From unique cultures to historical sites and beautiful beaches to incredible shops, there are a myriad of reasons why people take city breaks. Here are the seven most visited cities in the world, why they’re so popular and how to get there.
New York City
11.6 Visitors per Year The Big Apple is arguably the most iconic city in the world, with many of the giants of western culture influenced by this buzzing hive of a city. From the Empire State Building to Times Square to the Statue of Liberty, there are unlimited places to visit in the great city. Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island are just a few of the must-visit areas in this vibrant city. The hustle and bustle of New York City has played host to some of the biggest films and TV series of the last 50 years so you’ll never be far from a landmark you recognise. Cruise Deal: Inaugural Voyage to New York
12.1m Visitors per Year The beautiful Chinese city of Shenzhen is hugely popular with tourists thanks to its wide range of attractions and close proximity to the stunning Xichong beach. Cruise fans may also be excited to visit the grounded cruise liner known as Sea World in the nearby exotic residential community Shekou. Shenzhen’s natural beauty has made it enduringly popular with backpackers looking for an authentic taste of the Guangdong Province of China. Cruise Deal: Asian Allure
13.3m Visitors per Year The capital city of Malaysia relies heavily on tourism with many of the area’s services aimed towards holidaymakers. The cultural diversity coupled with low costs make Kuala Lumpur particularly popular with young travellers passing through Southeast Asia. Despite this affordability, many of the world’s most exclusive hotel chains have flagship resorts in Kuala Lumpur. Architecture buffs will enjoy visiting the Petronas Towers, the tallest buildings in the world until 2004.
13.4m Visitors per Year Playing host to the world’s largest casino, the Venetian Macau, the Chinese city is hugely popular with tourists from both mainland China and overseas. Tourism and hospitality in Macau is estimated to account for more than 50% of the city’s GDP. The Las Vegas of Asia certainly does not do things by half, with casinos and tourist destinations growing ever larger and more extravagant. Macau was administered by Portugal up until the turn of the 21st century, leaving a uniquely European imprint upon the city and its culture.
15.5m Visitors per Year London has long been one of the world’s most popular destinations, staying at the forefront of cultural growth. From Dickens to the Swinging Sixties, the city has remained enduringly iconic thanks to its progressive nature but traditionalist value. The capital of England plays host to its Government and Monarchy, being the home of hundreds of years’ of beautiful architecture. Although the Thames can’t support large cruise ships, popular port Bristol Avonmouth is just over 2 hours away. Cruise Deal: Celtic Explorer
15.8m Visitors per Year The Asian investment boom in the 1980s and 1990s led to the incredible growth of Bangkok as a many multinational companies moved their regional headquarters to the capital of Thailand. As well as keeping businessmen happy, Thailand has huge appeal to holidaymakers, best demonstrated when the city was named ‘World’s Best City’ by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine for four consecutive years between 2010 and 2013. A great selection of Hindu sites and Buddhist temples make up much of the cultural interest in Bangkok. Cruise Deal: Holland America in the Far East
21.3m Visitors per Year A slightly controversial inclusion to its existence as both a sovereign city-state and island country; Singapore is a world leader in both tourism and economy – serving as the world’s fourth leading financial estate. The stunning skyline of Singapore offers awe-inspiring sights as you approach by ship with the Marina Bay Sands (the most expensive building in the world) dominating the views. For the lucky amongst you, Singapore legalised gambling in 2007 in a bid to attract more visitors.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: MebS09, Jon Dawson, tomisiav domes, Jakub Michankow, ken wilson lee, Simon & His Camera, Mike Behnken, Leonid Yaitskiy