Get Inspired to Travel with These 10 Most Visited Cities

Get Inspired to Travel with These 10 Most Visited Cities

Our Luggage Department’s Mid-May Madness discount promotion has got us thinking about all the amazing places to visit out there! If you’re looking for exciting travel ideas or if you’ve ever wondered what the most popular travel destinations are, with a little help from the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index report, these are the top 10 cities visited last year! They’re certainly a great start if you’re looking for a little inspiration for this year’s holiday…

 

10. Seoul

Seoul Gyeonbok Palace Image

With its impressive palaces, large museums and vibrant shopping areas, it’s not surprising that 10.2 million of us flocked to Seoul last year. This lively South Korean city has the perfect mixture of amazing food, traditional culture and its own quirky way of doing things.

Visitors to Seoul will discover that its world-class subway comes with a range of catchy jingles, that kimchi (cabbage fermented in chilli) is much nicer than it sounds and that, on an average day, you can quite easily witness “six impossible things before breakfast.” Boasting a very low crime rate, and a very welcoming approach to visitors, it’s really very hard not to love Seoul.

You can fly direct to Seoul's Incheon Airport from London, with a journey time of around 10-11 hours. If you've got the energy when you land, Incheon Airport has both an ice rink and a cinema...

 

9. Tokyo

Imperial Palace Tokyo Image

Image Courtesy of E. A. Woolley

Famous for its bustling atmosphere and neon lit skyscrapers, Tokyo is the 9th most popular travel destination in the world, with 11.7 million visitors. This sprawling city is in fact the largest in the world, and for those who want more than just towering buildings to make their holiday memorable, Tokyo won’t disappoint.

If you fancy a taste of the local culture, there’s the Imperial Palace, not to mention plenty of temples and shrines to visit. If you long to see some real, Japanese cherry blossom, a trip to Ueno Park in the spring is a must. Or, if you fancy a taste of Tokyo’s history, why not take a look at the old buildings in Kawagoe? We’ve no doubt you’ll find more than enough to keep you occupied in Tokyo!

A direct flight from London to Tokyo will take around 12 hours of your time, which should be just enough time to watch a few films, have a good snooze and excitedly flip through your travel guide. 

 

8. Istanbul

Istanbul Image

This amazing city is the perfect meeting point between East and West, which is probably why Istanbul drew 11.95 million visitors last year. As a European city, also heavily influenced by Asian culture and history, this city is a bit of a gem.

Istanbul’s famous skyline of domes and minarets in the Old Quarter is really stunning, towering over the old cobbled streets below. If you enjoy a bit of haggling, take a trip to a Turkish bazaar and see if you can snag yourself a bargain, or maybe just soak up some of the city’s incredible history, it has oodles of it to share. Sounds pretty great to us!

Istanbul is a mere 4 hour flight from Gatwick and Stanstead. You'll be enjoying the sights in no time at all!

 

7. Kuala Lumpur

Petronas Towers Kuala Lumpur Image

If you love the tropics, then Kuala Lumpur may be just the city for you. Last year KL attracted 12.02 million visitors, who all no doubt discovered the charms of Malaysia’s sweltering heat and roaming monkeys. This modern, high-rise city is surrounded by leafy palm plantations, and is full of wondrous things to see. If you aren't a fan of the heat you don't have to miss out, why not have a read of our blog on ways to keep cool?

The city is chock full of temples and wildlife, as well as the ultra-modern shopping delights of KL City Centre. Kuala Lumpur is diverse and multi-cultural, modern and traditional, and wherever you are, air conditioning is always mercifully close by. A must see for anyone not daunted by the heat (or the monkeys)!

You can fly to Kuala Lumpur direct in 13-14 hours from Heathrow. If that sounds like a very long time, there are plenty of options for taking a layover enroute, which could be a fantastic way to see another great city. 

 

6. Singapore

Gardens By The Bay Singapore Image

With 12.11 million visitors in 2016, Singapore has proven to be a very popular holiday destination. This ultra-modern city has sprung up over the last century or so, and just oozes cool.

With its boutique shopping districts, must-try restaurants and impressive theme parks, Singapore makes a fantastic city break for couples, groups and families. It’s also a wonderfully green city with its Botanical Gardens and award-winning Gardens by the Bay. And, if all of that isn’t tempting enough, well, Singapore also has its very own Night Safari. Yes, we did say Night Safari…it doesn’t get much better than that!

Singapore is roughly 13 hours flying time from London's major airports, and not too far from Kuala Lumpur, if you have your heart set on seeing both.

 

5. New York City

New York Taxi Image

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that New York is one of the most visited cities in the world. In fact, NYC is the most visited city in North America, with 12.75 million visitors last year alone. This sleepless city has so much to do that its popularity is pretty hard to argue with.

Visitors to New York are spoilt with a selection of arts and culture, amazing sight-seeing and sooo much food! To get the most out of your time in New York, New York, we suggest a walk through Central Park, a trip down the Hudson River and perhaps a little bargain shopping on Canal Street. Be sure, also, to try a gigantic pretzel from a street vendor before you leave!

You'll find yourself in New York about 7-8 hours after taking off from one of London's airports, which should give you a little extra time to get excited about all the things you're going to see! 

 

4. Dubai

Dubai Image

 Dubai has become very a very popular holiday spot in recent years, last year attracting 15.27 million of us to its sandy shores. As home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and some of the world’s finest shopping, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise to see Dubai so high up on this list.

To make the most of your time in the United Arab Emirates, a little desert safari (complete with barbeque and belly dancing performance) is a real treat. You can also swim with dolphins at Dolphin Bay or even give shark diving a go at the Aquarium! There’s lots of exciting things to sink your teeth into in this desert city by the sea.

Dubai is about the same length flight from London as New York is, around 7-8 hours away, although ideally flying in the opposite direction, or you're probably terribly lost. 

 

3. Paris

The Louvre Paris Image

Ah, the city of light! Last year 18.03 million of us wandered along the banks of the Seine, strolled down the Champs Elysees and climbed the steps of the Eiffel Tower. Paris has been a favourite with travellers for hundreds of years, and its seems its old appeal has never faded.

This is probably because the city oozes romance and culture, and boasts a history that attracts visitors from all over the world. It also can’t hurt that Paris is only an hour’s train Journey away from Disneyland… For those who love long leisurely meals, art, architecture and…um, Mickey Mouse, you really can’t get much better than a trip to Paris.

Paris is blissfully close, with a flight time from London of about 1 hour. If you prefer the Eurostar, you can be there in roughly an 2 and a half hours. Parfait!

 

2. London

London from Waterloo Bridge Image

Yup. Our very own capital city is the second most popular travel destination in the world, with an impressive 19.88 million overnight visitors last year. We’re hardly going to argue, after all, London really does have a little bit of everything to offer.

Samuel Pepys once wrote that “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life,” and we think this must be London’s secret to success. It really is very hard to get tired of such an energetic, cosmopolitan city, after all. With tourist favourites such as Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Buckingham palace, not to mention free museums and the buzz of the West End, London has something for everyone!

So close to Oxford, there's no reason to miss out on a little time in London. England's capital city is roughly 60 miles away, which is only about 1 hour 45 minutes driving time (if the traffic is friendly), or an hour by train!


1. Bangkok

Bangkok Image

Ta-daaa! The top spot for most visited city in the world is currently held by Bangkok. Last year Bangkok had a jaw dropping 21.47 million visitors, we must say we’re pretty impressed.

As a diverse city with something different around every corner, and packed full of amazing things to see, it’s not surprising that Bangkok has become such a popular place to visit. With stunning sights such as The Grand Palace, Taling Chan floating market and The Temple of the Emerald Buddah, Bangkok is the sort of city that’s bound to keep your camera very very busy!

To get a real taste of Thailand, trying Bangkok’s famous street food is a must. If you’re feeling especially daring, you can even give fried worms or grass hoppers a try! And, if the South East Asian humidity starts to get too much, a trip on the Skytrain will give you a chance to see some of the city in the cool. As a city with so much to offer its visitors, what’s not to love?!

A direct flight from London to Bangkok takes around 11-12 hours. We reckon half a day in the air is probably more than worth it for a little time in this amazing city.

 

Get Travelling!

Jim and Madge Angkor Wat

This selection of amazing cities really shows that the global tourist trade is booming, and that we’re off exploring new and far flung destinations in ever increasing numbers. While travel to (and within) Europe still accounts for about 51% of all international travel, we’re far from missing out on all the other amazing places out there! 

In fact, the UN World Tourism Organization reported that in 2015 about 50 million more people were travelling than the year before, accounting for around $1.5 trillion in global exports! That’s a lot of amazing adventures and memories that we’ve all been out there making. Even Jim and Madge, our Playmobil couple, have been off having some incredible holiday adventures!

Samsonite Lite-Shock Suitcase Image

If you’re planning a special trip this year, you might want to take a look at some of the fantastic discounts currently on offer in our Luggage Department, which include Samsonite suitcases and all sorts of travel goodies by Eastpak and Go Travel. If you need a little extra help on which suitcase to pick, read our handy guide, or pop into our Luggage Department for an extra helping hand. 

For some more fantastic ideas for places to visit, why not check out Trip Advisor’s Traveller’s Choice Top 25 Destinations, which includes Bali, Siem Reap, Crete and Prague?

If these top travel destinations have whet your appetite for the holiday of a lifetime, what are you waiting for? Grab your suitcase and go explore!

 

Posted by Elena Woolley
11th May 2017

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