The European Cities Most Overloaded with Tourists
Dreaming of a summer escape to your favourite European city? You may want to think twice about these locations. These are the most overloaded cities in Europe you may want to avoid during the summer. But fear not, we have also the best times to visit these destinations, so you don’t have to miss out!
Holidu, the booking portal for holiday rentals, decided to find out the cities with the most tourists per inhabitant. Using statistical data, this study was conducted using the number of yearly tourists in 2019 compared to the city’s population. Read on to discover these overcrowded spots to avoid in summer.
1. Dubrovnik, Croatia – 36 tourists per 1 inhabitant
It’s official – Dubrovnik is the most overloaded city in Europe! Known for its stunning orange rooftops and its feature in the acclaimed Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik has a staggering 36 tourists for every one of its inhabitants! Having a relatively small population, Dubrovnik sees an influx of tourists during the summer months, especially in July and August. We recommend visiting in early May or mid-September to mid-October to beat the crowds. Although there are still some events in September that draw international visitors, such as the International Late Summer Music Festival, most of the main summer crowds will have subsided.
Dubrovnik, Croatia credit Hans Jurgen Weinhardt via Unsplash
2. Venice, Italy – 21 tourists per 1 inhabitant
The next city on our list is Venice. With its small streets and narrow bridges, it makes sense why this city feels overcrowded! Venice has a complicated history with over-tourism. This annual influx of tourists has a huge strain on the infrastructure. One of the main issues is day-trippers, tourists that usually come from cruise ships that stop for a few hours at a time and do not offer true economic benefit for the city. The city even banned cruise ships from sailing through the city centre of Venice in August 2021 and starting January 16, 2023, Venice will require daily tourists to make reservations and pay a fee to enter the city. We recommend visiting from September to November and staying for at least 2 to 3 nights. Try your best to shop and eat local to promote sustainable tourism in Venice!
Venice, Italy credit Levi Van Leeuwen via Unsplash
3. Bruges, Belgium – 21 tourists per 1 inhabitant
Taking the third place spot is the medieval architectural wonder of Bruges. Bruges is a small town with a big reputation, coming in with 21 tourists per inhabitant, and drawing in the crowds starting in late May through most of the summer. Tourists flock to enjoy the stunning architecture and picturesque canals. It also holds the status of being a UNESCO World Heritage site, so it is a must-visit city. However, with 21 tourists per inhabitant, we do recommend going in the shoulder season to beat the crowds as it is still a bit warm, but you won’t need to wait in long lines (early May or September).
Bruges, Belgium credit den-harrson via Unsplash
4. Rhodes, Greece – 21 tourists per 1 inhabitant
Up next on our list is Rhodes, Greece, the largest of the Dodecanese islands! Rhodes is known for its ancient ruins and stunning beach resorts, so it is easy to see why they have 21 tourists per inhabitant. Lined with medieval streets and palaces, you can get history and stunning beaches all in the same location. We highly recommend visiting between the months of April – May to avoid the peak holiday season, crowds, and higher prices.
Rhodes, Greece credit Benjamin Recinos via Unsplash
5. Reykjavik, Iceland – 16 tourists per 1 inhabitant
Next on the list, with 16 tourists per inhabitant, Reykjavik crowds into 5th place on the list. Known for its picturesque nature and rugged landscapes, Iceland boasts stunning waterfalls, blue lagoons, extraordinary glaciers and active volcanoes. Reykjavik is known for hosting lively nightlife and a big music festival scene. The peak season for Iceland (surprise, surprise) is during the summer months between June and August. This is when the weather is the mildest and it has the most daylight. May and September are the ideal shoulder months we recommend for those looking for a quieter holiday, as they are known to have fewer crowds.
Reykjavik, Iceland credit Annie Spratt via Unsplash
Who rounds off the top 10 best?
6. Florence, Italy – 13 tourists per 1 inhabitant
7. Heraklion, Greece – 13 tourists per 1 inhabitant
8. Amsterdam, The Netherlands – 12 tourists per 1 inhabitant
9. Dublin, Ireland – 11 tourists per 1 inhabitant
10. Tallinn, Estonia – 10 tourists per 1 inhabitant
This ranking was made by using the number of tourists in 2019 (the last pre-pandemic year) for each city on The Savvy Backpacker and Air Mundo’s most visited cities lists. With this data, we then extracted the populations and ranked each city from highest to lowest based on the number of tourists per inhabitant, prioritising those with more tourists. All cities from both Russia and Ukraine were removed from this ranking.