Welcome to “The Biggest Tourist Traps in the World,” where we look at some of the most overhyped, overcrowded, and overpriced holiday destinations around the globe.
The data comes from the travel home experts at Casago. They analyzed data from TripAdvisor to find the highest number of tourist trap mentions, then put together some charts and graphics ranking The Biggest Tourist Traps in the World.
Let’s check them out.
What is a tourist trap?
We’ve all heard (and probably used) the term tourist trap. But what does it actually mean?
A tourist trap is like a Venus Flytrap for unsuspecting visitors. You’re lured in by promises of excitement, adventure, or memorable experiences, only to find yourself trapped in a web of overpriced restaurants, cheesy photo ops, and endless lines.
It’s like a never-ending cycle of “oohs” and “ahhs” followed by “ouch, my wallet!”
Europe’s worst tourist traps
Europe’s biggest tourist traps draw visitors in with promises of excitement and adventure, only to leave them feeling like they’ve been conned by a smooth-talking used car salesman.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris is a shining beacon of high culture for tourists looking to take a romantic selfie. But the lines are longer than a French bakery’s baguette, and the prices are higher than the Arc de Triomphe.
Then there’s the Colosseum in Rome, where you can witness the glory of ancient Rome…and the horror of modern-day crowds.
Let’s not forget Amsterdam. It’s great – if you can avoid the boozed-up stag parties and don’t mind paying Ritz prices for the top bunk in a hostel dorm.
Biggest tourist traps in the USA
Times Square in New York City is the crossroads of the world and one of the busiest places on Earth. It’s like a neon jungle, with skyscrapers and billboards as far as the eye can see. But beware – the tourist crowds are much thicker than a New York slice of pizza. And given the price of some of the restaurants around the Square, you’ll be eating lots of $1 slices.
Then there’s Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, where tourists come to see the stars – on the ground, that is. It’s the walk of fame. But it quickly becomes a walk of shame for anyone who gets suckered into buying a $50 map of the celebrity homes.
Niagara Falls is an iconic tourist destination. It’s also real tourist trap territory, where a helicopter ride offering spectacular views of the falls will cost hundreds of dollars.
You can soak up the falls for free, of course, but you’ll be jostling for the best view among a sea of tourists elbowing each other out of the way for that perfect Instagram shot.
How to avoid a tourist trap holiday experience?
Looking for an authentic holiday experience instead? Then follow these tips:
Research: Read up on your destination and look for recommendations from locals or travel experts. This helps you avoid overhyped attractions and find hidden gems.
Look beyond the tourist areas: Explore surrounding neighborhoods, where you can often find authentic local experiences (and lower prices.)
Ask locals: Strike up a conversation with a local, ask for recommendations, and get their insider tips on the best places to eat, shop, and explore.