It is no surprise for most to hear that Europe is a very popular tourist destination. While most of us would probably guess that places like London, Paris, or Rome are among the busiest destinations in Europe, none of those popular places have nearly the “draw” as the fastest growing spot on the continent. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ve never even heard of the fastest growing destination.
According to research gathered by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the tiny country of San Marino is the fastest growing vacation spot in all of Europe. San Marino is only 24-square-miles in size, yet it saw a 31% growth in tourism between 2016 and 2017. Almost 80,000 people visited the country last year alone. In a country with a population of only 33,500, that’s a pretty good amount of tourism traffic!
In 2016, virtually no one had even heard of San Marino so it wasn’t all that hard to boost tourism once people started learning about the country. Given how quickly the word is spreading about the country, it’s likely that the tourism numbers are only going to go up.
San Marino is a country in Northern Italy, just a few hours outside of Florence. While 24-square-miles seems absolutely miniscule, there are actually 4 other countries throughout the world that are smaller. However, despite its tiny size, San Marino offers plenty of reasons to visit. It’s the only independently-governed city-state left in Italy. Because of that, San Marino has a ton of history to offer visitors, which is one of the main reasons tourists are flocking to the little country. It’s not easy to earn the title of a “World Heritage Site” from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), but that’s exactly what San Marino’s historic center is. One thing is for sure—when you have a UNESCO World Heritage Site you can bet that your tourism numbers are going to go up.
The country is also home to an amazing display of architecture that dates back more than 900 years. Every palazzo in town offers plenty of midcentury citadels to gander at as you explore.
Regardless of what may happen to draw you to San Marino, you’d better book your ticket quick because the tourist numbers probably aren’t going to drop anytime soon!