10. Austria

Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg is known as the “Rome of the North” due to its may churches.

26.21 million people visited Austria in 2022, which means it takes the tenth and final spot on the list of the world’s most visited countries.

What makes Austria a popular tourist destination are its historical sites, including many cathedrals and castles, lakes, wine bars, waltz concerts, and outdoor activities like skiing and mountaineering.

The capital, Vienna, is the country’s most visited city at any time of year, followed by Mozart’s birthplace of Salzburg in the summer and the western ski resorts of Ischgl, Obertauern, Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Sankt Anton am Arlberg, and Sölden during winter.

Some of Austria’s most visited landmarks are Schönbrunn Palace and Tiergarten Schönbrunn, both in Vienna, as well as Mariazell Basilica.

Data Sources:
United Nations World Tourism Organization: World Tourism Rankings (Inbound Tourism 2022)

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