When travelling abroad, especially to a destination you haven’t visited before, it’s only natural to want to cram in all the popular tourist destinations into your itinerary.
However, we’re often so focused on searching the ‘top tourist attractions’ which end up being not-so-wow and more often than not just a big money-making trap.
If you are heading to Europe this festive season, here’s the spots to avoid – or at least deprioritise. While these attractions are not bad, the good things about them are often overshadowed by the volume of tourists, making the experience not so memorable.
Top 10 tourist traps to avoid in Europe
St Basil’s Cathedral, Russia
If you’ve seen a movie or television show set in Moscow, chances are Russia’s most recognised landmark was featured.
The striking Orthodox church has stood since the 16th century and remains a unique design with its wonderous shapes and bright colours right in the heart of the city in the red square.
While still a beautiful building and major architectural accomplishment, stylistically unrivalled by anything else, it is going to be surrounded by tourists at any given time.
This can make visiting the church and other attractions in the red square extremely frustrating.
La Rambla, Spain
Barcelona is one of Spain’s biggest and most important cultural cities, which has long been a magnet for tourism. People travel from far and wide to see marvels like Antoni Gaudí and the Basílica de la Sagrada Família.
La Rambla is perhaps Spain’s most famous street and has been home to historical attractions for hundreds of years. Today, however, you’ll find it overwhelmed with expensive souvenir stores and sub-par restaurants, all designed to convince tourists to part with their cash.
If you head just a little off the beaten path, you’ll find far more interesting and less expensive streets in Barcelona to spend your time and cash.
War and extreme political tension aside, in recent years the Chernobyl exclusion site has become increasingly popular with tourists in Ukraine, so much so that there are now plenty of companies offering tours, and there’s even a visitor’s centre.
However, while not too long ago it was still an unusual place to visit, in 2019 the Ukrainian government announced that Chernobyl will be becoming an official tourist attraction.
This is all despite the fact that the exclusion zone is still extremely radio active around the power plants, meaning that tourists can’t stay for longer than a day or two.
With each passing year, Chernobyl only gets more and more popular and it may be one of the most macabre and dangerous tourist attractions anywhere in the world.
This also means that it is going to get increasingly expensive to book a tour in the coming years.
Watch the video below to see which other tourist traps in Europe to avoid:
*Compiled by Xanet Scheepers