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Top 20 tourist regions in Europe: Spain, France, Italy have the most popular destinations

2016-01-20

Europe is the world’s number one tourist destination, but anyone who has traveled in the culturally rich continent knows how different the countries are. Which countries and which regions exactly are the most visited destinations in Europe? The European Union has vast databases of information on tourism that reveals interesting details where travelers like to spend most of their time.

This particular statistics from EU is calculated from the nights tourists have stayed in hotels, B&B, rental cottages and campgrounds. The number of nights is different than the number of visitors, because the number one destination Canary Islands (Spain) is likely to get at least seven nights per visitor because most travelers fly to the islands and stay there for one or more weeks. That’s why number two destination Ile de France (in practice, Paris) may get more visitors than Canary Islands but since they are likely to stay only a few nights in Paris, the number of nights doesn’t add up to the same level as in the islands.
europe most visited tourist places
Anyhow, the statistics show where tourists really like to spend time (and money), which means there has to be something special in the destination that gets millions of visitors travel there every year. EU has updated the statistics on July 3rd, 2015, but the actual numbers maybe older.

The total number is million nights spent by residents and non-residents in each destination. The blue bar shows the number of nights for hotel accommodation, green for holiday homes and the color of sand for campgrounds.

Top 20 tourist regions of Europe are:

1. Canary Islands, Spain.
2. Ile de France (Paris).
3. Catalonia. The province in Northeast Spain where Barcelona and the Costa Brava are located.
4. Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca).
5. Adriatic Croatia (Jadranska Hrvatska), the coastal region of Croatia.
6. Veneto, Italy. The region around Venice.
7. Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur, France. The region where Nice, Monaco, the French Riviera and the Southernmost Alps in France are located.
8. Andalusia, Spain. The province in southern Spain where, for instance, Sevilla, Malaga and Marbella are located.
9. Rhones-Alpes, France. The high Alps, and the city of Lyon in the valley of Rhone.
10. Inner London, UK.
11. Tuscany, Italy. Florence, Siena and other towns on the rolling hills of Tuscany.
12. Valencia region in Spain. For instance, Benidorm, Alicante and Torrevieja are here.
13. Emila Romagna, Italy. Rimini, San Marino, Bologna, Parma are some of the towns in the region.
14. Tirol, Austria. The province in the high Alps, Innsbruck is the largest town.
15. Languedoc-Roussillon, France. The province is bordered by the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean.
16. Lombardy, Italy. The region where the large lakes of Garda, Lugano and the city Milan meet the Dolomites mountain range.
17. Upper Bavaria, Germany. The region around Munich.
18. Aquitane, France. The province between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees from Biarritz to Bordeaux.
19. Lazio, Italy. The region around Rome.
20. Bolzano, Italy. The high Alps region in Italy.

If we look at the same statistical data and take into account only foreigners who have stayed in another country, the most popular travel destinations in Europe looks a bit different.
europe most visited tourist places, foreigners
Destinations that rise to the Top 20 when only foreigners are taken into account are: Crete (Greece), South Aegean Sea (Notio Aigaio, Greece), Salzburg (Austria), North Netherlands. Other destinations are the same as in the Total Top 20.

If you want to know where residents like spend their vacation in their own countries, here is a statistics for that as well.
europe most visited tourist places, residents