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These 5 European Destinations Are Surging In Popularity Right Now

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“Revenge travel” has proved itself here to stay and more Americans than ever are planning trips across the pond. 

A new report from the European Tourism Commission revealed that two-thirds of European countries are drawing close to or surpassing 2019 tourist arrival numbers.

While classic destinations like Spain continue to break travel records, it may surprise you to hear that the following five countries experienced a significant surge in arrivals.

If you love to visit up-and-coming destinations, these emerging travel hotspots are worth checking out in 2024.

old town Kotor, Montenegro with moutains and forest in background


When it comes to Europe, everyone wants to visit iconic countries like France or Italy, and many destinations are struggling to combat problems caused by over-tourism. 

Chances are Serbia is not a country that is on your radar. 

However, if you’re looking for an off-path destination with a rich culture, fascinating historical sights, and breathtaking landscapes, Serbia is an excellent choice.

You’ll discover fortresses dating back thousands of years, grand monasteries, and friendly, hospitable locals in this Balkan country. 

Downtown Belgrade Serbia

As Serbia lies near the confluence of the East and the West, its cuisine is a diverse blend of European and Middle Eastern influences. 

The food here is second to none, and since Serbia is a very affordable destination, you can indulge without blowing your budget.

Bustling capital city Belgrade is known for its world-class nightlife, and in the summer, you can partake in the unique experience of partying on the riverboat clubs known as “splavovi”.

Belgrade, Serbia. Kalemegdan Fortress in the night


This popular country lands on almost every list of the best countries to visit and it is a position well earned.

Whether you want to chill on the beach, dance in foreign clubs until dawn, or retreat to secluded hikes and mountain views– you’ll find it all in Portugal.

Tourist favorite Lisbon is beloved for its cobblestoned streets lined with rainbow-colored buildings, vibrant culture, and buzzing nightlife.

We all know that trying new cuisines and local restaurants is one of the best parts of traveling abroad.

Being able to sample all the Portuguese food and wine you want is a highlight of visiting in and of itself. 

The country is home to many wineries and the quality of the local blends reflects this.

Sunshine seekers flock to the Algarve coast to experience the region's spectacular natural beauty and idyllic beaches.

portugal city


This country may be small, but it is packed full of UNESCO world heritage sights, epic hiking, road trip opportunities, and quaint towns to explore. 

Montenegro’s sundrenched, endless shoreline rivals the beaches of Greece, and you’ll see far fewer tourists in this country.

With over 100 beaches, you’re sure to find the spot of your dreams to relax in the sun and play in the vibrant blue, sparkling Mediterranean waters.

If history and culture interest you the most, Montenegro is also home to captivating ruins, ancient fortresses, ornate frescoes, and monasteries that have stood through the test of time.

In a year where “destination dupes” are trending, Montenegro is an excellent alternative to the crowds and higher prices of popular Croatia or Greece. 

Young tourist woman enjoying a view of Kotor Bay, Montenegro


A vibrant blend of European and Asian influences and centuries of history, this excitement-filled destination is no longer a secret.

In fact, recent numbers revealed that Istanbul has officially taken the title of “world’s most visited city” from Paris.

Turkiye has been the birthplace of many empires, and the historical sites, artifacts, and architecture found here reflect that rich lineage.

From exotic bazaars to shop through to the rich music and dance traditions that persist, Turkiye is a cultural destination like nowhere else.

Places like Cappadocia (where you can take the most incredible hot air balloon ride of your life) or the Pamukkale Travertines make this diverse country an incredible destination for remarkable natural beauty and nature lovers.

Hot air balloons in Cappadocia Turkey


This island nation is another destination that is somewhat off-path for now but likely will not remain unheard of for much longer. 

Malta has been breaking tourism records recently and saw an 8% surge in tourist arrivals during the final months of 2023.

Located in the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and Libya, Malta enjoys that picture-perfect weather this region is famous for, as well as an abundance of natural beauty.

If you’re wondering what attracts so many people to this island, imagine prehistoric temples, glittering shores, and sleepy coastal villages filled with lively fishing markets and delicious Mediterranean flavor.

Malta’s capital, Valletta, is a UNESCO listed city known for its medieval architecture, magnificent cathedrals, and baroque palaces.

This hidden gem checks off all the boxes: gorgeous weather, captivating cities, unspoiled nature, and mouthwatering local food.


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