Top 10 Most Visited Cities Worldwide and Interesting Facts About Them

City trips are popular. In our blog post, we show you the top 10 of the most visited cities worldwide. But we will also give you some background info about these top places to visit, which you might not know.
So, let’s discover these amazing places and get travel ideas for your future city breaks or stopovers.

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What do you think are the 10 most visited cities in the world?

Which one is the most visited city in the world? Can you guess?

Today we will reveal the top 10, based on numbers for the most overnight stays (source: The Global Destination Cities Index by MasterCard).
(note: This list is based on the 2017 numbers and predictions for 2018. This is the latest data available. However, over the last years, the ranking only changed marginal and can be expected to stay more or less the same for the coming years.)

To inspire you and give you travel ideas to add to your bucket list, we collected some interesting, fun, and sometimes even odd facts for each of the cities.

Ready to dive into the top 10 places to visit?

SEOUL – 10th place

About 9,54 million overnight visitors have been traveling to Seoul in 2017 (latest available number). Sounds like a lot, but this is not even half as many as for the top scorer.

Seoul, the capital city of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) has a lot to offer to visitors.

The city was founded more than 2000 years ago and combines history with modern life and technology. Its current name was only given in 1945.

Seoul does not only has five UNESCO World Heritage sites but also holds an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records: Bukhansan National Park is the national park with the highest number of visitors per square foot.

Seoul is number 10 of the most visited cities and is amongst the top places to visit
Seoul is a great travel idea
Seoul, the number 10 of the most visited cities worldwide, combines modern life with ancient culture (images: Pixabay)

ISTANBUL – 9th place

Istanbul is one of the oldest cities in the world and ranks 9th places of the most visited cities with 10.7 million overnight visitors in 2017.

It is also called the city of three names because of its history of Istanbul, Constantinople, and Byzantium.

Furthermore, it is the only city located on 2 continents, Asia and Europe.

Funny fact: to ensure people used the Istanbul name in and after 1930, the Turkish post office didn’t deliver the mail addressed to Constantinople.

If you’re in town, then you don’t want to miss the world’s oldest known love poem in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. A poem that was most likely written by a bride chosen for the king Shu-Sin (king of Sumer and Akkad).

Istanbul, a top place to visit and number 9 of the most visited cities
Istanbul is the only city in the world that is located on two continents. (image: Pixabay)

TOKYO – 8th place

Tokyo, the capital of Japan, features 8th place with 11.93 million overnight visitors in 2017.

The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world.

Seoul was turned into the seat of government already in 1603 and hit the one million population mark in the 18th century. It is hard to believe that Tokyo was once a small fishing village.

Did you know that a large number of islands belongs to Tokyo? Some of these are as far away from the mainland as 1800 km.

The city has a lot to offer with respect to architecture and culture. Many museums are spread throughout the city, which makes Tokyo also a top place to visit for culture travel.

Tokyo has many friendship agreements with other capital cities, such as Paris, Berlin, Rome, Sao Paulo etc.

Tokyo, a travel idea and one of the most visited cities in the world.
The beautiful skyline of Tokyo. No wonder, it is amongst the most visited cities in the world. (image: Pixabay)
Tokyo has a lot of offer to architecture lovers.
Amazing modern architecture makes Tokyo an interesting place to visit.

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KUALA LUMPUR – 7th place

Kuala Lumpur is home to 1.8 million people and ranks number 7 in terms of overnight visitors with 12.58 million in 2017.

The words Kuala Lumpur literally mean ‘Muddy Confluence’. The city got this nickname because it was founded at the confluence of Gombak River and Klang River.

The city has its own global icon in the Petronas Twin Towers – designed by the Argentine Cesar Pelli. Between 1998 through 2004 they were the world’s tallest buildings, and are still regarded as the world’s tallest ‘twin’ buildings. The breathtaking skyline makes Kuala Lumpur a top place to visit.

When visiting Kuala Lumpur, you will hear its residents often being called KLites thanks to Kuala Lumpur being referred to as KL.

The skyline of Kuala Lumpur, one of the most visited cities in the world.
Many large cities have breathtaking skylines, and Kuala Lumpur is no exception. The Petronas Twin Towers are the signature buildings of the city. (image: Pixabay)

NEW YORK – 6th place

The most visited city in the United States welcomed 13.13 million overnight visitors in 2017. In terms of the overall number of visitors, even 61 million were reported for 2016.

Ever since 1790 New York is the largest city in the United States (previously it was Philadelphia) and a top place to visit.

Today, no other city in the world is home to so many outside of the US-born residents (>3 million).

New York is home to some of the best-known sightseeing attractions in the world but is also famous for its architecture
More than 550 buildings are 100m (330ft) or taller. 
Two famous buildings of the Art Deco style are the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. The latter was the world’s tallest building from 1931-1970.

New York, a good travel idea and one of the top places to visit in the world.
One of the signature buildings of New York, the Empire State Building. The tallest building in the world from 1931 to 1972. (image: Pixabay)
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SINGAPORE – 5th place

With 13.91 million overnight visitors Singapore runs 5th place on the list of the most visited cities. The city-state forms the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia.

Singapore was founded in 1819 and only gained independence from the UK in 1963.

Love exploring cities all over the world? Check out some of our blog posts about
Mexico City, Barcelona or Hong Kong.

Singapore is highly developed and has made it to the top 1 of the most expensive cities in the world several times in a row (source: The Economist, Worldwide Cost of Living 2018).

The city offers numerous nice parks and recreational areas, such as the Zoo, Universal Studios or the Marine Life Park. A landmark of Singapore is the Gardens by the Bay recreational area.

Due to its size yet high population density, the number of private cars is restricted and owners need to bid for a Certificate of Entitlement that allows to register and drive a car for a period of 10 years.

Singapore, number 5 of the most visited cities
Singapore ranks 5th place of the most visited cities with its combination of traditional and modern life. (image: Pixabay)
Singapore, a top place to visit with its Gardens by the Bay
The Gardens by the Bay are is a landmark of the city and an amazing recreational area. (image: Pixabay)

DUBAI – 4th place

The largest city of the United Arabic Emirates had 15.79 million overnight visitors in 2017 and ranks 4th place of the most visited cities worldwide.

Dubai is best known for its incredible hotels and buildings and holds numerous world records regarding ‘largest or tallest in the world‘.
This includes the world’s largest indoor ski hall, the tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa 828 m), the largest flower garden (Dubai Miracle Garden), and the probably most luxurious hotel in the world (Burj Al Arab).

Although most of us still connect the name with oil, today, only about 5% of the cities revenue comes from this. The cities wealth is mainly based on tourism, financial services and as you can guess real estates.

Dubai, a travel idea
Dubai holds many records. One of these is the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. (image: Pixabay)

PARIS – 3rd place

With 17.44 million overnight visitors we now enter the top 3 of the most visited cities. And for many people i symbolizes the ‘city of love’.

Île de la Cité is the birthplace of Paris. In 52 BC Roman troops first joined the Celtic settlers living on the small island.

The Eiffel tower is the town’s landmark. However, did you know that the Eiffel tower was originally intended to last only 20 years? It was saved by the scientific experiments that Eiffel himself encouraged.

And watch out traffic in Paris! Up until 2012, you could only find one single “STOP“ sign in the city. This sign also has since been removed. The traffic system in Paris is based on giving way to those coming from the right.

Paris, the city of love. A top place to visit in Europe.
Paris has a lot to offer but is best known for history, art, cousine and romantic places. A city full of life. (image: Pixabay)

LONDON – 2nd place

With 19.83 million overnight visitors, London was the runner-up in 2017 and the second European City within the top 3.

But did you know that London was founded by the Romans in 43AD? They named it Londinium.

It is amazing that the City of London has 4 World Heritage Sites; The Tower of London, The Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, The Palace of Westminster, and Maritime Greenwich.

London combines history with modern life as hardly any other city does. It is widely reflected in the architecture, but also in the lifestyle.

London, the most visited city in Europe and a top place to visit.
Although not as historic as so many other buildings, the Tower Bridge (opened 1894) is for many people a landmark of London. (image: Pixabay)


BANGKOK – 1st place

Would you have guessed that Bangkok is the number 1 visited city? About 20.05 million stayed overnight in Bangkok in 2017.

The city is home to over 8 million people. Local people refer to it as Krung Thep but this is just a shortened version of the actual name which consists of 169 (!) characters.

Thailand has some rather strange, outdated laws. So, if you are in Bangkok, be aware that it is illegal to leave the house without wearing underwear.

You might know that ‘Sawadee Krhap/Kaa’ means ‘Hello’.
But did you know that prior to 1930, the most common way to say hello was to say ‘Gin kaow leaow ruu yang?’ (‘Have you eaten yet?’).

Bangkok, the number 1 of the most visited cities
The impressive Bangkok skyline makes it a top place to visit. (image: Pixabay)
The Wat Pho Temple in Bangkok
The Wat Pho Temple in Bangkok is one of many historic/religious places to visit. (image: Pixabay)

Travel Ideas for Bangkok

Looking for travel ideas in Bangkok, the most visited city in the world?

No problem, we’ve go you covered. So just hop over to mundolore and discover what mundolore travellers write about the amazing places in Bangkok and nearby places in Thailand.

Thailand / Bangkok mini travel guides (click here)

Or discover all travel ideas on mundolore:

mundolore mini travel guides, your sightseeing planning tool

What is your favourite city in the world?

Are you surprised by the ranking? 

And what about you?

Leave us a comment and tell us which city is next on your list and which one is your favorite city in the world.

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