Traveling beyond the borders of one’s own country: a deeply rooted aspiration among many of us. But, what are the horizons that most appeal to the French? Interhome analyzed Google* search data to decipher current trends and the destinations most searched for by our compatriots.
The top 5 most sought-after destinations nationally
With an average monthly search volume of 12,100 queries, Spain reigns supreme among French travelers, despite a drop of 33% (18,060 monthly searches) compared to last year. Italy is in 2nd position with 8,100 constant searches. Portugal and Croatia tied for 3rd place on the podium with an average monthly search volume of 5,400, stability for Portugal, but a drop of 33% for Croatia. About the Franceit is placed in 5th position with a decrease of 19% compared to 2022.
The French conquer the northern horizons
Faced with the vagaries of the climate, French travelers are redefining their favorite destinations. While southwestern European countries are stagnating or regressing, Northern Europe is seeing an increasing number of searches. There Norway shines with a 30% increase in searches, followed closely by Sweden and Denmark, both at +22%. There Finland remains the course with a stable average search volume compared to the previous year.
Albania, the rising star for French tourists
The year 2023 was marked by the spectacular rise of Albania. An impressive 175% increase in searches catapults the Balkan country among the trending destinations. From 1,055 monthly searches in 2022, the term “holidays in Albania” reaches an average of 2,900 in 2023. Albania saw an increase in all French regions. The largest variation observed is in Normandy (+325% in 2023 vs 2022). The highest number of searches for Albania, however, come from Île-de-France (up 69%).
Spain remains the most popular destination in many French regions, except in the Grand Est
For this study, Interhome was not limited to an analysis at the national level, but also examined the different French regions.
Even if 2023 saw a drop in popularity, Spain remains popular, particularly in Île-de-France, with an average of 2,900 monthly searches. Only the Grand Est deviated from the rule, with a marked predilection for Italy.
Sharp increase in searches in the Centre-Val de Loire region
Where many French regions see a stabilization or decline in interest for the top 5 most searched for destinations, the Centre-Val de Loire is the one which shows the strongest increase for the latter, with searches for the Italy, Portugal and France, up respectively +21% for the first two and +22% for the last.
Decrease in searches on the Atlantic coast, the south of France, Burgundy-Franche-Comté and Normandy
Apart from the spectacular increase in searches for Albania, New Aquitaine, Normandy, Occitanie, Pays de la Loire and the PACA region show a stable, even downward trend in holiday searches. Occitania and Brittany stand out, with an increase in searches for holidays in France (+24% vs 2022) for one, and holidays in Ireland (+29% vs 2022) for the other.
Head north for the Grand Est and Auvergne
With an increase of 27% compared to 2023, the appeal of Norway is increasing in the Grand Est and Auvergne. In the Grand Est, other destinations, such as Luxembourg (+27%), Cyprus (+21%) and Ireland (+22%), are also experiencing renewed interest.
Hauts-de-France under the Lusitanian charm
Portugal is positioned as the preferred destination in Hauts-de-France (+23% vs 2022). Cyprus follows (+21%) and, despite a slight decline, Belgium, just after Spain.
The highest volume of searches in Île-de-France
Unsurprisingly, it is in Île-de-France that the volume of searches is the highest. In the lead, Spain, followed by Italy and Croatia, tied, then Portugal and France.
Little extra: to make the study easier to read, Interhome has created an interactive map of search trends which provides access to regional and national results.
The results come from a study carried out by Interhome on September 8, 2023 on vacation search trends among French people in Europe. The company used the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool to study how often people searched for vacations in different countries during the period August 2022 to July 2023. The tool provides annual growth and average number monthly searches. The study examined trends in France at both a national and regional level.