Big cities have offer a seemingly endless lists of things to do and places to spend money. London has enough attractions to keep you busy for 16 years.
When you’re visiting a new city for a few days compromises must be made. Nowadays many of us turn to TripAdvisor to help us narrow down the places to visit based on recommendations from fellow travellers.
After realising the most popular attraction to visit in the UK (based on TripAdvisor ratings) is a Harry Potter studio tour, yes you read that correctly, I began to wonder what most attracts visitors to other countries.
The United Nations recognised 249 countries. Using this list I turned to Tripadvisor to find the most popular attraction (“things to do”) in each of the countries. In total there was attraction data for 242 countries.
Most popular attractions by type (2018)
Natural attractions are by far the most popular, from waterfalls to national parks.
Most popular attractions type by region (2018)
Looking deeper, natural attractions are the most popular in African, American and Oceanic countries. Asia’s and Europe’s rich historical past leaves historic attractions the most popular in these regions, especially Europe.
Most popular attractions by country (2018)
The natural category includes places like Canada’s Niagara Falls and Norway’s Geiranger Fjord. Meanwhile, other well known historic attractions like China’s Great Wall make the list.
Although not all of the most popular attractions in each country are what you might expect. As noted, the United Kingdom’s most popular attraction is a Harry Potter Studio tour, not one of the historic buildings I was expecting.
My favourite attraction, and now on my bucket list, is the “Door to Hell” Gas Deposit, the most popular attraction in Turkmenistan.
Clearly TripAdvisor ratings are one way to measure popularity. A more comprehensive analysis might consider other metrics including footfall, for example.
Natural attractions are the most popular for visiting tourists.