Most Visited Tourist Attractions in World

most visited tourist attractions
The Grand Bazaar- Istanbul, Turkey

Have you ever wondered what the most visited tourist sites in the world might be?

I haven’t ever really given this topic much thought but if I had to guess, I’d go with popular sites like the Eiffel Tower, Times Square and maybe something like Disney World.

Travel + Leisure put together a slide show of World’s Most-Visited Tourist Attractions.

Going through the slide show, I’m not so sure that I’d consider the most-visited attractions such a great representation of the world’s best. 

However, putting together a list of most-visited attractions is something that can be measured easier than a subjective title like best attractions.

Here is how T+L came up with their list: “we gathered the most recent data supplied by the attractions themselves or from government agencies, industry reports, and reputable media outlets. In most cases, it was 2013 data. Attractions that don’t sell tickets gave us estimates as best they could“. 

They considered a tourist attraction, “as cultural and historical sites, natural landmarks, and officially designated spaces. Short walkways and plazas also fit our definition of tourist attractions; that disqualified the Blue Ridge Parkway. We also omitted beaches, bridges, and sites that draw almost exclusively religious pilgrims“.

Rather than re-list T+L top tourist attractions list, I’ll just list the ones that I’ve been to along with their rank and amount of visitors per year.

Here they are:

  • 1- Grand Bazaar, Istanbul- 91,250,000
  • 3- Times Square, NYC- 50,000,000
  • 4(tie)- Central Park, NYC- 40,000,000
  • 4(tie)- Union Station- Wash, DC- 40,000,000
  • 6- Las Vegas Strip- 30,500,000
  • 7(tie)- Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo- 30,000,000
  • 7(tie)- Sensoji Temple, Tokyo- 30,000,000
  • 9- Niagara Falls, NY & Ontario- 22,000,000
  • 10- Grand Central, NYC- 21,600,000
  • 13- Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston- 18,000,000
  • 15- Disneyland, Anahim, CA- 16,202,000
  • 19- Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris- 14,000,000
  • 22- South Street Seaport, NYC- 12,000,000
  • 25- St Peters Basilica, Vatican City- 11,000,000
  • 27- Sacre Coeur Basilica, Paris- 10,500,000
  • 32- Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood, Ca- 10-12 million
  • 35- Musee de Louvre, Paris- 9,334,000
  • 38- Sydney Opera House, Sydney- 8,200,000
  • 40(tie)- Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Wash, DC- 8,000,000
  • 40(tie)- Grand Palace, Bangkok- 8,000,000
  • 40(tie)- Pier 39, San Francisco- 8,000,000
  • 43- Palace of Versailles, France- 7,527,122
  • 45- Bourbon Street, New Orleans- 7,470,000
most visited tourist attractions
Sydney Opera House- Australia

I wasa bit surprised to have visited so many of the sites from the list. I was also surprised to see so many theme/ amusement parks in the top 50. Of the parks that made the list, I’ve only been to one. I was also a bit surprised to see the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul as the most visited attraction in the world. It’s an interesting place (not one that I found to be extraordinary) and not one that would make my top places to visit list.

Check out the full Travel + Leisure slide show here and let us know how many of the top tourist attractions you’ve been to.

4 thoughts on “Most Visited Tourist Attractions in World

  1. I had always read it was the LV Strip. 42 million visitors and I would imagine everyone of them plus a LOT of locals hit it. Not sure about the 30 mil number for the strip or the 92 mil number on the Bazaar. Turkey only has like 30 million visitors in a year to the WHOLE country, but 92 mil to the Bazaar?

  2. Antignos- I’d expect the strip to be hard to count in terms of who are visitors. Like you said, many that go there are locals. I’d also wonder how many work there…

    The Bazaar surprised me too. (Plus IMO, it’s really not even a big deal.)

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