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Revealed: the world’s most popular city-break destinations

Based on TikTok views, Instagram tags and more, these are the world’s most visited cities right now

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

When you think of the most popular city-break destinations in the world, the usual suspects probably come to mind. London. New York. Rome. You know the ones: the classic destinations that are big enough to swallow up huge numbers of tourists.

But which city breaks are the most popular in the world right now? To find out, travel company Titan Travel has ranked cities based not on tourist numbers, but on social media coverage.

To come up with its list, the study totted up the number of TikTok views and Instagram posts per city, as well as the amount of change in Google search traffic over the last three years.

Is this a reliable way to measure popularity? Probably not, tbh. Social media views do not particularly translate into actual visits. In fact, actual data is available on the number of tourists visiting each city (which is how we know that Beijing will soon surpass Paris as the world’s single biggest travel destination). Not only that, but representations of destinations on platforms like Instagram and TikTok often aren’t accurate or realistic.

In any case, it’s still kind of interesting to see which destinations people are gawping the most at on social media. And top of the ranking was London. Surprise, surprise: the UK capital, a titan of a travel destination, proved extremely popular on social media, boasting over 70 billion TikTok views and more than 107 million Instagram posts.

Second in the study came Paris, with the City of Lights having amassed over 60 billion TikTok views and 137 million Instagram tags, while third was Barcelona, which saw a 336 percent increase in Google search over the past three years (and is, not coincidentally, one of the destinations fighting hard against overtourism).

Here are the top ten most popular city-break destinations in the world right now, according to Titan Travel’s ‘research’.

  1. London, UK
  2. Paris, France
  3. Barcelona, Spain
  4. Nice, France
  5. Istanbul, Turkey
  6. Madrid, Spain
  7. New York, USA
  8. Miami, USA
  9. Dubai, UAE
  10. Berlin, Germany

Pretty much the usual suspects, eh? For some less predictable city break inspo, check out our guide to Europe’s best city breaks in 2023.

Did you see that this is the world’s best destination for LGBTQ+ travellers? 

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