This Country Is Europe’s Fastest Growing Tourist Destination — and You’ve Probably Never Heard of It

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One of Europe’s smallest countries is growing in tourism numbers faster than anywhere else on the continent.

This story originally appeared on Travelandleisure.com.

According to new data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the 24-square-mile country of San Marino became Europe’s fastest growing destination last year.

From 2016 to 2017, San Marino saw a 31.1 percent growth in tourism with more than 78,000 people visiting the country last year. That may not seem impressive, but it is considering that the population is only about 33,500. More than twice as many people visited the country last year compared to those who live there.


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To be fair, San Marino’s tourism had nowhere to go but up. Last year, it was reported that the micro-nation was the least-visited place in Europe. But, as more people learn about San Marino, tourism is likely to soar (so book your ticket ASAP).

San Marino is situated inside northeast Italy, only about a three-hour drive from Florence. Despite being the fifth smallest country in the world, there’s plenty to keep visitors entertained. It’s the last remaining independently-governed city-state in Italy and, therefore, has a lot of fascinating history. In fact, the historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


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One of the nation’s biggest draws is the well-preserved collection of medieval architecture. Some citadels around town date back to the 11th century. Wander through the old walled city and spend time in one of several palazzos around town.

No matter what you intend to do in San Marino, just be sure to get there quick. The tourists are coming.


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