As European countries see an ever-increasing number of visitors enter their borders, it becomes obvious that the region’s enduring efforts to get travel back to normalcy are finally paying off.
Though Europe, as a whole, has yet to return to its pre-pandemic glory, certain countries are emerging as the continent’s fastest-growing destinations, not only catching up with but exceeding 2019 tourism numbers by a notable margin.
According to newly released data by Oxford Economics, these are the 5 countries that are currently seeing the highest rates of tourism growth, and below, you’ll see just why.
France, the epitome of a dreamy European getaway, is still a buzzing hotspot for travelers looking to experience the best of what the continent has to offer.
Paris never ceases to enchant visitors with its plethora of iconic attractions – the likes of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arch de Triomphe, the Tuileries Garden, the Musée d'Orsay, and the Notre Dame Cathedral are the types of landmarks that young travelers dream of ever since they make their first bucket list.
However, the country boasts an endless array of treasure troves beyond its capital.
Those seeking to be mesmerized by vast lavender fields and picturesque villages will find Provence to be just what they’re looking for and more, whereas those looking to feel spoiled in a glamorous beach resort can’t go wrong with any place along the stunning French Riviera.
Spain, a perennial favorite among travelers, will stun you with its vibrant culture, natural allure, and otherworldly cuisine.
From the architectural wonders of Barcelona to the flamenco rhythms of Seville, Spain offers such a diverse range of experiences that no visitor, regardless of their preferences or background, will ever feel bored during their travels here.
The Balearic Islands, which just recently reached a new significant milestone, continue to attract millions of sun-seeking tourists through their world-class beaches and buzzing club scene.
However, it’s worth noting that Spain’s rise in popularity this year is at least partly owed to the vastly improved infrastructure system, with modern airports and high-speed rail networks making getting in, out, and around the country (probably the worst part of the travel experience) feel like a breeze.
Few countries experienced the kind of record-breaking summer Portugal did this year, and the country’s emergence as a top travel hotspot was anything but coincidental.
When a rich maritime history, awe-inspiring landscapes, and warm hospitality come together with reasonable prices, most travelers will inevitably rush to experience the once-overlooked European gem.
Whether you want to indulge in the vibrant culture of Lisbon, marvel at the terraced vineyards of the Duoro Valley, or lounge on the golden beaches of the Algarve region, Portugal is the ultimate place to be.
Nestled along the picturesque Adriatic Sea, this underrated Balkan country has seen an unprecedented tourism surge this year, and for good reason.
Between Dubrovnik with its stunning medieval architecture, Split with its imposing Palace, and the breathtaking Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia leaves tourists feeling like they’ve been missing out on one of Europe’s best-kept secrets for far too long.
Turkey’s meteoric rise to mainstream popularity has been nothing short of remarkable.
Though the country has always piqued travelers’ interest through its ornate mosques, idyllic landscapes, and exceptional food, traffic has never quite reached the types of heights we’re seeing now.
With a plethora of stunning, attraction-filled destinations like Istanbul, Antalya, Cappadocia, and Edirne, travelers will be spoiled for choice when crafting their Turkey itinerary.
Having had the luck to visit the country a couple of times, my main advice would be to be realistic with your plans, and if possible, spend as long here as your schedule allows.
Turkey, along with its most popular cities, is far vaster than you’d think, and with so much to see and do, you’ll want to spend at least a week here to fully take in the best of what the country has to offer.
Moreover, I can’t recommend hiring a professional guide enough – between the chaotic streets, unfamiliar customs, and language barrier, having a local help you navigate your surroundings can make your experience feel that much more effortless.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.