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The Cities

So, you ask, what cities should I visit? Maybe you have talked with people and heard the stories of their visits, and this has stirred your curiosity and imagination. Through the years you have read or heard about historical events and want to see and experience the actual place where these events occurred. You may be curious about your family’s ancestors and where they came from before immigrating to America. Depending on your interests, some cities may become more attractive for you to visit.

When one thinks of cities in Europe, these are most likely the names that roll off a person’s lips first. These are some of Europe’s most visited as well as, interesting and famous cities. They are absolutely a must to see when visiting a particular country. They typically are the largest and in most instances the capitol of a country. Most at one time or even now, served as the centers of commerce, education and cultural of their regions or countries. In some cases, some were the political home of great empires that held dominion across Europe and the world. Their rich history, culture and attractions make them the reason why they are visited more than any of the others. 

For some time now we have looked at how many tourists visit a city to determine which ones are the most popular. This is not always a good barometer for American’s as many Europeans flock to resort destinations like Antalya in Turkey, Mallorca in Spain or Rimini in Italy for vacations. This is not unlike American’s escaping the cold winter months for warm vacations in the Caribbean or Mexico. While these maybe be great get aways for Europeans to relax they shouldn’t be on top of an America’s priority list.

However, one must now keep in mind other factors that make cities more favorable than others besides their tourist attractions. These factors should be taken into consideration as they can result in a better experience for the traveler. The following explains Euromonitor’s Top City Destination index to rate the most favorable cities for tourism.

Economic & Business Performance

Economic and Business Performance measures city performance and development across key macroeconomic and demographic parameters. The pillar aims to capture the impact of economic development on tourism performance and the economic ability of cities to support tourism growth. The demographic factors are also accounted for under the pillar given that trends such as migration levels and labour market indicators also impact broader economic growth and labour force participation in the tourism sector.

Tourism Performance

Tourism Performance aims to encompass the overall tourism demand in the city by international and domestic tourists from the country as well as value generated by these visitors. While, traditionally, many leading cities have remained focused on boosting international travel, the pandemic has highlighted the need to focus on and develop the domestic travel sector.

Tourism Policy and Attractiveness

The role of favourable tourism policy is critical to the development and enhancement of the travel sector for cities. The importance of this is reflected by the emergence of city tourism boards in the last two decades. The pillar explores regulatory aspects such as ease of travel, price stability of a destination and social media presence as these contribute to the attractiveness of a city destination given changing consumer lifestyles.

Tourism Infrastructure

Tourism Infrastructure measures the presence of physical infrastructure and attractions needed to support visitor growth in a city. Transportation, lodging, avenues of entertainment such as cultural sites and educational facilities have been key decision factors for city visitors. Thus, diversifying traveller experiences through public-private partnerships is becoming prominent in tourism strategies.

Health & Safety

The importance of health and safety for cities has been further underscored by the covid-19 pandemic where not only are political stability and social safety relevant but so is safety against diseases and epidemics. These factors define many of the tourism policy directives including visa policies and traveller immunisation with many of the protocols expected to be integrated more explicitly post-pandemic.

Sustainability

With the increased impact of climate change and wider ramifications on the environment and society, not only are governments putting sustainability on their policy agendas but private sector players in the tourism industry are also investing in sustainable business practices. The pillar looks at city performance on aspects such as pollution and levels of overtourism as these reshape tourist preference for destinations.

Europe’s Top City Destinations…

These are Europe’s top cities to visit for many reasons and should always be at the top of anyone’s to see list. There are many more worth visiting and in fact like other travelers may find ones more interesting for multiple reasons. Go to our ➾ More Classical Cities page for a comprehensive list and suggestions.

Find your city of interests on the list and click on the information links. The cities listed here have their own city page with detailed information:

 Paris #1
Paris

#1 – TCI World Rank
#1 – Tourism Performance

 Amsterdam #3
Amsterdam

#3 – TCI World Rank

Madrid #4
Madrid

#4 – TCI World Rank
#1 – Sustainability

 Rome
Rome

#5 – TCI World Rank

rome
Berlin

#7 – TCI World Rank

 London
London

#8 – TCI World Rank
#1 – Tourism Infrastructure

 Munich
Munich

#9 – TCI World Rank

 Barcelona
Barcelona

#10 – TCI World Rank

  Vienna
Vienna

#11 – TCI World Rank

  Milan
Milan

#12 – TCI World Rank

 Prague
Prague

#13 – TCI World Rank

  Dublin
Dublin

#16 – TCI World Rank
#1 – Tourism Policy & Attractiveness

 Lisbon
Lisbon

#17 – TCI World Rank

 Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt am Main

#18 – TCI World Rank

 Zrich
Zürich

#19 – TCI World Rank

  Istanbul
Istanbul

#20 – TCI World Rank

Florence
Florence

#21 – TCI World Rank

Athens
Athens

#26 – TCI World Rank

 Venice
Venice

#27 – TCI World Rank

  Brussels
Brussels

#29 – TCI World Rank

Stockholm
Stockholm

#40 – TCI World Rank

Nice
Nice

#42 – TCI World Rank

 Moscow
Moscow

#44 – TCI World Rank

Edinburg
Edinburg

#46 – TCI World Rank

Copenhagen
Copenhagen

#47 – TCI World Rank

 Rhodes
Rhodes

#48 – TCI World Rank

 Plama de Mallorca
Plama de Mallorca

#51 – TCI World Rank

 Antalya
Antalya

#52 – TCI World Rank

Warsaw
Warsaw

#53 – TCI World Rank

Budapest
Budapest

#54 – TCI World Rank

 Verona
Verona

#54 – TCI World Rank

 Heraklion
Heraklion

#61 – TCI World Rank

St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg

#63 – TCI World Rank

 Tallinn
Tallinn

#67 – TCI World Rank

 Porto
Porto

#68 – TCI World Rank

Krakow
Krakow

#69 – TCI World Rank

Go To Euromonitor International “Top 100 City Destinations” To find how the cities of the world scored in all categories of the index.

More Classical Cities

Great European Neighborhoods

Tourists Arrivals by City..

Annual Visitors

City, Country2016201720182019World
Rank
London, England, UK19,05919,82819,23319,5593
Paris, France13,92615,83417,56019,0876
Istanbul, Turkey9,21810,73013,43314,71510
Rome, Italy9,3539,53110,06510,31716
Prague, Czechia8,2008,8068,9489,15022
Amsterdam, Netherlands6,8987,8488,3548,83525
Barcelona, Spain6,5156,2886,7147,01633
Milan, Italy6,1756,3476,4816,60435
Vienna, Austria5,8676,1866,4106,63437
Berlin, Germany5,5595,6275,9596,19541
Athens, Greece4,5264,7975,7286,30143
Moscow, Russia4,5714,8005,5105,96945
Venice, Italy5,2125,3165,5025,59046
Madrid, Spain5,1315,2735,4405,59747
Dublin, Ireland4,8104,9865,2135,46250
Florence, Italy4,8444,9415,0595,12551
Munich, Germany3,3893,8294,0664,20556
St. Petersburg, Russia2,8403,6003,9964,45759
Brussels, Belgium2,5113,4303,9424,27660
Budapest, Hungary3,5113,6543,8224,02562
Lisbon, Portugal3,1363,5223,5393,63963
Heraklion, Greece2,8853,1473,3713,03466
Copenhagen, Denmark2,8872,9633,0693,18571
Kraków, Poland2,6502,8002,8502,91074
Warsaw, Poland2,7332,6302,7322,98083
Frankfurt am Main, Germany2,4062,4962,6362,72887
Stockholm, Sweden2,3272,4732,6042,72188
Nice, France2,1642,3272,4662,58292
Porto, Portugal1,9692,2322,3412,49196
Rhodes, Greece2,0912,1782,3372,41497
      
Cities in Europe by international arrivals for 2017, 2018 & 2019 in the millions. Sources are consulting firm Euromonitor for the top 100 cities in the world.