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These Are The 4 Fastest Growing Destinations In Europe Right Now

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Though Europe boasts the kind of charm and geographical diversity that keeps travelers hooked all year long, its many cultural hotspots are particularly popular during fall and winter, providing travelers with the city break of their dreams.

While the likes of France, Italy, and the UK have been and will always remain among Europe’s most popular destinations, they’re still coming up a bit short when it comes to reclaiming their pre-pandemic glory.

Young female tourist admiring the Parthenon, Acropolis in Athens- travel, tour tourism in Greece

In contrast, a few of their (once underrated) counterparts are seeing record numbers of international visitors entering their borders, quickly establishing themselves as the fastest-growing hotspots in the continent.

Just this week, ACI Europe released its monthly traffic report for October 2023, showcasing the four European destinations that are currently experiencing double-digit growth rates.

1. Ireland

Air travel to Ireland this October grew a whopping 25% from the same period in 2019, proving once again that the stunning European island is finally claiming its well-deserved title as one of the continent’s most popular destinations.

Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dblin, Ireland

Those who’ve never been here before have no idea just how breathtaking, not to mention fascinatingly diverse, the local scenery is.

From the dramatic cliffs of Moher to the serene beauty of the Ring of Kerry, Ireland offers the type of views that not even the highest-quality camera can do justice to – the sharp contrast in colors, heights, and textures can only truly be appreciated firsthand.

The Cliffs of Moher

It’s worth noting, though, that a good percentage of the tourists flocking to Ireland are primarily interested in exploring its fascinating history.

The country’s storied past, believed to have originated over 33,000 years ago, can now be (at least partly) relived through the enchanting castles and ancient ruins, of which Blarney, Bunratty, and the Rock of Cashel are all must-sees.

Blarney Castle, Ireland

2. Greece

The dreamy Mediterranean country is enjoying what can only be described as one of the most successful years in its tourism history, breaking records left and right and re-establishing itself as Europe’s ultimate beachy getaway.

However, the 21% increase seen in international arrivals this October has very little to do with Greece’s idyllic shores, seeing as temperatures across most of the country have dropped below what’s deemed appropriate for swimming or sunbathing.

Navagio shipwreck beach on Zakynthos island, Greece

Instead, travelers are immersing themselves in the region’s ancient history, lively atmosphere, and world-class cuisine.

All this goes hand in hand with the fact that there’s been a global shift towards experiential travel – we’re now looking for more than just sightseeing opportunities; we’re craving immersive experiences that connect us with local cultures and traditions, and Greece happens to offer just that.

Having had the chance to explore most of the country’s natural, historical, and cultural wonders, I can confidently say that Greece’s reputation as a sunny beach hub doesn’t do it justice. 

aerial view of Athens, Greece

Between the ancient ruins of Athens, the lively streets of Thessaloniki, and the snow-covered slopes of Falkaro, Greece offers something for every type of tourist all year long.

3. Slovenia

Nestled between Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia, Slovenia has quietly emerged as Europe's best-kept secret. 

Don’t let the country’s modest size fool you – between the majestic Julian Alps, pristine Lake Bled, and stunning Ljubljana, there’s so much to see around the country that you won’t even know where to start.

Ljubljana Slovenia

Slovenia’s meticulously preserved natural beauty combined with some of the most reasonable prices you’ll find in Central Europe always seem to leave travelers wondering how the country has managed to go under the radar for so long.

4. Portugal

At this point, no list of the top European destinations, no matter the context, would be complete without Portugal, a country that’s having what can only be described as the best tourism year in history.

With that perfect blend of coastal charm, historic wonders, vibrant cities, and, best of all, reasonable prices, the country’s rise as one of the top European destinations is multi-faceted and well-deserved.

Lisbon at Night

Those looking to gain some insight into the country’s biggest attractions can head over here, though, generally speaking, most tourists are flocking to Lisbon, Porto, or the dreamy coastal region of Algarve.

As the country gains newfound levels of popularity, more investments are being made towards expanded flight options, better public transport services, and overall improved connectivity, leading us to believe that this is just the start of a long-lasting trend that’ll put Portugal among the world’s most corvette destinations.

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