These are the journeys our customers search for the most
2020 was clearly a very unusual year for travel, so to give you a more concrete idea of our most popular routes, we looked at our data from the whole of 2019 to bring you a list of cities and 15 flight combinations that people just seem to love!
Popular routes in Europe & the Middle East
We begin with a classic route, London–New York. From the glory days of being able to fly between the two in under three hours if you had the money to buy a ticket on Concorde, to the huge range of ever-cheaper routes available today, it’s one of the most well-traveled routes on the planet.
They’re cities famous for both high culture and some of the best nightlife in the world, as is the city on our second European route, that of London–Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum is home to one of Europe’s finest collections of art and history, while exploring the city can be done on foot, by boat, or by that most Dutch form of transport, the bicycle. Whether you’re there for a chaotic weekend or a relaxing city break, Amsterdam has everything in spades.
Going east, our third route links Moscow–Sochi. Sochi is the country’s largest resort city, and a popular destination for Russians wanting to escape the capital and spend a bit of time by the water or exploring the countryside.
A subtropical climate and miles of beaches bring in the tourists, and when you’re done with playing in the water, or having that luxurious spa treatment, you can head up into the mountains and the Krasnaya Polyana resort (skiing, snowboarding, hiking or climbing, depending on the season), or simply walk through the forests, between the occasional lakes and waterfalls in this beautiful part of the world.
If you’d rather see something older — millennia older, in fact! — what about our fourth most-popular European route: Athens–London. Athens is the warmest major city in Europe, meaning a nice change from London in that sense, and the port at Piraeus serves around 20 million people each year, many of them traveling to one of the hundreds of Greek islands for more fun in the sun. One curiosity is that while most of our popular European searches start in London, this is one of the few where London is the destination, with the reverse route only our 28th most popular.
Finally, this isn’t a route to a European destination, but is popular with travelers looking for some sunshine and a spot of modern glamor: London–Dubai. Routes to Dubai from Paris, Moscow, Amsterdam, Istanbul, and Frankfurt were also popular but, once again, London tops out.
With direct flights taking around seven hours from London, it’s not exactly close, but once you’re there you’ll have more than enough opportunities to relax in the comfort of one of the hundreds of hotels and resorts, on the beach, or in the vast, modern shopping complexes of which there are over 70!
Routes customers search for in Asia & the Pacific
In terms of search numbers, Kiwi.com had a clear number one in 2019, and that was the Tokyo–Seoul route. Two of Asia’s mightiest cities, they’re separated by a flight time of under three hours, so jumping from one to the other is as easy as you’d like.
Tokyo itself manages the twin tasks of being both a futuristic vision and a step centuries into the past. In some neighborhoods, tall, sleek glass and metal structures push skywards, while in others you pass through lanes flanked by traditional wooden structures lit by paper lanterns. Each road you go down yields another surprise: an amazing restaurant, a temple in its own garden, a tiny market.
In a pleasingly circular way, our second most popular route is Seoul–Bangkok, meaning we can discuss the South Korean capital here. One of the most densely populated cities on the planet — over 20 million people in an area smaller than Luxembourg — it can seem overwhelming. It’s a constant frenzy of people, noise, and movement; neon-lit and as excitingly spicy as the food. However, spend some time there and, once you’re used to it, you’ll begin to see that it’s layered with ancient culture, art, and traditions that are just as important to the Korean soul as the electric metropolis that contains them.
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, modernized shockingly quickly. Indeed, its first roads only arrived in the middle of the 19th century; before then, only royal palaces had been built on dry land, with almost all the rest of the city floating on bamboo rafts on the river and canals. Today you can still explore the old neighborhoods by boat, but you’ll also be confronted by an assault of sights, sounds, and smells, a heady sensory rush that means many people who arrive find it difficult to leave!
Leave we must though, as our next route is Bangkok–Phuket City. The island of Phuket is incredibly popular with tourists, as it has beaches galore and a constant stream of boats heading out to the smaller, surrounding islands, each filled with travelers wanting to find their own little piece of paradise. Phuket City itself, and the Old Town in particular, is a mix of old Portuguese and Indian heritage, attracting artists, musicians, and those who aspire to be one or the other once they’ve finished their artisanal coffee.
We’re now going Taipei–Tokyo, with Taipei being one of Asia’s top street food destinations. Food is very much at the center of Taiwanese culture, and along with well-known offerings such as noodle soups, fried meats and dumplings, a number of more unusual restaurants have popped up, so if you fancy chowing down on a bowl of fried crickets or a duck tongue, here’s the place to do it.
Finally, our fifth most popular Asian route is Singapore–Bangkok. We looked at Bangkok earlier, so what of Singapore? Well, it’s generally considered the only fully sovereign city-state in the world, a former trading post that rose to become one of the most important financial centers on the planet, a place to worship at the altar of consumerism and wealth. It’s a fast-paced, multicultural, shinily efficient place that’s unlike a lot of other cities in Asia. Whether that’s good or bad is for you to decide.
Destination pairs trending in the Americas
A route across Peru begins our voyage around, through, up and down the Americas: Lima–Cusco. The capital, Lima, is one of the jewels of South America, considered the finest of all cities during the 16th and 17th centuries. This era can be explored in the hundreds of museums and galleries dotted around the city, as well as in the grand churches and houses you’ll see. You will, however, see them through the sprawl of traffic, the manic nightlife, and the infectious enthusiasm of the locals.
Cusco, once the capital of the Incan Empire, is a 500-year-old collection of stone streets and buildings in a beautiful setting. Hundreds of sights, colorful festivals, and a constant stream of people passing through on their way to Machu Picchu, 80 km to the northwest, mean that it’s unsurprising this route is so popular.
Heading north, we find that Mexico City–Cancún is our second highest searched route. Unsurprisingly, they’re two of Mexico’s most popular destinations. Mexico City, a sprawling mass of humanity centered around the Zócalo, the city’s main plaza, Aztec ruins, mighty basilicas and churches, and so many markets and places to eat and drink you’d need more than one lifetime to try them all. Cancún, on the other hand, is a beach bum’s dream with around 34 km of white sand beckoning. It’s known as a party town, and that’s certainly true, but there are also some fascinating archaeological sites within a day’s journey and some good museums to give a bit more context than just 1970s apartment blocks.
Moving to our next route, and it’s São Paulo–Salvador. The first thing you should know about São Paulo is that it’s big. Really big. It’s the most populous city not only in Brazil, but in the Americas overall. It’s a fabulously diverse one as well, being home to the largest Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab diasporas in the world, as well as over 200 other nationalities. Salvador isn’t quite as crazy, but it is still the fourth-biggest city in the country, and the first capital of Brazil, dating from 1549. This makes it one of the oldest cities on the continent, and it’s certainly one of the most colorful: the old center is wildly decorated in all the colors of the rainbow, and its large Afro-Brazilian community makes sure there’s always vibrancy, music, and good times no matter which way you turn.
Another route across Brazil comes fourth in our list, namely São Paulo–Rio de Janeiro. Rio is possibly the most iconic city in all of South America — just the name conjures up all manner of images: Sugar Loaf Mountain, the sparkling surf crashing onto beaches filled with beautiful people, the carnival, the greenery contrasting with the hillside favelas, and above it all, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, arms outstretched, looking down on it all. In fact, it’s everything you’d expect and more.
Finally, we come to New York–Miami, the only route in our Americas top 5 to feature places in the USA. New York has been mentioned above (and elsewhere on this site), but let’s take a second to finish off with Miami. A popular holiday destination for decades, it remains so, with its art deco cool, palm trees and promenades, Hispanic swing, and famous natural wonders such as the nearby Keys and Everglades.