Have you ever wondered, “What is the most popular attraction in every country?”
Life moves fast, and the travel industry is ever growing, changing, and evolving. Do you crack out that old version of Lonely Planet to discover a hidden gem? Scour Facebook pages or Reddit for hours on end to pick up a secret tip dropped from a local? Or, do you navigate straight to the old TripAdvisor and check out the top attraction in the country?
TripAdvisor was made for the people, by the people. So when it comes to tourist traps, you’re sure to get the right answer — or a bunch of wrong ones. If you’re not searching for the next best restaurant such as the Shed at Dulwich, it’s pretty safe to say TripAdvisor can be trusted for local attractions, natural wonders, and historical sights. When Vouchercloud consolidated the data from TripAdvisor into an interactive map, the image was clear.
These were the top tourist attractions in 57 countries.
USA – Central Park
Central Park comes as no surprise as the top attraction in the USA. Although the 50 states encompass mountains, maritimes, prairies, and deserts, New York has always been a top player in the popularity stakes. It’s difficult to find someone who’s ever been on a plane that hasn’t heard of Central Park. Or at least heard of Central Perk.
Canada – Niagara Falls
Popping North to the Canadian border, we get Niagara Falls. As a natural wonder, one of the biggest waterfalls in the world takes its proper place on the list. People love a good bit of nature — but the city of Niagara Falls also offers top-notch nightlife and entertainment.
Mexico – National Museum of Anthropology
One of the world’s largest natural history museums, Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology attracts thousands of visitors a day to its 23 exhibition halls. Most people will tell you a full day is needed to see all of it.
Jamaica – Island Gully Falls
A plunge pool known as Blue Hole in the Jamaican jungle excites the visitors to this chillest of island paradises. It’s not the waterfall itself that attracts the spectators, but the clear, inviting waters that entice you to plunge in.
It’s interesting to see how many of the famed New 7 Wonders of the World actually made it to the top spot. With only 6 out of the 7 making the list, Rio’s Christ the Redeemer in Brazil was toppled from the top spot by yet another waterfall. Alas, the people of TripAdvisor love the combination of water and gravity.
Brazil – Iguazú Falls
Pitching down to South America to the vast wilderness Brazil, another waterfall hits the mark. The colossal Iguazú falls is named as the country’s top attraction — and that’s saying something. TripAdvisor reviewers gush their appreciation even more powerfully than Iguazú gushes river water.
Bolivia – Salar De Uyuni
Next door in Bolivia, it’s Salar De Uyuni that gets the nod. These mystical salt flats form a natural mirror as far as the eye can see when they flood. This phenomenon is sure to delight those lucky enough to visit.
Peru – Machu Picchu
On the West side of Peru, this famous 15th century mountain city deservedly makes the grade. Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world, is considered among the best hikes in the world, following the old Inca Trail.
Panama – Panama Canal
Hop North to Panama to experience the dramatic Panama Canal, the story of which also creates the largest palindrome in the English language. (A man a plan a canal Panama.)
Chile – Torres Del Paine
Head south to the thin sliver of coastline that makes up Chile and into Patagonia, home of the Torres Del Paines National Park. It’s one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes on the planet, with mountains, rocks, and lakes of sheer beauty. 12,000 people agree that ‘amazing’ tops out as the buzzword for the Torres Del Paines.
In Europe, some countries have seen their iconic monuments topple from the top spot, while others manage to hold on.
United Kingdom – Harry Potter
Head on over to the UK and you don’t have Buckingham Palace or Big Ben in the top spot, but the Harry Potter Studio Tour. Every day the studio attracts fans from around the world to see its ever-evolving collection of props and paraphernalia from the movies. It’s possibly one of the only attractions that gets the British exploring their own realm.
Ireland – Killarney National Park
Ireland brings us back to nature with Killarney National Park, which is filled with castles, moors, lakes, and waterfalls. 82% of people mark it 5 stars on TripAdvisor, and it’s a great way to get away from the bustle of city life.
Greenland – Ilulissat Icefjord
Ilulissat Icefjord is a vast glacier that moves at speed through the ice in Greenland. It’s the most active icefjord in the north, and immense icebergs can be seen dropping from the cliffs into the sea. It’s a blow-your-mind kind of place and a chance to peer into our future. People who have travelled to every country in the world have said it’s the most awe-inspiring experience they’ve ever had.
Iceland – Gullfoss Waterfall
Of Iceland’s many natural wonders, glaciers, waterfalls, black beaches, and natural hot springs, Gullfoss waterfall comes out on top as the people’s favourite.
Norway – Geiranjer Fjord
Norway has no shortage of natural beauty, but it’s one of the Fjords that has tourists most excited about visiting the country. Taking a cruise on the Geiranjer Fjord is on the must-do list. There’s no hyperbole in the TripAdvisor reviews — the Fjords really are breathtaking.
France – Musee D’Orsay
Forget the Eiffel Tower or even the Louvre. It’s a different museum that’s the most popular. On the left bank of the Seine, the Musee D’Orsay is an old railway museum that houses an astonishing collection of impressionist art.
Germany – Miniatur Wunderland
It’s not the Holocaust Museum, the Brandenburg Gate, or even Neuschwanstein Castle (unless you count the mini kind); it’s the world’s largest model railway in Hamburg that clinches top spot. That’s Miniatur Wunderland, with working scenes from around the world, all rendered in exquisite detail about a hundredth of their actual size. Nerd culture is real.
Italy – The Colosseum
Italy brings the list back to traditional expectations with the Roman Colosseum still holding as a firm favourite.
Spain – Sagrada Familia
The artist and architect Gaudi also continues to reign supreme in Spain, with the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona still attracting spectators from around the globe to view its magnificent columns. All this despite the fact that it still remains unfinished!
Switzerland – The Matterhorn
Switzerland favours the Matterhorn, a sharp, usually snow-capped peak in the Swiss Alps. It takes an intense hike to reach the ethereal giant, but tourists agree that the view is worth it.
The Netherlands – Rijksmuseum
A lot of tourists used to come to the grounds of the Rijksmuseum to capture a selfie with the I Amsterdam sign outside. It has since been removed, but it seems most tourists still regard the museum as the biggest attraction in the city.
Andorra – Grandvalira Ski Resort
Andorra has been attracting snow sports lovers for years, and the Grandvalira Ski Resort is still the most popular spot.
Slovenia – Lake Bled
The beauty of Slovenia’s Alps is astounding, but you can’t quite beat the fairytale landscape at Lake Bled. Picturesque in any season, the little church in the middle of the lake almost seems unreal. It’s the image of Slovenia on the cover of the Lonely Planet guide.
Greece – Acropolis
In Greece, It’s the ruins of the Acropolis in Athens that still stands proud. Another wonder of the world that managed to pull through.
Romania – Peles Castle
In Romania, it’s the charming Peles Castle that people prefer. In a country bursting with historical monuments, it’s no surprise this Neo-Renaissance castle is the favourite attraction — even though it was only completed in 1914.
Russia – Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood
The main attraction in Russia is the colourful Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood in St Petersburg. Although, if vodka was a tourist attraction, it may have taken the top spot.
Egypt – Temple of Karnak
Moving into Africa, it’s surprisingly not the pyramids that have people racing to book a flight to Egypt. It’s the Temple of Karnak, a massive complex of Egyptian history, hieroglyphics and statues of Pharaohs.
Ethiopia – Lalibela
In Ethiopia, it’s the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela that takes top place, a sacred site of astounding skill and cultural importance.
Rwanda – Volcanoes National Park
In Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is famous for sightings of Gorillas in the mist.
South Africa – Table Mountain
South Africa’s Table Mountain, the flat-topped peak boasting epic views over Cape Town, earns a whopping 85% of 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor.
Tanzania – Kilimanjaro
The bigger, better, and infinitely more terrifying Kilimanjaro is the most famous site in Tanzania, attracting the world’s best hikers as well as everyday explorers.
Madagascar – Avenue of the Baobabs
Madagascar has plenty to lose your breath over. The wide and diverse landscape gives birth to some of Earth’s most fascinating wildlife. But it’s the strange and unique baobab trees that have most people grabbing their cameras.
Zambia – Devil’s Pool
Zambia’s top attraction is yet another waterfall. This one is so popular because you can safely swim right up to the edge of the water in Victoria Falls before it cascades down into the pool below. An Instagram winner.
Morocco – Hassan II Mosque
In Morocco, the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca came out on top. People adore the detail of the Mosque and note that the guided tours are a worthy experience.
Thailand – Temple of the Reclining Buddha
People visit Thailand for many reasons, but the Temple of the Reclining Buddha is the main attraction. The big golden Buddha (Wat Pho) is what herds tourists in Bangkok.
Myanmar – Bagan Temples
In Myanmar, the Bagan Temples are the favourite among tourists. The complex of temples spread out among the plains are a sight to behold at sunrise and travellers can’t get enough. Booking a hot air balloon at sunrise is probably the best way to see the temples.
Cambodia – Angkor Wat
Cambodia’s ancient Ruins of Angkor Wat are the big money maker. A picture of the temple is literally printed on the money. The temples and ruins are vast and it can take days to explore every corner.
Bhutan – Taktsang Palphug Monastery
Taktsang Monastery, the golden temple on the side of a cliff is the most famous site in this tiny Himalayan kingdom. It comes as no surprise that it earns the top spot.
Nepal – Annapurna Mountain Range
We’re drawn back to nature’s wonder with the astonishing Annapurna Mountain Range, a coveted spot for anyone wishing to witness the Himalayas from the Nepalese side.
Vietnam – Hoi An Ancient Town
As one of the only actual towns to make the list of attractions, Hoi An wows its visitors with a picture of the culture and history of Vietnam.
Singapore – Gardens by the Bay
The giant, colourful flower towers are the biggest attraction in Singapore. The Gardens by the Bay are a truly enviable place to enjoy your dinner break.
Indonesia – Waterbom Bali
Out of the entirety of Indonesia, it’s Bali’s waterpark that takes the top spot. An exciting waterpark in one of the most beautiful places in the world is sometimes all you need.
The Philippines – Kayangan Lake
Kayangan Lake in the beautiful beach town of Coron ticks all the boxes in the Philippines. But with the fast-growing popularity of this country of islands, that could change in an instant.
Palau – Jellyfish Lake
Palau’s Jellyfish lake is in decline, and perhaps being the main tourist attraction in Palau is part of the reason. Sunscreen and toxins can contaminate the water and change the habitat where the jellyfish thrive. Perhaps the best course of action with this one is to vow to drop it from the list.
China – The Great Wall
Another wonder of the world makes it onto the list. Many people flock to the entrance of the Great Wall, which is continually maintained; few make it to the far ends where the original wall crumbles into ruin.
South Korea – Seoul Metro
Apparently, the transport system in Seoul is so exceptional that it has made it to the top of the list of attractions in South Korea. Bukhansan National Park makes it to number two, just to provide some balance.
Japan – Fushimi Inari Taisha
The stack of giant red Torri gates that domino up Mount Inari take the top spot. It welcomes visitors 24 hours a day who come to marvel at its beauty in rain, shine, or snow.
Turkmenistan – Door to Hell
Turkmenistan’s most highly-rated attraction is a cavernous gas deposit under the surface of the earth. It has been nicknamed the Door to Hell as it literally looks like a doorway to the underworld.
Pakistan – Badshahi Mosque
Located in Lahore, the grand Badshahi Mosque attracts pilgrims and visitors from around the world to marvel at its enchanting domes and 400-year-old architecture.
Iran – Persepolis
Persepolis was once the capital of Persia, the greatest empire in history. The ancient seat of the Kings of Persia is now a complex of ruins and the top tourist attraction in Iran.
India – Taj Mahal
Another two wonders of the world are at the peak of the list, with India’s Taj Mahal still standing as the most popular tourist hotspot in the country. Any trip to India would seem unfinished without a glance at the symmetrical tomb.
Jordan – Petra
The final wonder, making 6 out of 7. Jordan is mainly an expanse of desert, but travellers flock from far and wide to witness Petra, the magnificent city carved into a face of golden rock.
Sri Lanka – Lion Rock
Lion Rock pulls in the crowds in Sri Lanka and is the number one destination in the country by far. Some people just like to view it from afar, but the more daring take on the challenge of climbing to the top of the rock to savor fantastic views.
Australia – Sydney Harbour
Perhaps not the expected Sydney Opera House, but right next to it and way more fun. You can actually climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge and see for miles around the city.
New Zealand – Museum of New Zealand
It’s not the epic natural beauty of the islands that hit the mark, nor the famous Hobbiton set, but the Museum of New Zealand that the people find the most inspiring.
Vanuatu – Millennium Cave
The top attraction in Vanuatu is the Millennium cave. A natural obstacle course of caves, creeks, ladders and mud in the dense and untouched landscape of Santo, Vanuatu.
Fiji – Zip Fiji
In Fiji, it’s not the crystalline waters or the lush jungle, it’s the high flying thrills of a zip lining course through the canopy that wins out. The adventure lovers who come to Fiji can’t get enough.
Antarctica – South Georgia Museum
The Vouchercloud map didn’t include Antarctica, but he main attraction here is the South Georgia Museum, which tells the history of civilization as a drop-off point into the desolate lands of Antarctica.
Oh, and penguins. Penguins are a major attraction as well.
There we have it, a list of the most popular attractions in the world. Have they made it onto your travel bucket list?