As more routes and airlines emerge in the transatlantic travel industry, Americans are flocking to Europe in never-seen-before numbers, discovering new trends in the process.
That’s exactly what Allianz Travel Insurance studied in its latest 2023 European Holiday Destination Index, a report based on more than 1.3 million itineraries across the peak holiday travel period from November 22, 2023, to January 4, 2024.
In the report, there were five European cities that stood out as the fastest-growing destinations among U.S. travelers, with the no. 1 spot seeing a remarkable 61% increase in visitors from last year.
5. Geneva, Switzerland
Situated along the shores of the lake that goes by the same name, Geneva was arguably the most surprising destination that emerged from the Allianz report.
Since the region, and Switzerland as a whole, has a reputation for being expensive, travelers coming to Europe tend to stick to bigger, more reasonably priced cities.
However, Geneva’s serene landscapes combined with its cultural and historical significance seem to feel worth it to many Americans, and it’s easy to see why.
Beyond being a global hub for diplomacy, Geneva offers some of the most picture-perfect views of the Alps and Jura Mountains you’ll ever come across, providing visitors with the type of tranquil escape that can’t be found in Europe’s biggest hubs.
City trippers will fall in love with Geneva’s vibrant cultural scene, featuring the iconic International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and the Grand Théâtre de Genève.
4. Madrid, Spain
The vibrant Spanish capital is truly a feast for the senses.
Home to world-class museums (The Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum, for example), buzzing squares, and a culinary scene that ranges from colorful food markets that sell the freshest jamón ibérico to Michelin-starred restaurants, Madrid has something to offer to every type of traveler.
While in the city, you won’t want to miss out on world-famous landmarks like the Royal Palace and the Cuatro Torres Business Area, both of which showcase Madrid from a beautifully unique point of view.
3. Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal’s charismatic capital has turned into one of the most talked-about tourist hubs these past few months, and for good reason.
Whether you want to marvel at the panoramic views of the Atlantic, explore the picturesque Portuguese hillsides, visit the iconic Belém district, or indulge in some pastel de nata, you can do it all (and more) for a very reasonable price in Lisbon.
2. Prague, Czech Republic
Dubbed the “City of a Hundred Spires,” Prague continues to enchant visitors with its fairytale-like charm and architectural splendor.
History buffs and city trippers, in particular, won’t be able to resist falling in love with the stunning Central European city.
The Old Town Square, dominated by the imposing Prague Castle and the Astronomical Clock, is seamlessly complemented by the narrow cobblestone streets, providing some insight into the Czech capital’s rich cultural heritage.
However, if you really want to explore the city’s past and traditions, you’ll want to add the National Gallery and the Prague National Theatre to your itinerary.
If its one-of-a-kind architecture and bohemian atmosphere (best felt through neighborhoods like Malá Strana and Žižkov) weren’t enough, Prague is also one of the more affordable European capitals, so you can rest assured that you’ll fully get your money’s worth during your travels here.
1. Barcelona, Spain
With a 61% increase in U.S. visitors from last year, Barcelona is officially the fastest-growing destination in Europe among American travelers.
Catalonia’s colorful capital has perfected a blend of history, culture, and iconic Mediterranean charm that’s hard to find elsewhere.
Those lucky enough to come to the city won’t want to miss out on the iconic Sagrada Família, Park Güell, and Casa Batlló, all of which showcase Gaudí's unique and surreal architectural style.
However, sightseeing excursions are far from the only thing to do in Barcelona.
Try your best to attend one of the many traditional events and festivals held throughout the year, mainly in the Gothic Quarter and El Raval – however, make sure to adopt that relaxed, Mediterranean mindset in the process; that’s the only way to fully immerse yourself in the local culture.
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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.