Depending on your travel style, a country’s top tourist attraction might be your first stop when visiting that country, or the last place you’d ever be seen. Either way, it’s good to know where other travelers are heading.
TripAdvisor (SmarterTravel’s parent company), with its deep store of traveler data, is the ideal source to tap for information on the frequency of visits to a country’s various tourist destinations. And Vouchercloud has used TripAdvisor’s findings to create a world map showing the top tourist attraction in every country.
There are the predictable sites in the more popular tourist destinations — Sydney Harbour for Australia, Niagara Falls for Canada, the Acropolis Museum in Greece, the Temple of Karnak in Egypt, Machu Picchu in Peru, the Great Wall in China.
More interesting, perhaps, are the tourist draws in less-visited countries. Visitors to Albania, for instance, apparently flock to the Butrint Ruins, once a thriving Greek city and now an archeological site accorded World Heritage status by UNESCO.
There are surprises even among some of the higher-profile countries.
For Russia, for example, the top attraction is the Church of the Savior on Blood, in St. Petersburg. The “on Blood” part of the church’s name refers to the fact that it’s built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated, in 1881. So it’s a two-fer: the site of an important historical event, and an iconic piece of architecture.
And for the U.S., the top destination isn’t the Grand Canyon, or the Empire State building, or Disneyland, as I might have guessed; it’s Central Park.
Whether you consider such attractions tourist traps or not-to-be-missed destinations, the map itself makes for an interesting read.
Reader Reality Check
Guesses as to visitors’ favorite destination in the U.K.? Hint: It’s related to popular culture, rather than a site with historical significance.
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.