This Is The Trendiest European Destination For Americans, And It’s Not What You’d Guess


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Despite economic setbacks, a war in Ukraine, and inflation, European tourism is back in full swing, and Southern Mediterranean destinations are making the biggest comeback. With the help of a stronger U.S. dollar, which appreciated around 20% against both the euro and pound over the last year, this made Europe a more enticing destination for Americans to visit.

The U.S. dropped its PCR mandate for returning to America in June, which allowed European travel to pick up in the summer since travelers didn’t have to worry about securing negative PCR tests ahead of crossing borders.

Mardin old town at sunset - Mardin, Turkey, destination

Which Country Is Making The Best Comeback?

The European Travel Commission identified Turkey as the destination making the strongest return, which is only -5% of what its pre-pandemic arrivals in 2019 used to be. The country had the fastest growth from American travelers, being up almost two-thirds (61%) compared to the same period in 2019. This was 3.5 times more than Portugal, which followed Turkey as the second fastest growth of arrivals, which was up 17.4% from the same period in 2019.

Flying on the balloons early morning in Cappadocia., destination

It wasn’t just Americans that Turkey was attracting. The data reported that UK residents were also choosing Turkey for their European vacations, which was up more than a quarter compared to the same time in 2019.

Experts suggest that 2022 will likely represent a new peak year for Turkey.

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Bodrum, Turkey, destination

Why Was Turkey So Popular This Year?

Turkey is considered a good value destination, and since it relaxed its travel restrictions quicker when compared to other European destinations, it enabled the country to recover its tourism at a faster rate. Turkey, Serbia, and Montenegro all chose to implement more lenient travel restrictions compared to other European destinations and saw more tourists return earlier on.

Kaputas Beach view from top.

Why Do People Visit Turkey?

This magical country is beloved by many who set foot there, with a choose-your-own experience that will fit all types of travelers and a Mediterranean climate that makes it perfect to visit all year round. Whether it be soaking up the sun on its turquoise water-lined beaches, exploring the ancient ruins, or tasting its traditional foods and decadent desserts, it’s a hard place to find disappointment.

Your first stop will be Istanbul, where Europe and Asia meet, and the largest city in Turkey. It has food to die for, a Grand Bazaar with over 4,000 shops, and plenty of historical and cultural attractions. Turkey is a country so vast, you’ll want to get out of the big city and see what else it has to offer, from the Dalyan mud baths to the volcanic terrain in Cappadocia, soaking up the best beaches in Antalya and ancient wrecks underwater in Bodrum.  

Oriental carpet. Istanbul.

What Are the Flight Options For Turkey?

There are many airlines that offer flights to Turkey, with the majority leaving in the afternoons and evenings. Turkish Airlines is the national carrier and offers over ten non-stop routes from popular destinations in the U.S., which all land in Istanbul.

They include three direct flights on average every day from New York’s John F Kennedy airport and daily from Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington; and four or more flights a week from Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston. The airline will soon be adding two new non-stop flights to Turkey from Denver, Colorado, and Detroit, Michigan, but the timing has not been confirmed yet.

Ortakoy Istanbul cityscape

Other popular airlines with stopovers include United, American Airlines, Norwegian, Swiss Air, and Air France. If you are wanting to visit other locations in Turkey, such as Antalya, there are stopover flights available with Finnair, Lufthansa, or Air France. You can find flights that are less expensive when you select one with more than a single stop.

Bodrum street view in Turkey

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