Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Nellie Huang
Every year, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) compiles a report with international tourist arrivals for every country. This is the latest list of the most visited countries in the world, based on their recent report.
Here are the top 10 most visited countries according to UNWTO, listed in descending order. I’ve been to all 10 of the most visited countries and have included my tips on how to visit them.
Table of Contents
- Most Visited Countries in the World
- 10.United Kingdom: 39 million visitors
- 9. Thailand: 40 million visitors
- 8. Germany: 40 million visitors
- 7. Mexico: 45 million visitors
- 6. Turkey: 51 million visitors
- 5. Italy: 65 million visitors
- 4. China: 66 million visitors
- 3. United States: 79 million visitors
- 2. Spain: 84 million visitors
- 1. France: 89 million visitors
Most Visited Countries in the World
10.United Kingdom: 39 million visitors
The United Kingdom dropped two places this year, perhaps due to the results of Brexit.
Most people rarely venture beyond the cultural capital of London; the UK actually has quite a lot to offer on its shores, beyond the cities. There’s the old-world charm of England, the dramatic landscapes of Scotland and the lesser known coastline of Wales. The Scottish Highlands definitely make for a good road trip, while hiking in the Lake District is one of the best experiences in England.
We spent a year living in London and loved the international vibes that London has to offer. For those short of time, you can see quite a lot with just a weekend in London: check out this detailed 3-day London itinerary.
Best Things to Do in UK:
- London Eye – See England’s capital from above and be prepared to be blown away!
- River Thames Cruise – Take to the waters and see London’s main sights
- Explore Lake District National Park – Immerse in the English countryside
- See Loch Ness – Feast on the most dramatic landscapes of Scottish Highlands
- Daytrip to Stonehenge – The most famous historical site in the country
Best Places to Stay in UK:
- The Savoy – London’s most iconic landmark hotel poised on the banks of the Thames
- Laura Ashley Hotel the Belsfield – The most famous 5-star hotel in the Lake District
- Riverbed Lodges – A unique country lodge with wooden cabins and hot tubs
- Mercure Salisbury White Hart Hotel – Another Georgian landmark hotel with a history
9. Thailand: 40 million visitors
Thailand’s influence in the tourism sphere has always been high, and it continues to rank as one of the countries with most tourists.
Home to some of the best beaches in Southeast Asia, Thailand draws in huge crowds of backpackers and travelers from around the globe in search of cheap food, beaches and party atmosphere.
But Thailand is a lot more than beaches: its temples and palaces are treasure troves of history and culture. Plus food in Thailand is well known throughout the world. Rent a car and head up north — there are plenty of things to do in Chiang Mai, from jungle trekking to white water rafting and hikes to secluded temples.
Best Things to Do in Thailand:
- Bangkok Floating Market – Experience local’s way of life at Damnoen Saduak
- 4×4 Island Safari on Koh Samui – Get adventurous on this beautiful island
- Snorkel/dive at Koh Tao – Best island to go scuba diving in Thailand
- Hike and Bike in Chiang Mai – Get active in the hills of northern Thailand
- Learn Muay Thai Boxing – Take lessons from a professional trainer
- Visit Hmong Tribes – Go deep into the rural villages to visit long-necked tribal ladies
Best Places to Stay in Thailand:
- Banyan Tree Bangkok – Home to Bangkok’s most exclusive rooftop bar
- Six Senses Samui – A true beachfront hideaway and retreat
- Naroua Villas Koh Tao – Spectacular hill-top villa with private pool
- Veranda Chiangmai – 5-star resort set amidst rice and tea fields
8. Germany: 40 million visitors
Many of Germany’s major cities are tourist magnets especially in festive season – drawing in visitors with their Christmas markets, beer festivals and summer events. If you are planning to visit at Christmas, check out this list of the best Christmas markets in Germany.
Munich’s Oktoberfest itself accounts for a big percentage of the annual visitors, while Berlin and Frankfurt attract mainly European city lovers. If you rent a car in Germany, you’ll get to explore the Rhine River, Black Forest and more of its backcountry. Check out our list of best places to visit in Germany.
Best Things to Do in Germany:
- Berlin Wall Bike Tour – Learn about Germany’s history on two wheels in the capital
- Munich Old Town – A charming city packed to the brim with historical buildings
- Daytrip to Neuschwanstein Castle – The iconic landmark that inspired Walt Disney
- Rhine Valley – A UNESCO site with lots of vineyards and picturesque villages
- Oktoberfest – The craziest time of the year to visit Germany!
Best Places to Stay in Germany:
- Hotel Adlon Kempinski – Legendary 5-star hotel with best reputation in Berlin
- Bayerischer Hof – A historic landmark hotel in Munich with a rooftop pool
- Burghotel auf Schönburg – Experience staying in a castle at this Rhine Valley hotel
- Wyndham Lahnstein Koblenz – A stunning hilltop hotel overlooking the Rhine Valley
7. Mexico: 45 million visitors
Mexico remains at #7 on the most visited countries list. It’s easy to see why Mexico is on this list, considering you can just drive to Mexico from the United States. Check out our 2-week Mexico itinerary!
The number of visitors to Mexico alone is higher than the total number of visitors in the entire Caribbean (25.2 million). Most of these numbers come from the Yucatan Peninsula, an extremely popular destination lined with gorgeous beaches, ancient Mayan ruins, and lush tropical jungles. Check out my long list of things to do in Yucatan.
Mexico City, home to 12 million people, is also an excellent place to visit for history and culture. Major towns like Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende are also extremely popular with culture vultures who are interested in the colonial history and Mexican traditions. Food lovers flock to Oaxaca, best known for having Mexico’s best foods.
Best Things to Do in Mexico:
- Mexico City Street Food Tour – Dig deep into the Mexican culinary world
- Visit Teotihuacan Pyramids – Explore the pyramid that dates back to 100 B.C.
- Daytrip to San Miguel de Allende – The most charming colonial city in Mexico
- Explore Underground Cenotes in Tulum – Swim in natural sinkholes
- Wander Guadalajara – One of Mexico’s major colonial cities
- Chichén Itzá – Visit another major Mayan ruin on the Yucatan Peninsula
Best Places to Stay in Mexico:
- Las Alcobas DF – A contemporary hotel in Mexico City with an excellent location
- Viceroy Riviera Maya – One of the best beach resorts on the Yucatan Peninsula
- Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada – A colonial mansion turned charming heritage hotel
- Quinta Real Guadalajara – Another stunning colonial hotel filled with history
6. Turkey: 51 million visitors
Turkey has climbed up two spaces since last year to come in at #6 on this list of the most visited countries in the world. Extremely diverse and packed to the brim with epic tourist sights, Turkey truly makes an outstanding destination for all kinds of travelers.
Spanning across Europe and Asia, Turkey is famed for its distinctive cultures, age-old traditions and varied landscapes. Historically, Turkey was home to distinctive civilizations through the centuries, with impressive Roman ruins and Ottoman architecture to bear witness.
Today, it’s home to many outstanding historical sites and natural attractions: from the unique cotton travertines of Pamukkale to the whimsical valleys of Cappadocia. Its biggest city, Istanbul, is the crowd-puller, attracting travelers around the world with its blend of East-meets-West and old-meets-new. Read our list of cool things to do in Istanbul.
Best Things to Do in Turkey:
- Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise – Cross the river that straddles Europe and Asia
- Daytrip to Pamukkale – Stunning white travertines terraces and cotton castles
- Hot Air Balloon Flight in Cappadocia – Float over whimsical fairy chimneys
- Visit Ancient Ruins of Esphesus – Learn history at this historical site
- See Whirling Dervishes – Witness the trance-like spiritual Turkish dance
Best Places to Stay in Turkey:
- Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul – Ottoman-style 5-star hotel with best views
- Yunak Evleri Cappadocia – Spectacular boutique cave hotel in Cappadocia
- Richmond Esphesus Resort – Charming beachside resort close to Esphesus
- Venus Suite Hotel – Comfortable hotel with excellent location in Pamukkale
5. Italy: 65 million visitors
Italy’s attractions are world famous: from the romantic canals of Venice to the charming fishing villages of Cinque Terre and the city of caves, Matera. It’s home to the most beautiful places in Europe. The country provides a diverse travel experience – you can drive from the Italian coast to rustic olive groves to dramatic mountains in one day.
Italy is one of our favorite countries in the world, and it’s obvious we’re not the only ones who have fallen for its charms. As far as tourism trends go, we predict that Italy’s tourism numbers will only keep rising. If you’re looking for Italy trip ideas, check out my Southern Italy itinerary and Cinque Terre travel guide.
We’ve been to Italy many times, the first time more than 15 years ago. And we just keep returning.
Best Things to Do in Italy:
- Ancient Rome and Colosseum – Visit one of the world’s most impressive ancient sites
- Vatican City Tour – Get to know a one-of-its-kind holy site for Christians
- Amalfi Coast Roadtrip – Drive the scenic Amalfi Coast and see its stunning villages
- Wine Tasting in Tuscany – Immerse in the Tuscan countryside and try local produce
- Daytrip to Cinque Terre – Hike amidst the five cliff-edged villages
Best Places to Stay in Italy:
- Aldrovandi Villa Borghese – Rome’s classic five-star landmark hotel in the city centre
- Le Sirenuse – A postcard-perfect hotel poised on the hilltop town of Positano, Amalfi
- Castel Monastero – A restored medieval hamlet surrounded by Tuscan olive groves
- Grand Hotel Portovenere – A seafront landmark hotel in the Cinque Terre
4. China: 66 million visitors
Since it opened its doors to tourism, the number of visitors to China has skyrocketed, largely due to an increase in global business dealings and cultural exchange. And it doesn’t look like that’s going to stop anytime soon.
It’s easy to see how China has become of the top tourist countries, blessed with hundreds of ancient cities, historical sites and good food. Its iconic landmarks – from the Great Wall of China to the terracotta army in Xi’an – have been gaining in popularity thanks to social media.
Even in the crowded capital city of Beijing, there are lots of secret corners with local flair and cultural heritage. Our two-week China itinerary included farming in Yangshuo, climbing up the world’s tallest Buddha statue and hiking Mount Emei. It was an epic trip!
Best Things to Do in China:
- Beijing Forbidden City – Visit one of China’s most iconic site
- Peking Opera Show – Authentic Chinese cultural experience in Beijing’s best theater.
- Hike the Great Wall – Walk the best-preserved part of the Great Wall, Jinshanling
- Xi’An Terracotta Army – See the terracotta warriors buried 2000 years ago
- Daytrip to Mount Huangshan – Reach the summit by cable car for panoramic views
- Float on Li River in Yangshuo – Meet the traditional fishermen of Guilin
Best Places to Stay in China:
- Shichahai Sandalwood Boutique Hotel Beijing – A charming heritage hotel converted from a Qing dynasty mansion
- Beijng Gubei Duajia Inn – Traditional inn located in the old-world Gubei water town
- Wyndham Grand Xian South – An elegant oriental-style five-star hotel
- Alila Yangshuo – Stylish retreat that blends in naturally with the environment
3. United States: 79 million visitors
Stretching from California in the West to New York in the East, the United States of America covers an area of 3.79 million square miles. That’s a whole lot of country to explore! It has been on the top of the most traveled countries list for years.
The U.S. is as diverse as it is huge: with expansive national parks and vibrant cities visited by foreign tourists, local visitors and business travelers alike. For first-time visitors, we recommend doing a road trip, just rent a car and plan your route beforehand!. Be sure to check out our 2-week California itinerary and our Florida road trip.
New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and San Francisco are the most visited cities in the U.S. But the beauty of America lies in its backcountry. Yosemite and Grand Canyon National Parks are some of the best national parks in USA.
Best Things to Do in the US:
- Cruise Around Statue of Liberty – Get up close to America’s most famous monument
- Empire State Building – Head up to the highest open-air observatory in New York
- San Francisco Bay – Cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge and visit Alcatraz
- Daytrip to Yosemite and Sequoia – Visit two of California’s top national parks
- Los Angeles’ Hollywood Studio Tour – Get a behind-the-scenes look in Hollywood
- Authentic Luau in Hawaii – Experience an authentic farm-to-table luau
- Scenic Flight in Alaska – Fly to Denali and see the wilderness from above
Best Places to Stay in the US:
- Four Seasons Resort Maui – The absolute best luxury resort to stay on Maui
- The Plaza – One of the world’s most well-known hotels is a must-visit in New York
- Fairmont Heritage Place Ghirardelli Square – An iconic landmark in San Francisco
- Casa del Mar – An oceanfront classic hotel at Santa Monica, Los Angeles
2. Spain: 84 million visitors
With white-washed towns, traditional flamenco tablaos, and centuries-old cathedrals, Spain is easily one of the most visited countries in the world thanks to its historical treasures and culture heritage. In 2018, Spain experienced the biggest increase in international arrivals (amongst the 10 most visited countries) as compared to the previous year.
There’s so much more to Spain than just pretty beaches: visit impressive museums in the capital city of Madrid, admire eclectic architecture and art in vibrant Barcelona, feast on paella in Valencia and fall in love with traditional Granada. Check out our recommended 2-week Spain itinerary.
There are hundreds of reasons why we decided to live in Spain. But you’ll have to visit to find out for yourself!
Best Things to Do in Spain:
- Sagrada Familia – Visit Barcelona’s most visited landmark
- Madrid Tapas Tour – Experience the Spanish tapas tradition and culinary culture
- Daytrip to Consuegra and Toledo – Follow the footsteps of Don Quijote to Spain’s two most charming villages
- Flamenco Show in Seville – Catch an authentic show in the home of flamenco
- Catamaran Cruise in Ibiza – Sail to an islet at sunset and enjoy Ibiza’s beauty
Best Places to Stay in Spain:
- W Barcelona – The most stylish and avant-garde hotel right on the beach
- The Principal Madrid – A contemporary hotel housed in a historical building, with best views in town
- Hotel Mercer Sevilla – A centrally-located stylish hotel in old town Sevilla
- Hacienda Na Xamena – A slick all-white clifftop hotel overlooking the coast of Ibiza
1. France: 89 million visitors
It’s no surprise that France has topped the charts over and over again to be the number one tourist destination in the world. With Paris being the most famous city in the world and the southern France coasts a hotspot for tourists from Europe every summer. There’s plenty here for the culture vultures: from the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris to the castles of Loire Valley and wineries in Bordeaux.
My favorite part of France is the Alsace region of France, with its villages of brightly-painted steep-roofed half-timbered houses. The region’s capital, Strasbourg, is a charming hodgepodge of fairy-tale cottages, cobblestoned alleys and gingerbread houses. And the region is home to famous French foods like flammekueche, cordon bleu, and Vol-au-vent.