Europe is a continent steeped in history, culture, and architectural marvels, boasting some of the most coveted metropolitan destinations on Earth.
As temperatures cool down and travelers start to leave their tropical beach getaways behind, European city breaks become more popular than ever.
While there’s no shortage of cultural and historical landmarks scattered across the Old Continent, there are 5 particular destinations that seem to have captured tourists’ hearts the most these past few years.
Statista recently released a report on the European cities with the highest number of bed nights (a hospitality key performance indicator that measures bed occupancy rather than room occupancy).
The data was collected throughout these past four years, and the city that came out on top with over 190 million bed nights might surprise you.
Italy’s capital is nothing short of a living, breathing museum of ancient history and architectural wonders.
The Colosseum echoes the stories of gladiator battles and grand spectacles, the Roman Forum invites visitors to walk in the footsteps of emperors, and Vatican City houses some of the world’s most priceless artworks (imagine Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel).
Between these and dozens of other world-famous landmarks, eateries, and adventures to experience in the Eternal City, you’ll want to plan at least a week-long stay.
My three days in Rome, while remarkable, felt a bit chaotic, and I didn’t even get to see everything I’d set out to in the first place.
What really impressed me about the Italian capital, though, was its exceptional culinary scene.
While most travelers know that the food in Rome, just like in the rest of Italy, is divine, not many expect it to be as reasonably priced as it is.
Don’t get me wrong – there’s no shortage of higher-end restaurants or tourist traps with over-inflated prices in the city.
However, if you do your due diligence beforehand, you can get a great meal for two (that includes two first courses, a salad, and drinks) for 30€ ($31.5).
While not your typical dreamy Mediterranean city, Berlin attracts legions of curious tourists with its creativity, innovative spirit, and captivating history.
The remnants of the Berlin Wall serve as a poignant reminder of the city’s divided past, while the East Side Gallery transforms this symbol of separation into a canvas of artistic expression that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
Other iconic attractions that travelers can’t wait to see in the city include Museum Island (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Brandenburg Gate, and Hamburger Bahnhof.
Though Istanbul has always been a fascinating destination with a designated spot in every traveler’s bucket list, these last few years, the Turkish hotspot has really been catapulted to the heights of international attention.
The transcontinental city is a mesmerizing fusion of cultures, religions, and histories, and truly unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
Between the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, and at least a dozen other must-see landmarks, your itinerary will be jam-packed.
It’s worth noting, though, that for the best experience in Istanbul, you’ll want to hire a professional guide.
Exploring the 2,108.5 mi² (5,461 km²) that make up the iconic city can prove to be a bit of a challenge, especially if it’s your first time traveling this far East.
If you’ve been keeping up to date with travel trends this past few years, chances are you were expecting the French capital to claim the No. 1 spot.
After all, France is the most visited country on Earth and Paris is its crown jewel.
However, during these last four years, only 137.18 million beds were occupied in Parisian hotels, coming up quite a bit short compared to the first place’s 190 million.
Still, the City of Love exudes an unparalleled charm that draws lovers and dreamers alike through some of the world’s most famous attractions, including The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Notre Dame Cathedral, just to name a few.
The top spot in today’s list is occupied by none other than London, the bustling capital of England, which today is a testament to the harmonious coexistence of tradition and modernity.
Tourists flock here to witness the iconic Big Ben, the historic Tower of London, and the majestic Buckingham Palace.
You can fully immerse yourself in the country’s rich history by strolling along the cobblestone streets of Covent Garden or exploring the captivating exhibits at the British Museum.
What’s arguably the best thing about visiting London right now is that this is one of the only places in the world where the cloudy weather this time of year only adds to the authentic experience most travelers are after.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com