Rome’s Colosseum has been named the world’s most popular attraction for the second consecutive year, according to new traveler booking data from TripAdvisor. The famed arena was closely followed by the Louvre Museum in Paris, and the Vatican in Rome on the list of can’t miss sites for travelers.
While European attractions dominated the top ten, two new American destinations made this year’s list in addition to the Statue of Liberty: New Orleans’ French Quarter and the Skydeck Chicago at the Willis Tower came in at number seven and nine, respectively. San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, ranked number 7 last year, did not make this year’s global top ten.
“Iconic and historic sites from around the world will always be popular destinations for travelers, but they’re popular for a reason,” said Laurel Greatrix, a TripAdvisor spokesperson. “These are some of the most historic and memorable sites in the world. Whether it’s your first visit or your fiftieth, there are plenty of interesting ways to see these sites, like an underground tour of the Colosseum, a family treasure hunt at the Louvre, or even a prime view of the Pope’s weekly address.”
Whether you’re planning a trip to the world’s most popular attraction, or an up and coming hidden gem, you can find advice on nearby tours and activities on TripAdvisor from travelers who’ve been there.
Here are TripAdvisor’s most booked attractions in the world for 2019, and tour suggestions for your next trip:
1. Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Built to hold more than 50,000 spectators, this former gladiator arena is a must-see on any trip to Rome. Book a skip-the-line ticket to experience Ancient Rome and the Colosseum on this half-day walking tour, or, for a behind the scenes experience, try an underground tour to gain access to restricted parts of the Colosseum visitors can’t normally enter.
What travelers are saying: Of the underground tour, “This was an incredible tour and I was so excited to get to places most people don’t see. We went out onto the “stage” and underground was fascinating. You could really get the feel for how things might have worked way back in the day. After that we walked up and around and to my surprise, she unlocked a door and we got to go even further up than anyone else!”
2. Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Louvre is considered the world’s greatest art museum with an unparalleled collection of items covering the full spectrum of art through the ages. Bypass the crowds on a skip-the-Line walking tour to some of the museum’s most iconic works, or check out the Mona Lisa at closing time. For a tour with a twist, explore the museum with a family treasure hunt or a murder and mystery experience.
What travelers are saying: Of the family treasure hunt, “Usually younger kids may get bored easily about art and history(Even though they would be so excited at the beginning), so having an activity like treasure hunt in such a big museum would arouse their interest. My son had a great fun, and I can say it’s a big success!”
3. Vatican Museums, Rome, Italy
Visit the home of the Pope and the vast complex of museums that chronicle the history and accomplishments of mankind over the last 2000 years. Spend more time admiring the historic artwork and less time waiting with a skip-the-line entry ticket that also offers a guided tour option. Or if it’s the Pope you want to see, guarantee your entry to the weekly Papal audience and enjoy a close-up encounter with one of the world’s most prominent religious figures.
What travelers are saying: Of the papal audience and presentation, “I am not Catholic or follow any religion, but enjoyed the fact that people from all around the world can come together and smile and sing together. Great experience. Guide was very good too.”
4. Statue of Liberty, New York City, United States
A gift of friendship from France to the United States, the Statue of Liberty has become a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. Visit this iconic monument on an early-access small-group tour that takes travelers to the Statue and Ellis Island. Or, admire its beauty from the water with a 1-hour boat cruise that offers unparalleled views of city skylines and other landmarks.
What travelers are saying: Of the early-access small-group tour, “History and humor told in an energetic way combined to make our day memorable. We highly recommend this day tour for seeing more than one could without a professional guide.”
5. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Travelers around the world flock to Paris to see the iconic Eiffel Tower with their own eyes. Experience the magic of the ‘City of Lights’ with a night tour of the Eiffel Tower where you’ll see an unforgettable panorama of twinkling Paris at night. If you’d rather take in the view during the day, bypass the long queues and head straight to the second-viewing platform with this priority summit access pass.
What travelers are saying: Of the Eiffel Tower by night tour, “What a beautiful and iconic backdrop of Paris. One of the most romantic of destinations and place of most visited tourist attractions. The atmosphere at this location is just amazing and out of the world. The place is buzzing with people of all ages and nationality and the view in the evening with the sun setting and glittering lights shining on this iconic Eiffel Tower is mesmerizing!”
6. Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
This unfinished Roman Catholic basilica is perhaps Gaudi’s best work. Construction on this basilica started in 1882, and while it’s still yet to be completed, this is one spot no traveler to Barcelona will miss. Its popularity among travelers means there’s always long queues, so plan ahead and book a fast track guided tour or one with optional tower entry to breeze your way to the front.
What travelers are saying: Of the fast track guided tour, “This whole experience was truly amazing. The building itself is an incredible building especially when you see how it reacts with the sunlight. Gaudi’s design was truly amazing and the fore-sight. Our guide was good and had many interesting facts plus the entry into the building was easy.”
7. French Quarter, New Orleans, United States
As the heart and cultural center of New Orleans, the French Quarter is a must-see for its rich history and lively nightlife. Foodies won’t want to miss the small-group walking tour that ends at the legendary Café du Monde. Or, discover the neighborhood’s bawdy side with a salacious history tour, capped off with a traditional burlesque performance.
What travelers are saying: Of the salacious history tour, “Highly recommend this incredible tour! Robin is an amazing guide whose passion and knowledge for this little known sordid side of New Orleans history has been the unanimous favorite experience of our trip.”
8. Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, Netherlands
A powerful and emotional experience for people from all over the world, the Anne Frank House is a must-see for travelers visiting Amsterdam. However you choose to experience this historic landmark – whether it be via a walking tour that takes you past the house, and follows her path through the city’s the Jewish Quarter, or a private guided tour that visits several Jewish landmarks through Amsterdam – be sure to plan ahead and book early (note: entrance to Anne Frank not included).
What travelers are saying: Of private guided tour of the Jewish Quarter, “Our guide was very good and most knowledgeable about the time period and events surrounding the dreadful two years of the Frank family’s hiding from Hitler’s Gestapo. She was able to help us gain a critical sense of the environment and living situation of the family.”
9. Skydeck Chicago – Willis Tower, Chicago, United States
No trip to Chicago is complete without a visit to the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Take your visit to another level with a Skydeck dinner where you’ll enjoy an unforgettable sky-high meal of Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza 103 stories up. To make the most of your trip to the windy city, try the Go Chicago Explorer Pass that provides access to 3-5 activities of your choosing such as the Skydeck, Field Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo and more.
What travelers are saying: Of the Skydeck dinner, “It was so worth it to book dinner at the Skydeck. We were 1 of 3 couples that evening. We had the entire floor to ourselves to enjoy the views.”
10. Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy
Called “the drawing room of Europe” by Napoleon, St. Mark’s Square is the largest square in Venice known for centuries as a popular meeting destination. Experience its breathtaking beauty with a skip-the-line tour of the square’s two star attractions – Palazzo Ducale and Basilica of San Marco – or avoid the crowds all together with an after-hours tour.
What travelers are saying: Of the after-hours tour, “I cannot recommend this tour enough! Small group and no waiting in line to see one of Venice’s most famous places. Our guide was fantastic; friendly, accommodating, knowledgeable in local as well as religious history.”