This City Was Just Named the Most Overcrowded Tourist Spot in Europe

HBO hit show "Game of Thrones" is partially to blame.

When we think about sustainable travel, we usually dwell on the most popular topics and conversations that spark around it. We wonder, for example, what we do to limit our CO2 emissions on a trip, or we pick our hotels and accommodations based on their efforts towards a greener impact on our planet. But especially in the last few years, there has been another sustainability-related issue lurking in the background, and it's called overtourism.

Lately, cities and countries alike have taken action towards the problem—including building literal fences—as overtourism can bring about complications both for residents and our planet in general. According to experts, the presence of too many tourists can lead to the damage of fragile environments or landmarks, scare wildlife, increase in local rents, and a general overcrowding of narrow roads.

Some cities, though, are more targeted than others, and at times pop culture has to do with it, too. Holidu, the vacation home rental agency, recently published a report on the most "over-touristed" cities in Europe and Croatia's Dubrovnik—which in the last few years gained a lot of tourism traction thanks to it being one of the main filming sets for the HBO hit show Game of Thrones—came out on top, surpassing the infamously over-touristed Venice by a good bit.

To come up with the results, Holidu considered annual tourism data from 2019 (the last pre-pandemic year) and calculated an estimation of the number of tourists to local residents. According to the report, Dubrovnik counts 36 tourists for every local resident. That is a lot, if we take into account that Dubrovnik is a relatively small city with a population of just over 41,000. In 2019, it welcomed almost 1.5 million tourists.

According to Croatia Week, overtourism has caused multiple issues in the Croatian city, from traffic jams to damages to infrastructure and a steep increase in prices as well as lower quality of life for residents. Dubrovnik, however, has been trying to curb the issue with different rules and regulations. Back in 2017, for example, following a recommendation from UNESCO, the city put in effort to enforce daily tourist limits and installed 116 cameras to count the number of tourists entering the Old Town.

This week, Dubrovnik also launched a new animated YouTube video aimed at spreading awareness of how to be a less disruptive visitor. Honestly, it's a pretty cute watch.

click to play video

Italy's Venetian gem followed Dubrovnik in the ranking, and came in second tied with Bruges in Belgium and Rhodes in Greece, each of them counting 21 tourists per resident. To take a look at the complete list, you can visit this website.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.