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US travellers have ‘European Travel Fever’ but where are the most popular destinations?

A tourist takes a photo of a tram in Lisbon
A tourist takes a photo of a tram in Lisbon Copyright Canva
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By Euronews Travel with AP
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US travellers are flocking to Europe but where are the most popular spots and what can they expect this summer?

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American travellers are flocking to Europe this summer, booking trips to major bucket list cities, despite airfares averaging nearly €1,100 per ticket- the highest prices seen in the last six years.

European vacations are in high demand, and most are sticking to well-known destinations rather than venturing off the beaten path, according to travel booking platform Hopper. 

Airfare isn't the only price reaching record highs this year. Hotel costs are up 37 per cent on average and 61 per cent in places like Rome.

Travel insurer Allianz Partners reports that the number of Americans traveling to Europe this summer would surge by 55 per cent, following last summer's 600 per cent increase. 

The report also notes that 80 per cent of Americans heading to Europe plan to spend at least seven days on vacation.

Hospitality tech companies RateGain and eviivo teamed up to determine Europe's top summer travel trends. 

Based on inbound international flight booking data for June-Aug'23, here's where vacationers are going this year.

1. Portugal is the top European destination for summer 2023

Portugal tops the charts as the most booked European country, with its capital Lisbon being the number one city for leisure travel this summer. 

Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal, also made the top ten. 

According to RateGain, flights to Portugal from the Americas are more economical than any other European destination.

2. Spain

Spain comes in second place, with Barcelona, Palma De Mallorca, and Madrid ranking among the top ten European cities for leisure travellers. 

According to reports, Spain expects over 52 million tourists between May and October.

3. Italy

Italy ranked third, which is no surprise since the country has remained in high demand post-pandemic. 

Rome and Milan are among the top ten cities vacationers are headed to. 

Data also reveals that Italy was one of the destinations preferred by couples and families travelling to Europe this year.

"I'm thrilled to see Portugal, Spain and Italy the top three most visited countries for summer 2023 since they are truly special, beautiful and inspiring destinations," says Philip Comunello, eviivo Regional Director of Iberia and Italy. 

"Eviivo has significantly grown in these regions as more hosts, owners and hoteliers are opening vacation rentals, boutique hotels, Airbnbs and casitas to meet the demand of travellers."

4. UK

Coming in fourth, the UK has seen a rise in flight bookings post-pandemic. Leisure travellers are choosing London as their preferred city this summer. 

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5. Greece

Lastly, Greece nabbed fifth place, with the "City of the Violet Crown," Athens, as the most sought-after destination for US travellers this year.

What other countries are in the top 10 most popular?

Other countries on the top ten list of most booked destinations for leisure travellers from the US include France, Germany, Croatia, Ireland, and the Netherlands. 

But with so many popular places on the list, what can travellers expect this summer?

Be Prepared for Crowds, Heat Waves, and Strikes

Although it's relatively early in the season, many European destinations are already seeing summer crowds, according to CNN. 

One Amsterdam business reported, "If I look out of the window, it already feels a bit like July." 

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A company in Paris told CNN vacationers looking for last-minute tickets to events or reservations for in-demand restaurants should "temper expectations" this year.

"Everything dealing with leisure, including fine dining and luxury hotels, is booked so far in advance, much earlier than before."

So-called "set-jetters" are also causing crowds in places like Paris and Sicily anxious to see the locations of their favorite shows, "Emily in Paris" on Netflix and the second season of "The White Lotus" on HBO. 

One traveller told CNN in Palmero, the Sicilian capital, tourists were "spilling onto the street like it was Mardi Gras" in early June. 

"You could barely move through the street to get to another bar. People were just like sardines, packed in everywhere," they added. 

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What should I be aware of in Europe this summer?

Last summer, Europe was hit with extreme temperatures, and this year is expected to be even hotter. 

The cooling weather pattern La Niña has ended after three years, and El Niño has arrived. 

This climate event is known to cause heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and flooding. Travellers should hydrate and stay cool to avoid heat exhaustion.

Finally, Europe's travel industry is experiencing "a hive of strikes" over high inflation and unmatched wages. 

This could cause flights and trains to be delayed or even cancelled.

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The Spanish Union of Airline Pilots (Sepla) has announced possible strikes against Europa Air from mid-June to early July. 

Meanwhile, in France, strikes over an increase in the legal retirement age have impacted travellers since January.

You can read more about upcoming strikes here

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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