15 Tourist Traps You MUST Avoid

15 Tourist Traps You MUST Avoid

It's easy to be carried away and misled when you visit a place to which you have never been before. A quick Google search usually suggests the most popular sites. Unfortunately, they are often the ones you want to avoid. The vicious cycle begins. More people visit the recommended locations, resulting in overprices foods and services. This is not to say that you should avoid popular destinations such as Paris, Rome and London. Keep in mind that they have a lot more to offer than the unpleasantness that invariably comes with huge crowds. The following list, ranked in no particular order, consists of tourists traps in the U.S. and Europe that you should avoid if you can help it. Even though a few are technically free of charge, hapless visitors should still stay away.

The tourist train of Montmartre

Why would you want to spend money to be on a train and have no control over what part of the charming streets of Montmartre you see? Walk for free instead. (Bonus: You'll get some exercises in and won't worry about ruining your body while on vacation) Explore the hidden gems and get close to the really interesting art in the picturesque village of Picasso and Van Gogh.

Madame Tussauds, London

Do you care to see David Cameron's figure? (He is the former British prime minister largely blamed for Brexit) He is also arguably the most famous figure in the museum. The most liked figure/person there is Benedict Cumberbatch. Do you see a pattern? If you're not familiar or don't care much about British celebrities and politicians, visiting the famous waxworks in London would be a waste of time and money.

Changing the Guard, Buckingham Palace

The Buckingham Palace is a magnificent castle that is absolutely worth a 5-visit. Getting there is easy and it's close to a lot of other popular places in London that are more worthy of your time. Don't wait for hours among thousands of people just to see the changing of the guards ritual. You'll be disappointed because it looks like a marching band playing a popular music theme.

The Sherlock Holmes Museum, Marylebone

Sherlock Holmes is not a real person. He is a famous fictional character. Why do you want to pay $20 to see something anyone can set up in any old house that can look like the home of the famed detective? Neither Benedict Cumberbatch or  any other actor who has played Holmes lives nearby, so don't expect to get an authentic experience.

Disneyland Paris (or anywhere else)

If you've been to one, you've been to all of them. Unless you have hundreds of dollars to waste, plan a trip there a year in advance, and make reservations months before, you'll leave with a massive headache after a full day of maneuvering among crowds, eating fast food and sweets, and waiting in a line for hours for just one ride. Consider a smaller but cheaper and less crowded theme park that also has roller coasters and waterslides.

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

Italy is a beautiful country but the Tower Pisa is overrated. If you don't have anything to do all day and you've been to more interesting attractions, then by all means stand in line for a long time and spend money to walk up the slanted tower and then take photos pretending you're fixing it. "A bit disappointed that there's not much else in  the vicinity to see/do," a review on TripAdvisor says.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, Massachusetts

The area includes the Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market and South Market. All are set around a cobblestone promenade where jugglers, magicians and musicians entertain the passers-by. It's been open since 1742 but it has become a nice mall-like place. Everything has been renovated and it's very crowded.

The Four Corners – New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona

Can you really be in two, three or four places at the same time? No. So what's the point of going all the way out there, in the middle of a desert with nothing else to do around, to play Twister and bend four ways so you can touch a tiny area of four states? Spend your time more wisely and take your family to an adventure in any of the four states.

Mamertine Prison, Italy

This is an ancient prison at the foot of the Capitoline Hill in Rome. The prison is a 2,500-year-old cistern-like jail but you won't see anything this old there. Artifacts have been removed. Instead, you get a multimedia walk through the prison. A major reason why people want to go is because the legend is that St. Peter was there. But there is no archaeological evidence or early written account that he really was.

Time Elevator, Rome

The experience is just a multiscreen presentation. This is definitely not the place for you if you suffer from motion sickness. "This is a tourist trap and an expensive one," a review on Trip Advisor says. "I wanted the kids to learn some history of Rome and this show sounded pretty good. However, 3D really means 3 screens. Other effect is just a random shaking of the mechanism which seems very old and makes terrible clacking noise. The story itself is weak."  

Tourists Restaurants – anywhere

They are everywhere and should be avoided at all costs. The food is not authentic and it's very expensive. As is the case with most cities, the best food is in a small restaurant that a lot of people don't know about. Rome even has a lot of places with big signs "No tourist menus."

Romeo and Juliet's balcony in Verona, Italy

It's understandable that couples would like to go to Romeo and Juliet's balcony in the Casa di Giulietta in Verona, two other fictional characters. But before you go, be prepared that all you'll really see is a chaotic site that looks like it's overrun with trash –gum and paper. People leave love notes (it's not clear why) and stick them with gum.

Blarney Stone, Ireland

Kissing Ireland's Blarney Stone is a centuries-old tradition. It is supposed to give a person the gift of articulateness and persuasiveness. Regardless of whether you believe this or not, one thing is certain: Your lips are touching something thousands of others have kissed. Do you really want to spend hours of your life getting there, waiting and then going back to get everyone else's bacteria, lipstick and saliva?

The Hollywood Walk of Fame

This stretch of road is perhaps the most visited tourist place in the entire Los Angeles. The only positive about staring at a block of asphalt with the name of a celebrity on it is that it's free. There is nothing unique that you can do – everyone just takes a photo with the pavement.

Navy Pier, Chicago

This landmark in Chicago is famous because it's on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. If you're into unnecessarily expensive food and parks that try to resemble carnivals, even though their most famous attraction is a Ferris wheel, then good luck avoiding the traffic getting there. "The thing is that you can just go to the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the Hancock Building for free and have a beer while looking over almost the entire city. It's really an awful place with bad restaurants, bad t-shirts," a recent review on TripAdvisor said.

Times Square, New York

People go to see glaring lights. But every big city in the world has similar sites. There is nothing unique about Times Square. The area is so crowded all day long that it takes minutes to walk one block. If you like being pushed around and spending a lot of money on something you can buy anywhere else, then visit. Snap a few photos and never go there again. No doubt you will find a better place in a city of five huge boroughs and 8.4 million people.