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Avoid These 15 European Tourist Traps That People Love

Avoid These 15 European Tourist Traps That People Love

When traveling through Europe, it’s easy to get caught up in the allure of popular tourist spots. However, not all of these attractions live up to the hype. We’ve identified 15 European tourist traps that many people flock to, but might leave you disappointed. Before you plan your itinerary, take a look at these overrated spots and consider seeking out more authentic and rewarding experiences. Save time, money, and enjoy your trip to the fullest by knowing what to avoid.

Pisa, Italy

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The city is most famed for the namesake leaning tower, but frequent fliers feel this attraction is overrated. While it is slightly fascinating to see the building defy the laws of physics, there’s not much else to see. The tourist footfall makes the only attraction unbearable, so you’re much better off visiting lesser-known Italian cities.

Bruges, Belgium

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The cobblestone streets and gorgeous canals pull tourists to this Belgian city, but most itineraries focus on its main square, which can get overwhelming. The restaurants at the main square are designed to attract foreigners, so they hack up the prices and serve mediocre food. It can also get incredibly busy during the day, so travelers on a tight schedule may be unable to get food. It’s much better to visit isolated restaurants around the city.

La Rambla, Barcelona

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La Rambla is Barcelona’s most popular street, famed for terraced eateries, live shows, and even mimes. However, the street lets its popularity get the best of tourists; it gets uncomfortably crowded during peak seasons, creating a claustrophobic environment. The terraces are also unimaginably underwhelming; they are extremely expensive and lack quality food.

Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin, Germany

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Once the border crossing between East and West Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie is a historical landmark that attracts thousands of tourists yearly. But as significant as the destination is, it isn’t worth the trip, especially if you’re visiting during peak times. The area is overrun by cheap kiosks, which taint the experience and attract an unnatural tourist crowd.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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The most popular destination, especially after the Fault in Our Stars, Amsterdam gives tourists dreams about romantic walks by the canal and stunning cruises. However, its popularity ruins the experience, especially for first-time travelers, since it’s easy to get overwhelmed. While the museums in Amsterdam are nice and make for a great tourist attraction, other parts of the Netherlands have so much more to offer.

Main cities in Bulgaria

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Mainstream cities like Varna and Burgas bring a lot to the plate, such as natural attractions, museums, and portside fun. However, these cities are often at the center of attention, making them a nightmare for introverts. Most attractions have unreasonably high prices, and streets can get congested. It is much better to visit smaller and lesser-known cities; they offer the same beauty and even more marvelous attractions for half the price.

Munich’s Oktoberfest

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Recently, Munich’s hosting of Oktoberfest has taken the rounds on social media. However, the festival might not be as impressive as promised, especially for people who visit with an imaginative scenario in mind. The festival involves overrated events and boring attractions, and people can get a little too handsy and rowdy after drinks. Aim for spring festivals since they offer similar events minus the hassle, hustle, and bustle.

The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen, Denmark

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While Carls Jacobson’s inspiration from the namesake Hans Christian Anderson fairytale brings a delightful touch to this sculpture, there’s really not much to see once you’ve been there. Since the sculpture is unusually popular, you’ll have to get in line to get a look. Most tour companies charge a lot to see this landmark, which can be disappointing. It’s only impressive if you see it on a city-wide walk; don’t plan to visit it as a destination.

Leicester Square, London, England

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Almost everyone visiting London visits Leicester to get a sip of its world-famous beverages and enjoy its vibrant city life. However, most experienced tourists and locals avoid the area like the plague because it has too many tourist traps. The pubs are insanely overpriced, teenagers can get a bit too rowdy for comfort, and most eateries serve boring food all over England.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

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You’d think the most popular destination in France would be worth it, but locals advise against it. While it’s tempting to see the beautiful skyline from the top of the tower, it costs about 25€ to get in line. The waitlist is quite long, so you’ll be standing for hours on end and might not like the crowded view at the end. Instead, visit the Printemps Haussmann department store, which offers a similar, more appealing, and less obstructed view for free.

The Flower Clock, Geneva, Switzerland

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Nature lovers rave about the Flower Clock, a delightful outdoor clock featuring over 6,000 flowers and shrubs. But while it might sound appealing at first, the view is disappointing and underwhelming. Many tourists feel down because they realize it’s not as big as they’d assumed, and the crowd bars the view. You could even say it’s similar to the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen.

The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

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This island’s bright turquoise waves and natural geothermal vents attract thousands of tourists yearly, but those who have been often return disappointed. This is because the Blue Lagoon is one of the few places in Iceland that gets painfully crowded, so you barely get enough space to breathe. Depending on the season, a visit costs at least 40€-80€. Souvenirs and items like towels also cost a lot. In a way, it’s like a glorified, overcrowded hot pool.

Queueing at the Vatican

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One of the most common experiences for first-time travelers to the Vatican is being bombarded with ticket sellers who claim the queues are too long and that you’ll need a ticket to get in. Often, tourists pay up to 40 euros for the ticket, which is essentially useless at the Vatican. Locals believe the destination is rigged to increase tourist footfall, and you might even skip it since there’s not much to see (especially the Pope).

The Louvre, Paris

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Art lovers flock from all over the world to the Louvre to see its exhibitions. It is impossible to see the Mona Lisa up close without the hassle. While the destination might be attractive for first-timers, you’ll find better and less crowded art attractions around Paris and surrounding cities. For example, L’Orangerie and Musée d’Orsay offer similar attractions, and they’re just a stone’s throw from the Louvre. The duo also fly under the radar, so you’ll enjoy exploring without getting claustrophobic.

Temple Bar in Dublin, Ireland

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Ireland’s drinking culture excites most tourists, so they rush to Dublin Bar, the city’s most famous street. They expect to find wonderful bars, a fantastic drinking culture, and live musical concerts here. Instead, they discover crammed bars with irate owners, unruly drunk tourists and locals, and a crowd that makes hearing the music impossible. Most locals believe the street is a rip-off of authentic Irish culture and that tourists are much better off trying other destinations.

Sources: Reddit; Reddit; Reddit; Reddit.

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Emese Maczko is a travel blogger behind Eco Lodges Anywhere. Having explored several destinations around Europe, the US, Indonesia, and Australia, and resided in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg, Emese possesses a keen understanding of diverse cultures and an appreciation for the beauty of each destination she visits. She advocates for sustainable travel and ecotourism.

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