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Most popular travel destinations according to TikTok users

These days, kids don’t use Google as their go-to search engine – they turn to TikTok instead. Google’s Senior Vice President, Prabhakar Raghavan has even confirmed this rumour, revealing that as of July 2022, 40% of Gen Z flocked to the social media platform for their daily dose of internet info.

In terms of travel, this couldn’t be more true, either – especially this year. In fact, 76% of TikTok users have said that the video-sharing app is what has inspired them to travel. But with easy-to-digest content and high-quality visuals leading to *major* holiday envy, what else would you expect? 

According to TikTok, there are certain global destinations that have a pretty big buzz about them right now, which has led to a massive influx of tourism for each place. Using the popular hashtags #DESTINATION and #DESTINATIONtravel, we were let in on the ‘It’ crowd agenda and found out where Generation Z are all heading on their holiday this year.  

From classically beautiful European cities to the hustle and bustle of locations across the pond, it seems these 10 destinations ought to be on your bucket list for your 2023 summer vacay… 

Tiktok most popular destinations

Which countries came out on top overall?

The following list reveals the top 10 cities (and the countries they belong to) to visit this year, as per TikTok users:

  1. Barcelona – Spain
  2. New York City – United States
  3. Paris – France
  4. London – United Kingdom
  5. Istanbul – Turkey
  6. Madrid – Spain
  7. Lima – Peru
  8. Jakarta – Indonesia
  9. Tokyo – Japan
  10. Singapore

But why did they come out on top on TikTok? In terms of the top three (Barcelona, NYC, and Paris), certain hashtags and events related to the cities all generated an immense amount of buzz on the platform. For example, the hashtag ‘#barcelonathingstodo’ has seen a steep increase across our analysis period (March to July 2023) and #nycapartment has also had its fair share of search queries – 554 million views and counting as of now. Probably thanks to major recent shows like And Just Like That and Russian Doll all using the city as their backdrop.

For Paris – as well as being a natural Instagram and TikTok-able hotspot, something that will always draw social media users in – this year, fashion has played a big part in increasing the popularity of the city. Shows from brands such as Dior generated over 95 million views on livestream, which could have created enough envy to draw people to research the city and plan their own trips. 

When it comes down to the most popular continent, it’s clear that Europe takes the crown, with five out of 10 cities calling it their home.

The top 10 TikTok destinations unpacked

Thinking of heading to one of the top 10 locations? Here’s why you should…

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

1 - Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona provides the best of both worlds for travellers. From its stunning stretch of beaches and blend of Gothic and modern architecture to famous landmarks like the Sagrada Familia, the Spanish city also has a buzzing nightlife for young holidaymakers and backpackers. Not to mention being an up-and-coming hub for startups and innovation.

Basically, if you want to paddle board by day and party by night (with a portion of sightseeing written into the agenda for good measure), Barcelona is the ideal place.

Empire State, New York

2 - New York City, United States

New York City is a non-negotiable bucket-list-tick for avid travellers. After all, it is the largest and most influential American metropolis in the United States.

There are a myriad of reasons why you should visit NYC, too. Whether it’s to live your best Carrie Bradshaw life or architecture is more your bag (New York is home to iconic buildings like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building), the east coast city is brimming with adventure. 

It’s also composed of five boroughs, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island, all of which have their own personality. Want the best NY pizza? Head to Brooklyn. Want to experience the cultural, financial, media, and entertainment capital? Head to Manhattan. Wherever you go, you’ll never be bored.

Eiffel Tower, Paris

3 - Paris, France

Ah, the city of love. With the most recent instalment of Netflix’s Emily In Paris released back in December, and the substantial social media hype that followed, is it any wonder people are flocking online to see what all the fuss is about?

Well, we can tell you what makes it special – it’s a source of inspiration for music, cinema, and literature, with icons like the late Jane Birkin and Brigitte Bardot becoming synonymous with the city.

Plus, it’s café culture central, and relaxing in bars and eateries along its wide boulevards and iconic architecture is actively encouraged. Oh, and it’s also one of fashion’s capital cities. What’s not to love?

Buckingham Palace, London

4 - London, United Kingdom

The UK’s capital, London is a melting pot of different cultures all united by the city’s common culture. Like New York City, every pocket has a different personality, history, and vibe. So much so, that you’ll get a totally different feeling in each area you visit.

For example, if street art, graffiti, and a punk-esque aesthetic is your thing, Camden Town is the perfect place to go. If you’re looking for something a little more touristy, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace are ideal landmarks. Or, if you’re in the market for luxury fashion and beauty stores, award-winning restaurants, and of course, the West End, Covent Garden is the go-to stop.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

5 - Istanbul, Turkey

Charm? Friendly locals? An abundance of colour? If these are your most important holiday factors, Istanbul should be on your travel list. It’s one of Turkey’s major cities, is steeped in rich history, and has been a focal point of several ancient empires. It’s even home to remnants of these empires that serve as huge tourist attractions, plus other architectural wonders. 

The city also straddles two continents, Europe and Asia, which alone gives it its unique culture. Must-see landmarks include Hagia Sophia, also known as the Shrine of The Holy of God, and The Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world.

Gran Via, Madrid

6 - Madrid, Spain

Art lovers, Madrid is home to one of Europe’s finest collections of Spanish and Latin American art. Architecture lovers, the city is filled with Art-Nouveau buildings and stunning outdoor plazas. Football lovers, Real Madrid – one of Europe’s most prestigious clubs – calls Madrid its home.

As well as this, Spain’s capital has so much more to offer and is often considered one of the best locations in the country to visit for first-timers – despite being landlocked. This is due to it providing first-class cultural, historic, and foodie experiences. (Some of the city’s most famed dishes include the bocadillo de calamares (fried calamari sandwich), and cocido madrileño (chickpea, meat, and vegetable stew).

Lima, Peru

7 - Lima, Peru

If you’re looking for a holiday a little further afield, TikTok recommends Lima, Peru’s capital. One quick Google (sorry, we mean TikTok) and chances are you’ll be checking out flight prices to the city. 

While the South American hotspot does have its fair share of pristine beaches (which make perfect surfing spots) the real star of the show is found further inland, thanks to Lima’s picturesque hills, valleys, and Spanish colonial architecture.

You’ll also find colourful markets on almost every corner and an abundance of traditional food, including iconic dishes like ceviche (citrus-infused raw seafood dish) and tiradito (raw fish and carpaccio in a spicy sauce.)

Jakarta, Indonesia

8 - Jakarta, Indonesia

If travelling around Southeast Asia is one of your dreams (Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Vietnam, etc.) you should also make sure Jakarta in Indonesia is one of your stop points. While it typically acts as a stopover while en route to other destinations (usually Lombok, Bali, etc.), TikTok says it’s actually a really good place to visit.

Here, you’ll get the hustle, bustle (and let’s be honest, chaos) of cities within this part of the world, which in itself is an unforgettable experience. In terms of what else to expect in Southeast Asia’s most populous city, Jakarta boasts vibrant shopping areas and a lively nightlife.

Sensoji Temple, Tokyo

9 - Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is the capital of Japan, and it’s probably one of the most exciting – and visually stimulating – cities in the world. From its kawaii pop culture, colourful cityscapes, idyllic nature spots, and its own historical sites, you probably need to spend a bit of time in Tokyo to experience everything it has to offer.

But for those heading to the world’s most populous city for a holiday, some of the best touristy things to do include The Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower, and Meiji Shinto Shrine. In terms of food, expect some killer sushi while admiring the liveliness and commotion of Tokyo, which is constant both day and night.

Super Tree Gardens, Singapore

10 - Singapore, Singapore

The capital of the Republic of Singapore is Singapore – slightly confusing we know. But what isn’t confusing is how utterly incredible the city is. As soon as you step foot in Singapore, you’re immediately greeted with an obvious passion for all things eco, including eco-friendly shopping centres and lush greenery even in the city centre.

Locals-wise, expect to meet friendly and helpful people, and when it comes to the food culture, you’ll be spoiled for choice with an array of cuisines from Malay, Chinese, Indian, Eurasian, and Western.

Table

Ready to see the TikTok data in stats? The table below gives you an entire overview of why these 10 world destinations made it onto the list:

Rank City Country Total views over 120 day period: Hashtag 1 No. Views: Hashtag 2 No. Views:
1 Barcelona Spain 24,033,000,000 #barcelona 24,000,000,000 #barcelonatravel 33,000,000
2 New York City United States 18,027,000,000 #nyc 18,000,000,000 #newyorkcitytravel 27,000,000
3 Paris France 16,090,000,000 #paris 16,000,000,000 #paristravel 90,000,000
4 London United Kingdom 15,051,000,000 #london 15,000,000,000 #londontravel 51,000,000
5 Istanbul Turkey 9,005,000,000 #istanbul 9,000,000,000 #istanbultravel 5,000,000
6 Madrid Spain 9,004,000,000 #madrid 9,000,000,000 #madridtravel 4,000,000
7 Lima Peru 7,000,165,000 #lima 7,000,000,000 #limatravel 165,000
8 Jakarta Indonesia 5,000,683,000 #jakarta 5,000,000,000 #jakartatravel 683,000
9 Tokyo Japan 4,068,000,000 #tokyo 4,000,000,000 #tokyotravel 68,000,000
10 Singapore Singapore 4,028,000,000 #singapore 4,000,000,000 #singaporetravel 28,000,000

Your 2023 holidays are sorted

Well that’s that. No more umming and ahhing about where to jet off for summer 2023, because TikTok has spoken. Whether you’re looking for a mix of chill beach vibes and city vibes (cue Barcelona), or you’re in the market for some serious shopping (hi, Tokyo), these 10 destinations have something for everyone. And by the looks of our March to July data, you’re definitely not going to be the only one heading out to explore more than one of these incredible locations this year. 

There’s a huge world waiting for you – get out there and TikTok it.

Methodology

To compile a list of the most viewed TikTok destinations, we began by collating a list of the top 135 largest cities by population, taken from World Population Review

Once we had a list of the largest cities, we then began analysing each specific destination using TikTok Creative Centre, by searching for both the destination name (#[INSERTDESTINATION]) as well as the destination name plus ¨travel¨ (#[INSERTDESTINATION]travel). We recorded the number of views received by each of the hashtags from a recent 120 day period (March 5th 2023 to July 3rd 2023) across all destinations on our list.

We then combined the number of views received by each hashtag for each location, allowing us to see which destinations had received the most views throughout the 4 month period. 

In the first steps of our research, we noticed two cities based in Pakistan were receiving a very high level of TikTok views. When we delved into the types of videos that were being shared, we noticed the main message of many videos was political. So for the purposes of this campaign, we have omitted these cities, purely due to the focus being on travel.

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