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Europe Uncovered: Top Cities for an Unforgettable American Escape

Iceland’s flagship airline, Icelandair reveals the best cities in Europe for immersive travel based on the number of local restaurants, pubs, tours, and activities per 1000 people.

  • Valletta, Malta is crowned the best European destination for immersive travel for Americans.
  • Reykjavik came out second overall aided by having the most events per 1000 people.
  • The study analyzed over 30 cities in categories such as food & drink, tourism, and transport.

With ‘immersive travel’ being named a travel trend for 2023, it’s the perfect way to soak up the true culture of a country this year. This trend can be defined as engaging in a more meaningful way and experiencing your destination as if you were a local. 

According to Google Trends, searches for ‘immersive travel’ have risen 77% in the past year. Post-pandemic, people are searching for deeper experiences and striving for slower, all-consuming escapes. 

To help inspire your immersive bucket list, Iceland’s flagship airline, Icelandair has analyzed over 30 European cities scoring them on their immersive qualities. 

The study collated data on the cities’ events and activities, public transport, and several local restaurants/pubs. Icelandair also analyzed the percentage of the country fluent in English so you can immerse yourself without having to worry about a language barrier. 

The outcome? A Top 20 index, which will help you choose where to go if you’re looking for an immersive travel experience.

Top 20 European Destinations for an Immersive Trip: 

RankCityCountryTourism scoreFood & Drinks scoreTransportation scoreAmusement scoreLanguage Friendliness scoreOverall Score
5United KingdomLondon11.010.811.510.192.3135.7
16PragueCzech Republic14.511.914.311.946.799.3

The Top 3 destinations for immersive travel are

1 – Valetta, Malta

The smallest capital city in the European Union with a small population of just under 6,000 (5,964), Valletta is revealed as the most immersive European destination with an impressive score of 442/500. Leading the way for the number of tours, attractions, restaurants, and bars per 1000 people, this capital has a rich historical past. Valletta is also recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and has been since 1980. 

So, if you’re looking to immerse yourself in Valletta, be sure to appreciate the Baroque architecture and check out one of its 25 churches!

2 – Reykjavik, Iceland

Coming in second is Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. With upwards of 2 million tourists a year, Reykjavik is a hotspot for the Northern Lights with many tourists heading out to explore Iceland’s stunning landscape.

Despite an overall score of 263.8, Reykjavik takes the first spot for events and activities per 1000 people with 6.81. It is also home to the highest English-speaking population of all the countries analyzed with 98%, meaning more chances for immersion without worrying about a language barrier. 

Whether you’re interested in Reykjavik’s rich natural beauty or heading out for one of its many festivals, it will be an experience you won’t forget.

3 – Amsterdam, Netherlands

With another high language ranking, Amsterdam in the Netherlands is a popular destination for American tourists with over one and a half million (1,564,000) Americans visiting during 2019 alone. 

Beyond the number of tourists, Amsterdam is the perfect place for immersion with its laid-back lifestyle and contemporary architecture. This modern city came fourth overall for restaurants and bars, with 5.06 per 1000 people, unsurprising when Dutch beers are especially popular. 


To reveal the best cities for immersive travel experience, we took the most popular European cities for American tourists using travel reports from Statista. We then analyzed five factors that can help people feel fully immersed in a culture: food and drink, tours, events, transport links, and understanding the language.

  • Tourism Score – Indicates how rich a destination is in history and heritage. It is calculated by analyzing the number of tours and attractions available per 1000 people. 
  • Food & drinks Score – Indicates how easily travelers can get local food and drinks. We calculated the score by evaluating the number of local restaurants, bars, eateries, and pubs available per 1000 people. 
  • Transportation Score – Denotes how accessible the public transportation links are for travelers to explore the city. It is estimated based on the number of transportation links available per 1000 people. 
  • Amusement Score – This shows how well visitors can engage with the local culture and surroundings. The score was measured by assessing the number of local events and festivals per 1000 people. 
  • Language Score – Indicates how well visitors can interact and blend in with locals when visiting a destination. The score was measured based on the English-speaking population in the visiting place.


The factors we used for measuring the immersive travel experience are a mix of counts and percentages. So, we used a scale of 0-100 to measure each factor where 100 indicates the highest score whilst 0 indicates the least score, to ensure a fair comparison. Hence, the overall score of 500 indicates the most immersive destinations whereas 0 indicates the least immersive destinations. 


Leading tourism destinations in Europe – To calculate the prevalence rate (per 1000) –

We used Trip Advisor to calculate the number of 

  • Attractions/Tours 
  • Restaurants/Bars/Eateries 
  • Transport Links
  • Local Events/Festivals/Activities/Concerts

Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for general education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. It is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal, tax or any other advice specific to you the user or anyone else. TurtleVerse does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information and shall not be held responsible for any action taken based on the published information.



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