2018 was a huge success for the European tourism industry, despite the looming consequences of Brexit, with many countries noting a dramatic increase in the number of visitors. Today we turn back the hands of time to bring you those destinations that stood above others in the year that was. Here’s how they rank:
Top of the list of the most visited countries in the world for two years running, France was the ultimate European destination if last year’s international tourist arrivals are anything to go by. Lyon, Alsace, Strasbourg, and the famous romantic capital of Paris have attracted most tourists within the country availing numerous natural parks, tiny winsome villages, and pleasing beaches to savor. The country’s success in the tourism sector can also be narrowed down to amazing art museums, last year’s world triumph which brought with it a surge of attention, and of course the legendary Eiffel Tower monument.
The annual GPD of Spain leans crucially on tourism which goes to show how well the sector has thrived even accounting for as much as 11% of the total. Seville, Madrid, and Barcelona are its most famous cities availing pleasing cityscapes, carnivals, festivals and plenty of UNESCO World Heritage Sites- more than forty in total- to enthrall the masses. Its modern architectural wonders such as the Guggenheim Museum and its generosity in pre-historic rock art ensured the “Kingdom of Spain” earned a place on 2018’s highlight reel.
Croatia might not boast the lofty figures of its counterparts on this list but that’s partly because of its small size in comparison with some of the vast nations herein. Nonetheless, no one can dismiss its tourism prowess with its lovely islands, wondrous national parks, ancient Roman architecture, fortified cities, sun-blessed sandy beaches and culinary expertise seeing it regularly feature in discussions regarding the best European destination to not only visit but also live in. In fact, the number of people buying property in Croatia astronomically spiked in 2018 with the rustic charm of the Adriatic coupled with a neutral political climate and a warm population certainly having a hand in that.
Home to one of the wonders of the world, Italy’s ancient cosmopolitan city of Rome has propelled the nation to the top of travel tabloids everywhere. The Roman Colosseum best typifies the country’s greatest interest which is an immense historical track record spanning 50 UNESCO-listed features strewn together from iconic periods in time. Italy’s coastal positioning has also earned it a place in the heart of travelers availing a world of pristine sailing across unforgettable archipelagos.
Rich history notwithstanding Greece’s most pleasing aspect is its offshore appeal. Chalk white buildings and Venetian structures characterize the seasides of a massive coastline that presents storybook towns. Surrounded by the Ionian, Aegean, and Mediterranean seas, the islands awaiting exploration number about 6,000 of which more than 200 hundred offer visitors uninhabited seclusions oozing with beautiful scenery.
Russia, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Iceland have also outdone themselves in 2018 and are deserving of a shout out even if they didn’t make it onto this list.