Tips and Inspiration for your European holiday

Top 10 most visited countriesEuropean countries feature significantly in the list of the world's most visited country each year. In 2011, European countries filled six of the top ten places in figures released by the World Tourism Organisation Network (UNWTO).

It's no surprise that France was number one and that Spain and Italy both also made the top five most visited countries, but I was suprised to see Turkey at number seven, ahead of Germany.

Below are the world's top ten most visited countries in 2011 and five reasons why we think you should visit each of the European countries that made the list.

1. France - 76.8 million visitors

  • Visit Paris's famous monuments including the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Enjoy the food and wine that has made the French famous all over the world
  • Visit a market to buy everything from food to flowers to fashion
  • Take a trip to rural France and experience life in a traditional French village
  • Browse art and architecture by some of the world's most renowned names

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.

2. United States - 59.7 million visitors

3. China - 55.7 million visitors

4. Spain - 52.7 million visitors

  • Visit Barcelona and marvel at Gaudi's amazing Sagrada Familia
  • Relax on the beaches of the Costa Del Sol, Costa Brava, Costa Dorada or Costa Verde
  • Check out the Alhambra Palace at Granada
  • Sit back and be entertained at a traditional Flamenco Show
  • Join the locals and eat tapas at a tapas bar

Alhambra Palace, Spain

5. Italy - 43.6 million visitors

  • Hang the expense - no visit to Venice is complete without a gondola ride
  • Admire the frescoes at one of the country's many magnificent churches, such as St Peter's Basilica at Vatican City
  • Taste a REAL pizza - margherita is a popular choice
  • Visit the rugged coastlines of the Cinque Terre or Amalfi Coast - complete with colourful houses
  • Explore a traditional Italian village and see how the locals live

Colosseum, Rome

6. United Kingdom - 28.1 million visitors

  • Take a tour of London in an open-topped double decker bus
  • Be moved by the sound of bagpipes at a performance of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo
  • Feast your eyes on the honey coloured houses in the picturesque Cotswolds
  • Jump aboard the Mount Snowdon Railway for stunning views over northern Wales
  • Enjoy the scenery and glistening lakes of the Lake District


7. Turkey - 27 million visitors

  • Pay your respects to our forebears at Gallipoli's ANZAC Cove 
  • See one of the world's finest archaelogical sites at Ephesus
  • Visit the extraordinary rock formations at Cappadocia
  • Explore the bustling city of Istanbul which straddles both Europe and Asia
  • Take in the sparkling white limestone terrace cascades at Pamukkale

Ballooning in Turkey

8. Germany - 26.9 million visitors

  • Head to Berlin, Germany's largest city, for history, culture, art and more
  • Visit the Bavarian Alps and King Ludwig's fairytale-like Neuschwanstein Castle
  • Cruise the Rhine River
  • Say Prost! at a beer hall
  • Drive the Romantic Road and visit the quaint villages dotted along the way

Rothenburg, Germany

9. Malaysia - 24.6 million visitors

10. Mexico - 22.4 million visitors

*Source: UNWTO

What is your 'must do' in the above countries?  Share your favourite experiences below.

© Holidays to Europe