VACATION IDEAS

Top 10 Most Visited Cities in the World

It wasn't hard to determine which cities Americans travel to most outside of the U.S. The challenge? Narrowing down the must-see sights for first-timers—and veterans.

London is the second most-visited city in the world. Can you guess what came in first?

(Doug Pearson / Jon Arnold Images / SuperStock)

Where do Americans travel most outside the states? That was the question asked when compiling Budget Travel's Top 10 Most Visited Cities by U.S. Travelers. Paris? Definitely, no doubt. Florence? Maybe… what about Bermuda? Thanks to the travel experts at Expedia and their analysis of U.S. hotel bookings and flights abroad, we now know the answers. And to go along with our Top 10 Most Visited list, we've created a mini-guide for each city with the three must-see, must-do attractions for both new arrivals and return visitors. Can you guess all 10 top cities? Some of the answers may surprise you.

SEE THE CITIES AMERICANS LOVE

#10 Nassau, Bahamas

The Bahamas attracts millions of U.S. visitors to its busy capital ever year with picture-postcard promises of beautiful beaches and lazy seaside resorts. The reality—a busy capital filled with cruise ship day-trippers and beaches that are sometimes less than pristine—is a bit different, but the city still has its historic charms and the real paradise is just a boat ride away.

3 MUST-SEE ATTRACTIONS FOR FIRST-TIMERS
Bay Street The main concourse of downtown Nassau is a pleasant waterfront promenade with great dockside cafés and shops, although it can get overcrowded with tourists when cruise ships are in port.
Beaches of Andros Island Sadly, the beaches in Nassau leave much to be desired, with the exception of Saunders Beach and Cable Beach to the west. Going further west, off the island and out to sea, a fast ferry ride to Andros Island (around three hours) will deliver you to the castaway beaches you were promised when you booked your trip.
Queen's Staircase & Fort Fincastle Built by freed slaves in honor of Queen Victoria for emancipating the islands, the 65 limestone steps off an alley in downtown Nassau are a journey back to the 18th-century Bahamas, rising to Fort Fincastle, a defense fort for the British Royal Navy during the Caribbean's pirate days.

3 MUST-SEE ATTRACTIONS FOR RETURN VISITORS
Fishing on the Bahamas The Bahamas is big fish country, with blue marlin, wahoo, billfish, and tuna all offshore and waiting for a lure. Renting your own charter boat for fishing is a bit pricey, but you can jump onto a group trip with other anglers through local companies like Born Free Fishing.
Graycliff Manor The famous Graycliff Manor is a bit formal (jackets required for the gents). But for a taste of the Bahamas high life, it's an enchanting setting to enjoy an evening cocktail or glass of wine on the terrace of the 18th-century plantation house and watch the sun set over the Caribbean sea.
Atlantis Resort Okay, so you skipped it last time, but if you have the cash ($100 for a non-guest day pass), head across the Nassau causeway to the ridiculous mermaid castle/casino/resort that occupies Paradise Island. Atlantis is a must-see for the sprawling extravagance of the beachfront megaplex, with many secret beaches for relaxing in the sun.

OUR FAVORITE HOTEL: The antithesis of the big-money resorts in Nassau, Orange Hill Inn on West Bay Street is a quiet family-owned inn right on the beach (orangehill.com; doubles from $135).

#9 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The secret is out on Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Already a popular beach destination for Europeans, the beach town is now on the American holiday radar as an inexpensive paradise within flight-hopping distance (it's just a two-hour flight from Miami).

3 MUST-SEE ATTRACTIONS FOR FIRST-TIMERS
Bavaro Beach It's the busiest beach in Punta Cana, crowded on the weekends with resort guests and lively with restaurants and shopping plazas along the shore. But it's also one of the prettiest—a white-sand beach of crystal-clear water and offshore coral reefs that stretches for six miles, so there are plenty of opportunities for you to claim your own private spot in the sun.
Santa Domingo The historic capital is a must-do day trip for any first-time visitor to the Dominican Republic. As evidenced by the numerous statues of Ponce de Leon and Christopher Columbus, the city takes its history seriously and many of the Spanish colonial buildings date back to the discovery of America, in 1492, when Columbus made landfall on Hispaniola (the island shared by Dominican Republic and Haiti).
Indigenous Eyes Park Just inland from the beaches in Punta Cana is this jungle park of beautiful waterfalls and lagoons for swimming. It's a private nature reserve run by Punta Cana Resort & Club (non-guests can buy a pass, for $65, to spend the day hiking and swimming in the lagoons, which are also known as "indigenous eyes").

SEE THE CITIES

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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