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Trippy users have circumnavigated the globe, visiting countless tourist attractions across seven continents and most can call out at least one tourist trap they visited.
What are tourist traps?
Per MacMillanDictionary.com, it is a place that is visited by many tourists and is therefore crowded and expensive.
Out of curiosity, one Trippy user queried:
What tourist traps are you glad you visited despite the crowds and high prices? Why was it worth the stop?
Users from around the world responded to the query. We narrowed it down to a list of 20 tourist traps worth visiting:
1. The Eiffel Tower
Jacey and Scott Mahaffy from Fort Collins wrote:
The first thing that came to my mind was the Eiffel Tower-the lines can be long, the dining is overrated, but it is spectacularly beautiful. The detail alone makes my jaw drop. It sits right along the Seine like a perfectly coifed French dame. I have always adored it and always will.
Andrew Chou from Tokyo and Greg S. from Washington mentioned Venice. Greg wrote:
Venice. Way overpriced and incredibly crowded but it’s a must-see. Plan for two days, if you want a less expensive place to stay than in town, find a nice hotel on one of the neighboring islands (everything is so easily accessible by vaparetto).
The city with only 55,000 residents welcomes 60,000 tourists per day! I’ve been to Venice once, and that was in 2006, and I’ve not been back.
3. Times Square
I live in New York City and guess what is on my list of “places to visit” for friends and family even though I avoid it like the plague? Times Square! Why? It’s unlike any place in the world – the infinite energy, the lights and the crowds will take your breath away.
The official Times Square website estimated 355,000 pedestrians enter the heart of Times Square per day.
4. Las Vegas
Las Vegas was Justin Goularte’s respond. He wrote:
Las Vegas probably the biggest tourist trap in the states. And that one is pretty self-explanatory, so I won’t go into detail on that one. If you have never heard of Las Vegas, then please do yourself a favor and look it up and you will see what I mean.
There are hundreds of reasons why over 42 million people are drawn to Las Vegas each year. Some of the top reasons are the casinos, live shows and nightlife.
Next, I would have to say Monaco. HUGE tourist trap and everything is soooo expensive. But its kind of fun to go see what the big hype is about the place and its kind of like Vegas is terms of the extravagance. The ” Royalty” of Monaco like to think they are royalty but historically they are not hence the lack of recognition by most countries. Still an interesting place to visit and of course you must go into the Monte Carlo and play a quick game of blackjack pretending to be Bond (I did haha). But yea massive tourist trap besides Vegas which on another point would be my third pick.
Monaco, the second smallest independent state in the world is synonymous with fast cars, casinos and wealth. This nation of 37,000 people welcomes over 10 million tourists a year.
6. Blue Lagoon in Iceland
We went in May 2012. I was also shocked at the price, but everything is expensive in Iceland- drinks and food are outrageous compared to most big cities in Europe.
However, if you like spas and you don’t mind a few people (I wouldn’t say it was overcrowded- much less crowded than baths In Budapest), it was pretty cool. You could spend a few hours there to get moneys worth.
But if it was a choice of that and the Golden Circle tour to the Gullfoss Waterfall and volcanic pools than I would go with the tour. Enjoy!
Blue Lagoon was not on my itinerary during my visit with my family. The only reason we left it out was that the kids were not interested. It attracts almost a million visitors per year.
7. Uros Islands, Lake Titicaca Peru
Uros Islands are clusters of 70 man-made totora reed floating islands in Lake Titicaca located just nine miles (14 km) east of Puno. The Uros tribe make their living by opening their “homes” to tourists.
I was excited to visit the Uros people and their unique islands but was a little disappointed with the high level of commercialism there. Despite the disappointment, I do recommend you need to take a trip there to experience the totora reed floating islands first hand.
8. Angkor Wat
Laurie B from Australia and Bryan Ridge said, Angkor Wat. Laurie replied:
We encountered masses of tourists, busloads. So many people, both children, and adults asking for money. You can’t cross the street without being approached by someone asking for money. It was heartbreaking.
Having said this, it was the most beautiful place, with the most beautiful people. I can’t wait to return.
Would definitely have to say, Angkor Wat. Yes, you have to be there at the crack of sparrow’s to avoid standing in line for an hour to buy tickets, and even then you’re going to have to deal with crowds inside and outside the temples and street hawkers trying to sell you postcards or hats – but it is all totally worth it. The size and beauty of temples are simply breath-taking, as are the surrounding pathways and forests. Fortunately, as it such a large complex containing many temples, the crowds tend to thin out when you get away from the main temple.
Oh, and tried the baked eggs if you see a vendor selling them!
9. Sacred Monkey Forest Ubud Sanctuary
The answer thread continued with an answer from Missy Johnston:
I just adore the Sacred Monkey Forest Ubud Sanctuary in Ubud. I have been there before and plan to head back again next month. It is not a large place, is set in a very attractive setting, and there are several lovely historic temples to see, but it is not a true view of monkeys in their natural habitat as these monkeys are very switched on, which to me is both the tourist trap aspect of this site, but also the whole reason to visit.
I was in Ubud for a week, and I skipped Sacred Monkey Forest and at times regret that I did.
10. San Gimignano
Peter Dorfman from Bloomington said:
San Gimignano. I mean, jeez, look at this place. Yes, it is lousy with tourists, but most of them won’t make it up the towers, and the town and surrounding Tuscan countryside are breathtaking. Things really aren’t offensively pricey, but you won’t want to stay long.
This was another place I skipped while visiting Tuscany. I chose to spend time in Siena instead, but just like the Sacred Monkey Forest, I often regretted not making an effort to get to San Gimignano when it was only a bus ride away from Siena.
San Gimignano is known for its towers. There were 72, and now there are only seven.
11. La Mitad de Mundo, Quito
The Middle of the World Monument in Quito is both controversial and necessary. The site was built to commemorate Charles Marie de la Condamine, a French explorer who discovered the equator line in 1736 in Quito.
This monument is worth a visit for the history but if you have time I recommend visiting both La Mitad de Mundo and Intinan Museum San Antonio de Pichincha.
13. Maid of the Mist Niagara Falls
Kenneth M. from Germany said:
For me the most amazing tourist trap was Maid of the Mist Niagara Falls. I would put it in my top 5 experiences I’ve ever done… Right up there with Hiking Southern Greenland, Santorini, the Alps, etc… It’s a quick experience, but still amazing… If you go use the US side as it has less crowds. And if you want something more exciting there is the Jet Boat Whirlpool tour as well. Good Luck! — Also most tourist traps are worth a look there’s a reason they are so popular but don’t build your vacation around them… At least that’s my opinion…
Niagara Falls attracts about 12 million visitors per year according to Niagara Falls Tourism board. Maid of the Mist is a must do tour when visiting Niagara Falls.
14. Reading Terminal Market
I waited 30 minutes at Carmen’s Famous just to order the famous Philly cheesesteak, and after 30 minutes of waiting for Beiler’s Donuts, I gave up. I still have that aching feeling of wanting to try the famous Beiler’s doughnuts at Reading Terminal Market.
Besides doughnuts and Philly cheesesteak, the crowded Reading Terminal Market boasts of the best Peking duck, soft pretzels, and roast pork sandwich. Every tourist flocks there and it’s worth it.
15. Bourbon Street New Orleans
Mary Berthelot from Louisiana wrote:
Hmmm… I would say Bourbon Street, but just once and then never, NEVER again! The food, the music, and the drinks as tall as you are great. However, I would avoid Bourbon St like the plague during Mardi Gras and go to one of the parades in the neighboring areas (or Mamou, get you a really Cajun Mardi Gras, cher!) Thieves and murderers from the area mixed with tons of people from outside the area thinking anything goes during the carnival season do not mix well.
I agree with Mary. However, I found myself there twice on both visits to New Orleans. I think I might do the same on my third trip.
16. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Thailand
Visiting a floating market in Thailand is a must, and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is the most popular. Despite the many recommendations to visit other floating markets, I find it hard to find a group tour going to other markets besides Damnoen Saduak.
Trippy user Katerina Popov echoed what I had in mind:
If you haven’t been to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, I think it’s worth going just once if you have the time. I wouldn’t go a second time though because it is pretty far outside of Bangkok. Also seems like a tourist trap because the taxi drivers will take you to a place where you pay quite a bit to get on a water tuk-tuk to see the floating market. Negotiating prices at the market is easy though so if you are not happy with paying the initial price for your item(s), bargain with the vendors until you get the price you want. It took a whole afternoon (almost 1.5 hours to get there and 1.5 back) to go to Damnoen Saduak so make sure you set time aside to do it. If your time is limited in Bangkok, I would recommend going to a closer floating market in the city. It’s probably more local and authentic anyways, which is a plus.
17. Pike Place Market
Bob O. from California said:
Pike Place Market in Seattle was the first place that came to my mind. If you’re a sucker for Starbucks you can visit the Original Starbucks but, for my time, the line you want to wait in is a few doors down at Piroshky Piroshky. I ate a lot of GREAT food in Seattle, but the beef and cheese Piroshky was the best thing I ate and well worth the wait. I changed my schedule around so I could come back the next day for another. The rest of the market is just as good as advertised and does a great job of encompassing what the Pacific Northwest is all about. If there’s one tourist trap to hit in the PNW, it’s definitely Pikes Place.
18. Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg
Fans of the Sound of Music would undoubtedly enjoy the original Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg. You get to sing, listen to stories about the Von Trapp and visit the sites where the movie was made.
It’s Salzburg’s main tourist attraction and a tourist trap that defines the city of Mozart and Sound of Music.
19. The Acropolis, Athens
Scott Mahaffy said:
I would have to say the Acropolis and surrounding Plaka neighborhood. The heat, the crowds, the uninspiring skyline. But, knowing what an important part of world history, Athens, and the Acropolis are, and remembering my studies of Greek Mythology when I was much younger, just left me in awe. Plus, it beats the exact replica in Nashville. 😉
Known as the Sacred Rock, Acropolis is the remains of ancient buildings and one of the most famous sites in Greece. The site attracts about 7 million visitors out of the 30 million that visits Greece per year.
20. Antiga Confeitaria de Belem (also known as Pasteis de Belem) in Lisbon
Jaleh Najafali from Baltimore wrote:
The other big tourist trap that comes to mind is right outside of Lisbon. The Pastéis de Belém has some amazing sweets and custards to try- and even though the line is ridiculous, the dessert is good enough to wait for.
I couldn’t agree more. One must check out this pastry shop when visiting Lisbon and where the famous pasteis started. The pastry shop sells about 20,000 pasteis per day.
Photos and article by Claudia Looi