Brainstorming what to put on your travel bucket list this year? Better book a trip to Rome.
TripAdvisor has revealed its most popular attractions, tours, activities and other experiences for global travelers, ranking them based on bookings through the site in 2017 for products under $150 per person. Attractions in Rome — ranging from tours of the Sistine Chapel to the Colosseum — dominated the top spots on the ranking, with tourists flocking to the historic and iconic sights of this Italian city.
Here are the world's most popular experiences for 2017, according to TripAdvisor.
Rome's hot spots: The Vatican museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter' Basilica and Colosseum
Just like its pizza, there are many different flavors in Rome and in 2017, tourists wanted to taste a little bit of everything. Several sight-seeing tours of the city topped TripAdvisor's list.
The number one most booked attraction was City Wonders' Rome Combo: Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica and Colosseum Walking Tour.
The tour hits all of Vatican City's hot spots, including the stunning ceilings of the Sistine Chapel as well as the sights at St. Peter's Basilica. Other sights along the tour include the ancient ruins of the Roman Forum, and the first and second levels of the Colosseum; the massive amphitheater used in ancient Roman times for gory gladiator fights. The full-day tour is currently priced at around $140 per person.
The half-day tour that features just the ancient Roman Forum and the Colosseum, called Skip the Line: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Half Day Walking Tour (also by City Wonders) ranked third on TripAdvisor's list. The half-day tour dives deeper into the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, and currently costs around $57 per person.
Another Roman tour that landed a spot on TripAdvisor's most popular experiences for 2017 is the Rome Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour, operated by City Sightseeing Rome — it snagged the fourth spot on the list. The tour features a 24- or 48-hour ticket that enables tourists to get on and off a tour bus in Rome, allowing for more flexibility. Prices start at roughly $35.
The world's second most popular experience of 2017, according to TripAdvisor, is located in the Windy City.
The Chicago Architecture River Cruise, by Shoreline Sightseeing, gives tourists the lowdown on the city's astounding architecture, going over the history of the famous buildings that make up Chicago's iconic skyline. Those buildings include the John Hancock Center, Willis Tower (better known by Chicagoans as the Sears Tower) Wrigley Building, Chicago Tribune Tower and Navy Pier, among others.
The tour, which lasts 75 minutes, is currently priced at around $43.
Barcelona's Basilica of the Sagrada Familia
Rounding out the top five on TripAdvisor's ranking is the Priority Access: Barcelona Sagrada Familia Tour, operated by Julia Travel Madrid. The monumental cathedral, designed by famed architect Antoni Gaudi, features stunning stained glass and intricate designs. Construction of the church began in 1882, but is still underway. In 2015, National Geographic reported the building was on-pace to be completed by 2026.
The popular Priority Access tour of the cathedral on TripAdvisor's ranking informs tourists of "hidden details and symbolism not obvious when exploring independently," according to the tour's TripAdvisor profile, and includes a skip-the-line ticket. The tour is currently priced at around $44.
Other travel trends
Other popular experiences that rank within the top 10 on TripAdvisor's list of the world's most popular experiences in 2017 include tours of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France (ranking sixth), the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London — The Making of Harry Potter (ranking seventh) and tickets to the Empire State Building in New York City (ranking eighth).
Overall, TripAdvisor found that the fastest-growing experience categories for 2017 global travelers, based on year-over-year growth in bookings from 2016, includes historical and heritage tours (up 125 percent), sunset cruises (up 86 percent) and private day trips (up 79 percent).
Another interesting travel trend TripAdvisor found? The rise in popularity of skip-the-line tours, which were the second-fastest growing category for U.S. travelers by total dollar amount spent in 2017. Hot spots for tourists, like Rome, are often characterized by crazy crowds and massive lines.
"Travelers are also being more economical with their time," Laurel Greatrix, director of communications at TripAdvisor said, according to the site. "Skip-the-line tour options are among the fastest-growing tours in the world, and were among the fastest growing categories for US travelers in particular, allowing travelers to see more than just the back of someone's head."
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