One in five holidaymakers has only ever been to one other European country in their lifetime, according to a new study.
The average person has only experienced 17% of Europe or seven out of 41 countries, the research for Leger Holidays found.
The most common barriers that prevent people from exploring Europe are cost, the thought of over-complicated journeys and not being able to speak the local language.
Holidaymakers are now far more likely to opt for a tried and tested destination within their safety zone, the poll of more than 2,000 people found.
The top five countries on the UK’s wish list are:
The operator’s marketing director Huw Williams said: “Europe holds some of the most exciting and vibrant destinations in the world and it’s disheartening to see that people aren’t making the most of these locations, especially since they’re right here on our doorstep.
“We were equally shocked to hear the reasons that people gave for limiting themselves to certain destinations and giving up on their ideal holidays.
“We’d also challenge people to look outside of the more obvious ‘budget’ sector where certain airlines or networks will dictate which destinations you’ll be able to access.
“There are plenty of other options available on the market; many of which offer great value for money and a chance to venture off the beaten track, or a specific holiday resort, to experience more of what that location has to offer.”
The decline in European travel has also had a detrimental effect on the nation’s general knowledge of Europe, especially amongst those under 45 years old whose prime years of travel are most effected by the current economic climate.
More than 40% of people didn’t know that Russia was a European country and a further 31% thought that Iceland fell outside of Europe too.
A third of those surveyed could not name the countries that make up the Benelux and almost one in ten (7%) did not know that the Berlin Wall was located in Germany.
Almost half of the nation (49%) can’t speak a European language.
Of those who do, French is by far the most popular with 31% being fluent compared to 12% that speak German and 9% who can speak Spanish.
The top 10 most-visited European countries are:
The top 10 least-visited European countries are: